Monday, August 24, 2009

Dinner from the Freezer...Pantry Shelves...Cabinets and More!

There is a reason I haven't blogged here since the 5th of August.
I guess my computer is going haywire or something. Three or four times now... I go to the blog site and it hangs up and won't connect. I try for quite awhile and eventually give up. This time, it took me three tries to get this up. Oh, well!

Dinner from the Freezer… pantry shelves… kitchen cabinets and more!

Things have been wild in ways around here.
The budget is the usual squeezed condition so I was blessed to have some to take out for the kids’ lunches and breakfasts for the week. I’ll be making them oatmeal with brown sugar and/or honey, a bit of milk, butter, and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Alternate mornings will be like this morning: free range eggs and buttered toast. In the morning, they actually get blueberry or strawberry muffins because my teen daughter found the mixes for .79 and .88 cents each. We made two of them tonight for dessert and put the rest in a container for breakfast.

For lunches, they are eating the peanut butter and jelly swirl sold in jars. We got a grape jelly and one strawberry jelly version so they can switch to keep from being bored. They also have muffins, peanut butter crackers and cream cheese with chives crackers. They also have puddings and jellos for a treat I will be glad to have some things made in advance for better health and to fill up more.

I made up a vegetable soup that the teen girls both said was fantastic and awesome. This is a wonderful compliment and I thank the Lord… praise His Name… for showing us bounty.
I was dragging myself through the shelves after discovering we don’t have spaghetti as I thought. I had planned to make buttered noodles and sautéing up some vegetables to eat with them.

The Lord let me work through my despondency and set me to task!
I found some frozen carrots already cut, frozen lima beans, frozen peas, a can of hominy, two cans of green beans, and some tomato paste and sauce. Then I found three cans of V-8 my sister left here awhile back so I sautéed the carrots and lima beans for awhile in butter (got that with the breakfast and lunch stuff!) and olive oil (found some the other day I forgot we had!) and then added all the tomato cans except the paste. I added some chicken broth and then the corn and eventually the rest of the ingredients.
I let this simmer while I made other things and then cooked a medium sized pot of pasta, drained, and added to the soup/stew. I added dehydrated onions, parsley, garlic powder, Spanish paprika, and freshly ground pepper.
The girls ate two bowls each (so did I) and our six year old ate some of it. We put my husband’s up for when he got off of work.

We found the almost end of a parmesan wedge I thought we finished off on another meal and grated it finely on top of our soup. I also made garlic butter toast in the toaster oven and it made such a comforting meal!
I tried the oat cakes I’ll share the recipe for but they did NOT turn out so I don’t know what I did wrong!

Oat Cakes

1/4 cup medium oatmeal, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup whole wheat flour.
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
pinch of salt.
tablespoon of lard.
5 tablespoons of boiling water.
• Melt a tablespoon of lard over a medium heat until it has completely melted.
• Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add a tablespoon of melted lard and five tablespoons of boiling water.
• Mix together using a round bladed knife until a dough forms.
• Sprinkle a surface with oatmeal and place the dough on it.
• Cut the dough in two and place one piece aside.
• Shape the half into a round and roll it out using a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
• Cut as many oatcakes as the shape allows and place them on the baking sheet.
I actually just pick up tablespoons of dough and pat them out into patties. [notes not mine]
• Repeat with the other half.
• Roll out and cut the leftover dough.
• Place the oatcakes into the hot oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
• Remove the oatcakes from the oven and place them on a cooling rack.
• Serve hot with butter and honey or fresh fruit!Alternatively, you can cook oat cakes on the stove top on a griddle. cook 2-3 minutes on one side, tilt he top becomes dry, turn and cook 2-3 minutes longer til pale golden brown.

[I have NO idea where this recipe came from to give credit. I found it in my bread recipe file and when I went to the link on it … it said the site was no longer active.]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

All our kids were here for dinner last night as we usually manage once a week or so. It is always wonderful to connect with so many busy schedules after our meal, we usually spend some time together.
We play games, look at photos or just talk and laugh and each gathering is a gift.

Last night, we made pizzas on the stove top and on the grill. I have read of this many times and kept hoping to try it but never got around to it.

This time, it was out of necessity. With air only baby breathing out of a couple of window units. . . using the oven is out!

I ended up making three batches of dough and some did way better than others. The first two did well and held up beautifully on the stove top cast iron griddles I used. The pizzas on the actual outdoor grill were definitely not done right! They were thick (the more thin versions fell apart) and not very tasty. There is an art to this and we rushed it.

We had one to all of three cheeses (sharp cheddar, mild cheddar and mozarella --- we don't eat mild cheddar here but one of my Daughters-in-Law doesn't eat sharp) and we used pizza sauce I had in the pantry and spaghetti sauce.

I rolled small crusts out as thin as I could and still keep them together and then put them on a cast iron griddle on high heat. I kept these on high for awhile and then turned the heat to medium and just let the doughs cook until they were browning well on the bottom. Then, I flipped them over, added sauce and cheese and let them cook until the bottom was browned as on the first side.
I did broil a few of the pizzas to make the cheese more melted and make the tops taste better.

These were all a huge hit and we went through pizza after pizza as quickly as they could be cut!

Grilled Pizza Dough

Save Time With Pre-made Dough or Crusts

Many customers came into my pizza shop to buy raw dough to grill or bake. Your local pizzeria might also sell dough for this purpose. Trader Joe’s sells terrific fresh pizza dough that grills up beautifully. Pillsbury sells decent pizza dough that tastes great grilled.

Frozen bread dough is a little different. It grills more like bread than pizza crust. It chars nicely with grill marks, but comes out softer because it has no cornmeal, and because the ratio of yeast is lower. I have also grilled pita bread, and used it as a small crust for pizza, which works well too. A prepared crust, such as Boboli, works if you grill both sides first to crisp it.

Thicker Crust Variation

Stir 1½ tablespoons dry milk powder into the yeasted water. Adding dry milk powder creates a thick crust, more like those served at traditional pizza parlors. This Sicilian-style crust has a crisp outer layer when grilled, and will be softer than the thin-crust version. When you grill thicker dough, use a slightly cooler fire, and grill for a few minutes longer. This way the outer crust does not burn before the middle of the dough cooks through. I prefer using unbleached flour for my pizza dough because bleached flour has chlorine agents that remove nutrients such as beta-carotene from the dough. These natural nutrients add flavor, color, and more nutrition to your pizza crust. A little whole wheat flour results in a more robust and chewy crust. It also makes the dough easier to handle on the grill. Up to 25 percent of the flour could be whole wheat. Any more than that, and the dough becomes too dense, heavy, and won’t rise enough. This recipe is easily doubled.

¾ cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
½ teaspoon sugar
1½ cups unbleached flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal, preferably white, plus additional for the pan
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus ¼ teaspoon for the bowl

Makes: two 12-inch (30 cm) pizzas
1. Pour the warm water into a small bowl or measuring cup. (If the water is too hot, the yeast will die. If too cold, it will not activate.) Add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast dissolves into a smooth beige color. Let it stand on your counter for about 5 minutes to prove that the yeasted water is active. A thin layer of foam will appear at the top, indicating that the batch is good.
2. Kneading with a stand mixer: Add the flours, salt, and cornmeal to a 4- or 5- quart (4 or 5 liter) standing mixing bowl. Use the dough hook attachment on the lowest speed to mix the dry ingredients. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix on the slowest speed to allow the ingredients to come together. You may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Then move to medium-high speed and knead for 2 minutes. The batter should form a ball, unless it’s too wet or sticky. If so, add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking. The dough should come off the sides cleanly and form a ball.
Kneading with a food processor: Measure all of the ingredients into the bowl. Use the plastic blade made especially for dough. (The metal blade may tear the dough to pieces.) Use a pulse action until the dough comes together. Continue to pulse the dough in quick bursts for about 3 minutes. This technique keeps the dough from overheating.
Kneading by hand: Measure the flours, salt, and cornmeal into a large bowl. Add the yeasted water and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well, stirring with a strong spoon. Lightly flour a clean, dry countertop. Form a ball of dough, place it on the counter, and press down with the palm of your hand. Fold the dough over itself and press again. Continue to roll and press the dough for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth. (You will feel the dough change. It will soften and become more elastic.) Add only enough flour to prevent it from sticking.
3. Put the remaining ¼ teaspoon of olive oil in a medium bowl. The dough will be sticky, so flour your hands before picking it up, and place it in the bowl. Turn it over several times until it is coated in oil. This prevents a crust from forming on its surface as it rises.
4. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a draft-free, warm place, 70° to 80°F (20° to 25°C), for 2 hours, until it rises to almost double in appearance.
5. Chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or for 1 hour to firm it up. Since this dough is slightly sticky, chilling the dough makes it easier to roll out. Chilling it overnight gives the dough more flavor and texture. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Note: This recipe makes two crusts. If you’re planning to prepare only one pizza, grill the second crust anyway, because it will keep better than dough. Crusts keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, or for up to 3 months in the freezer. Then you’ll be ready to grill pizza anytime. You can even cheat by cooking the pizza in the oven. Try 400° (200°C) for 12 minutes, and check toward the end to avoid burning. Put the frozen crust right onto the grill. It will only take a minute to thaw. Or defrost it in the refrigerator or at room temperature; it will thaw quickly, within a half hour.

Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved

Pizza On The Grill I
(I just made the dough up from this bec I didn't have the ingredients for the rest)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 pinch white sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, and mix in sugar. Proof for ten minutes, or until frothy. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, and knead in garlic and basil. Set aside to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled again.
2. Preheat grill for high heat. Heat olive oil with garlic for 30 seconds in the microwave. Set aside. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick.
3. Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/8 cup sliced black olives, and 1/8 cup roasted red peppers over crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons basil. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Printed from 8/5/2009

The following recipe was definitely not my favorite. I don't know if I made it wrong (hurried through it) or what but it kept coming to pieces before I even got it on the cookie sheet and/or grill.

Pizza Dough for the Bosch

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 c water , heated to 110 degrees
1 tbsp sugar
5 c all-purpose flour
2 envelopes instant or rapid-rise yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tsp salt

After mixing, the dough will be very sticky. Be sure to coat your hands with flour before transferring the dough from the mixing bowl to the greased bowl.

1. For the dough: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn off oven. Grease large bowl. Evenly coat 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup oil.
2. Combine water, sugar, and remaining oil in measuring cup. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-low and slowly add water mixture until dough is uniform in texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

4. On lightly floured work surface, use rolling pin to roll dough into
16- by 12-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and stretch dough to cover pan, pressing dough into corners. Brush dough with remaining oil and cover with plastic wrap. Set in warm spot (not
oven) until slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Remove plastic wrap and, using fingers, make indentations all over dough. Sprinkle dough with 1 cup Parmesan and bake until cheese begins to melt, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and spoon sauce over pizza, leaving 1-inch border. Bake until sauce is deep red and steaming, 7 to 10 minutes.
6. Sprinkle mozzarella and remaining Parmesan evenly over sauce and bake until cheese is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.