The Passionate Pursuit of Delight

Ingredient: parmesan

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

If you keep pizza dough in your freezer (you do keep pizza dough in your freezer, right?), then weeknight dinners are a breeze. All you need is sauce, a few vegetables, and cheese and you are good to go.

A few years back I found a recipe on a blog for smoked mozzarella pizza with lemon.  The recipe and picture caught my eye because the lemon was sliced into paper thin rounds and used as a topping. Lemon rinds? Can you eat them? Would you want to?

Since I am always game to try new things, I made the recipe and fell in love with it! Since then I have realized that thinly sliced lemon on a salmon sushi roll is also delicious. But, this post is about pizza and over the years I have riffed variations of the original pizza based on whatever is in season or in my refrigerator.

This time around I had spinach that I needed to use and the end of a bag of pistachios. I find smoked mozzarella at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, ask at your local grocery store. Smoked mozzarella can sometimes be challenging to find. You can use fresh mozzarella in a pinch if you can’t get your hands on the smoked variety.

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Pizza Dough

I take the pizza dough out of the freezer the morning I plan to make pizza. The dough will be thawed by dinner time. A few tips on pizza dough. Many grocery stores stock fresh pizza dough in their refrigerated aisles. I particularly like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. You can also hit the freezer section and get bread dough (like Rhodes) and keep that on hand. If you have some time on the weekend, you can make a delicious no-knead pizza dough and use it for this recipe or place it in the freezer for future use.

I also love making pizza on a pizza stone. You put the pizza stone in the oven as you start to preheat the oven. Once the oven comes to temperature, then set a timer for at least fifteen minutes and let the stone get nice and hot.

I roll the dough out on a parchment paper-lined pizza peel. Roll the dough out thin if you want to achieve a crispy crust. Then, drizzle the crust with olive oil and spread it around with your fingertips until there is even layer over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes over the top of the dough.

Next, place slices of smoked mozzarella on top of the dough, followed by lemon slices (rind and all). My sweetie doesn’t love the lemon rind so I do cut the rind off half the lemon slices and put those pieces of lemon on his side of the pizza.

Finally, place spinach leaves over the top and sprinkle with the pistachios. Slide the pizza and parchment onto the pizza stone and let the magic begin.

I usually check the pizza halfway through cooking time and rotate the pizza 180 degrees to ensure even baking.

Let me know if you try this unusual but delicious pizza!

This recipe is inspired Alexandra Cooks recipe for Pizza with Lemon Smoked Mozzarella and Basil  

Smoked Mozzarella Lemon Pizza

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

You don’t throw away those end rinds of Parmesan cheese, do you? Please don’t. Ever. Take them and place them in a freezer baggie and freeze them for future use. Or, next time you are at a grocery store that has a nice cheese section, look around, sometimes stores will sell the rinds. Buy them. Every single one that you can find and stash them in the freezer like you are a squirrel hoarding acorns for the winter. These little flavor bombs are perfect to add to soups, stews, a pot of beans, and, of course, making Parmesan broth.

Parmesan Broth

Making a pot of Parmesan broth is ridiculously simple. Plus, the smell of Parmesan broth cooking on your stove top will infuse your kitchen with the most delectable smell. The broth can be ready in under an hour. Then, you can decide whether add a few more ingredients and have dinner on the table or if you want to use the broth later, place it in the fridge or freezer for future use.

To make the broth you will put water, an onion, cloves of garlic, and the Parmesan rinds into a pot or Dutch oven. You don’t even have to peel the onions and garlic! Simmer for 45 minutes. Then, strain the soggy solids out which will have given up every ounce of flavor, and there you will have Parmesan broth. Now comes the fun part. What ingredients will you add to transform this broth into a scrumptious bowl of soup?

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

The world is your oyster here! Feel free to add whatever soup ingredients that you like. I decided to add a can of white beans, some leftover cooked quinoa, and kale. The addition of these ingredients transforms the Parmesan broth into an incredibly satisfying and hearty meal.

This recipe was inspired by the incredible Julia Turshen cookbook ‘Small Victories’. I would encourage you to track down a copy. Julia is a cookbook author, food writer, and hosted the first two seasons of Radio Cherry Bombe which featured interviews with amazing women in the world of food.

Small Victories book cover Turshen

In the recipe from Small Victories, Julia added peas and some small pasta to her Parmesan broth. One of the features of the cookbook that I really enjoy in that she offers variations for all her recipes. I find that those suggestions inspire my creativity and also encourage me to look around my fridge, freezer, and pantry to use ingredients that I already have on hand rather than running to the store. One of her variations recommended beans and greens which I almost always have on hand. Plus, I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge so I threw that into the pot too. The result was an perfectly warming meal on a frigidly cold night.

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale Pin

Zucchini Pie

zucchini pieMy grandmother and Great Aunt Mary used to make zucchini pie every summer. Zucchini pie is not quite a quiche but not really a frittata either. The recipe that they used called for Bisquick baking mix and ½ cup of oil.

It smelled great while it was baking and was also a great way to use up garden zucchini. It packs well for picnics, potlucks, or brown bag lunches. Served with crusty bread and a salad it can be a light supper.

zucchini pie ingredients

This recipe is mash up of the zucchini pie I remember from growing up but lightened up with inspiration from the Crust-less Summer Zucchini Pie recipe from the Skinnyaste blog. I prefer the zucchini sliced rather than shredded and use only Parmesan rather than a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan. Although, I am sure the combination of both cheeses would be delicious too.

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