Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pizza Dough

Adapted from smittenkitchen

Makes 2 large pizzas or 3 small pizzas

4 1/2 C flour
3 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp honey

I mix the yeast, water, and honey and let the yeast activate a bit and then dump it with the other ingredients.

The following are her instructions Take your pick.:

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.
If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable.
Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.
Dump it back on the floured counter (yup, I leave mine messy), and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.
Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like. (I always err on the side of skimpy with toppings so to not weight down the dough too much, or if I have multiple toppings, to keep them very thinly sliced.)
Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Refried Beans from scratch

1 small onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cumin, optional
9 cups water

Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on high for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher or hand mixer, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Beans may be frozen in portions and thawed to use at a later date.

Greek Chicken Wrap with Tzatziki Herb Yogurt Sauce

2 cups fat-free plain yogurt
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
2 tbs chopped fresh dill (we used dried)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs white vinegar
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until blended. Sauce may be made up to 2 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

1 (6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 ts light Italian dressing
4 (6 inch) whole wheat pitas
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 kalamata or black olives,pitted and sliced

Place chicken breast in a plastic bag and add Italian dressing. Let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes; pound using a meat pounder or mallet or the bottom of a skillet, and flatten to about 1/2 inch thickness; and remove chicken.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken about 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned and cooked through. Slice chicken thinly against the grain. Set aside. Assemble all other ingredients to your liking.