February 5, 2013

    Last year for either my birthday or Christmas my best friend gifted me with a wonderful little cookbook called Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson.  Heidi is the creative behind 101 Cook Books blog, which my friend (a vegetarian/pescetarian) and I are huge fans of.  Her recipes utilize oils, grains, vegetables, and herbs I would never think of using to create something satiating and healthy.  If I ever decided to make the leap and become a full time vegetarian, I could probably do so because of her book and blog.  Her recipes leave you feeling satiated in the way you would had you grilled up some steaks for dinner, but without the guilt or listless feeling that comes after devouring red meat.
    Since moving in with a meatatarian, I find myself using this book more and more.  When Erich and I first started dating, it seemed like bacon was the go to ingredient for any dish....  The first pie (fruit pie) we made together had a bacon lattice crust on top and a lard crust on the bottom.  Sure there were apples inside, but a slice was sure to lead any healthy being into cardiac arrest or a food coma if they were lucky.  I knew I had my work cut out for me from that point on, which brings me to Heidi's Kale Salad recipe from her cookbook that inspired this pie.  I made the Kale Salad to take for lunch one week, and I couldn't believe how such a simple recipe could taste so amazing!  Then I thought, this would make an excellent pie!  So I made one for my lady friends and they were gushing over it so I knew I had to whip one up for Erich and share it with all of you!  

Coconut and Kale Pie

1-2 c. chopped kale, stems removed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
Bufala Mozzarella
Handful of Pecorino
salt & pepper

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp.soy sauce

  Toss all of the ingredients for the toppings except the cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Combine with the dressing, and set aside.  Pre bake the pizza dough with a little olive oil for about 2-3 minutes.  Then place the toppings on the pie and insert back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, and mangia mangia!

February 2, 2013

It being so cold out, Ashley and I have been going heavy on the hearty: hearty soups, hearty sandwiches, hearty pasta. So when it became my turn to concoct our next pie creation, I decided to keep with the theme, and whip up a pie that would stick to our ribs. To give myself a challenge however, I was determined to whip up a pie that was warming, gooey, and satiating on the inside, but wasn't covered in grease, and still maintained the crunchy integrity of the crust. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Spinach Béchamel Pie with Artichokes.

The béchamel sauce mixed with garlic sautéed spinach, and a generous handful of grated pecorino, makes a great base for the artichoke hearts (crisped up nicely in a skillet), mushrooms, and of course some nice chunks of mozzarella. It's gooey, it's warming, it tastes like salt and cheese and cream, yet the spinach and the artichokes keep everything balanced and interesting, and help you to get through more then just a few bites before the cheese makes you cry "uncle!" Damn good winter eatin' for sure.

Spinach Bechamel Pie

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flour
3/4 c grated pecorino
1 c milk
2 cloves garlic
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
4 oz fresh mozzarella
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 c chopped shitake mushrooms
1 dough
salt and pepper to taste

For the Béchamel, dice garlic, sauté in pan with 1 tbsp olive oil until fragrant. Add the spinach, and sauté until it wilts and turns bright green (about 5 min). Remove from heat, set aside. In a fresh skillet over medium-low, add 1 tbsp olive oil. When hot, whisk in the flour little by little until it thickens. Remove from heat, whisk in the milk little by little, until smooth.  Return to heat, whisk as it cooks (it will get thicker and thicker). Add pecorino after about 3 min, whisking until incorporated, and smooth. Remove from heat, stir in spinach.

For pizza, preheat oven to 500 (or higher if you can), roll out dough. Top with thinnish layer of béchamel, sautéed Artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, and mozzarella, bake until golden brown. Salt and pepper to taste.