Counting Our Veggies

Please join us as we focus on learning about and trying one vegetable each week.


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Week Five: Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomato and Blue Cheese Pizza


Lucie chose artichokes as our vegetable for this week. We started by doing some reading about the artichoke and learned that this funny looking vegetable is part of an immature flower from a plant in the thistle family. The type of vegetable we are working with this week is called a globe artichoke. Other vegetables called Jerusalem artichoke and Chinese artichoke come from the underground part of different types of plants and are not related to the globe artichoke.

We started artichoke week with a recipe that I love: artichoke, sun-dried tomato and blue cheese pizza. We included the kids in pizza making by giving them each their own pizza to top. This worked very well for us because Theo is allergic to dairy. Instead of feeling left out, he was able to make his own cheese-less pizza to be proud of.

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This made me think of the “make your own pizza-pie” episode of Seinfeld. I found watching parts of this episode on YouTube to be a great way to procrastinate from veggie blog writing. I can assure you that the characters at my house are just as entertaining as the ones on Seinfeld. We used our favorite pizza crust recipe, Jay’s Signature Pizza Crust from allrecipes.com. I doubled the pizza crust recipe, so we would have enough crust for three kids pizzas and two regular pizzas.

The toppings we offered the kids included the following:

  • homemade pizza sauce
  • sun-dried tomatoes (I cut these into small pieces and soaked them in olive oil and fresh minced garlic for about thirty minutes before using them.)
  • canned artichoke hearts (I sliced these lengthwise to make them more bite-sized.)
  • mini-pepperoni
  • mushrooms
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • blue cheese crumbles

Theo was very careful adding the pizza sauce.

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The girls selected and arranged their toppings.

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I thought surely they would pile on the artichoke hearts.

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Lucie did decide to sample one.

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“Mama, I would give this two thumbs down, but I’m not sure where to put the rest of this yucky artichoke.”

Theo’s pizza ended up with pizza sauce and pepperoni. The girls’ added pizza sauce, sun-dried tomato, pepperoni and mozzarella. Lucie added a few mushrooms. Not too heavy on the veggies, but oh well.

Now for the extra yummy pizzas:

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I added pizza sauce, sun-dried tomato and artichoke hearts.

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Then, lots of crumbled blue cheese and mozzarella. I baked it at 425 degrees on a pizza stone for about 20 minutes. (Really, until it looked done, but around 20 minutes.)

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This is so delicious! It is my favorite kind of pizza. The girls have eaten it before and loved it. There must have been some kind of anti-artichoke attitude going around today.

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Theo could hardly wait to eat his pizza.

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Josie was very proud of her pizza.

I feel like today’s post was a bit light on the artichoke. But, we have plans to tackle a real artichoke soon. We have never purchased a fresh artichoke before, so this is a bit intimidating. Lucie has chosen a recipe that she would like to try. I hope she likes it better than she liked plain canned artichoke heart.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

I did not like the canned artichoke heart that Mama had for the pizza, but I liked the pizza that I made. I like making my own pizza. Sometime I will try making a pizza with different vegetables on it. I hope we try more artichoke recipes soon.

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Week One: Two More Fennel Recipes

Lucie had been looking forward to our next fennel cooking event. I had not. I was pretty sure that I would not like fennel, no matter what we did to it. Lucie chose a recipe for Fontina, Fennel and Onion Pizza¬†from Martha Stewart and I chose Green Beans with Sauteed Fennel¬†from cooksmart.com. Lucie’s choice seemed hopeful. Add enough fontina cheese to something, and it will probably be at least edible. I was hoping that more green beans and less fennel would the make recipe I chose tolerable.

Saturday afternoon. Time to face another bulb of fennel. I was thinking, “At least I can ban this stuff from my kitchen after today.”

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I thought it would be a good idea for the kids to taste raw fennel.

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Does Josie look worried? She may have taken a small bite. She definitely gave raw fennel two thumbs down. Lucie took a bite and decided she did not like it. Theo gobbled his up, smiling the whole time. After hearing what his sisters thought, he decided on a negative rating. I think he may have been influenced by popular opinion. Dave thought it tasted like raw celery with some flavor and said he would eat it as a snack. I had my bite of raw fennel on Sunday and I wasn’t going to try it again.

We started with the pizza. I used a pizza dough recipe that I saw online this morning from the Wall Street Journal. I made it according to the directions. Then, I prepared the Caramelized Fennel and Onions for the pizza. I have to admit, the fennel started smelling better when combined with onions.

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While they were cooking, the fennel and onions began to smell wonderful. After drizzling the pizza crust with the herb olive oil, I added the fennel and onions and then topped it with shredded fontina cheese. Yum! I was thinking, “Surely fontina cheese will make fennel tolerable.” Martha Stewart’s recipe calls for adding some fennel fronds on top of the pizza. I decided to leave this off. No need to get crazy with the fennel.

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Theo wandered into the kitchen. He wondered what was cooking, but decided against sampling any of the cooked veggies.

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We baked the pizza on a pizza stone at 500 degrees F until the crust was golden and the cheese was bubbly.

While the pizza was baking, I made the Green Beans with Sauteed Fennel.

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This recipe, presented by Jess on cooksmarts.com, was very quick and easy to make.

By the time the green beans were ready, the pizza was ready, too.

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Lucie was very excited to begin tasting. Josie refused to enter the kitchen. That bit of raw fennel was a shock to her system. Poor Joz. Theo’s supper was bread sticks made from the other half of the pizza dough recipe, since both of these recipes contained dairy. I’m pretty sure he would not have eaten them, even if they had been dairy-free.

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Lucie loved the pizza and gave it two thumbs up.

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She gave the green beans with sauteed fennel two thumbs to the side. This means she didn’t mind taking a few bites, but she didn’t really like it. Josie finally decided to try a few bites. She ate the pizza after picking off the fennel. She tried a bit of the green beans, but that was it. Dave and I loved both of the fennel recipes that we tried today. I even like the fennel pieces in the green beans. The flavors seem to complement one another and I didn’t notice the licorice taste at all. I think we will make both of these recipes in the future. I am really surprised to be saying that!

Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest if you want to see more veggie recipes that we are exploring.

Thanks for visiting,

Jen

P.S.

A few words from Lucie:

We tried two new recipes. We tried green beans with fennel. We also tried fennel pizza. I give the green beans with fennel two thumbs to the side. I give the fennel pizza two thumbs up. I tried raw fennel, too. I give raw fennel two thumbs down. I really like that we are trying new vegetables and recipes.