During the recession of the 1990’s, a friend of mine and some of his friends started an online magazine called, “The Hard Luck Times.” It was a place for networking and also tips to weather the economic downturn. I wrote a food column for the magazine. In my first article I suggested that the best way to save money on food is to make sure you use everything you have! I included a recipe for roasted vegetable pizza.
As I don’t have a full house, I didn’t think the current inflation at the supermarket would effect me much. Boy was I wrong! So, I’m bringing back my post on using the forgotten vegetables stowed in the crisper and roasted vegetable pizza. It seemed like a good time to talk about this again.
When I had my food business, I’d get out my stand mixer and make pounds of pizza dough to stow in the freezer. Today I used Trader Joes fresh pizza dough but you can find pizza dough in most supermarkets and even your favourite pizza place may sell you some.
I prefer this metal, perforated pan for my pizza. I’ve tried a pizza stone and found it really frustrating. With this pan I can stretch and pull the dough really easily and it creates a nice crisp crust. A regular sheet pan works just as well. In fact I think some of the supermarket brands are made for a sheet pan to make a rectangular pizza! Just make sure that your dough is room temperature or it will be difficult to work with.
After stretching the dough I place a teaspoon of olive oil with 1/2 a grated garlic clove in the middle of the crust and spread it with my hands to the edges of the dough. Add cheese, top with vegetables and bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
A few more ways to use vegetables
I recently had a bunch of kale from the garden and threw it in the freezer. I discovered that makes it perfectly blendable for smoothies and cooks up great too. All your fresh vegetables and fruits can be chopped and put in the freezer. If I’m extra lazy I’ll throw whole fruits and veg in the freezer. Check prices on frozen organic fruits and vegetables. They may be less expensive and they retain their nutritive value.
Keeping it real, I used just what I had which was broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onion and garlic. I can’t really think of a vegetable that wouldn’t be good roasted, even leafy greens like Kale do well in this preparation.
Roasted vegetables can be used as a side dish of course, but try them in omelettes, bowls, and heat some up with broth for roasted vegetable soup.
More fun with vegetables
If you have less then perfect or past their prime tomatoes, try tomato toast. Toast up some bread then halve a tomato and rub the flesh side on the toast. I started by rubbing half a garlic clove on the freshly toasted bread slices, then the tomato. I love it with a drizzle of olive oil and a little coarse salt, but it’s a great base for avocado toast or even a grilled cheese.
So, empty the fridge and see what you have!