26 January 2011

Homemade Pizza Rolls

Love those easy frozen pizza rolls at the store, but hate processed foods?  A couple hours on Saturday can cure all your problems, my friend.  Or even on a weeknight, if you're feeling ambitious. Amounts are going to be estimated, but bear with me and you'll find that just like real pizza toppings, all quantities are negotiable.  Also, I was making this recipe up as I went along, so feel free to fine-tune to your own gourmet tastes.

Step 1.
Mix up some innards for your pizza rolls.  I used 1 can of tomato sauce, half a turkey kielbasa, some diced peppers (if memory serves correctly, I skipped the green and went straight for the serrano, which is why I used multiple peppers), 4-6 fresh mushrooms, about two cups of shredded mozzarella and some pizza-sounding spices (oh, you know, oregano, cumin, paprika...basically all my favorites).

Step 2.
Mix up some dough.  I will tell you right now that I used the Walmart brand "just add water" dough - two packages?  Three packages?  It's extremely easy, cheap, and failproof.  I find making it from scratch to be the opposite of failproof.

Step 3.
Put a straw in your glass of wine.  Things are about to get messy and you don't want the glass to slip out of your hand.
Step 5.
Take...half of a handful of dough.  That sounds about right.  Flatten it out in your hand.  I keep a bowl of water nearby so I can wet down my hands so the dough doesn't stick (it is my magic trick for making these guys).
Step 6.
Put of spoonful of the filling in the center of the flattened dough.  Fold up the edges around it.  I made them all nice and pretty and sealed up, but apparently that doesn't matter.  So just do the best you can, and know that the oven is still going to win.

Step 7.
Put all your pizza rolls on the pan that you buttered in Step 4.  Oh, did Step 4 just sneak attack you?  Well then I hope you read the whole recipe before you started, as any culinary expert would have done.
Step 8.
Take a sip of your wine.  Aren't you glad you put a straw in it?   Your hands are a mess!
Step 9.
Bake for a random amount of time, at a random temperature.  Since there is nothing raw on the inside, you are mostly just trying to bake the dough.  I think I had them at 350* for about 12 minutes.  Helpful hints to know when they are baked:  they are becoming golden brown, they are spewing their insides.
Look, I tried and tried to make these so that they wouldn't crack open and spew pizza everywhere.  Not with my recipe, folks.  The bright side is that you need to eat the really ugly ones.  And they are delicious.

Step 10.
Cool, then freeze all the ones you don't want to eat.  This probably won't be very many, but that's why this is a pretty big recipe.  I had two gallon bags full of these guys.  And unlike frozen pizza rolls from the store, these are pretty big so it will only take 4-6 of them to sate the eater.  These will probably freeze okay for at least six months, but it's laughable to think they won't be eaten within two weeks.

I made much more than this.  Where are they?

Voila!  It takes quite a bit of time so definitely make a big batch of them.  How else were you going to fill up all that freezer space?

23 January 2011

January Happenings

Alright, now that you're caught up on December, it's time to get caught up on January.  My apologies, but it will take a while.

Okay, so we started out by spending the first week working at Kyle's boss' beach house, repairing a water-damaged wall.  
I tried to replicate the knockdown texture on the wall, but as Kyle says, solid stuff doesn't aerosol very well.
 And of course, all that hard work deserved some reward:  Black and Blue Pizza!  Frozen pizza covered with mushrooms, peppers, bacon and bleu cheese, baked to perfection.
When we got back to Virginia, we embraced the landlubbers philosophy once again - we moved into a house.  A real house!  With a full-sized fridge AND freezer.  With an oven and a bathroom larger than a shower stall.  With closets.  Except this house's closets were already full.  I mean, literally every storage space was already occupied, so I actually had to move stuff OUT before I could move our stuff in.  This is what the bathroom cabinets looked like when I arrived:
There was also a bottle of 2000 cab sauv in the fridge...I have never had 10 year old wine.  So we bought the matching 2009 bottle and had a mini wine tasting.  It was just Sutter Home, nothing too expensive, but it was an interesting comparison.
 And since I spent all day moving stuff and Kyle spent all day at work, we also picked up some grocery store sushi so we didn't have to dig out pots or pans to make a dinner from scratch :)
My favorite feature of this house is by far and wide the cabinet-style record player (also 8-track player/recorder and radio!).  I immediately went out and bought a dozen records.  Amazing.  This is definitely coming with us when we move out of this house.  We also bought a bookshelf and found it to be inadequate for our collection :)
Oh!  And did I mention that when I got home from Michigan, Kyle surprised me with another Christmas present?  An herb nook in the boat!  So of course one of the first things I did was devote an area to plants, and planted more herbs and some veggies.
I also started a batch of wine, Kyle started a batch of mead, and I've been baking like a fool.  That will all wait til another post, however.

In the meantime, I got a job!  Not engineering, but it will definitely suffice in the meantime.  Some definite advantages over the ice rink job:  I don't have to work on the weekends or at night, I don't ever have to get up at 4am, and I'm making more than minimum wage so I might even be able to pay rent.  I believe this job will help me find that engineering job, I just need to be patient...and if there's anything I've learned in the past year, I think patience is definitely it.  So starting Monday, I will no longer be a lady of leisure, maintaining a clean house and cooking intricate meals.   And that's about all that's been going on in the past month.

17 January 2011

A Christmas Photoblog

Michigan was such a contrast to life here - since I don't know many people in the area I don't get out much.  After all the activity there, I needed a vacation!  And it's all because...

1)  I sewed myself a shirt.  I saw one on TV that I liked, and so I made one for myself.  Satin is a challenge.
 2)  I went snowshoeing for the first time.
3)  I made mozzarella cheese from scratch...and ate it.
4)  I found some of my favorite beer - made in Chicago and therefore unavailable in this area - and drank it.
5)  I made some new friends in a sled train.  I made some new enemies when we crashed :P  (a big thanks to someone named Jacob or possibly Isaac for these great shots)
 6)  I made a gingerbread...mess with my brother and friends.
7)  Rachel and I learned how to make sushi (the vegetarian kind - I'm not messing around with salmonella!).
 8)  We went ice skating!
9)  And finally, we rang in the new year with some Badass!
Whew!  So when I got back to VA and Kyle's boss asked Kyle and me to spend a (working) vacation out at his beach house, it sounded like a dream come true.  A week out at the beach with Kyle?  It's a good thing it was the off-season, or I would have spent all my days at the beach until I resembled a sun-dried tomato! 

But the whirlwind of activity didn't stop when I got back to Virginia.  Stay tuned, because my life is about as stable as a swing-set in a hurricane...

14 January 2011

Making up for the holidays

Things have been up and down lately.  I haven't posted in a month, mostly because I spent three weeks in Michigan and then one week out at Nags Head.  I went up to MI two weeks before Christmas for a job interview that didn't pan out (although they did try to make a position available for me even after they hired someone else).  Then I got caught up in a whirlwind of seeing friends and family.  So let's backtrack.  Here's what you missed in December:

1)  I quit my job at the ice rink.  I was unhappy there, and I doubt they would have let me take three weeks off so I could to go MI for both the interview and Christmas festivities.

2)  Kyle and I started exploring our new habitat, and found out that Portsmouth has some amazing goings-on even in the winter.  First Fridays is where businesses are open late, Angry Adam's offers free wine tasting, and the local museums put together some great deals.  First Saturdays, the Portsmouth Farmers Market is open - yes, even in December!  We picked up some organic eggs, green peppers and I lusted after some herbs.  Check out that massive rogue egg - we were so scared of it, we never even cooked it.  There was also a flea market that took up the entire first floor of a parking garage.  We found some great stuff there.

3)  I attempted to make lemon bars in muffin tins by baking them in a toaster oven.  They turned out okay - maybe a little messy.

4) Kyle and I traipsed around downtown Portsmouth three times in one VERY cold day to take some photos to put in Christmas cards.  The first time, my battery died immediately.  The third time we came back because it was dark out and Portsmouth has some very pretty Christmas lights.  Here are our three picks.
Kyle's favorite

Alright, I think that's all I'm going to throw at you for now.  Next time I'll tell you about the craziness of Christmastime in Michigan, including snowshoeing, sushi, and skating.