Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pizza Poppers!

Mmmmm... Pizza poppers.... bite size pizza's? Hell Yeah.



What You Need

Yields 20 to 50 poppers (depending on the dough used)
1 recipe pizza dough 
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound cooked/cured meat of your choice (we're using Italian sausage)
Flour for dusting
Olive oil 
Kosher salt (optional)
Rolling pin
Bench scraper (optional)
Baking sheet
Parchment paper


1. Assemble Ingredients: If you'd like to make your dough and sauce from scratch, you're more than welcome to. If you're looking for an express route, there's no shame in picking up a few staples from the grocery store. We will caution that "pop-tube" pizza dough will take less time to cook and won't hold up as well to your ingredients. So if you have a whole foods or pizzaria that will sell you dough, opt for that route instead!
2. Roll Out Dough: Working a section at a time, cut your dough into workable pieces, something around the size of a tennis ball (ensure dough is at room temperature or slightly higher). Roll out your dough into a long rectangle. It helps to shape the dough long like a worm before you begin. You're shooting for 4-inch wide sections (and however long that ends up being for the amount of dough you're using).
3. Preheat Oven: We like a hot hot hot oven, something around 475-500 degrees, but if you're working in a toaster oven that doesn't go that high, keep in mind they might need to cook a bit longer, just remember the old saying, golden brown and delicious and you'll be armed with all the known how you need to tell when to take them out.
3. Combine Ingredients: Although it feels weird to mix all your toppings and fillings together, it will give you the most nostalgic texture and also give the sauce a chance to coat each piece (hopefully disabling it from shooting down the front of your shirt). Make sure your meat, cheese and other ingredients are relatively uniform in size for the best distribution of product within each bite.
5. Drop By The Spoonful: Down one side of your dough, drop spoonfuls of ingredients in little mounds. Think about making ravioli from scratch (even if you haven't done it, we're sure you've seen it done on tv), how you end up trapping the ingredients in the dough.
6. Press the Seams: Fold dough over the top of the toppings and press between the filling with your fingers. You won't accomplish much in the way of sealing, but your fingers will help define where to cut it with the bench scraper.
7. Slice And Dice: Using a bench scraper cut each pizza bite apart from the next. The force of the scraper should help pinch the dough together so it won't pop open. To add a little extra insurance that they'll stay sealed, pinch the freshly cut end together. They'll be sticky and should hold together nicely making a neat edge. The amount of execution needed for this step will usually depend on your dough and it's willingness to play nice.
8. Bake Until Golden: Although you won't have cheese to be your judge, you should be able to gauge the doneness of each bite by the color of the crust. If you'd like you can add an egg or milk wash to each one for a richer color. We prefer a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Ours bake in the toaster oven for roughly 10 minutes, but the time will differ with the dough, amount of ingredients and type of oven. So just keep a watch on them.
Additional Notes: 
• You can of course jazz these up any way you see fit. We started with basic ingredients that most people can identify. If you want to add anchovies or artichokes, go right ahead, they're just as tasty! You can also make them without the sauce inside and strictly use it to dip into afterward (which can be nice if using them to entertain at a party so guests aren't surprised).
 To Freeze: simply cook by the above directions and allow to cool completely. Freeze individually on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When frozen, slide into a zip top bag for storage. Place on a sheet pan in the oven or toaster oven to reheat at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (time may vary depending on oven and amount of pizza rolls being reheated).
 Refrigeration: If they become a family favorite (like they are at our house) you can also keep a thawed bag in the refrigerator for faster reheating. They should last a solid 7 days in the the chill chest... though we're betting they all get eaten before then.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Equipment - Cutting Boards

Equipment... we all need it. We all want it! Well when cutting up them there steaks and veggies for that next AWESOME BBQ your doing for Labor Day.... remember the basics... and the cutting board is no exception.

Cutting Board color guide

  • Choosing Type & Style

    Cutting boards are available in many types, colors and sizes. The different types are plastic, tempered glass, wooden, steel, marble and corian. The glass, steel, marble and corian cutting boards seem to damage your knives over time. You can get a various colors of cutting boards to match any decor. Cutting boards are available in shapes of rectangular, square, round and oval as standards but can be customized to any shape you would like such as a rooster. Some of the top picks for cutting boards are wooden boards by John Boos & Co, a high-density plastic by Architec which are dishwasher safe, SiliconeZone nonskid flexible chopping mats, and Progressive multicolor flexible chopping mats. Plastic boards are the most affordable and come in thick or thin, hard or flexible and various colors. Glass boards are beautiful and made to complement any decor. They are the most sanitary and easy to clean. Glass boards are the hardest on knife edges. Wooden boards are the easiest on knife edges and preferred by many people. Bamboo cutting boards cost more, but have a longer lifespan.
  • Little Tip

    A cool tip is to use synthetic cutting boards, with a different color for different kinds of food. Such as red cutting board for raw meat, a yellow cutting board for poultry and a green cutting board for vegetables. This will help cut down on cross contamination.
  • Cleaning Tips

    Wooden boards are usually harder to clean and are not dishwasher safe. They get cuts and cracks which can harbor bacteria and must be thoroughly cleaned. After using the cutting board you should immediately wash in hot soapy water and periodcally sanitize by spraying the board with a solution of one and a half teaspoons chlorine bleach to one pint water, let sit for two minutes, rinse and dry. Make sure your cutting boards are completely dry before storing to avoid possible cross contamination.

Did someone say Ma-F'in French Onion Soup???

Now i'm not one to like the French... but I do like some of their tastes... some being:

- French Toast
- French Fries
- French Onion Soup (!)
- Baugettes
- Croissant's

But ladies and gents, we are here for but one thing... this!

The Best French Onion Soup

From: Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 6
For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
  • 6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Make sure you get Yellow)
  • Table salt
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (They recommend Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth )
  • 2 cups beef broth (They recommend Pacific Beef Broth)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Ground black pepper
Cheese Croutons
  • 1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
For the soup:
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Generously spray the inside of a heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with a nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
  3. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, roughly 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.)
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broths, 2 cups of water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.
  6. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.
For the croutons:
  1. While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
To serve:
  1. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Fried Round Steak

From The Pioneer Woman


  • 3 pounds Cube Steak (round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 3 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste
  • Salt, For Seasoning Meat
  • ½ cups Canola Oil (more If Needed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Mix together flour, seasoned salt, and pepper.
Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in flour mixture, pressing to coat with as much flour as possible.
Add butter to pan right before frying.
When butter is melted, fry pieces of steak in butter/oil mixture. Flip when sides are deep golden brown and cook about 1 minute on the other side.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately.


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This is going to be a blog about the foods that I make daily, as well as other articles from around the web!