Enjoy this old but good post. See you next week!
Once upon a time, all human beings were locavores, and everything we ate was a gift of the earth. We only ate what was grown or produced with in a small radius of where we lived and worked. Somehow, over the last few years the word Locavore has re-ignited a food revolution of sorts in Middle America. I don’t think that chef Jessica Prentice knew in 2005 that she coined a phrase that brings with it so many questions and so much skepticism.
Eating and feeding your family should be a pleasure, not a burden, but with all of the mixed messages floating around now the line between the two may seem fuzzy. I know firsthand that making good choices about where I shop, which restaurants I dine at and what products I buy doesn’t have to be so hard.
To understand what dining & shopping local really means you first need to define it. Locavore is a word often used to describe people who represent or take part in the growing local food movement. Someone who is committed to eating food that is grown or produced within their local community or region. For me that includes dining establishments.
Making the choice to do business with local eateries as well as at the local farmers market has not been a hard one to make or one that I regret. Investing in the local economy, supporting the community business owners as well as lowering the amount of steps that my food takes to get from the farm to my table is a solid and attainable goal.
In general eating local means that locally grown and produced food is a fresher and more healthy option. Buying from local growers and producers is not a new idea. Farmers markets, roadside stands and Mom and Pop groceries were the backbone of America’s edible economy. I know that I like to walk into a place and see that my meat, dairy or vegetables came from a local farm and take a measure of comfort in that.
Whether I am going to Strange Brew for my morning cup of coffee or Papa Roux for a family dinner I can feel good about my decision to dine local. With so many overwhelming options in fast-casual food it is hard to sort through all of the choices out there. I base many of my choices on what I read in the newspaper as well as in Indianapolis Monthly. Word of mouth doesn’t hurt, either.
Over the last few years more and more new local eateries such as Jockamo’s Upper Crust Pizza and The Indigo Duck in Franklin have been cropping up in the area adding to the other locally owned favorites. Diners will find that fresh and new doesn’t have to be intimidating and overpriced.
Just think what life would be like if all we had were the same ubiquitous restaurant signs poking out of every mall and greeting us at every street corner over and over. There is good news, though. There seems to be a sort of renewal in American towns, where communities remake themselves and entrepreneurs rise up to fill the void that was left by big name chain restaurants. In these stressful economic times we all need to spend more dollars supporting local independent restaurants and growers as well as make smart decisions when feeding our families.
Recently, I had the pleasure of having what has now become my favorite pizza of all time at Mass Ave Wine Shop in Downtown Indianapolis. If I was choosing this pie on it’s name alone I would have passed it by. I saw another diner gobbling up every savory bite and I just had to have one. This pizza , aptly named The Cow Pie, now has a special place in my heart. I had to go home and try to re-create it, plus I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
I took the flavors I loved from my new favorite pizza at Mass Ave Wine Shop and created this new twist on pizza. I have made it two ways using different cheese so like all things I make there is room for your own interpretation. Use any crust that you want. Sometimes I make one from scratch, this time I took advantage of a pre-made thin crust dough in the refrigerated section.
Use the dough as a base for your own families creativity. The sky’s the limit and you never know what will taste good together until you try. Last summer I made a cheeseburger pizza with a ketchup like sauce, ground beef, diced tomato and pickle and garnished with lettuce. My kids enjoyed that one!
Shake things up a little on the standard crust. Think of what you had last, that you liked, and try your hand at recreating it. You won’t regret it and if it doesn’t turn out then you will at least have a laugh about it later. Get your kids to help you. I find that when kids can take part in the preparation they are more apt to try the meal.
Pizza with Pesto,Caramelized Onions, Farm Fresh Sausage and Smoked Gouda Cheese
1 tube of refrigerated thin crust pizza dough
1 small jar of pesto
1 large red onion
1 large sweet onion
1 pound Fischer Farms fresh pizza sausage, or meat of your choice, browned and drained
2 cups shredded Gouda or cheese of your choice
Preheat oven according to package directions on pizza dough. Stretch the dough out carefully to cover you pizza stone or cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil (if desired) and prick the dough with a fork to allow for ventilation. Bake for 8-10 minutes. At this point the crust should not be completely baked. Remove it from the oven and now you are ready to top it.
While the crust is baking slice the onions and add to a skillet you have heated at medium heat. When caramelizing onions I like to add 2 tablespoons of butter and just a little drizzle of olive oil to make sure they don’t stick. Give a sprinkle of salt to “sweat” the onions. Keep an eye on these and cook them down until they are a light brown color and are soft and jam-like. When they are done I like to stir in a tablespoon of red wine vinegar or red wine, but this is optional.
Spread a thin layer of pesto on the prepared crust with a spatula. Then add the meat evenly. Next, layer your desired amount of onions over the meat and lastly sprinkle on your choice of cheese.
Bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is a nice golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes. This made a large sized pizza that easily fed my family of four with a nice salad on the side.
|This pizza combines the sweet taste of the onions with the meaty bite of the sausage, the tang of the pesto and the smokiness of the Gouda all in one bite.