pita pizzas with mushrooms and fresh basil

 

lovely pita

I love quick lunch ideas, and I also love pizza. When I saw the gorgeous head of fresh, live basil in my local box this week, I started dreaming of tasty Italian dishes. When I saw we had more fresh Shitake mushrooms, I got thinking of how tasty those two things would be on a pizza pie! Making pizza dough from scratch is far from “quick”, and buying those pre-made crusts is a waste of money and take up too much room to store, in my opinion.

lovely pita

Solution? Pitas! If you have a brand of pita you enjoy, keep them in the freezer and they’ll be ready to act as personal pizza crusts when you need a healthy, quick meal. We love the whole wheat pitas we buy from Melitsa’s, they are restaurant quality and bake up soft and yummy.

Pita Pizzas

2 Whole wheat pizzas

½ -3/4 cup pasta sauce of choice (I like a premade tomato pesto for pizzas)

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 Tblspns butter

1Tblspn garlic, diced very fine

10 shitake mushrooms

6 large fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

lovely pita

2. Slice your mushrooms nice and thin. Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and saute garlic in butter until butter just begins to brown. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, just for a few minutes (don’t overcook as they will also be baking in the oven).

lovely pita

3. Ribbon your basil leaves. (To ribbon, layer leaves on top of one another and roll tightly. Take a small, sharp paring knife and make quick, thin cuts to the rolled-up leaves, producing pretty basil “ribbons”).

lovely pita

4. Once your oven is ready, remove your pitas from the freezer. Sprinkle just a few drops of water on a baking sheet and place the pitas on top of the water drops (this helps keep them soft and not dried out). Put sauce to your liking on the pitas.

lovely pita

5. Put most of the cheese on the sauce, saving a few pinches to sprinkle on top of the toppings. Evenly distribute your sauteed mushrooms and garlic, as well as your basil ribbons, on the cheese, and cover with just a few shreds of cheese. Add some fresh ground pepper to taste.

lovely pita
lovely pita

6. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. I you like nice browned, bubbly cheese like we do, switch the oven to a medium broil for the last two minutes (but be careful you don’t burn your hard-made pizzas!). Serve immediately.

lovely pita

You may find, depending on your pita size and your appetite, that you really need more than one per person. They go great with a green salad or a bowl of soup. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

sesame stir-fry with shiitake mushrooms

 

lovely stir-fry

I was so excited to see some beautiful shitake mushrooms in this week’s local box. I started thinking of ways to prepare these little treasures, and a nice vegetable stir-fry jumped to the top of the list.

lovely stir-fry

Stir-frys are great and so incredibly versatile. They sort of like chilis in that you almost can’t mess them up. I prefer sesame oil and a good base of onions, garlic, and fresh ginger, but really as long as you have some oil, some veggies, and seasoning to your taste, you’ve got a stir fry in the making.

lovely stir-fry

As with salads, I don’t list quantities with my stir-fry recipes, because its really about who you’re making it for and what your preference is for proportion of ingredients. I could have made this stir-fry half mushrooms, but I was reluctant to use so many in one shot.

Sesame Stir-fry with Shitake Mushrooms

Sesame oil (3 Tablespoons for stirfy for two)
butter (a dollop)
soy sauce
Onion
Garlic
Fresh Ginger
Shiitake Mushrooms
Carrots
Water Chenuts
Celery
(any other veggies you like that cook quickly)
Cooked basmati rice

1.Dice the onion, garlic, and ginger together in your food processor or dice fine by hand.

2. Julienne or slice thin (I like to use a mandolin) your carrots, celery, water chesnuts, and any other veggies you want to add. Gently slice your mushrooms into thirds (any thinner and you’ll fall apart and you won’t be able to appreciate their delicious flavor and texture).

lovely stir-fry
lovely stir-fry

3. In a wok or appropriately-sized saucepan, heat your sesame oil with a dash of butter (the butter helps keep the burning point of the oil down and adds to the flavor)

4. Add your onion, garlic, and ginger mix to the oil once it’s hot and saute until onions become translucent.

lovely stir-fry

5. Add the rest of the veggies, add soy sauce to taste (about 2Tblsp for two servings), and cook on medium-high, stirring constantly, until the veggies are tender but not over-cooked.

6. When the veggies are tender, either mix in your rice before plating or serve alongside on the plate.

lovely stir-fry

I love to eat this with some yummy vegetable spring rolls and duck sauce. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller