Every day we inch a little bit closer to the end. The field work is hours away from being completed and we’re almost ready to move into one of my favorite phases of farm life: the strategic phase. Pretty soon I’ll be running reports, crunching numbers, throwing together spreadsheets and having long conversations with my husband to figure out what worked, what didn’t and how we should evolve our business moving forward. Every year we get a little bit closer to finding that perfect mix of crops, sales channels, and outside income that feels right. That feels systematic and sustainable. That feels like us. It’s a beautiful and incredibly integral part of our year and our long-term success, and it’s almost time to dig in!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re not in that phase just yet. We probably won’t be there for another month with deer hunting, a big grant deadline, and my 30th birthday in the immediate future. And before we even get to those things we have fields to put to bed. Luckily, our employees did an amazing job of keeping the clean up rolling while we were in Hawaii. They harvested and cleaned all of the watermelon radish and turnips. They rolled up landscape fabric and removed irrigation. They took down the last of the tomato trellis. All in addition to harvesting and delivering our regular wholesale orders. When we returned to the fields after a beautiful 8 days away we were able to jump into our to do list with ease thanks to their hard work while we work gone.
And thank goodness because last week was a bit of a frenzy fitting in farm work alongside Kyle starting his new off-season job at the Kombucha Shop and my running back into work at Midwest Environmental Advocates with full force having a board meeting, new employee orientation and year-end mailing to manage. But somehow we fit in hours in the field. Four hundred bed feet of garlic has been planted. The leeks, celeriac, daikon radish, carrots and beets have been pulled (and washed). Things have been mowed. Some other things have even been tilled. The remaining landscape fabric has been removed. We’ve got two more very full days of work this week and a major storage share delivery before we can officially say goodnight to 2018 but it’s on the horizon followed immediately by nights in the 20s and possibly even a weekend of snow.
Luckily, with it getting dark so early we’ve still found plenty of time to cook alongside the crazy of getting back to work. My list of things to try to recreate from our trip Hawaii was extensive: a good mix of island classics, pizza and pastries. I draw so much inspiration from my travels and this recipe is no exception. This pizza was inspired by our third meal on Maui, which came approximately 20 minutes after our second.
Traveling with people who are just as enthusiastic as me about food meant we ate well and we ate often. Day one started with a light but free breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes provided by our adorable hostel which was lovely, but certainly not filling. After four miles of beach strolling, our hunger level was excessive by early afternoon when we got back to town. First came a perfect dish of poke from the an unassuming storefront in downtown Paia. We all shared two massive bowls of poke with suicide sauce and then back to wandering, but it didn’t take long for our group to decide that we were still hungry and in desperate need of lunch number two if we were really going to tackle the Waihe’e Ridge Trail before dinner.
We ducked into a sweet little pizza place, ordered a round of beers and somehow chomped down two large pizzas. It was a delicious start to a delicious vacation, but also set some very high standards for the rest of our trip. The favorite, of the four different halves of pizza we devoured, was the special: a brisket pizza with smoked BBQ sauce and a pile of fresh cold coleslaw on top. Throughout our trip I kept jotting down things I had to try once back Home, but regardless of what we ate, this pizza remained at the top all week.
So here it is: an unbelievably perfect pizza that marries the flavors of sweet, smoky, salty, and spicy. Plus with a pile of cool tangy like coleslaw on top this pizza has my ultimate favorite combination of something cool served atop of something hot.
For this pizza, I did a couple of things to make weeknight pizza assembly quick and effortless. That begins with a batch of my favorite pizza dough on Sunday and ends with a few minutes of slow cooker preparations the morning of the day you plan to make the pizza. These two techniques are turning into weekly routines. Letting pizza dough slowly ferment in the fridge will give your crust incredible flavor and texture but it’s also forgiving for busy schedules: put the dough in on Sunday and you have until Saturday to use it. And then balancing that crust with something that can gain flavor all day in a slow cooker makes for a perfect pizza every time. If you do happen to have an instant pot you could make this brisket in there (instead of in the slow cooker) on the evening of pizza preparation. I’ve been slow to jump onto this new device quite content with the rhythm of morning slow cooker prep but do what works for your kitchen and your own weekly rhythms!
Enjoy my friends!
P.S. If you also happen to be a farmer winding down for the season and feel the need to fill some hours each week with tales of someone else’s farm, check out this great book borrowed to me by farmer friend Beth.
BBQ BRISKET PIZZA WITH COLESLAW
Takes 8 hours, if using slow cooker to make brisket, though only about 45 minutes of active time are involved
Makes two 14-inch pizzas
1 batch favorite pizza dough
2/3 cup favorite BBQ sauce
1 small red onion, diced
2 jalapenos, minced
2 cups smoked cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 pounds beef brisket
3/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lime
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded
- As advised above, the real work for this delicious pizza should start a coupe days before you want to make it. You can store the dough until your fridge until you’re ready to use it. If you prefer to make it in the morning for the evening, just leave it in a cool place in your kitchen to slowly rise all day. You can absolutely also buy a store-bought dough if you like.
- The next step is making that tasty brisket. I like to start this in the morning before I head to work. Combine paprika, pepper, salt, brown sugar, chili powder, and cumin in a small bowl. Pat all over brisket.
- Place brisket in slow cooker (You could also do this night of in a Dutch oven in the oven or likely very quickly in an Instant pot) and surround with BBQ sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce and onions. Bake on low setting for 6-8 hours or high setting for 3-4 hours.
- When you’re ready to bake your pizza, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Divide pizza dough into two 12-inch round pizzas (you can also fit the dough to two baking sheets). Cover each round with 1/3 cup BBQ sauce.
- Shred approximately 2 cups of brisket and divide between the two pizzas. Sprinkle with red onions followed by jalapeno and cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.
- While the pizza bakes, throw a quick coleslaw together. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lime, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the cabbage and toss gently. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl until dressing evenly coats cabbage.
- Serve pizza warm with pizza on top.