The lunch conundrum – what to bring? Hot or cold? Too much? Not enough? Or just buy something overpriced and greasy and forget about the whole thing??
I fall directly into the bring a hot lunch to heat up in the microwave at work every day camp, and I have been doing just that for my working life. Conversely, my adorable boyfriend likes a cold lunch, more of the sandwich variety. Also, he dislikes to plan (while my lunch is usually packed by the time I’m cleaning up the dinner dishes).
Enter: the whole wheat pita. This tasty, healthy, versatile lunch component can be filled with whatever you wish, eaten toasted or not, and grabbed on the way out the door. It’s also super easy to make with this recipe from the folks who brought us Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I really love making things from scratch that we usually purchase from the store, so this was great.
Making the dough is a cinch, with a simple mixing of the ingredients (which are admittedly a little odd — soy flour what?) and a two hour rise. I let mine rest overnight in the fridge to develop more flavor. Shaping and rolling the pita was a bit tricky, but if you make sure to flour your work surface well, you should be fine.
These were super fun to watch puff up in the over and definitely delicious.
My amazing older brother, Matt Stewart, has just released his first novel! Pick up your copy today.
Some of the stellar reviews:
“A pioneer.” – CNN
“Stewart writes the sort of sentences that punch holes in a 140-character ceiling and sail out corkscrewing across the bay. From its first pages, which describe the laborious morning ritual of Esmeralda Van Twinkle – a persnickety, ravenous and extremely large cashier in a copy shop – the novel fondly recalls John Kennedy Toole’s 1980 classic ‘A Confederacy of Dunces.’” - San Francisco Chronicle
“Whimsically allegorical…amusing and quite clever.” – Boston Globe
“Best of all, Stewart’s language sparkles, sometimes riffing like Bob Dylan, always moving the narrative forward….easy entertainment in book form.” – Kirkus Reviews
“So good that I wanted to be where I was going so I could just read it.” – Examiner.com
So what are you waiting for?? Start reading!
So… I’m back. I’ve put the baking a bit on hold as the adorable boyfriend and I try to be a bit healthier. Sick, I know. However, we’ve still been cooking and baking and so forth. I suppose I’ve been a bit lazy, but hey, for the three people who read this blog (hi Mom and Dad!) I apologize.
Now that that’s out of the way – pickles! I suppose I’ve never really had any idea how one makes pickles until the last few weeks. Deb at Smitten Kitchen, a most beautiful website, put up an easy peasy recipe for bread and butter pickles, which I have always loved, though I know most people think they’re, um, weird. But to me, they are perfect. Sweet, salty, crunchy, cold — everything I’m looking for when it’s twenty billion degrees outside in the DC area.
Dogs love pickles
You can find the recipe here. I’ve made these three times now, with delicious results each time. I used ground spices with no problem as well. The only thing you need to plan is for icing your cukes for two hours, which can easily be done while you jet off to the pool. I highly recommend giving these a try.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was for a Quick Classic Berry Tart. Sounds perfect, right? Who doesn’t like quick things that also have berries and are tarts? A crazy person, that’s who. However, this tart is only “quick” if you’re the kind of person who has perfectly shaped pre-baked tart crusts around, as well as a couple of batches of pastry cream, just waiting to be used. That type of person is not this person.
After a pretty disastrous Mother’s Day involving a tree-crushed car, sprained shoulder, and outing cut short for a trip to the hospital (don’t worry everyone is fine) (Mom, I’m so sorry the day was such a mess!), I decided to make this tart to bring over to her. While again, it wasn’t exactly “quick”, it certainly wasn’t too difficult. The sweet tart dough in Dorie’s book is a cinch to make, which you then bake and cook. Making the pastry cream was a bit more fraught with anxiety (tempering eggs! aah!) but seems to have gone ok. I couldn’t quite tell if the cream was boiling for the requisite 1-2 minutes so I took it off the heat once the pastry cream was the consistency of, well, pastry cream. I also used almond extract instead of vanilla because I ran out.
It turned out delicious! Mom’s verdict: “the best ever!!!” And that is high praise. I love you Mom! This week’s recipe was chosen by Christine of Cooking with Christine. Please visit her blog for the recipe.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie assignment was very exciting for me — homemade ice cream! I vaguely remember making homemade ice cream with a hand-cranked churn as a child (sorry mom and dad, excuse my terrible memory), but I’d had a vague notion that one needed Specialized Equipment to make such a deliciously cold concoction. I posed my question to the talented and lovely/handsome bakers of the Tuesdays with Dorie group and was directed to an extremely helpful post by David Lebovitz, where the renowned pastry chef lays out a simple method for simple homemade ice cream.
After a bracing 45 mile bike ride on Saturday in some pretty serious heat, I certainly felt like I’d earned some tasty treats! Burnt sugar in the name of this confection refers to the method making the caramel, where you heat water and sugar until it turns a deep amber and then add cream and milk. My caramel seized at this stage, but worked out fine after a little TLC and some elbow grease. The most difficult part of this process was that I had no idea what the consistency of the custard was supposed to be. After you make your caramel (which will be very liquidy), you allow it to cool for a few minutes and beat some eggs with salt until they thicken slightly. Then, you temper the eggs (scary!) and finally combine all ingredients.
The David Lebovitz method for making the ice cream involves then cooling your custard in an ice bath and freezing it for about 3 hours, stirring it briskly every 30 minutes or so. I liken this to the attention necessary for baking bread — most of the time is inactive, but you need to be puttering about at home for this to work properly. I used a hand mixer for this as I am lazy. I then allowed the custard to freeze overnight.
Verdict: delicious! And totally satisfying — I conquered three of my baking fears: making caramel, tempering eggs, and making ice cream. The taste itself is very rich and deep. I can’t wait to make more ice cream. Thanks to Becky of Project Domestication for choosing this recipe, which can be found on her site.
Believe it or not, I don’t just eat cakes and brownies and cookies all day long every day. I’m a pretty healthy eater and like eating nourishing foods and being active. I just feel better, you know? One way that makes it much easier to be and feel good about what you’re eating is to have delicious snacks around so you won’t be tempted by those very tasty treats that you’ve been baking.
I noticed these savory roasted almonds on the blog eat make read the other day and knew I needed to try them. Delicious spices, healthy nuts (in a portion controlled fashion), egg whites as a binder? Count me in! The egg white, which seems weird, allows the spices to coat the nuts and the sugar, which also seems a little weird, helps for that tasty crunchy coating. These are a real cinch to make too, especially when you use a food processor. I decided to use rosemary as my main spice, and also used a mix of almonds, cashews and pecans for my nuts. I cut out the cheese because I just didn’t think they needed it, and I was right. These are simple and tasty, and I’ve been snacking on them all week.
P.S. I may also have been picking out the pecans first cause, whoa, are those gooood.
Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts
adapted from eat make read
- 2 cups mixed nuts
- 1 extra large egg white
- 1/3 cup fress rosemary, chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 275°F and line a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or a silpat.
- Put rosemary, chili powder, suagr, and pepper in a food processor and whiz it a couple of times to grind everything together. You could also do this with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon, but hey, I’m lazy.
- Whisk the egg white in a large-ish bowl until frothy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the nuts to the egg whites and fold over to coat.
- Add the spice mixture to the nut mixture and mix until evenly coated.
- Spread nuts on the baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool before serving.