so it seems my new posting ritual has been whittled down to a monthly and when i do post they sometimes come all at the same time. i’m becoming ok with that (i have a real job for now and a pretty busy life even outside that) and while my goal is going to be posting weekly, i’m ok if even that doesn’t happen. sorry to disappoint my many fans (hi mom! hi karen!). this is tied in with announcement number one: i’m only posting the most incredibly wonderful recipes i create/come across. even if that lentil soup for lunch was pretty good, if it’s not awesome there is no place for it here. this means i have to make something at least twice at home before i feel comfortable throwing it on the interwebs so i can guarantee i have the recipe down and the first delicious time wasn’t a fluke. while i wanted to bend my rules and get this asparagus flatbread on here pronto, i stuck with it and enjoyed it a second time before passing it along.
the second announcement isn’t food related, but is blog content related. initially when i created this piece of the internet i wanted to share recipes for the awesome food i make all the time. with that comes a bit of personal sharing… why i was craving mac and cheese, where the recipe comes from, etc. when other blogs strayed from the personal to the political (the personal is political, silly) it bugged me, but mostly because the political i see on most blogs talks about individual solutions for societal problems (hello, climate change), blindly mourns tragedy rather than critically analyzes it, or throws around jingoism around any holiday they can get.
marxist, leninist, feminist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist, pro-palestinian, environmental, pro-lgbtqqa rights with your food, anyone?
the final push was in many ways related to all the fourth of july blind patriotism, but the “aha” moment came when reading a post dedicated to jamie oliver and the work he does. two things jumped out at me that i no longer just want to ignore:
1. all this talk about the obesity “epidemic” that puts all of the responsibility on the individual rather than the corporations that pump out processed food and find the chemicals and government subsidies to make it cheaper than fruits and vegetables. not to mention the food deserts that many low income folks have to deal with in large cities. not to mention the culture of fat shaming and yo-yo dieting and unrealistic body images! more to come on this later, i just was at a fantastic session at a fantastic conference that talked about sexism and the food and diet industry and i promise to share soon.
2. the moral of the story ended up being that “cooking my family a nice dinner is really revolutionary and health conscious people have really created a movement here.” first of all, if you want to talk about revolution i think brasil or egypt could give you a better idea of what it means. the rest of this argument goes back to the unfortunate black hole of lifestyle politics—the idea that the best thing to do is to change the way we live our lives and if everybody just got with it and cooked healthy food everything would be ok. argicultural giants love this because they can smack “natural” onto all sorts of products and charge people more for them. just as importantly, it completely forgets to consider economic situations (organic heirloom tomatoes are hella expensive at the grocery store and not everybody can throw up a garden in their… wait, not everyone has a yard!)
so, perhaps i have a few new posts to work on to blast these ideas that come up all too often. i do want to state here that by criticizing these ideas doesn’t mean i don’t love the photos and recipes coming from these blogs, it just means we have some different opinions and i plan to argue against them from now rather than ignore it. and if i get lucky, hopefully i can change some minds.
that out of the way, this flatbread is incredible. i’d like to call it pizza but the boyfriend objects to calling things pizza unless they have a healthy slathering of sauce on the dough. the first time i made it i was hesitant to layer on the asparagus thinking it would take over but when i tried the first bite i was wanting even more. i was also wary of adding the thicker pieces of asparagus to the thinly shaved strands. psh, the more asparagus the better!
this recipe takes about a half hour to make and 15 minutes to bake, thanks to my massively fast foccacia turned pizza dough (which i can’t believe i haven’t shared the recipe with you yet! probably because pizza usually makes for ugly photos).
shaved asparagus flatbread pizza
makes 6 or 8 small slices
inspired by smitten kitchen’s
foccacia dough (recipe below)
1 pound asparagus
1/2 pound mozzarella, grated
4 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
lemon, for garnish
begin flatbread recipe listed below. while dough is rising shave the asparagus into ribbons by gripping the end of the stalk and using a vegetable peeler to remove a long thin strand. once you’ve shaved all you can discard the woody end and chop the thicker strand into a couple pieces. you will want to use this along with the ribbons because the more asparagus you have, the better. (trust me on using the peeler method; it is the easiest and best way to go. thinly slicing doesn’t get the desired texture or look and using a mandolin is just crazy business.)
when you are done shaving the asparagus toss with two teaspoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. once the dough has finished rising stretch it out and put it on an oiled baking pan sprinkled with sesame seeds.
drizzle the dough with the two remaining teaspoons of olive oil. sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese and arrange the ribbons evenly on top.
serve each piece with a lemon wedge. (trust me, do not skip this step.)
or the world’s easiest pizza dough
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees is best)
mix the ingredients together all in one bowl. knead the dough for a couple minutes and add flour or water if needed to make a smooth elastic dough.
oil, cover, and let rise 20 minutes.
punch down and form into your your desired shape. (i used to use this recipe for foccacia bread because it’s so dang easy but have since found better quality recipes. i use this now as a go to pizza dough but you can do as you will.)
cover and let rise another 10 minutes.
if you’re making pizza, top with ingredients. if you’re making bread, top with herbs, garlic, finishing salt, and/or olive oil.
bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.*
*at 450 degrees this is a big difference. i say up to 20 because if you’re making pizza sometimes the weight of the ingredients on top makes it take longer. if you’re just making lightly topped flatbread, this should be no problem. if you’re making extra saucy extra topping pizza, watch carefully after the 15 minute mark to see if the crust is getting burnt at the bottom and take it out before that happens!