For our wedding, our friends Jeff and Amanda gifted us with a board game and all the supplies for pizza: a stone, a wheel, a peel. During their first year of marriage, they established a Sunday-evening routine of making pizza and playing a game. By their gift, they hoped that we might find our own similar routine. Routines are good for marriages.
As I’ve said before, we’re not particularly structured people, but even though our habits don’t correspond with days of the week, we have indeed developed our own rhythms during this first year of marriage. We take walks, we cook dinner, Dan bakes cookies. We play board games. (In fact, leaving behind our games was one of the hardest parts of coming out here! Sometimes only a good round of 7 Wonders or Ticket to Ride can settle us after a long day of paper-writing.) As much as I resist admitting to it, we’ve made our way through Arrested Development and just finished the first season of Downton Abbey and I’m hooked. We read before bed, each of us turning out our light when we reach a chapter break. And we make pizza.
While don’t make it every week, we make it often enough—oftener, probably, than any one other meal. We always make two pizzas, one more standard, one more adventurous. When we can, we grill them. The pizzas come out that much more charred and flavorful when we use the grill. Dan has been loving the barbecue chicken pizza lately, and I adapted this broccolini and lemon flatbread.
Kale, Lemon, and Goat Cheese Pizza
inspired by Sara at Sprouted Kitchen
Really, pizza’s a cinch to make, especially the dough. For dough, we’ve relied on this recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen for a while. It requires several hours of rising, so I often mix up the dough at lunch and it’s ready by dinner. I’m not including a full recipe for the barbecue chicken pizza (crust + barbecue sauce + cooked shredded chicken + red onions + mozzarella = straightforward and delicious), but I do want to mention that we found a good barbecue sauce that doesn’t include high fructose corn syrup, if you’re so inclined and can find it at the grocery store. Or make your own, I suppose. (8/22/2012 update: we just tried Trader Joe’s barbecue sauce. It’s on the spicy side, but the pizza got good reviews from our friends!)
Pizza dough, enough for two pizzas
1 ½ cups white flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it sit for a few minutes till it starts to get foamy. In a bowl, mix together the flours and salt. Stir in the yeasty water and the olive oil, until everything starts to stick together.
Dump everything in the bowl onto the counter and knead it until the flour is incorporated, maybe three minutes.
Then lightly grease the bowl that you mixed everything in (I don’t bother to wash it, I just scrape out the remaining flour), and set the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, and let it sit for 2 to 4 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough, fold it back into a ball, and let it sit for another 30 or so minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Divide the dough into two and roll it out on a floured counter. Sprinkle a pizza stone with cornmeal, or grease a baking sheet and then sprinkle with the cornmeal, and set the crust on it. After covering it with toppings, bake it for 10 to 15 minutes, until the toppings have browned, the cheese has blistered, and the crust is golden.
Kale, Lemon, and Goat Cheese Pizza
a few big handfuls of kale, cleaned and torn into pieces
1 small lemon
4+ oz. soft goat cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper
Garlic paste, with roasted garlic
1 garlic bulb
4 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Peel off the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Slice 1/4 to 1/2 an inch off the top of the bulb so that you can see the naked cloves.
If you’re only roasting one head of garlic, set the bulb in a small ramekin (a muffin tin works for bigger batches). Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed face of the bulb, and rub it in to make sure each clove is oiled. Cover the ramekin with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cloves feel soft when you poke them with a fork.
Meanwhile, sauté the kale in a pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes. When it turns bright green and loosens up, turn off the heat.
Rinse the lemon and slice it as thin as you can manage. Remove the seeds.
When the garlic is thoroughly roasted, let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes so you don’t burn yourself. Use a fork to pop each clove out of its skin. Turn up the oven to 450°F for the pizza.
In that same ramekin or a mortar, crush the cloves and mash them into a paste. Pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Continue to mash everything together.
Spread the garlic paste on the rolled-out pizza crust. Over that, evenly spread the kale, lemon slices, crumbled goat cheese, and parmesan. Dribble a little olive oil and sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper over the whole thing.
Bake it for 15 minutes. If you’re making two pizzas at once, switch them halfway through so they bake evenly.
Let the pizza cool slightly, cut it into pieces, and enjoy it alongside a board game.