Last Saturday, I spent the day in upstate New York at the Cook ‘n Scribble LongHouse Writer’s Revival. It was a day full of discussion on the future of food writing in a beautifully restored barn, and breathing in the scents of a 240 pound pig roasting 10 feet away.
It was a long drive from Brooklyn up to Rensserlaerville, and with a broken GPS and no cell service this city gal got a little lost on those country roads! All I have to say is street signs people, you need street signs! However, I was only an hour delayed and I still made most of the morning session. Molly O’Neill the founder of the LongHouse Revivals created a “pop-up magazine” with 3-5 minute spoken “articles” from Brian Hailweil, the editor of Edible East End, Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, founder of The Kitchn, Katherine Alford, from The Food Network and many more.
No gathering of food writers is complete without some good eats! For lunch, they built a pizza oven and we enjoyed some of the best pizza I’ve had in quite some time. My recipe today is in fact, my version of the pizza we enjoyed. They served a white pizza topped with raw kale, and it was so simple and delicious, I just had to go back for seconds.
In the evening we finally enjoyed what we were smelling all day long – a big Oaxacan pig roast was served to our grumbling bellies. Tender flavorful pork shared the table with roasted butternut squash, eggplant, pickled onions, freshly prepared tortillas and two types of salsa.
I had a wonderful day a the revival and enjoyed meeting so many new people, but it was definitely a learning and eye opening experience for me. I believe the one thing that I took away from it was that while everyone there sees themselves as writers first, I look in the mirror and see a cook. I would never turn to someone and say “I’m a writer.” Perhaps a writer of recipes, but those happen in my kitchen, while I’m cooking away. Words do come easily to me (sometimes too much, I’m already at 350+!), but when I look back and read what I write, it doesn’t necessarily have that je ne sais quoi that some writers have. I can live with that though, I just want to make good food and write about it. 🙂
I chose to try out Jim Lahey's no knead pizza dough recipe this time around. It was simple and true to its name, you need to plan ahead when making this though, as the dough needs at least 9 hours to rise. For the remaining ingredients, buy the best that can. The ricotta and the kale are the stars, so you want the freshest possible.
16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt (I used kosher)
350 grams (1 1/2 cups) water
For the pizza toppings
Fresh whole milk ricotta
1 bunch kale, tough ends and middle ribs removed
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
To make the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt.
Pour in the water and with a wooden spoon or your hands, combine thoroughly.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit a room temperature for 9-18 hours (depending on how cool your room is) until doubled in size.
Flour your work surface and scoop the dough out, dividing it into four parts.
Take each portion, and pull the four sides to the center forming it into a round turning it seam side down. The dough shouldn't be sticky at this point, if so add more flour. Mold each round into a nice circular ball.
Refrigerate if you don't plan on using right away, and wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap.
To make the pizza:
Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and if using a pizza stone, pre-heat for 30 minutes.
Take your prepared kale and stack the leaves on top of each other and cut into thin ribbons. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and lemon juice, seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Stretch your pizza dough into a 10 inch circle (or as close to a circle as you can get!) and spread the ricotta cheese over, leaving a 1 inch boarder around the crust. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
If using a pizza stone, prepare your pizza on a peel and carefully slide the pizza on to your stone. If you are cooking on a baking sheet, prepare directly on there, as it will be difficult to transfer the raw pizza.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown - if you like a little char, turn on the broiler for a minute.
Remove and top with a generous portion of the kale and finish with some grated parmigiano cheese.