I know I’ve been out of commission for a long while on this food thing. And believe me, it’s not just on my blog that I’ve been “out of the kitchen”. Poor David has been suffering through a summer of quick pastas, sandwiches and lame leftovers – none of which are very exciting.
I’m really hopeful that once this baby comes, my appetite will return to normal. However, I’m not so hopeful that I’ll have the time or energy to create special meals like I did when it was just the two of us. But with or without the time, I’m dedicated to making this new balance between motherhood and wifehood a success.
I’m also dedicated to saying “so long” to the 30 pounds that pregnancy bestowed on me, so I hope to post more healthy and vegetable laden meals. I’m not going to lie and say that I won’t post the occasional treat here and there (because I can’t completely omit those – I’ve tried) but cutting back never hurt anyone.
Without further ado, let’s start with a delicious meal I made tonight – Caesar Chicken Wraps with Zucchini, Lettuce and Tomato. First of all, my sister (who claims she’s a horrible cook but is quite an accomplished baker) sent me the recipe for these wraps. I believe she adapted it from a King Arthur recipe. She spent a semester of college in Jerusalem and fell in love with the pita type bread they sold on the streets. These wraps remind her of them and I’m going to take her word for it. Two Notes: This a rather strange recipe but follow it. Also, the recipe may seem intimidating but if my sister – who has 4 rambunctious boys, a picky-eater husband, teaches piano lessons, designs custom garden landscapes and dislikes cooking – can do this, then so can you. She recommends making the dough before hand and keeping it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use. I think that’s a great idea. She also had a bunch of other filling ideas (but more on that another time).
Caesar Chicken Wraps
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup potato flakes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Place 2 cups of flour in mixer. Pour the boiling water over the flour and stir till smooth. Cover and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.
In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add this to the cooled flour/water mixture, stir, then knead for about 5 minutes to form a soft dough. The dough should form a ball but will remain somewhat sticky. Add additional flour only if necessary; if kneading by hand, keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled.
Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces (each about the size of a handball, around 3 ounces), cover, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
Roll each piece into a 7" to 8" circle, and dry-fry them (without oil) over medium heat for about 1 minute per side, until they're puffed and flecked with brown spots. Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking either too quickly, or too slowly (cooking too quickly means they may be raw in the center while too slowly will dry them out).
Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack, stacking them to keep them soft. Serve immediately, or cool slightly before storing in a plastic bag.
1 to 4 large cloves garlic, to taste, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or aged Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Grilled Chicken-Vegetable Filling
1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 large onion, peeled and sliced in 1/2" slices
1 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices
To make the dressing: Stir together the minced garlic, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and sour cream. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper. You may do all of this in the food processor by processing together the garlic, lemon juice, anchovy or Worcestershire sauce, and sour cream. Drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube with the motor running, then gently pulse in the Parmesan and black pepper. Set the dressing aside. Refrigerate it if you're not going to use it within an hour or so.
To make the filling: Grill the chicken and vegetables over medium coals until done (or sauté them in a skillet). Cool, then slice the chicken and cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces. Place a lettuce leaf on each bread. Spoon some of the filling down the center, atop the lettuce. Top with dressing, wrap and serve immediately.
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