As long as there's a few farmers out there, we'll keep fighting for them.-Willie Nelson
True statement, right? And the best place to “fight” for these farmers? A Farmer’s Market. Have you been to any yet this summer/spring? Northern Nevada has some amazing Farmer’s Markets. They are packed with produce, both from Northern Nevada and Northern California. Beautiful stone fruits, berries, squashes, greens, etc.
I have to admit, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of veggies. This is embarrassing considering I think of myself as a “foodie” of sorts. I try, but really, they aren’t my favorite. Yet, every time I walk into a Farmer’s Market, I want to try everything. The colors and freshness of all the veggies (and fruit too) gets my creative juices flowing. And yes, I will eat veggies, and actually enjoy them!
I have two recipes for you today that really celebrate a lot of the wonderful produce that you can get right now at any Farmer’s Market. But I didn’t just slice ‘em up and serve ‘em, although that would be great. I like to think I got a little creative, yet still kept everything nice and easy. Let me show you what I did.
To start, I made a delicious Grilled BBQ Veggie Pizza. Kind of a mouthful there on the title, but crazy good. I used a deep green zucchini, a pretty yellow squash, fresh sweet white corn, a red onion, a bright orange carrot and some beautiful tomatoes. And I grilled ‘em all. Well, except for the tomatoes. Those I didn’t grill.
I started by slicing my zucchini and squash lengthwise. Then I peeled the husk off my corn, sliced my onion, and peeled and sliced my carrot lengthwise too. I brushed my veggies with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I tossed my veggies on my grill and let the natural sugars hiding deep in each veggie come out. I grilled the carrot for about eight minutes, turning it over half way through. My corn grilled even longer, about ten minutes all together. The squash and zucchini were only about five minutes, and the onion slices were fastest at about four minutes. I grilled my veggies over pretty direct heat. I like the brown char marks. I think this gives the veggies a yummy flavor.
Once all my veggies were grilled, and cooled enough to touch, I chopped them into bite sized pieces, and I cut the corn off the cob. Once that was done, I took my pizza crust out and spread it with my Gourmet Rooster Whiskey Apple BBQ Sauce. You can, of course, use whatever BBQ sauce happens to be your fave. Sweet, spicy or smoky, use what you like.
And oh yeah, by pizza crust, I mean I used a Boboli Pizza Crust. You will see why in a minute.
Once the pizza crust was properly topped with sauce, I spread my grilled veggies evenly over the top. I topped this with a combination of grated fontina cheese and grated mozzarella cheese. The combination of these two cheeses will melt beautifully. Now onto why I used a Boboli…..
I grilled my pizza directly on my BBQ. I have tried pizza dough on my grill, but I found that to be messy. I much prefer the sturdiness of a Boboli on my grill. It holds up so much better. I chose a thin crust version, but you can use whatever floats your boat.
I let my pizza grill for about ten minutes. The grill gives the pizza a smoky flavor throughout. You may need to pop your lid on to really get your pizza good and melty, but this method of cooking a pizza rocks no matter what.
Once the pizza is all done, I top it with my chopped tomoatos. I prefer my tomatoes uncooked, but that’s just me.
This pizza will turn anyone into a veggie lover. Like I said above, the veggies get caramelized and sweet, and the crust gets smoky and delicious. And the cheese, oh the cheese…..to die for. My body might have gone into shock though…..it isn’t used to this many veggies!
For dessert? Yep, something to use up all that fruit that you may have bought too much of because it looked oh so good. I have a recipe for a Grilled Peach and Berry Shortcake. Sound good? Wait till you hear about the Raspberry Chocolate Sauce I top it with.
For my shortcake, I start by grilling my peaches. If you thought grilling veggies made them sweet, wait till you try a grilled peach. I sliced my peaches in half, and removed the pit, and then I grilled them, flesh side down for about three minutes. You can brush the flesh side with a neutral tasting oil if you want, but I find I don’t need too.
Once your peach has grill marks, I can promise you that it will be the sweetest peach you have ever eaten. Pure sugary sweet perfection.
Once my peaches cool enough that I can touch them, I sliced them into wedges. I added the wedges to some hulled and sliced strawberries and blueberries. You won’t even need to add any sugar to this if you have farm fresh, ripe berries and peaches.
For the “shortcake” part of this, I use a regular ‘ol can of buttermilk biscuits. The star of this show is the fruit…nobody cares too much about the shortcake.
I like to spilt the raw biscuits in half and sprinkle a little sugar between the two halves. Then, I press them back together and bake according to package directions. If you are feeling sassy, you can throw some cinnamon in there too.
For the sauce, I rinsed off my raspberries, and then I blended them until I had a pretty smooth puree. I heated up some butter and heavy cream, and whisked in some chocolate chips. Once the chips were melted, and I had a smooth sauce, I whisked in the raspberry puree.
To assemble these bad boys, I split my biscuits in half (again), and I laid the bottom half down on a plate. I topped this with my fruit, then sauce, then some whipped cream. It just needs its lid and it’s good to go!
Oh holy yum. This dessert will have you at the Farmer’s Markets weekly scooping up the peaches and berries.
I hope to see you at one of the markets!
Grilled BBQ Veggie Pizza
½ a zucchini, split lengthwise
½ a yellow squash, split lengthwise
1 ear of fresh white corn, husked
½ a red onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 10 ounce Boboli Pizza Crust, thin crust
½ cup BBQ sauce
1 cup fontina cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
½ a tomato, chopped
Brush zucchini, squash, onion, carrots and corn with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill corn for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill carrot for 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill squash and zucchini for about 2-3 minutes per side, and grill onion for about 2 minutes per side.
Let veggies cool until you are able to touch them. Chop veggies into bite sized pieces and cut corn off cob.
Spread pizza crust with BBQ sauce, leaving a ½ inch border. Top with veggies, evenly. Top pizza with cheeses, leaving same border.
Grill pizza for about 8-10 minutes, using lid if necessary. Remove pizza from grill and top with tomatoes. Let cool slightly before slicing.
Grilled Peach and Berry Shortcake
4 slightly firm peaches, sliced in half and pitted
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 pint blueberries
1 can (8) buttermilk biscuits, large sized preferred
1 tablespoon sugar
Place peaches on grill, over direct heat, flesh side down. Grill for about 2 minutes, or until peaches are softened and have char marks. Set aside to cool. Slice when cooled.
Place strawberries and blueberries in a large bowl. Add peaches. Mix gently.
Split biscuits in half. Sprinkle bottom halves with sugar, evenly. Replace top halves. Bake for 13-17 minutes, or until biscuits are browned.
Split biscuits. Top bottom halves with fruit, evenly. Drizzle Raspberry Chocolate Sauce evenly over fruit. Top with top halves.
Raspberry Chocolate Sauce
1 cup raspberries
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons butter
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
Blend raspberries in blender until smooth.
In a saucepan, melt butter into heavy cream. Once mixture is hot, whisk in chocolate chips. Cook, over medium heat, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. This will take about 3 minutes. Whisk in raspberry puree.
Makes about 1 ½ cups.