Monday, April 28, 2008

all tied up in knots

"Guest baker Jill" and Jenni's project...
Soft Pretzels!You might wonder (as "Guest Baker Jill" demonstrates)...

...why one pretzel appears to be a (healthy) brown color while the other two look pasty white. Here is the reason:

(As stated before) I like my flour brown and whole so most things I make (that I plan on eating, at least) I attempt to make brown and um, whole (sorry for the repetition).

After rolling the pretzels into "logs" and shaping them into pretzels (with some rise/relax time mixed in), we decided to boil them before baking (like bagels!) which gave them a nice chewy "crust"

after baking we cooled them and... partook

Jill's report on the white flour version was, "These are amazing".

My report on the brown flour was that they reminded me of Trader Joe's (100%) Whole Wheat Pretzels (everyone's tried those right? Umm, no) but in a softer, chewier way.

Pete liked them too!!

I got a pretty good burn from the baking sheet while making these but failed to take a picture while my arm was at the height of it's crispiness. The scorch was worth it, they were good.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cafe Sahara

Eating at Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Chili's, and the like can make going out to dinner a monotonous experience. Here is our first documented excursion in what we hope is a series of "Mom and Pop", or at least non-chain, restaurants.

Cafe Sahara
3641 East Baseline Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85234

Mediterranean & Indian

Atmosphere: Pleasantly dark with Hindi Music in background

Customers Present Upon Arriving: Zero (2 came in while we were there)

Nice bendy straws. Table setting lacked spoons wherewith to stir sugar in iced tea - the knife worked well though

Arrived 3 minutes after placing order. Delicious dressing on the side

Main Course:
Arrived 13 minutes after placing order. Came with toasted pita bread

Jenni ordered Vegetarian Combination (labeled a Mediterranean dish)
The dish included Falafel, stuffed grape leaves, baba ghannouj, hummus & tabouli

This was the best tabouli I ever tasted. The falafel was very nicely spiced. The hummus was good, and the grape leaves were alright, but I don't know that I would have enjoyed any other grape leaves more.

Peter ordered Chicken in Peanut Sauce (labeled an Indian dish)

This dish came with rice.

The Chicken was a little greasy but thoroughly enjoyed by Peter who said he'd order it again. The rice was tender and all around good

The waitress was nice and very attentive

$9.95 each for our meals plus a $2.25 drink brought us to $23.88

Nutrition Thoughts:
The salad greens were suspiciously iceberg-ish but had the bonus of extra veggies. The dressing seemed homemade and was not very heavy (possible tzatiki). The vegetarian* combo was nice with beans, olive oil, fresh (tasting) herbs, and veggies (in the tabouli) although I do believe the falafel was deep fried. The chicken dish, well, it sure had a lot of protein. The pita bread was unmistakenly made of refined flour but, was very good. All the food we ate seemed to be made at the restaurant (not shipped in bags to be reheated... with the exception (guessing) of the pita bread). Everything seemed very fresh. *No, Neither Peter nor Jenni Jacks are vegetarians

Sunday, April 13, 2008

half-whole pizza

(At Least) One of us is a big fan of Whole Grains.
This Pizza dough recipe was made (and eaten) with 50% Whole Wheat flour... the other unfortunate flour being of the refined variety. But, having made this recipe with both 100% and 50% Whole Wheat Flour, the 50%50% variety is rather tastier (although, taste isn't always everything : ).

"This tastes like real pizza".

Unfortunately the crust was rather tasteless (crust referred to here as area without toppings) because the salt was mistaking omitted.

Don't forget the salt.


¾ cup white flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ tsp. salt

1 T. olive oil

1 T. sugar

½ package (¼ ounce) yeast

½ cup water

  1. Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

  3. Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

  4. If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

  5. Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

  6. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

  7. Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes.

  8. Makes 1- deep dish or 2- 12-inch pizza crusts.

  9. To bake, top with your favorite sauce, cheese, etc., and bake at 450°F for about 15 minutes or until crispy and cheese is bubbling.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

formidable fish

Note: Beware of the condition of seafood before purchasing.
Note Two: Purchase seafood at locations with excellent return policy.

Shopping at Wally World has been a great convenience to the Jacks' household.

#1 Wally World's Ad Match Policy (saving the Jacks' $$, or at least $)
#2 Wally World's 24 hour a day operation

Walmart is now also appreciated for refunding purchased Salmon that was reported rotten upon it's conveyance home. No hard evidence needed (although it was photo-journaled just in case suspicions arose), they just took our word.

Thanks Wally

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Everyone Likes to Eat...

Food. At least most people do. We, the Jacks, are going to munch around town (including the homestead) and let you know how we find it.