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I am pretty sure Chris thought I was nuts this weekend as I got out the mixer and began to make pizza dough. I will admit that I was even a little unsure of this adventure.

It did not start well. I threw away my first batch of yeast because it didn’t look frothy enough. After mixing up a second round of yeast which I still wasn’t happy with I decided to just dump it in the mixing bowl and see what happened.

While the dough was rising, we made a trip to the grocery store for mozzarella cheese and propane. Not only were we making “from scratch” pizza for the first time, but I was adamant that we had to grill the pizza. I decided to buy a tube of Pillsbury pizza dough in case mine didn’t rise correctly. I was nervous because the yeast looked funny.

All was well, we got home to a big fluffy ball of pizza dough and were ready to begin our mission.

Adapted from Branny Boils Over, Brown Eyed Baker, and Baking Illustrated.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (about 110 degree) water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup room temperature water

Directions:

  • Combine yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Briefly mix flour and salt in a stand mixer.
  • Add yeast mixture, olive oil, and remaining 1 1/4 cups of water to the mixer.
  • Combine until a dough forms.
  • Kneed (I used my dough hook) for 7 minutes.
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.
  • Divide dough into desired number of sections. I divided into four sections. Each of my four sections is the right size to make one very satisfying personal sized pizza for Chris or a pizza big enough for two meals for me.
  • After dividing the dough, let it rest for 10 minutes or so.
  • I froze two sections of dough to use later and we made pizzas from the other two sections.

Calories (per 1/4 recipe) ~ 464, Fat ~ 1.5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 97 g, Protein ~ 14 g

You must have pitas to go with hummus, and after my wildly successful bread baking weekend, I naturally wanted to try making pitas as well. I started out with a small batch, just in case they didn’t work out, using a recipe from Cate’s World Kitchen. I always get really nervous when I am mixing and kneading the dough because between that time and the time spent waiting for it to rise, I could have tied up a few hours in bread dough that has fallen flat. Not this time though, my dough really did double in size and my pitas turned out great! So great, in fact, that they only lasted two days and I found myself baking 16 more last night. I also found out that they freeze great and thaw fairly quickly!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 F)
  • 1 cup warm water (115-125 F)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  • Combine sugar, 1 package of active dry yeast, and 1/4 cup of warm water (105-115 F) in a small bowl.
  • Let the yeast mixture sit while you combine the other ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Combine AP Flour, WW Flour, salt, olive oil, and 1 cup warm water (115-125 F) in mixing bowl.
  • When the yeast has dissolved, pour the yeast mixture into the mixing bowl and blend breifly.
  • Next, knead the dough for 10 minutes. I used the dough hook on my mixer, but kneading by had works too!
  • Coat a large bowl with olive oil or non-stick spray.
  • Roll the ball of dough around the bowl to get the outside of it “greased”.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel and let the dough rise for about 90 minutes.
  • After the dough has finished rising, knead a few times and then divide into 8 equal pieces.
  • Let the 8 pieces rise for an additional 20 minutes, once again covered by plastic wrap and a dish towel.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Roll out pitas to about 1/8 inch thickness. (Only roll out one or two at a time.)
  • Bake (on a pizza stone if you have one or on the oven rack if you don’t) for about 2 minutes on the first side, flip, then bake 2 minutes or until the dough puffs nicely on the second side.
  • Cool on a cooling rack.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 196, Fat ~ 4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 35 g, Protein ~ 5 g

I have been trying to bake a decent loaf of bread for quite a while. Each of my efforts has resulted in a spectacular failure, until this weekend. I finally got my hands on a recipe with detailed enough instructions of me to follow with success. On Saturday, I baked one batch (two loaves) of honey whole wheat bread. This bread is SO GOOD! It is the first time that I have actually made bread that has the taste and texture that I expected it to.

I used a recipe posted by butterflygroove on Livestrong.com (http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/honey-whole-wheat-bread/).

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz Active Dry Yeast (2 packages)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Margarine
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (105-115F); set aside.
  • In large bowl, mix honey, margarine, salt and 2 1/2 cups very warm (120-130F) water; cool 5 minutes.
  • To cooled honey mixture, beat in 3 cups of the whole wheat flour with electric mixer on low speed, scraping bowl frequently, until moistened.
  • Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and dissolved yeast.
  • Next, stir in 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups of the all purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from side of bowl.
  • Kneed for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and springy.
  • Grease large bowl with shortening or cooking spray; place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel.
  • Let rise in warm place (80F to 85F) 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Generously grease 2 (8×4 or 9×5 inch) loaf pans with shortening or cooking spray.
  • Gently push fist into dough to deflate; divide in half.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough with rolling pin into 18×8 inch rectangle.
  • Starting with one 8 inch side, roll up dough tightly, pressing with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal; pinch each end to seal.
  • Fold ends under loaf; place seam side down in pan.
  • Cover; let rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Heat oven to 375F.
  • Uncover dough; bake 30 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350F; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped.
  • Immediately remove from pans to cooling racks.
  • Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Chris and I were eating the bread at such a rapid pace that I decided to bake four more loaves on Sunday so that I could freeze some to have for the next few weeks. We made one cinnamon swirl loaf on Sunday which was amazing. Not exactly diet friendly, but what a treat. I would really like to make French toast out of it, but I doubt that it will last until the weekend and I probably won’t actually cook breakfast until then.

Lastly, Duke decided to get dressed up this weekend (or maybe that was Chris that felt like playing dress-up).
That can’t feel good for Duke’s ears. Poor guy!

I posted a few days ago about my Nepali bread fail. It turns out that while my Roti made an awful bread, it makes awesome super thin whole wheat crusts for personal pizzas.

Roti Pizza Crust
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, melted butter, salt and sugar.
  • Make a well in the center and add warm water and milk, mixing it with the flour until a soft dough is formed.
  • Dust kneading board with flour; place the dough on the board and knead for ten minutes or so.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour or so. (I’m not sure why we are letting the dough rest here, this is unleavened bread.)
  • Divide the dough into 10 equal sized balls.
  • Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Flatten the dough balls into circles of your desired size and thickness. Ours looked were somewhere between pita and tortilla on the thickness scale. I flatted one as the one ahead of it cooked.
  • Place one roti on the skillet, top-side down and cook for 30 seconds or so.
  • Turn over and cook for another minute until small air pockets emerge.
  • Turn it over once more and cook for another minute.
  • With a lightly wet towel, press on the roti, forcing it to develop more air pockets.
  • Cool finished Rotis on a cooling rack.

Makes 10 servings
Calories ~ 182, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37 g, Protein ~ 7 g

Chris made awesome pizzas out of our Roti. He topped them with pizza sauce, crushed red pepper, and crumbled queso fresco. He baked them at 400 degrees, because he is an impatient pizza baker, until the cheese had melted nicely.

After being inspired by another blogger, I decided that tonight was the night to try cooking Ethiopian food. I picked two dishes at random based on what ingredients we had on hand. The first one was Yetakelt W’et which is a spicy vegetable stew. The second dish was a lentil based dish called Mesir Wat. Both of these are served over Injera, an Ethiopian bread that is similar to a buckwheat pancake. In order to make the Yetakelt W’et, I also had to make Nitter Kebbeh which is basically a spice infused African version of ghee. During the cooking process I was fairly sure that Chris would like the Mesir Wat because it was fairly hearty and spicy. I was not so sure about the Yetakelt W’et, I figured he would write it off as a pot of veggie stew. I was wrong on that one. Chris raved about that spicy veggie stew and the lentil dish.

The first thing that I made was the Nitter Kebbeh because I needed it to start the Yetakelt W’et. I combined many recipes to finally arrive at something that I had all of the ingredients for. Here is the final product:

Nitter Kebbeh
Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp dried basil

Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter and bring it to a boil 
  • Add the other ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer
  • Gently simmer, uncovered, on a low heat for about 30 minutes
  • When the surface becomes clear, pour the liquid through a cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container
  • Discard the spices and solids

Yetakelt W’et
Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup niter kebbeh (ghee, or any other clarified butter could probably also be used ina pinch)
  • 1.75 cups canned green beans
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 6 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 1.75 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley

Directions:

  • Saute the onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, and paprika in the Niter Kebbeh for 2 minutes
  • Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the vegetable stock
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and mix in the parsley
  • If the stew tastes acidic or not sweet enough for your taste, sweeten to taste with a sweetener of your choice, I used a little bit of Splenda.
  • Serve with injera

Number of Servings: 8, Calories ~ 135.9 per serving

Mesir W’et
Ingredients:

  • 140 grams dried lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 ts Garam Masala
  • 1 Tb berbere OR an additional 1 Tb paprika OR 1 Tb cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying  

Directions:

  • Soak lentils for at least an hour in water
  • Drain and rinse lentils and set aside
  • Saute onions and garlic in oil until onions turn clear
  • Add broth or water
  • Add spices and tomato paste and bring to boil
  • Add lentils and turn down heat and simmer until lentils are tender the broth thickens
  • Serve with rice, Injera bread or pita bread

Number of Servings: 4, Calories ~175 per serving

Injera (based on a recipe from Branny Boils Over – http://brannyboilsover.com/?s=injera)
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup diet tonic water
  • 1.5 cups water

Directions:

  • Combine dry ingredients
  • Add tonic water, water, and vinegar and whisk until smooth
  • Preheat a nonstick skillet and spray with olive oil
  • Ladle 1/4 cup of batter unto the heated pan and swirl the contents to spread the batter all around into a thin circle
  • Cook over a low heat until top surface is no longer shiny, do not flip
  • Cool on a rack

Number of Servings: 4, Calories ~170 per serving