I admit, I love food. I love to cook it, smell it, and above all else – taste it! I must say, though, the cleaning up part… not so into. But, I was feeling kind of down today – not sure why – so I decided to try something new in the kitchen, which oftentimes will cheer me up. A couple of days ago, I helped out with a missionary zone conference luncheon and we served some lebanese style donairs which were made with delicious pita breads. It made my mouth water just thinking about those yummy pita pockets, so I thought “hey, I wonder if I could make some of those…” I hopped online and checked out a few websites, then I came across an authentic Lebanese recipe, which caught my eye. This is the recipe I made:
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup lukewarm water (100 – 110 deg. F; hot to the touch)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz) lukewarm water
1. DISSOLVE yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, add one tsp sugar, stir and let stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt, mix thoroughly using your hands or a rubber spatula; make a well, add the yeasty water and about 1/2 the lukewarm water; mix and gradually add more water a few TBSP at a time using a rubber spatula (it can be very sticky until well mixed) until firm and elastic and just a little sticky (may adhere slightly to your hand).
3.TURN dough on to a lightly floured working surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 2-3 hours (much less if you are using ‘rapid-rise’ yeast). I even found that mine rose in about 1 1/2 hours
4. WHEN dough has nearly doubled in size, punch down, knead lightly, roll out a ‘rope’ and pinch off hand fulls to form into balls about the size of tangerines – between a ping-pong and a tennis ball. Place balls on a lightly floured surface a few inches apart, cover and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
5.PUT pizza stone or baking sheet in oven on lowest rack; remove any other racks to ease access, pre-heat oven to 450 deg. F.
6. On your lightly floured working surface, squash a ball flat and round with your hand and then roll out, flipping and turning, a round of the desired thickness – less than 1/4 inch thick and about 5″ across. This will take experimentation, until you achieve the kind of bread you like. I like it very thin, but suit yourself. Set aside, covered, for another 10 minutes.
7.NOW the interesting part: baking the bread. Middle Eastern bread ovens are cavernous affairs (even wood-fired from time to time) and are very hot, with a very hot floor. The bread is put on long paddles (same as pizza) and deployed in the oven until it puffs and browns slightly on top. We try to achieve the effect by using the bottom rack of the oven; using a pre-heated pizza stone or baking sheet; transferring the bread to the hot stone or sheet and baking for about 4 minutes – when the bread has ‘popped’ and browned ever so slightly on the edges or top. The time depends on how thick and moist your bread is; how your oven is constructed, and how hot the oven is. My best results have been with the stone – you will have to experiment.
8. ALLOW to cool, flatten, store in plastic bags. Can be refrigerated or frozen, with appropriate re-heating or micro-waving.
Oh yummy, yum, yum. yummers! These turned out perfect! And sooooo tasty! They weren’t much work, other than the rolling out bit, but sooooo worth it. I love that this recipe doesn’t take any eggs or oil – so nice! I’m always looks for recipes that I can make with my food storage food, and these were awesome! I actually did a double batch and will be freezing them for future lunches etc. But I did put aside a few for our dinner tonight. I think next time I’m going to try half white flour and half whole wheat. Ohhh, that will be good.
To add to our dinner, I decided to make up a quick batch of bruschetta – to either eat with the pita bread or to pop on top of our ham and veggie frittata. Here’s my EASY and quick recipe for bruschetta that I use all the time:
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup parmesan cheese seasoning
salt to taste (1/4 tsp maybe)
1 tsp dried basil
pinch of pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
Mix ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, or overnight to allow the flavour to infuse. You can serve immediately for a milder flavour. Serve over French bread or toast (or pita…tee hee hee)
There is nothing that beats something whipped up from fresh ingredients. Just make sure you don’t get sick from the tomatoes 😛
Okay, and I’ll give you ONE more recipe that we eat monthly (we rotate a menu every week for 5 weeks – just for variety) and I make it the day after we have a ham for dinner. We save the ham, and throw this dish together. If you aren’t a ham person, this would work just as well with whatever leftover meat you have – OR just omit the meat and you’ll have a delicious vegetarian meal (which we love to have more often these days).
Ham and Veggie Frittata
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup cooked potato, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup diced ham
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp oil
pepper to taste
6 large eggs, fork beaten
1/2 cup tomato, diced (opt.)
Saute first 5 ingredients in the oil in a large, oven safe frying pan for about 5 minutes, or until onion and green pepper are tender. Remove from heat. Pour eggs over ham and veggie mixture. Cover and cook in the oven (275F) for about 10-15 minutes, without stirring, until eggs are set. Loosen sides with spatula and slide onto serving dish. Slice into wedges and sprinkle with tomato on top.
I also love to sometimes sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top, then broil for a couple of minutes until cheese is bubbly. YUMMERS! Tonight, I topped the frittata with the bruschetta and it was divine! This is really one of those recipes where you can throw in almost anything you’ve got left over form last night’s dinner and make it work. Hope you enjoy!