Planning the Season

Seed catalogs have been arriving for weeks, making me think about planning the garden despite the 5 feet of new snow that buried our local mountains in the last few days. This past weekend only enhanced the spring fever: I led a workshop at the 2nd annual Free the Seeds event and was impressed by not just the four-digit turnout but also the number of booths, workshops, and talks. The local Farm Hands organization lists more than 110 farms, ranches, community gardens, farmers markets, and restaurants and grocers that emphasize local food for a county with a population of under 100,000; nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent survey found that 167,000 U.S. farms locally produced and sold food through farmers markets, on-farm sales, and other direct farmer-to-eater sales.

This means that no matter where you live, it should be possible to grow or purchase locally grown food and use it in Twice as Tasty recipes. Now’s the time to start thinking about what you want to grow in your new garden, add to your existing plot, or ensure will be delivered by your community-supported agriculture (CSA) farmer.
Read more about planning the season

Pizza

People may forever debate whether pizza is Italian, but there can be no doubt that it is American. One poll last year reported that “For Americans, pizza lands in the number one spot as the ultimate comfort food.” But if you were to ask, “What is pizza?” you’d get as many answers as respondents.

This, to my mind, is a good thing. It’s what makes pizza so popular. It’s also what makes pizza so easy and affordable to create from scratch at home. You don’t need a specific recipe with exact ingredients. You don’t even need a ratio with proportions of various toppings. All you need is some dough, a couple handfuls of garnishes, and a way to cook it. If you have a sourdough starter, the dough is in the bag—or should I say, jar.
Learn to make Sourdough Pizza Dough and Thin-Crust Pizza

30-Minute Soups

Soup. That short word has endless variations. A walk down the canned soup aisle, a price check of a gourmet carton, or a search for a soup recipe is enough to convince anyone that making a steaming, scrumptious pot from scratch is a complex, challenging process. But soup is as simple as the word. This dish is an excellent place to take the leap from following a recipe to improvising a meal.

At its most basic, soup is four components: a base, a thickener, a liquid, and a main ingredient. The liquid and main ingredient can be thought of as the essence: add 3 parts liquid to 2 parts main ingredient, and it’s soup. Add a base to boost the flavor and a thickener to improve the texture, and you’re competing with that gourmet carton. But it’s likely you’ve never seen a recipe that puts it this way—until now. Learn to make Fresh Improv Soup and 30-Minute Cherry Tomato Soup

Tomatoes

Hopefully you were swayed by my argument for grilling vegetables last month. In this week’s recipes, the grilled flavor shines. The salsa has evolved over the years from fresh to roasted and finally to grilled. We get more compliments for it than for anything else we process, and no matter how much we put up each year, our stash barely lasts to the next canning season.

The grilling creates intense flavor, but it also lets you stretch out the process to suit both your harvest and your schedule. We harvest and grill the ingredients as they come ripe, separating the tomato juice and solids. Then we stash everything in the freezer until we have enough for at least one full canner batch of salsa. It’s also a fabulous recipe for a canning party, particularly when paired with a tasty beverage to celebrate your hard work.
Learn to make Grilled Tomato Chipotle Salsa and Grilled Tomato Bloody Mary Mix