Pizza Dough

Once upon a time, I would want to make pizza and if the weather was nasty out, I’d just forget about it because the bakery was so far away. Despite the fact that I’d spent most of my life making homemade bread, it didn’t occur to me that pizza dough doesn’t require as much time and work.

You can mix this up and use it immediately, but I prefer to let it sit for at least an hour in the oven with the light on before stretching the dough.

Pizza Dough Stretched
Pizza Dough, Stretched

You can vary the amounts of flour, which will give you different textures and degrees of pliability. This recipe is easy to stretch while in the pan, simply plopping the ball of dough in the pan and then pulling it like taffy (for those that remember this) to the edges of the pan. It’s a very good texture for making a thin crust and gooey enough that if you make a tear, you can easily break off a piece from a thicker part and use it as a patch. It will heal itself quickly if placed across the tear.

Increasing  flour to 3 cups will give you a dough that could work if you want to try your hand at stretching it by tossing above your head.

If you have never done this before though, I recommend practicing your flips with a wet towel first to get the technique, and then making  extra dough in case something goes wrong. A fun trick to master though, and I fondly remember my time as a pizza cook in the West End of Vancouver in my teens.

Pizza With Sauce
Pizza With Sauce

As long as you don’t drop it on the floor, you should be able to get something out of it. As this dough is tender, it is best to use a thin sauce, rather than  a thick one. I tend to thin mine with olive oil.

 

Pizza Toppings
Pizza Toppings

When it comes to topping the pizza, I find that it works best to chop all the ingredient to the sizes that I like best for each and then mix all together in a bowl before topping the pizza. You get better distribution this way than by individually placing items on the dough, which relatively speaking

Dolmathes with Avgolemono

Article and recipe by Gayle Hurmuses, photographs by Gisela McKay.IMG_8130

Dolmathes are one of those things (like sushi) which look more difficult than they truly are.

Take a platter of these to a party to look like a hero, and if you are using your own grapes,  cut a length of vine to use as decoration for the tray.

I love making Dolmathes for the meditative qualities of the process. A mildly fussy series of simple tasks, that when complete lead to a sense of esthetic pleasure…at least for me.

There are commercially available preserved grape leaves and those are perfectly fine…but I am fortunate to have a grape vine in the garden and  enjoy choosing the leaves right  before making the wraps.

If made without meat, these are vegetarian and if served without the Avgolemono sauce, they are also vegan.  For vegetarians make the sauce with either water or a vegetable stock.

My family recipe uses currants and raisins, which I have exchanged for cranberries…because Canada.

If made with meat,  dolmathes are most commonly made with lamb…or possibly goat.

Sunflower Seeds ‘Hummus’

Article by Alison Cole, recipe by RawRose, used with permission.

As innocuous as it may seem, the little gray kernel of a beautiful yellow flower actually leads as a super food when it comes to boasting high nutritive values as well as being a convenient and tasty snack. That’s right, the sunflower seed is all that and deserves some attention when considering the addition of health benefits to one’s diet, packing in vitamins, protein, and more.

This gift from the sunflower is one of the first plants to be ever cultivated in the United States, and today the world’s leading suppliers of the sunflower seed include the Russian Federation, Peru, Argentina, Spain, France and China. Sunflower oil is one of the most popular oils in the world, and the seeds themselves are easily available and very affordable.

When examining the nutritional worth of the sunflower seed, it has many benefits to offer. Sunflower seeds provide an excellent source of vitamin E, which is the body’s principle fat soluble antioxidant. The seeds also provide linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), and some amino acids, especially including tryptophan. Tryptophan aids in creating the neurotransmitter serotonin, which transmits nerve impulses to regulate mood, appetite and sleep and to improve memory and learning.

Sunflower seeds are also rich in phytosterols, which lower LDL cholesterol in the body, and several B vitamins. And if that weren’t enough, these powerhouse particles additionally provide an excellent source of fiber, as well as protein, with 7 grams of protein in a small ¼ cup serving. There are many reasons to eat these tasty morsels, nutrition-wise alone!

As with nuts and other seeds, because sunflower seeds are high in fat, they are prone to rancidity, so it is best to store the dehulled seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer if you prefer. Whole seeds (with the shell) may be stored at room temperature in a container, without the risk of going rancid.

The most simple (and perhaps enjoyable) way to eat sunflower seeds is straight from the package, whether you are dehulling them in your mouth or have purchased the seeds already without shells. You can also garnish your salads and cereals with them, or use them in recipes to make delightful desserts, dips and pâtés.

Try out this yummy hummus recipe by RawRose, which features sunflower seeds as one of its main ingredients. You can also listen to it, if you find that helpful. Voiceover by Lew Williams.