Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Baker Challenge.....Pizza Dough

This was my first challenge with the Daring Bakers. It is an interesting group of bakers that take on the challenge of producing the same recipe of the same item and alternating it a tad to accommodate their dietary or religious needs. All involved, post the recipe on the same day. The challenge subject is kept a secret up until then. So, you will not know what I am making until the day I post. Scroll down to the Daring Baker Button on the left to check out other bloggers involved in the challenge!

This month's recipe that was chosen, was one of my favorite things to eat....Pizza! I make Pizza here at home once a week. This recipe was a challenge to me because I normally use my pizza dough the same day. The trick to this dough is that it must be refrigerated at least 24 hours before resting for 2 hours on the bench, and then formed. It was also required that you attempt to toss the dough. Which I wasn't very good at, and didn't have anyone to take a picture of my failed attempt! And yes, I did use a baking stone, which is worth the price to make your pizzas on.

I preceded to make all 6 pizza, in which the dough was awesome---crisp yet tender! Because I have children, I went easy on 3 of them: 2 pepperoni, 1 cheese, 1 meatball and peppers, 1 pepperoni and bacon, and 1 goat cheese spread, bacon, and cheese. All were delish! I would definitely make this again if I can think ahead to do it the day ahead, because sometimes my pizza decision is last minute. I know the directions are long, but , it is definitely worth it!

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches round.
**4 1/2 Cups bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled -
**3/4 Tsp Salt
**1 Tsp Instant yeast
**1 3/4 Cups Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
**1 Tb sugar
**cornmeal for dusting

*Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer)

*Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

*Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

* With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).
*Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball

*Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

*Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking.

*On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 in thick and 5 in. in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

*At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

*When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

*Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

*Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.
*Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time for Kettle Corn!

It's that time a year in New England where Kettle Corn is predominant at all the festival. And also, is a great treat for Halloween or Pumpkin Carving Parties. And if you still hand out homemade treats to your trick or treaters this is a great snack!

Today, I'm attending the Annual Grass Girls Pumpkin Carving Party and I know they love kettle Corn. So what better Hostess gift to bring. It was very easy and cheap to make. I had all the ingredients on hand. There is a great video on YouTube here, to really explain how easy it is.

After it was finished I added my special touch of drizzling milk chocolate and orange candy melts on it. Simply delicious!!

1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. popping corn
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. granulated sugar
1 T. course salt

* Place oil in a tall popping pan with a lid. Let it get really hot!! Add popcorn , cover and let it pop, after the first couple pops, turn down the temperature to MED. Continue to shake and pop.
* When you hear no more popping, add in remaining ingredients and shake the pot completely. You may even take a wooden spoon and stir it to make sure everything was mixed in. (May need more salt depending on your taste)
* Take off burner and allow to cool. Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle milk chocolate over it. Allow to dry before packing it away.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Kitchen Witch It Is.......

Just received the cutest Witchy-poo from my aunt in the mail. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! An early birthday gift. I was born just after midnight on Halloween, so I love everything Halloween! My Aunt is so talented, like all my aunts are. I definitely get my crafty-attributes from the Rosynek women. I have christened her the Kitchen Witch, since I am putting her on my mantle in the kitchen to watch over all the baking and cooking that I do!

Check out the detail in the face , and the cute little necklace that she made for the witch. A beautiful antique watch with a pumpkin on the end. Very lovely....

And isn't this the cutest clay cupcake in Halloween colors!
Thanks again Aunt Jill, I love it!!! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Iron Cupcake October....Cheese

Well, it's that time again with my entry for the Iron Cupcake Contest. So once again I am asking for your votes. Voting starts this Sunday after 12 pm! This month's entree must include cheese, so I used both cream and goat. Don't worry the mice are gummy mice! (Dollar Store find)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 oz. goat cheese
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or lemon concentrate

* Preheat the oven to 325°F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
* In a large bowl cream together the butter, goat cheese, and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating 1 minute after each addition.

* In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

* Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix until completely integrated. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, Mix the batter for 30 seconds.

* Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

To fill the cupcakes I used Raspberry Yogurt, you can use any flavor you like!

Beat 8 oz. cream cheese and 4 oz. goat cheese(room temperature) with 5 Tbsp. softened butter and 2 tsp. vanilla until combined. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar that has been sifted after measuring. Continue to add more sifted powdered sugar until you reach a consistency and sweetness that fits your taste.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dancing With The Politicians?????

Check out this picture! So LOL crazy!!!! My dear friend in the O.C. sent this to me, after her mother sent it to her. Who ever Photoshopped this did an awful good job. Maybe they really should be paired up! ABC's ratings would surely skyrocket....

New Addition Arrives!!!!

Well, we have a new addition to our family, all 1.8 pounds of her! This weekend we allowed our daughters to purchase their own dog, and this is what they chose. A Shorkie, it is a Shiztu/Yorkie designer dog. Society used to call these dogs mutts, now they rank right up there with the yorkie-poos, snuggles, schoodles, and labor-doodles. They are the "it "dog as of now, and like every other doll to come before her, my daughters just had to have it. So they combined the money they had saved up and put it together to purchase this sweet little thing. And when I say little , it is very, very little!

I told them that it would be like taking care of their own baby. It would cry at night, and have to be fed and walked, and taken out every couple of hours. And they would be responsible for any messes or damage the dog made.

So the first night my 11 year old had her for over-night, it was about 10 pm when she said she couldn't take the crying on a school night. Then she proclaimed that she only wanted to be over-night in charge on Fridays and Saturdays, because she had school through the week. I reminded her that I had explained, that for the first 2 months it would be like having a baby, and what if I would have done that the first 2 months of her life? So now as the grandmother ,so to speak of the dog, I too have to take turns watching her. And their little brother watches her doing the time they are in school. I guess it does take a village to raise a dog......

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Day at a Time....

One Day at a Time

Is this your motto too? If not , maybe it should be, now with the finances of the world going crazy, an election year, and the job market looking so bleak...Just sit back and think--One Day at a Time.

Do you remember the show by this name from the 70's? It was one of my favorites. It came in a time when divorce was just coming into it's own. The show gave you an insight to what single motherhood was like. I especially was drawn to the fact that little "Barbara" was so cute! And also, older sister "Julie", I loved her real first name Mackenzie. And mother "Ann" and her goofy boyfriend, along with a nosy maintenance man "Schneider".

Well, because I also love biographies, I knew that when I found "Losing It" in the library, I would have to read it! It was a great read. It told all about Valerie's early years on the show, her early marriage, her time on "Touched by an Angel", and her struggle with weight issues.

It is hard to believe that she had no confidence in the way she looked. Valerie never knew that she was every teenage boy's Dream Girl, and that they probably had a poster of her in their room next to Farah Fawcett. And if you love the music of Van Halen, you will also learn of the struggles that Eddie went through.

I recommend this book, it was a short read and very informative.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's a Pretty Your Pumpkin Party!

Well, it's a "Pretty Your Pumpkin Party" out in blogland, and as I was perusing other blogs I found a site that was inviting anyone to join. And even though I haven't decorated my pumpkins yet, because I wait until the last week to cut into them, I have them around ready and waiting. Fall is a great time here in New England, the leaves change to such beautiful colors. It is nice to go for hikes and see the wonderful trees.

So come along and check out my fall decor and then go over to the "Pretty Your Pumpkin Party" and check out others who have done the same!
It's a Pretty Pumpkin Party!

A cute pumpkin rag doll I picked up...

A cute scarecrow made by my Aunt Judy, quite the crafty Lady!

Two cute items I picked up at the Michigan Gift Mart. I love the Head!

I have roosters all over, so I thought I would decorate up for fall.

I got these great pumpkins from the Christmas Tree Shop, my favorite shop!

Hope you enjoyed your brief look into fall....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quick and Easy Honey Mustard Chicken

This is such a quick and easy dish to throw together. And everyone will love the sweet and tangy taste of the chiken. Some of the kids, like some of mine will refuse to eat the mushrroms and onions. But, that means only more for you,(or me in that case...LOL) This should take you less then 30 minutes. Serves 5 to 6 people.
**First I cut up 6 chicken breast into length pieces. And then added them to a hot skillet which I had heating with a little olive oil. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper.
**While that was browning up I cut up 1 medium onion and 10 white capped mushrooms.
**After browning the chicken I added in the mushrooms, onions, and 1 tsp. garlic, to saute.
**Then add in 1/3 c. white wine and 1/3 c. honey mustard, this will reduce and make your sauce.
**After you have the thick consistency that you desire for your sauce, it is done!
Serve with steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes to make a great quick meal.