Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Week On Our Own: Day 3

Today was the BIG day for Dave; the day of the defense.  For Little Man and I, it was a day of trials and errors… many trials… many errors.  Numerous errands that were achieved, but just barely, and I think we were both relieved to have survived until nap time when we both got some time apart from the other.

It was during nap time that I got the much awaited call from Dave to say that he’d passed!!!  I wasn’t surprised since he’s pretty fantastic, but it’s always good to get confirmation.  The presentation went well, the public discussion went well, the private committee discussion went well, and it was all wrapped up with a couple of bottles of bubbly to toast the soon-to-be doctorate.  Now there are just the edits to get through, and then the formatting hurdles for the graduate school.  There’s always something that goes sideways with the formatting, and things are normally sent back to you at least once.  I can’t imagine what this must have been like before word processing computers.  Oy!

To celebrate the successful completion of his dissertation defense Dave was going to go out to dinner with some friends and committee members, and it only seemed fitting that Little Man and I went out as well.

We went to one of Little Man’s favorite restaurants, Sun’s Noodle Bar, specifically for their Chicken Fried Rice.  Normally we call in an order and get take out for home, but this was a special day so Little Man and I ate in the restaurant.  Often when Dave and I take Little Man to a restaurant we bring the ipad with it’s movies and games to keep Little Man entertained while we get to enjoy a meal outside of the house and some adult conversation.  This night, I didn’t even need it.  Little Man sat and ate his food like a pro… albeit a very hungry pro… and didn’t ask for the ipad until the very end when I was paying the bill.  We sat, we talked, we ate, it was a blast and totally made up for our mutual frustrations earlier in the day.  Now we just had to make it to the weekend…

A few more jewels for Daddy's sign, and a bit of glitter glue.

A few more jewels for Daddy’s sign, and a bit of glitter glue.

Operation Daddy Sign: Day 3

Today was a day for a few more jewels and some glitter glue for Daddy’s special sign.  Little Man first selected the “tiny, tiny, tiny” jewel that he wanted to claim for his own (today was turquoise), and then chose a few more for Daddy’s sign.  The glitter glue was a bit more anticlimactic since you had to squeeze pretty firmly on the tube to apply it, so it involved a bit more Mommy help than the other tasks had.  But we added some sparkle to the sign, and another jewel was added to the treasure chest, so all in all a successful art project.

Glitter glue accents.

Glitter glue accents.

 

A Week On Our Own: Day 2

Fairy Doors

Today we woke to a gorgeously sunny morning, something we haven’t seen in awhile.  It’s still a cool Spring, but the sunshine makes all the difference.  We also had a play date set up with one of Little Man’s friends (and mine too) to visit Neck Point.  No errands today, just fun.

Our main goal for today was for Little Man and his friend to visit the Fairy Doors.  The last time I wrote about Neck Point was for the first time we visited the park with Dave for a Surprise Day.  We’ve been back many times, often with friends for sunny day play dates and a few times with family as well.  It’s one of our favorite places to visit, and each time we are there we explore new paths and find new treasures.

Little Man’s favorite thing to do (other than throwing pebbles into the ocean) is to visit the Fairy Doors.  Up until this point we’d only ever visited the main door where treasures can be found.  I’m still learning the story of who made these doors, but from the parking lot if you take the path behind the washroom and head up and to the right you will find the first Fairy Door.

"Give a Little, Take a Little"

“Give a Little, Take a Little”

Door 1A small sign above the door states “Give a Little, Take a Little.”  I’d been told about this door in advance, so I knew to bring a little treasure to leave behind and that Little Man could then choose a little treasure of his own from the fairy stash.  Today I also brought a little extra treasure along for Little Man’s friend since this was their first visit to the doors.  We generally pass on the dodgy candy, but each visit has a new selection of treasures to choose from.  Little Man’s favorite so far is the penny, which is my personal favorite too since they aren’t even printed anymore.  A real treasure if I’ve ever seen one.

If you continue straight on this path (no veering to right or left, no matter how tempting those paths are, at least for us today) you will come across a small grove of other fairy doors.  I think we’ve counted nine in total, and there very well could be more scattered across other paths.  We’re going to have to keep exploring to see if there are others.  My friend said that she’d seen a picture of another, more ornate door…  That should keep us searching up and down the paths for awhile.

Door 2

Door 2

Door 3

Door 3

Door 4

Door 4

Door 5

Door 5

Some of the doors are higher in the trees for those fast flying fairies.

Some of the doors are higher in the trees for those fast flying fairies.

Door 6

Door 6

Door 7

Door 7

Door 8

Door 8

For today Little Man and his friend had a blast going up to every door they could find and knocking to see if any fairy were home.  The only door that actually opens is on the treasure house door, so we explained that the other fairies must be out and about (or ooot and abooot).  The kiddos sighed, and then rushed off to the next door they found.

Knock, knock... Any fairies home?

Knock, knock… Any fairies home?

Lastly we came to another one of the pebble beaches and climbed around on the logs a bit.  This beach, however, got a full blast of the cold ocean wind, so pretty quickly we went back to the paths and back tracked to our favorite pebble-throwing-in-the-ocean beach that is around the bend and protected from the wind.  By this time the little legs were exhausted and it was getting close to lunch time.  That means that the whining level went up considerably, and the tired toddlers were herded back to the cars and their respective homes for lunches and nap times.  More exploring would have to wait for another day.

The adventurers...

The adventurers…

Day 2 of Operation Daddy Sign

Even better than paint splatting, Little Man LOVES stickers.  Now, the problem can be that he wants the stickers to be toys rather than letting them stay on the paper.  For Operation Daddy Sign, Little Man chose some sparkly start stickers and special gem stickers, both of which were left over from supplies for birthday crowns that we never got around to making.

Little Man putting star stickers on Daddy's sign.

Little Man putting star stickers on Daddy’s sign.

A close up of a star sticker constellation.  Say "star sticker" five times fast...

A close up of a star sticker constellation. Say “star sticker” five times fast…

Little Man got to put the stars and 4 gems on one by one, choosing the spots himself.  He likes to group and line things up, so he made some nice constellations in a couple of spots.

The jewels...

The jewels…

The "little, little, little" purple jewel for Little Man's treasure.

The “little, little, little” purple jewel for Little Man’s treasure.

His favorite part of this was that at the end of putting on all the stickers, he got to choose one gem for his own to play with.  He chose a “little, little, little” purple one, and has been playing with it ever since.  He puts it on his golden plastic pirate coins, puts it on his real coins, carries it around to the dinner table and to brush his teeth before bed.  He even “put it to sleep” on his changing table before story time.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the jewel to become lost in or under the couch.  Any over/unders?  Day 2 accomplished…

Operation Daddy Sign: Day 2 (Stickers accomplished)

Operation Daddy Sign: Day 2 (Stickers accomplished)

A Week On Our Own

It was only after we’d dropped Dave off at the ferry to start his week-long adventure to New York to defend his dissertation that I realized I was going to be alone with Little Man for the first time in a foreign land.  Canada doesn’t feel “foreign” very much any more, but for that moment driving the curvy, forested road back to our house on the farm it did.

A Cool MorningThis was going to be one of those weeks where the main goal was to make lemonade out of lemons… as fast as absolutely possible.  A dissertation defense, for those who haven’t had to face this particular lion’s den, is a public presentation of your dissertation followed by a series of question and answer periods the first one open to the public and the second one only with your committee.  This is where you “defend” your dissertation, the work you’ve done, what your work adds to the larger field of anthropology (no stress there), and basically why your committee should set you free.  It’s a huge milestone towards the completion of your doctorate, and we weren’t going to be able to be there for Dave.  Argh!

My goal for the week was to try to keep Little Man entertained and help him as he’d miss his daddy, as well as keeping myself sane as the sole caretaker of our energetic three year old.  Towards that goal I hoped that writing about our adventures for the blog would both encourage me to find interesting things to do, as well as having a place to actually stop and put my thoughts together in the evenings after Little Man was asleep.  This week will be a bit different for this blog since I’ll have entries for each day.  So strap on in, here we go…

Day 1: A Sign for Daddy
The day was rainy, like both of our moods.  We moved through our routine of breakfast and getting ready, running a few errands, but Little Man was not at his best and neither was I.  After his afternoon nap things got noticeably better, partly thanks to a craft idea from my brain twin on the east coast.  Jen is my doppleganger in spirit and it’s likely better for the world in general that we don’t live near each other anymore, but it’s hard to be split from someone who you share a brain with.  Jen is also the mother to two adorable little girls, and she is a wealth of fun kiddo activities.  When her husband was recently away for a week of training Jen helped her oldest make a sign to welcome Daddy home and each day they did something else to the sign.  That’s what Little Man and I started today.

The best thing ever is splatting the brush onto the paper.

The best thing ever is splatting the brush onto the paper.

Our first day on Operation Daddy Sign consisted primarily of painting, me using my fingers and Little Man using a foam brush.  His favorite part was to fly the brush-plane over the paper and drop it with a splatting noise and splatting paint on the paper.  My job was to try to keep the brush splatting on the paper and not the floor or the cats, as well as keeping the cats from contributing their own paw art by running across the art work.  All in all a good time was had by all, though I think the kitties would have liked a bit more artistic expression.

I kept rotating the paper so more splatting to cover more of the paper.

I kept rotating the paper so more splatting could cover more of the paper.

I also took the opportunity to make a batch of Whole Wheat Oatmeal bread, and the entire house smells of warm baking.  I think that after putting Little Man down to bed my treat will be a slice of that bread with a little butter and some TV or maybe a good book.  In the meantime, I have a little boy who is protesting that he isn’t tired and doesn’t want to go to bed yet, while at the same time rubbing his eyes and sighing tiredly.  Time to wrap things up for Day 1.

A Sign for Daddy

A Spring Feast: Dessert

I thought I knew a lot about food when I moved from California to New York for graduate school.  I’d lived in So Cal all of my life, regularly ate food from various cultures and thought I was pretty adventuresome.  Isn’t there something about pride going before a fall?  In this case, my “fall” was going to be in falling in love with food and cooking in a way that I’d never experienced before.

I grew up loving to cook with my family; my mom and Grammie are two of the major cooking influences in my life.  Then in New York, living alone and thousands of miles away from any friends and family, I found myself turning on the TV just to have some background noise in my cramped, but empty apartment.  More often than not the channel I left it on was food TV.  This is where I started to truly learn to cook, and thankfully I also made some of the best friends of my life in New York and they also love food.

I met my best friend, my brain twin, in graduate school within the same week that I met Dave.  And have mercy on anyone in our path; we did our best to get them caught up in our own version of crazy.  Jen and I started having dinner parties on our super tight grad school budgets, trying out recipes from Bon Appetite and (the late) Gourmet magazines that we read like novels.  Soon Jen started bringing me (later Dave too) home with her for holidays to her parents’ place in upstate.  Dave and I fell in love, with each other, but also with Jen’s family.  We claimed them for our own and they’ve been stuck with us ever since.

It was at their home where I learned about true hospitality, gained an appreciation for a good Dark and Stormy, and learned (or tried) to hold my ground under severe peer pressure for one more trip back to the food line in the kitchen.  Even if you’d already been 2-3 times before, if you were lax enough to leave an empty plate in your vicinity for a moment to lean back and groan you were charged with “what, you don’t like my wife’s cooking?”  And back in line you’d go, unbuttoning the top button of your pants as you went.  We learned that the secret was to take small portions on the first round, then it wasn’t quite so painful to go back for thirds in true Hobbit fashion.

There are many recipes (or versions of them) that I learned from this household, and the one I’m sharing here today is by far the simplest but it is one that I must have every Easter (now to be joined with Aureuil’s Ham).  It is a deceptively simple, retro-style jello salad, but one that in our household now takes the place of dessert; Deb’s Jello Salad.  In fact, when I first sat down to write this post, I did so with a bowl of the leftover jello at my side.  This too, is one of those dishes that I look forward to making because I’ll have the leftovers to look forward to as well.  My only regret is that I don’t have a nice crystal bowl to showcase it in.  I can guarantee that soon I’ll be making a trip to the local thrift store to remedy that.  Then I’ll have to make this jello salad again, just to make sure that the bowl shows it off nicely, of course.

Deb’s Jello Salad
Ingredients:
2 boxes raspberry (or other flavor) jello
2 14 oz. cans of pineapple chunks,
1 cup frozen black berries or strawberries
2 bananas, sliced
1 pt. sour cream

Directions:

  1. Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. Set aside.
  2. Mix the jello following the package directions, but substituting the reserved pineapple juice for some of the cool water.
    An inglorious beginning...

    An inglorious beginning…

  3. Put the jello in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the pineapple, frozen berries and bananas to the jello. Divide the jello in half, putting half into a serving bowl and then into the refrigerator. Leave the other half on the counter so that it doesn’t set up as fast.
    The drained pineapple, frozen blackberries and sliced bananas.

    The drained pineapple, frozen blackberries and sliced bananas.

    Everyone into the pool...

    Everyone into the pool…

  5. When the refrigerated jello is set (start checking after 15 minutes or so), carefully spread the sour cream over that first layer.

    When I first tasted this jello salad, I assumed that the middle layer was sweetened cream, but no it's unsweetened sour cream.  It doesn't need any sugar since the surrounding jello and fruit takes care of that nicely.

    When I first tasted this jello salad, I assumed that the middle layer was sweetened cream, but no it’s unsweetened sour cream. It doesn’t need any sugar since the surrounding jello and fruit takes care of that nicely.

  6. Gently spoon the remaining jello on top of the sour cream layer and refrigerate until set. Enjoy!
    The fruit jewels suspended in delicious jello.

    The fruit jewels suspended in delicious jello.

    This is not the correct dish for the jello salad, but it's the best that I have on hand at the moment.  Just use your imagination for how stunning it is in a clear, cut crystal bowl.

    This is not the correct dish for the jello salad, but it’s the best that I have on hand at the moment. Just use your imagination for how stunning it is in a clear, cut crystal bowl.

Click here for a printable version of Deb’s Jello Salad.

A Spring Feast with a Ham To End All Hams

“This is the kind of food that you don’t even want to put on the table, but just stand by the cutting board and eat it right off the carving knife.”  This was Dave’s awesome description of an amazing ham that we made for Easter dinner this year.  We tossed it in the slow cooker on the way to an Easter egg hunt and came home later to the most delicious smelling aroma wafting through the house.  That is now the smell I always want coming out of my kitchen for Easter dinner.

Easter for me is one of those holidays that must be celebrated with family and friends.  The egg hunts are nice, but the main point for me is sharing a meal… no a feast… with friends and family.  The best case scenario ends with a slight food coma from one too many trips back to the food line, but most importantly to be sharing this experience with people that you feel comfortable in front of when you all unbutton that top button of your pants and lie back with a replete groan.

We’re still working on establishing that sort of tradition for ourselves here on the island, but we’re getting there.  We were able to be a part of a great egg hunt with a couple of other young families, and it was a blast to teach Little Man to rush around grabbing eggs.  Our hostess made adorable yarn bunny tails for the kids, and Little Man’s ended up slightly grass stained from rolling around the lawn and down their little hill in the backyard.  It was perfect!

148

And while Easter dinner was small in number, just the three of us, it was certainly not small in scale.  Most of it we portioned out and froze to eat later on.  Have I mentioned how much I love our standing freezer?  LOVE!

Now, before I get into sharing the ham recipe with you, in the interest of full disclosure I must mention that neither one of the recipes I’m sharing here this week are particularly photogenic.  In fact, the photos are poor since I’m still struggling with the fact that I managed to lose our wonderful camera and am trying to cobble together other devices until the loss can be replaced.  So please don’t judge this ham recipe based on the pictures, this is something that you simply have to try.  Just for the aroma that will fill your house alone, try this recipe out for the next family dinner or night when you want something special but also need the help of a slow cooker.  For the flavor that it delivers, this ham recipe is deceptively easy.  What it lacks in the photogenic department, it makes up for it on the plate trust me.

The ham recipe was graciously shared with me by a new friend on the island, Aureuil.  Her adorable daughter is a friend of Little Man’s from swim lessons and from Strong Start.  At a park play date a week or so ago, Aureuil mentioned this ham that she’d made in her slow cooker, and for days afterward I kept thinking about how I really wanted to make a ham dinner for Easter.  The thing that sets this ham apart from others that I’ve tried is that it isn’t candy sweet.  The main sweetener for the “glaze” is coconut sugar, not brown sugar or a can of pop.  The coconut sugar gives it a definite sweetness, but it isn’t cloying and what you end up tasting is a gorgeously cooked ham, not a ton of sugar.  Just writing about this ham now has inspired me to go grab a taste from the leftovers in the fridge as soon as I get this posted.  That is my “test” for recipes that must become holiday traditions; if the thought of having them for left overs for days makes me want to make the dish even more.

Aureuil’s Ham
Ingredients
1 bone in shoulder flank ham with a thick fat cap
1 cup (plus a little extra) pineapple juice
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Remove all packaging and wrapping from the ham. With a sharp knife score the fat cap down almost to the meat in a crosshatch pattern.
  2. Put the ham meat side down in the slow cooker.
    Aureiul's Ham
  3. In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour the glaze over the ham, rubbing it into the slashes. Add another good glug of pineapple juice to the base of the cooker and place the lid on.  Seal with aluminum foil if the ham is a little too big for your cooker, like it was for our’s.
    A simple glaze of coconut sugar, maple syrup (Oh, Canada!) and pineapple juice.

    A simple glaze of coconut sugar, maple syrup (Oh, Canada!) and pineapple juice.

    Aureuil's Ham

  4. Cook on high for 6-8 hours depending on the size of your ham. The ham is already precooked, so the issue here is not about cooking to doneness, but about getting all of that flavor into your ham.
  5. When the ham is done, remove it from the slow cooker, and remove any of the softened fat cap that still remains. Slice the ham thickly, and serve with roasted potatoes and a bright green salad. Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of Aureuil’s Ham recipe.

 

Our "MacGuivered" slow cooker.  I failed to take the size of our cooker into account when I greedily chose our Easter ham.  Eventually the lid fit without the foil... eventually.

Our “MacGuivered” slow cooker. I failed to take the size of our cooker into account when I greedily chose our Easter ham. Eventually the lid fit without the foil… eventually.

A Meal for Sharing: Turkish Inspired Baked Eggs

Turkish Inspired Baked Eggs reminds me of the homey cooking I was treated to while working in Turkey.  It is a bright tomato and chick pea saucy stew in which you bake/poach eggs until they are just set.  The perfect bite should be scooped up from the pan with flat bread, catching a bit of the veg with a glorious bite of baked egg with golden, soft yolk.  You can make it a bit more fancy by baking the eggs in individual pans of sauce for a dinner party, but it is best eaten from the main skillet family style.  That is one of the best parts of eating with friends in Turkey, the shared feast placed around a central mat, everyone passing portions and plates, dipping into platters with your flat bread, and sharing the meal in a way that is more than just sitting around the table together.

This is also a recipe that was requested by some dear friends, Jill and Sean from Blue Gate Farm in Iowa.  Jill and Sean got Dave and I hooked on farm fresh eggs. In fact, they’ve ruined us forever from store bought.  We stumbled onto their farm (almost literally) from an amazing event that they organize each year called the Farm Crawl where a number of small farms highlight their wares and put together a ton of fun for anyone who wants to come by and visit.  Dave and I belonged to the Blue Gate Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) while in Iowa and “upgraded” our order to include their truly free range eggs and honey.  At the end of that first season with the CSA Dave and I bemoaned the end of the lovely weekly boxes of vegetable treasures and the eggs, and we grumbled as we had to start buying the veg from the grocery store again, but we didn’t throw a hissy fit until that first Saturday breakfast of pancakes and eggs.  Oh those despicable eggs…

One of my Eating Culture classes visiting Blue Gate Farm.  Sean and Jill are at the far left and the amazing chickens are in the background on the far right.

One of my Eating Culture classes visiting Blue Gate Farm. Sean and Jill are at the far left and the amazing chickens are in the background on the far right.

I’ve always enjoyed eggs and honestly I didn’t notice a great difference when I first switched to the farm raised eggs.  They certainly were prettier with the nice, tall standing golden yolks, and they were delicious, but they tasted like eggs to me.  My poor taste buds simply didn’t recognize the shift until I tried to go back to the grocery store version.  Dave and I took a bite and looked at each other with horror on our faces.  What was this thing we were trying to eat?  I quickly fired off an email to Jill imploring her that if there was any kindness in their souls they would still allow us to buy eggs from them over the winter.  This started a lovely tradition where every other week Jill or Sean would show up to our favorite brewery (Peacetree Brewing in Knoxville, IA) with a cooler of eggs.  We would come, buy a couple dozen eggs, eat a take out dinner from the local Chinese restaurant, and enjoy a lovely pint of our favorite frosty offerings from Peacetree.  We still miss that ritual!

Little Man playing at Blue Gate Farm. It’s nice when the place where you get your food is also a fun place to run around.

The Turkish Style Baked Eggs recipe is one that I put together to highlight those glorious eggs from Blue Gate Farm and the sense of community it inspires.  It is a dish meant to be shared with friends and loved ones, served with tons of flat bread and preferably with a couple of pints of your favorite frosty beverage (a nice sparkling cider works well here too).

Note: Small children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are generally discouraged from eating eggs that are not hard cooked.  For our own little one, we scramble up an egg or two on the side and then serve his scrambled egg with a liberal dousing of the stew.

Turkish Style Baked EggsTurkish Inspired Baked Eggs
Ingredients:
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chipped
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. coriander, ground
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup water
4 eggs
Flat bread (see Using Frozen Pizza Dough recipe)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425º.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil. When the oil is hot, tip the onions and garlic into the pan and sauté until soft but not browned.
    Onions and Garlic
  3. Add the chick peas to the pan along with the smoked paprika, cumin, coriander and thyme. Stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes, or until the spices start to give off a slightly toasty aroma.
    Chickpeas and spices added to the pan.

    Chickpeas and spices added to the pan.

    Everything starts to look toasty and brown.

    Everything starts to look toasty and brown.

  4. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste and water to the pan and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes. The sauce will reduce a bit and concentrate its flavors, but you still want plenty of liquid.
    Adding the diced tomatoes and tomato paste for depth.

    Adding the diced tomatoes and tomato paste for depth.

    The stew thickens, so add just a little water to loosen it up and provide the delicious sauce to bake the eggs in.

    The stew thickens, so add just a little water to loosen it up and provide the delicious sauce to bake the eggs in.

  5. While the vegetables are simmering, prepare the flat bread. See Using Frozen Pizza Dough for directions, or simply warm up store bought flat bread in the oven.
    The stew is ready for the eggs.
  6. Taste the chickpea and tomato stew for seasoning and make any adjustments that you would like, adding a little more water if the sauce has reduced too much. Then make four shallow indentations in the stew to hold the eggs. This won’t be perfect, but it helps to keep the egg together and to mark where you want to drop them. Carefully break the eggs individually into a ramekin or small bowl, and tip them into the four indentations. Season the eggs with a dusting of salt, pepper and paprika.
  7. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and bake until the whites are just set but the yolks are still soft, about 5-8 minutes.
    Turkish Style Baked Eggs
  8. Serve this directly from the pan at the table, alongside a fresh green salad and with copious amounts of flat bread. Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of the Turkish Inspired Baked Eggs recipe.

Farm fresh eggs

Using Frozen Pizza Dough

It came to my attention that while I have briefly talked about how to use frozen pizza dough for flat bread, I’ve never actually given the process it’s own center stage.  Frozen pizza dough is like gold in your freezer, and it is incredibly easy to thaw quickly in the microwave.  There is no need to wait for a solid hour or more for it to thaw out on the counter top.  So I wanted to share that information here in it’s own post and it’s own recipe.  Hopefully this will help make it more accessible and also take a bit of the fear factor out of using the dough from frozen.

This all started with a blog post about stocking your pantry with easy to make foods, that can be made cheaply, made in bulk, and frozen for storage and easy retrieval later on.  For me, the most versatile thing that I make in my kitchen is Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, and unless something terrible happens (like our freezer being such a mess that we can’t possibly see a frozen ball of delicious dough… which has happened…) I always have it in my freezer.

What I do not always have is the hour or more that it can take to allow the dough to leisurely thaw out and come up to room temperature while lounging (the dough, not me) on the kitchen counter.  This is especially true in the cold weather months.  Instead, we have been graced with the microwave.  If, like some of my dear friends, you have no use for the microwave then please by all means use this same recipe to make and freeze the dough.  You need to be more organized than I am in order to remember when to pull the dough out to thaw, but judging on the organizational skills of my friends who choose to not use the microwave that isn’t a problem.

But back to our task at hand…  Using frozen pizza dough.  This is going to be important, since the next post I do will have an amazing Turkish inspired baked tomato and egg dish.  You are going to want to make that dish, and you are going to want this easy flat bread to go with it.  Trust me.  🙂

Pizza Dough Flat Bread Using Frozen From Scratch Pizza Dough

Ingredients:
One portion of premade frozen Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (white dough works well for this too!)

Directions:
If you have lots of time…

  • Remove the frozen portion of pizza dough from your freezer and place it on the counter or someplace warm to sit for about an hour to thaw. Once the dough feels slightly chilled, but no longer frozen, use it as described below.
    Frozen pizza dough lounging on the counter

    Frozen pizza dough lounging on the counter

    If you don’t have an hour to thaw your dough…

  • Remove the frozen portion of pizza dough from your freezer and remove any plastic or other coverings you had it protected in.

    Frozen dough ready to be defrosted.

    Frozen dough ready to be defrosted.

  • Place the frozen dough on a small, microwave safe plate and “heat” the dough on regular power for 30 seconds.

    Pizza dough that has been defrosted in the microwave and rested.

    Pizza dough that has been defrosted in the microwave and rested.

  • Let the dough rest in the microwave undisturbed for about 5 minutes. After the dough has rested give it a gentle poke with your finger in the center to see if it has thawed all the way through. If it still has a large frozen portion in the middle, then heat it again for 30 seconds and let it rest for 5 minutes. Continue doing this until the dough is completely thawed. Be careful since if you heat the dough too much in the microwave the edges will start to cook all the way through. You can still use your dough if this happens, but just know that those edges may get extra firm when you bake the dough.

To Bake Your Dough:

  • Roll or stretch your dough to the desired shape and thinness for whatever purpose you desire.
    Ready to roll...

    Ready to roll…

    Hand stretched dough seasoned with a little olive oil, salt, and dried thyme.

    Hand stretched dough seasoned with a little olive oil, salt, and dried thyme.

  • If you want to be sure that you don’t get too many bubbles forming in the middle of your dough, dock it at this point with a rolling docker or simply poke it all over with the tines of a fork.
  • If you want the dough to be used as a flat bread or similar preparation, season the dough with a little olive oil, salt and your favorite dried herb blend and then bake it in a preheated 425 degree oven, checking it after about 10 minutes to ensure that it isn’t browning too quickly. To give it a nice burnishing on the top, switch your oven to broil for the last minute, but watch it like a hawk so that it doesn’t char.
  • If you want to use the dough for pizza, simply follow the pizza recipe you have at hand, or check out some of the options here at thesheepareout.com.
  • Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of the Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe.

Click here for a printable version of the Using Frozen Pizza Dough recipe.

Pizza Dough Flat Bread