A Garden Pizza with Squash Blossoms
This past Sunday I walked into the garden not knowing that I would be spending my entire morning harvesting various greens and tearing out a majority of my zucchini plants. Growing a garden has many surprises, and while I have been spending the better parts of my time out inside the fence figuring which plants have bugs on them and how exactly to handle that, it dawned on me that I was inching closer and closer to an early summer harvest. I suppose it came at the right time, as yesterday was Midsummer. In case you are unaware, Midsummer is a mostly European celebration welcoming summer. Since we discovered that we are Scottish, we've been wanting to implement new traditions and celebrations within our family. To be honest, we're tired of American holidays. They're boring and don't really flow with our lifestyle. We'd much rather bring on some new traditions because we never really had any old ones. Gifts on Christmas, food on Thanksgiving. Though I doubt we'll ever give up Thanksgiving because that's just a time to be creative in the kitchen, we'd like to give up celebrating Christmas the way we used to. It'd be much better to celebrate by the season, by the solstice, and put our minds at attention for the gardening seasons.
I was cutting kale when I kept tripping up over my zucchini leaves. They were starting to become overgrown, and I had been avoiding pruning them. It's hard to prune and cut back things that you've worked so hard to grow! But I realized that if I didn't trim them back, or even remove some of them, that their harvest would not be as good anyway. So, I got out my pruning shears and started cutting, eventually pulling out over half of the plants by the root anyway. I had planted waaay too many, too many pumpkins too, and found that I had actually planted most of the green zucchini in the pumpkin bed. Ugh! So I left a couple, pulled out the rest, and now it looks much more manageable. But what to do with all of those half grown zucchinis and squash blossoms? Make a pizza, of course!
This pizza was extremely satisfying! Not only did it have almost all ingredients straight from our garden, but the flavor of the squash blossoms was divine. We had never eaten them before, but had heard from friends that they were delicious! I was looking up ways to use them when I saw pizza pop up, and that was on my weekly menu; it just happened to work out that I could use them. I also saw that you can stuff them with cheese and bake them! Uh, yum!!
For the Crust:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2.5 cups flour
- In an electric mixer, combine the warm and water honey. Stir until dissolved/melted. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for 5 minutes to activate. If the yeast does not bubble and change, them your yeast is dead, and you'll have to try again. Mix in the salt and olive oil.
- With an attached dough hook, slowly start mixing in the flour. You'll want to continually increase the speed of the mixer as you go. Once all of the flour is added (you can add up to a half cup more if needed) turn the mixer on high and "knead" the dough for about 8-10 minutes. If you want, you can do this part by hand. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot for 15-20 minutes. It does not need to double in size; it should just rise a little.
- Roll out and top!
For the Pizza:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- Herbs de Provence (rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender)
- 2 sprigs fresh basil
- 6-8 squash blossoms
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1/2 cup grated romano
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
- Topping a pizza is pretty self explanatory! I usually brush the crust with olive oil and then sprinkle on my herbs. For the Herbs de Provence, this is what I usually put as an herbal mix on my pizzas and just sprinkle a light and even layer over the crust, about a teaspoon. Then I shake a pinch of salt and pepper on as well.
- Start to lay down your vegetables evenly. Top with cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden, and the crust is an even golden brown.
- Serve immediately!
As you can see, we enjoyed our garden pizza with a fresh garden salad of freckled romaine, cucumber, celery, and marigold petals. It was fantastic! I just couldn't believe that so much of what was on our plates came from our backyard, so tenderly cared for. Of course, our own cucumbers and zucchinis are not ready yet, but all of the leafy greens. Oh, my! We had to share much of it with family and friends. So much lettuce and spinach and kale!
What are your favorite pizza topping? You'll have to try the squash blossoms if you can! I am not sure if those can be purchased at the store, but they have the most wonderful flavor. Floral and vegetable and wonderful covered in cheese and a little salt. Enjoy!