Well, Carol Ann has been getting on my backside about my frontside lately. “Joe Luke! You know that six-pack is turning into a keg there, darling,” she slyly comments on her way out of the door to hot yoga. Yeah, hot yoga. Doesn’t that sound like a good time? A bunch of soccer moms in their late 30s, dressing like they are in their early 20s, doing yoga in a room with a humid temperature of 115 degrees, all sweating profusely. If Carol Ann wants that kind of a work out, she can take this cowboy on upstairs and we can act like we used to in our early 20s. She gives me a peck on the check, pokes me in the belly as a playful reminder, and walks out the door.
Carol Ann and I have been together for quite some time. We met during my senior year of college; Carol Ann was a junior. We attended UKY where we both majored in food science, which led us to owning our restaurant downtown. We used to be married to that place, but now it has become so successful that we were able to hire a manager, chefs, and staff. The only time the employees see us is on pay-day. We still have a few that like to get a paper check handed to them. Just like the old days. I don’t blame ’em one bit. I miss those days, too.
Shortly after Carol Ann left the house, she sends me a text message asking me to prepare us her favorite salad for lunch. Kale, roasted sweet potatoes, smokey pecans, and shredded parmesan, dressed in olive oil. Well, Joe Luke doesn’t want a salad! He wants pizza. The wheels started to turn and I decided I was going to turn this salad into a pizza. With all that sweating Carol Ann was about to do, she can afford a few carbs. And if I play my cards right, she will be sweating again later on tonight. Yee Haw!
Okay, pizza time!
Roasted Garlic Sweet Potato Pizza
– with sautéed Kale & Shallots, Oven Roasted Smokey Pecans & Shaved Parmesan
Prep Time: 20 | Servings: 12 pcs | Difficulty: Easy
2 large sweet potatoes
Salt & pepper
2 heads of garlic
1/2 cup pecans
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 pizza crust, 11in x 15in or 14in – 16in round
2 tbsp corn meal
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cups kale
1/2 – 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400°.
1. Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1in. cubes. Toss in a bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet. Set aside.
2. Take the heads of garlic and slice off the tops, exposing the cloves. Place on a square sheet of tin foil, exposed side up. Drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the corners of the in foil together creating a little tent. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix together pecans, melted butter, sea salt, and smoked paprika. Transfer to a lightly greased, small baking sheet.
4. Place the sweet potatoes and the garlic in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 35 minutes. Toss the sweet potatoes every 10-12 minutes while baking.
5. When there is 20 minutes of baking time left, put the pecans in the oven. Toss pecans after 10 minutes.
6. The sweet potatoes, garlic, and pecans will all be coming out of the oven at the same time. Once removed, adjust the temperature of the oven according to the directions of your pizza dough. Sprinkle corn meal on a lightly greased pan, press dough to the edges and bake.
7. In a mixing bowl, add the sweet potatoes, cream cheese, 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder, pinch of salt & pepper, and garlic cloves. If the garlic is too hot to handle, you can squeeze them cut side down into the bowl using the middle area of a set of tongs. Mix until smooth.
8. In a large skillet, over medium low heat, add a tbsp of olive oil and sliced shallot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. You want to soften the shallots, not brown them. After about 5 minutes, add the kale to the shallots. Toss and let the kale wilt down to half of its size.
9. Once the dough is baked, spread on the sweet potato mash. Top sweet potato mash with kale and shallot mixture. Roughly chop the pecans and sprinkle over the top along with the grated Parmesan cheese. Broil on middle rack until cheese starts to melt, about 1-2 minutes. Slice and serve.