swiss chard, fennel, goat cheese & ricotta pizza

Image

Image

swiss chard, fennel, goat cheese & ricotta pizza

I’m a fan of any and all types of pizza… why wouldn’t you want tomatoes and bread and cheese, all in one? At least that’s how I originally looked at it. Now I still love my classic New York cheese pizza, but I love pies that use fresh and healthy ingredients as well! So, when I was scavenging for food in my fridge today, this is what I came up with! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Pizza Dough
2 packets of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
4 cups of flour (1/2 AP, 1/2 whole wheat)

Topping
a medium fennel bulb, sliced thinly
one onion, sliced
one bunch of swiss chard
bacon
goat cheese
home made ricotta

Ricotta
4 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
2 tbsp of lemon juice

Instructions

In a large pot, add your whole milk and your heavy cream. While you are waiting for this to boil, add 2 packets of active dry yeast to the cup and a half of warm (about 110 degrees) water. This will need to sit for about five minutes before you do anything else. Once you see your milk start to develop foam on the top, watch carefully because it will begin to boil soon. As the milk begins to boil, add in two tablespoons of lemon juice and give one quick stir. Let rest for about two minutes. You will see curds have formed and at this point you can strain through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer. Let your curds separate from the whey and you will soon have ricotta! Depending on how stiff or moist you’d like your cheese, draining times will vary.

Now you can finish your dough. The water and yeast should have developed a slight foam on top, and at this point you can whisk in the olive oil, salt, and sugar. Once they are combined being to stir in your flour. If it gets to difficult to do with a spoon, feel free to get in there with your hands! You don’t want to overwork the dough at this point though, so once everything is combined, coat a new bowl with a touch of olive oil and put your dough in there to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep somewhere warm to rise and double in size.

At this point you can begin all of your chopping and rinsing. Slice your fennel thinly and caramelize- this will take a while, fennel is a strong veggie and needs time and patience to break down. Once they are soft and brown you can add in your sliced onion (I also added a splash of white wine!), and begin to cook it. Put the fennel and onion into a dish, and start to wilt your swiss chard- don’t even worry about washing the pan! While the chard is cooking down, throw a few pieces of bacon in a skillet and cook until crispy.

Once all of your toppings are ready, your dough should be good to go! There will be enough dough for a couple pizza’s- cut in half and save half the dough for later. Gently knead the dough on a floured surface and start to stretch to whatever shape pizza you’d like to make. For really thin crust I flatten out the dough even more with my rolling pin. Transfer your dough to a cookie sheet or pizza stone and throw on your toppings (for a vegetarian option, omit bacon)! I cooked my pizza at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes and then bumped the temperature up to 500 to finish off and get a nice crispy crust. I knew mine was ready when I could smell the pizza and when I looked in the oven, my crust was a golden brown!

I topped my pizza with some garlic powder, fresh parmesan, and salt and pepper. Divide up and enjoy!

Image

Image

Advertisements

sunday dinner

Image

Image

Milk Poached Chicken with Fennel on Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta

I eat a lot of chicken. And I feel like I always make it the same way- as chicken cutlets or in stir fry. I decided to experiment and play with my chicken this week after reading about a few different techniques to get the most tender and delicious chicken around. When I was deciding what to serve it with, I wanted something besides pasta or bread, so I made polenta for the first time and mixed in my favorite cheese. I was a little scared to see if it would actually turn out, but after a lot of vigorous stirring and sweating over the stove, I had a creamy pot of goodness. Check out the recipes below!

Ingredients

For the Chicken:
Either a whole chicken or a few chicken breasts with rib meat
olive oil
salt + pepper
1 bulb of fennel
1 shallot
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
a few cups of milk
a few sprigs of thyme
a cinnamon stick
whole star anise
lemon zest

For the Polenta:
1 cup of cornmeal or polenta
4 cups of milk
goat cheese
parmesan rinds
salt + pepper

Instructions

Brown your chicken on all sides- it doesn’t have to cook the chicken significantly, it just has to turn it a nice golden brown. As you’re browning the chicken, start sauteing your shallots, garlic, and fennel in the bottom of a dutch oven (I diced my shallots, crushed my garlic, and sliced my fennel thinly). Once your chicken is done browning, add it to the dutch oven, and pour a few cups of milk over the top of the chicken- you can use part milk and part water as well if you do not have enough milk. Add your spices and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Cooking times will change depending on what type of chicken meat you go with- I used chicken breast and it was finished in 20-30 minutes. If you are using a whole chicken, you can finish by baking off in the oven. 

While your chicken is poaching, bring four cups of water to a boil. Begin to stir the water to create a whirlpool effect, and slowly add one cup of cornmeal/polenta, stirring vigorously. Once the polenta is combined with the water and you don’t see it separate when you stop stirring, you can take a break. Let it bubble for a few minutes, then stir for a few minutes- it’s almost like risotto! You’ll want to cook the polenta until it is very thick- about 25-30 minutes. Once it is thick, add as much or as little goat cheese as you’d like, a parmesan rind or fresh grated parmesan, and salt and pepper. Stir all of this in well, and let the polenta rest for a few minutes before serving.

To go along with this dish, I also sauteed up some spinach and mushrooms. When serving, I scooped the polenta into a bowl, added a layer of spinach, and topped with the chicken and some fennel.

Image

ImageImage

green garden soup and savory scones

Image

i first saw the recipe for a garden soup on le pirate and knew right away that i wanted to try it. it was simple enough to make and it turned out better than i imagined! i tweaked the recipe a little, but was pretty true to form.

Six or seven large (very large) zucchini, chopped
One big head of broccoli, chopped
One leek, white parts only, chopped
Four cloves of garlic, minced
One onion, diced
500ml of chicken consomme
Sea salt and cracked pepper
A big handful of basil
A big handful of mint
A handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

“In a large pot, saute the garlic and onion and the leek in a little olive oil until transparent. Add the zucchini and the broccoli and stir about for two to three minutes. Then add the stock. Put a lid on the saucepan and let it come to the boil. Simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Then add in your big handful of basil leaves. And your Parmesan. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Then, use a hand blender, or a food processor, to blend it all until smooth. This isn’t a thirty second job, persevere for at least five or ten minutes in order to attain the most glorious and velvety consistency that you ever did imagine. Divide between bowls, reheating first back in the pot if necessary.”

i added a few handfuls of spinach as well, and while blending i added a few scoops of ricotta cheese and a little bit of cream cheese to add to the creamy texture! i topped with some crispy bacon bits, another scoop of ricotta, and a spring of fresh mint!

i also needed something to go on the side of course, so i tried my hand at making a savory scone. most scone recipes are pretty basic, and then you just throw in whatever you want. i followed this basic recipe:

4 cups of flour

3/4 cup of buttermilk

a few tablespoons of sugar

4 tablespoons of baking powder

1-2 teaspoons of salt

2 eggs

1 stick of butter

to this, i added some crumbled italian sausage, caramelized onion, rosmary, fennel seeds, sage, and lots of fresh cracked pepper. i just eyeballed most of these measurements so dont worry about being super specific. to mix the batter, add together dry ingredients and cut in the butter. then mix in the wet ingredients, and whatever else you want to put in the scones. once all mixed i just plop the batter onto a cookie sheet, and back for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

i really enjoyed this meal and i hope you will too!