Sunday, December 2, 2012

What the Crust?!

They say that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade. My more lengthy version of that adage would be, when life hands you molded, store-bought crust at midnight before Thanksgiving, make your own damn crust or hear your family whine about no Tarheel Pie.

Second to that adage would be, when life tries to hand you store-bought crusts for pizza, say a hearty "no thanks" while keeping the Thanksgiving adage in mind.

My Thanksgiving pie crust was so good a teenage boy took the time out to send me a message on Facebook asking me how I made it. It was also so cheap I thought to myself,"How hard could a pizza crust be?"

Folks, not hard and pennies cheap.

If you forgo a store bought crust which--in my experience--is tasteless and difficult to roll out, you're looking at an investment of about $0.50 a crust. I had to buy a 5 pound bag of flour for around $2.50 and (because I didn't check the cabinet first--always do that before shopping) a packet of yeast for $1.19.

You're looking at about $0.81 a crust. You'll invest a little over an hour.

Our toppings for this pizza were purchased at our local produce stand. I bought 2 potatoes, a hearty portion of kale, and a red onion for $1.70. When you buy local, per pound the produce may be more, but the portions are often smaller (do you really need that huge baking potato?) and higher quality. I didn't have to buy 2 huge potatoes. I bought to smaller potatoes, a smaller onion, and fresh kale. It's on the way home from work and it is well worth it.

You're looking at a meal that is $1.46 per serving and, because there are only two in the household, lasts for 2 meals, a dinner and lunch.

I was astounded at how easy this crust was to make and even more astounded at it's appearance and texture.

I know that potato, kale, and onion pizza sounds weird, but I have recently learned about kale's amazing properties:

1. Kale helps lower the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease when it is cooked.

2. Kale is high in Vitamin K--a cancer fighter.

3. Kale makes a great garnish in lieu of parsley, for those of you who couldn't care less about health.


Cornmeal, for the baking sheet
1 pound(s) pizza dough, thawed if frozen
2 medium (about 8 ounces) Yukon gold or white potatoes, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch(es) kale, thick stems discarded, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoon(s) olive oil 
Kosher salt
6 ounce(s) thinly sliced provolone cheese


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. Shape the dough into a 16-inch oval or circle and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, onion, kale, oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Scatter the vegetables and cheese over the dough and bake until the potatoes are tender and the crust is golden brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

tips & techniques
Flavor Boost: For meat lovers, scatter 4 ounces thinly sliced ham (torn into pieces) onto the pizza along with the cheese.
Tip: To quickly separate kale leaves from the stem, hold the kale in one hand by the stem end, and remove the leaf by pulling it downward.
Use Up the Kale: Make crispy kale chips: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Tear 1/2 bunch kale leaves into large pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes.
I used Sargento cheese and I had everything else already so this pizza cost me a whopping $1.46 per serving. 
We had our pizza with 
Ch√Ęteau Morrisette which probably should have been completely reserved for the sausage and apple dinner, but wasn't terrible by any means.
If you look closely you'll see kale adorning the massive apples. My meals always arrive at full circle. 

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