Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Not of the Hunger Games variety.
So, yesterday was shawarma. Today I talk about how I discovered my oven could get up to five hundred degrees.
It was deliberate.
We made pita bread, to put our delicious shawarma and tahini spread into. Using this lovely recipe we discovered on, we successfully made a double recipe of sixteen lovely light brown puffy hollow pita pockets :)

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115°F)
  • 2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets (I just lightly rubbed flour over the sheets)

  • As far as the steps, we followed this recipe pretty religiously and it worked wonders. It's a bit long and involved, but I looked through several recipes and it is not at all the longest or most involved of all the recipes even just on the front page.
    As far as the recipe, we used an even half and half mixture of unbleached flour and whole wheat flour, and simply used three cups of it.
    Well, we used six, because we doubled the recipe.
    It was a lot of pita.
    We planned on having a lot of leftovers.
    It's not quite going as planned.

    Regardless, the recipe goes as follows.

    "Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour."

    Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

    -----Set oven rack in lower third of oven and-----

    -----remove other racks-----


    Preheat oven to 500°F.

    Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm."

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm tastey.
     mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm tastier.

     tahini sauce.

    Shawarma chicken. Best stuff in the whole world, in my humble opinion. I will definitely be repeating this experience.
    Tomorrow or the next day, I will be posting art! Yay!

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012


    ...for those of you who have seen 'How it Should Have Ended' for the Avengers.

    Or, on other words, shawarma.

    I have an awesome boyfriend, by the way. After seeing the Avengers, most boys went around quoting Iron Man and pretending to be Captain America. Well, no- ...okay, yes, there was and is some of that. But. But, my favorite part is when he comes back and says that he wants to go see it again at the local discount theatre and then come back and make shawarma.
    Of course, college life being what it is, things didn't go quite as planned, and we didn't get to do things quite in that order.
    The actual making of the shawarma meat was stretched over two days (which didn't hurt the marinade in the least, I must say), and then we had to wait another two days to make the pita bread to put the stuff in, and we won't even get to eat the sandwiches until tomorrow! However, we've gotten to sample everything along the way and it all appears a smashing success.
    We just haven't had a chance to assemble our heroic meal yet.
    See what I did there?
    I should be ashamed of myself, shouldn't I?
    I'm not.

    On to shawarma!
    Because I was cooking as part of a team, I didn't do my typical recipe deconstruction, so I have actual recipes to refer you to today!
    The shawarma recipe comes from Wendy on

    • 1/2 cup malt vinegar
    • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
    • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
    • 1/2 cup tahini
    • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup sliced onion
    • 4 cups shredded lettuce
    • 8 pita bread rounds

    Okay... I did change a few things. For instance, I had only a couple little sauce packets of malt vinegar that I'd picked up at a fast food place ages ago, so I had to use the tail ends of some white balsamic and some rice vinegar that I had about.
    I just realized what an odd college student I am.
    Oh well.
    Probably could have used extra light olive oil just as well as vegetable oil in here, as the vinegar would have more than made up for any flavor discrepancies.
    Also, I used chicken breasts, and had already chunked them about half-fist-sized for portion control earlier. Worked just fine.
    One last note before we move on- cardamom is amazing. This cannot be understated. It is the miracle spice in this recipe. Wonderful.
    Moving on.

    As the recipe says, you put the chicken and the marinade in the baking dish, cover it, and stick it in the fridge. It says at least four hours to overnight. I say, if you go with that 'at least four hours' bit, you're crazy. Overnight is a minimum. We actually had to let it sit until i think around noon... I'll have to double check with him on that, the day was a bit hectic. However, the chicken had actually taken on a desaturated sort of color from the marinade by the time we got it in the oven.
    Now, I'm not saying it would be a good idea to marinate it for two days or anything! Heavens no! Just don't make the mistake of going half-way on this. I promise you, it's worth the wait.

    Oh... Aaaaand with that, it's almost one in the morning, I'm rambling, and I have cycling I'll continue this later ;)

    I'll talk about the perfect sauce and post some pictures with the next blog!

    Saturday, September 8, 2012


    I'm doin' it wrong! hahah. We have yet to see. Here's the first classes' results:

    This first is the result of about two and a half hours of frustration. I do have to say I am rather happy with that little bit of haze I got in at the base of the far mountains, though.

    This second I like a bit better, though it is nothing at all as intended. In fact, it is only the background layer. Had I spent any more than an hour (and maybe a half) on it, I would have worked in the trees in front that framed those clouds so dramatically. As it is, that cloud isn't half bad :)

    Also, I'm trying to get my pleinair kit together. Anyone ever done this before to have any input? Chair, no chair, easel, tripod, supplies, etc??? any suggestions would be most welcome!

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    back in business

    Back from New Jersey, survived the first week of classes, and thinking I might get enough of a routine down to do some art even outside of class :D

    For today, here's my first assignment for my digital painting class!

    I used this photo for reference. I love this lady's work!