Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Toys!

In my world… a new “toy” consists of anything cool I can use in the kitchen! I have a slight obsession with kitchen gadgets. Hey, the first step is admitting it, right?

Kitchen Gadget # 1: Food Processor

Mike got me a food processor for Valentines/Anniversary… and oh my goodness it has changed my life! I can’t believe I never used one of these before!!! This puppy gets used practically every day! Grating Cheese, Chopping or Slicing Vegetables (i used it for my peppers & onions- see below), Salsa, Hummus… ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES! The only pic I got of it was while it was laying out to dry… haha

I was on a baking/cooking kick this weekend… first up: Homemade Salsa (forgot to get a picture)
Hummus & Pita Bread… YUM

For the Hummus I kinda “winged it” using Chick Peas, Garlic, Tahini, Lemon Juice, Salt, and Olive Oil. I just kinda used what I thought “felt” right and it turned out delicious!! I’ll have to measure it out next time and write down the recipe!
As for the Pita Bread… I got the Recipe over at Brown Eyed Baker:

Pita Bread

Makes 8 pitas

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet yeast
[I used instant]
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water [I had to add more FLOUR- my dough was too sticky].

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet (I used wax paper) and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary [I baked mine for about 5 minutes each].

DELICIOUS! That’s all I have to say about the stuff… Mike LOVED it!!!!

Kitchen Gadget # 2: Cast Iron Skillet

I make this chicken all the time… easy & Yummy (I serve it with black beans & rice).
Chicken Marinade:

Lime Juice
Olive Oil
Cayenne (or Cajun Seasoning) to taste

Pound out the Chicken and then place in Ziploc bag with marinade.
Let sit for a few hours (or overnight).

Cook Peppers & Onions in a Cast Iron Skillet in a few TBS of Olive Oil. Squeeze half of a lime over them right before removing from heat (place on a plate).

Cook Chicken in a TBS of Olive Oil. When cooked all the way through, squeeze the other half of the lime over top. Add the peppers and onions back into the pan and allow to heat back up.

Serve with Black Beans and Rice.

Kitchen Gadget #3: The Salad Chopper
My Mom brought me this nifty little thing & I can’t wait to try it out!! (I’ll post pics when I do)

Some things I plan to make with this:
Chopped Cobb: Lettuce, Bacon, Hard Boiled Egg, Blue Cheese, Avacado, Tomato, Chicken & Honey Mustard Dressing

Chopped Gorgonzola: Romaine, Spinach, Chicken, Gorgonzola, Apples, Craisins and Balsamic Dressing

Chopped Tex Mex: Romaine, Chicken Corn, Black Beans, Tomato, Avacado, Cilantro with Peanut Vinaigarette
Oh the possibilities are ENDLESS!
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One Response to “New Toys!”

  1. 1

    jenny — February 22, 2010 @ 10:22 am

    yumm.. you are making me hungry 🙂 it's lunchtime!

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