Friday, February 18, 2011

Pizza Dough ~ Cold Process

Friday is family pizza night at our house. We either play games or have a family movie night after depending on who is around. This recipe is from Friday in the Caring for Children Guides.

I like to call this Flatbread because for me, it expands the pobbibilities of what we might put on it and how to shape it. It can be used for traditional pizza as well as a base for experimentation with S.O.L.E. food, food that is:

S ~ Sustainable
O ~ Organic
L ~ Local
E ~ Ethical

Pizza ~ Flatbread Crust

Make this a day ahead of time. It is a cold process dough and works on itself overnight in the fridge.

For more on the evolution of no knead dough, here.

 It is simple and fun to make with children. Assemble the ingredients. Toss them into a large container, cover with a cloth and let it sit overnight.



Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups unbleached, unbromated flour, high gluten is nice if available, regular works too
1 1/2 teaspoon Mortons Kosher Salt
1  teaspoon yeast
1 3/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in container, in any order, stir it up, cover with a cloth so it can breathe, no solid lid, put in fridge overnight.

Next day, take it out a few hours before you wish to use it, let it come to room temperature and rise, remove and knead on flour dusted surface, cut into several small pizzas or two medium sized pizzas or one large pizza, form ball(s) let rest until smooth and puffy in an olive oil coated bowl. When it has rested and expanded, roll it out on flour/cornmeal dusted surface or on cornmeal dusted pizza peel, form the pizza/flatbread with your hand.

Brush crust with olive oil that has freshly minced garlic in it.
Top with desired toppings.

Some of my favorite toppings:

tomato sauce and cheese
pesto with goat cheese, pine nuts
honey fig butter with caramelized onions, fresh fig and sage

carmelized onions 
roasted vegetables


Bake at 475 degrees on pizza stone of possible.

Quiche

Quiche is a really simple, nourishing and delicius dish to make. It took me years to understand that in really beating the eggs comes a smooth texture. I always held to the "never overwork the eggs, it makes them tough" notion. My recipe is my adaptation from Moosewood Cookbook.

First, make the crust, cut together:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
When the butter is the size of peas, add 3 Tablespoons cold buttermilk or iced water (without the ice) or enough so that the mixture holds together and forms a ball. Wrap in wax paper and chill for one hour.

Roll out into circle one, one half inch greater than pie plate for quiche. Slip over pan and go around and pinch edges to make decorative.

Cover bottom of crust with 1 1/2 cups grated cheese ( I use extra sharp cheddar or emmentaler)

Then the filling.

Saute in olive oil and unsalted butter:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 pound of mushrooms (any kind you like)
  • salt, pepper and thyme to taste
Cover cheese with this mixture.


Beat well (really) together for custard:
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or cream or combinattion
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Pour custard mixture over mushrooms in crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 -45 minutes or until center is solid when jiggled.

Also delicious with leeks, broccoli, scallions, tomato


Roasted Vegetables

This winter I discovered toasted brussels sprouts at The Waldorf Early Childhood Educators of North America Annual Conference. They were sweet and delicious. I've been combining them with cauliflower and baby bok choy as well as carrots and onions. The house is filled with sweet warmth while they roast.



Gather enough vegetables for the number of people you are feeding. Wash them.

Ingredients:

Brussel Sprouts, cut in half
Cauliflower, cut in bite sizes
Baby Bok Choy, cut in bite sizes
Potato, cut in bite size chunks
Carrots, cut in bite sizes
Onion, chopped small, to taste
Garlic, minced, to taste

Place all vegetables in a large bowl when cut, drizzle olive oil over all, gently toss, spread flat on roasting pan and roast in 250 degree oven until slightly brown, crisp and cooked through, a good hour or so. Salt and papper to taste.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie


I posted Chicken Pot Pie as a Thurday meal over at the February Guide to Caring for Children, it's down at the bottom of the MENU page on Thursday. This is delicious with cranberry sauce or a side salad of braised winter greens with roasted beets and dried cranberries.



This is a simple recipe with five basic steps. Each step can be prepared ahead of time. If you go big with the chicken stock on Monday, use a whole chicken and freeze the extra, you will have stock for this dish too.
  1. Make the crust and chill it.
  2. Prepare a white sauce
  3. Saute the meat and vegetables
  4. Assemble
  5. Bake
Ingredients:

Crust:
Flour, white, unbleached, unbromated 1 1/2 cups
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 cup ice water

White Sauce:
Rich chicken stock, 1 quart
1/2 cup flour, unbleached, unbromated
Butter, unsalted
! cup milk
1/3 cup cream

Filling:
Butter, unsalted
Olive oil
Chicken breast, 2 1/2 pounds
Carrots, 3 large cut in rounds
2 large or 3 medium Potatoes
1 cup Peas
Onion, 2 medium
Garlic 3-4 cloves, to taste
thyme
rosemary
sage leaves, 2

Egg Wash:
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water
  1. Crust: Set up a little water with some ice cubes or stick in freezer to chill. In food processor, process flour, salt, butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Tiny chunks of butter in the flour makes a flaky crust. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes away from the side, it happens quickly so be attentive, do not form a ball. Put the dough on a lightly floured sheet of wax paper, flatten and refridgerate.
  2. White sauce: heat chicken broth to boiling, add two sage leaves, on separate burner, in separate pan, melt five tablespoons of butter in small saucepan, whick in 1/2 cup of flour, continue whisking until smooth. Add the stock, milk and cream.
  3. Filling: Cut the chicken into good size, bite size pieces. Heat saute pan, drizzle olive oil and small nob of butter, let melt, add onion, garlic, chicken and thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper, saute. Remove from pan, lightly saute potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary to taste, add peas at very end. 
  4. Crust: Put meat and vegetable mixture in a large baking dish and allow to cool. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the crust to about one to one and a half inches greater than the top of the baking dish. Put crust on top and pich around the edges to form a decorative edge. Cut hole in center for stem to escape. Make small slits too. Design if you wish. 
  5. Make the egg wash, whisk egg and water togther, lightly brush on top of crust.
  6. Bake at 375 for  about 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top.


Enjoy!

This is my adaptation of a recipe in the Dean and Deluca Cookbook.

Fairy Cup Cakes and Fluffy Frosting

These are delicious and rich little gems. We make them for special occaisions. I have made big one piece birthday cakes in the past and am now realizing with this cup cake madness, that children really do love to have their own little cake. I do not see it as anti social or tearing them from the oness of the world.

Fairy cup cakes:

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon rind


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 paper liners or butter and flour them thoroughly.
  • Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Add vanilla and beat two minutes more.
  • Sift together flour, salt and baking soda.
  • Stir in flour mixture and sour cream.
  • Add lemon rind.
  • Fill muffin cups half full.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Fluffy Frosting

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and firm
4 cups sifted confectioers sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 or 4 Tablespoons heavy cream
Pink coloring, let me know if you have a good, natural source.

  • Beat butter in small bowl until creamy and light yellow in color.
  • Add sugar in 3 additions,  beating well after each.
  • Beat in vanilla, then just enough cream to reach medium spreading consistency. (Icing should hold 1/2 peak when tipped up with spatula)
  • Tint with pink coloring, if you have a good source.

Swirl on cupcakes with a spoon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Scones

On the night  before baking or a few hours before making these scones, put six ounces of butter in the freezer. When ready to bake, put on your aprons and assemble:
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Hand held grater
  • Two butter knives
  • Small bowl
  • Large whisk or flour sifter
  • Board or surface for dusting with flour and rolling out scones
  • Heat shaped cookie cutter, if you do not have these, you can make a round wheel and cut the wheel in half and then cut each wheel in thirds or quaters depending on how many scones you wish to have.
Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups unbleached, unbromated organic pastry flour, local when possible
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (look for aluminum free)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated or finely chopped from organic orange (the skin of citrus is usually laden with fungicides on non organic citrus fruits)
  • 3/4 cup dried black currants 
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup half and half (or mix half cream, half milk or use all cream for a very rich dough)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Butter a baking sheet.
Put flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.
Combine the egg and half and half in the small bowl.
Use a whisk and whisk it all up or sift it all through a sifter, then whisk.
Grate in the frozen butter.
Using the two butter knives, cut in the butter to the flour mixture until the butter is about the size of peas or coarse crumbs, about 30 second to a minute of cutting it in. Children are very good at this.
Toss in the currants and orange zest.
Mix up the egg and half and half and add it to the mixture.
Stir it up just enough to moisten the flour mixture.
Do not overmix.


Put on your "baking gloves" that is dust your hands with flour, gently gather the dough into a ball and place it on the flour dusted surface.
Knead the dough very little, two ot three times.
Flatten the dough out to 1/2" or 3/4 " thickness.
Cut out heart shapes.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.


Enjoy!