Garden Fresh Pizza

This has been a great year for gardens. With just enough rain and a lot of warm weather, my vegetable crop is on the cusp of exploding. I’ll be harvesting some beans this afternoon, and with a little bit of luck, we’ll be eating cucumbers by the end of the weekend.

Of course, my spinach is just about shot, so I’m thinking of planting a second crop that will be up toward the end of August or early September. In the meantime, our lettuce and Swiss chard will take its place in salads.

Another vegetable that we’ll have in abundance is tomatoes. I planted between 35 and 40 plants. I like to can tomato juice, whole tomatoes and salsa. One thing I wasn’t counting on, though, was too many cherry tomatoes.

I usually have only one cherry tomato plant, but this summer, there may be three or four. That’s because a neighbor of mine, Duane Jeffrey, gave me a half-dozen or so plants. It turns out that some of them are cherry tomatoes, maybe grape. I’m not sure yet.

So, I’m looking for recipes to use for what could be a crop that might get out of control in the not too distant future.

I was lucky to find the following pizza recipe, which calls for a pint of cherry tomatoes per pizza. It also requires fresh herbs, which I also have in abundance.

It won’t solve all of my cherry tomato problems, but it’s a start.

Oregano Rosemary Cherry Tomato-Walnut Pizza
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 12-inch unseasoned prebaked pizza crust
2 cups (about half of a 5-ounce bag) baby spinach
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1½ teaspoons herbes de Provence (recipe follows)
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 8-ounce package low-fat shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
Heat the oven to 400 degrees or according to crust directions. Brush the oil on the pizza crust.
Scatter the spinach on the crust, then distribute the halved tomatoes over. Sprinkle the nuts over the pizza. Season with the dried herb mix, salt and pepper to taste. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake according to crust directions, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 5 minutes before slicing.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 667 calories, 51 percent of calories from fat, 39 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 30 milligrams cholesterol, 51 grams carbohydrates, 34 grams protein, 997 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Homemade Herbes de Provence
Combine 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage and/or marjoram with ¼ teaspoon dried lavender (which you’ll find in spice shops and some supermarkets). Store, tightly covered, in cool, dark place.

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