After The Mint Killer prescribed me a sun lamp and more than one other friend commented on how worried they’ve been about my infernally snowbound-cranky mood, I realized two things: it was time to take drastic action, and I have been hoarding summer-like therapy in my freezer.
The inspiration for this particular plan of attack came last week, when one of my coworkers and I got to talking about Pizza Ranch on the way in to work. Pizza Ranch is a South Dakota chain that opened an outlet at Sycamore Mall in Iowa City about a year and a half ago. I can admit having eaten there one night when I was with a friend to see a movie and we discovered we had 45 minutes to kill before our film started. We decided to hit Pizza Ranch for a quick bite, and the place frightened me.
Here is what Pizza Ranch has to offer: unlimited pizza with a huge variety of toppings. Salad, although honestly, much of what is on the salad bar involves things of the creamy or pudding variety. Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes. Unlimited soda with the ability to add your very own preferential amount of cherry or vanilla syrup.
“That’s going to guarantee you a well-behaved child,” I said. “And we wonder why America is fat.”
“You know, pizza actually isn’t all that healthy,” my coworker said.
We went on to talk about homemade pizza, made on flatbreads and pitas and other healthy crust options, and it got me to thinking that I hadn’t made any in awhile. This, plus the fact that I had a lot of cubes of homemade pesto frozen in my kitchen, inspired me to try something that would remind me of those days when I could just run outside in shorts and flip-flops and harvest a quick handful of basil from the yard. Those times are coming again, and all I have to do is hang on.
I nuked a cube of pesto and spread it across a multi-grain Flatout flatbread, which serves as an excellent thin crust for these matters. The particular version photographed here featured sautéed spinach, sundried tomatoes, sliced baby bella mushrooms, and just enough part-skim mozzarella to hold everything together without letting things get out of hand. I baked it all at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, just until everything was brown and just a bit crispy.
The kitchen smelled of summery pesto from the time I started thawing the cube until long after the flatbread pizza finished baking. It was the best medicine I’d had in a long time, the flavors tied together with that bite of garlic and that smooth, summery flavor of the basil. I have been finding ways ever since to sneak those pesto cubes into my daily diet—honestly, they’re almost as good as a plane ticket to somewhere warm and blessedly snow-free.
All this herby goodness? It must mean that, after a fairly long absence, I’m returning to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is this week by Ulrike of Kuchenlatein. Be sure to check in with Ulrike’s blog for the full round-up!