Kelly the Culinarian: November 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stand Mixer Sunday: Whole wheat pizza dough

I love a good pizza. I was so depressed living in Arizona because it was difficult to find a decent pizza out there.

But hey, the economy sucks so we're not going out. But you can make pizza at home super cheap. Here's my recipe for a healthier version of pizza with whole wheat crust.

Here's what you need:

1 and a half cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 cup warm, filtered water

2 tablespoons honey (I prefer clover honey)

2 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons warm water

Start by placing warm water (it should feel warm but not uncomfortably so) in the bowl of your mixer. Stir in the honey and yeast and allow it to sit for about five minutes until it gets foamy. Next, add a cup of the all-purpose flour, Italian seasoning, olive oil and salt. Mix with the flat paddle setting for one minute or until all the ingredients are incorporated and the consistency of pancake batter.

Next, add a cup of the whole wheat flour and mix with the bread hook until incorporated. Add a cup of regular flour and repeat, then add the final half-cup of whole wheat flour and the extra water and allow it to mix for at least five to seven minutes so the gluten can form. The dough should make a ball around the hook.

Place in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the warmest, least drafty part of your house. After it's double in about 45 minutes, punch down and knead for two minutes to redistribute the yeast. Allow to double again for about an hour and a half.

This is the fun part.

I cut the dough into two somewhat smaller parts. It would be easiest to form the two pieces into round heaps, punch down in the center and use a rolling pin to roll out from the center. I don't have a rolling pin, so my pizzas were a little lumpy. But hey, they taste great.

When you've finished with all your toppings, cook on a stone for 15 minutes in an oven heated to 450 degrees.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cooking with Kelly: Bugs Bunny Waffles!

These waffles and I have a long history. When I was 7, my aunt gave me a Bugs Bunny Waffle maker for Christmas. I'm sure she didn't know what a role this would play in our family.

Over the next several years, we moved this apparatus around with us through at least four out of state moves.

A couple months ago, after a long history with my family, the Bugs Bunny Waffle maker met its last waffle. Something inside of it went bad and it no longer heated up. The way this waffle maker works, a light turns off when it's hot enough and then you add the batter.

When I moved, I found an inconspicuous package on my front porch. Oddly enough, my sister found a Bugs Bunny Waffle maker on eBay. We have been using it at least weekly since we moved in.
This serves as just a little reminder that food can transport you to different times and places. Never underestimate the power of a dish to take you back.

Best housewarming gift ever.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kelly the Culinarian -- Rested and Refreshed!

So that whole Nov. 1 thing didn't happen, I know. So what have I been doing for almost a month?
Well, I started a new job, but more than that, we bought a house! It was a long, frustrating and horrible process and I hope we don't have to do this for at least another five years. We're still settling in, but I finally think I've accomplished enough to get back into my routine.

As I've told other people, we bought a kitchen and the house came with it. I was always secretly judging a house's merits based on the home and this one measured up. Here are pictures of the completed kitchen. It has stainless steel appliances and 42-inch cherry cabinets. We did paint it ourselves a color called Oak Cask.

My cooking begins again tomorrow!