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Monday, August 2, 2010

8/2/10 Harvest and First Homemade Pizza



Harvesting was really fun this week, with six tomatoes, five cucumbers and a bunch of small but still edible onions.  The green beans are still trickling in a few at a time, and basil is mass producing at a rate where we can hardly keep up.

We also pulled up three carrots for the first time, and they were teeny tiny - only about 1 inch long and thinner than an infant's pinkie.  They are Burpee's Short 'n Sweet variety, with 68 days to maturity and full size of up to 4 inches.  I sowed these carrot seeds about two and a half months ago, so I don't know why these carrots are not getting any bigger in our garden.

If you want to see other gardeners' harvests, head on over to Daphnes' Harvest Monday.

* * * * *

This weekend, I decided that I was finally going to learn to bake bread-y things using yeast.  Up until now, I have always just skipped recipes that included yeast because I somehow thought that they would be too difficult.  But heck, if I can learn to grow my own vegetables, I can certainly learn to use yeast, right?

So I made a pizza from scratch. I did everything by hand the old school way, since I don't have a stand mixer or a bread machine.  I learned to make a pizza dough, double rise and all. I wanted to incorporate as many garden vegetables as I could, and ended up using homemade basil pesto, green onions, onions, tomatoes, green beans and oregano.  Other non-garden ingredients included chicken, mushroom, garlic, and mozzarella cheese.  The result was a oh-so-delicious pizza that came out the oven perfectly hot and crisp, not even a tiny bit soggy.  Success!


A question for those of you with more baking experience: are there any bread recipes where a stand mixer or a bread machine is a requirement, or is it always just an easier alternative to hand-mixing?

34 comments:

Robin said...

Wow, you had a great harvest this week! Those onions are bigger then mine!

That has got to be the best looking pizza I have seen! It's difficult to make a pizza with all those veggies and not be soggy at all...congrats!!

thyme2garden said...

Thank you Robin! I couldn't believe how well the pizza turned out, and it wasn't THAT much effort. I have a feeling that the homemade pesto made a difference. I'm going to have to make another pizza sometime using traditional tomato sauce and see if I can duplicate the non-soggy success. Then I'll know!

kitsapFG said...

Gorgeous pizza and what a great start you had to your yeast baking endeavors! All bread recipes can be hand mixed and kneaded and baked in the oven - traditional style. However, some recipes are specifically made for bread machines and slightly alter their ingredients to make them work perfectly with the machines. Lots of recipes out there for traditional bread making though as well as recipes for bread machines specifically.

Harvest looks good this week. Just give those carrots time. Days to maturity is just an average based on perfect conditions. Your mileage will vary significantly from year to year and with different locations in the garden.

Erin said...

I'm with you on all counts! I have difficulty growing carrots here. I am also learning to use yeast, you would think that something like that wouldn't inspire so much trepidation, but it does for me! Hubby is a whiz with the stuff, never uses recipes, makes starters and all that but I never watched him since it seemed so complicated! Now that he is deployed and the kids are begging for "daddy's pizzas" and I would love some fresh bread, I am clueless!

Dan Owen said...

Nice looking pizza and I'll bet it is more nutritious that the store bought kind!

vrtlarica said...

It is a lovely harvest, except those carrots. I also think that you need to give them a little more time. I sowed mine in April and they are just now ready for harvest.
I have never made bread, except in bread machine. But I would like to learn to do that someday. Pizza looks GREAT!!!

Annie's Granny said...

Bread machines, mixers or food processors are certainly not a necessity in bread making, but are welcomed by those who, like myself, have arthritis in their hands. If I had to hand knead bread, I just wouldn't be making it. I've had no problem using bread machine recipes without the bread machine, but the opposite doesn't hold true. Regular recipes must be adapted for bread machines. My favorite is still the food processor and oven for the best loaves, but I'm happy as a clam with my bread machine....it's just not quite up to par with the processor, but close enough. Especially when it's 100 degrees outside and I don't really feel like having the oven on.

Shawn Ann said...

Nice job on the pizza crust, it looks great! and yummy! I made a few pizza's this year with Chard on them! They were quite good!
As for bread, I had a good find earlier this year, finding a bread machine at a garage sale for $4! I haven't used it much though! I guess I should. Usually, when I make bread I use the Betty Crocker Yeast Bread Recipe that is in pretty much every betty crocker book. It is quite good and fairly easy. The thing with yeast is, just make sure you let it rise long enough, it makes a big difference! Good luck trying bread recipes and don't forget to show us!

Emily said...

Wonderful harvest and nice job on the pizza. I think garden pizza is on the menu for us tonight too. One trick to help it not get soggy is to bake the crust for 5 minutes or so without the toppings on it, and then add the toppings and finish baking.

Daphne said...

I love fresh pizza. Yours looks beautiful. I've never found yeast breads to be difficult, but they are very time consuming. Too often I forget to start them on time.

michelle said...

Gorgeous tomatoes! And basil and pizza, yum. I think you're going to have a hard time eating pizza from the pizzeria now. :)

I love to bake bread and have found that most bread doughs can be easily kneaded by hand and have even learned a technique to knead wet sticky doughs by hand. One dough that really should be machine kneaded is brioche (and other sweet doughs like it also). It is so loaded with butter, eggs, and sugar and has to be kneaded for such a looong time that a machine is really the only reasonable way to do it.

meemsnyc said...

I think making pizza is on every gardener's to do list. We just made pizza too!
http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2010/07/fresh-basil-is-intoxicating.html
As far as making breads and the like, I'm not sure. I do own a bread maker but I normally do my pizza dough the "old style" too because it's an easier cleanup. I use the bread machine for breads that have a longer knead time.

Kelly said...

That pizza looks great, and so does your harvest!

foodgardenkitchen said...

The pizza looks delicious!

About the carrots...I've learned that seed packets lie. I think that the "days to harvest" is valid only if every single day is the optimal growing condition for whatever veggie you're growing. I hardly ever have anything come in near the timeframe listed on seed packets.

thyme2garden said...

kitsapFG - thank you for the useful information about regular and bread machine recipes! I will try to be a bit more patient about my carrots, as I'm sure I (and mother nature) haven't provided the most perfect growing conditions during my first year.

* * * * *
Erin - your hubby can bake bread with no recipes and you let him out of the house?! Based on my one-time success so far, I can say that the pizza was relatively easy to make, so I think you should try it and provide some "mommy's pizza" for your kids!

* * * * *
Dan Owen - thank you! That's one of the reasons I love making my own food from scratch, so I know exactly what went into it.

* * * * *
vrtlarica - since your carrots have another month on mine, I will try to wait another month and see if they size up. Thank you!

* * * * *
Granny - I've seen pictures of your bread, I wouldn't change a thing about your methods. Thank you for letting me know about bread machine recipes vs. regular recipes!

GrafixMuse said...

Homemade pizza is a delight in our household. To save time, I use a bread machine to mix and raise the dough. Not a requirement, but a convenience and time saver. We enjoy a lot of different garden toppings on pizza as well. Sometimes we can’t decide on topping combinations, so we divide up the dough and make mini-pizzas with all different toppings.

I don’t have much luck growing carrots. I seed them in the spring and they always take longer than the seed package says. Some times I get impatient and pull them too early. This year, I have seeded two square foot gardens with different short varieties. I just harvested my first carrots this week and am quite pleased. I guess patients is the key.

thyme2garden said...

Shawn Ann - chard on pizza sound really delicious! I should try more adventurous toppings like that on my future homemade pizzas. I will definitely share (pictures of) my future bread projects! :)

* * * * *
Emily - thanks for the tip on pre-baking the pizza crust. I hope your garden pizza turns out well tonight!

* * * * *
Daphne - I know, I had to plan the whole weekend around my yeast-baking schedule! In addition to the pizza, I also made some cinnamon rolls, which took a lot more time than the pizza.

* * * * *
michelle - I was thinking the same thing, that I've been missing out all this time not knowing that I could make such a yummy pizza right at home. Kneading wet sticky dough sounds really difficult and messy - what's the secret?

* * * * *
meemsnyc - I think you're right about gardeners and pizza. I'm off to go check out your pizza.

* * * * *
Kelly - thank you!

thyme2garden said...

foodgardenkitchen - is it the "seed packet conspiracy"? I do definitely find the seed packets with fewer days to maturity to be more appealing - if I can't have instant gratification, then I want as short of a wait as possible!

* * * * *
GrafixMuse - multiple mini pizzas is a great idea! Are your SFG beds 6 inches or 12 inches tall? Even though I have a short variety, I wonder if the carrots don't like my 6 inch beds. I will try to be more patient for another month or so and see what happens.

Dan said...

oh man, that pizza looks good!

Funkbunny said...

that's looks so yummy. I just learnt to make sour dough bread at the weekend (we held a workshop at my house) and that was all by hand. It actually didn't require much kneading either - about 5 mins in total with rest time in between, and tastes sooo good!

mac said...

Nice colorful harvest. Gosh, that pizza look so good.
I'll take home baked pizzas and breads over commercial varieties any day. Once you make your own bread you would not want to eat commercial bread again.

thyme2garden said...

Dan - thank you, and oh yes, the pizza was really as good as it looked. Maybe even better!

* * * * *
Funkbunny - sour dough bread baking workshop? I wish I could have been there to learn!

* * * * *
mac - thank you! Time and effort aside, home baked pizza really tasted so much better and fresher than store-bought pizza.

Angela said...

Nice harvest! Those tomatoes look delicious. And congratulations on your first pizza. I hope this will be the first of many to come. Freshly picked veggies and freshly made pizza: heaven.

We love to make pizza at home, have for years and never get tired of it. I hope you get hooked too!

Engineeredgarden said...

Beautiful tomato pictures. OMG, I bet that homemade pizza was awesome!

Vic said...

Okay, the real question is: Do you deliver?

thyme2garden said...

Angela - thank you! My thoughts exactly on the veggies and pizza! I might already be hooked after this first one.

* * * * *
Engineeredgarden - thank you, and yes, the pizza really was awesome, if I do say so myself!

* * * * *
Vic - I suppose you can have anything delivered for the right price! ;-)

Cheryl said...

The pizza does look scrumtous. You should post the crust recipe.

I love the idea of baking bread. I've made many loaves, but only a few of them were edible.

The Idiot Gardener said...

Now you are taunting me. Red tomatoes and spring onions with what looks like bulbous heads! I curse your garden.

Green tomatoes and matchstick onions, anyone?

Jeana said...

Wonderful looking onions, tomatoes, and basil. When can I pick my pizza up?

thyme2garden said...

Cheryl - I will post the crust recipe with my next pizza, it really was good!
* * * * *
TIG - you are too kind!

* * * * *
Jeana - thank you! The fresh pizza must be consumed on site - you'll have to come visit to taste this pizza. :)

Manda said...

Lovely harvest! I envy you your basil 'problem': my basil plants this year are leggy and don't seem to be too interested in putting out more foliage. We love homemade pizza as well, and one of our staples in the summer is barbequed pizza (which is surprisingly easy to make and quite delicious). Then again, anything with homegrown veggies is instantly better :)

thyme2garden said...

Manda - thank you! Is your basil growing in an area with full sun? That's the only thing I can think of to fix the leggy problem. You can also pinch the tops off to encourage the plant to grow more side branches.

BBQed pizza, hmm, you're giving me ideas for future pizzas...

Sue said...

Gorgeous veggies, and the pizza is a delicious idea! Will keep it in mind. We have planted some fall veggies; broccoli, romaine lettuce, more peppers, carrots. Need to purchase our garlic and onions... Fall planting is new to us; how about you? Thx for the follow!

Sue~

thyme2garden said...

Sue, thank you! If you do end up making a homemade pizza, don't forget to show us pictures! Fall planting is definitely knew to us, as this is our first year vegetables gardening. We just planted some peas, radishes, beets, and salad greens, with plans to plant some garlic later in the fall. Homegrown garlic, oh I can't wait!

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