Kale Pizza with Garlic and Cheese

National Kale Day is October 7th, 2015.We are having kale for every dinner this week. Here is the most kale pizza scrumptious & nutritious pizza you may ever make. Pizza always seems a little self-indulgent but when you top it with about eight to ten cups cups of fresh kale, rinsed well then drained or dried you’ll enjoy it and it is so fast and easy everyone in the family will soon know how to make it.

Ingredients:
1 ball of fresh pizza dough 12 to 16 oz
Eight to ten cups of trimmed and chopped fresh kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
a dash of salt and black pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
8 oz. fresh asiago, fontina or parmesan cheese
cornmeal to sprinkle on heated stone

Turn oven to 500 degrees and place pizza stone in oven as it heats.

As you see the emphasis and goodness of this dish relies on fresh ingredients. If they are unavailable, use what you have and vow to try it again with the suggested ingredients. While the dough is rising, wash kale and remove stems. You can chop or tear it into bits as you wish. Massage the kale with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. We use a pizza stone but any large baking pan will do the job but you may need to allow more cooking time. Roll dough to fit your stone. Sprinkle stone with cornmeal, place dough on stone and lightly curl up the edges. Now quickly arrange cheeses on top of the dough. Close oven and bake 2-3 minutes . Edges of dough will begin to color and cheeses are semi-melted. Open oven, spread kale and garlic over the cheeses. Now place pizza in the oven. Change temperature setting from bake to broil for 2 minutes. The edges of your kale leaves will look slightly crisped and the rim of the crust is browned in spots, If your pizza is not browned place back in hot oven for one to two minutes with broiler turned off. Remove pizza from stone to a cutting board. Want to know more about National Kale Day just google it.

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Chiffon Cake -gluten free- with Magic Manna Flour Corn

Friends with celiac disease or otherwise unable to eat any gluten products will enjoy a delicious cake now and then. IMG_2836copyFor some keeping track of all ingredients is a paramount health concern. Carol Deppe, artisan corn breeder has introduced us to her versatile and flavorful Magic Manna flour corn. Wise in the ways of cooking for celiac disease she has developed the finest and most flavorful flour corn we’ve used baking.

Manna Flour CornChiffon cake made with Magic Manna Flour Corn flour is an authentic, no fussing cake with a simple substitution of this delectible corn flour for wheat flour. Baked in an angel food tin it produces a light  cake with a delightful aroma and flavor from the Magic Manna corn flour. Bob’s Red Mill also offers Corn flour for baking. It is widely available and can be found throughout the west and through the mail.

 This Chiffon cake has a fine texture and holds together perfectly when sliced. It is particularly convenient that home grown Magic Manna has soft kernels and can be ground in a coffee grinder, blender or a home style flour mill. Carol Deppe the breeder of this artisan flour corn recommends the “Whisper Mill”. After grinding freeze any extra corn flour in a well sealed heavy duty plastic bag to preserve quality and retain the savory aromatics.
The following recipe is an adaptation of the classic Williams-Sonoma Orange Chiffon Cake.
2 1/4 cups Corn Flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup seed or nut oil
6 whole eggs, separated,  plus 2 egg whites
2 Tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Directions
Position a rack in the lower third of oven and preheat to 325 F.
Separate the eggs carefully as even a speck of yolk dropped in the whites will prevent them from fully expanding.
Mix Batter
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into bowl. Into a large bowl whisk to combine the oil, 6 egg yolks, orange zest, and water until well blended. Add flour mixture and set aside.
Beat the Egg Whites
In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium high speed, beat the 8 egg whites and the cream of tarter until soft peaks form. With a silicone or rubber spatula gently fold one-half the egg whites into the batter until almost blended. Second step, gently fold in the remaining egg whites with your spatula just until combined. Pour batter into an ungreased 10- inch tube or angel food cake pan. Using your spatula create a flat surface.
Bake the Cake
Bake approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Test with a toothpick inserted in the center to see it has no batter clinging to it when removed. If toothpick is dry, remove from oven and invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool for one hour. When cooled run a thin-bladed knife around all edges of the pan including the center tube ind invert onto a serving plate. Serve as is, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve. Leftover cake freezes well when wrapped in foil or plastic and will slice while still frozen.
Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma  Food Made Fast Series, by Lou Seibert Pappas.

Greek Pumpkin Pie

This version of pumpkin pie, incorporates winter squash or pumpkin, with gently cooked onion, feta, spearmint and filo, traditional Greek foods. Well the pumpkin is a little unusual but I have frozen winter squash left from last year. There are versions that are sweet as well as savory. I plan to make it again and will add half a cup of golden raisins, and ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper not so traditional but I think the flavors will compliment. Aleppo pepper is offered by Nichols and is a Syrian hot sweet paprika that is coarsely ground. I use a lot of this in my cooking, it’s a gentle intensely flavored pepper not widely available in this country. The coiled design is traditional but if you are in a hurry cook it as you would Spanakopita with a few layers of filo, then filling topped with 6-8 sheets of filo.

4 cups baked or canned Pumpkin or Squash, pureed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ large onions sautéed in olive oil

¾ lb. feta cheese ,crumbled

1 ½ tbls. dried spearmint,

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 heaping tablespoons dry breadcrumbs or panko (see preparation notes)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1lb filo defrosted and allowed to sit out of refrigerator for one hour

1 10” Spring form pan coated with olive oil

Preparation: I used Sibley Squash which is not as moist as fresh or canned pumpkin. If you are using pumpkin try to pour off any visible liquid and include breadcrumbs which will be unnecessary with many squash.

Sauté onions finely chopped (a whirl in the food processor is fine) in olive oil for about 8 minutes at medium heat. Combine pumpkin, cooked onion, cheese, spearmint, crumbs, salt & pepper and taste. Note: eggs are added last so you can safely taste this mixture and check seasoning. Last stir in eggs.

Turn oven to 350 degrees and have a rack in center

Unwrap package of filo, and cover sheets with a tea towel.

On a clear work surface take first filo sheet, place it horizontally in front of you and very lightly brush with olive oil. Sheets do not need to be evenly coated. Place a second sheet on top of first and make an even strip of filling 2” above the lower edge and filling to the left and right margins. I used a scant ½ cup for each strip. Fold filo over the filling and roll over lightly brushing each turn with olive oil until you have completely rolled your first coil. Place this along the inside edge of pan. Lay each coil next to the last end and work to center until the pan is filled. Should you have extra filling wrap separately in filo and bake. If it looks as though you’ll run short start using a little less filling as you finish. Mine did come out exactly even with these amounts.

Lightly brush top of pie with olive oil and place in preheated 350 degree oven. Cook for one hour and check. If dough is still looking pale continue cooking and check at ten minute intervals until nicely browned. Carefully remove the pan ring, first running a knife blade along edge.  Allow to cool for twenty minutes and then transfer to serving plate. Run a spatula all under pie to loosen before transferring. This recipe runs rather long because these steps will be new to most readers. If  you have access to sheep milk feta buy it,  as it produces a superior result. this pie served with a little salad is an adequate dinner and also a good side dish. This is good hot or cold. Reheat in a warm oven. A microwave does no favor to filo based dishes as they lose the delightful crisp quality and begin to steam.

National Zucchini Bread Day

Surely there is no recent holiday with a more obscure origin. The date is listed as both April 23rd and April 25th. It seems to have no presidential decree or any notable history. It reminds me to use the shredded zucchini frozen last fall. It’s almost time to plant more zucchini! Our current favorite variety is Salman F1 hybrid, a pale jade color, productive with a delicious mild flavor.
If any readers know more about this holiday please add a comment. Meanwhile we shall enjoy our zucchini bread, one loaf for a company dinner today and one to take to work on the 23rd.

Zucchini Bread (2 loaves)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast nuts for three to five minutes in pre-heated oven. They keep cooking after you remove them so slightly under toasted is best.

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini *
3 cups pre-sifted unbleached flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 8” x4” loaf pans or spray pans with no-stick cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper against the two long sides of each pan and let it drape slightly over the edges. Trim with scissors if necessary. Smooth paper against sides and lightly respray. By using this method any quick bread can be easily removed with absolutely no sticking.

Lightly beat the eggs with a whisk. Stir together oil, vanilla and sugar, followed by zucchini.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nuts in a large bowl. I sift 1 cup of flour with other dry ingredients except nuts, and then stir it all together.

Stir egg mixture into flour. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 55 minutes then check with a toothpick or bamboo skewer, if it comes out dry, bread is done. If batter clings to skewer bake another 5 minutes or until done. Place pans on cooling rack for ten minutes. Turn over to remove from pan and carefully remove paper. Let loaves cool on rack. Do not wrap or store until completely cooled.

*My packages of zucchini were carefully marked as 3 cups when I froze them. When measuring after thawing it was now two cups without discarding any liquid. So it’s three cups fresh and two cups frozen and thawed.

High Omega-3 Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin CupcakesEach cupcake contains two grams of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids from canola oil, flax seed, squash, and walnuts. Eggs may or may not be high in Omega-3’s depending on how the hens are fed. A good reason for free range hens to have a mixed diet that’s high in greens.

I developed this recipe after reading Susan Allport’s excellent book “The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them”.

Servings: Makes 12 cupcakes or one tea loaf.

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
*½ teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup cooked pumpkin or winter squash
½ cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
**1/3 cup Baker’s Cut candied ginger or chopped candied ginger
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil and flour 9×5 inch loaf pan. For cupcakes prepare 12 slots. I use paper liners in my tins to avoid oiling and flouring.

Sift first 7 dry ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat oil with sugar and then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin, flax seed and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Stir in ginger and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan or cupcake tins.

Bake loaf cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely.
Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean, they will still look barely moist on top. Let cupcakes cool in pan for three minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

POWDERED SUGAR GLAZE (optional)
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. liquid (milk or cream.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional

Combine ingredients and mix until smooth. Lightly spread on cooled cupcakes or loaf. I dusted my glaze with a small pinch of Vietnamese cinnamon on each cupcake.

*Vietnamese cinnamon is very dark and fragrant. For many years it was unavailable in the US but now that trade has resumed with Vietnam, we have access to what is considered the finest baking cinnamon. **Baker’s Cut Ginger, is minced candied ginger. A real step saver, no more sticking to the knife or gnarling up in the food processor.