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Contest Entry: Partying with Food & Flowers Recipe
by Jennie Love

Contest Entry: Partying with Food & Flowers

October 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm Jennie

Entry #3 :: Foodbuzz.com “Project Food Blog” Contest

Challenge Prompt from Foodbuzz: Celebrate! You’ve made it this far, and the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family (at least four guests, you can include yourself in the 4 person count). Whether you’re an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors. Share your hosting secrets with readers, like how to cook for a crowd, plan a menu, or involve guests in the prep. And don’t forget to document the party with pictures including one of your Project Food Blog Menu using the provided template.

The reality of my life is that it’s entirely too overloaded with priorities. It seems there’s never enough hours in a day and certainly not enough days in a week. As such, I’m always looking for ways to multi-task and objects that are multi-functional. For example, in my garden, the best plants are those that are edible, look beautiful in the garden, make good cut material for bouquets, and come back every year so I don’t have to take the time to replant. Sometimes it takes some creativity to get all this multi-tasking and functioning rolling, but it’s well worth it in the end.

My passions for food and for flowers have been merging a good bit lately. When Foodbuzz issued the challenge to throw a luxury dinner party, my first reaction was “Oh no! How am I going to fit this into my schedule??”. Then, as I mused about the possibilities, I decided what a great opportunity it would be to combine local seasonal food with a flower design class using local seasonal flowers that I was already scheduled to host. See, my business, Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, is focused on growing flowers sustainably and using/selling them locally in gorgeous lush floral designs. My clever tagline is “from seed to centerpiece”. Fun, huh?

While the combination of a floral design class and a dinner party might not be feasible for most folks, it IS worth considering how you can involve your guests in a fun activity while they munch on your fabulous fare. In this case, it was a match made in heaven since the lovely ladies that attended the class were very appreciative of both the delicious food and the beautiful blooms. We even trekked out into the garden to take stems of herbs {sage, rosemary, lavender, dill, fennel} and apples, among other things, that were then incorporated into our floral designs. Ah, how it made my multi-functional heart happy to see these delicious edibles so beautifully displayed.

All of the food was uniquely seasonal and easy to grab a bite between bouquets. There was the French Fig Clafouti you’re all familiar with already from the last post. And the dense moist Pumpkin Bread that’s made an appearance on the blog already was once again a hit. Slices of perfectly ripe Asian pears and decadent blue cheese were simple and delicious nibbles. And the recipe featured in today’s post actually used some of the same elements from our floral arrangements — sage, rosemary, and apples — and joined them with pumpkin and garlic on an Autumnal Pizza.

Add to the mix some local cider and a few glasses of wine, the evening proved to be a delightful success with a chorus of excited “Thank you, let’s do this again soon! I had so much fun!” and happy hugs. The moral to this delicious and beautiful tale is that even if you are a busy bee, don’t presume you can’t squeeze in a dinner party. Think a little bit beyond the traditional table and place settings to incorporate some of your other passions and talents. I bet you’ll find your guests to be all the more engaged and satiated in the end.

VOTE FOR ME HERE

AUTUMNAL PIZZA

A Straight from the Farm Original

Dough

*The flaxseed meal adds a really nice nutty flavor and is nutritious to boot. You can usually find it in most supermarket baking aisles. If you don’t have it, just add a full cup of whole wheat flour instead of three quarters.

Whisk water, honey and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast has dissolved. Sit aside and cover with a towel until mixture is foamy and double in size, about 15 minutes. Stir in salt and oil. Add flour and work mixture with a spoon and your fingers until it comes together as a dough. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if you need, but try to avoid this if you can knead the dough without more water.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for a few minutes.

Clean out the bowl you used to mix the dough and coat it with olive oil (or non-stick spray). Put the dough in, cover it with a clean dish towel, and let it rise for an hour or up to two, until it is doubled. If dough is not showing much life, place on top of a warm oven or radiator.

When dough is doubled, gently deflate it with the heel of your hand. Form it into a ball and let it rest on a floured spot with the bowl turned over top of it to keep out drafts. In 15 minutes, it is ready to roll out.

Toppings

1 C. ricotta cheese

1 small pumpkin or winter squash

1 large apple (Gala worked well)

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

8-10 small sage leaves

1 sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat oven to 500F or your highest setting. Place your pan or baking stone in the oven to also get hot.

Roll out the dough. Top with the ricotta and spread evenly. Using a mandolin if you have it or a very sharp knife, carefully slice the pumpkin and apple very thinly. Toss with about 2 tablespoons of oil and artfully layer on the pizza dough. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Place dough with ricotta, pumpkin and apple in the oven for about 6 minutes or until the crust is getting puffy and the toppings soft but not too done. While it bakes, prepare the herbs by combining the sage, rosemary and garlic in a small bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Pull hot pizza from the oven. Quickly and carefully distribute the herb mixture over the top along with a little more salt and pepper if desired. Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until the crust is golden and the herbs crispy but not burnt.

Remove from oven and top with parmesan and serve hot or at room temperature.

(serves 8-10)

Entry filed under: Recipes. Tags: cooking, food, Recipes.