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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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Readers Blog: Burp! Where Food Happens

Easy Spring Eats: Asparagus Pizza with Summers Past Pesto

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I'm fairly certain some people thought we were crazy when we went out and bought a chest freezer -- primarily because this freezer wasn't the smallest one on the market. Nope -- we have 20+ cubic feet of gorgeous freezer space, complete with storage bins that we can lift in and out.

We went with a chest freezer since they were more efficient than an upright, but we'd heard horror stories from others who claim to have "lost" things in the bottom of their chest freezers. So, right off the bat, we developed an organization system. We bought a few plastic storage bins that fit into the freezer and help us to organize the foods by "type" -- tomatoes/sauces in one, meats in another, veggies in yet another. We also created a freezer list, which lives upstairs. It's been hit-or-miss lately, but the idea is that we keep the list up to date -- adding new items when we put them into the freezer, and crossing items off when we use them up. Works pretty well, and it keeps us eating locally -- even in the dark days of winter.

One of the items that makes me glow when I think about our freezer is... pesto. OH, yeah. When summer hits, you'll find us growing plenty of basil in our garden. Heck, we practically eat the stuff out of hand. But, we also love to use the leaves to make plenty of pesto -- for storage. Basil, garlic, toasted pine-nuts, and a bit of oil -- and we're set (I purposely leave the cheese out when I'm freezing pesto). I put pre-measured quarter-cup portions into small storage containers or baggies -- and pack them all into the freezer for that dreary day in January when we could all use a bit of a pick-me-up.
I just used up the last of our stash of last summer's pesto a few nights ago. It was getting late and we both were starving. I had a bunch of fresh spring asparagus on hand... and a freshly fed bowl of sourdough starter. So, we decided to whip up a super simple pizza.

You don't even need a recipe for this one if you've got some pesto and a bit of dough on hand. First, preheat your oven to 500 degrees (or higher, if your oven is capable). Slice your asparagus in half lengthwise -- and then into 1 inch pieces. Then roll out your pizza dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Spread it with a thin layer of pesto, and then top it with a handful of mozzarella cheese.

Add the asparagus. And then another layer of cheese. Then sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of basil and oregano (fresh or dried). Bake for 20 minutes -- or until the pizza dough is crisp and the cheese speckled with brown.

Voila! Simple weeknight pizza that tastes a suspiciously like last summer.

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