School has started again, which is why it’s been a while since my last post. People who aren’t teachers usually have no idea how time-consuming being a teacher really is. Between the lesson planning (always trying to come up with new & exciting projects, which students won't even do most of the time), reading & paper grading (the curse of an English teacher), there is little time for much else. Right now, I am teaching three different classes, including an American Studies class that is new to me. It’s a team-taught English & history class that we organized into themed units instead of chronological like usual.
Even though I’ve been busy with school for the past three weeks, we’ve still had some home-cooked meals...sausage & peppers with polenta, grilled London Broil, mustard chicken, panzanella. I’ve been making a lot of panzanella
, my favorite summer recipe and a great way to use of overly ripe, late season tomatoes.
First, cube a baguette or other crusty loaf of bread (day-old works best but fresh is okay). Toss it with some olive oil, truffle salt, & pepper. Toast in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned & crunchy. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes, add to a bowl & sprinkle with Kosher salt to let the juices flow. Add the toasted bread cubes & toss. Add diced mozzarella (or those tiny mozzarella pearls) & fresh basil (or chopped fresh rosemary). Taste. Add more salt & pepper if needed. If your tomatoes are particularly juicy, you may not need much else. If not, you can drizzle in some extra-virgin olive oil & a splash of red wine vinegar. I even like leftover panzanella the next day. If the bread is crispy (and old/dry) enough, it won’t get too soggy overnight. I even ate leftovers topped with a fried egg for breakfast.
I wanted to try a zucchini pasta recipe from the Chocolate & Zucchini
cookbook last week, but I ended up making angel hair pasta with prosciutto & tomatoes in a rosemary cream sauce (an off-the-cuff kind of recipe) instead. I’ll get to that zucchini this week. I’m also thinking of making some moussaka with the farmers market eggplant I bought on Saturday.
I DID make one new
recipe recently...grilled fry bread, from a Mexican grilling class I taught at Kitchen Conservatory.
Grilled Fry Bread
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons powdered milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons Crisco
2/3 cup hot water, or more if needed
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
- Place the flour, powdered milk, baking powder, & salt in a mixing bowl and whisk.
- Add the shortening, cutting it in with a pastry blender. The mixture should be the texture of cornmeal.
- Add enough hot water to obtain a soft, pliable dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap & let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 even pieces & roll each piece into a ball.
- Working on a lightly floured surface, roll a ball into a thin disk 5-6 inches across. Place the disk on a floured baking sheet, then repeat with the remaining balls of dough. Keep the rolled-out dough covered with a damp cloth until your are ready to grill.
- Heat a grill to high (or heat a grill pan on the stovetop). When ready to cook, brush oil onto the grate or pan. Brush the top of each disk with oil. Place a few disks, oiled side down, on the hot grill. Brush the other side with oil.
- After 2-3 minutes, the bread will start to puff & blister and the bottom will become golden brown. Turn the bread over and grill the other side for 2-3 minutes longer.
- Serve at once.
You can use this bread as a base for tacos (fill or top with meat, beans, & veggies), or you can sprinkle them with cheese to serve with a meal (add tomatoes for a meal). If you roll them out thin, you can crisp them on the grill until they are like crackers.