Scratch that. My garden is too much of a disaster to stroll about in, at least for my personality, anyway. I was out there with a shovel, a pitchfork, and a wheelbarrow full of manure, peat, and mushroom compost, mending the soil.
Soil must be fertile before any beautiful flowers can grow and thrive.
(And how many miles can we get out of that metaphor, manure and all?)
When I finally came in out of the heat to make lunch for my little crew, I needed something fast and filling.
Here's what I came up with: "Picture Frame" Personal Pizzas.
I used pizza dough in the can.
(In other words, I quartered the roll of pizza dough.)
They were bursting with fresh flavor and just the right portion size when served with a fresh green salad and a giant glass of iced tea.
"Picture Frame" Personal Pizzas
One can of refrigerated pizza dough
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 slices provolone cheese (substitute your favorite pizza-friendly cheese here)
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped or cut into thin strips
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.
Remove the pizza dough from the can, keeping it in the "rolled log" shape. Slice the roll in half. Unroll one of the halves and slice it in half. Unroll the remaining half and also slice it into half. You should end up with four equal pieces of dough.
Lay the dough pieces on the parchment paper, stretching each piece and folding up each edge about 1/2". This will create your "picture frame" and will also help keep the toppings in place.
Brush 1 teaspoon of olive oil over each piece of dough.
Bake the "frames" for about 12-15 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Quickly lay the cheese on the dough (you may have to cut the slices to make them fit in the "frame" area). Top each pizza with a quarter of the tomatoes, basil, and thyme. Then salt and pepper each pizza to taste. Divide the Parmesan cheese evenly among the pizzas, sprinkling it on top of the tomatoes and herbs.
Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the provolone cheese is melted and the crusts are slightly more golden. The tomatoes will still be very much "uncooked". And they'll taste terrific.
(You can swap out the toppings for your personal favorites. Also, if you'd prefer an actual sauce to cheese, go for it!)