Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesdays with Julia and Dorie: Naan Bread

Four days each week the kiddies come for a swim lesson; they are all now officially fish.  While the kiddies swam, I finished the Naan after watching a couple of u-tube episodes of Naan being made both in India and in the Middle East.

This is a very simple flat bread.  The one made in India used baking powder instead of yeast, both added oil, and the Middle East added egg.  This is to be a quickly baked soft, flat bread using a very hot oven.  It is pricked so that it will keep flat, not puffing up like pita bread.

Traditionally this is topped with herbs, garlic, spices, butter or oil.  Ours was totally kid friendly with a Mexican cheese blend, or with whipped honey-peanut butter.   The videos I watched used fresh cilantro, which they called coriander, or minced garlic; both with butter spread on the bread first.  Also breads were baked plain, with no toppings and some of these were spread with butter after baking to keep them very soft.  They were then placed in a keeping box, which looked like my cast iron Dutch ovens.

I baked my breads in two batches (and have enough dough in the fridge for another).  The first batch was left in to cook longer and I liked it better.  It was more chewey (due to a high gluten bread flour), and the second which cooked just till the cheese melted, was very soft.

The dough is made like any other bread dough and rises quickly here in AZ...ready for use in only 30 minutes.  My pricking tool is from Home Depot paint department...a cheap scraper of some kind.





 The bread was consumed quickly, all the kiddies enjoy this type of bread, and they are ready to turn the rest into little pizzas.  Maybe tonight.


 Hope you are all  have a wonderful week!  Lunches like today are what makes life lots of fun and we look forward to more projects like this.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Strawberry Jello Salad with Pretzel Crust

Strawberry jello salad, or any jello, does not fare well in our AZ summer heat, unless one enjoys drinking their salad.  I'm a day late with this post...forgot I planned ahead on this one which was actually made a few months ago, during cooler weather.

This post takes me back to Turkey's birthday.

Young children's birthdays are very special days filled with wonderful excitement and anticipation.  Turkey is my special baking buddy who loved being kidnapped for several hours of cupcake and cookie baking, giving his mom time to wrap a few gifts and to make an A+ Chocolate-Cake-Chocolate-Cheesecake Layered With Ganache And Frosted wIth  her A+ Favorite Bittersweet Chocolotte, Sour Cream Frosting...Decadent!

Turkey also helped "decorate" this Jell-o salad...I think he did a great job!

Of all my grandchildren, Turkey is my most enthusiastic baker.  He was by my side for hours with full attention.  He would not go with Papaw (Hubby) to Sonic to pick up the Wacky Kids Pack he ordered...he was not distracted by anything.  Even late into the night  he was quite busy baking.  He is creative, knows how to be a good helper, and is a great clean-up guy.  He mixes, decorates, sweeps, mops, vacuums, washes dishes, puts soap in the dishwasher, and is happy the entire time.  And he talks to me non-stop...good company.

For his birthday we all got together for an extended family and friends cookout.  The Baked boys Strawberry Jello Salad fit in perfectly.

I am not a fan of Jello which is odd since I grew up in Utah, the Jello capitol of the world...everybody loves Jello in Utah. Every event in Utah includes Jello.  My mom used to make it in some form every week and so did everyone else's mom.  And with such bright colors and such sweet slimy consistency it is kid friendly favorite.

On one occasion I remember making Jello with fruits all by myself at the age of 5.  I also remember spilling the entire bowl of sticky, colored, slimy gelatin filled with Mandarin oranges and fruit cocktail  as I carried it by myself to the fridge.  OOPS!  I hate to think about how sticky the kitchen floor must have been.

While my mother napped  I often did the cooking (Mother thought I was also napping) and then I remember getting the dish rag and cleaning up my mess:  floors, counters, dishes, me, all with the same dish rag  (Gross!)...looking back I probably made a bigger mess.  Well, Jello was the beginning of my cooking days, and Mother was encouraging even though she was always surprised by my creations which magically appeared after her nap.  I don't remember making many messes, but I'll bet I did.  And she never told me not to use the sharp knives or the stove.  She must have figured I'd learn by trial and error, and I did make my share of errors.

At the age of 5 I could boil water which was needed to dissolve the Jello (no microwaves back then) and I could get it all put together and ready for dinner by myself.  I was also good at the type of cheesecake that I made in a pie pan with a graham cracker crust and a filling made with cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk, a little lemon juice and vanilla and with no baking, it just set up in the fridge...well it usually set up.  I had to use my mom's Sunbeam mixer for this job...something I'd never let a 5 year old do.  

Back in the 50's and 60's the in thing was all the new box mixes and time saver pre-made baking products...like Bisquick and cake mixes which I always considered to be gross ingredients for food.  Does anyone remember all the Bisquick pizza crust.  Horrible.  All the mothers made it especially when we invited our friends for dinner.  Such an embarrassment.    Well, Jello is in the same category.  To me, almost a non-food.  I don't remember ever making it for my own children.  I do remember making 4th of July jigglers for my grandkids but considered it to be in the real junk food.

So, for this challenge, I set out to make as good a strawberry jello as possible.  Next time I'll use a size smaller pan which will thicken the layers making them more visible and a little prettier.

I added double the sliced strawberries and that mentally justified this food as OK for dinner.  I also doubled the filling so that I could pipe half as a creamy topping.  I do like this topping as the cream remains whipped and keeps its shape but does not taste     strongly of the cream cheese...more like sweetened whipped cream that has been stabilized.


                                                                              TURKEY TURNS 4
I admit we all liked this Strawberry, pretzel crust, Jell-o salad and it fit into  Turkey's birthday celebration quite well....Jell-o continues to be good kid food.  Turkey and I had such a good time baking and making that I'll have to invent the next reason to bake with him soon.

I look forward to seeing all your Strawberry Jello Salads with the Pretzel Crust...and by the way, this crust is delish!   I might be a Jello convert with this recipe.