Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bubble ring

First of all, today was Kay's first day at a new school. It went very well and she had no problem opening her locker (which was causing the most stress!). Here she is in her very cute "first day of school" outfit. This year she won't get home from school until after 4 PM. Unfortunately, we have to leave for her soccer practice around 5 PM which means we are eating dinner at the ridiculously early time of 4:15. This also means that Kay will not be around to help me fix dinner. All this time I have spent grooming her to take over in the kitchen and she ditches me!!

So, I took advantage of her last day of summer break and let her pick something to make for dinner. We looked through her pile of cookbooks and decided on this. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I first thought it would be and we all really liked it.

This is in the pan after it was cooked.

This is it turned out of the pan.

And this is one of the pieces with sauce.

Pizza Bubble Ring

8 tablespoons of butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes *
2 pounds pizza dough **
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons Parmesan
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a bundt (or tube) pan with cooking spray.

Melt the butter. Add the garlic, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Divide the pizza dough into 40 small balls. Flatten each ball and place some of the mozzarella into the center of it. Roll the dough up around the cheese.

Dip each ball into the butter/spice mixture and place into the prepared pan. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top and drizzle on any extra butter mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and then turn out onto a plate.

Warm the pizza sauce. Pull off pieces of the bubble ring and dip into the sauce.

Serves 8 ***

* - Kay and I thought this was a little too spicy. Bill thought it was perfect but, as usual, he loses and we will cut back on this next time!

** - I doubled this recipe:

*** - Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!! The three of us finished this whole thing without a problem!

Kay: It was good but next time we should do 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper because it was too spicy and needed a little salt I think. This was fun to make but it is really messy when you dip it in the butter sauce.

Mom (Dana): This was really, surprisingly very good. It is the kind of thing that feels like junk food but it is basically pizza in a different form. A side a vegetables probably wouldn't hurt though!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Walnut Cookies

After a crazy Friday including Kay's school orientation, soccer practice and a slumber party, Saturday was perfectly non-eventful! We basically sat around watching TV and just relaxed. Our weather is also temporarily cool so it made it even more enjoyable. By the mid-afternoon, I was getting a little bored though, and when I get bored, I cook. It was too early to start dinner so I went looking for a dessert and found these cookies. Perfect!

Maple Walnut Cookies
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
3 dozen walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oil, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla and maple extracts, and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add the milk and cornstarch and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved.

Add the flour and baking soda. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Drop by tablespoonful about 2 inches apart onto the baking sheet. Press a walnut half into the center of each cookie. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Kay: I like walnuts a lot but I didn't like the walnuts on top. There's enough walnuts inside the cookie. My dad just said that there should be more walnut on top, though!

Mom (Dana): These are really sticky, chewy kind of cookies - my favorite kind! I had a lot of trouble getting the cornstarch to dissolve and ended up using my hands. Other than that, these were pretty easy and didn't require me to drag out my Kitchen Aid.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I've been wanting to make this salad for over a year now and, finally, the perfect opportunity came up. Yesterday was my niece, Courtney's, first birthday party. It had been crazy hot and humid all week. Luckily, yesterday, while it was still very warm, the humidity wasn't quite so bad so you were able to handle sitting outside (in the shade) for a few hours. This salad worked perfectly because it was light but filling and all the vegetables are in season so they tasted fantastic.

Kay can't really comment on this since she was much too busy yesterday running around to actually eat. I did manage to shove a piece of cucumber in her mouth as she ran by though and she didn't complain. I think if I was making it for just the three of us at home, I'd put more bread and cucumbers and less of the peppers and tomatoes so that she could pick out the stuff she likes without ruining it for the rest of us.

This was really fast and easy and delicious and I suggest everyone make it right now! (I'm seriously regretting taking all of it to the party - I just might need to make some more today.)


3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups cubed Vienna, Italian, or French bread
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 roma tomatoes, cubed
1 English cucumber, cubed
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
20 basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained

for dressing:
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the dressing, whisk together the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes while still warm and toss with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Wait at least half an hour before serving so that flavors can blend.

12 servings

I made only slight changes to Ina Garten's recipe.