Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

Caramalized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza

I haven’t posted a recipe here in a LONG time. While I’ve made a few “fancy” dishes, most of our meals are on the simple side. It’s more about getting (mostly) healthy food on the table in a timely manner at this stage in our lives. Especially with Big Man’s non-traditional work schedule, there are weeks when dinner is grilled cheese or PB&J sandwiches almost every night.

But sometimes I get a little creative and do something out of the ordinary, like I did with this pizza. We have homemade pizza at least once a week, and usually the toppings are a mix of cheese, veggies, and meat, based on what I have in the house. But Big Man and I had picked up a smoked goat cheese in the local natural market and I decided to build a pizza around that.

I find any kind of smoked cheese to be quite strong  for my taste, and goat cheese has that natural tangy flavor as well. So I figured caramelized onions would balance out the tartness and a garlic and olive oil base would work better than the usual marinara. I used a good dose of shredded mozzerella as well and ended up with a really yummy pizza! It was definitely different from our usual pizza night (although I made a mini cheese and marinara pizza for the Little Ones) but I didn’t have to spend a lot of extra time in the kitchen or buy ton of unique ingredients. Big Man and I enjoyed sharing more “sophisticated” fare even though we weren’t at a restaurant.

If you’re looking for a different spin on pizza night, I hope you’ll try this. Add a glass of wine and it gives a weekday dinner a nice break from the usual.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza (original recipe)

Yield: 1 12-inch pizza

  • 1 dough ball (1/2 of my favorite recipe, or your favorite pizza dough recipe)
  • 1 medium onion (I used a red one), thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp. smoked goat cheese

1) Half an hour before you want to cook the pizza, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F, with a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven.

2) Caramelize the onions. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and when it starts to foam, add the sliced onions. Stir once to coat the onions and then leave them alone for 5 minutes. Then, stir in the salt, sugar, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet, leaving the lid ajar to let steam escape. Continue cooking on low heat for 30 minutes, or until the onions caramlize. Be sure to stir occasionally to all the onions cook evenly. Note: You can make the caramelized onions up to 2 days in advance and keep them in the fridge.

3) Roll out the pizza dough into a thin circle, about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to your pizza peel and brush the whole surface with olive oil. Add the minced garlic evenly over the oil, then add the caramelized onions (when I made this, I put the onions on last but they got overly dark in the oven, so in the future I will cover the onions with the cheese). Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese, then use your fingers to break the goat cheese into very small pieces and distribute evenly over the pizza.

4) Transfer to your preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing.

5) Enjoy!

House Update #7

We have a building permit – yay!

permit copy

After a couple of weeks of working with our architect and structural engineer to get the extra paperwork the county required (a new requirement this year, of course!) we finally have our permit. That means as soon as we get a final bid from one more excavation company we can start work!

While we are waiting we have more work to do with the tree-removal process.  Big Man and his dad finished getting all the trees down, and are working on stripping the branches and cutting firewood. It’s mostly important that the trees get moved to the lower part of our property where they won’t be in the way of the building process. Here are before and after pictures that show some of the trees that were removed.

Trees_before_after copy

I’ll update again when we have news of the excavation, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.

House Update #6

One down, one to go! Because, apparently, building a house must be governed by as much bureaucracy as possible, we needed to get two separate permits; one for the house and one for the septic system. Well, the county called us yesterday to say the septic permit is completed. Hooray! Now we just have to wait for the house permit. We’re hoping it goes through quickly and without problems just like the septic permit did. Then we’ll be all set to start!

In other news, Big Man played lumberjack this week and removed a few of the dead trees on our lot. Bad weather prevented him from going up yesterday to finish the tree removal, but he’s planning on going up next week to get the rest of them. At least we’ll have quite a bit of firewood!

I’ll post another update when we have the house permit. Until then, we’re hoping to get the bids back from the excavation contractors we’re thinking of hiring. You’d think people that want our business would return a phone call occasionally…

House Update #5

One step forward – Big Man submitted all the paperwork for our building permit! He drove up to the county offices yesterday and turned everything in, so now we are just hoping it all goes through quickly with no issues. The turn-around time is supposedly a couple weeks, but that’s if everything gets approved the first time by all the departments involved.

We’re trying to have reasonable expectations and understand that they may come back with things we need to change or additional paperwork we need to submit. This whole process so far seems to require a lot of flexibility and loosely-help expectations. But we are learning a lot and moving forward.

I hope to post again in a couple weeks with the good news of our permit, but we’ll see…

DIY: Homemade Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter

We’ve been on a journey toward eating less processed food and more “real food.” Part of that journey is about deciding which processed foods  to re-create from scratch and which to eliminate entirely. Our whole family enjoys peanut butter (and it’s one of the things both kids consistently eat) so it’s definitely on the list of things to make at home. Fortunately, peanut butter is ridiculously easy to make with a food processor. Seriously, we’re talking 3 ingredients and 5 minutes. And it tastes amazingly good! I had no idea peanut butter could taste so much like actual peanuts. We’ll never to back to the “Choosy Brand” we were buying before.

If you’re looking for a gentle introduction to DIY-ing pantry staples, I hope you’ll try peanut butter. It doesn’t take long, there are no crazy ingredients, and the result is fantastic. I finally understand the appeal of eating peanut butter by the spoonful!

Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Peanuts (I use roasted and salted)
  • Olive oil (I use extra virgin because it’s what I keep on hand)
  • ~2 tablespoons honey, optional and to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread your peanuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. I do about 2-4 cups of peanuts per batch of peanut butter because that’s a good fit for my baking sheet, but you can easily use more or less. If your peanuts aren’t roasted, it will take about 10-15 minutes to roast them. I keep my roasted peanuts in the freezer so I pop them in the oven to warm them up and help release the natural oils. They’re ready when they are a nice golden color and have a good aroma.

2. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Then, add the to your food processor fitted with the normal blade. Pulse for about 5 seconds at a time until the nuts are finely ground. Then, just turn the processor on and let it go. In few minutes, you should be able to see a thick paste forming. Scrape down the sides if necessary. Once you have a homogeneous paste, add in the honey (if desired). Then with the processor going, slowly drizzle the oil in through the top until your peanut butter reaches the desired consistency. I usually have to add in a decent amount of oil to get a spreadable texture, but you may have different results.

3. Taste test, and add more honey or salt if desired. Store peanut butter in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to 3 weeks, or refrigerate for longer storage. Enjoy!

House Update #4

A.k.a. Patience. Between snow, and work schedules, and waiting on contractor bids, and just general life, it seems like the house project is going at a snail’s pace. I know it feels slower than it actually is, but sometimes I have to fight the frustration of wanting to do things NOW. It’s difficult when all the progress is still in the paperwork stage and there isn’t anything physical to point to yet. Big Man and I talk about the possibility of moving in a year from now and it still seems like a fantasy to me.

There are some new developments: we have nearly all the paperwork ready to submit for our permit, the logs for the house have a cut/ship date,  and weather permitting Big Man should start the tree-removal in a couple weeks. We’ve got a good start on the kitchen design, thanks to Big Man’s dad, and we’re making some decisions in details like flooring and interior wall finishing. Little Man even gets involved by telling us what color he wants to paint his room (current choice is orange).

So things are moving along, even if I don’t appreciate the pace. Hopefully I’ll have another update in a few weeks. Until then, thanks for following along.

Goals

So long, 2013! You’ve been good to us: a place for our future home, lots of family events, new friends, and many adventures in cooking and homekeeping. But I have to say, as great as 2013 was, I am highly anticipating 2014!  Lord willing, we’ll begin construction of our house, enjoy our first family vacation, and celebrate Big Man completing his second bachelor’s degree. Little Man will turn 4 in a couple weeks and Little Lady will turn 3 this year. God truly has blessed us, and I hope to spend this year learning how to be grateful and pass on that blessing to others.

I also have a few goals (I don’t do resolutions) for 2014.

  • Complete a cross-stitched Christmas stocking for Little Lady (I just barely finished Little Man’s before Christmas this year)
  • Learn how to crochet, and make at least 1 project
  • Research homeschooling methods/curriculum and have a plan to “officially” start school in the fall, whatever that looks like
  • Pick a few recipes off my “too scared to attempt” list and actually try them.
  • Exercise at least once a week in January and February, twice a week in March through June, and 3 times per week from July onward.
  • Complete my Bible Study reading and questions daily, instead of playing catch-up the day before the group meeting.

We have big things on the horizon this year, and I’m excited. I hope you are excited about the new year as well. Happy 2014!