The Family Food Blog


Category: Italian

Baguettes and a Trip to the Farmer’s Market

by thefamilyfoodblog

Yesterday, we started off the morning with a trip to the local farmer’s market. After seeing all the brightly colored heirloom tomatoes the vendors were selling, I decided that this weekend wouldn’t be complete without at least one serving of bruschetta. So, in addition to some deliciously strong blue cheese from the really friendly dad and daughter of Spring Gap Mountain Creamery (seriously, this cheese isn’t for the faint of heart) and a huge bunch of basil for just $2.50 (sadly, more leaves than Basily has ever produced in his lifetime), we picked up some red, yellow, and purple-green tomatoes.

That big red one was a monster, weighing in at 1.5 pounds on its own.

We followed this recipe for French baguettes, using the bread machine again for the kneading work. Wow, was the dough sticky. If this continues (and it might; the outcome was so tasty) I may have to invest in a dough scraper. How very fancy cooking store of me.

Two baguettes, ready to go into the oven.

We were out of eggs, so the baguettes didn’t get the nice glowy egg wash treatment. And for some reason (perhaps the low humidity in our air-conditioned apartment?) the dough didn’t rise as much as we hoped. The result was a baguette that looked and tasted a lot more like ciabatta. Not really cause for complaint in my book!

While the bread was baking, I got started on the topping for our bruschetta.

So colorful.


  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 large leaves of basil, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to sit for at least ten minutes for tomato juices to run and flavors to meld. Serve immediately, at room temperature, on top of fresh, hot, crusty bread such as ciabatta or a baguette.

If bread is not fresh, spoon tomato mixture on top of bread and place in a warm oven for 5 minutes. Then serve.

That’s one of our two baguettes, cut in half and then sliced lengthwise. The second will likely be tonight’s dinner.


Homemade Veggie Pizza

by thefamilyfoodblog

Recently, P’s cousin B was in town. After a few days in a row of eating out, we were ready to save some money and eat at home, but wanted a meal that was still “fun.” A.k.a. pizza!

We used the bread machine to knead ourselves up some dough, following the Basic Pizza Dough recipe in this book:

Ingredients, per 17×11 pizza crust

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast


Refer to the book for details, but in short, we put all the ingredients in the bread machine on the “dough” cycle (19 min on our machine) and allowed them to mix and knead. After taking the dough out, we spread it out on a foil-lined baking sheet and allowed it to rise for a few minutes.

You can toss the dough, too, if you’d like.

While the machine was going, and later as P was preparing the dough, I cut up the toppings.

The cutting board was getting pretty crowded by the time I was done.

Ingredients, per pizza

  • 1 pizza crust (recipe above)
  • 8 tbsp pasta sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 handful fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 medium Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp marinated roasted red peppers
  • 1 tbsp fresh Italian herbs (I used basil and oregano), cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, spread out the crust, leaving the edges thicker than the center. Drip the olive oil over the crust and spread using the back of a spoon.

Spread the pasta sauce over the crust, leaving some space at the edge. Add a layer of shredded mozzarella, followed by the remaining toppings.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cut, and serve immediately.

Just cut into your desired size and shape, and serve!

Fun with Olive Garden Breadsticks

by thefamilyfoodblog

Awhile back, we went to Olive Garden for lunch. The meal was so-so, but their famous (or possibly infamous, if nutrition levels are a factor) breadsticks are well-known for a reason. And to my surprise, our waiter was willing to pack us a few to take home along with our leftovers. So we did.

Apparently, giving breadsticks away is a standard thing, since they have a special reheatable bag for them. It was news to me.

We enjoyed a few of these breadsticks in the standard way, along with pasta or soup or whatever, but when we were down to the last three, I felt like getting creative. Lo and behold: mini sub sandwiches. How you fill the sandwiches is of course up to you, but here’s what I did.

Cut each breadstick lengthwise, leaving one edge connected so that the sandwich can be “opened” and “closed”.

Ingredients, per serving

  • 2-3 breadsticks, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 – 1/3 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp marinated roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1 oz Toscana pepper cheese, sliced


Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated, bake breadsticks for about 3-5 minutes.

Arrange filling ingredients in the inside of each sandwich. Serve immediately.

Filling ingredients that you enjoy in a panini would also be tasty here.