Recipe Review: Fig and Proscuitto Pizza

Pizza is surprisingly easy to make at home, and there are so many different flavor possibilities.  The only specialized equipment needed is a pizza stone that can be bought for $10-20.  I use store-bought pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, which makes it really easy.  This is one of my favorite pizzas to make at home, Todd English’s Fig and Proscuitto pizza from The Figs Table cookbook.  Heat up the pizza stone in the oven, scatter some cornmeal on top to prevent the pizza from sticking, and put the dough on the stone.  Then drizzle some olive oil, scatter some chopped garlic, rosemary, proscuitto, fig jam, and gorgonzola.  Bake for about ten minutes, then add some scallion slivers.  The sweet fig jam, salty proscuitto, and pungent gorgonzola are a great combination of flavors.  There is a recipe for fig jam, but I use store-bought fig jam from a specialty grocery store since it usually can’t be found at Safeway or Trader Joe’s.

Link to recipe here.

Recipe: Watermelon, Fennel, Black Olive, Feta Cheese Salad

Refreshing, easy summer salad adapted from Todd English, The Figs Table cookbook.  Great combination of salty and sweet.


  • 4 cups seeded watermelon chunks
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) (use a Japanese mandolin or regular kitchen knife)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ½ cups crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Put the watermelon, fennel, olives, red onion, green onion, and feta in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well. Chop basil and add immediately before serving (to prevent browning).  Divide among salad plates and serve immediately.

Banana Bread Recipe

Todd English Banana Bread

Todd English Banana Bread

This banana bread is really easy to make and a good use of ripe bananas.  The resulting bread is really moist and delicious.  I always get requests for this recipe!  I cut down on the butter, and the time to bake is usually 75+ minutes.

adapted from The Olives Dessert Table by Todd English, Paige Retus, and Sally Sampson

Total time: 90 minutes, active time: 15 minutes


3 to 4 overripe bananas

1 1/4 cups sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup toasted walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8- to 9-inch loaf pan

Place the bananas and sugar in the bowl of mixer with the paddle attachment and whip for 2-3 minutes.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.

Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla to the bananas/sugar mixture.  Scrape down the sides after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

Fold in the nuts if using.

Place in the prepared pan and bake for 60-75 minutes, until golden brown and firm in the center.  Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes and then invert on a rack.

Wrap and store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months.

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