Sharing a couple my favorite cold weather recipes

Well, actually that is not exactly right.  The first recipe is an anytime type of thing. The second falls more into the category of cold weather fare.

So

I love pizza. There is a fine place for pizza actually down the road about  seven miles. Not bad when it’s not icy. It’s called Crooked Road Café and not only do they have great pizza but they serve Greek specialties as well. I would highly recommend  giving them a try. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.  Mostly they are open on the weekend, so that is yet another reason why I like to make my own. I can have it when ever I want it any way I want it, and also for breakfast.

Here are the ingredients: .  A cup of warm water, a teaspoon and a half of active dry yeast, a tablespoon of honey, 2 1/2  or 3 cups of flour to which a half teaspoon of salt has been added. I like to use artisan bread flour which I can find at the local (forty minutes from here) Mennonite store called Miller’s . They are very nice folk and always friendly and helpful. Any flour will do  but I think bread flour is the best and if I ever am in a pinch and need  flour other than my favorite, I use King Arthur’ s unbleached flour.

So anyway, put the water in a medium-sized bowl, add the yeast and the honey. let that sit a bit to dissolve and then give it a little gentle swish with a  study wire whisk, sort of mix it up. To this add the flour and salt mixture, pretty much all at once. Leave about half a cup to add if you need it stiffen it up some. You know, dough can be finicky depending on the humidity, how hot the room is and all that. When the dough is stiff enough so it holds together, state mixing it with your hands and form a ball right in the bowl. knead that for about two or three minutes, not too long and transfer it to a bowl which you have coated with a little olive oil. Now find a warm place and let that sit for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

This recipe can make two 12 inch pizza crusts or you can use it for a couple of calzones or four personal size pizzas or calzones. So, now separate that dough anyway you want and roll it out nice and thin. To assure my pizza crust is crispy, I dust the pan on which it will cook with corn meal. this technique allows a little air between the cooking dough/crust and the pan. that’s why it doesn’t get soggy. I often roll my pizza on a flexible cutting board or a piece of parchment paper and transfer it onto the pan by simply flopping it on and gently peeling the parchment paper or flexible cutting board off.
Now you come to the topping. This can be anything! Traditional red pizza sauce is easy to make and find, or you can let your imagination be your guide. Recently I made a pesto pizza topped with mozzarella, Monterey jack, parmesan cheese and diced tomatoes. I made a second companion to that with a little olive oil on the crust, sprinkled with dry oregano and basil from the garden. I topped it with the same cheese combo and an onion that I had sliced in circles and a bit of spicy sausage that needed doing with. Bake the pizza in an oven that has previously been heated to 400 degrees for about fifteen minutes and there you go!

This second recipe is for Kale Soup. The traditional Kale Soup I grew up with has as a featured ingredient a Portuguese sausage called Linguica and I hope I spelled that right, as it is not in spellcheck. Anyway, I can’t find it in any of the stores around here so I recently used Andouille and that worked out pretty well, not the same but good. Now to the basics. Take about twelve cups of water and put that in a large stock pot. To this add a nice large onion, diced up small and three good-sized potatoes, also diced small. Add a 15 1/2 can of black eyes peas, or the equivalent of frozen black eyed peas. If you have all the time in the world you can use dried beans also. I often do this and begin by soaking them over night, and making more to keep on hand to have at another meal. So now you add in a whole mess of chopped up kale, easily four or six cups, as this is going to cook down. Now add the sausage, and some salt and bring that all up to a boil. Bring the heat under it down to a simmer and just let it cook until everything is tender, maybe 45 minutes to an hour. I like to let my soup cool and then heat it up again to serve. Seems to me, these hardy soups improve over a day or so and this recipe will make a nice amount of soup so maybe there will be left overs. I like it served with crusty bread buttered and put under the broiler with a little parmesan cheese.
Well, this is what will. be cooking up here on the farm sometime later in the week. If you try it let me know what you think.

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