Monday, July 20, 2009

Cooking with Greens: Homemade Pizza!

I am in love with my family's membership in a CSA farm this summer; everyone who knows me knows that I'm totally in my element, up to my knees in carrots and beets and fresh basil, feverishly paging through cookbooks and throwing together things like Lemon Couscous Salad with Spinach, Scallions, and Dill; or Broccoli-Cauliflower-Raisin Salad; or Zucchini Bran Bread; or Kale-Potato-White Bean Soup. Sometimes all in one meal. Ha! Not quite, but almost.

But you know, those greens, they are a challenge sometimes. I mean the cooking greens, also known as "braising greens." Not the micro-greens spring mix, for salads--overly plentiful in their own right. At least you know what to do with those: throw them in a big salad bowl and sprinkle with vinaigrette, then eat until your babies say, "Mama, I tiwed of sawad."

No, no, the cooking greens--they are abundant, and less self-explanatory. The Swiss chard, the spinach, the kale; the tops of all those vegetables you never knew, before, that you could also eat the greens of: beets, turnips, kohlrabi. Yikes. What to do with all those greens?

I like to throw them into quiches and vegetable tarts, into soups, and sauteed into pasta dishes. But my friend Connie had a great idea too: saute them and put them on pizza. Yes! Oh, but don't give in to temptation and pick up an expensive pre-made pizza shell from the grocery. Make your own homemade pizza dough. It's economical, it's delicious, and it's oh so easy. You will see.

This recipe is from my friend Laura. It is for one standard-sized pizza pan, and makes a fluffy, bready crust. You could double the recipe and freeze one ball of dough for another time. Your children can help you make this; it's that easy, and they love it. (Mine do it all the time.) Best of all, you can form the crust, and even top the pizza, cover the whole thing, and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake it, and it turns out just fine. I once did this at 6:30 a.m. for a dinner 12 hours later. It worked. So--thanks to Laura--here's the recipe. Mix some up, saute your CSA greens, and make yourself a yummy and super-nutritious homemade veggie pizza. (Obviously, you could also add any other pizza toppings you'd like: onions and olives would be especally good.) Then let me know what you think.

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

Start with 1 cup flour (white, whole-wheat, or half and half; I always use all wheat). Put in a large bowl and add 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 packet of Quick Yeast (any brand, but make sure it's the quick-rising kind), 1 T. olive oil, and any seasonings you might like (half a teaspoon or so each of oregano, basil, garlic powder, or nothing at all).

Mix the above and then add 1 cup warm water (from the tap is fine). Then add enough WHITE flour--gradually--to make a nice dough. You'll know it when you see it. I add by 1/3 cup at a time, and usually add a total of a cup, I think. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until it's a nice smooth ball.

Shape onto a greased pizza pan. Top with sauce, any toppings you like (greens! greens!), and cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


Mnmom said...

I like pesto on my pizza. And last week we GRILLED it! Just flop your unadorned crust on an oiled, hot grill. When one side is toasty, flip it over, put your toppings on, close the lid, and bake a few more minutes. The trick is to have all toppings warm or room temp.

latisha said...

great job on the greens! toughest thing when we first started. i've also discovered breakfast smoothies. greens make the best additive. you can put em in raw, but they have better texture and are more filling if you boil em first for about 2 minutes then squeeze out water.

throw in blender with some juice or soy milk and a fruit of choice. we also add chia seeds or flax for an energy boost.

sevi loves her green goddeses (spinach, apples, a little soy, lime juice)

it will keep all day just shake it up if it starts to separate. sometimes if the greens are really thick, we add a little water...

donna said...

Thanks for the pizza recipe! (I've been trying to find the perfect pizza recipe, although I suspect it has more to do with me mastering the rolling of the dough so it isn't too thin or too thick.)

My kids prefer when I make calzones. I make a batch of dough and 'take orders' as to who wants pizza and who wants calzones and make them accordingly. Gives some variety to the meal, and the kids love to build their own calzones.