2013: The Year of the Pizza

I decided at the beginning of the year that this year I would finally overcome my pizza block. I have never been able to make a pizza that I have been happy with. I have always just blamed the oven. You see the temperature in a “real” pizza oven runs between 800 to 1200 degrees. This heat allows for the crust to cook and everything to be done before things start to dry out. However, I recently learned a method that works around the problem of your “low-temp” oven.

Using a huge slab of plate steel!! I read about the process and I knew I had to try it. It’s similar concept to searing a steak on a cast iron skillet.


The dough: adapted from @seriouseats

Ingredients serves makes enough dough for three 12-inch pies, active time 30 minutes, total time 24 hours
22.5 ounces 638g (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
.5 ounces (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) sugar
.35 ounces kosher salt (about 1 tablespoon)
.35 ounces (about 2 teaspoons) instant yeast
2 ounces Extra Virgin olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
15 ounces lukewarm water
Mix the dry. Add the wet (water and oil in this case)

Mix until everything comes together. The dough is still a little lose when it is done. Put on a well floured board and knead until it doesn’t stick to your hands.

Put in a plastic container (bag) and move to the fridge overnight or up to 5 days.


Round 1
6.5 oz/184g fresh ground whole white wheat flour 16 oz bread flour + 1/4 to tighten the dough
1/4 cup semolina flour.
Round 2
18 oz/510g bread flour
4.5oz/128g fine ground whole-wheat flour
2 Tbls sugar
3tsp yeast.
1 Tbls butter
Round 3
3tbls sugar
No butter
1 Tbls powdered milk
1 tsp citric acid

The method:

Pre-heat the oven at 500 for 1 hour with the steel on the top shelf. When it is time for cook switch the oven to the broiler. Yes this makes it screaming hot. The idea is that you are hitting your pizza with two super hot sources.

Once the heat is ready build your pizza on a “peel” dusted liberaly with cornmeal and slide it directly onto the steel surface. Let it cook until everything is bubbles and brown. :). Using the peel slip it to a heat resistant plate (read not plastic) let it sit for a couple of minutes then dig in.

The results:

This was a copy of one of my favorite pizzas. Sliced proscuitto, Artichoke hearts, green and klamata olives, with feta and mozzarella cheese.

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There is an incredible food blogger here in Salt Lake City. I lifted my recipe for my cinnadodles from them. Here is the link for their recipe from Two Peas and their Pod (link). Now I’m a little thick and didn’t understand what cinnamon chips were. Therefore, I used about 1/2 cup of red hots and a 1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate. They are yummy!! I also recommend the pumpkin Nutella bread AWESOME!!

Cinnadoodles modified from Two Peas and their Pod

1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles and Tri-Chile

We got 20 inches of snow over the weekend.  Perfect weather to just stare out the window with a warm bowl of chili in your hands.

I know this is weak food photography. But I wanted to get the post up while it was fresh.


I have been working on my chili recipe for quite a while. There are two things that I think are critical to my chili: 1. Diversity of favors and textures, 2. Simplicity of those same flavors and textures.

I call it Tri-Chile because I use three different types of each main ingredients.

3 lbs Chuck Roast cubed
1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Bacon diced and rendered
1 cup dried red beans
1 cup dried black beans
2 cups pinto beans
1 dried New Mexico Green chili chopped
2 dried chiptole chilies chopped
1 dried hanbanero chili chopped
2 large can of tomatoes
1 large can tomato sauce
1/2 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup dark Karo Syrup
3 tablespoons hot chili powder
2 tablespoons oregano
2 cups diced onions
2 bell diced bell peppers
3 bay leaves

This will fill an 8 quart crock pot to the top.
Wow looking at this list suddenly it doesn’t feel so simple, but really it is.

Soak the beans over-night in warm water (no salt)

Saute the bacon over medium heat until crispy, drain all but 2 tbls of the fat. Add onion, garlic and bell peppers cook until soft then move to the crock pot. Add roast meat and the ground beef and brown everything add to the crock pot. Drain beans and into the pot, then guess what happens to the tomatoes. Add the spices, stir. and put the lid on.

Turn heat to high until it starts to “boil” then turn to low for the next 6 hours. Enjoy the smells; they are amazing.

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles

1 3/4 cups corn meal
1 1/4 cup AP Flour
1 tbls Sugar
1 tbls baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup milk
3 tbls vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Mix corn meal, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate mixer add milk, sugar, eggs and oil. Add dry ingredient to the wet ingredients mix while adding the cheese.

Cook according to your waffle irons instructions.

I also added some Peach-Habenero Syrup from a failed attempt to make Jelly. I would recomend some sort of sweet to the meal for the waffle. It will just add an additional layer of flavor.

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Watermelon-Lime Jelly

I don’t know where this came from but one day I just started obsessing about making this jelly. A run up to Logan and down Fruit Highway and I started the process.

Day 1:
I found out that I didn’t use a big enough pan.

Watermelon-Lime Jelly

Honestly this is a work in process. This year I ended up with some very great tasting syrup 😐 I think I need to add more sugar to the mixture. Maybe next year I will have better luck.

6 cups of Juiced watermelon
zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 bunch of mint leaves.
6 cups of sugar
1 pouch of liquid pectin
1 tbls salt

Follow the directions on the package of pectin for the cooking and processing time.

Here is a great site for basic canning processes and some basic recipes Food in Jars.

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Ensalada Caprese

It’s the end of summer that means two of the greatest things are happening. Tomatoes are starting to ripen and the temperatures are starting to drop. Both fabulous thing on my book.

I found fresh hand pulled mozzarella cheese at Harmon’s grocery here in Salt Lake. This was some amazingly great cheese. I decided that to complement such am outstanding cheese I needed to make sure that the other ingredients matched the quality.

So I put a call out onto the Twitterverse for heirloom tomatoes. Bought some incredible fresh olive oil, bottled in California of all places. I do not do reveiws well, but this is literally the best olive oil I have tasted since returning from Italy. California Olive Ranch

Caprese Salad

1 lb garden fresh tomatoes
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese. I was always taught in the “old country” to always hand tear the cheese so that you get the strands that Mozzarella is famous.
Several leaves of fresh basil
A drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle with sea salt


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Boys Camp

Christy and Chey went to girls camp this week. Yes, I missed them horribly. But we managed to still have a little fun and even get down in the dirt a little, some of us more than other.

Logan sure enjoyed the having complete access to the sling shot. He was able to get fairly accurate, probably because of the all the practice he got. He had a shooting range set up and spent hours and hours of knocking over cans. He even was able to punch a hole through one of his cans.

Ready. Aim


While I was trying to get a picture of Logan and the slingshot Luke wanted a “Picture with my mouth open” So here you have it a picture with his mouth open. Ain’t it grand.

I always make some time for Dutch oven potatoes whenever we go camping. They are always good, but this batch was exceptional. I will throw the recipe at the end. 😀 You’re welcome.

Along the way I picked up a new favorite camping food tradition. Totinos party pizzas. Since I am already “not-camping” because of my trailer. Why not take advantage of it. Bake the pizzas cut the boxes to serve the pizza on. Everyone likes them and the clean up is the easiest ever. (It’s called kindling for the fire)

Traditional Dutch Oven Potatoes

This is a ratio so you can double, triple, 10X, or whatever as needed.

2 Lbs of Potatoes cubed (I like and use Yukon Gold)
1 lb onion chopped
1 lb stew meat
1 lb carrots chopped
1/2 lb bacon chopped
2 tsp celery seeds
2 tbls season salt (I love the stuff in Winco’s bulk area)

Render the bacon until it is almost crsipy. Add meat and one cup of water cook over med-high until the water is gone. Add another cup of water stir well. Add the onions carrots then spices, then add the potatoes. put the lid on and cook for 45 mins to an hour do not stir. Once, the potatoes are cooked stir well and serve the meat should have gotten that wonderful brown pieces.

Banh Mi

I was a faithful watcher of the Food Networks Great Food Truck Race. They had a Sandwich Truck that was making these amazing looking Vietnamese sandwiches called a Bahn Mi. They looked amazing and very nearly won the whole competition.

I was right this is one of the greatest sandwiches I have ever had!!

For the pork:
10 cups simmering water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbls Sambal or Sirracha (red rooster sauce)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
3 pounds boneless pork butt

For the pickled carrots:
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups peeled and coarsely shredded carrots (from about 3 medium)

Everythihng else:
2 Vietnamese or French baguettes (not sourdough)
6 tablespoons Mayonnaise NOT Miracle Whip that crap is nasty
10 ounces pork pâté (optional)
1 large English cucumber, halved crosswise and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
4 jalapeños, sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
4 teaspoons light soy sauce

Pour 2 cups of the simmering water into a 6-quart heatproof container with a tightfitting lid, then remove the remaining water from heat. Add salt and sugar to the heatproof container and stir until dissolved. Add garlic, chiles, peppercorns, and pork. Top with remaining 8 cups of now-tepid water to fully cover the meat. Submerge the meat if necessary by filling a resealable bag with water and placing it on top. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. When the pork is ready, remove from the liquid, rinse, pat dry with paper towels, and place fat side up in a roasting pan. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Roast pork until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, at least 45 minutes, then slice thinly, about 1/8 inch thick.

For the pickled carrots: These are what makes this sandwich out of this world don’t miss out on this.
Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat, add carrots, and stir to coat in pickling mixture. Let stand until carrots have softened, at least 30 minutes or overnight. Drain well and set aside.

Bring it all together!!
Slice off the top 1/3 of the baguettes lengthwise and set aside. Remove enough of the bottom interiors so that the filling can fit easily.Spread 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise on each baguette’s upper 1/3 and 2 tablespoons on each bottom. Crumble half of the pâté (if using) on each bottom section, then top with sliced pork, cucumber, cilantro leaves, pickled carrots, and jalapeños. Sprinkle each sandwich with soy sauce and close with the upper parts of the baguettes.

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Balsamic-Honey Glazed Steak

I have been a complete slacker on the blogging front.  So just to have something on my main page other than my twitter archives I thought that I would put up what I made for Christy for Mother’s Day.

While this I used this for steak it would equally rock on any other protein: chicken, fish, pork, heck even tofu.

Balsamic-Honey Glaze

3/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Ketchup
1 tsp granulated garlic

Mix all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil, keep on the heat until it is a thick syrup.  Make sure you are stirring because it will burn.  Also this is vinegar so it will clean out the sinuses as it is cooking down, but it is sooo worth it. It is a glaze so you will want to put it on your grilled food in the last 5 minutes of the cooking process. After you put apply the glaze remove the meat from the direct heat and let it continue to cook indirectly for that perfect coating.

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ok so you all know by now that there has never been a food holiday that I don’t love. Heck I even choose what team to cheer for during the Super Bowl based on which city’s food is better. So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that come March I start stocking up on hunks of Brisket and picking spice. 🙂

I know that this is not the best picture ever, in fact I really don't like it. However, I really struggled with a vision for this dish. I shall try again.

Corned-Beef and Cabbage

There are two ways (maybe 3 I am thinking about roasting it sometime) to make corned beef and cabbage.  One is a soup and the other is fairly dry.  They only differ in the amount of water and spice; although for the soup I cut the brisket into bite sized pieces prior to cooking.

3lbs of Packaged Beef Brisket with spice packet
1 Large Onion
3/4s of a head of Cabbage
2 lb Red Potatoes chopped to bite sized pieces
1 tbls Dijion mustard
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (I actually use Crystal Hot Sauce it is my favorite vinegary hot sauce)

The key to good corn-beef and cabbage, in my opinion anyway, is time and then adding the ingredients in stages. That way every thing is finished cooking at the same time.

I start my Corned-beef 3 hours prior to dinner time. Start by trimming any excess fat from the meat. In a stock pot on medium-high add some butter to and heat until the bubble stop forming. Add meat to the pan and brown on both sides. Add 2 cups of water the mustard, the hot sauce and the spice packet that came with the meat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to a simmer for the remaining time.

With 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time removed the meat and slices it against the grain. Add the potatoes and the meat back to the pot and cover for 10 minutes. At “T-minus” 10 minutes add the cabbage and cover until almost cooked. Remove stir and serve.

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