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in fits and starts

April 04 2011 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Pizza,Recipe » 20 comments


Spring, as it’s wont to do, is proceeding in fits and starts.  We shivered through a Cubs game yesterday afternoon, only to find ourselves eating dinner on the deck—sockless!  with candles!—that very same night, as the mercury climbed to seventy (!) degrees.  Today, it was back to steel gray skies and blustering wind and that tiresome chill.  And that, in a nutshell, is how this brief spell between winter and summer typically unfolds for us here in Chicago.  We are teased with warm days, tall blue skies, and bright sunshine, only to have the rug pulled out from under us before we can even bust out a single sundress.

Spicy Roasted Kale Pizza

So.  I’ve decided to throw winter a going away party.  I figure that if we properly fête winter—celebrating all that was great about the all-too-long season—it will uproot itself and fade away.  Who’s in?  Without further ado, here are the things I’ve loved about this winter:

Spicy Roasted Kale Pizza

Kale. Kale with pasta—whether it’s my own rustic version or The Bristol‘s more elegant version, with rich and lemony kale threaded around delicate garganelli.  Kale in risotto.  Kale shredded, roasted and tucked into a quinoa-feta salad.  Kale beneath the runny yolk of a fried or poached egg.  Or kale, best of all, sliced into thin strips and perched atop a pizza, under a drizzle of olive oil and a goodly pinch of red pepper flakes—the pizza that you see pictured in this post (recipe below).

Spicy Roasted Kale Pizza

Sunny Saturday afternoons. Whether spent in the bright, bustling front room of Big Star, over beers and guacamole, where the yellow chairs and lime juice can warm up even the worst winter day, or spent in the Loop, which transforms into an almost peaceful place after the work-a-days filter out on Friday night, or in the kitchen, where the oven’s warmth welcomes and the dough that must be kneaded or the sugar and butter that must be creamed lend the day a worthy purpose.

Spicy Roasted Kale Pizza

Pickled Onions. Harsh and bright and a little sweet, if you pay close enough attention, pickled onions are not all that unlike winter, really.  I’ve been eating them atop this salad every chance I get, but I haven’t stopped there.  They’re wonderful on sandwiches, atop pizzas, and tucked into tacos (both the dinner and the breakfast kind).

Basketball. I’ve gotten into the Bulls this season, which is easy to do when all they do is win.  I’ve been lucky to attend a couple games—including one in which they stomped the Heat—but not lucky enough to make the Kiss Cam on the Jumbotron.  There’s always next season.  Also: Butler.  Here’s where Kevin starts rolling his eyes, because he thinks my full-blown crush on Brad Stevens is ridiculous.  I respectfully disagree with him.  Tonight, I say, go Bulldogs!

Spicy Roasted Kale PizzaSpicy Roasted Kale Pizza

Baked Pasta. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this winter, it’s that a baked pasta thrown together the night before guests are coming for dinner is an excellent idea.  Also: don’t even think of halving the recipe.  The leftovers are practically the best part.
Canal House Cooking. I don’t know what could have possibly taken me so long to order these lovely tomes—not quite books, but much more than magazines.  The winter edition from this year—titled “The Good Life”—arrived just last week and had me yearning for winter, in March, before the season was really even over.  I cannot wait for the next installment to arrive.
Beverages. Like coffee, freshly brewed, strong and piping hot, please.  Hold the cream and sugar.  And, while I’m being bossy, make it locally-roasted Dark Matter‘s Love Supreme blend, which I adore.  Local beers, too, like the Two Brothers white beer, with a fat orange wedge.  At work, hot water with lemon is amazingly restorative.

Spicy Roasted Kale Pizza

Citrus. It’s been a juicy winter around here.  From grapefruits to lemons to limes to oranges (big ones, tiny ones, ruby-fleshed ones), I’ve had my fill of citrus over the past couple of months.  Now, I’m ready to say goodbye.  Winter: the same goes for you.

Spicy Roasted Kale Pizza
Crust Recipe Adapted from The Fresh Loaf

Yield: 1 10-inch pizza

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cups room-temperature water
2 tablespoons or so of tomato sauce
6 to 8 thin slices of buffalo mozzarella
1 small bundle Tuscan kale, trimmed and thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
red pepper flakes, to taste

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the oil and water; stir vigorously until the ingredients are combined.  Set the dough aside to rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured counter, knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes, adding more water or flour if necessary.  Transfer the dough to an oil lined bowl; allow to rest for 1 hour.

Place a pizza stone on the floor of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Prepare a piece of parchment paper roughly the size of your pizza stone.  Dust the parchment very lightly with cornmeal or flour.  Press the dough into a round on the cornmeal-dusted parchment paper.  Spread a very thin layer of the sauce on the dough.  Top with the cheese.  Pile the shredded kale on top of the cheese, drizzle with olive oil and a big pinch of red pepper flakes.

Wearing oven mitts, transfer the pizza, on the parchment paper, onto the preheated pizza stone (keeping the parchment between the pizza and the stone).  Bake for ten minutes, then check the pizza once a minute until the dough is slightly charred in spots and the kale is browned and crisp.  Wearing oven mitts, lift the pizza on the parchment off the stone and onto a board.  Slide the parchment out from under the pizza and discard it.

Slice and serve hot.

20 comments so far. »
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  1. Andrea [bella eats] says on April 04 2011 at 6:56 pm:

    We’re on the same page, friend. :) Substitute arugula for kale and we could be twins. Except that I really love the kale idea, and am going to try that next. Many wishes for a quick spring for you, dear!

  2. Heidi @ Food Doodles says on April 04 2011 at 6:57 pm:

    Wow, that looks so good! Love kale :D

  3. Whitney says on April 04 2011 at 7:26 pm:

    Oooh, a new coffee roaster to seek out! I picked up from Blue Bottle in NYC last week but I’m always game for more.

  4. bianca says on April 04 2011 at 9:09 pm:

    Kale and citrus are winters unsung heroes; I completely fell in love with both this winter…but love to see it go.

  5. Cristin says on April 05 2011 at 6:33 am:

    I was really into kale this winter, too. It tastes so bright with red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice, and I do love it with a poached egg on top. But pizza is one of my favorite ways to get a boatload of vegetables into my husband. I’ll have to try this.

  6. Ali says on April 05 2011 at 7:48 am:

    I say goodbye to winter, but I hope the pizza can stay! Looks delicious!

  7. Jacqui says on April 05 2011 at 8:24 am:

    Wow! Now that’s a pizza I’d like to get my hands on, yum!

  8. laura @ alittlebarefoot says on April 05 2011 at 10:17 am:

    this is such a wonderful idea – and i always need ideas for using up kale from my CSA! thanks.

  9. Jacqui says on April 05 2011 at 10:25 am:

    what a perfect way to say goodbye to winter. hopefully this cold weather will finally get the hint soon. and that pizza looks so good!

  10. Joanne says on April 05 2011 at 10:46 am:

    Well if this doesn’t get winter to bite the dust, then I don’t know WHAT will! That is some pizza. That mound of green…so so so beautiful.

  11. Barbara says on April 05 2011 at 12:25 pm:

    A winter going away party sounds like a plan, Kristin. I hope old man weather is listening!

    Kale pizza looks fabulous….my daughter would love it. I’ll make it next time she visits!

  12. Paige says on April 06 2011 at 5:51 am:

    I love kale, but I never thought about putting it on a pizza! I’ll have to try it sometime. I recently made a cheeseless pizza of my own which turned out GREAT. Recipe and photos here:

  13. natalie (the sweets life) says on April 06 2011 at 7:51 am:

    kale? i love kale, have a kale frittata posted today. why did i never think to put it on a pizza?! can’t wait to try this :)

  14. Sues says on April 06 2011 at 10:40 am:

    I want to eat on the deck sockless and with candles!! I absolutely love kale and this looks amazing!! I love that it has a little spicy kick :)

  15. molly says on April 07 2011 at 8:30 pm:

    i did a double take (and laughed) over your post title… Chicago and Ohio must be kindred spirits, weather-wise!

    we adore kale around here, but on pizza is new to me. when spring finally (ever?) springs, we’ll give it a go.

  16. Brooke (The Flour Sack) says on May 01 2011 at 10:23 am:

    Homemade pizza is one of my favorites for a scrumptious dinner… Especially piled high with green goodness! I quite love arugula on my pizza. I’ll have to try kale soon!

  17. Ann-Louise says on May 24 2011 at 5:48 am:

    Gorgeous pizza! It’s impossible getting a hold of kale this time of year in Sweden but maybe I can substitute it with fresh spinache or a big load of broccoli…

  18. sydney says on June 14 2011 at 2:29 am:

    Yumm looks like such a great thin crust pizza. And i love Kale. So healthy, bright and tasty.


  19. Spicy Roasted Kale and Sausage Pizza | Nom Box says on October 06 2013 at 2:48 pm:

    [...] Adapted recipe and photography originally from The Kitchen Sink [...]

  20. […] Top a homemade pizza with strips of kale, a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of red pepper flakes. […]

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