Cooking with Kids {Basic Pizza Dough}

I love cooking with kids, my mom cooked with me, I cooked in my classroom and my two girls have been in the kitchen with me from early on. Now I am not going to say it’s easy, cooking with children. What’s easy is taking a picture of your child cracking an egg and then once the picture is taken it’s like “okay, you’re getting it all over, get out!” Am I right? The key is to go in knowing it is going to be messy and if you have multiple kiddos then there is always going to be a fight. BUT, it’s good for them, good for their brain and if you have your wine glass full, a little easier on you!

Kaili picked a pizza dough recipe out of her cookbook and read me the ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup water

1 package yeast

2 tbs olive oil plus 1 more for the bowl

2 tbs sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

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How simple is that? Now the hardest part is a toss up between the clean up or the refereeing.—> Take a big sip of wine!

Once I put the dough on a hot baking sheet, they slathered on store bought pizza sauce {it was a weeknight meal y’all} and cheese. Anything else in their mind is “gross”. Side eye.

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And voila! A cheese pizza that they both ate and didn’t kill each other over!

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The Wedge

Part of me was embarrassed to admit that I have never made a wedge salad before. But another part of me was like, ‘girl, you’ve been making a deconstructed wedge salad for years’…so I am good with this realization. Shane is a consistent orderer of the wedge salad, me, not so much. When I decided to make it, I really didn’t know what it truly consisted of, aside from Iceberg lettuce, blue cheese and bacon…really what else do you need?

After some minimally intense research, I found that I didn’t know the extent you could take the wedge salad to. Breadcrumbs, onions, tomatoes and it doesn’t end there. In reality you can add pretty much anything you want, eggs, avocados, chorizo, dried fruit, we could take this to a whole new level. However staying true to the wedge salad lovers, this is what I did and would do again and again.

*Salting the tomatoes drains excess water, saving your salad to have runny tomato juices throughout.

*Quick pickling the onions helps cut down the sharpness and allowing a more fresher flavor.

*I didn’t make my own blue cheese dressing, I always have some decent store bought in my fridge. Add a little milk to the pre-made dressing to lighten it up just a tad, this helps it spoon over the lettuce perfectly.

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Ingredients

2 small tomatoes, diced

Kosher salt

1 small red onion, minced

White wine vinegar, for soaking onion

4 ounces chopped bacon

2 ounces fresh bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup)

4 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 head iceberg lettuce, outer leaves discarded and quartered through core so that each quarter holds together

Directions

Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and add diced tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally with salt, and toss to combine. In a small bowl, add onion and pour enough vinegar on top to cover. Let tomatoes and onions stand while you prep the other ingredients.

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisped, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. You should have about 2 tablespoons rendered fat in the skillet. Add bread crumbs and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and season liberally with salt and pepper.

Arrange lettuce wedges on plates and spoon dressing on each. Drain quick-pickled onions and sprinkle all over salads, along with drained tomatoes, bacon, toasted bread crumbs and blue cheese.

Serve and enjoy.

*Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

Skinny Peanut Zoodles

I am pretty sure I can eat a spicy peanut sauce on anything, maybe even bathe in it. I used to make peanut noodles once a week for dinner just for myself. Now thanks to the spiralizer I can make them with veg and save myself the carbs.

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Ingredients

3 Zucchini or yellow squash sprialized

1 carrot sprialized

2 Tbsp Coconut oil

1 Onion, chopped

1 chopped Chilli or crushed red pepper

2 heaping Tbsp Peanut butter

1 can Coconut milk

splash of Fish sauce

 

Directions

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add your chopped chilli, chopped onion and fry until soft.

Add your peanut butter, followed by coconut milk and fish sauce. Stir until all combined and creamy on a low heat.

Add your zoodles and stir just until they are warmed through. Don’t over cook them, we don’t want them soft.

Serve with a spritz of lime just and cilantro. This would be good with soba or linguine noodles if you don’t want to bother with the veggie noodles.

 

 

Sicilian for a Day

I took my first Sur La Table cooking class last weekend. The theme was exploring Sicily which is one place in Italy I have not been. There were six of us in the kitchen and it started out with our chef walking us through the footprint of the class.

After a brief introduction and a quick knife skill refresh for some (obviously not me because I am amazing) we started on our first course.

Caponata, the Sicilian sweet and salty version of ratatouille. The longer it sits the better it gets. Served on a toasted baguette with a drizzle of olive oil, it makes a wonderful starter.

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Second course was a Fennel and cara cara orange Insalata, now I am pretty sure those oranges are not Italian but…..I kept my mouth shut.  Raw fennel isn’t my favorite, I much prefer fennel seeds, but this salad shined.

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The main course was grilled hanger steak with castelvetrano olive tapenade. The castelvetrano olives are Sicily’s most used bright green snacking olive. It has a meaty, buttery and mild flavor, absolutely delish.

We marinated the steak in olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh herbs and red pepper. Showered it with flaky sea salt and then grilled to our liking, rare obviously.

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The tapenade started with poaching some garlic in olive oil and then we sat it aside to cool. The olives, capers, anchovies, lemon and red wine vinegar all got to know each other in the food processor. Just enough to marry the flavors but still have some texture. It paired very nicely with the grilled steak.

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Dessert was Cannoli tartlets and we actually started them early in the class. We made a basic pastry crust with the addition of some marsala wine. It hung out in the fridge for a half of an hour before we rolled out the dough and cut into small circles and then pressed them into a muffin tin. They baked for about 20 minutes until golden brown and firm.

The filling for the tartlets was a delicious mixture of mascarpone cheese, ricotta, vanilla bean paste, zest of an orange and powdered sugar all whisked together until combined.

The filling was spooned into the tartlet shells and then we sprinkled chopped dark chocolate pieces and pistachios on top. It was very tasty.

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It was a really fun class and I am looking forward to taking another one soon. At the end of class our chef asked me if I was a spy for the Food Network, I asked her why she thought that and she said it’s because my knife skills were great. Insert told you so.

I have already remade the hanger steak and it might be one of my favorite cuts right now, absolutely buttery and delicious.

 

 

 

New Name

You may or may not have realized that my blog URL and name is now different. I thought since I am no longer trying for a baby it was time I update it. Simply Four, straight forward enough…no?
If you are following me on Feedly, you may have to re-add the blog, not quite sure how that works.

On another note, I made a very delicious soup, right down to the chicken stock. I don’t have an exact recipe for you but I can give you a quick rundown.

Coconut curry thai chicken soup
Coconut curry thai chicken soup

Thai Coconut Curry soup with Chicken

*I made chicken stock from a Rotisserie chicken. I pulled off all the meat and set aside. Cover chicken carcuss with water, throw in some veg, onions/carrots/garlic whatever you have and simmer for an hour. Strain and then set stock aside.

What you will need:

minced garlic 1Tb
grated ginger 1Tb
1 jalapeno minced
juice of 1 lime
1 heaping Tb green curry paste
1 can coconut milk (lite or reg)
1 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tbs. Fish sauce
4 cups chicken broth/stock
cilantro
Cooked rice or rice noodles
cooked chicken, diced or shredded

In large sauce pan heat a little olive oil and saute first 3 ingredients and then add curry paste. Stir in coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, bring to a simmer. Add chicken broth and bring back to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Add chicken, rice, reheat. Serve with lime wedge and cilantro.

*I had about a cup of sticky coconut rice I made a few days earlier, that is what I used and it was delish, added a touch more sweetness.

While the soup was cooking, Kaili was busy working on her Christmas list to Santa. We put it in the mail this morning and now I get to hold this over her head for another month. }Listen up kiddo, Santa is watching you!”
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