Monthly Archives: April 2011

Recipe #45: Homemade Bagels

I like bagels, though I hardly ever buy them. I go through bagel phases, where I want bagels every morning for breakfast, with cream cheese, then go through other phases where the thought of eating a bagel is like consuming a big brick to have sit in my stomach all day. I decided to give this recipe a try the last time that I was at home – my mom likes bagels too, so I thought that at least I wouldn’t have to be eating them all myself.

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cups Warm Water
  • ½ Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Yeast
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt

Preparation Instructions

In the bottom of your mixer bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast and let the yeast develop for about 5 minutes. Add in flour, vegetable oil, and salt and mix with a dough hook (or by hand) until the dough is elastic and tough. You may need to add in a bit of extra water, but do it little by little. Let the dough sit and rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead. Cut into 6 equal pieces. Roll each individual piece into a “snake” long enough to wrap around your palm. Dip each end of the dough in water and press together in your palm, forming a circle. Place the formed bagels on a floured board and allow to rise another 20-30 minutes.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. When the water is gently boiling, place 2-3 bagels into the water for 1 minute and then flip to boil on the other side for another minute. Remove the bagels, place them on paper towels to take off excess moisture, then place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Bake in the oven on 425ºF for 18 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Now these were good, and they would have been a lot better if I could learn how to count. The recipe said that it made 4 large bagels, and 6 medium sized bagels. I’m dumb so how many did I try making? EIGHT! I cut the dough in half, then in half again, then in half again, thinking that was 6 pieces. It was when I started rolling out the dough that I realized oh crap, my bagels won’t all fit on the pan, what the deuce?

The bagels still tasted really good, but with having to stretch the dough so far they ended up being quite thin and didn’t really rise very much. In the future I will learn to count and maybe let the dough rise for longer. I let them rise in a warmed oven but I think I actually ended up baking them a little instead of just letting them rise. Better luck next time.

Will I try these again? Yes, when I learn how to count.

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Craftapalooza 2011

Carmen came out a couple weeks ago for a weekend of crafting, which we dubbed Craftapalooza 2011. It’s become a bit of an annual event, although last year Carol was able to participate with us. Over the course of three days we cranked out a total of 108 cards – 54 each. At the end of the weekend I liked every single card we made – something that doesn’t normally happen after our weekend of crafting. Normally there is one or two cards that just didn’t turn out as planned, but that was not the case this weekend.

We found a ton of ideas online and took turns picking out stamp sets.

I borrowed this Build A Blossom set from my mom and it definitely made the prettiest cards. It was time consuming, but the set I liked using the most.

We also made good use of my Cuttlebug.

We made good use of the embossing powder, and managed to keep things sort of clean.

We also busted out the Diamond Glaze and the Stickeez.

We would have made good use of punches, if we’d had this one.

We both knew we wanted to use this paper somewhere on a card.

We also got to try out my Aqua Painter and Watercolour Wonder crayons.

We’re ready for next Valentine’s Day!

We made good use of the bugs set.

This one had a fun tri-fold.

These were the very first cards of the weekend.

We made these at 1 am on Saturday night and I thought it was the worst card ever – it seemed so time consuming. Next morning I thought it was amazing.

It was a fun weekend with Carmen, and made me wish we could spend even more time together. Lots of good food, lots of good cards and lots of good laughs.

Recipe #44: Chicken Souvlaki Pita with Tzatziki

I love tzatziki sauce. I can’t remember where I was the first time I had it or even what I had it with, but I’ve been hooked for a couple of years. I came across this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen blog and decided it would be a good recipe to try when my friend Carmen was visiting as she is also a big tzatziki fan. I actually have a recipe saved for homemade pitas that I wanted to try in combination with this recipe, but I had too much going on then to do both at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 4 teaspoons Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 12 ounces, weight Drained, Non-fat Plain Yogurt
  • 1 whole Cucumber, Chopped
  • ½ whole Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Dill
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Pound out the chicken breast until they are about 1/2 inch thick.Rub down with olive oil then season both sides generously with the Cavender’s Greek Seasoning Salt. Wrap the chicken in cling wrap and refrigerate for several hours. Grill for about 3 minutes. Let sit for a minute or two then slice into strips.

The night before, place 12 oz of plain non-fat yogurt in a coffee filter then set in a mesh colander set over a bowl and drain it in the fridge overnight. If you like you can also use Greek yogurt, which is nice and thick, and doesn’t need to be drained overnight.

While chicken is grilling, chop up the cucumber and the onion. Mix the cucumber, onion with the drained yogurt, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Place grilled chicken strips and tzatziki into warmed pitas folded in half and enjoy.

We all ate these quite happily. We actually cut up our chicken before grilling it so each piece was marinated. I also made some changes to the tzatziki sauce by adding in a bit of dill and used the Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is really thick, and had a bit of weird consistency to it, but once inside the pita it tasted great. Greek yogurt can be hard to find, so if I had trouble finding it in the future I think I’d make it with store bought tzatziki.

We wrapped our stuffed pitas in tin foil to keep all of the chicken and tzatziki inside, a lot like how we normally eat a donair. They were yummy!

Will I make this again? You bet!