Although I typically buy as much of my food direct from the farmer or at the market, greenhouse veggies are one of those things that I often buy at the grocery store (as long as they're from Ontario/Canada). In Ontario, most of the greenhouse veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, etc..) are grown in the Leamington region and then distributed to various grocers/markets (i.e., resellers).
The farmer's markets at this time of the year do have a lot of greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers but peppers are much harder to find; and if you do find them, they tend to be pretty pricey. It's also common to find 'imposters' too - there are a few vendors that have greenhouse veggies and claim they are 'Leamington'-grown. However, how do you really know? Are they saying that for the sale? Meanwhile, have they actually purchased lower-priced varieties from Mexico? The peppers are often over-ripe and soft in a lot of areas, which makes me question the quality of them.
Either way, whether you buy greenhouse veggies from the grocery store or from the farmer's market, this is a situation when everybody is a reseller unless it's purchased at the greenhouse itself. (Note: there are smaller greenhouses like one in St. Thomas who does tomatoes but they are few and far between).
Anyways,...the recipe for the Foodland Ontario Calendar this month is the Fresh Greenhouse Pizza. Who doesn't love pizza? Without question, I knew that this recipe was going to be a winner.
- 1 ready-made pizza dough
- 1 1/2 cups shreeded Italian blend cheeses
- 2 Ontario Greenhouse Tomatoes, sliced
- Half Ontario Greenhouse Sweet Yellow Pepper, thinly sliced (I used an orange one)
- 1/2 cup pepperoni slices
- 12 whole fresh Ontario Basil Leaves
Pizza dough (makes enough for 4 large pizzas):
- 2 tbsp yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3-4 cups flour (it varies..)
Begin adding the flour in 1/2 cup increments (I used half white all-purpose and half whole spelt Ontario flour). Mix with a wooden spoon until it becomes to hard to stir. Dump the contents onto the counter and continue adding flour/kneading the dough until it becomes smooth. Put the dough into a bowl greased with olive oil and cover with a tea towel. Leave it to rise for an hour or two.
Once risen, punch the dough down and place the dough onto the counter. Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. If not using the dough right away cover each ball of dough in saran wrap and place the balls into a freezer bag. This is a great way to always have pizza dough on hand for those weeknight dinners.
Let the ball of dough rest on the counter for another half hour or so (covered with a tea towel again).
Meanwhile, start pre-heating your pizza stone at 450F. I usually leave mine in for 20 minutes or so. Preheating the stone means that the pizza takes less time to cook. If you don't have a pizza stone a baking sheet works fine too.
For the pizza ingredients I easily found greenhouse tomatoes and peppers. For the cheese I got my favorite Thornloe Salsa Cheddar Cheese and the pepperoni was from the market. All local ingredients for this recipe!
Spread the dough into any desired shape with a rolling pin and place onto the warmed pizza stone.
Place half the cheese onto the dough and top with the pepperoni, tomatoes, and peppers. Add the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake at 450F for 20 to 22 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil leaves.
Note: since I used a pre-warmed pizza stone my pizza was ready within 15 minutes. If using a baking sheet that hasn't been pre-heated it'll take the suggested 20 to 22 minutes.
Inititally, I had hoped to follow the calendar's suggestion and make a rhubarb bread pudding but I have not seen any local rhubarb yet. There is such a thing as greenhouse rhubarb but it's much harder to find and, again, is more expensive. I'll make this recipe another time - perhaps I'll take out one of my frozen pizza dough's and make another pizza to have with the rhubarb dessert.
Next month's recipe for May will be a Springtime Asparagus and Ham Pasta. Mmmmm...asparagus!! With all the warm weather we experienced in March I have heard that there IS some local asparagus around already. I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet but I'll keep looking!
**If you wish to view the online version of the calendar you may access it here: http://www.foodland.gov.on.ca/english/calendar/2012/index.html
**If you'd like to view my previous blog entries for the 2012 and 2011 calendar click on the 'Foodland Ontario' label on the left side of the page or view them by following this link: http://southwesternontariofoodie.blogspot.com/search/label/foodland%20ontario