Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Promises

I've been cooking, but doing a wretched job of documenting. I am in charge of cooking Christmas dinner this year, so I promise to post then. Like, pinky-swear promise.

I'll try to be more regular.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Sorry folks. It's... *ahem* been a while. But after a summer of papers and herding teenage boys around Sanpete County, I am ready to jump back on board-- so get excited for my post this Sunday; my delicious zucchini pasta dish!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Multigrain Yeast Bread; by Williams-Sonoma

So, my mother received as a gift from one of her students at WSU this "Essentials of Healthful Cooking" brought to us by Williams-Sonoma.

As the URL of this blog implies, she was unable to find much use for it beyond kitchen decor. However, one day after collecting dust for a few months, I looked her over and thought..."I like cooking. I like health. I like Williams-Sonoma. This is a pretty picture." I found among her pages some great finds, but one especially I'd like to share with you TODAY.


Yeast breads used to be intimidating to me. What if the dough didn't rise properly? Worrying about killing the yeast was just too much pressure. (I could never be a doctor.) "So Dana! HOW did you get over your fear?" some might ask. Well--like most things in life--doing it! So perhaps some of you are yeast-bread-making machines (or own yeast-bread-making machines) and this sort of thing is old hat for you. That's fine, you'll enjoy this unique and tasty recipe at any rate.

But for those of you who see this task as daunting! Fear not! As a moderately-popular and historically inaccurate Disney character once said, "If I can learn to do it, you can learn to do it!"

First off!

in a small sauce pan combine

*1 1/2 cups of nonfat milk

*1/4 cup full-flavored molasses

heat on stove until the liquid reaches about 105F-115F (or...about as hot as your average adult likes to take his or her bath. If you only take cold showers, then get a thermometer.)

Remove from the heat and sprinkle

1 envelope (or 2 1/4 tsp.) of active dry yeast

Let it sit for ten minutes while it gets foamy!

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together with a wooden spoon--

*2 cups of all-purpose flour

*1 cup of whole-wheat flour

*1/2 cup of rolled oats

*1 1/2 tps. of salt

separate an

*egg--yolk in one dish, white in another.

I find this works best by cracking the egg and letting the white escape first. Its surprisingly tricky to remove the yolk from the white once they're chillin' together in a bowl.

Whisk the EGG YOLK with the yeast mixture, and then slowly pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.

add small amounts of all-purpose flour until the dough comes together in a smooth(ish) ball.

Remove the ball from the bowl, and place it a clean, lightly floured work surface. And WORK IT! Knead it until its smooth and elasticky. About ten minutes, adding all-purpose flour as kneaded (waka waka!)

Place that beautiful ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl.

Turn to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic saran wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about one hour.

This would be a good time to do your homework or clean your room.

lightly oil a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Punch the dough down and let it rest for ten minutes. Place the dough, once more, on that "lightly floured work surface." Sprinkle with

*1/3 a cup of oats. (the actual recipe calls for sunflower seed, but I find that oats work excellently. Also--that's one less ingredient you need to purchase.)

Fold the dough over and knead until the oats (or seeds) are evenly distributed. Flatten the dough into a 12-by-7-inch rectangle.

Beginning with a short side, loosely roll up the dough rectangle and pinch the seam to seal.

Transfer, seam side down, to the prepared pan. Cover the pan with saran wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F

In the bowl with the

*egg white

beat with a little bit of milk. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and using a pastry brush (or...your clean fingers) top the dough with the egg/milk mixture. Sprinkle the top with oats. (I used steal-cut...but any kind are fine!)

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

The top should be golden. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then place it on a wrack (or a plate) to let it cool completely. The loaf can be cut into 16 slices.

This is a delicious loaf with a crusty crust and soft delicious inside. Makes great sandwiches. Also--your kitchen will smell incredible. ENJOY!!!

----------THE RECIPE REVIEW----------

Pros: The bread is tasty AND healthy. The molasses gives it great flavor and just enough sweetness. This is one of my favorite breads to make.

Cons: Like any yeast bread, these things take time. If you're in a rush, this ain't the recipe for you. You have to be in such a mood as to "find joy in the journey." Give yourself at least 3, 3 1/2 hours to make it. You'll have some down time to do other things while waiting for the dough to rise/cook.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mamma Mia!

You know, there's nothing quite like a good pizza. And a great one? Forget about it.

The dough recipe I bummed off a woman I met in Jersey from New Zealand. Grazie, Sorella Fonua! She made some fantastic pizza for us missionaries one night and I HAD to have it. Ask and ye shall receive! (well...most of the time.)

The rest of the recipe was inspired by the many delicious margarita slices I had in Italian pizzerias on the east coast. Fresh ingredients make a HUGE difference (the mozzarella, the basil...though I find canned stewed/sliced tomatoes are an appropriate substitute for the fresh ones.)

SO--the dough.

In a large bowl mix together

*3 cups warm/hot watter
*1 tbsp. white sugar
*1 tbsp. brown sugar
*1 tbsp. salt

Then sprinkle on top

*1 packet of active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp.)

Let sit for a minute or two. Then mix in with a big spoon, one cup at a time

*7 cups of good white flour.

Around the 6th and 7th cup, I toss out the spoon and knead it with your hands. Knead for a minute or two, and then put in a greased bowl. Spray the dough with non-stick spray and cover with Saran wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Dough should double in size. Go yeast, go.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.


*5-6 roma tomatoes

*16 oz. fresh mozzarella.

When the dough is ready, break it in two. You'll make two pizzas with it. Spread it out on either greased cookies sheets or greased pizza stones. ( of each!)

poke many little holes with a fork and then drizzle with

*Balsamic Vinegar and...
*Olive Oil

using your clean hands, massage the oil and vinegar into the dough.

If you like, you can add a little bit of

*tomato sauce

as well. Massage that in too. Top your pizzas with the tomatoes and mozzarella.

sprinkle generously with

*dried basil
*freshly ground sea salt

Place the pizzas in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top with torn fresh basil leaves.

ENJOY. (duh.)


----------THE RECIPE REVIEW----------

Pros: The dough is super-easy to make, and pretty quick. You have to let it rise for 30 minutes, but that's a good time to do all of your slicing and dicing. With the vibrant red and green, the pizza is aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious. I'm a fan of food that both looks and tastes good!

Cons: Fresh mozzarella DOES cost more than the regular kind. But a few bones makes a big difference! Trust me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grandma Joyce's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Joyce Wallace is my neighbor and my friend. As my grandparents are in California (or heaven) Grandma Joyce took it upon herself to fill that role for us kids. She's an example of service and faith. AND she makes the best chocolate chip cookies of your life. Millions (SLIGHT exaggeration...but just slight...) have tasted for themselves and add their testimony to the truthfulness of their supremacy above all other cookies. Don't believe me? Ever heard the expression "You can lead a horse to water..." All I can do is invite you to find out for yourself. Just remember to follow the DETAILS.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Gather the following ingredients

*3 sticks of unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups) softened
*1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
*1 1/4 cup brown sugar
*1 tsp. real vanilla extract (or a tbsp. of the fake stuff)

In large bowl, cream these all together with an electric mixer. Make sure the bowl is deep enough or you'll have butter and sugar flying everywhere. Done? Alright, now listen. Place the mixer aside never...NEVER to be used again while making this batch of cookies. Got it?

into a little bowl (you know...the kind you eat cereal out of) crack

*2 eggs

and beat them with a fork. Pour the egg mixture with the butter-sugar bliss and mix it in with a wooden spoon.

In a separate medium sized bowl, sift together the following.

*4 cups of flour
*2 tsp. baking soda
*1 tsp. salt

Poco a poco (or, as the gringos say, little by little) add the dry mixture to the wet one. Mix it in with a wooden spoon until you got it all in there. Next add...

*4 cups of chocolate chips (two 12. oz bags) semisweet's my fave...but any other kind works too

mix it in with a wooden spoon. Use your hands (clean, please! SWINE FLU!) if you need too. You might sweat a little. Don't be embaressed.

Onto a cool (room temp.) cookie sheet, roll those suckas out! 1" balls, or there abouts. Space them evenly. You know...cookie style.






That sort of thing. Squish 'em down a little bit with your hand, and put them in the oven for approx. 10 minutes. She should be slightly beige around the edges. They probably won't look quite done to the untrained eye, but ah. You know better. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about five more minutes then remove with a spatula. Place somewhere to cool or get 'em while they're hot!

These cookies freeze excellently. As does the dough. But let's get real. If you won't eat it, I will.


----------THE RECIPE REVIEW----------

Pros: This recipe, if followed correctly will produce CONSISTENTLY good cookies. Its a relatively good-sized batch too, and the dough freezes well as do extra cookies.

Cons: Not good to make if you are in the business of losing weight.

My roots...

First, a shout-out to my Italian Grandmother, Rosa Venditti! My father (her son) is an excellent cook, and I will be certain to include a few of his recipes. But that's because his momma raised him RIGHT! So thank you, Grandma Rosie, and Dadders, for keeping the chain alive. I will do my best to continue.