...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Country Pizza, City Pizza

No, I didn't fall into a mole hole in the garden, never to be found again. I've just been incredibly busy "putting up" food from the garden. Today, though, I'm resting a bit and reflecting on a fun cookbook I bought last summer at a garage sale. It's called Desperation Dinners, and is specifically designed for those nights when the kids are hungry and Mom is haggardly staring into the refrigerator, wondering what in there she has the strength to cook.

Not every day allows the kitchen diva to chop and dice mounds of veggies for canning--or maybe especially when she's so employed--a desperation dinner is in order.

As Beverly Mills puts it in this book's intro:

"Cookbooks did little more than taunt me with picture-perfect food beyond the reach of my new reality. [Six months pregnant "waddling around the kitchen with an eighteen-month-old wrapped around one leg.] A box of macaroni and cheese just made me feel guilty. After all, my own stay-at-home mother never would have dreamed of feeding me elbow macaroni in orange pools of goo...I came to believe that food means love, and love tastes good. Much of me yearned for my own children to have this, too. Wasn't there a middle ground between an hour-long stint as a stove slave and electrocuted hot dogs? I vowed to find it."

The resulting cookbook is full of wonderful 20-minute meals that nevertheless taste "crafted" by a kitchen guru. In the spirit of her book, I'm sharing my own gardening mom's take on the "quick-fix" dinner.

See above the humble frozen pizza. The kind of thing the kids would eat all day every day. The kind of thing that makes Mom cringe every time she rips off the plastic wrap and stoops to retrieve the frozen pepperoni that invariably scatter themselves around her feet like a flower girl's petals.

Recently, I made my peace with the less-than-DiJourno-gourmet pizza by doctoring one from the garden. The beauty of plain frozen pizza is that it allows so much creative license. This time, I happened to have fresh Vidalia onions, sweet basil, garlic and some of last summer's ground red pepper handy. I added these to the grown-ups' side of the pizza and left one corner bare, as per Garden Helper's simple tastes. This paired with the Tupperware bowl of perpetual garden salad (still going strong despite the heat that is setting in) made one of those 20-minute desperation meals a snap. So may this idea be an inspiration to you. Look around. You might be equipped to "doctor" something cheap and humble, elevating it to something delightful with your garden fresh fare. And, you'll save yourself some time in the bargain!


  1. When I make pizza at home, I buy one of those ready made crusts (Boboli type but KRoger brand), pizza sauce, then add toppings I bought or grew fresh. It's a nice balance for a busy day.

    Hey I am a bit late but wanted to let you know this week is our fair. There is a pioneer village and the spinning group I'm in (not the Granny Bees that put on the Winter Woolen Fest) are in a log cabin, spinning and weaving. It's a great place to get a lot of good ideas and tips. Feel free to bring out your drop spindle and some wool and spin with us. Everyone is always welcome to this group of people.

    Cindy Bee

  2. Sorry to just now be getting back to you, Cindy Bee, but we've been camping with friends and are just now getting back to town. Keep letting me know about those spinning events, though, because I'd really like to come to one!