Nectarine and Goat Cheese Pissadelière | Baking

A yeast-based dough makes the base for this “French pizza”, the Provençal pissadelière.

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What is a pissadeliére?

Originating in Provence, France, pissadelière is a pizza-like street food. Located on the southeastern side of France, Provence borders Italy and the Mediterranean Sea — the perfect mix of culinary influence to create this French pizza!

On-the-water view of Provence, France
Gorgeous Provence

Traditionally, pissadelière is topped with onions, anchovies and olives. Needless to say, this is NOT a traditional pissadelière.

Instead, I chose to use the pissadelière dough as a base for a fruity, cheesy, sweet flatbread, something that could easily be eaten for dessert or for breakfast. This Nectarine Goat Cheese Pissadelière would make a great addition to a Sunday brunch, as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee or a sweet and savory dessert component for your next dinner.

Close up photo of a slice of Nectarine Goat Cheese pisadellière
A platter of Nectarine Goat Cheese Pissadelière

The dough is the most laborious part of the recipe, and even then most of the time spent is letting the dough rise, not active time.

If you prefer to use a different stone fruit, the recipe is completely adaptable. Simple choose your fruit, cheese and herby toppings! Here are some other combinations to consider:

  • Plum and Chèvre
  • Peach and Gorgonzola
  • Berries and Brie
Slice in triangles for a fun, rustic platter of tasty sweet/savory pizza!

On a Personal Note

The basis of this recipe, originally from Cook’s Illustrated , was handed down to me from my mom, originally given to her by my grandfather. He was the one who taught me how to make pizza at six years old. He called the recipe “French pizza” because he (like many of us, I’m sure) was confused on how to properly pronounce “pissadelière”. Honestly, I have no idea how to say it either. What I do know is that the final result is delicious.

Nectarine goat cheese pissadeliere
Nectarines, goat cheese, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Delicious!

The trick to the dough is using well-oiled hands! As my grandpa (Papa) said, “The dough is beautiful to work with, especially in conjunction with the parchment paper and using very oily hands stretches the dough easily.”

It was a pleasure to make this recipe that he’d made and enjoyed before. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did. Feel free to change out toppings as you see fit!

Nectarine Goat Cheese Pissadelière

This "french pizza" is made with a soft dough and topped with fresh nectarines, goat cheese, herbs and a drizzle of honey. Eat for dessert or breakfast!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, dinner
Cuisine American, French

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional as needed for dough
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1-2 large, ripe nectarines
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese
  • Handful of fresh herbs mint, thyme or basil
  • Honey, for drizzling

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, mix yeast and warm water. Whisk gently. Let bloom for 3-5 minutes. You should see light bubbling forming in the bowl.
  • Sift all-purpose flour into the bowl with the yeast and water.
    Add salt and olive oil. Mix in bowl until combined.
    Then, on a wooden board dusted with flour, knead dough into a smooth ball, about 3 minutes.
    When kneading, shape the dough into a ball and use the heel of your hand to push the dough down, reshaping it.
     *For an alternative method using a food processor, see recipe notes.
  • Lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough ball inside and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise for 1 – 1 ½ hours, until the dough has grown in size
  • Have olive oil close at hand for stretching the dough. This dough responds better to oil than flour to repel stickiness.
    Line a full-sized baking sheet with parchment.
    Cut the ball of dough in half, forming two chunks.
    Stretch the dough using oiled hands to form rectangle shapes. (Any shape you make is okay, the important thing is stretching the dough so it is about ½” thick. If the shape doesn’t come out the way you’d like it, remember, it’s not a mistake – it’s rustic!)
    Place one rectangle on one end of the baking sheet. Using your fingertips, dimple the dough.
    Repeat with the other dough ball.
  • Slice the nectarines into eight sections. This prevents the nectarines from being too thin and burning in the oven. Top dough with sliced nectarines and goat cheese. Add as much or as little as you'd like!
  • Bake in a 425°F oven for 13-15 minutes. The crust should be lightly brown.
  •  Drizzle the pissaladiére with honey. Top with finely chopped herbs of your choice.
    Mint, thyme and basil all pair well with nectarines and goat cheese. If your herbs are flowering, use the flowers too! They are edible, slightly sweet and make for a beautiful presentation.
    Slice the pissaladiére any way you’d like. If the dough is not perfectly rectangular, I recommend slicing into triangle shapes.

Notes

Alternative dough method: If you are new to dough making, you may be more comfortable with the food processor method described in the original Cook’s Illustrated recipe:
“In the workbowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic dough blade, pulse flour, yeast and salt to combine, about five 1-second pulses. With machine running, slowly add oil, then water, through feed tube; continue to process until dough forms ball, about 15 seconds. Generously dust work surface with flour; using floured hands, transfer dough to work surface and knead lightly, shaping dough into ball.”
Keyword dessert pizza, french pizza, goat cheese recipe, nectarine recipe, pissaladiére, pissaladiére recipe

Zero Waste Kitchen – A Beginner’s Guide to Reducing Waste | Lifestyle

A complete beginner’s guide to zero waste in the kitchen (without having to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of eco-friendly products).

Here, we’ll cover:

Grab a cup of hot tea and let’s get down to business.

A passion flower vine.
A perfect passion flower vine. Natural beauty we want to preserve, cultivate and encourage!

What is zero waste?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), zero waste can be defined as:

“The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”

Simply put, living zero waste means reducing the waste produced in all levels of a product’s life cycle.

This includes initial production, shipping methods, and where the product and it’s packaging wind up at end-of-life (when the product is all gone and you no longer have use for it.)

Here’s a quick example of zero waste packaging production. These are packing peanuts that dissolve in water. YES. No styrofoam here! A box from Meow Meow Tweet used these innovative dissolving peanuts for packaging.

Why go zero waste?

It’s good for everyone! Take a look at this bright, informative graphic from the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

Benefits of Zero Waste infographic
Borrowed from Toronto Environmental Alliance.

If that’s not enough to convince you, read the full article here.

Now it may be surprising, but food waste is actually detrimental to the environment.

Roughly one quarter of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are created by food waste, and if food waste was a country, it would be ranked third after the USA and China in terms of greenhouse gas production. When thrown into landfill, food waste produces a large amount of methane. As food rots and degrades, it emits these harmful gases which are 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere. If we look back at those 2015 figures, the environmental benefit of preventing this sort of waste would be like taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.

Food Waste, Why It’s Bad. Via Greener Kirkcaldy

So yes: being more conscious of reducing waste in the kitchen does positively impact the environment. That’s great news, right? How we eat, cook and process food in our homes matters.

That’s why a commitment to zero waste in the kitchen matters. Let’s get to work!

First, commit to learning.

Depending on your current lifestyle, zero waste can be a huge change.

Taking one step at a time, making one small change at a time, can make the daunting task seem much easier. It’s a process and that’s okay. The idea of zero waste is that its an ideal you are working towards — not one that you have to achieve.

As you become more aware of producing waste, you’ll also become more aware of the ways in which you can make adjustments to reduce your waste. And, with the help of some great zero waste pioneers, you can have a guide to your new lifestyle.

My top three website guides on zero waste are:

Zero Waste Chef who provides innovative recipes and ideas for living zero waste.

A Zero Waste Life run by a rocket scientist who posts ways to integrate zero waste into everyday life.

Trash is for Tossers provides useful insight into living zero waste. This is the blog of Lauren Singer, founder of Package Free, so you may see some product placement as part of the postings. I still find it an extremely valuable, educational resource for learning more about living waste free.

If you are on Instagram, I’d also recommend giving Waste Free Marie a follow, an advocate for climate and racial justice.

A note on zero waste shopping:

I’m a big fan of Amazon, don’t get me wrong. But as zero waste, sustainable living emerges as a growing market, so do vendors. It can be difficult to navigate the greenwashing on Amazon, as not all information is readily available when making a purchase. For this reason, I recommend shopping companies like Package Free, Blueland (for cleaning products), Cleancult (cleaning products) or The Earthling Co. Sustainably conscious companies like Meow Meow Tweet offer vegan skincare in recyclable packaging and the option to buy in bulk to reduce waste.

Part of living a zero waste lifestyle is buying better quality products, made in sustainable ways, from sustainable sources less frequently. Which means you don’t HAVE to invest hundreds of dollars into eco-friendly products to get started on your Zero Waste journey. In fact, you can get started today!

Zero Waste Kits available on Package Free
Some great zero waste starter kits available on Package Free.

10 ways to a Zero Waste kitchen

In my own journey toward zero waste, I’ve learned some basic swaps that can make a big impact. This list is a compilation of the things I’ve learned, zero waste practices I implement in my kitchen, and general inspiration to get started on your own zero waste journey.

1. Save glass jars

Opt for glass containers when you’re shopping.

Mason jars, jam jars, glass salad dressing bottles, empty olive jars, you name it. If it’s glass, save it!

Glass jars of all shapes and sizes make for great storage vessels in the kitchen. Additionally, you can paint or decorate them to become a candle display, pen container for your at-home office or makeup brush holder on your vanity. The possibilities are limitless here.

Dried lavender in a glass spice jar
Upcycled spice jars are great for storing home dried herbs! This one has dried lavender.

2. Make your own broth

One way to use your unwanted vegetable scraps is to make your own broth! This is a zero waste two-for-one: you give new life to vegetable scraps that would otherwise wind up in the trash and you eliminate the need to purchase pre-made broth at the store.

Start saving scraps in a designated bag or container in the freezer. When it’s full, it’s time to make broth! Herb stems, onion roots, cleaned peels are all great candidates for homemade broth.

Watch the tutorial from my IGTV for a step-by-step guide to making your own vegetable broth.

When you’re done, you can compost the cooked vegetable scraps and voila! You have successfully completed a cycle of zero waste. Keep in mind, if you add meat bones to your broth, you won’t want to compost the scraps. More on this later.

3. Use the whole vegetable

Carrot tops, celery greens, chard stalks — you can eat them all! With a bit of creativity and some inevitable trial and error you can learn to use the whole vegetable, from root to tip, reducing your waste and expanding your palate.

At a quick glance:

  • Carrot tops make a great addition to coleslaw or a green salad.
  • Celery greens do well quickly blanched and added to a pesto or stir-fry.
  • Stalks of leafy greens like chard and kale can be diced and sautéed as a tasty side dish.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower stalks make great soups or soup bases.
  • Radish greens give pesto a flavorful bite.
  • Potato peels cleaned, salted and baked turn into irresistible chips!
  • Citrus peels can be mixed into a batch of simple syrup for a sour spin on a classic sweetner.

Check out this article from Huffington Post with a myriad of recipes on using the whole vegetable.

View my farmer’s market haul video below, guiding you through using the whole vegetable!

4. Shop local

For Central Coast residents, this one should be a given! Buying local, farm fresh fruits and vegetables (even meat) does wonders for reducing the waste created by packaging and transport.

Buying local supports small farmers and provides you with fresh ingredients.

Farmer’s markets are not as regular as they once were, so I encourage you to check locally to see how COVID has affected your local farmer’s markets.

If you are a resident of San Luis Obispo South County, you can buy from just about any farm stand, including picking up fruits and vegetables as you see them.

Two baby artichokes from a local farm.
Gorgeous baby artichokes from a local farm

It’s different for everyone:

Depending on where you live, buying local fresh-from-the-farm goods may or may not be feasible.

I advocate strongly for buying local in San Luis Obispo County, because farms and farmers are plentiful, as are farm stands. It’s accessible and most of the time, fiscally on par with buying produce from a supermarket.

If you are not in an area with a high concentration of farms, this may be a challenge. I encourage you to do local research to see what is available, even if its just a chance of a couple of products that you can access locally.

If there’s REALLY no local produce available, try shopping at small business, independently owned or co-op stores for food items instead.

Living zero waste must be customized to your lifestyle. Otherwise, its not sustainable — and sustainability is the goal!

Shop within your budget:

I’m going to add a caveat here, though it may seem contradictory. Shopping local is great for supporting small farmers and businesses and therefore your local economy.

HOWEVER….

I understand that only buying local products isn’t in everyone’s budget. On a tight budget, there can be an astronomical difference between the $14 locally farmed 4 oz of honey and the $4.99 8 oz bottle mass-produced.

That’s okay.

As earlier stated, zero waste is a goal, and the more moves you make toward zero waste the better. But that shouldn’t mean you have to overdraft your bank account to do so.

(This is also why following real people who are striving towards zero waste is helpful…they provide the perspective of someone with a budget, who knows the value of a dollar.)

5. Buy in bulk

If available, buy products you use frequently in bulk. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll reduce waste by reducing smaller size packaging.

Try shopping the bulk section of your grocery store for items like flour, coffee, sugar, nuts even granola and candy.

To get extra eco-friendly, bring along your own clean containers with the marked tare weight (how much the jar/container weighs by itself) to reduce the use of those pesky plastic bags. Read more about this shopping method here.

6. Opt for loose produce

Plastic-free produce campaigner Anita Horan advocates for supermarkets to sell their produce free from its common plastic packaging (something Trader Joes is notorious for).

When shopping, opt for loose produce that isn’t encased in plastic. This is common with apples, oranges, bananas, even bell peppers. However, they are also typically sold next to plastic free counterparts.

Bring your own produce bags and you’re well on your way to shopping zero waste!

Local strawberry the size of my hand!
Much farm stand produce is available loose, like this giant local strawberry!

7. Buy dry goods and learn how to cook them

This goes hand-in-hand with buying in bulk.

Purchasing canned goods in aluminum or tin certified to be recycled is a good option.

However, if your looking for something that creates even less waste (and allows you to get more bang for your buck), buying dry goods in bulk is the way to go.

Items like beans, lentils, farro, quinoa, couscous and a variety of other grains can all be purchased dry and cooked at home. This is particularly simple if you own an Instant Pot. For an easy step-by-step guide on how to cook beans in an Instant Pot, read this post.

It may seem more convenient to buy the small-sized, precooked package of grains that takes only 10 minutes to cook.

In reality, most grains are straightforward to cook on the stovetop. If you know how to cook rice, you can make farro, quinoa, couscous and the like. I’ve even provided some links below to get you started.

Learn how to cook…

Yellow peas, pinto beans, black beans and red beans in individual glass jars.
Upcycled pickle jars make great dried bean containers! With some elbow grease, the labels can be completely removed for a cleaner look.

8. Use what you have

When it comes to meal planning, shop your pantry, fridge and freezer first! This will help to cut back on food waste in your own home.

Setting up a system of First In, First Out (FIFO) can be extremely helpful in knowing what needs to be used at a glance. FIFO is what retail grocery supply and food service use to efficiently rotate their stock, so nothing will be left to grow moldy shoved in the back of the fridge.

Here’s a short list of ideas to use FIFO in your kitchen:

  • Designate spaces for foods that need to be eaten — This could be a drawer or designated container or shelf in your fridge.
  • Label everything — Labelling items with dates makes keeping track of what’s old and what’s new a breeze.
  • Write it down — Keeping a white board, handwritten list or spreadsheet of what you have on hand makes meal planning faster and more manageable.

See what needs to be used first, and focus on creating meals around those items. If you are stuck for ideas, type a few ingredients into Google followed by “recipe”. You may be surprised what you find!

Here’s an example search. I have copious amounts of kale and green beans in my refrigerator right now. I typed “kale green bean recipe” into Google and immediately got a number of tasty results!

Search results for "kale green bean recipe"

Being flexible with substitutions in recipes can also be beneficial in using what you have. Try using whatever alliums you have when you see “white onion” in a recipe, or any leafy greens when you see “spinach”. This helps reduce what you throw away in your kitchen, and helps flex your cooking skills to boot!

For example, use these substitutions in my Vegan Creamed Spinach recipe. I’ve used kale, chard and beet greens in this recipe and it came out just as delicious as using only spinach.

Vegan creamed spinach recipe

9. Stock your own freezer

This is especially effective if you live by yourself or as a couple.

The pre-made food in the freezer aisle at any grocery market is tempting, and a section I would frequent regularly.

My habits changed as my shopping habits changed. No longer could I slip in and out of Trader Joe’s for a quick haul of pre-made food that made meals a breeze when I didn’t feel like cooking.

Good news! There’s a solution!

I started making food in larger batches, some to eat then and some to package and freeze for later.

This method works great for grains, beans and sauces. Or, if you buy meat in bulk, it can make handling a four pound log of ground beef much more manageable. As you can see, my past attempts were unsuccessful.

Gone are the days of forcefully cutting frozen logs of meat in half

The next time I encountered a four pound log of beef I cooked a variety of items, packaged and froze them for later use. Here’s an example list to give you ideas to get started.

4 lbs of ground beef can become…

  • 1 pound of taco meat — Saute meat in skillet with diced onions, peppers and taco seasoning until brown. Here’s a recipe to get started.
  • 2 pounds of beef bologneseMake a simple bolognese in the crockpot. Saute the beef on the stove first til brown, and rid of excess grease. Add to crockpot with some tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, seasonings, salt and pepper. Simmer on high for three hours.
  • 4 quarter pound burger patties — Add your ground meat to a bowl with some breadcrumbs, one egg and seasonings. Form into patties and pan fry. Or, try this recipe.
  • 4 servings of beef and broccoli — One pound of beef and one large head of broccoli makes a great base for beef and broccoli. Add onion, peppers, soy sauce, brown sugar and sriracha for an easy tasty dinner.

And boom! Just like that, you’ve stocked your freezer, prepped dinner for the night and successfully used ALL of the meat you defrosted, without fear it will go bad before you’ve eaten (or cooked) it.

You can use the freezer stocking method for a variety of things like:

  • Mirepoix — peel and dice carrots, onions and celery for a quick soup or sauce base.
  • Onions and peppers — slice and freeze. They’ll be ready to make as a quick side to fajitas or addition to a sausage and potato skillet!
  • Leafy greens — If your leafy greens will go bad before you get to use them, wash, chop and freeze them instead! Toss some in a frittata, stir fry or soup.
  • All the fruit — dice and freeze your fruit. This makes smoothies a breeze.
Mirepoix - diced celery, carrots and onion
Mirepoix prepped and ready for the freezer!

10. Invest in plastic free storage solutions

Yes, I said you don’t have to invest any money to start on your zero waste journey, and now I’m recommending you invest! It’s true, you don’t NEED to buy these plastic-free storage solutions, but depending on your own kitchen situation, they may be worth it for you. Here are some ideas to storing food and leftovers that are not plastic wrap and plastic baggies.

Depending on your local supermarket, you may or may not be allowed to bring in your own reusable bags right now. I’ve noticed many stores bagging groceries at no extra cost in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead of accepting the free bags, however, try this. Ask the cashier to simply put your items back in your cart, without a bag. Take the cart to your car and bag your own groceries using reusable bags. It’s an extra step, but it’s one I take. It also gives me the opportunity to disinfect any item that may have had a lot of hands on it recently, before putting it in my car for transport.

If you’re not into buying reusable, there are many options for making your own. Check out Zero Waste Chef’s tutorial on how to sew your own produce bags. If all else fails, stick to reusing the bags and containers you already have!

An array of plastic free storage solutions
Silicone baking mat, reusable produce bags, silicone storage bags and mason jars.

Compost 101: Frequently Asked Questions

The only reason I didn’t include compost on my list is this: it may or may not be feasible for you to start composting today.

Community compost resources vary from city to city, and in some areas, it’s best to do your compost on your own.

Here’s a quick look into what compost is and how you can start composting.

But first, why compost?

Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Compost saves scraps from landfills, and actually adds rich nutrients back into soil for your garden.

As you can see below, my compost set-up is simple. It may not be the prettiest, but it’s effective! A wooden palette saved from the dumpster made a great platform to give ventilation to the bottom of the compost.

Two compost bins set on top of a wooden pallet.
A functional compost system, made from upcycled containers and a wooden pallet.

What is compost?

Compost is, “organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.” (Source: EPA)

Compost consists of your scrap produce and other green materials left to decompose to a state where it becomes a fertile addition to the garden.

All it takes is some food scraps (“green” matter) and dry leaves/cardboard/paper scraps (“brown” matter) to get started composting.

I started composting about six months ago, and have learned a few things along the way.

For more in-depth reading about compost check out these sources:

How do I start composting?

There are many ways you can go to compost. There is some advanced machinery available (like this rotating one).

Or, you can use a storage bin with some holes drilled out of it for ventilation.

Additionally, you can go with the most organic method, which is to create piles in your backyard and let nature take its course. Zero Waste Chef has a lot of good information about this method, as its something she uses at her home.

I keep this stainless steel container in the kitchen to collect food scraps throughout the day. I take it out to my compost at night, which is located next to our cars in the apartment where we live (not out on the patio for all the neighbors to enjoy).

This makes saving scraps for compost easy. The benefit of the stainless steel is that it’s easy to rinse out, doesn’t hold any smells like plastic would and the lid seals tight so no funky smells escape if I forget to take it out for a few nights.

As for what goes in your compost, here’s some basic info from the EPA:

More ideas for compost friendly materials:

  • Browns – Deconstructed cardboard without ink printing; Compostable napkins or parchment paper, cut into smaller pieces; A handful of dirt
  • Greens – Loose leaf tea, or the insides of a used tea bag; Cooked vegetables used to make broth
  • Water – Truth: I haven’t had to add water to my compost. Since I add the vegetables from the broth, they contain a lot of water. Two for one!

Quick Composting No No’s: What not to add to your compost

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Milk
  • Oil
  • Fat

For a more extensive list on what should and should NOT go in your compost, check out this article at The Spruce.

Isn’t compost stinky?

The number one question you’ll get when you tell someone you compost:

Doesn’t it stink?

Short answer: No.

If the compost has the correct balance of green and brown materials, the compost will give off an earthly odor, much like dirt. The smell will not be “stinky” or rotten or moldy, as this article from Naples Compost confirms.

Full disclosure: As you learn what the correct balance is, you may encounter some funky smells along the way.

Here’s a quick guide on how to tell what your compost needs if it starts smelling a bit foul.

Helpful hint:

Since it consists of decomposing matter, it attracts flies and the like (which is good, you want them there, they help with the decomposition process), so I wouldn’t recommend keeping your compost pile right next to your home. Set it up in an area farthest away from your door.

If you stick to the do’s and do not’s of composting, it should smell like fresh dirt. A wonderful aroma!

How long does it take?

Let’s ask the internet.

How long it takes to compost
Source: Gardners.com

Compost’s maturity can be influenced by:

  1. Temperature – When compost is busy doing it’s thing it will heat up. Warmer days, therefore, can be more helpful in compost’s natural process. The process may take longer to complete in cooler months or generally colder climates.
  2. Moisture – Compost is hindered by too much moisture as much as it is by not enough moisture. It’s consistency should be of a damp sponge, no more, no less.
  3. How often it’s turned – You can help your compost along by manually turning it (meaning, mixing it all up) several times a week.
  4. Size of waste added – Clearly, smaller pieces of food scraps will break down faster than larger ones. A pineapple crown will take much longer to decompose, for example, than potato peels.

Two is better than one:

If you have the commitment, and the room, you can have two composts in rotation.

To illustrate, let’s name the compost piles.

Compost Pile One, aka “Radish” and Compost Pile Two, aka “Okra”.

Radish will be your first compost pile. Add scraps to Radish until it’s full, or your ready to move on and let it do its compost thang. Radish is now in a state where you need to stop adding fresh scraps, it will be turned and tended to until its garden-ready compost dirt.

Now, you move on to Okra. Add scraps to Okra while actively tending to Radish, turning every so often and monitoring its process.

Ideally, once Radish is ready to be added to the garden, Okra will be full.

Empty Radish into the garden, clearing out all the dirt-like compost.

You can now stop adding to Okra and let it do its dance of decomposition.

Start the process again with Radish.

In this way, you’ll always have a compost to add to and a compost thats on it’s way to becoming nutrient-rich dirt.

Compost on it's way to becoming dirt.
A close-up of my older compost — well on it’s way to becoming nutrient rich dirt for the garden!
In Conclusion: You can do it!

Whew! You made it!

I hope this article has brought you knowledge and encouragement for your zero waste journey. (And maybe a laugh or two, if I’m lucky.)

As awareness for the benefits of zero waste grows, so do the resources and the supportive community.

It’s a journey, and we’re all in it together.

How are you going to start on your zero waste lifestyle?

Questions and comments welcome! Leave a note below, follow me on Instagram, or send me an email.

Til next time!

Decadent Peach Buckle | Baking

A delicious peach buckle with a hint of cinnamon.

Jump to Recipe

Meet your new go-to summer dessert.

A buckle is similar to a cobbler, but instead of biscuit dough, a buckle uses a cake-like batter. Classic buckles include a crumbly topping, but to keep things simple, I decided to omit it from this recipe.

To learn more about the difference between a buckle and a cobbler, check this out.

Everyone has their own technique for a buckle, and this recipe uses mine.

I use an easy buttery batter, adapted from this recipe. The batter is poured in first, then skinned peaches tossed in brown sugar go on top.

Closeup of peach cobbler

This way, as the buckle bakes, the batter rises up around the peaches, soaking up all that delicious peach juice and making for the best, sturdiest slice. Serve with some vanilla bean ice cream to cool off the warm summer nights.

I buy my peaches (and a myriad of other stone fruit and berries) from the Okui Fruit Stand in Grover Beach.

I may be biased, but something about Okui fruit just stands out above the rest. That being said, the peaches I used in this recipe were huge, bigger than I could hold in one hand, and may be larger than the peaches you find in your local supermarket.

For this recipe, the bigger the better! If you can only find medium sized peaches, adjust the blanching time when you boil the peaches to peel them.

Decadent Peach Buckle

Cake batter and fresh peaches come together in this easy summer dessert!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

For the filling:

  • 4-5 large peaches, about 4½ cups peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated or turbinado sugar for sprinkling

For the batter:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup milk (almond milk works great)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

Skin the peaches

  • Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Gently rinse the peaches and score an X on the bottom of each peach with a paring knife.
  • Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the peaches in and cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes, depending on the size of your peaches. Larger peaches will take longer than smaller peaches.
  • Remove from boiling water and place in a glass bowl in the sink. Run cool water over the peaches.
  • When they are cool to the touch, peel the skin off starting at the X mark. If ready, the peach skin should come right off, detaching from the peach evenly and easily. If the skin seems stuck, try boiling again for another minute.
  • Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. Cut into quarters, then slice the quarters in half. This should give you sixteen peach cubes per peach.
  • Place all sliced peaches in a large bowl and set aside.

Prep the filling.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • To the bowl with the sliced peaches, add ½ cup brown sugar. Stir to combine. Set aside while you prep the batter.

Prepare the batter.

  • Melt the butter using a microwave safe bowl in the microwave, using 15-30 second intervals to ensure the butter does not spill over. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can use a toaster oven or melt it in a small pot on the stove.)
  • In a clean bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Allow the butter to cool to the touch, so that it is still liquid but not too hot.
  • Once the butter is cool, add it to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the milk. Stir to incorporate well. Set aside.

Bake the buckle.

  • Grease a 9×13” baking pan
  • Pour the prepared batter into the pan, and smooth out to cover evenly.
  • Add the peaches on top of the batter. If your peaches are extra juicy, use a slotted spoon to scoop the peaches into the pan. This way, you will retain some of the juice but don’t have to use all of it.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and the batter in the middle of the cobbler is no longer runny.
  • Allow the buckle to cool before serving. This gives the batter time to soak up any juices left behind by the peaches in the baking process, making for an extra tasty buckle!
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream and a bit of whipped cream. Enjoy!
Keyword easy dessert recipe, peach buckle, peach dessert, summer dessert recipe

Creamed Spinach | Recipe – Vegan

Yes, this is a no cream Creamed Spinach recipe! One of my favorite vegetable dishes, creamed spinach is something I dearly missed being dairy free.

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This recipe uses a common method of cashew cream. Soak the cashews, add some select seasonings and blend away!

Really, you could make the cashew garlic cream sauce and use it on anything you’d like — as a pasta sauce; stirred in with some sautéed mushrooms; or even ladled over sliced potatoes for a vegan potatoes au gratin!

How to Soak the Cashews

For soaking the cashews, you have two options:

  1. Measure cashews and put in a glass jar or container. Cover with hot water and let soak, refrigerated, overnight.
  2. Measure cashews and cover with boiling water. Let stand for at least four hours.

Either option works, the important thing is to make sure they are well-soaked and softened so they will blend smoothly into a creamy sauce.

I prefer using the overnight method, as it really ensures the cashews are soft enough to blend smoothly into a sauce.

When draining the cashews, you can save the liquid they soaked in to use as the 1 cup of water in the recipe. (It’s not a necessity, but its always worked well for me.)

Sauté for extra flavor

For best flavor, sauté the onion and garlic and let cool before adding to blender to make the sauce. The alternative is to leave them whole and add them into the sauce after its blended, but I found its best when smooth and blended all together.

Vegan Creamed Spinach

Easy to make, this cashew cream-based spinach is sure to impress!
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds spinach, de-stemmed (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup whole raw cashews
  • ½ yellow onion, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced depending on preference.
  • 1 cup water.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions
 

  • Boil some water. In a heat-safe glass bowl or jar, add cashews. Soak cashews. If soaking overnight, allow to come to room temperature before covering and placing in refrigerator. Soak at minimum 4 hours.
  • If using fresh spinach – Remove spinach stems and roughly chop the leaves. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with pinch of salt. Add the spinach. Cook for two minutes. If using frozen spinach – cook an additional two minutes to allow for defrosting.
  • Using a colander, drain the spinach. Rinse with cool water in the sink. Gently squeeze all excess water from the spinach. Make sure the spinach has as little water in it as possible, or it will cook in the sauce and make it watery.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a fry pan. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for five minutes, until soft and remove from heat.
  • Drain cashews. Add cashews, water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, garlic powder and nutmeg to blender. Add cooled garlic and onions. Blend until smooth.
  • In the pan, add drained spinach and pour sauce over the top. Warm until heated through. Serve!

Notes

adapted from detoxinista.com
Keyword cashew cream, creamed spinach, dairy free cream, spinach recipe, vegan cream, vegan creamed spinach, vegan recipe

Lemon Cake with Blueberry Compote | Baking – Dairy Free

Grocery stores have become some kind of battleground, shoppers donning face masks and plastic gloves, hand sanitizer and lysol holstered at the ready. Six months ago, this is not how any of us imagined such a mundane activity, grocer shopping, to be. And yet, here we are.

As stocks of staples dwindle, we rely ever more on recipes of decades past. Particularly Depression-era baking recipes have seen an unprecedented uptick in popularity. I’ve fondly termed these eggless, milkless, butterless baked wonders Impossible Cakes. Because, somehow, this cake comes out impossibly light, fluffy and delicious.

This recipe is borrowed from King Arthur Flour.

Last year, I posted a lemon blueberry teacake recipe after a bountiful blueberry harvest at a local grove. The cake was good, but its lack of spectacularity has haunted me ever since. So I give you this recipe instead, King Arthur Flour’s Lemon Tendercake with Blueberry Compote. If you read the prologue to the recipe, you’ll see that this is a favorite of English chef Nigella Lawson, a fine endorsement if you ask me.

Like I said, this Impossible cake contains no eggs, flour or butter. It relies wholly on shelf-stable pantry ingredients, save the blueberries, which can easily be replaced with whatever berry, or fruit you have on hand, fresh or frozen.

As it happens, this cake is indeed vegan and by default dairy-free, hooray!

The original recipe includes a yogurt topping, which I admit I forwent in favor of the easier alternative, a can of whipped cream. You could just as easily replace the compote with a sweet jam you have on hand, or swap available yogurt for the coconut yogurt in the recipe. I recommend, however remaining as close to the cake recipe as possible. The coconut milk lends a sweet, almost nutty flavor and sweetness is balanced with a whisper of tart from the lemon.

For an easy printable version of the recipe click here.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup | Recipe

Chocolate Syrup – versatile & delicious. Make chocolate milk, hot chocolate or drizzle over ice cream. How about a fun fondue night? Cut up strawberries, berries, whatever fruit you fancy and use skewers to dip into a big pot of this homemade chocolate syrup.

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table setting with christmas theme
Photo by Olenka Sergienko on Pexels.com

A Different Kind of Chocolate Syrup

Since discovering my unfortunate sensitivity to processed sweeteners (looking at you High Fructose Corn Syrup), I’ve managed to cut most out of my life. I feel better, have less migraines and generally don’t miss too much. Except for my beloved chocolate. Thankfully, Zero Waste Chef posted this recipe for making chocolate syrup at home. I substituted monkfruit sugar for granulated so I can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate without a pounding migraine.

I adapted Zero Waste Chef’s recipe to fit my chocolate cravings — meaning I quadrupled it and slightly decreased the amount of sugar. I like the slight bitterness of cocoa powder to come through, which is why I decreased the sugar.

You can make this with granulated sugar, or maybe try a mix of brown and granulated. The brown sugar will probably give it a heavier body and more of a molasses/honey feel. At least, that’s my guess.

Try this syrup stirred into your morning cup of coffee or drizzled over waffles.

Update: This recipe works with monkfruit sugar, however it does seem to crystalize once the syrup is cooled. Shake or stir to reintegrate into the syrup. This should not be an issue with granulated sugar, as it dissolves easily into the hot water.

hot chocolate and chocolate milkshake with whipped cream

Cocoa vs. Cacao

According to All Recipes, the main difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder lies in the processing.

Cocoa powder is processed at a much higher temperature. At harvest, cacao beans are fermented to deepen both flavor and texture. After the fermenting process, the beans are milled and processed at a low temperature. Cocoa beans, however, are roasted after fermenting, which extracts much of the bitterness from the beans.

As a result, cacao powder yields a deeper, rich, more bitter chocolate flavor than cocoa. This explains why cocoa powder is often favored in baking cakes, brownies and cookies.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to your preferred flavor. For a sweeter chocolate, go for cocoa. For richer, bolder flavor, stick with cacao.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

This homemade chocolate syrup is free of artificial sweetners. To make it refined sugar free, substitute with monkfruit sugar.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 2 cups water
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Combine water and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to dissolve cocoa powder.
  • Add sugar and salt to saucepan. Cover with lid and bring to a boil, watching closely. Whisk for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Once cool, put in desired container and refrigerate.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Zero Waste Chef.
  • For sweeter syrup, use 3 cups granulated sugar.
  • Keep an eye on the saucepan when bringing the mixture to a boil to avoid boil over!
  • Substitute sugar with monkfruit sugar to savor the rich chocolatey goodness without the sugar rush.
  • Use a combination of brown and granulated sugar for a richer molasses flavor.
Keyword chocolate syrup, chocolate syrup recipe, homemade chocolate syrup

How to Cook Dried Beans | Recipe

This recipe is geared toward the use of an Instant Pot. However, you can make dried beans on the stove as well (soaking will speed up this process).

As meal prep became more of a fixture in my life, I began looking for ways to cook things economically and in large batches. Enter dried beans. Never before had I bought dried beans or thought twice passing them up in the grocery store. Armed with my Instant Pot, I scoured the internet for an easy, fool-proof way to turn dried beans into a delicious component of our weekly meals.

My favorites are black beans, chickpeas and recently, pinto beans. In a pinch, anything available at the store will do.

Typically, I cook the beans as directed below. I remove the beans from the instant pot, making sure to save the “bean juice” for later. It makes a great base for soups and stocks. (Throw your veggie scraps in the Instant Pot with the bean juice, a sprinkle of salt, bay leaves, and enough water to cover, pressure cook on high for 60 minutes, vent, pull out the scraps and voila ready to use stock.)

I like to fry up the cooked beans in my cast iron skillet with some EVOO and spices. They get a crispier exterior and an extra boost of flavor. Yum.

How to Cook Dried Beans in an Instant Pot

Easily cook dried beans without prior soaking by using an Instant Pot.
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups dried beans
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 tb dried herbs of choice (bay leaves, basil, oregano, etc.)
  • 3 cloves peeled garlic (or ½ an onion)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions
 

  • Rinse beans under cold water.
  • Add beans, water, herbs and garlic or onion to the Instant Pot.
  • Place lid and ensure valve is set to sealing.
  • Cook on High Pressure for the following times:
    – Mung Beans: 6 minutes
    – Pinto Beans: 25 minutes
    – Navy Beans: 30 minutes
    – Black Beans: 30 minutes
    – Great Northern Bean: 35 minutes
    – Kidney Beans: 35 minutes
    – Garbanzo/Chickpea: 40 minutes
  • Allow natural release until pressure subsides and pin drops OR let rest for 20 minutes before quick release.
  • Stir in salt and apple cider vinegar. The salt adds flavor. Apple cider vinegar helps to neutralize gas that often comes with eating beans.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove beans from Instant Pot. Reserve some liquid for storing the beans. You can also use the bean liquid as a base for vegetable broth, stock or soups.
    Allow the beans to cool completely before storing.

Notes

Recipe adapted from A Mind Full Mom.
Keyword dried beans, how to cook dried beans, instant pot dried beans

Chia Pudding And Granola Parfait | Meal Prep Recipe – Vegan

Sized for meal prep, this made-ahead breakfast is easy to put together for a sweet, nutrient packed breakfast.

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Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

What is Chia Pudding?

The name may be misleading, as chia pudding consists of gelled chia seeds that expand about 2-3x their normal size after absorbing liquids. The seeds remain whole but do soften. They also have a particularly fascinating ability to attract one another and tend to bead together on the back of a spoon, say, a bit like water droplets. You’ll see what I mean when you make this.

No dairy is involved in this pudding. Of course, unless you chose to add it. If you replace the non-dairy milk with dairy milk, I’d recommend omitting leaving the pudding on the counter for an hour to set. Give it a good whisk and stick it straight in the fridge. During the first hour of setting time, pull it out intermittently, stirring to discourage clumping and adding more milk if liquid is needed, about a tablespoon or two at a time.

Breakfast sans Sugar Rush

Store-bought granola typically contains high amounts of sugar — be it high fructose corn syrup, pure cane, or molasses. Being sensitive to processed sugar (it’s a migraine trigger for me hooray) I’ve begun to pay particularly close attention to what I eat first thing in the morning. This may be personal, but I believe what I eat for breakfast stays with me all day. It can affect my mood, energy levels and how I feel physically.

That being said, this granola gains its sweetness from small amounts of honey, fruit jam and dried berries (such as cranberry or raisin). Customization is always encouraged, but for the cleanest breakfast, I’d recommend following the recipe as written. Together with some fresh fruit, this Chia Pudding & Granola Parfait becomes an enjoyably sweet breakfast without inviting a massive carb-loaded sugar crash mid-morning.

As always, feel free to add your own twist and enjoy!

Chia Pudding and Granola Parfait

Make this recipe on a Sunday evening and enjoy throughout the week as a delicious, low sugar breakfast!
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients
  

Chia Pudding

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups non-dairy milk
  • cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB agave or jam

Easy Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 TB coconut oil melted
  • ½ cup crushed nuts pecans, almonds, walnuts or peanuts
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 TB agave or brown sugar
  • 2 TB jam of choice
  • ¼ cup dried berries cranberry, raisin or blueberry

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Whisk coconut milk, non-dairy milk, ginger, vanilla and sweetener of choice in a large bowl. Once smooth, add in chia seeds and mix well.
  • Let chia pudding sit on counter for about an hour, whisking intermittently and adding liquid as needed. This helps the chia seeds to expand without clumping together. While chia pudding sets, prepare the granola.
  • Mix all granola ingredients in a large bowl. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and press granola into pan.
  • Bake granola for 20 minutes, until crisp.
  • Let granola cool on the counter. Once cool, store in an airtight jar on the counter.
  • Store chia pudding in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • To serve, spoon chia pudding into a bowl. Add chopped fruit, peanut butter or preserves and top with granola. Enjoy!
Keyword chia pudding, chia seed, granola, meal prep breakfast, parfait

Have you ever tried chia pudding? Made this recipe? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Have a Homemade Pizza Party | Recipe

It’s pizza time. Here I’m going to share with you my favorite recipe for homemade pizza dough, along with some tips and tricks on how to create your own tasty pizzas at home — no wood-fired oven required!

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pizza
Photo by Vincent Rivaud on Pexels.com

The Dough

My favorite recipe for homemade pizza dough is King Arthur Flour’s The Easiest Pizza You’ll Ever Make (click here).

To make it simple, I’ve transcribed it for you here, replacing the very specific King Arthur products with generic ingredients you can pick up at any supermarket.

The recipe yields enough dough for four 12″ pizzas. If you are cooking for less than four people, you can either cut the recipe in half or make the full recipe and save half the dough for later (recommended). The dough can then be used to make your own calzones or flatbreads! (Scroll to bottom to see my flatbread.)

The dough needs 1-2 hours of rest time to rise. To make pizza night a breeze, I recommend making the dough the day before, allowing the full rise time, then covering the dough and storing in the refrigerator. Let the dough come to room temp for about 30 minutes before making pizzas.

Slide to see dough before rise (left) and dough after rise (right)

Fun tip: To make a cheese stuffed crust, follow the recipe below. Once you have your dough rolled out and shaped, sprinkle cheese along the outer edge of the crust. Then bring the dough up and over the cheese, sealing it in. Repeat around the whole dough so it is encased in a ring of tasty cheese.

The Oven

Have you avoided making pizza at home because you think you don’t have the right equipment? Today’s your lucky day! All you need is a working oven and a baking sheet to make tasty pizza at home.

pizza in a wood fired oven

If using a conventional oven, don’t be afraid to turn up the heat. The best pizzas are made in wood-fired ovens that get up to 800-900 degrees. Now, I don’t advise turning your oven up THAT high, but don’t be scared to crank it up to 475 either. In the recipe below, I recommend 450 but feel free to adjust as necessary. Every oven is different and you know yours the best!

My grandfather (Papa G) taught me how to make pizzas using a conventional oven and a pizza pan. Making pizza at home should be about who you are making it with and for, about experimenting with what you like and having fun. No fancy equipment required!

Always fit the dough to your pan. Whether its a pizza pan, wood-fired pizza oven, or just a standard rectangular baking sheet, let the pan dictate what shape the pizza will be. If your unsure your pizza will fit on the pan, grab your desired pan and hold it over the dough to get an eyeball measurement. Nothing like making a round pizza for a rectangular pan!

If baking pizza on a sheet pan, oil the dough and bake at 425 for 5-10 minutes, until barely golden before adding sauce and toppings. This will ensure your dough bakes all the way through without burning the toppings.

The Toppings

This is 100% a personal choice. If you are a DIY pizza newbie, I’d recommend sticking with pizzas you know and like, say try making a basic pepperoni with some sliced peppers. This will help you get a feel for how much sauce, cheese and toppings to add and how to wield the dough. Once you grow more confident in your pizza making abilities, I encourage you to try any and ALL of the toppings!

Remember, this is YOUR pizza. No one can tell you no! Here’s a list of some of my personal favorite pizza toppings, in no particular order:

  • Caramelized onions
  • Grilled eggplant and/or zuchinni
  • Roasted garlic
  • Any kind of cured meat — salami, pepperoni, calabrese, capicola etc.
  • Roasted peppers
  • Precooked crumbled sausage
  • Soft cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella
  • Stinky cheeses like blue cheese and feta

Some toppings are best added after the pizza cooks like fresh herbs such as basil or other leafy greens like arugula.

If your cured meats are sliced very thinly, I recommend placing them directly on the sauce and adding everything else (including cheese) on top. The other toppings create a protective layer so the thin sliced meat (which most likely contains lots of fat that will rapidly burn at high temperatures) will not char while the pizza is cooking. *Speaking here from experience: I recently added thin-sliced speck to the top of a pizza and it burned almost instantly. Oopsies.

For hosting a pizza party, prep all of your toppings in advance. This is a great way to keep things going smoothly once everyone gets in the kitchen. Slice all the meat, shred all the cheese, grill all the vegetables.

P.S. I do recommend pre-cooking vegetables that are going on the pizza. Most vegetables take longer to cook than the pizza will be in the oven. To avoid half-cooked vegetables, cook them beforehand!

A quick note on PIZZA SAUCE: use what you prefer! To make a white pizza, use a nice alfredo. Pick up a jar of pesto from Trader Joes to make a pesto pizza, or a regular jar of your favorite red pasta sauce for a stellar pizza sauce. The sauce on the pizza doesn’t need to be “pizza sauce” specifically. I find the best pizzas are made with sauces you typically put on a nice plate of pasta.

pizzas after baking in a woodfired oven
Traditional Wood-Fired pizza.

The Final Word

Please don’t be scared away by the large word count of this pizza recipe!!! My goal is to walk you through each and every step providing details, recommendations and words of warning. Hopefully this will make the process easier and less intimidating. You too, can make delicious pizzas at home!

sheet pan pizza made in a conventional oven
Sheet Pan pizza made in a conventional oven.

The Recipe

Homemade Pizza

Your complete guide to making pizza at home! This recipe includes instructions on how to make your own dough, and how to get the best results of making pizza at home, whether you have a wood-fired oven or conventional oven. It's pizza time!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 15 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American, Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulate sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast OR instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5½-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dried italian seasoning blend substitute 2 tablespoons of your favorite dried herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder

Instructions
 

Make the dough

  • Dissolve the sugar, yeast and salt in the lukewarm water. Mix it well, then leave it be for about 3 minutes to let the yeast “bloom.”
  • Measure the flour, olive oil and seasonings into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and water mixture. Mix up with your hands until you form a nice shaggy dough.
  • From here, you can transfer to a mixer fitted with a dough hook or a bread machine set to the dough cycle and knead for 7 to 10 minutes.
    My preferred method is to keep it simple and knead the dough with your hands, using your knuckles to incorporate all of the flour into the wet mixture.
    Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold the dough in on itself. Add more flour if necessary, a tablespoon at a time. The dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic, with no dry spots.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Rub some EVOO on top to keep the dough moist.
    Drape a thin cotton cloth loosely over the top of the bowl. This prevents outside contamination while the dough rises.
    Allow the dough to rise for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 2 hours.
  • To deflate the dough, punch it down gently. Transfer to a large wooden board and cut the dough ball into four pieces.
    Cover lightly with the thin cotton cloth and allow it to rest another twenty minutes for best results (if you are short on time you can skip this part).
    If you are not planning on using all four dough portions at this moment, now is the time to properly store the dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later use.

Make your pizza

  • Time to shape the dough! Here’s the fun part. Shape the dough however you like. I prefer using my hands, tossing the dough and rotating it so that gravity does most of the work for me.
    You are also welcome to use a rolling pin if that is more comfortable. I encourage you to experiment and see what you like best.
    Remember: your pizza doesn’t have to be a perfect circle — nor should it be!
  • Sprinkle cornmeal on your desired pizza cooking surface. If it’s going into a woodfired oven, use a copious amount of cornmeal (like almost too much) on the pizza peel for easy transfer into the oven.
    If you are using pizza pans in the oven, not as much cornmeal is necessary. Lastly, if you are simply using a baking sheet, a piece of parchment will work just fine to protect your pan and the pizza.
  • If you are using a WOOD-FIRED PIZZA OVEN: Prep the oven, get it up to temp. Shape the dough, then transfer onto a pizza peel with a lot of cornmeal. Add your sauce, cheese and any desired toppings. Cook the pizza for 3-5 minutes, turning frequently and keeping an eye on the temperature.
    If you are using a CONVENTIONAL OVEN: Heat the oven to 450 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone, place it in the oven before turning the oven on. Shape the pizzas and place them on the pizza pans or on your baking sheets. Brush lightly with olive oil. Send the pizzas into the oven for a little prebake, about 7 minutes. Remove the pizzas from the oven, and place on a heat resistant surface. Deflate any air bubbles that may have risen. Add your sauce, cheese and any desired toppings. Place the pizza back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, checking for desired doneness.
  • Transfer the pizzas to a large wood cutting board or other stable cutting surface. I don’t recommend slicing directly on the pizza peels or pans, as this causes much wear and tear. Use a rotary slicer, big pizza cutter or a pair of scissors to cut your pizza.
  • Enjoy!!
Keyword homemade pizza, how to make pizza, making pizza at home, pizza

ENJOY!

Pizza slingin’ since 2001.

Ultimate Banana Bread | Baking

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This recipe is an adaptation of the Banana Loaf recipe in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. I’ve made a few minor adjustments, converting the self-raising flour to accommodate all-purpose flour instead. I’ve yet to come across self-raising flour on the supermarket shelves, and this bread comes out as cakey and light by making your own.

You’ll notice your bread looks dark golden on the outside. That’s good! This recipe comes out light, fluffy and cakey on the inside, unlike any other banana bread I’ve tried before. In fact, that’s why I’m sharing it — this is my go-to recipe and its the only one you’ll ever need!

banana bread

I tend to add a couple of generous handfuls of chocolate chips to the batter before pouring it into the pan. It makes for a great dessert, or toast a slice with some butter for a scrumptious breakfast.

Mary Berry’s original recipe calls for 4 oz of softened butter. I use half butter and half canola (vegetable) oil because I prefer the fluffier texture you get from using some oil alongside the butter. Make sure your butter is about room temperature, this will ensure it blends easily in with the rest of the ingredients. Melting the butter to a complete liquid state may affect the texture of the cake of the cake negatively.

I make this recipe by weight, but have included volume measurements as well if you don’t have a kitchen scale (though I recommend it!).

Ultimate Banana Bread

Light, fluffy, cakey version of the classic dense banana bread. Add chocolate chips for some extra enjoyment!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz softened butter
  • 2 oz canola oil
  • 6 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a loaf tin with parchment.
  • Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat with a stand or hand mixer for about two minutes, until well-blended. Mix in ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  • Bake in the oven for about one hour, until well-risen and golden brown. a fine skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Leave the tin to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack before slicing and serving.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz softened butter
  • 2 oz canola oil
  • 6 oz granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 225 g AP flour
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf tin with parchment.

2. Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat with a stand or hand mixer for about two minutes, until well blended. Mix in 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips if desired. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.

3. Bake in the oven for about one hour, until well-risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Leave the tin to cool for a few minutes, then turn out to slice and serve.

Enjoy!