Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tissue Paper Flower

This summer has been filled with wedding showers and bachelorette parties.  My brother is getting married in September and I also have two girlfriends who are following shortly after.  With all of these special celebrations comes lots of gifts... and I am one of those people that think that the packaging is just as important as the gift!

Unless you go to a high end stationary store, I find that unique bows are not readily available.  I was at Target the other day and even their selection left more to be desired.

These flowers are so fun to make.  I secretly want to make a bunch of them and hang them all around my house because they are just so happy!  If you are on Pinterest (follow me here), you can find so many different variations of tissue paper flowers. So put that extra tissue paper you have laying around to some good use!  

You will need:
tissue paper
floral wire
wire cutters
tape measure

Unfold the tissue paper

Cut the paper into sheets that measure about 7 inches by 12 inches.  It doesn't have to be exact but needs to be a long rectangle.  You will need 5 sheets per flower.  

Fold the paper like an accordion with each fold about 1 inch wide

Secure the center of the paper with a 3 inch piece of floral wire

Cut rounded edges on each side for a peony/hydrangea look. You could also cut the ends into a triangle shape for a different look.   

Fan out the paper because from here, you will begin lifting the layers.  

Starting with one side, begin to gently lift up each layer.  

Keep pulling the layers up to the center

This is what it looks like when one side is finished

Now do the same thing to the other side

Depending on what you are using the flowers for, you may need more or less wire.  

I ended up clipping the end of the wire and used my hot glue gun to adhere it to the package

Voila!  I just love these things!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Grilled Margherita Pizza

Our garden runneth over with tomatoes and I could not be happier!  While I could make a meal off of them with just salt and pepper, there are so many ways to serve these homegrown beauties. And since we had company (hi Bill and Ashleigh!) and its such a fun and casual dish, we made margherita pizzas on the grill.

The better part of this recipe consists of how to make the pizza dough.  Making bread can be intimidating but this really is a foolproof recipe.  Nothing to be scared of.   I swear.  It kneads so nicely and barely sticks when you roll it out.

Thank you to Bill and Ashleigh for taking us to the Indians game.  They live in Columbus and this is the second year that they have come up and hosted us for some Tribe time.  Bill and I met freshman year at OU and have remained friends since.  Looking forward to the third annual next year!

First, proof the yeast. You also add the sugar and olive oil at this point.  

The water needs to be warm. Not hot. Not cold. Not lukewarm.  Imagine a cup of coffee that in comfortable to drink.  That is the temperature you are going for.  

Drizzle olive oil around the bowl.  Add flour, salt, pepper and garlic.  Whisk to combine.  

Make a well.  

Pour the yeast mixture in the well.  

Gradually bring the flour down from the sides and mix into the liquid.  Don't worry if it is clumpy.  It will all come together when you knead the dough.  

Keep mixing.  If it is dry, add water one tablespoon at a time.  Vice versa with flour if it is too wet. 

Knead the dough right in the bowl.  Fold ball over, press the palm of your hand directly onto the dough until you hit the bottom of the bowl. Turn the ball 1/4 turn and repeat.  Do this for about 5 minutes until a smooth ball of dough is formed.   

Drizzle with a little olive oil, cover bowl with tea towel and let sit in the counter for one hour. I totally forgot to get a shot of the dough after it had risen.  Mind you this is my favorite part so I must have been excited to punch it down.   

This is the dough after I had punched it down and while I was kneading once again, but on a floured surface this time.  

Cut into four equal sections.  Each one of those pieces will make one pizza that serves 2-4 people, depending on how hungry you are.   

Stick in the fridge until you are ready to use. 

They rose again!  Isn't yeast fun?

This dough rolls out great.  A little flour and you are good to go.  Helpful hint:  keep moving the dough by flipping it over.  This will ensure that it doesn't stick to the counter.  

Brush the grill with a little bit of olive oil and turn heat up to medium.  Place dough on grill, shut the lid and let cook for 3 minutes. 

Stay close... depending on how hot the grill is, this can burn easily.  

Flip over with tongs or a spatula and let the other side cook for another minute or two.  

Now you can throw the ingredients right on the pizza on the grill, but I chose to broil them inside.  

Put the basil on after you remove pizza from oven.  

Pizza Dough
4 cups of flour (I used bread flour but AP will do just fine)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 packet yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups warm water

In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder until combined.  Set aside.

In a glass measuring cup, add warm water. Don't worry about the exact temperature.  Hold your hand under the faucet.  If the water slightly burns your hand, then it is too warm.  You want it to be the temperature of a  warm cup of coffee that is comfortable to drink.

To the warm water, add yeast, sugar and olive oil and stir.  Let sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast can bloom.

Form a well in the flour with a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup.  After yeast has sat, pour mixture into the well.  With a rubber spatula, slowly bring down the sides of flour into the wet ingredients.  Keep mixing until  flour is moistened.  Begin to knead and press the dough in the bowl until a ball forms.  Add water (if dough is dry) or flour (if dough is wet) as needed one tablespoon at a time.

Keep kneading in the bowl until a smooth ball forms.  Drizzle dough with a teaspoon of olive oil and cover bowl with a tea towel.  Set aside and let rise for one hour.

Once dough has risen, punch down and place on a lightly floured surface.  Knead for about five minutes.  Cut ball into four equal pieces.  Place on a plate or cookie sheet and let sit in refrigerator until ready to use.

Remove dough from fridge about 30 minutes prior to using.  Each piece of dough will make one pizza.  Roll the dough out with a rolling pin on a floured surface.  Don't worry about making a perfect circle; rustic shapes work great for these pizzas.

makes 4 pizzas
tomato sauce (homemade version here)
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin or shredded
2-3 tomatoes, sliced thin
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves
good olive oil, for garnish
fresh parmesan cheese

Turn the grill on medium heat and brush with olive oil.  Place the dough down, close top and let cook for 3 minutes.  Open top, flip to cook the other side.  There is no need to close the top now.   The second side only takes 1-2 minutes to cook.  Remove from heat and bring inside to finish assembling.

Turn broiler on high.  Place crust on a large cookie sheet, lined with foil.  Brush pizza dough with olive oil, fresh garlic and a little bit of sauce.  Top with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella.  Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  You can also bake in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes and then finish with the broiler.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Top with basil, fresh grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.  Slice and serve!

Cleveland Rocks

Monday, August 12, 2013

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Throughout the years, I have gradually migrated away from purchasing premade foods from the grocery store that I can make myself.  Sure, hummus from the store is convenient but turn that tub around and look at the ingredients.  I can assure you that you do not need citric acid, "natural flavors", potassium sorbate or sodium benzoate to make fresh hummus.  In fact, this hummus only has six ingredients and it is better than any hummus you will find at the store.

You can use this recipe as a base for any flavor hummus you would like to make.  Always start with the chick peas (garbanzo beans) and liquid, olive oil, tahini and lemon juice and zest.  From there you can add roasted peppers, beets, carrots, fresh parsley, dill or cilantro.  It is such a versatile and healthy alternative to other dips out there.

It also makes a great gift as well.  This made about five cups of hummus and luckily my vegetarian friend Leslie stopped over so I sent some home with her!

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Hummus
2 bulbs of garlic, roasted
1 medium onion, caramelized
2 fifteen (15) ounce cans chick peas
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chick pea liquid
2 tablespoons tahini
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut garlic bulbs in half.  Place each bulb in its own piece of foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap tightly.  Put garlic pouches into oven and cook for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let cool. Squeeze cloves out and save a few to garnish.

Preheat pan over medium heat and drizzle in about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Chop onion into thin slices and cook for about 20 minutes, until brown and caramelized.  Transfer to a plate and let cool. Reserve about a teaspoon for garnish.

In a blender or food processor, add garlic, onions, chick peas, olive oil, chick pea liquid (or water if you forget), tahini, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper.  Pulse until everything is combined and smooth.

Serve in a bowl with fresh veggies or pita chips.  Drizzle with olive oil and top with chick peas,  roasted garlic, onions and a little paprika.

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