Weekend Foodie Warriors- Take 25!
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you had a fantastic long Labor Day weekend! In this edition of Foodie Adventures, I cooked up a storm – homemade pesto was the start of pizzas & calzones, apples from the Greenville State Farmers Market added to an apple cake & apple sauce, and we revisit and revamp an old favorite recipe!
Pesto, Pizza, & Calzones – Oh My!
A couple weekends ago, I plant sat for one of my new friends, who gifted me some basil to take home. That was a couple months ago, which was used in at least a few recipes before I ran out.
This is me with the original stalk of basil! Big and tall, am I right?
So you can imagine my delight when she told me she had a new plant and needed to get rid of more basil, and was giving more to me! I thought this was a one time thing, so having a fresh basil supply with the amount of Italian cooking I do is invaluable. However, I was not expecting her to gift me a basil plant the size of a small toddler!! See for yourself:
What else do you do with that much basil besides make (almost) more pesto than your food processor can handle! I promise it’s delish, and only about 5 ingredients in the blender. 💜See recipe here.
The layer of oil on top is to protect it from going bad by preserving it.
I took all the basil on the 5 strands, picked through and rinsed it, and put it in the blender with: 1/2 cup of my VioLife vegan parm cheese (you can sub it out for normal parm if you’d like); 1/2 cup of olive oil; 1/3 cup of pine nuts, lightly toasted in a pan w/a smidge of oil for 2-3 mins; 3-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 1/4 tsp. salt; and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Blend mixture together until combined and at desired consistency (pulse more for smoother texture, pulse less for courser texture).
Of course, the first thing I thought of, remembering the seasonal heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, I wanted to make homemade pizzas (see recipe at the link left)! So that’s just what we did.
My friend Tam was coming over so I also made some of my vegan Alfredo sauce (minus the garlic for her because of allergies) for a white pizza (recipe for that here).
We started with pre-rolled pizza dough from Publix, which saved us a ton of time. I brushed the crusts with an olive oil and Italian seasoning mixture (the normal kind you find in the spice aisle, feel free to make your own though!)
My pizza was a base of pesto sauce, a layer of goat cheddar cheese, then the heirloom tomatoes, and a combination of the VioLife mozzarella and cheddar shreds to top it off!
Tam’s pizza was half mozz and cheddar, half Alfredo sauce, and a quarter was topped with spinach!
While those baked for 15-20 mins in a 400-degree oven, I also bought pizza dough that we rolled out into two calzones (recipe for that linked left), which you’ll see below (I forgot to show pics of us stuffing those, sorry y’all):
Picture, left: a pesto and tomato sauce base, with mozz, cheddar, and pepperoni. Picture, middle: The start of Tam’s calzone, with the alfredo sauce base, topped with spinach, mozz, and goat cheddar. Picture, right: The pre-baked calzones brushed with the rest of the olive oil and seasoning mixture. These baked for slightly longer at the same temp as the pizzas, but not by much (maybe 2-5 mins longer).
They came out great! Crispy and golden brown on the outside, with some cheese oozing out, and warm and gooey on the inside. First time making calzones and I think they were yummy.
I don’t know how that giant bubble got in Tam’s pizza (we did try to unsuccessfully pop it), however, the pizzas were delish either way! I took my leftovers to work the next day and they heated up really well.
If you’ve never made homemade pesto or pizza before, I highly recommend you try it! It’s so much fun to be able to customize everything on your pizza, and prepping all the toppings is really the longest part of the process (besides waiting for the pies to come out of the oven). Super fun for kiddos to help with too!
Inspired by recipe from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8454/apple-cake-v/
I love the start of apple season, as it signals that Autumn is just around the corner!! I’m a fall baby, so I absolutely love anything and everything Autumn themed ❤🍂🍁
But, I’ll admit it, I kinda cheated a little this weekend. I could have shown you the 73rd Hendersonville Apple Festival (only about an hour and a half to my northwest), but I hit up one of my local favorites for apples instead, the Greenville State Farmers Market, as I had a ton of cooking and shopping to do and traveling north didn’t fit into the schedule.
I ended up getting eight apples total, four Honey Crisp and four Fuji apples, to get a nice tart and sweet mixture.
I decided to use the majority of the apples to make an Apple Caramel Granola cake, the ingredients you see here to your right.
It was a fairly simple recipe, sifting all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mixing together with the wet ones. It ended up being a really thick batter, and I ended up halving the sugar in the recipe and adding in some spices too.
See below for the remaining pics of the process!
The cake turned out slightly lumpy looking, but man, was it delish! I poked holes in the top before pouring the caramel sauce over the top and it filled in all the cracks in the cake.
With the remainder of the apples, I made one of my favorites from my childhood, applesauce! My grandma made the best chunky applesauce when I was younger, so I was thinking of her when making this the other day.
I cut up the apples into small chunks and left the skins on for texture, nutrition, and flavor.
They went into a pot with ground cinnamon, ground cloves, a little bit of water, and half a cup of sugar until the fruit broke down and got to the right consistency. You can make it as soft or chunky as you like by cooking it more or less. I ended up smooshing mine a little throughout the process to break down some of the firmer apples.
And voila! Here is the applesauce next to its cake cousin. I brought the cake to work and my coworkers ate half of it, it was a hit! I loved the applesauce too, reminded me of the one my grandma used to make 💜
Recipe Revamp – BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos
If any of you have been part of the foodie fam since the beginning (thank you to all my long-term fans and love all my newbies too 😊), you’ll have seen this recipe on my Instagram feed and story highlights as you first jump onto my profile.
The base of the recipe didn’t change, starting out with putting a layer of chips and cheese on a foil-lined tray in an oven at 350 *F for 5-7 mins to melt the cheese.
But then I decided to zhuzh (pronounced “zhoosh”) it up a bit by adding some extra ingredients to brighten up the plate!
That’s your word of the day, folks, it means to “make more exciting, lively, or attractive; to improve in appearance by way of a slight adjustment “.
I took some fresh spinach I had bought from the farmers market this weekend in a saute pan with some spices, olive oil, and a 4 oz package of mushrooms until they were tender.
I then added a splash of red wine vinegar (about 1 1/2 tbs. worth) to the BBQ sauce and coleslaw greens mixture, giving it more of a bright, tangy flavor.
I then layered the remaining ingredients onto the bed of chips and cheese, starting with the mushroom and spinach mixture, then pulled pork (zapped in the microwave for 1 min 30 secs to preheat), and finishing it off with the coleslaw mixture. You could wait and have that be added cold on top but we did it this way for a change. Top it off with the rest of your cheese and send it back into the oven for 7-10 mins, broiling for about 2-3 if crispier cheese topping is desired.
We used the non-dairy cheese on this and added salsa and guac on top once it came out of the oven!
And here is the messy masterpiece! The better picture was probably my introductory picture version, minus the guac of course.
It doesn’t warm up super well the next day though, so eat this the same day or share with friends if you can.
This was a fantastic cooking weekend as a foodie, and I can’t wait to go back to visit friends in Maryland for my bff’s wedding this weekend!! May not have as much to write about for the next WFW edition, but we’ll see how it goes 🤷♀️
So how was your long weekend Foodie Friends? What ingredients are you looking forward to now that Autumn is fast approaching? Sound out in the comments below or let me know your suggestions of what dishes or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗