Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Facilitated Dialogue Pizzas:
Crust (makes enough for 2 9X13 rectangular pizzas):
2 cups warm (wrist temperature) water
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages (or ~ 4 teaspoons) dry active yeast
~3 – 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
~3 – 3 ½ cups white flour
Mix the water, honey, olive oil, salt together, then add the yeast and mix. Add about half the flour and combine to a batter consistency. Continue adding flour until it is no longer practical to mix with a spoon. Add the rest of the flour, and begin kneading with your hands. To make clean-up easier, I always just knead the dough right in the mixing bowl, but if you prefer you can transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface for kneading. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough starts to become elastic. The dough should be smooth and soft, and should not stick to the bowl/surface as you knead. If the dough is still sticky, continue adding flour just a little bit at a time and continue kneading. The dough is ready when pressed gently it springs back a little. Form the dough into a smooth round ball and coat it lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a warm, moistened towel, and place the bowl in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until you are ready to make pizzas. If it is particularly cold, I like to preheat the oven to warm or turn on a burner and let it warm up a little, and then turn it off and put the dough in the warm oven or on the warm burner. While the dough is rising is a good opportunity to get started on the sauce.
Sneaky Spinach Sauce:
We recently discovered that spinach can be really delicious when it is added directly into the pizza sauce. It started out as an experiment in our Eating Right class at the Cascade People’s center, and it was a huge success. The spinach is not overpowering, you wouldn’t even know it was there if you weren’t looking for it, and it adds a really creamy texture to the sauce. We tried sneaking it in again last night in our Kids Up Front class, and the kids were at first skeptical of the green stuff in the sauce, until they covered it up with cheese and forgot that it was even there. So here is our recipe for sneaky spinach sauce, feel free to experiment and let us know what you think!
1 small onion, diced
30 oz. of tomato sauce or crushed/diced tomatoes.
1 bag frozen spinach
Basil, oregano, salt, pepper to taste.
Sauté the onions on medium heat until they are translucent. Add spices (more if you are using plain tomatoes, less if you are using pre-made sauce) and sauté a couple minutes longer. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add frozen spinach. Reduce heat and simmer until you are ready to assemble your pizzas. Stir every now and then to allow spinach to thaw and mix in.
Get creative with your toppings! Thinly sliced vegetables such as mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, and zucchini work well. One new favorite that I made for the facilitated dialogue training on Monday was butternut squash, caramelized onions, and ricotta cheese. Here is how I prepped the toppings:
2 large onions
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
Cut onions into thin strips. Heat oil or butter in a large skillet, add the onions, and continue to heat over medium low heat. It is good to start this as one of the first things you do when you get into the kitchen because it takes a lot of time and patience to cook the onions slowly. The heat should be so low that you don’t really need to pay attention to them all that much, in fact at first it might even look like they aren’t cooking at all. Just stir them every once and awhile when you pass by them in the kitchen. After about 45 minutes- 1 hour they should be really caramelized and ready to go on the pizza! If you are impatient or forget to start early, you can add a little bit of sugar to the pan to speed up the process.
Peel the squash and cut it into ½ inch cubes. Cover the bottom of a small saucepan with about ½ inch of water, add the squash, and heat it covered over medium/high heat to steam the squash. Remove from the heat when the squash is starting to soften but still firm, as it will continue to cook the rest of the way on the pizza.
Assembling the Pizzas:
Okay, now you have everything all set, and you are ready to assemble your pizzas. Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Punch down the dough and knead it 3 or 4 times. Lightly grease or coat in cornmeal two 9X13 baking sheets. Divide dough in half, and use a rolling pin to shape each half into a thin, uniform crust. Place each crust lightly onto a baking sheet and cover with sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and delicious!
Monday, January 26, 2009
So far, the trainings have been met with much enthusiasm. We hope the tools learned and practiced in this training will help OFL volunteers to better use their creativity in engaging learners while respecting the wealth of life experience adult learners bring into class with them. My favorite teaching tool we discuss and practice during the training is making a pro-con chart. For example, say that we were teaching a lesson on the importance of eating breakfast. The pro-con chart might look like this: Creating the chart allows the class to brainstorm about positive and negative aspects of making the change to eating breakfast, and then allows the class to see how some of the barriers to change can be overcome. In this example, “not feeling like eating when you first wake up” could be overcome by packing a portable breakfast to take with you to work.
Our trainings have been catered by Emily Gordon, our new AmeriCorps member for 2009. If the new teaching skills you will learn in the trainings aren’t enticing enough, the pizza is also a great reason to come! Don't worry if you missed the trainings this time around, stay tuned for information about the next set of trainings coming up soon.
-Claire Leamy, Program Supervisor
On January 12, Michael Pollan spoke at Seattle Arts and Lectures to a sold out house of 2,500. Even in a foodie town like Seattle, Pollan seemed to find it remarkable that he, as a food journalist and author, drew such a crowd. His talk was peppered with readings from his most recent book In Defense of Food.
During the questions from the audience, a young doctor serving people with low incomes asked what could be done to help his patients to eat better, and if Pollan's message was just intended for people with the luxury of extra time and money. Pollan's response included the thought that teaching people to cook is a good start. Go Operation Frontline!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Northwest Apple Salad
Serves 4, 3/4 cup per serving
2 medium Granny Smith apples
2 Tablespoons dried currants
3 Tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon whole, shelled walnuts
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon honey
1. Rinse and remove cores from apples, do not peel. Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Add currants and yogurt to bowl. Mix well.
3.Put nuts into a small sauté pan and and toast over medium heat on the stovetop until golden brown and fragrant. Watch carefully, so they don't burn.
4. Remove nuts from hot pan and let cool.
5.Put cooled nuts into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin or an unopened can to crush into small pieces.
6. Add crushed nuts and optional dried cranberries and honey to the salad, toss, and serve.
-Use any kind of apple in this recipe.
-You can substitute raisins for currants.
-Substitute any kind of nuts for the walnuts, if desired.
-Instead of toasting nuts on the stovetop, you can place nuts on a baking sheet and into a preheated 350 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Nuts can burn quickly, so watch them closely.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Tubu Choerim (fried spiced tofu):
2 packages firm tofu (not silken)
1 cup soy sauce
1 2/3 cups water
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons hot Korean chili powder
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 scallions, bias cut
Canola oil for frying
1. Use a knife to open the packages of tofu and drain the water out
2. Slice the tofu across the narrow end into about 6 slices, then cut each slice in half, to get rectangles about 2 X 2 1/2 X 1/2 inch.
3. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.
4. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the pan.
5. Fry the tofu in a single layer over medium heat; you will need to cook several batches.
6. When the tofu browns on one side (~3 minutes) turn it over.
7. Add about 1/4 cup sauce for each 6-8 pieces of tofu; the sauce will reduce and cling to the tofu, turning it a reddish color.
8. Place the cooked tofu ona warm platter while you cook the next batch.
We would like to invite you all to a volunteer appreciation lunch in order to celebrate all the hard work you do as volunteers. We are planning a fun Indian themed lunch (think Bollywood...) that will take place on Sunday, February 8th from 12-2PM. We will be providing lots of delicious food and drinks, so please don't feel that you need to bring anything. This is our chance to thank you!
Please RSVP if you are planning to attend, and let us know if you are planning on bringing a guest. We would love it if you all could come. Thanks again for being such excellent volunteers, we couldn't do it without you!
Serves 8, 2/3rds cup per serving
1 large onion
½ small serrano pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Peel onion. Rinse onion and pepper.
2. Dice onion and mince pepper
3. Cut limes in half and squeeze juice into a bowl. Discard any seeds.
4. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes.
5. Heat canola oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken cubes and cook until brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. Brown in two batches, if necessary.
6. Add onion and serrano pepper to skillet. Cook for 3 more minutes.
7. Stir in lime juice, orange juice, water, thyme, salt and black pepper, and bring to boil.
8. Reduce heat to low, partially cover pan with lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
9. Uncover pan. If sauce is not thick and syrupy, turn heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick.
-Try using cubed pork loin or boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs. Cooking time and temperature are the same.
-Try serving over rice, couscous, grits, polenta, barley, kasha or quinoa.
-If you don't drink a lot of orange juice, you can use concentrate and just prepare the amount that you need for the recipe, and then freeze the rest for next time.