Blogger Extreme Food Makeover by Lisa Howard, The Cultured Cook

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Blogger: Lisa Howard
Challenge: Pizza

Curried pizza by Lisa Howard.

Cooking is fun, but it’s even more fun when you’re doing an Extreme Food Makeover challenge! This weekend, I’ve been brainstorming recipe ideas for Cooking Matters Michigan’s EFM contest. I and my fellow competitors have each been given a dish to remake with what we have on hand plus three purchased ingredients AND a “secret” ingredient that must be included in the final dish. I opted to focus on curry powder as my key ingredient.Curry + my assignment to renovate a pizza = curried pizza!

Since Indian cuisine doesn’t feature cheese nearly as much as Italian cuisine does, I made a creamy sauce out of whole-milk Greek yogurt, lentils, and that magical curry powder. (Indian dishes often feature yogurt as an ingredient. Ever had a mango lassi? If not, try making your own by blending fresh mango with whole milk, a splash of water, and some powdered ginger. Yum!) And since many Indian dishes are vegetarian, I went with all-veggie toppings. The result was a familiar-yet-very-different rendition of an all-time favorite.

Note: I also made my own whole-grain gluten-free crust, but you could just as easily use a store-bought whole-wheat pizza dough. Trader Joe’s sells a nice dough that comes in a bag and includes prep and baking instructions. Look for it in the refrigerated section. (Thanks for the tip. *Making note to go to Trader Joe’s today. -dorothy)

Curried Pizza with Lentils, Kale & Peppers

Makes one 12″ pizza. Feel free to double the recipe if you have two pizza pans.

1/4 cup raw brown lentils
1 batch pizza dough, either this whole-grain gluten-free version or store-bought whole-wheat dough
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
2 small peppers or 1 medium pepper, seeds and ribs removed, flesh cut into strips (I used 2 banana peppers from my garden — they only have a slight trace of heat — but use whatever you like)
2 large or 4 medium kale leaves, rinsed and patted dry, cut into thin ribbons
2 medium tomatoes or 1 large tomato, cut into small wedges
1/2 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
1 T. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a 12″ pizza pan and set aside.

Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in lentils, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain well.

While the lentils are simmering, prepare the pizza dough, whether you’re making your own dough from scratch or are using store-bought whole-wheat dough. If you’re making a gluten-free crust, press the dough into the greased pan. If you’re using whole-wheat dough, roll it out first and then drape/press it into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on rack while you finish making the sauce and toppings.

While the lentils are simmering and the crust is baking, heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until onions are turning golden-brown and translucent. (If they’re cooking too quickly, reduce the heat to medium-low.) Stir in garlic and sauté an additional 3 minutes or until garlic is soft and starting to turn translucent. Remove from heat.

To make the sauce, purée the cooked and drained lentils with yogurt, curry powder, and salt. I used a food processor to do this, but if you don’t have a processor, a potato masher works, too. Spread evenly onto baked crust. Top with the cooked onion and garlic, peppers, kale and tomatoes.

Bake pizza for 25 minutes (still at 425F) or until the crust is nicely browned around the edges and the peppers and tomatoes have begun to shrivel. Let pizza stand for 3 minutes before cutting it into slices with kitchen shears or a pizza cutter.


No-Sugar Lemon Soda

As you can see, I included the how and why of the recipe in the text. I used curry as my secret ingredient and purchased sparkling water for $1.99 and 7 oz of whole-milk Greek yogurt (very important to get WHOLE-milk!!) for $1.99. I left the third purchased ingredient open so that it could be used for the whole-wheat pizza dough. (I made a gluten-free one for myself since I’m a g-f person and I wanted to be able to eat my own pizza, but a store-bought whole-wheat dough would be fine, too.) Not sure how much that dough is at Trader Joe’s or how much my pantry ingredients would be since most came from my garden. The pantry ingredients were kale, tomato, onion, pepper, garlic, curry powder, lentils, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt. I’d say the 12″ pizza serves 4 for lunch or 3 for dinner. It’s a snap to make two pizzas, though–the ingredients are very inexpensive. You still stick with the 7 oz of yogurt (so the price doesn’t change) and make enough for two pizzas or 6 to 8 people.


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