16 July 2010

homemade pita

I know I said I was expanding this blog beyond just recipes, but we've been having so much fun in the kitchen lately! It hasn't been the greatest for my weight loss efforts, but my taste buds have been quite pleased with the results. This one was good for weight loss and it was tasty - Adam made pita bread and we stuffed it full of small beef strips with cucumber slices, black olives, tomato strips, and feta cheese, and drizzled olive oil over the whole thing.

Doesn't that pita look professionally made? It wasn't. The original recipe is here.

1 1/8 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and combine. (We use our food processor.)

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into a 12 inch rope. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle. Set aside on a lightly floured countertop. cover with a towel. Let pitas rise about 30 minutes until slightly puffy.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire cake rack. Place cake rack directly on oven rack. Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag or cover them with a damp kitchen towel until soft. Once pitas a softened, either cut in half or split top edge for half or whole pitas. They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 or 2 months.

14 July 2010

lemon summer pasta

My sister remembered us making this recipe a couple of years ago and last night asked me for it again. We both did some digging and it was originally found here.

8 oz cooked pasta
2 c. asparagus
2 c. summer squash and/or zucchini
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbs butter
1/2 c. whipping cream
zest of lemon
salt to taste

Sautee veggies and garlic in butter til they reach your preferred tenderness. Remove veggies with slotted spoon, leaving any juices and garlic. Pour in cream and lemon zest. Cook down cream til 1/3 c. (just when it looks thicker). Then combine all ingredients including pasta and enjoy.

When I made this before, I didn't get the proportions of vegetables to cream sauce correct - I wanted more sauce. So pay attention to that when putting it together. Thanks for bringing this up again, Mindy! I really liked it so maybe we'll have it this week too!

05 July 2010

a must-read

I've decided that I'm going to take a little jaunt into the realm of "food lit" - books and memoirs about cooking. I was not impressed at all with the book "Julie and Julia," which I read last summer. There was quite a bit about cooking, but mostly, the writer is just really crass and profane ... even when talking about the cooking, actually. I'm hoping that's an anomaly and I've built up a list of other food lit I want to read.

Our local library (amazingly enough) had "Confections of a Closet Master Baker" by Gesine Bullock-Prado, and I read it this past week in about 3 days. (With 3 small children around, that's moving fast for me.) LOVED it. From the first sentence, I was hooked. "I saw the devil at the age of 3 and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever." Awesome.

Long story short - she's Sandra Bullock's sister and worked with her in Hollywood. Got sick of LA and when their mom died of cancer, decided to do what she really loved - bake. So she moved to Vermont and opened a bakery. How cool is that? To just up and leave, and try something new. Anyway, so this book is her memoir about doing that, and it includes a number of fantastic-sounding recipes (minus her obsession with coffee - bleh - but we can get around that.)  Some of them are traditional desserts from Germany that sound oh so tasty! And I really like that she talks about desserts as things to be shared, and something to be special rather than inhaled in mass quantities as we gluttonous Americans tend to do.

I posted about the book on Facebook and talked about it with Adam and a couple of friends. Adam picked it up tonight and started reading it. He wasn't even halfway done when he said that he is not going to scan a couple of the recipes for me to keep - he wants to buy it. Done.

Ms. Bullock-Prado also has a blog, which I've added to the "food lovers unite" links in the sidebar. I'm all over trying to make my own English muffins - recipe on the blog, not in the book. I love them just out of the toaster, a little bit of a butter, and very thin slice of cheese that you just let sit until the heat of the muffin softens it. Then eat. Yum. And homemade English muffins? That has all the makings of a breakfast nirvana.