I won’t bore you with excuses and explanations of why I’ve been absent so long. Suffice to say I am back, and happy to share an easy & delectable dinner recipe. Unless my memory no longer serves me, that’s why I started this blog in the first place, so what better way to return.
Yesterday marked my arrival home from two glorious weeks spent in California with my family. Kevin flew back to Texas several days earlier, but I stayed with the Mr. petite doodle for a longer stretch to stay up late visiting with my parents, soak in the cool bay area fog, and lap up more delicious food & drink. Sigh.
To remind myself that there’s good food in Texas, too, I returned to the kitchen Sunday evening. Bleary from the red-eye flight home, I made a quick decision to make comfort food; the long-overdue rainy weather made the choice that much easier. Kevin hadn’t done much grocery shopping, so I had to rely on the pantry, freezer, and garden. I settled on a quick pizza, made with a speedy scone-type crust.
The idea stems from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Biscuits and Scones, by Elizabeth Alston; it was a going-away to grad school present from a favorite aerobics class participant. It is petite perfection: 62 sweet and savory recipes, of which I have tried almost all (biscuits and scones fit well with a graduate student budget). Ms. Alston’s accompanying prose is lively and informative, and the recipes are flawless.
Topping my list of favorites from the book is her pissaladière, Southern France’s answer to pizza. My mother makes a wickedly delicious version from James Beard’s Beard on Bread. It’s an all-day affair, made with a butter-rich brioche crust, so I was excited to try Alston’s innovative biscuit-crust version.
It is, in a word, brilliant. Moreover, it has inspired many biscuit- and scone-based pizzas from my oven ever since. Three cheers for Elizabeth Alston!
As mentioned, last night’s toppings were a hodge-podge of found ingredients, and because I found kale in the crisper,on it went as a pizza topping (a new venture on my part!) As it turns out, it is an ideal pizza topping: the leaves get beautifully crispy-crunchy, a delicious contrast to the tender crust beneath.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup nonfat or lowfat milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup good quality organic marinara sauce
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts (well-drained)
4 cups torn kale leaves (tough stems and ribs removed)
1 and 1/2 cups grated smoked Gouda cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Crust: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in Parmesan.
Whisk the milk and egg in a small bowl, then add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; pat to 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Lift onto a non-stick baking sheet, then press out to a circle about 10 inches across to make the pizza base.
Spread the marinara sauce over the crust, then evenly distribute the artichoke hearts, kale and cheese.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until crust is golden and cooked through.