November 18, 2009

Pizza Dough

While I love baking cookies, and have tried my hand at cakes and pies, my experience with baking bread has been limited to quick breads (banana bread is my specialty), a 4-H competition when I was 10, in which my finished bread had little doughy lumps scattered throughout it, and one loaf of Harvest Bread that I made last year (which generally turned out pretty well, with only a few doughy lumps).

I think I would have tried harder in the bread baking arena if my father wasn't such a pro at it (why bake my own when I can just eat the fruits of his labor). I have been meaning to make my own pizza dough though, as I've heard that it's incredibly easy. After making the following recipe last weekend, I can confirm - it's incredibly easy.

Pizza Dough (Bon Appetit, March 2007, by Giada DeLaurentiis)


3/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees, F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil


Pour 3/4 cup warm water into small bowl; stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Brush large bowl lightly with olive oil.

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in mixer.

Add yeast mixture and 3 tablespoons oil; mix until dough forms a sticky ball.

Transfer to lightly floured surface. KNEAD dough until smooth, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 1 minute.

Transfer to prepared bowl; turn dough in bowl to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

PUNCH down dough.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

ROLL out dough according to recipe instructions. (Start in center of dough, working outward toward edges but not rolling over them.)

I rolled out the dough, then broiled it on the pan for 2 minutes. I added pizza sauce, veggies, turkey pepperoni and cheese, then baked it at 475 degrees for 14 minutes.

November 15, 2009

Amigurumi Sexto-Pus!

My latest craft obsession is Amigurumi - the crocheting of little animals. I came across Rimoli's book on, Amazon and after reading the reviews I figured that it was a good place to start. I have been crocheting for 10 years, after learning during my Montana summer job as a way to kill time, and I have generallly only made hats and scarves (except for a very brief adventure with some fuzzy hot-pink mittens and a stuffed train engine). I've never followed a pattern, and it shows.

Rimoli's patterns are easy to follow, and her descriptions/drawings of stitches are very clear. I can actually follow them!

My crafting plans are to make a bunch of Amigurumi for all the little babies that my friends keep having. My first attempt this weekend was the Octopus, which I call my little learning experiment (for a while it was going to be a sexto-pus, as I didn't leave room for all 8 legs). I was going to ditch it, but Mike has taken a fancy to it, so it remains on the shelf, flaws and all.

November 11, 2009

Ginger Molasses Cookies

My favorite cookies to eat.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs, beaten
chopped candy ginger (optional - as much, or as little you like - I usually use 1/2 - 3/4 oz)
3 1/2 cup unbleached flour

Part 1
1) Cream butter & sugar, then add molasses slowly (is there any other way to add molasses?)
2) Add dry ingredients (except flour), then add beaten eggs a little at a time.
3) Add the flour.
4) Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Part 2
5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Roll dough into 1 1/2" balls, then roll in white sugar.
7) Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until puffy.
8) Cool on pan for 10 minutes, then cool completely on racks.

makes about 40 - 48 cookies, depending on how carefully you measure the diameter of your dough balls.

November 8, 2009

A is for...

In September, Susanna and Mom came to Portland to attend the Bead Fest and take some classes. The three of us took one class together: riveted pendants. It was a pretty good class - I learned some things I did not know, we spent 3 hours together being creative, and I walked away with a nearly finished necklace. As of this afternoon, it's finished.

November 3, 2009

Chunky Beef Chili

Southern Living, OCTOBER 2005

I am not a fan of the word chunky, but I am a big fan of this chili recipe. Chili is one of our common dinner recipes; right up there with spaghetti and Mrs. T's Perogies (which we're having for dinner tonight). I'd never made it with anything but ground meat however, and last week I was in the mood for a heartier meat dish. This recipe uses chuck roast in place of ground beef; it takes longer to cook than ground meat, but is far tastier. Since I can't imagine chili without beans, I included several cans of red kidney and pinto beans, which worked out doubly well since I ended up using slightly less meat than was called for (Safeway only had a 3 pound pack of meat). We served it with cornbread and pretended that was a vegetable.

Chunky Beef Chili from Southern Living

Prep: 25 min.; Cook: 1 hr., 45 min.

Yield: Makes 9 cups


  • 4 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (32-ounce) container beef broth
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Cornbread sticks (optional)
  • Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped onion


Brown meat, in batches, in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove meat, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Add chili powder to Dutch oven; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 5 minutes.

Return beef to Dutch oven. Stir in beef broth and next 9 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Serve with cornbread sticks, if desired, and desired toppings.

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