Monday, May 24, 2010

We Made Kale Pizza

A few Saturdays ago Hill and Amy came over and we made pizza. Hill had the great idea to put kale on top!

I know this is my third post in the last month about greens - after the kale salad and collards posts - but hear me out. Kale on a pizza is delicious. I will post about something completely different next time.

Here's what you need:


I bought pizza dough at the pizza place near my house. (One day maybe I will make my own, one day.)
1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese - smoked mozzarella would be great too
grated Parmesan, salt, pepper to taste
olive oil (for kale)
We also used these toppings - fresh tomatoes, chicken red pepper sausage (OPTIONAL)

Preheat your oven to 400-450 degrees.

Form your dough into a flat circle - it should probably seem TOO flat, as it puffs up a bit in the oven. If you have too much, set it aside for pizza #2!
(We formed the dough into two pies - one was large and very flat, and one was a bit thicker and more free form.)

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, along with some salt and pepper. Slice the mozzarella cheese thinly and layer it on.

If using other toppings like tomatos or sausage, layer it over the cheese. (Although our sausage was pre-cooked, we sauteed it for a few minutes in a pan with some olive oil to get it a bit crispy before layering it on.)

Wash the kale well and remove the thick stems/stalks, leaving only the soft leaves. Chop roughly and toss in a light coat of olive oil and layer over the pizza. It REALLY cooks down in the oven, so don't be stingy, even if the leaves seem to be over flowing from the dough.

Grate some Parmesan cheese and sprinkle salt and pepper over the kale.

Put it in the oven!! Depending on your oven, probably needs to bake for a different amount of time. Keep an eye on it. You want the kale to brown a bit and get crispy, but not burn. It comes out looking like this:

This goes really well with some cold beer.

I know it sounds crazy, but I was so into this crispy kale topping that I ended up making a baked pasta dish later in the week, and instead of topping it with cheese, I topped it with more kale. I baked it and it gave me the same results - crispy and tasty.

I guess the moral of the story is, don't feel weird about putting chopped up kale on top of everything you bake. (OK, almost everything.)

I made David Lebovitz's Polenta cake with Rosemary and Olive Oil!

I made this cake for Mother's Day and it was a big hit with the family. The recipe is from Serious Eats and when I first read it the idea of using polenta and olive oil in a cake intrigued me (apparently it's intriguing other people too, because I feel like half the cakes I've seen on food blogs recently have had one of those ingredients). Making this cake involved several firsts for me: using the aforementioned new ingredients, breaking in my new mixer, and baking a cake in abundt pan...of silicone! Anyway, it all worked out and this cake is amazing even though the photo is not (I forgot to take a picture until the last piece...).

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons plus 4 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup polenta or stone-ground corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
5 large eggs, at room temperature (yes, this is a lot of eggs, but well worth it!)
2 large egg yolks (Make yourself an egg white sandwich with the leftover whites and feel virtuous!)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used almond extract - it felt fancy)
1 1/3 cups sugar (I ran out of white sugar after about a cup, and used brown for the rest. It seemed to work fine.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Smear 1 tablespoon butter all over the inside of a 10-cup (2.5-liter) Bundt cake or tube pan. (I had neither, luckily Selena, who lives down the street, lent me her Bundt pan - maybe a regular cake pan would work too if the volume matched?). Sprinkle the 2 teaspoons of rosemary evenly into the pan, then dust with the 2 tablespoons (20 g) of polenta, tilting the pan to coat the sides.

3. To make the cake, in a small bowl, sift together the flour, 3/4 cup (130 g) polenta, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, eggs, egg yolks, and almond or vanilla extract.

4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together 1/2 cup (4 ounces/115 g) butter and the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly dribble in the egg mixture, a little at a time, until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture along with the 4 teaspoons of rosemary until just incorporated. Don't over mix.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate. (Mine was done at exactly 40 minutes)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I made quinoa, tuna and white bean salad

The other day, I came home from a long day of work and class starving. I wanted to make something delicious and comforting and protein packed. I thought to myself, do people ever make quinoa salads with tuna? Is that crazy? I googled "quinoa tuna salad" and found that no, it's not crazy. Lots of recipes exist. But I ended up making one up myself. It's basically your standard tuna white bean salad, but with quinoa.

A few handfuls chopped arugula
1 can white/cannolini beans
2 cans good quality tuna packed in olive oil
2 or 3 tablespoons capers
handful chopped fresh parsley
1/2 large red onion, or 1 small, chopped finely
whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

few tablespoons olive oil
few tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of two lemons
2 garlic cloves, minced

Cook the quinoa. (Combine with water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15.) Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir it up.

When the quinoa's cooked and cooled a little, just combine it with all the other ingredients in a big bowl. Except the bread crumbs. Then add the dressing. Stir it up. THEN sprinkle the bread crumbs on top for garnish!

In the future, I might try this with chickpeas or some other kind of firmer bean instead. White beans are soft, and it and it needed something to counter the mushiness of the quinoa. But besides that, it was really delicious! I couldn't stop eating the leftovers cold from the fridge.

I learned: it is NOT crazy to put tuna in your quinoa salad!

I made chana masala

I'd been meaning to make this since I saw it on Smitten Kitchen months ago. I finally got around to it on a recent chilly Sunday, and it was perfect: pretty easy to make, hearty, and very spicy. This dish, like most Indian food, requires a well-stocked spice cabinet. Other than that the ingredients are pretty inexpensive and easy to find. EXCEPT amchoor powder, which I couldn't find anywhere. But good old Deb says lemon juice is an acceptable replacement.

Chana Masala

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used a quarter of this because my cayenne is extremely hot)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon amchoor powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (see note; I used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Serve over rice. We drizzled the finished product with some raita that Natalie whipped up. It was a nice way to counter the spiciness.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't be afraid of collard greens


This is just a short post with a simple recipe for collard greens. They are one of those vegetables that I mistakenly thought could only be prepared with hours of slow cooking. Although this is true for the traditional southern style preparation, I recently found out that there is another, quick and easy way to cook them. I've made them this way a few times now, and I think I will keep on doing it!


* 2 1/2 pounds collard greens (I think that is one large bunch)
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Remove and discard stems and center ribs of collard greens. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a kettle of boiling water cook collards 15 minutes and drain in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with back of a wooden spoon.

Mince garlic. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat butter and oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and stir in garlic, collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Drizzle collards with lemon juice and toss well.

In the photo, I just accompanied my collards with some arborio rice cooked in vegetable broth and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. I also made them with Sarah one night and we had them with some black eyed peas ("hopping john" style). They really go with anything. If you want to eat greens but are sick of spinach or kale or chard etc, give these a shot.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I made Kale and Ricotta Salata Salad (with Meyer Lemon dressing)

I recently made this salad and brought it to Laura's house to enjoy while celebrating her birthday! I had noticed it on the NY Times writer Kim Severson's website while perusing blogs a few days earlier and it sounded easy to make, healthy, and tasty.

And it was!

Kale and Ricotta Salata Salad

(Kim Severson said: I think I first saw a version of this in Gourmet magazine)

1 bunch of Tuscan (lacinato) kale
1 big shallot, chopped fine (I actually used 1 large clove of garlic, which was good too.)
Juice of a good-sized lemon (preferably Meyer), about 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup of olive oil, or more
1 cup ricotta salata, coarsely shredded (might be good with feta cheese too)
(Also: If your dressing tastes too lemony/acidic, like mine did at first, a drop or two of honey will balance it out really well.)


1. Trim the leaves of the kale above where the stems become thick. Stack the leaves in a pile, roll them like a cigar, and slice it thin crosswise.

2. Whisk together the shallot, lemon juice, salt, and oil. Go light on salt until you taste the salad. The ricotta can be salty. Taste and add more oil if you like.

3. Toss the dressing with the kale and ricotta salata, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.

Kim's Note: This is one of the few green salads I know that holds up well in the fridge. It’s great the next day, too.

Serves 4.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I made quinoa with black beans and cilantro

This is a quick, easy one-pot recipe. Great for a healthy weeknight meal that will leave you enough to bring leftovers to work.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped white onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa,* rinsed, drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 cups water (used no-chicken broth instead)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese (optional)
  • * A grain with a delicate flavor and a texture similar to that of couscous; available at natural foods stores
  • I added garlic and cayenne

  • Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and red pepper (and garlic); sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in next 4 ingredients (plus cayenne). Add water; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro and cheese, if desired

    I served it with some guacamole I whipped up. You can also just throw some avocado chunks into your bowl for garnish.