Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pita Bread

When I Saw Chelley over on the WC board posting about making her own pita bread, I knew this was a recipe I just HAD to try. I've always loved Pita bread - it reminds me of the summers I had off from school as a kid. I guess my mom must have made me sandwiches with pita bread or something, but it brings back such great memories. But it never ocurred to me to try and make my own. Thanks for the great idea Chelley.

This recipe is straight from Sugar & Spice - Chelley's blog

Pita Bread
Makes 8 pitas

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water [I had to add a bit more flour to get it to the right consistency].

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick - 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.
Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet [I used parchment paper] and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface [I made 2 at a time on my baking stone]. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary [I baked mine for about 5 minutes each].
Look how poofy they got! It was so fun to watch them poof up in the oven!! I can't wait to dig into my lunch tomorrow - leftover pan-chicken with garlic, lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese in a homemade pita! Enjoy :)

Pan-Seared Chicken with Garlic Sauce

This recipe came from the weight watchers website. It is full of flavor, moist and delicious. I recommend this highly! And - it's SUPER fast to make!

Copied from Weight Watchers Website:

Pan-Seared Chicken with Garlic Sauce

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-ox pieces
1 tsp olive oil
12 medium garlic cloves, halved
1 cup fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium, divided

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with herb mixture.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 2 minutes on each side. Add garlic and 3/4 cup broth. Place pan in oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until chicken is done and garlic cloves are soft.

Remove pan from oven. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth to pan. Mash garlic with fork. Cook garlic mixture over medium heat 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated; stir. Serve garlic sauce over chicken.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast and 2 tbsp garlic sauce)
3 points per serving

I forgot to take a picture! But trust me, it's yummy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lego my Eggo!

I love waffles! No seriously, I loooove them. But - I've only had eggo. I've never made my own. So, when I saw that Katie from Good Things Catered had a recipe, I had to make them. They are very good - a classic and fluffy waffle.

Basic Waffles
From Good Things Catered (she got it from Joy of Cooking)


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, well beaten
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (use 4 Tbsp for reduced fat and 16 Tbsp for the crispiest most delicious waffles ever)
1 1/2 cup milk


-In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
-In another bowl whish together eggs, butter and milk.
-Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.
-Gently whisk them together with a few strokes (The batter should have a pebbled look, similar to muffin batter)
-If you wish, fold in about 1/2 cup of mix in of choice.
-Spoon 1/2 cup of batte (or the amount recommended by waffle iron manufacturer) on hot iron
-Bake until golden brown

I have an awesome industrial waffle iron, and this made me 5 waffles.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No TWD this week

I have been out of town, and have not had time to make this week's recipe. But thanks to Dianne of Dianne's Dishes for picking the recipe, Florida Pie. Make sure to check out all the entries for the week!

Florida Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, seperated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To Finish the Pie with Meringue:
Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.
Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Chicken Club Quesadilla

There is a new restaurant in town called Moe's - it's a yummy Mexican place I can only describe as a subway for Mexican food. It's great! My bosses boss took me and my boss there for lunch one day, and I got a Chicken Club Quesadilla, and fell in love. So, I tried to recreate my own.

Chicken Club Quesadilla

Flour tortillas (1 per quesadilla)
Shredded cheese (as much as you like), we used Mexican shredded cheese
Shredded chicken (I used cut up chicken breasts)
Ranch dressing mixed with chipotle sauce (to make Chipotle Ranch)

Mix it all up and cook it in a little vegetable oil in a skillet. Flip when brown. Enjoy!

TWD: Peanut Butter Torte

This week for Tuesday's with Dorie, Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food chose Peanut Butter Torte. As soon as I found out what the recipe was, I called my huband - I knew he'd be thrilled. This recipe could not have been more perfect for him, he is a peanut butter fool! (So is my sis-in-law, but she said she already had so much peanut butter today she would wait until tomorrow to try a piece!). I'm not a PB fan, so I didn't try this one. But my hubby and my brother-in-law both loved it.

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I was out, so I used pumpkin pie spice)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy)
2 tablespoons whole milk (I used 2% since that's what I had on hand)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

Getting ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan (I don't have a springform pan, so I used a 9" pie pan) and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Crape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

To Finish The Torte: put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thanks for choosing a great one Elizabeth!