Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sweet Potato Pizza with Chèvre and Caramellized Onions

This was such a fluke. I just happened to have all the makings of this pizza in leftover form: two wrinkling sweet potatos, one little lump of week old chèvre, three pre-mold stage red onions. I made my pizza crust as I always do:

Pizza crust:
250 g. flour
3 tsp yeast
sprinkling of salt
1.5 dl warm water
olive oil
corn flour

In a large bowl, add crumble the yeast and salt into the flour. Add the water, and mix well, thereafter kneading the dough on a sprinkling of corn flour. Keep adding corn flour as needed. It adds a needed texture to the dough, I find. When you're through kneading, let the dough rest in the olive oil drizzled bowl, until it's risen.

Flip the dough out onto a sheet lined with baking paper, and starting in the middle, massage the dough, spiralling outwards from the center. Should almost fill the sheet. Your dough is done. Now for the toppings. Turn your oven on to 230 C. (less if you're using convection)

2 sweet potatos, sliced thinly (actually I use a potato/carrot peeler for the thinnest slicest possible - I don't have a mandolin)
3 small red onions, thinly sliced.
Chèvre cheese
grated mozzarella
balsamic glaze vinegar
olive oil

First things first, sprinkle the mozzarella on the dough, liberally. Pop in into the oven for ten-fifteen minutes, until the cheese is barely golden. Take the pizza out of the oven, add the thinly sliced sweet potatos. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pop back into the oven. While that's happening (another ten minutes), fry the onions in butter/oil until soft. Add a sprinkling of sugar and a drizzle og the balsamic glaze until they are sweet and caramellized. When the sweet potatos are soft, take the pizza out, add the onions and chévre to the pizza. You might want to warm it just a few minutes now, but if the chévre is otherwise room temperature, you're ready to serve! Delicious pizza, really really good. It was an accident I will gladly make again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chanterelle Pasta: A Seasonal Favorite

My mom comes to visit twice a year. Once in September, once in February/March. For this very reason, I always end up making the same dishes while she's here, because of the produce that's available. She luckily doesn't seem to mind!

One of the best and quickest dishes of this season, ready in half an hour is a yummy, creamy plate of chanterelle pasta with a side of steamed artichoke. I usually fry the mushrooms up in butter, but we're downsizing our butter intake at home, so olive oil did just fine. I fry them at medium high heat, until they sweat their own juice out, and absorb the oil. Instead of cream this time, I used coconut milk which did the trick just fine. It does have a coconutty taste to it (surprise, surprise) but I found that adding a spoonful of Herbamare (vegetable broth cube) did a good job of balancing it out. Mix it with your freshly boiled al dente pasta, and you're all set. A sprinkle of parmesan doesn't hurt.

As for the artichoke - I usually boil them, but tried steaming them first this time, with an excellent result! I halve them to start off with, using a paring knife to scrape out the "choke". Steam until the leaves pull of easily. Enjoy with melted butter or a bit of Hellman's mayo, the only thing that kept this meal from being entirely vegan!

A simple meal, but so, so good and fulfilling. The artichoke is practically a dessert, so sweet and satisfying.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kale. Chips. Kale Chips

Meet your new favorite snack. Or rather, meet mine.

The past month or so, I've noticed a couple of new kilos on my chops that while not overtly voluminous, are still an unwelcome addition to my wardrobe. Admittedly, I've been slacking on the exercise, but that usually doesn't throw the scale this much out of whack! I started charting my daily eating habits with a Calorie Counter application on my smart phone. Things were looking pretty good there, so I was really starting to wonder if I had a glandular problem or what. Then I noticed something. Something that I was eating, but not adding to my daily calorie counter. Because I didn't really consider it a meal or snack in itself.

See, my kids have gotten pickier lately. And they leave a lot of food on their plate. Food that goes uneaten. Rising food prices. Africa. See my logic? Yeah, I clean their plates for them. A direct connection between my childrens' pickiness and the scale. I will start serving them smaller portions, and subsequently refuse to eat their leftovers from now on - the worms in the compost bin will just have that much more to mulch from now on!

To get back to the point of this blog post (ie Jennie's fat!), I have nothing but praise for the kale. Kale, I love you. Usually, I just fry the hell out of it with some oil and garlic, reducing it to a spinach substitute that I gladly put in lasagne or on pizza. But kale is a lovely snack in its own right. And while I may need to watch what I eat a bit more closely, to be able to fit into those pants again, i will gladly have my kale chips, and eat them too, no guilt attached. They are absolutely delectably crispy, salty, yummy with just the tiniest bit of olive oil and some salt. And nothing else.

Just take 1 kale, removing the stems, and tearing the leaves up into smaller bits. Arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and salt. Bake at 200 C (180 convection oven) for 10-15 minutes until they are crispy, and just slightly browned at the edges. The ones that were excessively browned still tasted fab, actually reminding me of fried okra, but the green ones were prettier. Still looking fresh from the farm. But packing a great flavor and a perfect crunch!