Easy pasta and pizza

Last week I was a guest teacher for teen cooking camp on pasta and pizza. It was almost like a summer camp for me, working with kids who like to cook and sharing my passion for food. Amy, my co-teacher, taught an easy way to make pasta, and since she makes pasta every week for her family, I consider her a bit of an expert.


Easy Pasta

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

Pile the flour onto your counter top and make a well in the middle. Break in the egg and use a fork to mix together. It will be messy and it is very likely the most will break, but don’t panic, just continue mixing the flour and egg together.

Once the dough holds together, divide in half and cover one half. Take the second half to your pasta machine and run through 6 times on the 0 setting, folding in thirds after every pass. Then do one pass at each of the remaining settings, 1-9. Now your pasta is ready to cut or shape as desired!


We also made pizza using an easy dough that only needs about 45 minutes to rise. I have been messing around with make ahead and cold rising dough, but this dough would be useful on those days I don’t plan ahead.

Easy Pizza Dough

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2/3 cups warm water, divided

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 TBS olive oil

2 cups white unbleached flour

Mix yeast and 1/3 cup water. Add in sugar, salt and olive oil. Add in remaining water. Add in flour and mix until dough comes together. Dump out dough onto counter and knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is smooth.

Clean out bowl, add a little olive oil and put dough back in to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Our group experimented with substituting 1/2 cup of the regular flour for bread flour, 00 flour and cornflour. We had the best results with the bread flour and 00 flour.

Posted in Bread and Pastries, Recipes | Leave a comment

Family Dinner Plan: Summer bounty

 

Our weekly CSA boxes from Fifth Crow Farms have been filled with gorgeous produce! This week we found lettuces, cabbage, rainbow chard, yellow beets, spinach, zucchini squash, parsley, basil with roots and two baskets of strawberries. In addition, I signed up to receive a chicken from Root Down Farm, which we grilled the day it arrived. 

 
With host weather expected this week, here is my meal plan for the week of June 28:

Sunday: Grilled steaks, sautéed Padron peppers, fresh corn, green salad with avocado

Monday: Kids cook! Chicken and rice, no veggie in sight!

Tuesday: Cold Zucchini (and spinach) and Mint Soup, Noodles with peanut sauce, beets with goat cheese, apricot clafoutis 

Wednesday: Leftovers or milkshakes, depends on how hot it is!

Thursday: Roasted salmon, pesto with fresh pasta, steamed beet greens, green salad

Friday: Out to dinner

Saturday: BBQ ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon – traditional July 4th feast

What is on your menu plan this week?

  

Posted in Eat local, menu plan, Summer | Leave a comment

Vacation Cooking: Kids are the stars

We spent last week vacationing in Minnesota with extended family. Every other summer we meet for a week on a lake in the western part of Minnesota, spending time fishing, tubing and eating. Each night a different family takes care of dinner – on our night, we did a simple BBQ with burgers and brats, coleslaw, baked beans and of course, several desserts.

The highlight of the week is always the night the kids cook. In 2011, the kids did a great job, with chili, Pad Thai and several appetizers. 

This year the menu included mini pizza appetizers, meatballs in red sauce, artichoke dip, Peruvian stir fry, sweet potato fries and red velvet cake. 

   
           

Posted in Kid tested and approved | Leave a comment

Sous Vide Inspiration


Our veggie box from the new CSA we joined, Fifth Crow Farms. Each share came with a 1/2 dozen duck eggs. I am excited to give those a try!

No menu plan this week, I have a spring flu. Oh, just as good as the winter flu with fever, aches, pains and blahs, but then you also have the beautiful weather outside which makes it more painful to be stuck in bed. Hopefully today is the turning point.

To make up for it, here are a couple sous vide recipes I have tried lately with good success. Took the butter poached beets to a dinner party to rave reviews (so says my husband, I was in bed with the flu).

Sous Vide Salmon with our Real Good Fish salmon from last week

Sous Vide Butter-Poached Beets (we skipped the whole salad part and just crumbled goat cheese over before serving)

Sous Vide Teriyaki Chicken Breasts

Sous Vide Lamb (we did both lamb rack and lamb loin chop)

Do you have any sous vide recipes you recommend?

Posted in Eat local | 1 Comment

Family Dinner Plan: Still, the sous vide

Last week I wrote about my new sous vide machine and this week I have had a couple opportunities to play around with the device. The photo above is from dinner on Thursday night, a super easy Teriyaki Chicken Breast that took 45 minutes in the sous vide, just the amount of time I needed to put together the sides. This came about after I had lunch with Annette who told me how easy it was to use the sous vide during the week. I thought most recipes took 3+ hours, but she explained that you can cook a steak in under an hour. Revolutionary!

Here is my menu plan for the week of May 17:

Saturday: Tandoori-spiced sous vide lamb chops (rubbed lamb loin chops with Patak’s Concentrated Curry Paste before vacuum sealing and sous vide bath), Indian-inspired coleslaw (cumin and mustard seed vinaigrette over shredded cabbage and carrots), basmati rice and naan

Sunday: Sous vide short ribs, roasted potatoes, braised chard, green salad with radichio

Monday: Sous vide butternut squash, carrot and ginger soup, grilled cheese, green salad

Tuesday: ?

Wednesday: Fiesta Wednesday (not as good as Taco Tuesday, but it will have to do!)

Thursday: Real Good Fish Day!

Friday: Take out and Trashy TV!

*We are having our sous vide short ribs tonight for dinner. That recipe was a 72 hour recipe from last week’s menu, and by the time Wednesday rolled around, we had one person traveling, one person with an evening activity, and another two who need to run errands. I quick chilled the completed dish, still in the vacuum bag, and then popped into the freezer. I will reheat tonight in the sous vide and serve as planned.

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Family Dinner Plan: Mother’s Day and sous vide

  
Happy Day After Mother’s Day! The above photo is my lunch from Sunday, cold grilled steak and bell pepper lettuce wraps, with a pickle, of course.

Here is my seasonal menu plan for the week of May 10:

Sunday: Grilled smoked pork chops, roasted kohlrabi, grilled asparagus and spring onions, strawberries with cream fraiche for dessert

Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Beans and greens in the pressure cooker, green salad

Wednesday: Sous vide Short Ribs, with mashed potatoes and cauliflower, green vegetable or three

Thursday: Fish night – last week we found oysters in our share from Real Good Fish. Wonder what this week will bring!

Friday: Takeout and Trashy TV

What is on your menu plan this week?

Posted in menu plan, Spring | 1 Comment

Family Dinner: Cinco de Mayo

   
I had lunch last week with Marsha at Pizzeria Delfina in Palo Alto, and had an amazing vegetable dish with peas of all kinds – English peas, sugar snaps, snow peas and pea tendrils, topped with a generous dollop of burrata cheese. Outstanding, very seasonal and in the moment. Perfect.  

Also, the new princess was born and we are anxiously watching the wagering on first names. Charlotte is in the lead with 4:1 odds. First time for a girl princess in like 186 years. 

Here is my menu plan for the week of May 3, 2015:

Sunday: Roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt, roasted radishes, green salad

Monday: Rice salad with fava beans and pistachio, grilled lamb, green salad

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday for Cinco de Mayo! 

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Real Good Fish. Last week we received sushi grade yellowtail, which we used for sashimi. First for us at home, it was easy (and way less expensive than eating out!)

Friday: Trashy TV and Takeout

What is on your menu plan this week?

Posted in menu plan, Spring | 1 Comment

Family Dinner Plan: May flowers

 

Lots of birthdays in our house this time of year. The above Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake was mine from this weekend, lovingly made for me by the kids. Last weekend we enjoyed a red velvet cake with the best cream cheese frosting I have ever tried. And this week I am going to sneak in a pumpkin pie as a belated birthday surprise. Happy April Birthdays!

Here is my menu plan for the week of April 26:

Sunday: Grilled steak, sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus

Monday: Taco Monday – ground turkey, pineapple salsa, avocado, salad

Tuesday: Lamb and beef meatballs with tahini sauce, rice, sautéed turnips and radishes, green salad

Wednesday: Grilled pork chops, pearl couscous, sautéed greens

Thursday: Fish of the week from Real Good Fish – last week I made One Skillet Cod and Kale with Garlic and Ginger

Friday: Takeout and Trashy TV

What is in your menu plan this week? And more importantly, what is your favorite kind of birthday cake?

 

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Family Dinner Plan: Breakfast for dinner

The Big Guy hates it when I say “breakfast for dinner”, preferring that I instead use the correct “breakfast food for dinner”. No matter what you call it in your house, with half our family members gone for spring break, I plan to serve breakfast food for dinner almost every day this week.

Here is my menu plan for the week of April 20:

Monday: French toast fingers with sausage, green salad

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday – Huevos Rancheros with avocado and salsa

Wednesday: Spinach frittata with feta, grapefruit, green salad 

Thursday: Fresh fish from Real Good Fish

Friday: Takeout and Trashy TV

What is on your menu plan this week?

Posted in menu plan, Spring | Leave a comment

Family Diner Plan: Cocktail craziness

The above book is our new favorite cocktail inspiration. It was recommended to me by the delightful owner of Omnivore Books (all food, all the time) in San Francisco. 901 Very Good Cocktails is full of lists for every imaginable type of drink organized by type, flavor, theme and more. Starting with the 16 Greatest Cocktails in Creation, the book continues on with such lists as Simple, Complicated, Rocks, Manhattan’s Progeny, Negroni-inspired, Antique, Veggie, Creamy, and even includes Breakfast cocktails. There is also a list of drinks to have when you are visiting certain cities/states or countries. Pimm’s Cup in London, of course!

In any case, we have been working our way through the book, not in a very organized way, but when we are in the mood to try something new, or have extra oranges lying around, we will break out the book and see what new cocktail we can try. Loads of fun.

Here is my menu plan for the week of April 12:

Sunday: Grilled steaks, sautéed chard, roasted carrots, green salad

Monday: Sloppy Joes, cabbage and daikon slaw, green salad

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: Butternut squash soup, grilled cheese, green salad

Thursday: Fish of the week from Real Good Fish, lentil salad, green vegetable or two

Friday: Takeout and Trashy TV

What is on your menu plan this week?

 

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