Monday, July 23, 2012

Meatless Monday: Braised Chard Pizza and Farmhouse Salad

I recently read an article on entitled “What consumers can do to improve the lives of farm animals.” In this article they emphasized that Americans eat too much meat, which, in turn, is bad for the consumers' health, bad for the environment, and bad for the animals’ welfare. They went on to say that if each American went one day a week without eating meat it could greatly improve the lives of the animals in the farm system. Many communities around the globe have begun Meatless Monday programs to encourage this fresh take on eating right.

I love the idea of Meatless Monday. From now on each Monday I will post a vegetarian recipe or two from our cookbooks to make a complete meat-free meal. I am not a vegetarian, but I do love my veggies; I often cook and eat meatless meals. I hope you give this a try. Remember, it benefits your health, the health of the planet, and the health of the animals in our food system — it’s a win, win, win!

Farmhouse Salad
Photograph © John Vails

Braised Chard Pizza
Serves 6 • Makes 2 pizzas
Garlic-scented ricotta cheese makes a bed for silken Swiss chard in this lovely green-and-white pizza.
1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough (see below; follow the instructions in step 1 below while the dough is rising)
2 pounds (12–16 stems with leaves) ruby, green, or rainbow chard, leaves cut into 1-inch ribbons and stems diced
13 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup water
1 onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 pound ricotta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  1. While the pizza dough is rising, braise the chard. Combine the chard, oil, water, and onion in a large Dutch oven or a large, wide saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook over medium heat until the chard is completely tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain well (but reserve the cooking liquid for flavoring stocks or soups or for cooking grains).
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  3. Stir the garlic and oregano into the ricotta, and season to taste with more salt and pepper. With the dough spread over pizza or baking pans as instructed, spread half the ricotta over each. Spoon the chard on top of the ricotta. Top with the Parmesan.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are golden and the Parmesan is melted.
  5. Slice and serve warm.
Basic Pizza Dough
Makes two 10-inch to 12-inch round or two 12- x 15-inch rectangular pizzas
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1½ cups warm (110 to 115°F) water
1 packet (¼ ounce) or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a food processor fitted with a dough hook or in a large bowl,combine 3 3/4 cups of the flour and the salt. Measure the warm water into a glass measure, add the yeast, and stir until foamy. Stir in the olive oil.
  2. With the motor running, pour the water mixture into the food processor, and process until the dough forms into a ball. Continue processing for 1 minute to knead the dough. Alternatively, add the yeast mixture to the dough, and stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Use the remaining ¼ cup to lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough onto the surface, and knead until the dough is springy and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should be firm and just slightly sticky, not dry.
  3. Grease a bowl with oil, and place the dough ball in the bowl, turning the dough to coat with the oil. Cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Divide the dough into two balls. Brush two baking sheets or pizza pans with oil. Stretch the dough to fit each pan. The dough is now ready for topping with sauce and vegetables.
Recipes excerpted from Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman © 2007, 2009. All rights reserved.
Farmhouse Salad with Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette
Serves 6
Ingredients — Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients — Farmhouse Salad
2 small heads butter leaf lettuce
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  1. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the lemon juice, honey, shallot, and garlic together in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  2. Make the salad: Quarter the lettuce heads, keeping the root end intact. Rinse well, and drain. Arrange two of the wedges, cut side up, on each of four plates.
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the wedges on each plate. Toss the fennel and pine nuts together with the remaining vinaigrette in a small bowl. Garnish the salads with the fennel, pine nuts, and Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Recipe excerpted from Dishing Up Oregon by Ashley Gartland © 2011. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I made two variations of the chard pizza over the weekend. On Saturday, I used a purchased, but fresh, pizza dough from the bakery. And rather than herb and garlic ricotta, I spread olive oil and my homemade basil/garlic scape pesto on the dough, sprinkled it with goat cheese, and then followed Andrea’s recipe. I had never had braised chard on pizza before — it was amazing!

I repeated the recipe again on Sunday. This time I cut the top off a loaf of ciabatta bread purchased from the farmers’ market, and used that for the base of my pizza. I then proceeded with the recipe above, except that I substituted kale for the chard. Once again, AMAZING!

These meatless monday recipes are for inspiration to cook a meal with no meat. You can follow them exactly or use them as an inspirational guide to use more vegetables in your cooking.