Monday, July 25, 2011

Quinoa Tip

Heard this one from Ness, and it sure makes a lot of sense. Anytime you make rice, add 1/2 to 1 cup of quinoa. Sneaky way to get the kids eating something with super protein in it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Poached Eggs and Pizza Dough

Not together, of course. First, the pizza dough.

Recipe first. Why, and what I did, after.
Pizza Dough
(makes 2 large, or 6 calzones)

4 cups flour (any)
1 tsp salt

1 1/2 c. warm water, divided
1/3 c. honey
1 package yeast

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Dissolve honey in 1/2 c. hot water. Once dissolved, add 1/4 c. cold water and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until yeast has become foamy. In standing mixer place flour and salt. Using dough mixer, turn on to stir. Add yeast water and olive oil. Increase speed to knead the dough once flour is mixed in. Knead in mixer for 5-10 minutes. Remove, form balls of dough to suit your recipe (i.e. 2 equal balls for 2 large pizzas). Let rise for 30 minutes to an hour. When ready to form your pizzas, shape the dough into flat rounds with your hands. Do NOT use a rolling pin.

Okay, so now for my secrets. I made some calzones a couple days ago using this recipe. I had to write down exactly what I did because my dough has never turned out so soft and pliable. It stretched easily but didn't tear, and it was like holding a pillow of squishy foam (but better tasting, I'm sure).

First, I had to double the original recipe, so I actually did the whole thing with only 3/4 cups of water before I realized I needed to add more water. At this point, I had turned the mixer on and the first 3/4 cups had already been incorporated into the flour. So I just measured out another 3/4 cups of cold water and poured it in. The dough became a ball pretty quickly and the mixer started the kneading process. I let it knead for 5 minutes and then removed it. It felt almost sticky, but not quite. Definitely not dry. I didn't add anymore flour for the shaping process. I just kneaded it by hand for another 20 seconds or so, then made a log and cut out 6 rolls. Placed them on a wooden cutting board and covered them with a kitchen towel for at least a half hour. It was probably closer to an hour, but they had doubled in size. They I shaped them, and like I said, the dough was unbelievably soft and pliable. There was no need to even toss it in the air. It stretched like it was designed to become a calzone.

Note on the flour: I usually grind my own wheatberries, but I ran out a while back and haven't gotten anymore. So I've been using the King Arthur's Bread Flour from the store. It's the least processed (I think) and the softest by far. It's the one in the white and blue bag. I'll definitely try this recipe with my own flour, though. I have a feeling it'll still turn out awesome.


I made some breakfast this morning using a potato/onion saute I made yesterday. I cooked up some yellow squash for about 10 minutes, then added half a diced tomato and a couple small green chiles with some italian seasoning and salt. Then I put the two together (potato and squash) and topped it with two poached eggs.

I've never cooked my own poached eggs before, so I checked out a couple youtube videos. I used the Australian guy's technique, and the eggs turned out great. He says they cook for about 10 minutes, but I made my with a wet yolk and only cooked them for about 1-2 minutes each. I have a feeling I'll be poaching eggs more often. How do you like your eggs?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beloved Quinoa

I should do some kind of ode to quinoa (keen-wah), but I'm not feeling especially poetic right now. Just excited about this peach crumble that Shaenee and I have been working on. That girl is an amazing little chef!

Okay, so some of you know that I have taken myself off of all wheat flour. I was exclusively gluten-free until I found out that I could eat oats with minimal-to-no effect on my body. This is probably because oats do not actually contain gluten; they become contaminated by sharing crop space with wheat. Anyway, what wheat gluten does to my body is a little funky. Aside from causing exhaustion and shortness of breath, it does something with my mood. I still don't quite know how or why, but when I have even the smallest amount of it, I become short-tempered, angry, and unbelievably frustrated. It's not good. So my motivation to keep away from the thing is pretty high.

So my peaches are all very ripe. And I have a lot on my tree. I did a short search online and found a recipe for an oat-and-quinoa peach crumble. YUM! Here's the site: NY Times blog

I'm at Vanessa's house, so I cleaned out the flour mill and threw in some quinoa to grind. It made some terrific quinoa flour, which is part of the crumble topping. I won't write down the recipe because it's already in the link above. Shae and I just tasted the cooked crumble topping and OH-MY-GOODNESS it is yummy. Slightly nutty, buttery, oaty sweetness. Gonna cook the peach filling next, then add the crumble. I think we're having that for lunch. Oh, I would recommend doubling the topping recipe, tho. It didn't make nearly enough for how good it is.

So if you want to make the best peach crumble ever, I recommend this recipe....

Okay, okay, here it is, copied and pasted. (I didn't add blueberries)

2 1/2 pounds peaches or nectarines, sliced (about 2 quarts sliced fruit)

1 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons mild honey or dark agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 batch quinoa-oat crumble topping

1. In a large bowl, mix together the peaches or nectarines, blueberries, honey or agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract. Cover and let sit for one to two hours, in or out of the refrigerator.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a two-quart baking dish. Scrape the fruit and all of the juice in the bowl into the baking dish. Set the baking dish on a baking sheet for easier handling, and place in the oven. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the liquid syrupy. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool if desired.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, spread the crumble topping over the fruit mixture in an even layer. Bake 20 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: Serves eight.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Food blog

I'm thinking about starting a food blog. Knowing that I don't like to follow typical protocols, this won't look much like the "normal" food blog. I just want to write about the weird stuff that comes out of my kitchen and is sometimes surprisingly good. This usually happens with my lunch items. Scott isn't too experimental with food, so he gets the run-o-the-mill meals like chicken marsala, steak, etc. etc. etc. Tonight was turkey and cranberry sandwiches on homemade bread. I just cooked up a turkey last night so I could use the meat for a couple meals this week. Scott saw the turkey and craved the sandwich. So be it. He's such a wonderful food critic. I'd say I get rave reviews between 90 and 95% of the time. Cool. Keeps me motivated.

I decided a couple days ago that I should try and calculate the amount of time I spend in the kitchen in a given day. Let's try. Okay, I wake up and go to the kitchen to make the girls something for breakfast. And clean up. And then I feed them and toss something around for myself to eat. Then there's a good 1 to 2 hours before Scott wakes up. So I make him breakfast and his cappuccino. Then I usually hang around in there processing some veggies or making bread or planning a lunch (cuz the girls are getting hungry again). And cleaning. Then I make lunch for the girls. The I feed them and make something for myself. Between all this kitchen time is the typical day stuff. And after lunch is naptime! I sleep too, once the house is presentable. After naptime, dinner begins. Whether it's planning out a meal or defrosting meat or marinading something, I'm in the kitchen. Plus, I'm a little hungry. Geez, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Dinner is ready, we eat, I clean. Then after the girls are in bed, dessert or popcorn or something. *sigh* Good think I love to cook.

K, so a couple of my sisters have asked me for my potato salad recipe. Must be the summer thing going on. Here's what I do:

Cook some little potatoes in boiling water, skin on, for about 15-20 minutes. Then drain in colander, place colander in bowl and cover with cloth. Let steam for another 15-20. This gives them a great consistency. Place in bowl, and add roughly 1/2-1 cup mayo, 1 tsp mustard (dijon works), salt and pepper to taste, and half a tsp semi-crushed dill seeds (I crush mine by hand). Mix it up, smash up some of the potatoes. Eat warm or chill. Yummy.

Gotta love it!