30 October 2007

puppy piadinis

ok, this is obsessive, i know. but i had the idea and i had to try it. it's way easy, especially compared to the real piadinis, which take a long time and has dough that's hard to handle.

1/4 c. wheat flour
a pinch of baking powder
2 tbsp water
2 small slices of cheese
dog treats, crumbled

in a small bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. stir in the water until all the flour is wet and the dough comes together. cut in half and make 2 small, flat rounds of dough. place on a skillet over medium heat, add a slice of cheese to each round, and press the piadinis down with the back of a spatula to help flatten them. i used cheddar because i thought it would be more flavorful for the pup than mozzarella. feel the top of the dough to determine when it's fully cooked. it should be soft but not squishy.

when the piadinis are ready, remove them from the skillet and add the crumbled dog treats. i used these mini steak-shaped training treats we got from petsmart that feta loves. but i might try crumbled milk bones next time.

26 October 2007

veggie pot pie

this was sooo simple. much easier than buying little pot pie pans and doing the whole top crust bottom crust thing. i just thickened veggie broth with cornstarch (dissolved in a little water before adding to the broth) then added some frozen veggies (also supercheap... it's budgeting time) that i sauteed in 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil and a clove of garlic minced.

the crust recipe was from the Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! and was really incredibly good. sort of flaky like the pie crust i grew up with, but much easier to handle. though this recipe will never replace my trusty pie crust, i can see myself using this one especially when i'm lacking time or just don't feel like dealing with a finicky crust.

25 October 2007

puppy pup pup muffins

feta loves these muffins so much. when ever he sees me going to get one for him, he'll be perfectly obedient until it's his. and i love making them for him... they're healthy treats that give variety to his diet and they're vegetarian (i have no problems with feeding him dog food and treats with meat in them, but there's no way i'm buying meat and handling it to make homemade pup treats!). even our pup, who has a sensitive stomach, can handle these. but of course, watch out for any allergic reactions your dog might have to any of the ingredients. i did a step-by-step picture thing with this one... mostly out of boredom.

1 c oat flour or unbleached whole wheat flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil (canola or sunflower)
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. skim milk

Preheat your oven to 425. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, and baking soda.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the egg, honey, and oil. I find it helps to warm the honey a little first.

Mix the milk into the flour mixture, then add the egg mixture. Scoop the mixture into a mini muffin pan (or regular sized muffin pan... we use the mini muffin pan because they make for a good sized treat for a small dog).

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before giving to your dog.

Makes 18 mini muffins. Store leftover muffins in the freezer for freshness, and microwave for 5-9 seconds each to thaw. Remember, when feeding these to your pup, adjust their diet so as not to overfeed (though, once feta has one of these, he has no interest at all in his puppy food!)

24 October 2007

oh, the pup has grown!

okay, so he's still little, but he's grown! not only that, but his face looks older... he's turning into a dog. so i started looking back at older pictures... how tiny he was! when we first got him, he was 1.7 pounds. here's a month-by-month memory lane...

june (day we took him home)




october (today)

at what point do we have to stop calling him "pup pup"?

23 October 2007

crusty on the outside, soft on the inside

it feels like months since i started my mission to alter my bread recipe to crusty & soft perfection, and now i finally have a success. All bread recipes i've tried before were either wonderfully crusty yet too dense inside, or incredibly soft inside.... but also soft outside :| I finally got a good balance, tweaked it a bit more, and voila! i can't imagine wanting to buy a loaf of bread from the grocery store ever again. This is for one loaf of bread, but you can easily double it.

what you'll need:
1 c. warm water
2 tbsp honey (or granulated sugar)
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 - 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
corn meal
1 eggwhite
1 tbsp water

Begin by dissolving the honey or sugar in 1/2 c warm water. Add the yeast and stir until mixed. Let the mixture sit to proof until the yeast becomes creamy and foamy.

After the yeast has proofed, mix in the salt and vegetable oil. Mix the wheat flour then 2 cups white flour 1/2 c. at a time. Knead in the last 1/2 cup of white flour on your work surface. If the dough is too soft to form, add up to 1/3 c. flour.

Place in a well oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise 3 times (for 45 minutes to 1 hour each), each time, deflating the dough and turning over. The last rise is optional.

After the last rise, knead lightly to get rid of trapped gas bubbles and shape onto a pan sprinkled with corn meal. Cover and let rise another hour.

When your bread is ready to bake, make an egg glaze with the egg white and water and brush onto the top of your bread. Make a few slits along the top with a sharp knife. Bake the bread on the bottom rack of an oven pre-heated to 425 for 25-30 minutes. To give more moisture, and make the bread crustier, either place a pan filled with water in the oven while the bread bakes -or- spray the bread with a clean water bottle filled with water before placing it in the oven, then again halfway through baking.

22 October 2007

chai milkshake

best viewed large!

omgosh, this was so good! and so simple too... i got the idea off of the craftster.org dessert forum, and it was so so wonderful. also too easy. just mix about 1/2 cup chai tea with 3 scoops vanilla ice cream (more chai for creamier milkshake, less for thicker) in a blender. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

The person who posted this used liquid concentrate Oregon Chai, but because I didn't have that, I just made the chai with half the amount of water then chilled it.

eggplant & spinach lasagne

i've never made lasagne before and i have no idea why! this was insanely easy (though slightly time consuming). I made a quick marinara sauce (cheating and using a can of tomato sauce), and added some frozen spinach and leftover broiled eggplant cut into chunks. I start by sauteeing the yellow onion (diced finely) in vegetable oil over medium heat until they turn clear and start to carmelize. In the last minute or so of cooking the oinons, add minced garlic. Add the tomato sauce and tomatoes and let simmer. Add the eggplant and spinach (sauteed to remove moisture).

For the eggplant, I cut them into circles about 1/2 inch thick or thinner. Sprinkle with kosher salt and let them sit for at least 20 minutes. The salt pulls out some of the moisture in the eggplant which is bitter. Mine were broiled (coat in olive oil, broil 10 minutes, flip and broil on the other side for 15 minutes) which i think gives it a deeper flavor, but they should do fine if you just sautee them on each side for a few minutes.

The cheese mixture is simple. Mix the ricotta and half of the mozzarella with 1 egg. For the lasagne noodles, because the sauce is a tiny bit watery, i only cooked the noodles a little more than halfway (if the package says cook for 9 minutes, cook for abotu 5 or 6).

First, put a tiny bit of sauce in the bottom of the caserole dish to coat the bottom. Then place 3-4 noodles in the pan, overlapping a little bit. Spread a thick layer of cheese on top of the noodles, then another layer of sauce. Add more noddles, and repeat until the dish is full. The last layer should be tomato sauce followed by the other half of the mozzarella, and a little parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 425, then another 10 with the foil off. You should probably let the lasagne cool a little before cutting, but if you can't wait, i understand! this stuff is yummm!

the sauce ingredients
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 - 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large can of tomato sauce
2 medium sized tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp sugar
red pepper flakes
1 eggplant, salted, rinsed, broiled, and cut
cut spinach, sauteed over medium heat to reduce moisture

the cheese mixture ingredients
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 lb mozzarella, shredded
1 egg

the topping:
1/4 lb mozzarella, shredded
parmesan cheese