food amongst family and friends

Pepperoni pizza wrap ups, with my favourite pizza dough recipe January 21, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Make Ahead,Sausage,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:23 am
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Yet another attempt to fill my children with good energy. These are a simple, easy to sell, snack, made by wrapping pepperoni in pizza dough with some jarred pasta or pizza sauce and then sprinkling cheese on top. I used turkey pepperoni and added a healthy serving of spelt flour and flax seeds to the dough to keep things in the good-for-you category and the kids love them. I love it when I can feed them what I want and have them think they are getting something treaty. These also freeze really well, so make a big batch and have them ready to pull out for those, busy, on the go days.

Pizza Dough

This is the pizza dough recipe I have been using for years, although I change it every time depending on what flours, seeds, fresh herbs, etc. I happen to have in the house when I make it. I find that if you are going to go with more than 1/3 whole wheat, you should switch the sugar for honey and double it, but that 1/3 is really as far as you want to go if you want it to retain it’s pizza dough goodness. Feel free to add fresh or dried herbs to the dough for extra flavour, or knead in some cheese; you can also leave out the flax seed if that’s not your thing.

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup spelt flour

2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour

1 heaping Tbsp milled flaxseed

1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water and let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.

2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast mixture, then add spelt flour, 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and flax seed. Stir until flour is incorporated and you have a shaggy dough.

3. Either turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 8 minutes or strap the dough hook on your stand mixer and start it up (you will probably only need to knead it for 5 or 6 minutes in the stand mixer). Either way, you are going to end up adding at least another 1/2 cup of flour, probably closer to 1 cup, before you end up with a nice smooth, elastic dough, that’s still very soft.

4. Transfer dough to a well oiled bowl, turning to coat, then cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down and form into a tight ball. Let relax for 2 minutes before proceeding.

At this point you can make into two round pizzas or, in my house, two mini pizzas for the girls to decorate for themselves and one cookie sheet sized pizza. I bake my pizza in a well preheated 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden and the edges of the crust are browned.

Or, you can proceed with the wraps.

Pizza wrap ups

1 recipe pizza dough

10 sticks turkey pepperoni (or pepperoni of your choice, or rolled up ham, maybe slices of sweet peppers, whatever you like on pizza really)

1 small jar pizza or pasta sauce (or homemade stuff, if you have it)

1 cup (approx) grated cheddar cheese (I used an old white cheddar, because I had it, but orange cheddar would have made my children happier)

1. Preheat oven to 425 and prep 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silicone. Cut the pizza dough into ten equal portions (you could also double this, halve your pepperoni sticks and have a smaller, snackier size wrap). Using your hands, stretch each portion of dough into an oval/rectangle shape long enough to accommodate the pepperoni stick.

2. Spread about a heaping tablespoon of sauce on each wrap. The sauce really keeps this moist, so don’t be skimpy, but keep in mind that you need to keep the edges of the dough clean or they won’t seal properly and your wraps will open up when you bake them.

3. Place a pepperoni stick in the middle of each wrap, then bring up the sides, one over the other, and pinch them together. Place on prepared cookie sheets a few inches apart and sprinkle evenly with the cheese.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and the dough is lightly browned all over. Let on cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, but certainly enjoy while warm.

Makes 10 wraps. Good in fridge for 2 or 3 days or in freezer for 2 months.





Sour Cream Rolls January 11, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Make Ahead,Sides,Thrifty,Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 7:46 pm
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I have a problem with fresh bread products. When I first discovered No Knead Bread I ate half the loaf in an afternoon (and then fell into a carbohydrate induced coma). OK, confession over, but when I came across this recipe in my new Homemaker’s Magazine (my grandmother has been bankrolling this subscription since I got married and as much as the feminist in me cringes at the name, I’ve gotten some excellent recipes from it), I was immediately intrigued. Of course it’s taken me a month and a half to get around to making them, but it was well worth the wait. These are crusty (not unlike the No Knead Bread) but nice and dense and chewy. A perfect accompaniment to a good soup or stew, or in our case, tonight’s conduit for Sloppy Joe’s (thank you Meagan for making my children so happy). Also, you do need to make a basic starter here the day before, so make sure to read through the recipe and plan ahead.

Makes 16 rolls

3 3/4 cups flour (approx. – I used unbleached all purpose)

3/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup warm water

2 1/2 Tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups sour cream

1/2 cup spelt flour (next time I will probably increase the ratio of spelt to all purpose flour, but I wanted to try this one by the books to start)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted

1. In a small saucepan, whisk 1/4 cup all purpose flour with cold water over medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and ridges form with every turn of the whisk (a thermometer should read 150 F, but I found it was hard to get an accurate reading with such a small amount of goo). Remove from heat and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but up to 2 days. This is your starter. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

2. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let stand 5 – 10 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in starter and sour cream until smooth.

3. Stir in spelt flour and salt, then add all purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time until a shaggy dough forms. If using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook, or dump out onto a clean well floured surface. Knead, adding flour to the surface and your hands as needed,  8-12 minutes, or until dough is smooth, moist, and still fairly sticky.

4. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1 1/2 to 2 hours). Punch down and knead lightly for a few turns, then cut in half and form into 2 balls. Cover and let relax for 10 minutes.

5. Cut each ball into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball by pinching the sides together at the bottom. Place on a lightly buttered cookie sheet and brush the top of each bun with the melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled.

6. Bake in the centre of a preheated 400 degree oven for 21-24 minutes, or until browned and hollow sounding when you ‘knock’ on the top. Let cool in pan on rack. If you want a crustier bun, spray the inside of the oven with water immediately before putting the buns in.



PS I didn’t price this out, as most of the ingredients used such a minimal amount of my bulk ingredients that it hardly seemed worth it. However, I imagine I used $2 worth of sour cream and butter here, and then add the very generous estimate of $1 worth of the other ingredients (combined) and you are looking at $0.19/bun. This is probably a little high, but you get the idea – cheap and way better than store bought!


Chocolate Chocolate Zucchini Bread September 8, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Loaves,Make Ahead,Muffins — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:21 pm
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This is a picture of the snack I am consuming while posting this, including the jar of iced coffee in the background; so yummy. My mom always made chocolate zucchini bread when we were growing up, so this recipe comes from her, which I think she adapted in more recent years from the Looney Spoons cookbook, which I re-adapted to suit my preferences. This recipe makes 2 good sized loaves, but we made some into mini loaves and mini muffins, all of which turned out well, just adjust the cooking time accordingly (I think the mini muffins were done in 18-21 minutes and the loaves at about 30). This also freezes really well.

1 cup spelt flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp each, baking soda and cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar (I didn’t find this to be overly sweet, but you could probably sub in 1 cup agave syrup and cut the oil a bit if you wanted)

3 eggs

1/2 cup plain, fat free greek yogurt

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups packed, grated zucchini (I did mine in the food processor)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prep 2 loaf pans with cooking spray and flour.

2. Combine dry ingredients, except sugar, in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together sugar, eggs, yogurt, oil, and vanilla in a smaller bowl. Add zucchini, then add to dry ingredients along with chocolate chips, stirring just to combine.

4. Pour half of batter into each loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes (mine were done at 45) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn out onto wire racks to cool.





Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread July 4, 2011

Filed under: Breads,Breakfast — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:27 am
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I feel like all I have been doing lately is cooking and then dashing off to the next exciting summer vacation destination: the zoo, the waterpark, the regular park, the amusement park, bike ride tour of our neighbourhood (now on hold due to my bike being stolen out of our garage on the weekend), and this week the beach. It’s only two weeks in and I think I might need to slow down a little. That said, I have been cooking, I just haven’t been finding the time to post. For example, these burger buns are fantastic and fairly easy, if you are into fresh buns for burgers. And yesterday I made this amazing rhubarb custard pie, that I can guarantee will be made at least once every rhubarb season. And I used this marinade recipe for some grilled pork chops last night on Meagan’s recommendation, which turned out beautifully. The problem I am having currently, is a lack of time to post, so I am going to give you some recipes to the stuff I am making changes to and links to the stuff that I wouldn’t change at all.

This cinnamon pull apart bread is something I will definitely make again, as it was simpler than cinnamon buns, but with essentially the same result. However, the recipe needed some work; if you change nothing else, cook this way longer than it says, possibly double. But do make it; it’s totally worth it.

For the dough:

1/2 cup milk, warmed slightly (room temperature or so)

1/4 cup warm water

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

3 cups all purpose flour (next time I will use either all spelt or half ap, half whole wheat)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

For the filling:

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup butter melted

Raisins, chopped pecans, etc could also be added here with good results; I’m thinking chopped pecans rolled in a little cinnamon sugar on the bottom of the loaf pan before you put the dough in

1. In a large bowl (that is not cold, and if it is, warm the milk and water a little extra), combine milk, water, yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand 5-10 minutes, or until nice and foamy.

2. Stir in butter and eggs with a heavy whisk until butter is chopped up fairly fine, then add flour and the remaining sugar. Stir until a dough is formed. This is where a stand mixer with a dough hook would come in handy, as this is a sticky dough and you don’t want to add too much flour to it, however, you do have to knead it a bit. So flour up your hands and be prepared to get a little dirty. Knead just until the dough is well combined, maybe 2 minutes.

3.  At this point I covered mine and put it in the fridge overnight, then in the morning, I put it in the oven with a pan of steaming water for 30 minutes to bring it back to life. Otherwise, you can just let it rise for about an hour in a warmish place until doubled in size.

4. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar, then butter a 9×5 loaf pan (and add in the chopped pecans if you want to try that).

5. Roll out your dough into a 12″x20″ rectangle on the nearest clean and floured surface. Spread with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with sugar/spice combo; it will be a lot and I have already cut it a bit.

6. Slice the dough lengthwise into 6 strips. Stack the strips on top of each other, then cut them crosswise into 6  pieces again. Stand them up and put them in the loaf pan, so that you essentially have already sliced bread (I had to put some in the side to fit them all in though, just so long as they are standing up and in there fairly securely). Cover and let rise for another 30-60 minutes, until doubled.

7. Preheat oven to 350. Here’s where it gets a little tricky, the original recipe says to cook for 20-30 minutes; I cooked mine for 35 minutes and the middle was still pure dough, so I had to put it back in. I would recommend baking for 45 minutes to an hour. The tops will probably be dark brown and if you press in the middle, it should hold its shape.

8. Let cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and flip it onto a serving plate. Let cool for another 5 – 10 minutes before eating.




Ciabatta bread, straight up May 26, 2011

Filed under: Breads — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:44 pm

I stumbled across this recipe a while ago and decided that, since I’ve been meaning to improve my basic bread skills, I should try it. And it was a hit. We’ve had it with good lasagna and bad soup (don’t ask) and both times the bread was the clear star of the meal. I’m not usually one for white bread, but this is a treaty way to fancy up a meal on occasion. I’m going to write out what I did here, but I would encourage you to go back and read the original post; this guy really seems to know what he is doing and has obviously spent some time perfecting this recipe; the post is well worth reading over.

Before you get started on the actual bread, take a minute to smash some garlic cloves with the side of a knife and pour a 1/4 cup-ish of olive oil over top. The longer this sits, the more flavour it will have and you want to brush the top of the bread with it. I make enough so that I have extra, which I strain and then keep in a jar; it’s great for stir fry or roasting veggies with (or a million other things, I’m sure). And now for the main event:

4 cups flour (I’ve only made mine white so far, but a half and half mix would probably work well)

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp honey

1 Tbsp salt

Sea salt to sprinkle the top with

1. Stir water, honey, olive oil and yeast together in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.

2. Stir in salt and then flour, mixing as long as possible with a spoon and then turning out onto a floured surface to knead.

3. Knead for 10-12 minutes, or until smooth, soft and elastic. I recommend timing yourself, as I usually want to bail on kneading earlier than I should. I found with this bread I really started to notice the texture difference at around 9 minutes, but everyone kneads differently, so keep an eye on the clock and aim to fall between 10 and 12 minutes.

4. Let sit covered, in a greased bowl, for 1 -2 hours, depending on how much time you have, but at least until doubled.  Punch down, form a ball and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with silicone or parchment and brush with the garlicky olive oil. Stretch your dough out by holding one end at a time and letting gravity do the work, then lay on a baking sheet and use your hands to make sure it is of a consistent thickness. Then use your fingers to ‘dimple’ the bread all over.

6. Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Pour 1 cup of water into a small oven proof dish and place in oven with bread. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding.

7. Let cool for 30 minutes or so and serve, preferably with way too much butter.




I’m the cheapest person alive April 21, 2011

Ok, maybe not the cheapest, but pretty close. I am almost certain that my love of cooking stems from my husband (who inspired me to be “thrifty”, as he calls it) awkwardly exclaiming “They want $30 for something you could make at home?” in the middle of a restaurant. That said, he doesn’t care about food the way I do; I would happily pay exorbitant sums for a perfect wild mushroom risotto or a rack of medium rare wild boar chops smothered in apple bourbon sauce or a deconstructed creme brulee or . . . I have to stop now, or I’ll just keep going, but you get the picture .  He wouldn’t ‘happily’ pay for food at a grocery store; it just not what he likes to spend money on. So I started cooking more and more of the foods I wanted at home, and somewhere along the line fell in love with the process as much as the end results. This recipe however, stems entirely from my now well developed sense of “thriftiness”. This is a recipe for homemade fig and fennel raincoast crisps; I love the store bought ones – and nothing pairs better with a good piece of cheese – but cannot bring myself to pay $8/box. I have looked at a few different versions of this recipe, but have turned it into my own over time. I think the original inspiration comes from Dinner with Julie, but this flavour combination comes from a brainstorming session with my sister and a good friend; it is by far my favourite. But feel free to play with different fruits, nuts and spices to find your favourite combination (or just to empty out your pantry); cranberry/rosemary is second on my list. Also, I have mainly been making these with seeds due to several friends and relatives with nut allergies, but feel free to use nuts in here as well; just sub them for some of the seeds.

2 cups spelt flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 heaping tsp salt

1 rounded Tbsp fennel seeds, lightly bashed in a mortar

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup honey

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk and honey, stirring until just combined. Then fold in:

1 cup chopped, dried figs

1 cup large seeds (I use a combination of pepitas and sunflower seeds)

1/4 cup each, flax seed and sesame seed

Divide between two greased loaf pans and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 40-45 minutes or until browned and springy to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes before flipping out to cool completely. Once cooled, place in an airtight bag or container and place in the freezer. Leave until frozen solid or until you want to use them (I often make a batch when I have some buttermilk to use up and then leave them in the freezer until I need them).

Once frozen, slice the loaves as thinly as possible using a very sharp carving knife if you have one or a really good serrated knife. Lay the slices out on a parchment or silicone lined cookie sheet and pop into the oven at 300 degrees for 13-15 minutes, then flip and put back in for another 10 minutes or so, until dry but not overly brown. Let cool and serve any way you want to. This will impress the pants off your friends – “Homemade crackers! Where do you find the time?”. Little do they know this took about 20 minutes of actual work. These will stay good in an airtight bag or container for 6 weeks or so.




Carolyn’s Now Famous Spelt Oat Pancakes April 20, 2011

Filed under: Breads,Breakfast,Mains,Quick and easy,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:38 pm
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This is my favourite pancake recipe and also my favourite way of feeding the kids dinner on nights I don’t want to fight to get them to eat. Served up with fresh fruit and a dollop of thick yogurt, this is a treaty meal I don’t have to feel guilty about serving my kids. My friend Carolyn served this to us at a playdate at her house over a year ago and I have since made these about once a week (every two weeks at most) and have passed along the recipe to anyone who would listen (I’m what you’d call a pusher). Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

2 cups milk

1 cup spelt flour

1 Tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup, or agave syrup, or honey)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 lightly beaten eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Soak oats in milk at least 30 min but up to overnight. I usually soak mine at least a couple of hours.

2. Combine flour through cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Add eggs and butter to oat mixture and stir to combine, then add in the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

4. Drop by large spoonfuls into a hot skillet and flip once they start to bubble around the edges.

5. Remove  from pan once browned on the flip side and serve with your favourite toppings.