The Virtual Potluck gang is kicking off 2012 with a Tasty & Healthy New Year Challenge featuring products from Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch. Once a week for the first four weeks of the year, we’ll be pairing a flour or grain with an olive oil and creating a dish using both. Up first: Appetizers with Hard White Whole Wheat Flour and Arbequina olive oil. You’ll have a chance to win both products, but more on that later.
If you’ve made a resolution to eat more whole grains, using a white whole wheat flour will help in your transition to the hard stuff. Bob’s Hard White Whole Wheat Flour is stone ground from a new variety of wheat and has a “slightly sweet taste, light texture and creamy color.” It also works great in bread machines. I decided to use this flour to make whole wheat pita bread, something I’ve been thinking of doing for quite a while. What a great decision that was! I mixed the dough in the bread machine, then shaped the pitas and popped them in a very hot oven. Watching them puff up was absolutely magical! (This would be a great recipe to make with kids, by the way.) I completely expected the pitas to deflate once they cooled off, but they didn’t. They stayed puffy, so when you cut them in half, there were built-in pockets which is totally the point of pita bread, right? These pitas were so much better than those tasteless store-bought ones where you peel the layers apart and rip the bread in the process.
I had never heard of Arbequina olive oil until I received a sample from California Olive Ranch. They say it’s “fresh and fruity” and good for salad dressings and pesto. After a taste test, I thought it would work beautifully with goat cheese. And it did!
Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch will be giving one lucky reader a bag of Hard White Whole Wheat Flour and a bottle of Arbequina olive oil. To enter the contest:
- [mandatory] Visit the California Olive Ranch Facebook page and retrieve this week’s Virtual Potluck code word (click on Virtual Potluck in the left column). Then come back here and use the word in a comment on this post.
- [optional] Follow Bob’s Red Mill (@Bobs_Red_Mill), California Olive Ranch (@CA_EVOO) and Virtual Potluck (@virtualpotluck) on Twitter. Tweet about this contest, including a link to this post and the #virtualpotluck hashtag. Then comment here again, letting us know you’ve tweeted.
- [optional] Visit the Virtual Potluck roundup post and enter the giveaways on the other participating blogs.
The contest ends at midnight Eastern on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. The winner will be announced on Mon., Jan. 9. You must have a U.S. mailing address to win. Good luck!
California Olive Ranch is offering a 10% discount for the duration of the Tasty & Healthy New Year Challenge. Just go to their online store and enter the coupon code BLOGFRIENDS at checkout.
Disclosure: I received free samples of Hard White Whole Wheat Flour from Bob’s Red Mill and Arbequina olive oil from California Olive Ranch. I also received samples to give away on my blog.
Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread (Bread Machine)
Adapted from Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg & Lois Conway
I have a Zojirushi bread machine that makes a 1 pound loaf. If you have a different brand or size, you may need to adjust the amounts listed below. If you use a 1½ pound machine, divide the dough into eight portions instead of six.
3/4 cup water
2 cups Hard White Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Arbequina olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
Please all ingredients in bread pan according to your manufacturer’s directions, select Dough setting and press Start.
When dough has risen long enough, about 1½ to 2 hours, the machine will beep. Remove the dough to a floured surface and form into a 12-inch rope. Divide dough into 6 portions. Use a rolling pin to roll each portion into a 6- to 7-inch disc. Cover with a towel and let rise about 30 minutes.
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 500°F. Place three pitas on an oven-safe wire cooling rack and place the rack directly on the oven rack. Bake 5 to 8 minutes until puffy and starting to brown. Immediately place pitas in a brown paper bag; seal. (Alternatively, you can cover them with a damp towel.) Repeat with remaining three pitas.
Let pitas stay in bag until they soften, 10 to 15 minutes.
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: 155 calories, 2g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 391mg sodium, 30g carb, 5g fiber, 1g sugar, 6g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This pita bread is low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol and is a good source of Fiber, Manganese and Selenium. It is also a bit high in Sodium. If you are watching your salt intake, you can skip the salt, but your bread will not be as puffy. Salt keeps bread from rising too quickly and then deflating. If you omit the salt, decrease the amount of yeast and/or water as well.
Warm Herbed Goat Cheese
Adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking: Appetizers
I originally intended to use plain goat cheese and add my own garlic and herbs to it. However, my grocery store only had the garlic & herb variety in stock, so I went with that.
8 oz. goat cheese with garlic and herbs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Arbequina olive oil, divided
freshly ground black pepper
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread (recipe above)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine goat cheese and ½ tablespoon olive oil. Put mixture in ovenproof ceramic crock. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, dust with pepper and lay thyme sprigs on top.
Bake until cheese is warm and bubbling, 12-15 minutes. Cut pita bread into wedges with a pizza cutter and serve with goat cheese.
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: 156 calories, 13g fat (8g sat), 29mg cholesterol, 192mg sodium, 1g carb, 0g fiber, 1g sugar, 8g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This cheese is a good source of Protein, but is somewhat high in Saturated Fat. Think of this as a party dish, not something you would eat every day.