Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Monster Post! - Pizza, Storing Basil, and New Products!

Okay, I'll start with our last few meals:

Two nights ago I made a very tasty dish from the last issue of "Vegetarian Times" - Lentils with Couscous and Chickpeas. It's really good! I made it exactly as the recipe said, except I used white canellini beans instead of chickpeas & I used my giant lebanese couscous. MMM! If you get VT, I really recommend this nice recipe. Musty and I both loved it, and we aren't even big lentil fans. Isn't that nice with the pine nuts and fresh mint on top?

I bought a package of 2 organic Viccolo cornmeal pizza crusts (see product reviews below)... oh these are SO GOOD. I know I've blogged about these many times before, but I just can't overemphasize how strongly I encourage you to run out and buy some! I make mine with 2 crushed garlic cloves, a 1/2 tsp of olive oil, a BIG pile of minced up fresh basil, and 1/4"-thick slices of fresh tomatoes. Ooooh. And, of course, with such simple ingredients, the better the ingredients, the better the pizza. It was so good, that we had it two nights in a row.

And tonight, we also had some nice little veggie side dishes with our pizzas: some sauteed summer squash with fresh parseley and basil, and some sauteed jacinto kale with garlic. MMM. Even Musty enjoyed his kale like this!

We've had some GREAT salads the last couple of nights too - lettuce and cukes & tomatoes & beautiful raw yellow beets & cashews & strawberries - even a nasturium flower on tonight's salad!


I blog about these often because they are SO FANTASTIC! Most of all, I just wanted to alert you all that they are now available in organic variety - which only costs $.50 more. It's about $5 for two crusts, and I find that with a salad or veggie, one crust is easily enough for two people to share.
A new vegan cookie from Newman's Own Organics - Ginger "Hermits" cookies. They're soft, chewy, filled with raisins and molasses, and Very Good! Apparently they come in two other flavors too, but ginger was all I saw, and it sounded good to me!

I saw these Shady Maple Farms "Maple Chunks" at the grocery store - and they caught my eye. Then, I also saw them in the cupboard at our friends' house and got to try them. YUM. They make a nice little sweet niblet, but the thing that really caught my eye was the suggestion to bake them into cookies for a crunchy maple explosion. I think I'll be trying that soon!


I am so grateful for this amazing tip, I realized that I should share it with all of you. After trying many different and inadequate methods for keeping fresh basil, I finally found one that REALLY works. I've been using this method for about a year, always with great results.

Get enough paper towel to wrap around the leaves and moisten it. Wrap the leaves and put the whole thing in a plastic bag. Refridgerate until needed.Check out how great my basil still looks a whole WEEK after I bought it at the farmer's market!

That'll probably be it for a few days - tomorrow is Musty's birthday, and then we're off to visit our god-daughter up in Mendocino for 3 days. I'll be sure to take lots of foodie pics though, and tell you all about it when we get back!


  1. wow so much colors!!!

    all looks good. thanks so much for the tip!
    happy birthday to Musty!!

  2. Wow that all looks so good! I'll have to keep in mind the basil tip. I've also had good luck storing fresh herbs by putting the stems in a small glass of water, putting a plastic bag over top and storing in the fridge.

  3. Happy birthday to Musty!
    As always, your food looks fantastic. I recently made a salad with strawberries in it too! I'm intrigued by those new Paul Newman cookies- I'll keep an eye out for them.

  4. Your beautiful salads inspire me.

    Those little maple chunks sound so good, and they would be fantastic in just about any baked good.

    Just wondering, is Musty his real name, or a nickname?

  5. Hi Johanna,
    :) thanks! Don't you just love colorful meals?

    Hi Chris,
    yeah, I've also had luck with the jar of water trick... now if only I could figure out how to make strawberries last. :)

    Hi Bazu,
    I'll give Musty your birthday wishes! It may be that we get the Newman's Own things earlier than other markets because his daughter (who runs the "organics" line) lives here in Santa Cruz... But look for them - they're yummy! Also, don't your love strawberries in salads? It's nice to get a little sweetie burst in there!

    Hi Judy,
    No "Musty" isn't his real name, ha ha! His real name is Matt Mustapick - but his friends and family have been calling him "Musty" for years. When I met him, I was introduced to him as "Musty" and so that's usually what I call him. Every once in a while I call him by his actual last name and it always feels very formal! :)

  6. That Lebanese couscous is impressing! How can it be so huge?
    Your pictures are so colourful, especially the pizza and the salad. Looks great!

  7. HBD to Musty! First, your salad looks beautiful just as all you prepare. I knew the trick with the herb in wet paper towels but I've never seen it work so well - wow! I would love to find those cornmeal crusts, and I love lentils - that 3 legume dish looks awesome!

    Have a great weekend!

  8. mmmm, what an awesome post! I will be looking high & low for cornmeal pizza crusts! (& maple chunks) I recently made a polenta pizza, and would love to find one good to go. Your pizza is georgous - I could eat that every single night, for real! I have this month's Vegetarian Times, and just tonight made the "meatloaf" that I saw you make recently - now, I want to try the lentils dish! yummy. How fancy & summery to have flowers on a salad. Happy B-day to Musty, have fun! I'll email you soon. :o)


  9. I love that tomato-laden pizza. It's time for me to have pizza again, and that picture is telling me how I should do it. That's a great tip about the basil--I have a basil plant, but that method would probably work for other fresh herbs as well, don't you think? I can never use up all my cilantro before it goes bad!

  10. Thanks for this basil tip. I wish I had read it three days ago...Omniman came home iwth 3 huge bunches of basil. I'm afraid to look.

  11. I LOVE giant couscous. I need to find a source for it here... can anyone hook me up? :)

  12. First of all, I LOVE all things maple. I've seen those maple chunks at smaller health food stores (never WF) but never picked them up. They sure look tasty.

    That pizza looks awesome! I think I tried those pizza crusts a few months ago, and I agree - they're really delicious.

    Hope Musty has a happy birthday and that you have a great trip!

  13. Your pizza is beautiful! The maple chunks sound like they would be amazing in cookies…I must look out for them! Happy Birthday to Musty!


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