Monday, January 14, 2008

Recipes: Artichoke, Tomato, and Olive Stew & Artichoke, Tomato and Olive Pizza (Αγκινάρες και Ντομάτες & Πίτσα με Αγκινάρες, Ντομάτες και Ελιές)

Riana Lagarde of Garlic Breath is one of my favorite food bloggers. She’s an American who lives in the south of France with her daughter and French husband.

Over the last few years, Riana became overwhelmed by the amount of belongings she had (or inherited), so determined not to buy anything for one year, except food. She quit shopping in 2007, and is still going strong. For January 2008, Riana is not even buying food, and instead is living off the contents of her freezer, cupboards, and garden.

Riana’s “slow year” has been fascinating to read about. She’s brewed walnut liquor, preserved tangerines, and made cheese. She’s cured olives, baked cherry pie in her woodstove, made lye,
nixtamaled corn for hominy, and written about all of it in captivating detail.

Riana’s adventures made me think about how much we have and how little we truly need. As a New Year’s exercise, for the month of January, I decided to forego shopping except for essential food items (so far I’ve bought milk, eggs, yogurt, and onions). We get fresh fruit and vegetables every other week from our
Full Circle Farm CSA box. For the rest, I’m relying on my freezers and pantry.

It’s been interesting; not spending money requires a surprising amount of discipline. It’s easier to buy what you want when you want it. It’s harder to figure out alternative ways to get things done. Not shopping has made me pay attention to minor ways I waste for the sake of convenience.

The best part of this month has been working through the food in my freezers. It’s forced me to plan ahead for meals; meat and fish need to be thawed, beans need to be soaked, and bread needs to be made. Instead of dashing to the store for last minute dinner ingredients, I’m using up what we already have.

My current goal is to see air in the refrigerator’s freezer before February. Every day or so I yank open the freezer door and pull out what comes easily to hand. I lie in bed at night thinking about how best to use what I’ve defrosted.

Two days ago a bag of frozen artichoke hearts rose to the top of the freezer’s heap. As I contemplated the artichokes, I knew whatever I made had to help warm my bones. For the last few days the weather has been bracingly cold, -5°F at my house this morning.

In the dark of the night, I decided to make Greek artichoke and tomato stew, spiced up with Aleppo pepper and slivered olives. The next day, when the stew was done, I found myself with extra dough from
my siege of baguette baking. My mind jumped immediately to pizza.

I returned the stew to the burner and simmered it until the sauce reduced to a paste, the perfect consistency for pizza topping. Feta cheese and crushed oregano added the finishing touch to a great vegetarian pizza.

Whether you eat the artichokes, tomatoes, and olives as stew or pizza (or with cheese ravioli, which is how we ate the leftovers tonight), they are a wonderfully warming meal for yet another cold winter day.

Artichoke, Tomato and Olive StewArtichoke, Tomato and Olive Stew (Αγκινάρες και Ντομάτες με Ελιές)
Serves 2 - 3
Frozen artichoke hearts or artichoke quarters work well in braised recipes, especially when they are first lightly browned in olive oil to drive out excess moisture and bring up the flavor. Artichoke, Tomato and Olive Stew takes 30 - 45 minutes to make and is delicious with garlic roasted potatoes on the side. It is good served over pasta, or mixed with tortellini or ravioli. It may also be used to make Artichoke, Tomato, and Olive Pizza (see recipe below). The recipe can be made ahead and easily expanded to feed a crowd. An easy way to pit the olives is to lay them out on a cutting board and smash them with a meat mallet hard enough to loosen the pit but not so hard that you smash the pit into pieces. After smashing olives, the pits pop right out.

1/4 cup olive oil
12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts or quarters, thawed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups diced onions, 1/2” dice
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp. dried thyme, crushed
2 cups, or 14.5-ounce can, diced tomatoes with their juices
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted and slivered oil-cured or salt-cured black olives
1/4 cup minced parsley

In a sauté pan large enough to hold all the ingredients, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Sauté the thawed artichoke hearts, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, until they begin to brown. Remove the artichokes from the pan and reserve.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, until they soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the garlic, Aleppo pepper, and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved artichokes, tomatoes, white wine, and olives and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 20 – 30 minutes. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve with crusty bread and feta cheese.

Artichoke, Tomato and Olive PizzaArtichoke, Tomato, and Olive Pizza (Πίτσα με Αγκινάρες, Ντομάτες και Ελιές)Makes 1 15-16" pizza
The topping is identical to Artichoke, Tomato and Olive Stew (see recipe above), except the tomato sauce is thicker and feta cheese and oregano are included for added flavor. You can use leftover Artichoke, Tomato and Olive Stew to make pizza sauce by simmering the leftovers until the sauce is reduced to a thick paste. If you have leftover topping from making the pizza, thin it with a little water (or wine) and serve it as pasta sauce.
Ladenia (a traditional Greek "pizza") dough makes a tasty, olive oil-based crust, but you can use any yeast dough for making pizza. Because I had some on hand, I used Old-Fashioned Baguette dough.

1 recipe
Ladenia dough (see below), or 1 pound bread or pizza dough
1 recipe Artichoke, Tomato and Olive Stew (see above)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/4 tsp. oregano

Ladenia dough:
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. dried yeast (1 packet)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 3/4 – 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Olive oil for oiling pan

Make the dough: Put the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle it with dried yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes while the yeast begins to work. Mix in the salt and olive oil. Stir in the smaller amount of flour, and add enough of the remaining flour to form slightly sticky dough. Adding flour as necessary, knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. (Kneading the dough in a stand mixer makes the task quick and easy.)

Liberally oil the bottom of a 15 - 16” round pan (or a 12” x 14” roasting pan) with olive oil. Start stretching the dough with your hands, and put it into the pan. Press the dough out until it fully covers the pan’s bottom. If some of the olive oil oozes onto the dough, use it to lightly oil the top. Cover the pan with a dish cloth or plastic wrap and set it aside to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Make the topping: Follow the recipe for Artichoke, Tomato and Olive Stew (above), but simmer the stew until it is reduced to a thick paste, 40 – 45 minutes. Watch carefully near the end of the cooking time and stir regularly to prevent the topping from sticking to the pan and burning. Remove from the heat.

Make the pizza: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

When the dough has finished rising, use your fingertips to make little indentations all over it. Evenly spread the topping over the dough, making sure the artichokes are evenly distributed. (It’s better to have leftovers than to overload the dough with topping.) Sprinkle the feta over the topping and the crushed oregano over everything.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the sides of the pizza are browned and the dough is cooked through.

Cut into pieces and serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.


This is my entry for Hay Hay it's Donna Day: Pizza hosted this month by 80 Breakfasts.


Peter M said...

Laurie, I see Throumpes!

Preserved artichokes are great but as you said, lighty saute them, sometimes they fall apart.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

What robust flavours to this dish and so versatile!

Elly said...

Mmm these both look great. Love the combo of flavors and textures.

Peter M said...

Laurie, I just gleaned Riana's site Garlic Breath...fantastic find!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...mighty delicious...I love the fact that you are trying to use up the contents of your freezer. And thanks for that quick starter the other day. Can't wait to try it

Riana Lagarde said...

i love it that you are following along. its fun, isnt it? we are really thinking outside of our freezer box each day. thanks for the sweet kudos!!


test it comm said...

Limiting your spending for a time sounds like an interesting challenge. It would certainly help to clean out the freezer! Both of you artichoke dishes sound pretty tasty. I have not done much with artichokes. I will have to fix that.

Suzana said...

Artichokes are pretty vegetables and so versatile! Laurie, I love the way you mixed them with feta and oregano, using a basic stew to top the pizza - that's so original.

Ivy said...

You have given us a lot to think about. I'll have to see what I'll dig out of my freezer because I'm sure there's lots of things to chose from. I love artichokes and have used them in pizza but not this way. Maybe next time I shall try it.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

oh my~ this looks so yummy!
I may have to eat the whole stew by myself... that is the best thing about artichokes and olives. No competition at my house. =D

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter, I find the frozen ones don't fall apart nearly as much as the marinated ones. But yes, being careful while sauteeing is definitely important. Glad you found Riana's site interesting.

Valli, I really like dishes that can be used many different ways.

Glad you like them, Elly!

Peter, the freezer isn't emptying fast enough! It was so packed that as I remove things, the rest just pops up and fills the space. It's scary.

Riana, it is sort of fun in a wierd kind of way. Definitely educational, and worth doing. It helps with self-awareness, always a good thing.

Kevin, interesting is exactly the right word. As for the frozen artichokes, they are good in many dishes - either as the focus or a side not - and I usually keep some on hand. You are a quite creative cook, so when you try them I know it will be something good!

Suzana, I agree with you completely - I love artichokes for their versatility. As for using the stew on pizza, it happened because of the happy conjunction of bread dough and stew being on the same counter on the same day!

Ivy, I'm so glad your post came through this time! I hope you join in working through your freezer -- it's very satisfying. More satisfying than I thought it would be.

Sandi, it also freezes well, so you wouldn't have to eat it all at one time!

Anonymous said...

It seems a natural thing to do at the start of a new year..clear out the fridge, freezer and cupboard. Your stew looks so delicious with the artichoke :)

Cheryl said...

They both look delicious. I am aiming to try your dough recipe soon!
About the freezer...I'm not having the same freezer problem that I did back home as mostof the food I buy is fresh and to me, most of the frozen food available here, (with exception of turkey and pita bread)seems to be a bit less tempting. We are really looking forward to summer, so we can really live off of our garden!
Great post!

Anonymous said...

Both the stew and the pizza sound delicious! And I loved reading about how you are trying to use up everything you've got stowed away instead of buying things...good for you and keep it up! We would all do well with a reminder of how little we really need to get by :)

Great HHDD entry and great post! Thanks for joining :)

Unknown said...

The stew looks wonderful! I love all the ingredients. The one ingredient I don't know if we have is frozen artichokes. We have canned and fresh. Can canned work too?

Laurie Constantino said...

Maryann, it does seem logical doesn't it? I think I'll make it an annual tradition; it's certainly satisfying to use things up. And my shelves are definitely not looking empty, which is a message in itself.

Hey Cheryl! Buying fresh is definitely the way to go. It's not that I buy frozen food, it's more like we have too much fish so we freeze it. I have veggies from the garden and some wild strawberries from the yard. There's meat I bought on sale, and bread I've baked ahead. When I make big batches of soup - yep, in the freezer it goes. It fills up awfully fast, but it sure isn't emptying so quickly! You've got so much space for a garden now - can't wait to read about it!

Thanks Joey! I'm happy to be particpating!

Lannae, you might be surprised and find some frozen artichokes. If Safeway has its own brand (and it does), it seems like something that would be found most places. But yes, if you can't find frozen, you can use canned, but they need to be rinsed really well. I've also made it with marinated artichoke hearts and thrown the marinade in for extra flavor. Good luck!

Cakelaw said...

This looks delicious - an amazing flavour combination!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What a great goal to see air in your freezer! Although I often curse the fact that I must defrost my freezer every month or so, there is also the advantage that I cannot store things forever. Good luck with the pantry creativity!!

mimi said...

this artichoke stew looks amazing! i'm definitely trying this out soon. love your photographs!

Laurie Constantino said...

Gaye, thanks = the flavors are really good together.

Gretchen, I've been working at it all month and it's still too full. You're right, it's too easy to let it fill up when you don't have to defrost.

Mimi, let me know how it turns out! I'm so happy to hear you like the photographs, thank you.

Barbara said...

Fabulous topping. Thanks for joining HHDD. I'm off to check out Garlic Breath.