Friday, February 3, 2012

Naan: Dinner with a dear friend on the back porch

We had Conrad, a sweet and lifelong friend over for dinner last night. We sat on the back porch with a small fire in the fireplace, ate yummy food, caught up with each other, and played with the puppies. I think it is always nice to have people over for dinner. I feel like you have better conversation, you are not rushed, and well, let's be honest, I love being at home with the puppies!

For dinner I made pearled basil and herb couscous with mushrooms and tomatoes, red wine vinegar chicken, sliced and roasted yellow squash, a fresh spinach salad, and Naan. Naan is a leavened flatbread which comes to us from Southeast and Central Asia. It is a delicate and fluffy bread that looks a bit like pita bread, but in texture naan has far more softness and moisture, yum! Bunker and I love Naan, but it is near impossible to find in our local grocery store. Since I refused to tackle Central Market (the only place in Dallas that I know carries Naan), I decided to try my hand at this fresh bread. It was honestly not too hard and worth the time and effort! In process it is very similar to any other type of bread. However, rather than baking a loaf in the oven, you cook small pieces of the dough on the stove top or grill, much like a pancake.

Enjoy your Naan with hummus, dips, or as we did, as an accompaniment to dinner (it was very helpful to scoop up the couscous!). I found this recipe on Allrecipes, and it came with high marks and recommendations.

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1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons of salt
3 to 4 cups of bread flour (I used 3 1/2)

1. Gather your ingredients.

2. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

3. Let sit for about 10 minutes, until the yeast begins to froth.

4. Add the sugar, milk, egg, and salt to the yeast and water mixture. Stir to combine.

5. Slowly add up to 4 cups of flour to the mixture. You want to form a soft and non-sticky dough, but not stiff and grainy, so do not add to much flour. You can always add more flour, but you cannot take flour back out.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

7. Place the dough into a bowl and cover. Let rise for an hour.
8. Punch down the dough and remove it from the bowl. Break off golf ball sized pieces of the dough and roll each piece into a ball.

9. Cover the pieces of dough with a cloth and let rise 30 minutes.

10. Roll each piece of dough out into a thin circle. I used a rolling pin.

11. Set your range top, or your grill, to medium high, and then add one circle of dough at a time to your lightly oiled skillet or grill.

12. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. The dough should become fluffy and browned.

13. You could also add butter to both sides when you are cooking, I just used olive oil.
14. Slice and enjoy with dinner or an appetizer!

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