My name is Lauren and I'm a Top Chef Addict, no I don't just watch the new episodes, I watch the old ones in marathon, I DVR it and watch it, I even have watched Top Chef Masters religiously, if it came out on DVD I'd probably buy it, oh and yes I really want the cookbook....some people have much more harmful addictions, I'll admit, but this one is pretty bad. To the point that I go in to work the next day and have discussions with co-workers/friends who are also addicts....yes, we are a strange lot. I've been sucked into my Wednesday night TV and haven't looked back, which may not be the best thing on the planet but I figure it's not that bad, right? Or is that what I tell myself because I'm an addict?
The worst thing about all of this is that it further inspires me to whip up things I might not need and certainly didn't plan on - like last weekend's Pita Bread. While watching some DVR'd Top Chef Masters I decided I wanted Greek food, which would be ok without pita but since I had the stuff for it...pita too.
1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer stick and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.
9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.
10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.
11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
12. Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.
*Pictures will appear when I post the remainder of my Greek dinner...hopefully tomorrow.
Oh no, I didn't stop there, why stop baking with one item when you can whip together many more?? After the pita I dug around and found some unsweetened baking chocolate bars and pistachios, unsure of what I wanted to do with them, brownie cookies were born...
Pistachio Brownie Cookies
2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 cup) chopped pistachios
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Position an oven rack on the center rung. Heat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment (or grease and flour the pan).
2. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and baking chocolate. Stir to combine; let cool. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium high 3 to 4 min. Take the bowl off the mixer. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla; stir to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Stir the flour mixture and the nuts and chocolate chips into the batter.
3. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake the first until the cookies are puffed and cracked and the tops barely spring back when pressed, 8 to 10 min. The cracks should be moist but not wet. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
*Mine seemed to have the best flavor when stored in the fridge, they were very fudgy and dense.
I can't help but to comment on my favorite show for a minute, if you watch it at all, did you see the last episode (not this week, but last week)? Wow - some major disparities in leadership style there (the re-run of last week is on right now which is prompting me to type this). I couldn't believe what a jerk Michael Chiarello looked like....yikes, tv can be a bit revealing, can't it? Ok - no more ranting for now, Top Chef Las Vegas is about to premier, and yes it needs my full attention.
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