Today I’m partnering with New England Dairy to share my favorite way to use dairy (especially cheese!) and showcase how dairy farmers provide sustainable nutrition to our population and implement renewable energy practices on their farms.
Personally, while remaining at home the last several weeks my attention has pivoted to more sustainable activities like gardening and cooking. Previously I felt too preoccupied to sit down to cook a meal after a day’s work – nevermind plant or harvest anything with the intention of using it in a recipe. But, today I feel completely different! In fact, I’ve finally started to feel at home in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Matt has grown a green thumb practically overnight.
This weekend Matt and I decided to combine our newfound talents by spending the day planting an herb garden. Then we spent Saturday evening making pizzas with our very own herbs!
I would highly suggest planting an herb garden to anyone looking for a fun weekend at home project. Matt and I planted one herb garden for our kitchen and another for the yard. We used a few small antique copper planters for our favorite cooking herbs. Not only does the planter fit perfectly with our kitchen decor – but it’s also a sustainable way to keep fresh herbs on-hand all spring and summer long. We chose to plant a wide variety of herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and mint!
Planting an herb garden is economical! Here are a few things I suggest having on hand:
Choose a planter or planting box. I fell in love with these affordable copper planters. I even purchased a few extra to plant mini herb gardens for family & friends. Second, I suggest stocking up on some CowPots. They’re great for planting everything from an herb garden to shrubs! Plus, CowPots are made local – right here in Connecticut on Freund’s Farm in East Canaan! They’re biodegradable, seed-starting pots crafted out of the composted, odorless solids left after manure is run through the methane digester that provides renewable power for Freund Farm!
CowPots are a great alternative to plastic and the natural choice for seed starting or transplants – resulting in zero waste! I was shocked to learn that the Freund family manufactures the pots right on their dairy farm – making them completely made in Connecticut!
Once you’ve chosen your planters and CowPots you’ll need to purchase herbs or seeds. Matt and I visited our local farm for curbside pickup to grab ours! If you’re local, you can check out Freund’s Farm Market & Bakery curbside pickup too. It’s the perfect time to support your local New England dairy farmers!
Lastly, bring your herbs inside because here are 3 ways to make pizza at home for your next date night:
What You’ll Need:
First things first you’ll need lots & lots of cheese! I like to have an assortment of cheeses to pick from for my pizza-making night. I suggest having shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, provolone, cheddar cheese, and a block of parmesan cheese on-hand. My family and I have even had pizza-making competitions with cheese from one of my favorite local dairy farms Arethusa Farm in Litchfield. Support your local New England dairy farms for dairy products like milk, ice cream, and of course – cheese!
Once you have your cheese, the next step is pizza dough. Since I’m not much of a cook, I like to order my dough and sauce from a local pizzeria. My go-to is First & Last Tavern.
For optimal freshness, I recommend picking up your dough and sauce on the day you plan to cook it. You can slice all of your favorite pizza toppings ahead of time and store them in small covered bowls to make decorating less messy. Some of my favorite toppings include mushrooms, onions, pepperoni, spicy sausage, peppers, and of course – herbs!
PRO TIP: Before placing sauce on your pizza – make sure to coat the dough with a mixture of olive oil and minced garlic to give your dough extra flavor!
How To Cook It:
There are a few ways you can cook your pizza! My parents have a wood-burning pizza oven in their kitchen that we’ve gotten fairly good at using with all this time spent at home. But, an oven will do just fine – especially if you invest in a pizza stone!
Pizza stones are the best because they give you the effect of a pizza oven. All you have to do is place your pizza stone in the oven before preheating it to 480 F. Once the oven is preheated DO NOT TOUCH the stone. Instead, simply slide the pizza onto it. Bake the pizza until cheese is lightly browned – usually 5 to 15 minutes. Finally, remove the pizza and turn off the oven letting the stone cool inside. Super easy and it truly makes all the difference! If you’re interested in investing here are my favorite pizza stones!
Classic American Pizza
You can’t have a pizza night without extra cheesy classic American pizza! This is Matt’s favorite pizza to make and what kids usually reach for. It’s quite simple with just sauce and cheese. To get that brown and golden cheesy look make sure to use freshly shredded mozzarella. I recommend topping your pizza with basil straight from your herb garden!
4 Cheese Pizza
Okay, this has to be my favorite pizza – ALL THE CHEESES! For this pizza, use shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, provolone, and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. As a big fan of toppings, you’ll see me toss some mushrooms and pepperoni on top for extra deliciousness!
Finally the most photo-worthy pizza out there – the margarita pizza! You’ll need fresh mozzarella and lots of basil to create this pizza. This quick crisping pizza takes just 5 to 10 minutes from stone to table!
Shop This Post:
Thank you to New England Dairy & Food Council for sponsoring this post.