Friday, March 5, 2010

Pizza with fresh vegetables and cheese


2 packs of 8 oz Cream cheese at room temperature

1 pack of  "Ranch" - Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

3-4 tablespoons sour cream

1-2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)

vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, carrots, tomatoes (preferably cherry or grape tomatoes)

16 oz (4 cups) grated cheese (Mozzarella, Cheddar ...)

2 packs of "Pillsbury Crescent - Recipe Creations" or "Pillsbury Crescent Rolls"


The quantity of the vegetables is up to you. You must have enough to cover the prepared dough, but not too much, because they will easily fall off when you try to eat the finished pizza.

You can also add other vegetables, like variety of chopped fresh peppers, pitted olives, etc.

If you do not have access to the products of "Pillsbury", you can use some puff pastry or make your own.

If you don't have "Ranch" dressing, you can season the mixture of cream cheese and sour cream with seasonings to your taste, that will suit the vegetables.

The pizza you can prepare a day in advance, but in this case, do not put the tomatoes on, because it will make the cheese soggy. Arrange them on top, right before serving.


Spread a little oil on the bottom of a large, shallow baking dish (cookie sheet). Layer both packages of dough side by side, pinch the ends where they come together to stick them together. Poke the dough with a fork all over and bake it to a nice golden color. Take it out from the oven and let it cool completely.

During this time, with a mixer beat the soft cream cheese and sour cream. Add a little mayonnaise if you wish and season it with the dry "Ranch"mixture (it's not necessary to put the whole package - try it). Spread a even layer of the prepared mixture over the baked and cooled dough.

Now prepare your vegetables. Break the cauliflower and broccoli into small florets and if necessary (if they are still too large) cut them with a knife into smaller pieces. Finely chop the carrots (I use "Food Processor" for them). Cut in small pieces only the green part of the green onions. Also dice the tomatoes in small cubes (if you are using cherry or grape tomatoes, just cut them in half).

The covered with cream cheese mixture dough, first sprinkle evenly with the chopped carrots. Distribute the broccoli and cauliflower over and gently press over with hand to push the vegetable into the cheese. Sprinkle with shredded cheese on top, arrange the tomatoes over and sprinkle with the green onions. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to stay in a cool place for 1-2 hours.

Now it's ready to be cut into pieces and served.



Flat Bread (Lepinya)

Lepinya (Flat Bread)


1 kg (6 1/2 cups) white flour (I recommend high gluten flour)

750 ml warm water (3 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon dry yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

You will need another 150 ml (2/3 cup) water and 1 teaspoon of flour for coating the bread before baking it.


     Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in warm water and let it rise (for about 10-15 minutes). Put the flour in a big bowl for kneading, add the salt and the raised yeast. Knead a soft dough. Cover it with plastic foil leave again in a warm place to rise until it's doubled. Kneed it and let it rise again. After the second raising divide it on 8 equal parts, shape them into balls and place it on floured surface. Cover them with clean kitchen towel and leave them to rise again for 15-20 minutes. Then, take the balls, one at a time and shape them into a flat breads. You should make a flat pieces of dough with size of dessert plate (about 7-9 " diameter) and thickness about 1/2". Place your formed flat breads on well floured surface, cover and leave them to rise again this time for about 45 - 60 minutes. When they are doubled in volume, heat the oven along with the empty baking tray (or trays) to 350 F. Spread over each bread with a mixture of water and flour and place them over the hot tray. Bake them until they are nice golden color . Once baked, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and live them for about 30 minutes. 
     I'm recommending you to eat them while are still warm, but even on the the next day, they are more than wonderful!

Homemade bread

Homemade bread


1 kg (6 1/2 cups) white flour (I recommend high gluten flour)

800 ml (3 1/2 cups) warm water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon dry yeast

This dose makes three breads around 600 gr (1.5 lb) each.


     Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the warm water and let it rise (for about 10 minutes). In a deep bowl (large enough to hold about 6 qt) with lid, put the flour, add salt and the raised yeast. With a large spoon (I use a wooden one) stir until the liquid absorbs all the flour. And voila! Close the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place. Wait for it to triple its volume (the bowl will be filled), and stir again. Now it will begin to rise very quickly. After the second time, you can now start shaping loaves. But  if you have more time, I recommend that you to mix it and let it rise for at least a couple more times. The more times you do this, the nicer and fluffier your bread will be. If the room you're working in is warm, the whole process shouldn't take more than 2-3 hours.
     After the last rise, put the dough on a very well floured surface, sprinkle it with some flour and divide it into three parts using a sharp knife. Gently shape three loaves and place them in a large shallow baking dish, over baking paper sprinkled with flour. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rise again for about 20-30 min. Preheat oven to 350 F. If you wish, you can make 3 slits with a very sharp knife on top and put them in the oven.
Do not over bake them, because the crust will become very thick. Bake them until they are light golden color. When baked, tapping on the bottom should make a "hollow sound". Remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack, sprinkle lightly with cold water, cover them again with a clean kitchen towel and let them cool before cutting into slices.


     If you have a baking stone - even better! Baked that way, the bread has even more authentic flavor. But if you don't - that's OK too!
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