Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crispy Kale Goat Cheese Pizza

Oh. My. God. I just made something so fantastic that I am actually mad at myself for not having thought of it before. Feast your eyes on this.

I try not to eat much pizza because of the whole bread-makes-me-fat thing, but at this juncture in my life, I don't have reasons to cut corners. Besides, kale is super good for you. We love kale at our house and eat a ton of it on a regular basis. Everything from kale chips to kale frittatas, and I'm happy with it just steamed on a plate and drizzled with olive oil.

I was inspired by the idea for this pizza a few days ago by another recipe, which did not involve kale, and I had my heart set on making it for dinner tonight. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm entering my ninth month of pregnancy and some days I'm not sure if I'm going into labor because everything hurts so bad. I was literally bending over the stove meditating through contractions while making this pizza. All I could think was, "Even if this baby is coming tonight, I really want to finish making this pizza". I may be crazy but it was so worth it.

I know people are very afraid of kale. I guess it does look scary, being that it is very green and curly. It screams "HEALTHY" and it seems like many people equate that with gross. But kale is such a versatile vegetable, and I encourage you all to incorporate into your diet. Famous for being the second healthiest vegetable on the planet - topped only by collard greens - kale is how your kids should be getting their calcium, not milk, as rumor may have it. Calcium (and other vitamins and minerals) in kale are much more easily absorbed by the digestive tract than through milk. Get your kids into kale. I don't know if this pizza is the trick to that, because of the goat cheese. But my almost-2-year-old is a huge fan of goat cheese and I know he's going to be shoving this down his throat for lunch tomorrow like there will be no more.

His fears may be accurate though, because I'm not sure how long I will be able to knowingly keep this pizza in the fridge when it could also be in my mouth.

So, here are the conclusions of this post. Eat kale. Lots of it. Make this pizza. Even if you're in labor.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Crispy Kale Goat Cheese Pizza

Dough and recipe inspired by How Sweet Eats Meyer Lemon Pizza

For the dough
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and 1/8 cup very warm water (I run my tap until it gets as hot as possible)
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the pizza
3/4 cup chopped onion
4-5 cups of kale, washed, stems removed, torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
Salt to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus a little more for sprinkling
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled (or about 4 oz)

To make the dough: Mix the first four ingredients together in a large bowl and set it in a warm place for about 10 minutes until the yeast mixture is very bubbly. Either using a mixer or a wooden spoon, add the flours and salt, and mix until dough forms and can be made into a sticky ball. Remove the dough, knead it on a floured surface and roll it into a ball. Oil the bowl with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil and place the ball in the bowl, covering it in the oil. Cover with a warm, wet towel or saran wrap, and place it in a warm place to rise for 1.5-2 hours (I heat my oven to 170, then turn it off, and then place the bowl in the oven).

When you're ready to use the dough, roll it out on a well-floured surface and then place it in a pizza pan or a rimmed-baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, then let it rise in a warm place again for about 10 minutes.

For the pizza: Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the chopped onions and cook them until they're amber brown (about 15 minutes), then add the kale and continue to cook on medium-low heat. Let the kale wilt, and keep stirring the onions around to caramelize them. When they turn a dark-amber color they're sweet. Keep cooking the kale until it starts to get a little crispy, about 10 minutes. It will get crispier in the oven, don't worry.

While the kale is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the minced garlic, then the mascarpone cheese, and when that's melted add the parmesan cheese. Add a dash or two of salt to taste. Turn off the heat, add the caramelized onions and kale, and mix everything until incorporated  Spread the mixture on the pizza, then top it with the sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle a bit more parmesan cheese, and then the crumbled goat cheese. Bake the pizza on 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is soft but cooked through.

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