Monday, September 14, 2009

Surely the Dough has Risen by Now.....

My, it's been a while. I bet you're wondering why. And, you may also be wondering just why it is that the nutrition of my family is so gosh-darn important to me. Here's the thing. We have some health issues. My husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis many, many years ago. No one really knows what causes it. And the only recognized treatments involve some less than satisfactory medical intervention. But while reading and learning and wondering, we realized that diet may have a lot to do with preventing it. Heck, diet may have a lot to do with everything, right? Your heart, your guts, your chances of getting cancer, your weight, your energy and if you're a flamingo, even your color.
This whole "making a person" thing freaks me out a bit, so I decided to use the best materials available in building the two my fella' and I started from scratch. Real food, close to the source. And if I'm going to make such long-living healthy people, I might as well make sure they have a nice place to live, so we try to eat as sustainably as is practical for us. We haven't transitioned to a wholly sustainable diet, but we're doing what we can. Balancing the demands of work, health, happiness and housework (not necessarily in that order, although for sure, housework is last) means we don't come anywhere near any one's version of perfect. But we do eat some yummy food!

Speaking of, I bet you're wondering about the "filling and baking" of the lunch pockets I promised. So here we go:
I believe I left you with some rolled out dough, and some braised and cooled chicken. The idea is to fill the pockets with a combination of a protein of choice, a veggie of choice, and a viscous element of choice. (Sauce, cheese, mustard, pesto - something with moisture and flavor).
So, once you've rolled out the dough -
Spread your sauce or cheese or other condiment around the surface of the dough. Really, this is like making a pizza, but you fold it over at the end.
Then, add several tablespoons of shredded chicken, pepperoni, kidney beans, or whatever you'd like.
After that, some spinach, diced tomatoes, shredded zucchini, or steamed broccoli. Again, whatever you think your kid will either enjoy, or not notice. With the veggies, I tend to go for "accept" - enjoy is often too much to ask.

Once you have all your fillings in place, brush an egg wash* around the edge of your dough, very lightly, and then fold the dough over.
Crimp the edges together, and bake in a HOT oven until golden brown - about 7 - 10 minutes.
What do I mean by HOT? I use a pizza stone for this (and pizza...), and it works best if I turn my oven on ALL the way up, and preheat for at least 20 minutes.

If that's not your style, a greased cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes should work, too. (This one is covered in cornmeal - that's my trick for getting them to slip off the sheet, and on to the pizza stone. Well, not "my" trick - this is why so many really good pizzas have cornmeal on the bottom.)
Here are some fillings we tried and liked:
  • Pepperoni (I use natural, nitrate free. I really, really avoid nitrates), mozzarella cheese, and pizza sauce (often knows as spaghetti sauce)
  • Shredded chicken, goat cheese, and defrosted frozen spinach. (Fresh works too, but you have to watch out for the moisture.....)
  • Shredded chicken, finely chopped broccoli, and cheddar cheese
  • Black beans, roasted red peppers, and pepper jack (my boy LOVES beans)
  • Sliced, cooked sausage (like a Polish sausage) with mustard, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.
Be creative. Have fun. Start with familiar ingredients if your kid/spouse/self doesn't like new stuff. Or hey, fill 'em with leftover stew or pot-roast or chili, and call it a night.
These can be wrapped in freezer paper and/or foil, and frozen for several months. They'll keep your kid's apple cold, while defrosting in their cubby.
And remember both the bread dough and the braised chicken in this post? The dough works great for pizza, too. And the chicken? Once you have some good, cooked chicken around, the possibilities are nearly endless.....
(Some day soon - a post about chicken tacos!)
Besos,
Emily