Thursday, November 09, 2006

Under the weather

I've been feeling under the weather lately - I think the cold weather shock and the dryness from having the fire going all the time have me feeling a bit off. As such, I haven't been as active, either alone or with the kids. Hopefully I'll be able to kick it before the week end.

I made a favorite recipe yesterday, Ham-Spinach Sandwich ring. But the dough didn't behave properly - the yeast didn't give enough rise. So I made an alternate dinner which turned out tasty enough. I finished the ring after the kids had gone to bed and we had it for lunch today. My sister stopped drinking cow's milk after reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. So I substituted in soy milk. This just didn't work out as well as the dough ended up crisper. It was doable, but definitely better (softer) with milk.

I've been talking less since my throat hurts. This means I'm listening more and Maddie can really go on sometimes. It's a wonder what goes on through kids' heads. The other day she put some things in a plastic bag. I asked her what was inside and she said I couldn't see it because it was special. "It's more special than a wedding dress." "Wow, that's special," I replied. "It's more special than jeans, and it's more special than a jacket." Hmmm, I thought to myself. Your scale of 'specialness' perhaps does not have a direct correlation to my own. "Ohhh," I said out loud.

On Sunday, Edo left for Gabon. Above, Maddie had made a pretend birthday cake out of giant legos and invited us to sing to her. Tao and Wubby were off to see a doctor and the chicken pot pie was cooking in the oven (ricotta made an excellent substitution for lack of heavy cream). For the last 3 days Maddie has been making pretend birthday cakes for herself and asking us to celebrate.

Ham-Spinach Sandwich Ring
(special thanks to Emery for getting this recipe from my cookbook and emailing it to me)

Serves: 12 to 16 (or 5 hungry people)
Do-Ahead Note: Wrap, label and freeze ring up to 2 months.
Microwave Reheat Guidelines: Microwave one 2 1/2" wedge uncovered on medium (50%) until hot, refrigerated bread 1 1/2 to 3 min, frozen bread 4 to 5 1/2 min. Tested in microwaves of 625 and 700 watts.

1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
1/4 c warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 c warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
2 T sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 t salt
2 eggs
4 1/4 c all-purpose flour
Ham-Spinach Filling (recipe below) or your own favorite filling
Butter, softened

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl; stir in milk, sugar,margarine, salt, eggs and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed 10 min, scraping bowl frequently.
  2. Stir in remaining flour; continue stirring, scraping dough from side of bowl, until soft, sticky dough forms. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hr.
  3. Prepare Ham-Spinach Filling.
  4. Stir down dough by beating about 25 strokes. Turn onto well-floured surface; roll or pat into rectangle, 20" x 12". Cut dough into 2 strips, 20" x 6". Spread half of the filling down center of each strip. Bring long edges of dough up over filling; pinch edge and ends to seal. Stretch rope to 22" and make even. Place ropes side by side; twist gently and loosely. Shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet; pinch ends together. Cover and let rise until 1 1/2 times original size, about 30 min.
  5. Place oven rack below center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush ring lightly with butter. Bake until ring is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped, 25 to 30 min. (If ring is browning tooquickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.)
  6. Brush with margarine; cool slightly.
Ham-Spinach Filling
This is the suggested filling, but you can substitute just about anything.

1/2 c chopped onion
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T vegetable oil
2 c chopped fresh spinach (about 4 oz)
1 c chopped fully cooked smoked ham
1 c shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz)
  1. Cook and stir onion and garlic in oil until tender.
  2. Add spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted; cool.
  3. Stir in ham and cheese.


Anonymous said...

I made chicken pot pie yesterday, too!!

Lin said...

but I forgot the PEAs!