Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spelt Pizza with Ricotta and Spicy Greens

Last night I wanted to stay up to watch some of the Voice after my kiddies had gone to bed.  I have a serious problem staying awake once I sit down on the couch.  It's a rare occasion if I can keep myself awake longer than 15 minutes.  I don't even have to be lying down; in fact I'm never lying down.  I will catch my husband frequently looking in my direction to see if I have zonked out.  It's unfortunate, but no matter how hard I try or how much I want to stay awake, my eyelids are just too heavy to keep open and then I'm gone.  I'll often tell my husband when I start to feel sleepy that the sandman has just passed.  Once I'm asleep, it means that the sandman passed by again and knocked me out with one of his sandbags.  The reason I say all this is because last night to keep myself awake, I decided to make pizza dough.  I had big plans for a great lunch the next day.  I went to work and busied myself in the kitchen.  Between the pizza dough making and eating a bowl of Raisin Bran, I managed to catch a full episode of the Voice without falling asleep.

This pizza was everything I'd hoped it would be.  I was a bit nervous how the spelt pizza crust would turn out, but it worked perfectly and tasted perfect with the spicy greens and creamy ricotta.  After my first couple of bites, I had to share the deliciousness and so I took a couple of pieces to a neighbor and then called my husband to tell him how I was in lunch heaven.  
Spelt Pizza with Ricotta and Spicy Greens
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 green onions, thinly slice (white and green parts)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
4 cups Swiss chard, cut leaves crosswise into 1-inch strips (about one bunch)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes
Lemon zest
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
In a small mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and honey.  Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together spelt flour and salt.  Pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil and stir together until a dough forms (I added a bit more water and an extra tablespoon of olive oil to help the dough come together).  Cover and let the dough rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
Place the dough in a Ziploc bag and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
An hour before baking the pizza, remove dough from the refrigerator.  Place pizza stone in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
Cut dough into two equal pieces.  Roll one piece of dough into a rectangle.  Transfer the rolled out dough to the back side of baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Prick a few times with a fork, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Slide the parchment paper with the pizza dough onto the baking stone in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Sauté the green onions for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add the kale and Swiss chard and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until just wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dump the greens in a colander and toss a few times to let juices drain.
Remove pizza from oven by sliding parchment paper with the pizza back onto the back side of a baking sheet.  Spread half of the ricotta on the pizza dough; place half the greens on top, sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes and a light dusting of lemon zest and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Slide pizza back into the oven for 3-4 minutes to warm through.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Eat and enjoy!
Note:  To make this a bit easier, you could forget about the pizza stone and just place the rolled out dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook the dough on the baking sheet.  One baking sheet should be big enough for all of the dough.
Recipe slightly adapted from The Yellow Table

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chocolate-Drizzled Oatmeal Shortbread

As I walked out the door this morning to take Stella to gymnastics, I grabbed two cookbooks.  (I use the term gymnastics very loosely.  It's more like playing on gymnastics equipment, mats, and a very long trampoline.  She loves it.)  It's nice to have something to do, like browsing through cookbooks, while Stella is hanging upside down from a bar, doing somersaults down wedge mats or bouncing up and down on a trampoline.  I also brought with me a few small pieces of cardstock to write down some of the recipes I would like to try and any ingredients that I may not have a home.  As I was browsing the pages of The Sprouted Kitchen, the women next to me asked me what cookbook I was reading.  I happily showed her the cover and shared my excitement for some of the recipes that I have already tried.  She seemed interested and wrote down the name of the cookbook and blog on a piece of paper and stuck it in her purse.   (Hopefully her purse isn't anything like mine which often resembles a deep abyss filled with receipts, grocery lists, change and half pieces of Extra gum that taste like pennies.  If it is, she may never find that piece of paper again.)  On the top of my "to make" list, were these cookies.  I had all the ingredients at home and with words like dark chocolate and flaked sea salt, not much convincing was needed.

Chocolate-Drizzled Oatmeal Shortbread 

From The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose or rice flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, pulse the oats to create coarse flour.  You want a bit of texture to remain, not pureed until it is completely smooth.  Set aside.

In the food processor or using a bowl and wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the vanilla and egg and mix again.  Add the oat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and nutmeg and pulse a few times to combine, scraping down the sides of the food processor or your bowl as necessary.  The dough will be fairly tacky.

Using your hands, roll the dough into a uniform log about 3 inches in diameter.  If you like, sprinkle a handful of rolled oats and a few tablespoons of turbinado sugar on your work surface and roll the log in the mixture to create a crust.  Roll the log up in plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and preferably two.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Working quickly, slice the log into 1/2-inch coins and spread them on the baking sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake until the edges just begin to brown, 14 to 16 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.  Arrange the piece of parchment you used for cooking the cookies under the wire rack for easy cleanup.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on the tops of the cookies in a zig-zag motion.  Sprinkle a bit of flaked salt on the top of each cookie.  The chocolate will firm up in about 15 to 20 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.