Taco Pizzas

March 26th, 2015

Mexican Taco 1

This is my farewell post from Florida.  We are heading back to North Carolina on Friday.  It is a time for cleaning out the refrigerator and pantry.  It is also time for simple easy meals.  This recipe came from a new book by Ellie Krieger called Weeknight Wonders.  I love Ellie’s recipes because they are healthy and fairly uncomplicated.

Mexican Taco 2VI loved the crispy corn tacos, bean mixture and seasoned ground turkey.  I had to skip the corn called for because the freezer yielded only a sorry package of peas.  This has been a great meal to have on hand.  It has made one dinner and several lunches.

When we were in Sante Fe, New Mexico several years ago, we walked into an antique store and saw a whole set of Mexican pottery dinnerware.  I fell in love with it.  The platter pictured here is part of the set.  It was made in Patzcuaros, Mexico.  It is glazed so that it is food safe.  Now that we are selling the house I will have to part with the whole set.  Let me know if anyone is interested.  It will more than likely be a part of an Estate sale that we will have next year.

Mexican Taco 3I am looking forward to seeing you some time next week with news and recipes from Lake Lure.  Spring in the mountains is one of my favorite times of the year.


TACO PIZZAS (Weeknight Wonders by Ellie Krieger)

8 small corn tortillas (6 inches in diameter)
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 scallions
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 pound lean ground turkey
1 ear fresh corn or 2/3 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup canned low-sodium pinto beans
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
3 ounces pepper jack cheese (3/4 cup grated)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Brush the tortillas on both sides lightly with 1 tablespoon total of the oil.  Place them on 2 baking sheets and bake until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven, leaving the tortillas on the trays.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the dark greens separate, and mince the garlic.  Add the scallion whites and light green parts to the skillet and cook until translucent, 2 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute more.

Place half of the scallion-spice mixture in the bowl of a small food processor and set aside.  Add the turkey to the remaining scallion-spice mixture in the skillet and cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, if using an ear of corn, cut the kernels off. Add the corn kernels and tomato sauce to the skillet, with the browned turkey and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain and rinse the pinto beans and add them, along with the broth, to the food processor.  Pulse until smooth, scraping the sides once or twice if necessary.  Grate the cheese.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture on each tortilla and top with about 1/4 cup of the turkey mixture.  Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of cheese on top and bake until the bean puree is warmed through and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with the scallion greens.  Cut each pizza into quarters with a sharp knife or pizza cutter and serve each with a dollop of the sour cream.

Printable Recipe

A Lake Lure Visit and Cook-a-thon

June 5th, 2013

As part of the Memorial Day Holiday weekend we were happy to have Dave, My Year on the Grill and Inspired by eRecipe cards, and his wife Jackie spend some time with us at Lake Lure.  They had driven all the way from Kansas to attend the Blogger Luau at Larry’s (Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings) so it only seemed fitting that they should drive a little further South and spend a couple of days with us.

I think Dave just wanted an excuse to grill pizzas in my fireplace.  And grill pizzas he did.  He made four different pizzas, all from ingredients I had on hand.  The first was a Margherita pizza shown above.  The second pizza was made with Parmesan, Scallops, olive oil and herbs from the garden.  The third pizza utilized ingredients from a salad that I had made the night before.

I had made Ina Garten’s Guacamole Salad to go with the Benton’s bacon BLT’s (More about that later).  The above picture was taken before I added the avocado, which should be done just before serving.

Viola!  A salad turned into a pizza.  Dave is very creative with his pizzas.  The fourth pizza was supposed to be a traditional sausage pizza using leftover sausage from breakfast, but we were too full for that.  Instead Dave turned the fourth pizza dough into a simple flatbread flavored with red onion and a special Raspberry Chipotle Sea Salt that he brought me as a hostess gift.

We served it that night before dinner cut into pieces with a homemade hummus that I had made from a recipe from Dorie Greenspan.

There was something very special about this flatbread.  It was the combination of the wood smoke and the Raspberry Chipotle Sea Salt.  The hummus was easy to make.  I will include the recipe at the end of this post.

Now on to the Benton Bacon.  Because Dave and Jackie had traveled so far to attend the Blogging Luau, Larry sent them home with two packages of  the popular Tennessee Benton Bacon.  This bacon is dry-cured, salty and full of intense flavor.  It is favored by chef’s all over the country.  It makes a killer BLT sandwich.  It is amazing the things you can find on the internet.  If you have a moment please read this obituary of Harry Stamps, a lover of Benton Bacon among other things.  This has got to be a contender for the best obituary ever written.  But I digress.  I fried up the bacon.  Dave made a spicy mayonnaise and we served it with heirloom tomatoes, sourdough bread and crispy lettuce.  It was a taste sensation.

Here we are at Bouchon Creperie in Asheville for lunch.  There were more meals and lots of laughter.  I enjoyed cooking with Dave.  Now I know one of the reasons that he does such a great job with his wonderful food.  Jackie is the best pot washer and clean-up-artist around.  We intense cooks need help.  David and I enjoyed your visit Dave and Jackie.

HUMMUS  (Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)

1 can (about 16 ounces) chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid), rinsed, and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and chopped
1/3 cup well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
About 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor and whir until smooth.  With the machine running, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid a little at a time until the hummus is a nice thick, scoopable texture-you’ll probably need about 4 tablespoons of liquid.  Add the cumin, if you’d like, tasting to get the amount you want, then season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if you think it need it.

Scoop the hummus into a bowl or refregerator container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, and chill until serving time.  (The hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Printable recipe

Spring Vegetable Pizza and a Memory

March 19th, 2013

Spring is actually showing signs of arriving.  I have received pictures from friends in North Carolina of the dogwood and red bud trees beginning to bloom.  I am ready for it.  We will be heading back from Florida to North Carolina next week and it is always such a soul satisfying experience to see nature renewing itself.   Here in Florida the changes are subtle.

Spring vegetables are always favorites.  The first fresh asparagus holds many memories for me.  In Michigan, where I grew up, asparagus was ready to pick at the end of April, as I recall.  I know I have shared this story before, but for those of you who haven’t heard it, I will repeat it.  The rest of you can skip ahead if you would like.  The year I was to graduate from high school, my best girlfriends and I skipped school one day.  There were nine of us.  We had a good reason.  Our friend Judie’s family farm had a problem.  The asparagus crop was ready to harvest but the migrant workers had not yet arrived for the season.  We thought we would help them out by picking the asparagus.  Believe me, that is not an easy job.  It was a day of back-breaking drudgery.  To complicate matters, a group of the senior guys got wind of what we were doing and decided they wanted in on the action.  Some ulterior motives might have been involved.  With so many of us absent from our small high school, it is no wonder that the principal took notice.  Our dear Mothers could not bring themselves to lie about the reason for our absences.  At that time you had to have a signed excuse from the parent for any days missed at school.  It was only when we presented ourselves to the office with our excuses the next day that were were confronted by Mr. Small, THE PRINCIPAL.  He had found out what we were up to and had decided that if we were truthful about our whereabouts, it would be an excused absence.  If we claimed  sickness or anything else, we would not be able to participate in the graduation proceedings.  He understood the farming community around us and was ready to concede the circumstances.   Our parents understood the imperative of honesty.  It was a lesson learned by all of us.  Everyone did the right thing.  But the biggest lesson I learned was that I never wanted to pick acres of asparagus again.  To this day,every time I look at a stalk of asparagus,  it all comes back to me.  But isn’t it a wonder that at one time we could actually pick our own?

In spite of the earlier experience,  I do love to eat asparagus.  This recipe for Spring Vegetable Pizza with Gremolata appeared in Cooking Light Magazine.  I adapted it to our tastes.  David likes a little meat on his pizza, so I added some diced and cooked chicken thighs.  The other vegetables are a fresh fennel bulb with fronds and peas.  The light sauce is a combination of ricotta cheese and pecorino Romano cheese.  The gremolata of parsley, lemon rind and garlic add another level of freshness.  Instead of a homemade pizza crust I used a purchased Stone Fired Crust.  It was perfect for this.

I loved this pizza.  David was not so enthused.  It probably had something to do with the lack of pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.  But if you like a white pizza with light spring vegetable flavors, you will love this.  Think I’ve lost you Larry, Dave and some of the you other internet guys.  But the “Asparagus Picking Gals” would be proud.  See you all at our 50th reunion this September!  We still Rock.

 An update:  According to my high school friend, we had unexcused absences.  What our principal did was clear us for graduation.  I guess he did the right thing.  I just wish my version was correct.  Homer, you could have done better.


1 12-inch store bought Stone Fired Pizza Crust
1 fennel bulb with stalks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 1/2 cup (3-inch) pieces asparagus, cut in half lengthwise
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 skinless, boneless chicken thigh, chopped and cooked in a little oil with salt, pepper and paprika until done
2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 1/2 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 large garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place pizza crust on a round pizza pan

Remove stalks from fennel bulb; reserve 1 tablespoon fronds.  Cut trimmed bulb into thin slices.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add sliced fennel bulb slices and cook for at least 1 minute.  Add peas, asparagus and sliced garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes.

Combine ricotta, milk, pepper and pecorino Romano cheese; spread evenly over pizza crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.  Bake at 500 degrees F for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove pizza from oven.  Top pizza with pea mixture.  Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp.  Remove from oven; sprinkle evenly with salt.  Combine reserved fennel fronds, parsley, rind, and minced garlic;  sprinkle over pizza.  Cut into wedges.

Printable recipe


© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.