Saturday, August 30, 2008

Strawberries... FINALLY!

Here is my first bowl of strawberries from our garden. It has been a long wait but they are finally here. I know some are a bit ripe. They will be the first victims :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Green Chili and Cheese Loaves

So what do you do with all the scraps from the bierocks? Well you make Green Chili Cheese Loaves of course!

Gather all your scraps and knead together. Let rise again until fluffy. I cheat by putting it in a covered container in the microwave and nuke it for 20 seconds. Let it hang out in the microwave for about 10 minutes and check before using a second nuking if needed.

Roll out the dough and sprinkle cheese and left over green chili peppers. Don't be skimpy!

Roll up like a cinnamon roll.

Slice into approximately 4 inch pieces.

Then set each piece on a cut end and pull down the layers like a flower.

Let rise and bake.


Pizza Bierocks - My first official post!

First of all - Welcome to my blog! I am finally jumping on the food blog bandwagon. Although I started this page years ago, I never really utilized it.

So without further adieu, I bring you Pizza Bierocks. I chose this as the recipe to start with because it is a variation of a traditional Russian/German Mennonite food back home. A bierock is similar to a Runza. Never heard of either? Well they are a kind of a pocket sandwich. Traditionally bierocks are filled with cabbage and hamburger. Although the dough may vary, the filling is pretty much the same, except some may add cheese or potatoes. Since I am always the different one..hence the reason I found myself far away from home and up here. I love to fill them with what ever my little heart desires. The pizza has been my most popular one. Closely followed by a breakfast style filling.

Let's get started!

First, start with your favorite dough recipe. I choose a sweet bread. The sweet of the dough brings out the usually salty/savory filling. Be sure to choose an enriched dough. That is one with a little butter and milk to keep it supple and relaxed. You want a nice happy and mellow dough for this.After you have made the dough and it has risen, roll out dough to form a rectangle. Cut the dough into the shape you prefer. I prefer a finished round shape. For mine I make a cardboard template that is 5.5 inches square. Cut the dough into the shape and let rest. Resting the dough is key. Remember you want happy mellow dough!

After the dough has rested and is slightly puffy and very relaxed roll it out slightly. I usually cut about half a dozen and then let that rest, reserving the rest of the dough in a covered bowl until I am ready for it.

Here is a square rolled out slightly with the filling and ready to be shaped. Choose what ever filling you want. For these I did a spicy pizza filling (pork, chicken, beef in a typical Italian/pizza sauce). To that I added Tabasco, chipolte chili pepper, green chillies, roasted red pepper, and roasted green pepper. It gave it just a small bit of heat that one can feel after a few bites. But nothing that really distracts from the pizza flavor. Once cooled I mixed in a pizza blend of cheese to taste.

Now pick up opposite corners and bring to the center, like this.

See how you can see the filling bulge against the dough? Nice relaxed dough...

Now bring up the opposite corners and press together.

Finally gently stretch up the remaining "corners" and gather the dough at the top. I like to pick up the dough and give it a gentle bounce and then gather any remaining give. This gives a nice snug fit against the filling so that you don't end up with a huge pocket of air that minimizes the heft of your filling. Or at least how full it appears to be by the lucky consumers. Press the gather tightly.

See how nicely the dough cooperates when it is happy?

Now I like to turn over the ball and make sure there are no big ripples, tears, or thin spots. Small ripples will puff out during the baking process.

After it has passed my inspection, I turn it back over and snip off the excess.

Make sure all seams are good and then turn back over and give it a few gentle love taps where needed to spruce up the ball.

Place on silpat covered sheet and egg wash.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven, rotating once. Or until browned and you are satisfied with the sound of your thump on the top of the bierock.

Yummy! After I bake them I like to brush on butter to keep the dough soft.

Here my little guys are all lined up for the big guys tonight!

If you want to see what the insides look like.. well then, bake them and find out :)

Thanks for ready my first post everyone. I hope you enjoyed it as much I have enjoyed creating it.