Forget the roses, tulips, hydrangeas and daisies. Instead surprise Mom with a different kind of a bouquet — the kind she can feast on with her eyes and palate.
Present her a colorful and dramatic flat pack vegetable bouquet.
We are not talking about ordering a DIY vegetable kit from one of the many online companies that can cost a bundle or one that would require you to go to all sorts of lengths to carve out beet roses, radish flowers and cucumber leaves. We are suggesting a more affordable and easy accessible alternate that involves making a pizza.
For the crust, you can either make it at home with bread flour and active dry yeast or go with a store-bought ball of pizza dough or the one that pops out of a tube.
Shape the dough into a large fan with a short handle, making sure the crust is not too thin as it needs to shoulder the weight of the vegetables. Don’t sweat over it. If it comes out with a perfect rounded top — great. And if it does not, tell Mom you were going for a free-form artisanal touch.
Visualize flowers, buds, blossoms, stalks and leaves when it comes to the topping.
You can use multicolored cherry tomatoes along with some oblong-shaped red grape tomatoes for the flowers, asparagus stalks for the stems and kale or Swiss chard leaves as a background to give the bouquet a fuller green look. But that’s only a blueprint; go with your creativity after that.
Add some small red onions or shallots, cut in circles, and dot them with an olive. Or thinly cut banana peppers or eggplant and arrange the slices in the shape of a flower. Roll goat cheese or cream cheese into teeny balls to look like blossoms and scatter them between the bigger “flowers.”
And voila, you have a cheerful vegetable bouquet pizza to brighten Mom’s day.
VEGETABLE BOUQUET PIZZA
1 bunch asparagus
Olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, divided
1 pint multicolored cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 medium kale leaves
1 can (13.8 ounces) Pillsbury whole-grain pizza crust
3/4 cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Muenster cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese or goat cheese
Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on tray at 500 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on tray at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove tomatoes, flip them, top with garlic and roast for another 4 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
Toss kale leaves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on tray at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
Shape pizza dough into a fan with a short handle on a pizza plate. Spread pesto on top of dough and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes.
Assemble the bouquet by first placing the kale leaves.
Place the asparagus stalks on top of the leaves. Place the cherry tomatoes all over the pizza. Finally dot the pizza with the cream cheese or goat cheese balls.
— Arthi Subramaniam