30 Minute Thin and Crispy Pizza

A thin and crispy Neapolitan pizza made in only thirty minutes?  I had always believed that was preposterous before I discovered a special little secret known as “pizza crust yeast”.  For a fast fix, this turned out beautifully and in only a matter of minutes.  I topped it with freshly plucked basil from my herb garden and overall, I was quite impressed.

thin and crispy neapolitan pizza

30 Minute Thin and Crispy Pizza

Note: Makes one thin crust fifteen inch pizza.  The use of “pizza crust yeast” allows this particular pizza to be made within the half hour and the thin nature of it allows it to bake up fast.  Do not over-do the toppings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes     Bake Time: 15 minutes

  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope Pizza Crust Yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water (about 125 degrees F)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 1/2 cup toppings

Basil, for serving – optional
1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, pizza yeast (do not dissolve), sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Add very warm water and oil.  Mix well until blended, thoroughly. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky.
3.  Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 4 or five minutes.
4.  Pat dough with floured hands into six inch disk.
a)   Directions for dough tossers:  Lift disk and toss from one hand to the other, then holding it at the edges, turn it like a steering wheel with hands until about fourteen to fifteen inches wide. Toss over fists and place on a large greased pizza pan (size of pizza dough – 15 inches- or larger).
b)  Directions for dough rollers: You may roll dough on a floured counter to 15 inch circle; place in a large greased pizza pan or baking sheet.  Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough and allow to rest an additional five minutes before topping and baking.
5. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice, being sure not to overload the dough or add too much of anything in the center of the dough.
6. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and bubbling.  Allow to sit about five minutes before slicing and serving with freshly plucked basil.

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Banana Bread

banana-bread-recipebanana-bread-recipeMax places his freshly washed hands upon the flour and measuring cups.  I, still in the kitchen, type in “banana bread recipe” and watch from the corner of my eye.  I’m expecting a definite go-to recipe to pop up at the top of my search results, much like it always does for classics like rice krispy treats or blondies.

He decides it’s time to get the eggs out from the refrigerator, which he does.  He then looks over and waits patiently at the table as my eyebrows furrow and I squint at the ambient glow of my laptop screen.  Did I type that wrong?  I sift through and click and re-sift, then search once again and get nothing but flooded with random excessive information.

I wonder…

I mean, it’s not that complicated.  It’s a quick-bread, for goodness sakes! And just because a recipe is deemed “standard” doesn’t mean it isn’t exceptional.  Or perhaps being standard is the exception with recipes, currently.

I mutter, “I mean, really… How can there be this many variations on such a simply delicious thing like banana bread?”

Max has flour in a bowl, and I hear *whap* as he cracks the egg and drops it effortlessly into the mixing bowl.  I quickly snap to attention, though slightly impressed by his skills (he’s only four and not a single shell).  I move to him and pick one recipe at random based on basic (awful) search engine results.  We begin testing.

Naturally this turned into a banana bread baking excursion.

The most frustrating portion of this particular project is that the differences are slight between recipes: vanilla or no vanilla, cinnamon or no cinnamon, nuts or no nuts, brown sugar or white sugar, 325 degrees or 350.  Just between us, though, I think that last difference has to do with someone’s oven running a bit hot or perhaps them baking on a low oven rack.  Or, maybe they used a different type of baking pan (glass versus nonstick yields a big difference, as you know).  It happens, though.  Back to testing.

I deciphered the recipes and compared the ingredients and quantities of each late at night.  I have baked and tested those recipes worthy of breaking a few eggs, based on known working ingredient ratios for sweet quick breads.

We taste and rate the results.

I also gave a few recipes extra points for nuts and chocolate chips (That’s totally fair).

The resulting standard banana bread is soft, fragrant with bananas and has just a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.  It doesn’t require any distinctive ingredients or fancy supplies and it allows room for further adaptation.  It’s adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence and upon testing three times, has never done me any wrong, despite my inquisitive nature. It works no matter if I add one or two small handfuls of chocolate chips or a dash of chopped mixed nuts. It even works when I let Max measure my flour (use discretion there, though, I did help a little).

It works wonderfully every single time and it will always be delicious with unfailing certainty, which is all I ask of a banana bread recipe.

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (very) ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup nuts or chocolate chips for topping 

Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Directions:

  1.  Place oven rack in top third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease, or spray with cooking spray, a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Prepare dry ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl mash 2 bananas with a fork and set aside.
  5. Prepare wet ingredients: In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl),  add remaining bananas and sugar.  Whip bananas and sugar together using an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk for at least three minutes.  Add butter, eggs, and vanilla,  and cinnamon, mixing after each addition, scraping down sides as needed.  
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, gently mixing until just combined after each addition.
  7. Fold in fork-mashed bananas, gently but evenly.
  8.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
  9. Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 
  10. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Note: Serve slices lightly toasted and warm with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar

 

Adapted from Tyler Florence @ Food Network.com

 

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Mom’s Day Off. Happy Mother’s Day!

Ok, kids, listen up!  Moms shouldn’t have to cook anything for anyone on Mother’s day.   Also, kids, you shouldn’t cook either.  Trust me on this one.

Unless you’re a fully grown person who knows how to cook and clean up after yourself, go with a nice dinner or brunch out, instead.  But, honestly, I’m thirty-three and I still hate cleaning, so make it easy for everyone and ask her where she wants to go to celebrate her day.

behind the scenes-3

And to the dads out there that want to make something nice for your wife.  That’s so sweet!  And, sometimes, the thought is good enough.  No …really, it is.

If there’s any possibility that she will be chiseling charcoal off a waffle iron or holding a fire extinguisher upon your newly acquired …skills… Please, logically think about what you’ve cooked recently and how it turned out.  If you can answer that question without cringing, then you can cook.  For the rest of you, there’s rarely a need for duct tape in the kitchen.  I’m just putting that one out there.

Restaurants are wonderful! Go ahead and make some reservations, and you can’t go wrong.  Or, just a day at home might be nice. There’s no need for getting fancy.  I promise.  A homemade card works.  Macaroni art?  Yes, please!  Maybe a plant.  Plants are nice.

Now that we’ve covered that, what will I blog about since I’m not offering a recipe this week?

Well, I figured I’d give you a little look at what our life is like at home.

These are unedited photos, so you know, there’s a lot of fingerprints on my oven and microwave.  You will just have to deal with that. I’ll retouch next week, maybe, or maybe we all just won’t care.  Or maybe someday I’ll actually clean all the things and those clean things will stay clean.  No, that’s not real.  That’s impossible!

1. Grandma (my mom) came to visit!  She vacuumed a lot and kept the kids entertained and brought massive amounts of candy and puzzles.  That was pretty sweet.

Love you Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day!

2. We went for a walk and saw a bunny.  Clearly, this was the Easter bunny, according to Max.   He now looks for it every day in the same spot.

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3. We went to and played at the playground almost every day. ( So. many. swings. )  Yay swings!

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Spring sprung!  I cleaned out all the baby toys without anyone noticing.

Victory!

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We have a lot of birthdays around Easter in our family, so we figured we’d celebrate everything at once and save people a trip out to our place since it’s a bit of a hike.

behind the scenes-7

The boys got swords and bikes and pool gear and headphones and games and squishy colorful stuff and a lot of things!  Thank you to all our wonderful family for coming out to celebrate with us.

behind the scenes-8

This happened.  Nobody got hurt…I’m pretty sure.

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“Look at me!  Look at me mom!  Mom!  Mom!  Mom!  Look! ”

behind the scenes-10

 

Food blogging!   Time to make the dough.  In the background you can hear the kids asking to go to the pool (it is fifty degrees here) and they want chocolate and juice boxes and a slushy maker…and, “I’ll add that to the list”.

Eventually they’ll realize there’s no actual list, right?

 

behind the scenes-12

There were a lot of birthday parties and play dates and recipes, and disasters and time-outs and laser tag and pizza and games and bike rides and nature hikes and fun.  But of course, I have no pictures of those things.  Food, though, I always have photos of food.

It’s a thing I do.

behind the scenes-14

 

Max was “Orange Max Three” last year.  Now, he’s “Red Max Four”.  It’s a long story.

 

Max 4

 

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  Enjoy your family and go make some reservations.  If all else fails, ice cream fixes most things.   Remember that in case of emergency, eat ice cream.   It’s an important life lesson.

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Chile and Chive Oil

chile and chive oil

I use flavored oils in everything when I have them on hand.  I find myself rarely digging through the spice cabinet and instead reaching for my trusty flavored oil of the moment, whatever that might be.

It varies almost every time I make it, depending on what I want to use and what I have on hand.  I might instead make a basil chile oil in the middle of July and drizzle it over pasta or a rosemary chive oil in September and use it to brush over bread sticks.

I used this particular oil very quickly in everything from salad dressings to roasted vegetables.  I even used it in a flatbread recipe with a dusting of herbs de Provence that made for an absolutely perfect chevre and roasted pepper panini at lunch the next day.

Basically, this is an excellent means of not only using up herbs, but also making them last about five times longer and maximizing their shelf life for a multitude of recipes. If you’ve never tried it before, you should.  The simplicity and easy versatility of this ingredient make it a staple in my kitchen and I bet you’ll be hooked on it too once you try it.

Chile and Chive Oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup your favorite oil
  • 1 chile pepper, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 bunch of chives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions:

In a small saucepan over very low heat, add oil and minced chile pepper.  Once hot, add sea salt and chives.  Turn off heat and allow to cool, slightly until easy to handle.  Pour into air tight container and allow to sit for up to four hours, or refrigerate overnight.  Bring to room temperature and strain out chile and chives using a fine mesh strainer.  Once strained, keep refrigerated and use as needed for up to two weeks.

 

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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

perfect-hard-boiled-eggs

Happy Easter (almost) weekend everyone!  If you’re like me, you haven’t done anything whatsoever for Easter yet.  I will have about fifteen people here on Sunday to celebrate not only Easter, but also our son’s fourth birthday!  So, let’s get started with the most obvious Easter staple, hard-boiled eggs.

Hard-boiled eggs aren’t exactly the most complex thing in the world.  You put them in cold water, you bring that water to a boil and then after the eggs cook for about ten (between nine and twelve, depending on size) minutes, you cool the water gradually to prevent cracking of shells.  The only complicated part is leaving enough time to cool the water.  Because they’re still cooking  until they’re completely cooled many people end up with a green ring around the yolk.

tips-for-perfect-hard-boiled-eggs-Easter

So, basically you’re looking to get the eggs fully cooked without overcooking.   This is pretty easy as long as you have a timer.

Overcooking your eggs will give you dark gray chalky yolks, which may not be what you’re going for.  So, check the size of your eggs and cook accordingly.  I think most go wrong when following a recipe for large eggs, when in fact they have medium or small eggs or vise versa.  So, be sure to read carefully and you should be fine.  Also, for eggs that will peel easily, you shouldn’t use the freshest eggs you can find.  Easy peel eggs are a product of eggs that have been around for at least one week, maybe a week and a half, in the refrigerator.

tips-for-perfect-hard-boiled-eggs-Easter-3

Now, to get cracking on these party plans.  I’ll be back next week.  Have a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoy!

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

1.  In a large pot (saucepan) place eggs and add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.  When the water reaches a rapid boil, turn off heat and cover.

2.   Leave the eggs in the hot water.  For large eggs, leave for 12 minutes.

Note: 9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large.

3.  Drain immediately and serve warm or add running cold water in moderate increments (about two cups at a time) until cool enough to handle, then drain and place in cold water again until cooled completely.

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Baked Spring Ratatouille

 

Baked Spring Ratatouille-2

Why should summer have all the fun?  There are many perfectly wonderful vegetables in spring that can be combined to make a beautiful rendition of ratatouille.  This is one of those dishes where you go to the farmers’ market and you just look around to see what your ingredients will be.  If it’s nearly eighty degrees and those yellow squash are calling your name, you should go for it.  If you are still shivering under a sweater and you are grateful for the first sight of asparagus tips, you should go for those, instead.

It’s still pretty chilly here, so I used a combination of some local spring vegetables and some greenhouse grown summer favorites.  However, the heat treatments in this recipe allow the natural essence of the vegetables to be brought forth. So if they’re not completely at their peak, it’s ok, because you’re maximizing all flavor potential.  The warmth is officially on its way!

It’s one of those dishes that is versatile and can be baked with a layer of provolone when it’s still cold at night just to add a hint of delicious comfort.  If and when it’s too hot to turn on the oven, I recommend you skip the baking process, of course.  But that’s not yet.  This version can be eaten with a whole wheat pasta or even put into a crusty roll for a ratatouille sandwich.  You can also wrap up any remaining the next day for lunch with some crispy romaine and a dash of balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s versatile and happens to be both vegetarian and low carb.  Enjoy!

Baked Spring Ratatouille

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes (of chopping vegetables)
Total Cook Time: 40 minutes (including oven baking and cool time)
 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups diced spring onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups diced (small, firm) eggplant, skin on
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus tips
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated provolone
  • 3 tablespoons parmigiana-reggiano, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly spray, with cooking spray, the bottom and sides of an oven safe casserole dish (1-2 quarts in size).
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil.  Once oil sizzles and before it smokes, add spring onions.  Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and a pale golden color, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add eggplant and thyme with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, asparagus, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes.
  5. Stir well to blend, add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired and then pour into prepared baking dish.
  6.  Bake in preheated oven until cheese bubbles and turns a pale golden brown, about ten to fifteen minutes.   Allow to set for five to ten minutes before serving.  Plate and garnish with parmigiano-reggiano and chopped scallions or basil leaves if desired.

 

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Quick and Easy Spinoccoli Pasta

This is one of the most delicious vegetarian pasta dishes that I’ve ever eaten and that is saying a lot considering that all variations of pasta are a staple in our weeknight dinner rotation.  This even rivals one of my all-time favorites, pasta peperonata, which I never thought possible.  Spinoccoli is just spinach and broccoli, combined.  They’ve yet to create a hybrid of the two, so don’t go looking for a vegetable called spinoccoli.  There’s no such thing, though that would be pretty neat.  And, yes, I’m almost positive about that.

penne spinoccoli

This was not only received  well by all but was given ecstatic reviews from the family, which, let’s face it, is rare coming from them unless of course, there’s bacon involved.

It only took about fifteen minutes and was completely devoured.  There were no leftovers, but I can imagine this is one of those dishes that can be eaten and enjoyed at nearly every temperature.  It’s a quick and easy weeknight keeper-recipe.

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Spinoccoli Pasta

Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

 

  • 1/2 pound dried pasta ( I used a short cut, penne)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (you may substitute olive oil and a pinch of salt)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons Italian dressing
  • 1 1/2  cups fresh or thawed (formerly frozen) broccoli florets
  • 2 cups, packed, baby spinach
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
  • parmigiano-reggiano for garnish (optional)
  1. Prepare pasta according to the al dente directions provided on the package, reserving one cup cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, In a large nonstick sauté pan, over medium low heat, add butter, water, garlic, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper and Italian dressing.  Add broccoli and cook until just tender, crisp and hot. Reduce heat to low.
  3.  Add prepared pasta with cooking water to sauté pan and toss to combine with broccoli.  Add baby spinach.  Note: Things may look overcrowded at this point, but will wilt down.
  4. Toss together and garnish with chives and Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.  Add fine ground sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Enjoy.

 

 

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Wednesday Wake Up: Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

fruit and yogurt parfait Kate from Scratch

As I lay quietly in the darkness, I hear echoed yelling in the distance.  I search my mind to find something. What I’m looking for, exactly, I’m not sure, but in my restless wandering I only know that I need to find it.  I am cheerfully summoned from my epic quest with a small hand gently poking the soft skin of my eyelid.   This has been my regular alarm clock for several years, now.

I open my eyes and smile as they land upon Max’s adorably mussed mop and flushed cheeks.  He says with a grin, “Hi Mom! It’s a new day!”   His eyes sparkle.  Surely such optimism is deliciously contagious.  I wonder how much longer that will last as he approaches the age of four in only a couple of weeks.  I want to box up his outlook and preserve it like a perfect sauce that I stumbled upon and might need in the future.  But, of course, some things are strictly for enjoying in the moment.

I can see the gray light of dawn peeking behind the curtains and for the first time in many months, I hear the chirping of birds outside our window.  It merges with my sleep induced hypnagogic reality.  My eyes strain to see the clock.  I really need to get my eyes checked.  I’m pretty sure I’ve squinted for the better part of my life.

It’s six o’ nine in the morning and I am now aware that I did not, in fact, save the world from evil marshmallow people; which may sound like a bunch of fluff, but in the moment was sincerely frightening and notorious.

fruit and yogurt parfait Kate from Scratch

I snap into action.

Hello Wednesday, let’s do this.

I adjust the heat and stifle the redundant arguments between Trey and Max. The battle of who has more strawberries, who ate more strawberries and who will receive more strawberries in the future are all prevalent points of their intense debate, naturally.

I need coffee.

I should wake Mike up soon.  He’s still pleasantly enjoying his slumber.  He’s always been blessed with the ability to tune out any amount of noise in the name of a few extra moments of sleep.  Initially I thought this was some sort of defense mechanism against the morning rush (or when they were little, 3 am feedings).  But when considering it’s been ten years without variation in his pattern, I suppose this has become a believably necessary portion of his morning routine.

Let’s make breakfast.

fruit and yogurt parfait with granola

We have things to do.

This is quick and easy and can be made in advance for a grab and go breakfast if stored in an appropriate grab and go container, of course.

Some fat-free greek yogurt (I prefer raspberry, but any flavor will do) cloaked over sliced berries and pineapple with a layer of low-fat granola both in the middle and sprinkled over the top for a bit of crunch. It’s a sweet and tangy breakfast treat that’s simple to make in minutes and provides more than ten grams of protein, with a bit of an immunity boost too.

 

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

  • 5.3-6.0 ounces fat-free raspberry Greek yogurt (or any flavor that you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (any berry will work)
  • 1/3 cup sliced pineapple pieces
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons low-fat granola

1. Stir yogurt thoroughly.

2.  Layer ingredients: Fill cup with half the fruit and scoop yogurt over fruit.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup granola over the yogurt.  Top yogurt with remaining fruit and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of granola over the top.

 

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World Autism Awareness Day!

It’s that time of year again!  World Autism Awareness Day is today.  And, yes, while I am traditionally a recipe maker, photo taker, accidental mess maker and avid cupcake eater, this is one annual mainstay that I won’t deter from, here at Kate from Scratch. We’re shining a light on autism all month long.

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About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.

It’s a cause near and dear and never to be overlooked and I hope you will join me in spreading awareness not just today, but all throughout April.

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Because, while today is the official day, it is just the kickoff point of a month long initiative to increase the awareness of autism.

So, if you’re a little late to the awareness train, no need to fret, you have time to spread the word and do some good for the cause.

Light It Up Blue is observed in our home, from our blue light bulbs, to volunteering in our own community, to lighting up somebody’s day.  Even the act of a simple donation can be enough.  There’s even an entire online store dedicated to Light It Up Blue gear!  You know, if you want to support a good cause and also get a memento that continues to spread autism awareness throughout the year.

Find countless ways here: How To Light It Up Blue.  Spread the word and show your support. Start by visiting liub.autismspeaks.org.  Autism speaks, it’s time to listen.

 

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Spring Rolls

spring rolls

Somebody needs to make some rules for April Fools’ Day.

Mom, wake up!  We’re super late!   …April Fools!

Mom I just remembered my book report is due today!  …April Fools!

Mom, Max scribbled all over my homework!  …April Fools!

Mom, Max has a permanent marker!  …April Fools!

Mom, I forgot my folder, can you run back and get it?  …April Fools!

And it continued.  (Ahhahhhaaaa.  No.)

The first one was good.

And ok, the second one was fine.  I can roll with it.  It’s all good.

However, getting pranked every three minutes really takes the zing out of it.   I think there’s some sort of cautionary tale about this subject.  Well, there should be.

I’m thinking that an affable revenge is appropriate in this scenario.  Is it completely wrong to want to exact a good-hearted revenge on a seven-year old in a healthy and informative way?  Well, I’m considering it nonetheless.  Perhaps, that is, if I can come up with something genuinely genius and hilarious over the next couple of hours. I’m open to suggestions.

We could always just team up to get Mike (aka Dad).  That’s always fun and sounds like a decent alternative.  But, yes, there should be a moderate amount of ground rules when it comes to pranking.  Like, one prank per person you encounter, so make it count.  That would be a good start.  I’m done ranting now.

So, about these spring rolls:  They’re healthy, fresh, light, gluten-free, vegan and delicious.  They’re easy to prepare and bursting with spring flavors.  They’re sweet and spicy and tangy and entirely more interesting than an average salad.  You can add whatever vegetables you like as long as they sauté up nicely without releasing too much water.  A quick sauté and a toss with the dressing, and they’re ready to be wrapped.  They’re the perfect bite for a spring lunch.

Spring Rolls

  • Makes about 8 spring rolls.
  • Prep Time: 10-20 minutes (depends how fast you can chop and roll efficiently).
  • Total Cook Time: 15 minutes.

Spring Roll Dressing

  • 1 small garlic clove, smashed peeled and minced
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon or lime zest

Sautéed Mixed Vegetables

  • 12 ounces mixed crisp and crunchy vegetables cut into thin strips no thicker than the width of a pencil (peppers, carrots, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, edamame, green peas, broccoli, etc.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

Spring Rolls

  • rice paper spring roll wrappers
  • spring roll dressing
  • sautéed vegetables for Spring Rolls (above)
  • dark leafy greens, optional
  • bean sprouts, optional
  • wedge of lime and/or cilantro for garnish

Make Spring Roll Dressing: In a large nonstick sauté pan or wok over very low heat add garlic, onion, ginger, sea salt, cayenne and oil.  Heat over low until fragrant, or about seven to ten minutes.   remove from heat, add zest and brown sugar. Lightly whisk until combined and pour into a heat safe bowl, aside, to cool.

Make Sautéed Mixed Vegetables: Place same pan (no need to rinse or wash it) over high heat.  Add vegetables to very hot pan. Sauté until vegetables are tender crisp.  About three to seven minutes depending on thickness of vegetables. Remove from heat and add salt and lemon juice until cool.

Note: Add vegetables from most to least crisp to ensure even cooking and avoid any moisture from developing in the pan. If moisture develops due to overcrowding or overcooking, drain vegetables before tossing with dressing.

Make Spring Rolls: Toss spring roll dressing with sautéed vegetables, toss to evenly coat.  Both should be cooled.  Set in close proximity to work surface.  In a wide and shallow bowl of hot (but not too hot) water, drop in one spring roll wrapper for about 3-4 seconds.  Remove from water and place on plate.  Working quickly, add a small handful of dressed sautéed vegetables to center of wrapper.  Add greens and sprouts if desired.  Wrap top third over center filling.  Fold sides once inward toward filling and finish by holding filling and wrapping/rolling over remaining top third of wrapper.  Garnish with lime and/or cilantro if desired.

Note: it’s just like wrapping a burrito,  no need to complicate things.  Just be sure not to oversaturate the wrapper for easy rolling.  Great for a lunch on the go.

Posted in All, Lunch, Vegetarian | 6 Comments