Meet Dooley + Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pizza

We have a little addition to the Kiwi+Peach family. Meet Dooley.

She is five years old and likes long runs, chasing tennis balls, staring at you while you eat, cuddling and popcorn.

Kiwi and Peach | Meet Dooley

While she certainly isn’t a new addition, she hasn’t been living with us for about two years. For lots of logistical reasons, Dooley living in Germany was not going to work out. My sweet, sweet parents volunteered to look after her while we were away, but now that we are back, she will obviously be coming with us to Asheville.

I mean, I’ll try not to turn into a crazy dog lady, but seriously, look at that face. No promises.

Kiwi and Peach | Meet Dooley

So, so lucky to get to be her human. It’s safe to say she’s going to be a regular around here.

You know what else is going to be a regular around here, this pizza. {see what I did there}

A couple weeks ago I was trying to use up the last of food and clean out the pantry when inspiration hit in the form of pizza. As soon as it starts getting the least bit cold, I put sweet potatoes on just about everything. Why not pizza?

Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pizza from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pizza + Roasted Red Pepper, Hazelnut, and Fig Pesto

The Potatoes
1 sweet potato
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper

The Basics
1 batch of whole wheat pizza dough
1 batch of pesto {recipe below}

The Toppings
1 cup of spinach, packed
5 oz goat cheese
drizzle of maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

Wash your potato and dry it well. Slice it into rounds about the width of you pinky finger, about a 1/4 of an inch think. Lay them flat on a baking sheet, brush both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and a bit of pepper. Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes. When they are finished transfer them to a bowl and set them to the side.

Once you put the potatoes in, proof the yeast for your pizza dough and set it to the side. When the proof is done, go ahead and finish the dough. By the time you’re finished mixing that up the potatoes will be finished. Take them out of the oven and turn the heat off. Leave the door of the oven open so the oven can cool down a bit.

Put the pizza dough in a well greased skillet and pop it in the oven to rise for about 15 minutes.

While the dough is rising, whip up that pesto.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Hazelnut and Figs from Kiwi and Peach

Roasted Red Pepper, Hazelnut, and Fig Pesto

makes about 1 cup

1/2 of a roasted red pepper
2 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1 clove of garlic
3 dried figs, stems cut and quartered
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil

In a food processor, combine all of your pesto ingredients except the olive oil. Give it a whirl and then start slowly adding the olive oil as the machine is running. When you get it to a consistency you like, you’re done!

{Quick note about the pesto. The freshness of the hazelnuts you use have a huge effect on the taste. Some hazelnuts, usually ones meant for baking tend to taste slightly stale when eaten fresh. Once baked, that stale aftertaste disappears and it is delicious, so using not-so-fresh hazelnuts is okay for the pizza since you’ll be baking it. However, if you wanted to use this same pesto on say a crostini, or as a pasta sauce, you’re going to want to use fresher hazelnuts to avoid that unpleasant, stale aftertaste.}

When the dough is finished rising, transfer it to the baking sheet. Crank the oven back up to 400°F/200°C.

Roll the dough out to the size you’d like your pizza. Leaving space around the edge for a crust, slather the dough with an even layer of pesto then layer up the spinach, sweet potatoes, and finally the goat cheese. Drizzle a bit of maple syrup over the whole thing and pop it back in the oven for 20 minutes to bake the crust and melt that delicious, delicious cheese. Enjoy y’all!

Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pizza from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pizza from Kiwi and Peach

Istanbul Salad with Walnut Honey Mustard Dressing

One of my favorite things about traveling is trying local foods at the places the locals eat.  You learn so much about a culture through their food.  The way it is prepared lends insight to the community built around that preparation and consumption.  Sometimes its awkward {like when the waiter has to come over to show you how to eat your meal} and sometimes you just end up randomly pointing to something and taking a chance, but I’ve yet to have a downright terrible experience.

A few months ago, on our trip to Istanbul, we ate at this great modern Turkish restaurant, Lokanta Maya {website is in Turkish}.  They use all local, seasonal ingredients and come up with a new menu of simple, yet delicious dishes daily.  My favorite bit of the meal was our starter–a salad with pears, figs, fresh goat cheese, and nuts.  It was fresh, flavorful, and surprisingly filling {which was good because my chickpea stew was loaded with carrots}.  My first order of business when we got back, after doing the washing, was to recreate that salad.

I changed a few things based on what I had on hand, and I couldn’t recreate the dressing {I don’t know what magical yumminess they had in that thing}.  As a re-creation it wasn’t a complete success. However, the resulting salad was still amazing–delicious in its own right.  Its different from the original but still fresh, flavourful, and very filling.

Istanbul Salad with Walnut Honey Mustard Dressing

The Toppings
1 firm pear
2 figs
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
5-6 walnuts

The Dressing
{adapted from Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Pecan Vinaigrette recipe}
5 walnuts
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp whole grain sweet mustard
2 tsp whole grain spicy mustard
1 clove of garlic
1 Tbsp honey
salt and pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup olive oil

The Salad
mixed field greens
¼ cup blue goat cheese, crumbled

Get started by shelling all of the walnuts and set them aside.

Start heating the frying pan on medium heat while you peel and slice the pear into thin slivers.  When its hot, melt the butter in the pan then add the pears and half of the brown sugar.  Cover the pan and let the pears cook for 10 minutes to get them nice and soft, stirring occasionally.  While the pears soften up, you can go ahead and crank out that dressing.

Using a food processor, grind up half of your walnuts until they are the texture of course meal.  Empty them into a small bowl and set aside.  Add the vinegar, mustards, garlic, and honey to the food processor and blend.  One tablespoon at a time add the oil, blending in between additions, until all the oil is added.  If you have one of the fancy food processors where you can add it as it blends, even better.  Do that! But I don’t, so I do it one tablespoon at a time.  Put the nuts back in the food processor, give it a blend, and you’re finished.  Now back to the toppings.

Thinly slice the figs and add them, along with the remaining walnuts, to the pears. Sprinkle with the rest of the brown sugar and give them a gentle stir {the figs are a little fragile}.  Let them candy up for about 4 minutes and then remove them from the heat.

While your figs are getting yummy, wash your greens if they haven’t been washed yet and divide them between your two bowls.  Add your toppings and dressing, and top the whole thing off with those delicious bits of crumbled blue cheese.