Delicious homemade pita bread and a pizza

I made this pita bread recipe recently. It was really easy, really quick, and really good. Soooo much better than grocery store pita. Maybe if you live in a city with lots of Middle Eastern groceries and restaurants you can get better pita than I can, but if not, then go ahead and make this, you’ll love it. I don’t have a pizza stone so I did it on my metal pizza pan and it worked fine. I could only make one at a time, tho!

Homemade pita bread

Homemade pita bread

When I did it it made 6 pieces. So I froze some of them to bake up fresh later.

Around that time, the rest of my tomatoes that I had brought inside to ripen were ripe. I wanted to use them but wasn’t sure how so I just cooked them down in a saucepan with some olive oil, sea salt, and garlic.

The last of the home grown tomatoes

The last of the home grown tomatoes

The last of the home grown tomatoes

The last of the home grown tomatoes

I thought about making soup or something but they cooked down a lot so there wasn’t really enough to do anything big with.

I remembered the pita dough I had in the freezer so I took it out and defrosted it in the fridge.

Then I rolled it out, brushed it with olive oil, put shredded mozarella and the cooked down tomatoes on top and popped it in a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes. It was really perfect! The pita rolled out nice and thin like I like. Thinking I might use it as a pizza dough recipe again!

Pita dough pizza

Pita dough pizza

It’s not really any kind of revelation to use pita dough as pizza dough, all doughs are the made of the same basic ingredients. But still, I was pretty happy about how it turned out.

Do you have any other odd bread dough recipes you like to make into pizzas?

Pizza!

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a pizza. We got an email asking for our crust recipe, and I also wanted to try out the new oven so I made one last week.

I use different recipes- I should try them all out and really figure out which one I like the best. Anyhow, this time I used one from the Greens Cookbook.

As always, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Here’s what I did:

  • 3TBS hot water
  • 3TBS milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1TBS olive oil
  • 1/4tsp sea salt
  • 1TBS whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup unbleached white flour

Combine the milk and water in the bowl of a mixer. Add the yeast and the sugar. Stir to disolve. Add the olive oil, salt, and flours and mix. Sometimes it’s too dry and you might need to add a little more milk or water. I added some more milk this time, which I think made the crust softer than usual. Mix the dough till it gets smooth and round. Then take it out, oil the bowl, and put it back in. Cover the bowl with a towel, put it in a warmish place, and let it rise to double in size. This took about 2 hours for me. The recipe says it will take half an hour, so your mileage may vary.

Ingredients for pizza dough

Ingredients for pizza dough

Kneading the dough in the mixer

Kneading the dough in the mixer

The dough getting ready to rise

The dough getting ready to rise

While the dough was rising, I made a tomato sauce. I still had tomatoes from the garden but they weren’t super tasty for eating raw, so cooking them brought out the flavor. I made a really simple sauce by heating up some olive oil, adding 6 chopped tomatoes some fresh thyme and a couple of minced garlic cloves and cooking it way down, almost to tomato paste consistency.

Cooking the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil

Cooking the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, and olive oil

The tomatoes all cooked down and ready to go on the pizza

The tomatoes all cooked down and ready to go on the pizza

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.

Roll out the dough- you can toss it all restaurant-like, but I usually just pull it and sometimes roll it with a rolling pin, just depending on my mood. I don’t have a pizza stone, so I just use a metal pizza pan to cook it on.

The dough has risen!

The dough has risen!

Rolled out dough

Rolled out dough

You can brush a little olive oil and maybe some garlic onto the crust before you put the topping on. It keeps it from getting too soggy.

Olive oil and garlic brused on the crust

Olive oil and garlic brushed on the crust

Tomato sauce and mozzarella are the only toppings I used this time

Tomato sauce and mozzarella are the only toppings I used this time

Cook the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

Yum!

Yum!

How do you make pizza at home? What are your favorite toppings?

 

Home Cookin’- salads, bruschetta, pastas, and of course, pizzas

Last time I was in L.A. I had this great salad at Amici Trattoria at The Americana At Brand. Mom asked me to recreate it at her house, so I did. It’s just arugula, shredded hearts of palm, sliced artichoke hearts, and thinly sliced parmesan. I also added garbanzo beans for my own little twist. It’s topped off with a lemon vinaigrette. Mom had some lemon olive oil so I used that with some white balsamic vinegar. At my house, I don’t have the lemon olive oil so I just make the dressing with regular olive oil, some lemon, and the white balsamic. It’s tasty!
Amici Salad

Amici Salad

I made some sauteed chicken, some really good pan-roasted potatoes, and a green salad for Mike to take to work the other day. He likes to keep all his food separate but I like mine all mixed up. So I turned it all into a salad and added some avocado and a mustardy vinaigrette.

The chicken was just sauteed in a cast-iron pan with some butter.

The potatoes were adapted (what else is new!?) from a great book that I highly recommend called Cucina Fresca. I’ve had it for years and it’s all sloppy from being used so much! I think the link above leads to a new version, the one I have is out of print.

Anyhow, the potatoes (the way I made them):

Ingredients

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 sage leaves, minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the potatoes to the pan and stir them to coat them in the oil. Add the sage, salt and pepper then cover the pan. Turn the heat to low and let them cook, tossing them from time to time until they’re tender. The book said 15 minutes but it took mine more like 20-25. You should start checking them after about 15 minutes. Once they’re tender, take the lid off the pan, increase the heat to high and cook them till they get a little crusty and crispy.

The salad dressing was just olive oil, white wine vinegar and mustard. Everyone likes the proportions of salad dressing different so just do it however you like it.

Toss it all together (don’t forget the avocado if you have it) and yummy!

Chicken and potato salad, no mayo

Chicken and potato salad, no mayo

I’m still getting lots of tomatoes and basil from my little garden. Check out that weird-shaped tomato down in the lower left corner!

Bruschetta ingredients

Bruschetta ingredients

To make bruschetta you just chop up tomatoes, basil, and garlic. You can add a little olive oil if you want to. Then you take some nice bread, put a little olive oil on it and put the bruschetta mixture on top. Then cook it all in the oven or broiler till it’s nice and hot and the bread is toasty. I usually use the oven instead of the broiler because the broiler scares me a little.

Bruschetta ingredients ready to put on the toasts

Bruschetta ingredients ready to put on the toasts

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

I also made a nice checca to put over pasta with my tomatoes and basil.

It’s similar to the bruschetta topping except that you cook it a little . I’ve always cooked it, but I come to find out that real checca is not cooked. Oh well, I always cook it. Basically heat some olive oil in a skillet, add some tomatoes and some garlic and cook it till it’s the consistency you want, then add some basil.

Checca

Checca

I served it on top of extra-long spaghetti and topped with parmesan!

Pasta checca

Pasta checca

I make pizza so often now I can’t even remember what this was. Looks like just olive oil, mozzarella and parmesan. One of these days I’ll make a post just about how I make pizzas.

Pizza!

Pizza!

We’ve had a couple of Italian cream sodas lately so I thought I’d try to make them at home. It’s easy. Just a little bit of flavored syrup (We use Torani), some sparkling water, then topped with half and half. It’s really good!

Cherry Italian Soda

PJ isn't sure he approves of Cherry Italian Soda.

When Mike came home from having his spine surgery, his throat was really sore from the breathing tube and all the jostling around of the vocal cords, etc., so I made him some easy-to-swallow stuff, including chocolate peanut butter milkshakes. Mmmmmm.

Chocolate peanut butter milkshake

Chocolate peanut butter milkshake. Easy to swallow (Yeah, that's why it's good)

Ok, I didn’t make this ice cream but I thought it was pretty so I took a picture of it.

Ice cream!

Ice cream!

The Independent’s Best of Colorado Springs 2010-vote for us!

It’s that time of year again to vote for all your favorite things in the Springs. The Independent’s annual compendium goes far beyond where to go and what to see. Vote for your favorite mechanic, the best brewery, the Springs’ best radio personality, Town Clown. If it’s here in the Springs, it’s in the ballot.  The deadline to vote is August 31 so go on and vote now!

Adrienne is the owner of Pink Kitty Studios, a local glamour photography studio, and she wants to get in on it this year.

We think Pink Kitty Studios would be great in the following categories:

  • Best Photographer
  • Best Place to Buy a Thoughtful, Over-the-Top Gift
  • Best Naughty Business

You’ll need to vote in 15 categories for your ballot to count and to be entered to win an iPad.

If you need suggestions on the other categories, here’s how we voted (and we consider ourselves to be experts on Colorado Springs!):

  • Best New Restaurant: Paris Crepe
  • Best Patio Dining: Arabica Cafe
  • Best Burger: Drifters
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Taste Of Jerusalem
  • Best Local Pizza Joint: Poor Richard’s
  • Best Crepes: Paris Crepe
  • Best Ice Cream/Gelato: Colorado Creamery
  • Best Cafe: Shuga’s
  • Best Local Coffee House: The Coffee Exchange
  • Best Gourmet /Spice Market: Extraordinary Ingredients
  • Best Bike Shop: Bicycle Village
  • Best Veterinarian: Pikes Peak Veterinary Clinic
  • Best Bartender: Kevin at Shuga’s
  • Best Happy Hour: Nosh
  • Best Weekly Bar Event: Lola Spitfire’s Peaks and Pasties Burlesque Show
  • Best Neighborhood Bar – Central: Tony’s (The bar we love to hate!)
  • Best Local Microbrew to Drink in Summer: Bristol Brewing’s Yellow Kite

And of course, don’t forget Best Local Blogger: Oinkety!

Best of Colorado Springs 2010

Best of Colorado Springs 2010

greek salad, pizza, white beans, and soup

A few things I’ve made lately:

This was easy and good.  One small onion, chopped.  A couple of cloves of garlic, minced.  A cup of dried white beans, rinsed but not soaked. 14 oz of canned tomatoes.  A handful of chopped fresh basil. One bay leaf. Cover by an inch and cook overnight. I cooked it on high but you might need to just do it on low. I pretty much discovered that I don’t like doing it overnight, tho because I don’t like smelling food cooking when I’m trying to sleep. Next time I’ll do it during the day.

slow cooker white beans

slow cooker white beans

Minestrone soup and greek salad

Minestrone soup and greek salad

Greek salad in Greece doesn’t have any lettuce. It’s just chunked feta and tomatoes. Sometimes they also add cucumbers and/or olives. Top it with some dried herbs and olive oil. This one was made with some junky grocery store feta. Later in the week I made it again with some fancy feta from Whole Foods and it was much better.
greek salad

greek salad

I found this minestrone recipe a million years ago and make it with whatever I have on hand. For example, this time I didn’t have any barley so I used pasta wheels instead.
Magic Minestrone

Magic Minestrone

Also, I usually put a sort of pesto-esque topping on it. It’s just chopped up basil, garlic, parmesean, and olive oil. It adds a nice touch.

pesto soup topping

pesto soup topping

The next day I put the rest of the topping onto a homemade cheese pizza.

simple pizza

simple pizza

Then topped that with some arugula and tomatoes. Delish.

salad pizza

salad pizza

We bought this yummy beer at the local wine shop. it is actually made just a couple miles down the street from here at Bristol Brewing . It’s my new favorite.

Bristol Brewing Yellow Kite from Colorado Springs
Bristol Brewing Yellow Kite from Colorado Springs

That’s about all I made last week. I’ve been lazy cuz it’s been so hot here.