Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cooking Class

Hey everyone-

I took a hiatus with the start of school. I have not gotten into the swing of things again with the start of school. I am patiently waiting for things to settle in, and it just hasn't happened yet. I started a new project today at church, too. I volunteered to teach a cooking class once a month. We ended up with 13 ladies, and one brave man. We made 7 different recipes tonight in a 2 1/2 hour time frame. It was chaotic and a hell of a lot of fun. Our theme tonight was "Take -Out Recipes" They were things we eat out, but are easy to make at home. Below are all the things we made tonight.

Chinese Take-Out

Chicken Fried Rice (1 serving)
• 1 cup of fresh frozen peas, defrosted
• 3 T of peanut oil
• 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
• 1 T of minced garlic
• 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice
• 1 cup of cooked chicken, diced
• 1/4 cup of cooking sherry or white wine
• 2 T of soy sauce
• 1 T of sesame oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 cup of mince scallion (optional)
1. Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. A minute later, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, five to ten minutes later. Lower the heat if needed. Using a slotted spoon, take the onions out and transfer them into a bowl.
2. Add the peas to the skillet for a minute or two, or until hot. Add them to the bowl.
3. Put the remaining oil in the skillet, followed by the garlic. About 15 seconds later, begin to add the rice, a bit at at time, breaking up any clumps and tossing it with the oil.
4. Return the onion and the peas to the rice. Add the wine and cook, stirring for about a minute. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, and chicken, then taste and add salt and pepper.
5. Turn off the heat, stir in the scallion, and serve.
Baked Vegetarian Egg Rolls (3 servings)
2 T of vegetable oil
1 T of sugar
3 T of Soy sauce
2 T of white wine or cooking Sherry
1 14 oz. block of firm tofu
1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 bunch of green onions chopped
16 oz of shredded cabbage
1 package of egg roll wraps
Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add tofu and carrots; cook 5 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons soy sauce, cooking sherry and sugar, and pepper to taste. Then, stir in cabbage mixture and let reduce for 2 minutes. Cover and chill 15 minutes.
Place 1 egg roll wrapper at a time onto work surface with 1 corner pointing toward you (wrapper should look like a diamond). Fold lower corner of egg roll wrapper over filling. Fold in corners.
Moisten top corner of wrapper with water; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Repeat procedure with remaining wrappers, tofu filling, and water.
Lightly coat egg rolls with cooking spray, and place, seam side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Turn egg rolls over half way through cooking process.

Pizza Take- Out

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe (2 servings)
• 1 package active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
• 1 cup warm water (105° to 115°, no more)
• 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little for coating

How to make pizza dough from scratch:
1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set aside and follow the instructions below for the method you choose.
By hand: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the olive oil and yeast mixture into it. Stir until it begins to form a ball, then turn it out onto a clean, floured surface and knead for about 4 or 5 minutes.

In a mixer: Using a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the liquid ingredients and mix on low until the dough begins to clump around the dough hook. Remove and knead as above.
Whichever method and pizza dough recipe you've chosen, your pizza dough should be a smooth, elastic ball.

2. Lightly oil the ball and the inside of a large glass bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. For better crust, punch down the dough, reshape into a ball and let it rise again. You can refrigerate or freeze the dough at this point.

3. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, about 12 ounces each. Roll each portion into a ball, then, working on a lightly floured surface, stretch the dough and work it with your fingers or a rolling pin to form an 12- to 16-inch circle. (Let your guests prepare their own.) The outer edge of the circle should be a little thicker than the body, forming a rim. Add toppings.

4. Transfer to a pizza pan or pizza stone. Bake in a 500° pre-heated oven until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 10 to 13 minutes, or perhaps a little longer if your oven does not reach 500°.
Pizza Sauce (3)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
• 1 can of tomato paste
• 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Up to 1 cup of water, depending on desired thickness
1. In a large saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen, once cooled.


Mexican Take-Out

Salsa (2 servings)
• 1 1/2 cans canned tomatoes with juice
• 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 lime, juice of
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
• 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Mix ingredients together for a chunky salsa or blender for just a few seconds for chunky salsa or a bit longer for a smoother texture
Tortilla Chips
• Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas (preferably white)
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• Fine salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush both sides of the tortillas with the oil. Stack the tortillas and cut the pile into sixths to make chips. Spread the chips out in a single layer on two large baking sheets and season with salt. Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating the baking sheets once, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve.


Top It Off with Dessert

Mini Apple Turnovers
If you are looking for a smaller alternative of a great apple pastry either for a small snack, for finger food or to make for your children one snack that won't disappoint are Mini Apple Turnovers. Mini Apple Turnovers are made similar to traditional turnovers, except they are about half the size. Great for almost any time of the day, these mini treats are easy to make.

1 large pastry sheet
2 large apples, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, etc
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Optional toppings, limited only by your imagination: powdered sugar, walnuts, chocolate syrup
Lay out large pastry sheet and slice into 8 equal sized sections. Slice the two apples into thin slices in a bowl. Mix with sugar and cinnamon. Next spread the apples, cinnamon and sugar at the center of each pastry sheet. With a brush, wet the edges of the pastry dough and press them closed, leaving small pockets for the filling.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the turnovers in the oven; cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and decorate with powdered sugar, walnuts or chocolate syrup if you wish. This recipe yields eight servings.
Apple Turnovers are very versatile. They can be served as a breakfast pastry, an afternoon snack, or a dinner dessert. You can add an unlimited amount of ingredients to them to vary the taste ever so slightly. Some options include honey, cinnamon and nutmeg, black and blue berries, sliced strawberries, serve ala mode (with a scoop of your favorite ice cream), served with fresh whipped cream, granola, etc. There are numerous ways to serve up this dish; you will find that your family will appreciate this simple recipe almost every week of the year.

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