Pita Bread

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 0 comments

I was surprised at how easy this recipe was, and how great it turned out. The first time around, we never got to using the pita for falafel or anything else I had planned it for, because we just snacked on them. In South Africa things like pita bread and tortillas are expensive, otherwise I never would have thought to have tried this on my own. The recipe is from The Fresh Loaf, and it's worth checking out the link because there is a lot of great info there about pita and bread baking techniques.


3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 T sugar or honey
2 t yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c water, roughly at room temperature
2 T oil or shortening or butter


If using active dry yeast, follow the packet directions to activate. Otherwise, if using instant, mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add oil and water and stir with wooden spoon. All the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick, add more water.

Place ball of dough on clean surface and knead with your hands or mix in a mixer on low for 10 minutes.
Place the kneaded dough in a bowl lightly coated in oil. Roll the ball around till it has been coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or damp dish towel. Set aside in draft-free place, about 90 minutes, till it has doubled in size.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down, divide into 8 pieces (or however many good size pita balls you can make - I made more than 8). Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp dish towel, and let rest 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat oven to 400 F (204 C). Preheat a baking stone or upside down cookie sheet on middle oven rack, that you will back the pita on.

After the dough has rested, take each ball and roll to 1/8-1/4 inches thick on a lightly floured surface.
Put as many pitas as you can on the preheated tray in the oven. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes.

Vegetarian Eats - Saving Money

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 0 comments
Over here in South Africa, the one thing that is really cheap is produce. We go to a little produce store by our house weekly and stock up on tons of farm fresh vegetables and fruit. We can buy huge bags of avocados, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut, apples, bananas, naartjies (similar to clementines), etc - all for about 60-80 Rand, which is equivalent to about $9-$11. We can only buy what's in season. So too bad if I'm craving strawberries (I am) because those won't be out for another few months. But it's a great way of eating healthier and saving money. We've decided the last several weeks to go meatless in our groceries to save money even more. We aren't vegetarian but the last few weeks have shown us we could be. Ok, Andy would object to that - he still sneaks out every so often to the meat stand in Masi, the local township, where he can buy a ton of pork for about $3 and have them grill it for him.
Anyway, here are some of the simple meals we've made meatless:

  • chili - just canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato puree, canned red kidney beans, sugar, and a taco seasoning packet from the States. 
  • vegetable and white bean chowder - I did a play on our white chicken chili, using potatoes instead of chicken, and using canned white beans, chicken stock (I get chicken bouillon cubes cheaply here and use them in just about everything), and adding butternut and frozen corn.
  • pasta with veggies - this is a favorite we have been making awhile, and each week we adapt it. We just saute whatever veggies we have and serve over spaghetti. We serve it also with either shredded cheddar cheese or feta. Our favorite veggies to eat this way are mixed peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and baby marrow (mini zucchini). 
  • baked veggies with sauce - my mom always baked veggies and served with a cheese roux. So I did the same but did a play on the roux by using an old packet of cream of chicken soup I had in my pantry. I served it over a mix of roasted potatoes, butternut, sweet potatoes, and carrots. It was delicious. I added in some leftover mac and cheese, and liked it with the sauce. It also encourages Norah to eat more veggies when mixed in with pasta and sauce.
  • rice and veggies - just sauted a whole bunch of chopped veggies and cooked with rice and stock and curry