Hello from the delightful state that is westbound jet lag, when waking up with the sun is easy as pie and pre-lunchtime productivity is at a height. Falling asleep tonight is going to be a breeze! To be honest though, I’m actually surprised that I even have jet lag because over the course of this past week in Amsterdam and Paris, we did not put an ounce of effort into adjusting to the time change. We danced to Yallah Yallah at the Melkweg until the sun came up and slept way past breakfast every day. We regularly ate dinner at 2am. Our method of traveling was a string of what Rob calls stream of consciousness days. That is, we planned nothing and did everything we wanted at the moment we wanted to do it. We sat for hours watching ducks in the Tuileries and climbed the adult jungle gym in the Vondelpark in the rain, we rode bumper cars and boats, and then royally freaked out when we discovered endless free chocolate samples at the Tony’s Chocolonely Superstore. On the way to eat Rijsttafel, we smelled pancakes and they smelled so good that we decided to eat those instead. In Paris we went to Rose Bakery every afternoon and Canal Saint-Martin every night, and I had a lot of ice cream cones. My new friend Catherine introduced me to Glace Bachir, where Lebanese ice cream gets covered in bright green pistachios. So so so so so good. We had no restaurant lists, no schedules, no places we needed to be (except for when it was time for Rob to get married), and it was… fantastic. 10/10 would recommend this method of traveling. Especially with your old college homies, because there is something about wandering aimlessly around a city that feels extra nostalgic and school-kid-like. But most importantly: Congratulations, Rob and Hansaem, on getting hitched!!!!!! Thanks for having a wedding Paris! 🤗 (And, guys! My rhubarb rose jam made it safely all the way to their wedding!!)
Here are some photos of old fronds and good food:
Now let’s talk about these pizzettes! The idea for these was born during the brainstorming phase for the Girl Meets Farm episode that aired this past Sunday. We originally thought it might be fun to show a few different ways to use challah dough, and making mini pizzas was one way. We ultimately decided to go with just the garlic and onion challah, but I still really really wanted to make these for you because challah dough as pizza dough is fluffy, soft, and great. Texturally, it reads slightly more like a focaccia, but "pizzette" is such a cute word and calling it that makes it appropriate for Pizza Friday. (And with 4th of July tomorrow, today is basically a Friday!!!) These are topped with my current favorite pizza toppings of lemon, cheese, shittons of garlic, and green things. It’s an A+ mix of bitterness, creaminess, and acidity, and bonus: you get a slight sweetness from the challah dough. I feel like I’m cheating the Pizza Friday system when I use my pizza as a shovel for green vegetables, because you’re supposed to let loose on Pizza Friday… but just like anything that involves dough and cheese, you cannot go wrong with changing things up a bit, so if you’re not feeling the lemon and greens vibration, go wild and sub the chard for salty meat. Just let your biggest takeaway from this post be that challah dough as pizza dough is good.
challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta
1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1/4 c (50g) + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
3 1/4 c (423g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (or sub up to 1 1/4 c (163g) for whole wheat flour)
2 large eggs
1/3 c (67g) flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable
12 oz (340g) swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, both coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and deseeded
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 c (250g) whole milk ricotta
To make the challah dough, in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.
When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook, for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. It will take slightly longer if you’re using whole wheat flour. Alternatively, you can stick it in the refrigerator overnight and then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before shaping.
Once the dough has just about completed its rising, preheat oven to 400ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook the chard stems for about 4 minutes, until tender. Transfer the stems (and any oil from the pan) to a large bowl and combine with the chard leaves and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat the leaves in olive oil, adding an additional drizzle if needed.
Divide dough into 8 balls and flatten them into rounds about 1/2” thick. Place them on the baking sheets about an inch apart. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil and then top each with lemon slices, garlic, onion, dollops of ricotta (sprinkle the ricotta with a pinch of kosher salt), a shower of parmesan, a big pile of chard, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Sprinkle flaky salt around the edges. Bake until the challah is browned; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Top with more parm if desired and enjoy!
pizzette photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!