Mary Beth Johnson is a wife and mum to four schooners, as she’s dubbed her children. On a normal afternoon, you would find her in moccasins, skinny jeans and a comfortable tee, camera in hand. Recently moving to the suburbs of Atlanta, Mary Beth spends her days homeschooling, sneaking away to the bookstore, trying to act the part of a southerner, and sifting through recipes in The Vegetarian Times. Food is her love language.

The days of al fresco dining, bistro lights, and outdoor furniture are upon us and I could not be more ready. Some of my favorite memories have been in the spring and summer on the back patio or deck, with chairs gathered from all over the house and friends who don’t blink twice at my messy kitchen. I have a handful of recipes that work well for these kinds of big family dinners. Quick. Fresh. And easy to prepare. Sometimes it’s nice to try something other than hamburgers and hot dogs. 😉

There are so many lovely things in this recipe…basil pesto, fresh corn, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil. I want to bottle it up and save it for winter.

I made my own pizza dough and I do believe it is the first time I’ve nailed the crust. My husband says it is because I didn’t attempt another wheat recipe, hoping to finally crack the code to that difficult situation. I think I just got lucky. Either way, I’m sharing the recipe I used below. If you find yourself short on time, you could easily purchase refrigerated pizza dough from Trader Joes. Or make the dough the night before and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator, letting it rest and come to room temperature whenever you’re ready to bake. Nothing beats the smell of fresh, yeasty bread baking in the oven.

  • cherry tomatoes or 3 small plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • pizza crust (or you can use a Boboli)
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves


  1. Slice the tomatoes and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let stand for 20 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the corn, sugar, and Parmesan cheese.
  3. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured-with-cornmeal-pizza-pan and spread the pesto all over the top.
  4. Cover the pesto with the corn mixture, mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes.
  5. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven (the longer that it preheats the better, I try for at least one hour) for about 15 minutes. The cheese will be melted and the crust golden brown. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves.
1 tbls. yeast 
2 tbls. sugar 
1 tsp. salt 
2 tbls. oil 
1 cup warm water 
3 – 4 cups flour (start with less & add until good consistency)
 Let the yeast dissolve in the very warm water for about 5 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir with a dough hook on your mixer, or mix well by hand. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is elasticy and easy to form into a ball and knead. Knead for about 5 minutes. Grease a large bowl with butter and place dough inside. Turn once, to coat. Cover loosely with a damp cloth or saran wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until dough is twice its original size (usually takes about 45 minutes). Punch dough down. 
 Source: Baked Bree

*All photography is my own.


April 18, 2015


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