Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pocket Sandwich and Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Stuffed Pretzel Class with the Ladies

Today I had the chance to do a personal cooking coaching session with Emily . She did a giveaway on her blog a few months back for the class, and we just this week got to do it. Emily's co-class winner was one of her blog readers named Kim who has the joy of having nine children in her home. Kim was in need of some practical kid friendly and fun foods she and her children could make. So...we set to work making pocket sandwiches for lunches and stuffed pretzels for snacks.

The first thing you need to know is that we used my recipe for Oven rise pizza dough . We used whole wheat flour and increased the water by 1/2 cup.  The good thing about that dough is that if you choose not to bake the pretzels or sandwiches right away, you can also put them uncooked in the freezer on a plastic lined sheet pan until frozen. They go directly from the freezer to the oven on a lightly oiled pan and bake like "oven rise" pizza...but they're pretzels and pocket sandwiches. Pretty ding-a-dang-dong handy dandy if you ask me. Whole grain, made at home and low fat?! Yup. We're pretty happy about that. 
First up, we made some 
Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Stuffed Pretzels.  

Using half of the Oven rise pizza dough
Roll a rectangle, 2 feet by 18 inches, about 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured board or counter top.
Cut strips of dough the entire length of the dough, about finger width apart.

I used 3/4 cup homemade Freezer Jam
Putting the entire contents in a pastry bag, put a line of jam right down the middle of the pretzel. This also works for peanut butter...almost any soft spread. Top with chocolate chunks.
I have to say that Kim and Emily were complete "naturals" at this dough pinching stuff. Be so impressed.

I showed how to form pretzels here on my blog during the 

Vegan Soft Pretzel Tutorial

Once formed, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Allow to raise about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake  12-15 minutes.

 While still warm, sift a hearty layer of powdered sugar on them if desired. OH...we desired.
 Would you care to crack on open?

Note to self. When I make these again I will use the  chocolate bread recipe. I think they would be divine. Oh so divine. 

The next thing we made where ham and cheese sandwich pockets with mustard.
Take 1/4 batch of the oven rise pizza dough and roll it out in a rectangle 24 inches by 12 inches, very thin.
Top with 1 lb of diced ham, divided between six squares you cut out of the dough. Drizzle the ham with mustard. Top with a large slice of mozzarella or Monterrey Jack cheese. Pull the dough up around the filling and pinch closed very tightly at the seams.
I think they've got it!
Place seam side down on a lightly oiled sheet pan.  Raise 30 minutes.
Bake 350 degrees 30 minutes.

Pizza pockets use 1/4 oven rise pizza dough recipe, rolling out the same way you would for the ham pockets.   Use a Tablespoon of spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce right in the middle.
Cut the cheese. Look...Emily is really good at it. Why this made me laugh so hard I have no idea.
Pile pepperoni, cheese, onion or any other pizza toppings you want into the middle of the dough squares.

Pull up the dough around the filling, pinch closed and put seam side down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. We also oiled the top of the pizza pockets.

Top generously with fresh shredded parmesan cheese and some cracked pepper if desired.

Bake 350 degrees 30-35 minutes.

There you go. Make some. We had a great time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Everybody Loves a Parfait (and a Giveaway winner!)

 Recently I've been addicted to these little love nugget-layer-delights. They are basically my  Homemade yogurt Home-Spun Breakfast Cereal or my favorite 

Homemade fruit and nut granola 

and of course, some of the evil-delight...

a fruit layer Using Freeze Dried Fruit for Freezer Jam.  

The thing I love most is that we don't use any added sugar in this "jam" these parfaits are relatively healthy.

I've discovered that the use of the half pint (1 cup) mason jars for the parfaits work perfectly. It helps me to have something covered like that in the fridge. My 87 year old father in law (AKA Mr. Putt Putt) likes having them around too.  My kids beg for them.  

So, that being said, I think everyone can now safely make some delightful snack or breakfast grab-n-go items.

If you're here wondering about our Give Oh Giveaway!...The winner is Salsa Mama! me when you get the chance sweet lady. I'll get that shipped out pronto!

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Use Tomato Powder

Last week I did a segment on  Valley Dish making a classic family favorite of ours. Eggs poached in tomato sauce.  I can't even tell you how much fun I had adapting this recipe to use...tomato powder! Monday being the day I try to share how to use food storage items. 

I did a post on Eggs in Tomato Sauce...and World Peace and in it I shared this  Israeli Egg dish called shakshuka. It seemed time for me to adapt it using food storage, since I loved it so much!   It also seemed like a perfect time to introduce folks to the basic "how to" on Tomato Powder.  Each #10 can has almost 50 1/4 cup servings, so it's very good for maximizing your space in food storage situations.  

 I had to giggle when one of my dear friends said to me, "What the heck-fire do you do with tomato powder?!" Well...I'm here to tell you that you use it anywhere you use tomato paste, tomato sauce, or tomato juice.  The perk is that it is shelf stable for up to 10 years! So no more throwing away cans of tomato sauce that have gone bad, burst, or had the acid eeek through them.  

Right off the can of  it says, "Substitute Tomato Powder in any dish that calls for tomato paste or sauce. It's perfect for stews, soups, Italian sauces, caseroles or pasta. Easily create homemade spaghetti sauce or put together a steaming soup with tomato powder. Tomato Powder can be rehydrated with a ratio of 1 part powder to 4 parts water, though this ratio can be altered to reach desired consistency for various recipes."

1⁄4  cup + 1⁄2  cup water= 6 oz.tomato sauce or 
3⁄4  cup tomato paste

 1/4 cup Dehydrated Onion, 1/4 cup dehydrated bell pepper, 2 tsp granulated garlic.


Added 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp black pepper (fresh ground).  I store my spice seeds whole so the shelf life is about quadruple what the ground spice shelf life is.  Just a handy little tip.  Added 1T paprika.
Add the spices to 1/2 cup tomato powder and 2 cups water for a thin tomato sauce.

I poached the 8 eggs in the sauce combination about 12 minutes and sprinkled generously with Kosher Salt...The Real Stuff sea salt.
Use tomato powder anywhere you use tomato sauce. From Pizza to's a great way to add tomato to your food storage!

It would be easy to make a meal mix using the 1/2 cup tomato powder, 1/4 cup onion, 1/4 cup bell pepper, 2 tsp garlic, 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Put in a half pint jar and seal. To use for dinner:
 Just add 2 cups water until well combined.  Put in a pan and cook over medium heat, cracking eggs into the tomato sauce and cooking 12 minutes.

There you go. How to Use tomato powder!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fishermen of Another Sort

This just seemed like the perfect post for today. Even with life's snares, it is possible to be free. I'm so thankful for the Lord who makes all things possible.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homemade Tomatillo Salsa...Yes we Can!

One of the all time favorites at my house is Salsa Verde. AKA Tomatillo salsa. Oddly enough, I realized today that I had never added it to my blog. This is a great human tragedy soon to be remedied by my stealthy fingers typing frantically.  I know everyone needs to know how to make it.  Okay, maybe not everyone per say, but everyone who has ever longed for a truely luscious green salsa recipe.  My husband Ace will literally crack open the bottles and drink them. Falling off the wagon...
 Note:  If you roast the peppers first, you'll have a slightly smoky depth to your sauce that will make your friends and family cry with joy and happiness...In Arizona we have markets that literally flame roast pounds and pounds of green chiles right in front of us. It's quite a nice perk to living in on the surface of the sun...I mean the valley of the sun.  

Tess' Green Tomatillo Salsa
5 1/2 cups chopped, cored husked tomatillos, pureed in food processor
1 cup onion, pureed in food processor
1 cup minced sorano green chili peppers (or for less hot, use mild roasted Hatch green chiles)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch minced cilantro
1 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 cup vinegar (5% acidity or higher)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.  Remove from canner and place on dry kitchen towel.  Allow to cool 12 hours.  Check the seals.  If properly sealed, store for up to a year.  If it didn't seal, it may be refrigerated up to 2 months. 
Yield: 5 1/2 pint jars (5 cups)

If you've never home canned before, see my handy post: 

There you go! 
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today on Valley Dish...Ravioli Eggs!

Eggs in Tomato Sauce...and World Peace

I made this Israeli Egg dish a few days ago in anticipation of my upcoming segment today on NBC 12 Valley Dish in Phoenix.   The Israeli version is spicy with paprika and absolutely amazing. Come to find out that there are several versions of eggs poached in tomato sauce that are eaten around the world. In Italy they are reffered to as "eggs-in-purgatory". In France Eggs-in-Piperade.  In fact one comment that I got on my Facebook Page  from a sweet lady in France named Dominique said this,

"Quand j'étais jeune ma mère nous faisait des oeufs sur des tomates fraîches : elle coupait les tomates en tranches, elle les faisait cuire dans une grande poèle avec de l'huite d'olive, elle assaisonnait avec du sel, du poivre, un peu d'aillyophilisé, et quand les tomates étaient bien cuites "compotées" elle cassait des oeufs sur les tomates et les faisait cuire à couvert (couvercle..."
 Translated:  "When I was young my mother made us eggs on fresh tomatoes: it cut the tomatoes into slices, she was cooking in a large pan with olive oil, she seasoned with salt pepper, a little aillyophilisé, and when tomatoes were cooked "stewed" she broke eggs on tomatoes and cooked, covered (lid the egg should be cooked but not too soft to be =) this dish with a slice of fresh bread is a treat!!"

 I'm actually going to be making a family classic that we've enjoyed since the time I was a very small girl. We always called them Ravioli Eggs. How comforting that Dominique's mother made eggs in a similar way.

The truth is, I love the fact that people all over have enjoyed this dish as a simple home classic.  It makes me think that if we can all somehow agree on this...

We can certainly agree on a lot more things. So, it may not be world peace...but it's a step.   So, find my recipe for today's show here,
and join me today for a taste of home, comfort and happiness. I'm so looking forward to it!

There you go.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Give Oh Giveaway! many good things going down...

So, Chef Tess Bakeresse has been spreading.  I'm almost afraid to blink!  Can I share some crazy flattering and fun details?  This week I got another call from the producer at NBC 12 Phoenix "Valley Dish" asking me to be on the show again next week.  Thursday!   Between that and Fox 10 that will be my 3rd segment this month.  I'm doing what I love best...teaching cooking classes and blogging food for a local food storage store called Preparing Wisely (that I've loved forever!!).  I'm seeing a lot of momentum here! .   Tuesday March 29th at 9 AM I'm teaching a home canning safety class at Preparing Wisely store in Mesa. So, here on the blog, I'm doing a giveaway! A 12 piece Columbian Home canning set from

Here's how to enter (up to three times!) :
1st entry...leave a comment.
2nd entry...leave a comment and then leave a second comment if you share it on FB or Twitter (there's a little "share" box at the end of the post).
3rd entry...become a public follower of the blog and comment on that as well.

So, join the fun! Winner will be picked randomly Tuesday the 29th of March...Smooooches!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Mystery Castle--a Phoenix Staycation Must See

Taking my kids on a field trip was high on my list of things to do during Spring Break. High enough that we went last week just after they got out of school.  My husband Ace had read about this Mystery Castle.  Located at the foothills of South Mountain Park. It seemed like the perfect excursion for a family who loves using natural resources..and appreciates art.  It's built 100% out of recycled stuff...and natural stuff. One thing we couldn't find until we got there was how much it would be to tour the place. So, just for you..
Right away I noticed this wagon wheel uses as a window. Oh my gosh. I fell in love.
 It's amazing! Upon closer's even more surprising. There are a million little nooks and crannies with astounding use of recycled material.

 This window caught my eye right away. Look at that's old glass fridge containers!
 The builder made this house out of nothing. Literally what he found in the dessert an what he was able to purchase amazingly cheap from junk dealers. Out of it, he built a monument of love for his daughter.

 In all of the rooms, natural light is used.
 Okay, I need one of these.
 Bunk beds are built right into the sides of the walls and the natural use of the land.
 I was really impressed with how thick the walls are...and the amazing use of natural light. This is the inside of that window I showed you...with the fridge glass.

The Mystery Castle was built in the 1930s by Boyce Luther Gulley (died 1945) for his daughter Mary Lou Gulley.  Point of interest here..Life Magazine story (January 26, 1948) [1]  was done on the Mystery Castle and this is the metal alligator that guarded the door to the "mystery" treasure to be opened by the daughter Mary Lou. You'll have to go take the tour to see what the treasure was. I was almost moved to tears.
 Perhaps one of the most exciting things for my kids to see...were the rocks. Face has a rock fixation. I'm okay with it. I'm sure he'll be an amazing man. But when he saw rocks turned into art...his giant brain took off! He was talking non-stop about what he could do with rocks at home.  The Pet rock collection was quite extensive there.
 I'm not kidding.
The work with the mortar and stones is intense.

 Really...who uses tires in their walls? I think everyone should.

 Boyce left little notes in nooks and crannies for his daughter as well.  Can you imagine Mary Lou opening this to see a note from her dad in the kitchen?
 I wasn't kidding about the pet rocks. That's a rock.
 The old kitchen...
 A table out of copper coiling...
 The dumb waiter "well" that goes from the patio upstairs to the "bar" below.

 We are making some of these! Wind chimes out of forks and spoons?! Every chef should have one.

Through this little window on the patio you can see Phoenix.

 In the play room there were some really cool things too.
Go see the Mystery Castle . We had an outstanding, inspiring time. Now...I need to go make some wind chimes.