Monday, February 4, 2013

The Versatile Dough

This is my absolute favorite recipe for pizza dough.  The dough's versatility extends far beyond pizza.  I use a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour, but you can change the mix as you wish (more white flour, more whole wheat, all whole wheat, etc.).  If you add more of one, of course you'll need to subtract the same amount from the other.  Also, if you use more whole wheat flour, you'll need to increase your rising time a bit. 

THE Pizza Dough
(for 2 pizzas)

1 t sugar
1 1/2 warm water (105° to 110° F)
1 package of active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 T dry yeast or 1 fresh yeast cake)
3 T olive oil
1 t salt
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, whisk warm water and sugar together until  sugar is dissolved.  Add yeast and stir until it is mostly dissolved and water is cloudy.  Let sit, undisturbed, for ~10 minutes.  My kids love to watch the yeast "bloom", as it looks a little like fireworks in the bowl.
After yeast has had it's rest, add olive oil, salt, and stir in flour.  When dough comes together, turn out onto a heavily floured surface and knead, folding and rotating and incorporating as much flour as you need to keep it from sticking wildly to your hands.  I usually lay it down in a good pile of flour, ~2/3 c, and pat some flour onto the top before I begin kneading.  It will be quite sticky when you begin. Continue to knead it until you have a nice smooth and stretchy dough; this will take a few minutes.  Coat a large bowl with olive oil and move your dough into it, cover it with a cotton towel (large flour sack towels work beautifully) and allow it to rise, undisturbed, in a warm place for ~45 minutes to an hour. In the winter, just as I begin the dough I turn on the oven to 500° for 1 minute and then turn it off.  This provides a nice place to let the rising happen (make sure it isn't too hot and that you remembered to turn it off again).  It can also be made using the dough cycle of a bread machine following your machine's instructions on adding dry ingredients, liquid, and yeast.
While rising, prepare your 2 pans (we just use large rectangular cookie sheets) with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of ground cornmeal over the entire surface to prevent your dough from sticking.  
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and move it to a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough in half and return one half back to the bowl and cover it again.  Working with one at a time, roll each out to the desired size / thickness; you may need to add a sprinkle or rub of flour to prevent sticking. 
When it is the desired size, dust it with a tiny bit of flour, and fold it a time or two and quickly transfer it to the sheet and unfold it so it does not stick to itself.  Cover again and let it rise for 15-20 minutes-ish (if you like a softer crust).  I usually do not par-bake the naked crust before adding the toppings.
Preheat oven to 450°F.  Cover with sauce and toppings and bake for 8- 10 minutes or until crust is golden (and cheese is bubbly and golden, if using).  Ovens very, so you should keep an eye on it.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hand Printed Pillows

I am in the process of dyeing our sofas' sailcloth slipcovers a charcoal grey (which means I intend to do this soon but haven't actually started).  They are currently a VERY light natural cotton.  I have mentioned that I have three kids and a huge hound dog, right?  Off white is a ridiculous thing, on anything, to have in this house.  Our tile floors and walls are very light and bright, but they are very neutral.  I am pretty sure that the room can pull off the dark couches, but I know I have some work to do to get some color in there.  I have been playing around with appliqued and patchwork pillows a little bit for the shop and shows, but I have only printed a few, and I have only actually made one for us me.
Yesterday, I came across this post at A Beautiful Mess and I was quite inspired (so inspired, I might have actually entered the studio in a bit of a jog).  This was one of those projects that has been on my to-do list, so I had already purchased a few supplies for stencil printing, including some gorgeous colors of acrylic paint and liquid fabric medium for printing (to mix with the paint so that the print is permanent and washable after heat setting).  I am not sure how incredibly important the addition of the medium is;  have you ever tried to wash acrylic paint out of clothes?  I have, and I failed.
I usually print with blocks or screens using screen printing ink, so this project was two new things in one. It was pretty simple with easily accessed materials. Screen printing ink for fabric would absolutely work here, but it may be a little harder to find around town. 

For the rectangular print, I cut a stencil pattern out of a sturdy quilting template sheet with an Exacto knife and a teeny tiny hole punch, and I used a round foam pouncing sponge for the polka dots. It is important to have an additional surface to use to load your pouncers; spread a little paint on it, and make sure that you pick up a thin but even layer with your sponge or brush.  The paint should be applied using a tapping, up and down motion only until you have good coverage. Practicing on a scrap is a good idea.  Having a wet cloth around to clean your fingers frequently is also a good idea.

They need to dry for about 24 hours, and then they'll be ready to heat set (using an iron) and stitch up.
I am anxious to sew them up and see what they'll feel like after washing them, as the print is a little stiff. 

I'll post an update when they are finished up. 

©the high fiber 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Black Bean (Chard and Cashew) Dip

Today's inspiration comes from.....
..having a really huge bag of blue corn chips and nothing to dip them in. beans leftover in the fridge. urge to get fresh greens into my kids.
..and cashews.

This week, which may forever be known as Cashew Week, I finally tried my hand at cashew sour cream.  It was good and seemed at home in our burritos, but it needs some improvement.  Last night we had our old reliable cashew "Alfredo" with broccoli; clean plates all around.  Tonight I was planning on making this recipe from with a little variation, including replacing the cheese with cashews, but I just used them all up in this dip.  By the way, it was worth it.

Black Bean Dip, with Chard and Cashews

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 20 minutes
1/4 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1 t granulated garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c water
1 handful of Swiss chard- no need to chop it or remove the stems (or kale- with stems removed)
    Add these ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until it blends together.  Then add:
1/3 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
    Pulse again until onions and peppers are finely chopped, and then add
1 can black beans, drained and slightly rinsed or ~2 cups cooked black beans
  Pulse again until you don't see whole beans.

And, you're done!
If you'd like to cut the fat down, you can omit the nuts altogether.  They do add a slight creamier texture, but you can likely obtain that by pureeing the beans longer in the end.  If you choose to omit them, you may need to then cut back on the water, using just enough to help your greens along.
Enjoy with fresh veggies, chips, etc.