Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Today I transcended my pizza making skills of almost 30 years.

Most of my friends love my homemade pizza.  I make the dough, grate the cheese, and make my secret sauce.  But I have never been happy with my crust after baking.

I have buttered the edges out of the oven, tried adding an egg yolk to the dough mixture, grilled in right on the grates of a grill, cooked it on a pizza stone in the oven, but never figured out why I never got the chewy crust I was looking for.

All the chef’s magazines offer stones to grill on your grill.  I had an extra one and thought, hey, why not toss it on the grill and try it.

The first time was an absolute disaster.  I preheated the grill and stone as hot as my Weber grill goes – 700 degrees F.

The first pizza came out all right.  Nice crust, chewy, like a pizza oven.  I was thrilled.  Then I made my husband’s favorite, bbq chicken.  It burned to a crisp in minutes and was inedible.

I spent hours researching the best way to cook on a stone.  NEVER let the grill heat up past 550F was my conclusion.

The pizzas today came out like a pizzeria fire oven had cooked them.  I don’t think I will ever make pizza any other way again.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Last night I hosted a dinner party for 3 people I have never met and my husband's mom, sister and aunt.  And I only had one days notice to plan and cook.

It turned out to be a more pleasant evening than I was anticipating - except of the decimation of my Rogue Dead Guy.

This menu may be a little trickier, but it's worth it.  The Artichoke Leek and Taleggio Tart is my published recipe.

For a beer recommendation, it would be, strangely, a Rogue Dead Guy.

Baby Greens with Mango and Goat Feta

3C baby greens or baby spinach
1/2 mango peeled and diced
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1/4C goat feta crumbled (you can use regular feta if you can't find the goat version)
1/4C honey balsamic vinegar
1/4 olive oil
1T honey mustard
1/4t black sea salt
Toss all salad ingredients together. To make dressing, combine the salt, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add to salad.

Artichoke, Leek and Taleggio Tart

Tart Crust
2C all purpose flour
1/2t dried thyme
1/2t dried parsley
1t kosher salt
8oz cream cheese, cubed
3T heavy cream
Combine flour, salt, thyme and parsley in a food processor. Add the cheese and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas. Add cream 1T at time until the mixture forms a ball. Press flat onto a piece of plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out pastry dough and press into a large tart pan. Place in freezer for at least 15 minutes. You can wrap and freeze up to a week.
8 strips of bacon diced
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
3oz Taleggio cheese cut into 1/4 inch cubes
half can of whole artichoke hearts sliced
2T grated fresh parmesan
1/4C heavy cream
2 eggs beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp in a large non stick skillet. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Add leeks to the bacon fat and cook until tender, about 5 minutes at medium heat. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add bacon and leeks to the mixture. Pour into tart shell and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

1 2-3 lb flat iron steak
1/4c apple balsamic vinegar
2T olive oil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1t good smoked salt
1/2t chopped capers
1T whole grain mustard
Mix all ingredients together and pour over steak in glass dish or a ziploc bag. Marinate at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove meat from marinade and grill for about 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steak.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I won't be making anything exciting or new today (I am taking my friend dinner for her birthday). So I thought I would share a recipe that my husband and brother go nuts over. In fact my brother, Bob, thought I should open a pub after trying these.

Billy's Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
1 boneless skinless small chicken breast cut into small pieces
1T cajun seasoning
2T canola oil
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1/2 jalapeno finely chopped
1/2 yellow or white onion chopped
1/2 can drained and rinsed black beans
4C good thick tortilla chips
1/3C grated sharp cheddar
1/3C grated asadero cheese or monterey jack
1/4C sour cream
3T chopped green onions.

nachos afterToss raw chicken with cajun seasoning. Heat canola oil over medium heat, add peppers and onions, cook until starting to soften. Add chicken and cook about 5-7 until cooked through. Add black beans. Remove from heat.

Move rack to a low position in the oven. Heat the broiler. Pile chips onto an ovenproof plate or cookie sheet. Top with chicken mixture and then the cheeses. Place under the broiler for about 3 minutes. Watch to make sure cheese doesn't brown, just melts. Remove from oven and top with sour cream and green onions.

Bill's beer recommendation - Victory Brewery's Golden Monkey

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


So this is my first entry.  I’ll tell you why I’m starting a food blog.  I submitted one of my recipes to the Cooking Club of America magazine and it was published in the April/May 2011 issue. My mom thought I should start a blog, so here I am.

Now, let me say, I love duck fat fries, I love potatoes sautéed in duck fat.  However, I am not fond of the smell of heated duck fat.  It smells like roasting turkey and I don’t like turkey.

There are a lot of foods that don’t smell that great cooking or right out of the fridge.  I would like to know who had the guts to try them the first time.

Tonight I made braised chicken with creamy leeks and potatoes in duck fat with thyme and garlic. 

Sautéed Duck Fat Potatoes with thyme and garlic
Makes 4 servings

3 lbs of russet potatoes cubed, 1 inch
5T rendered duck fat
1t chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat duck fat over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add potatoes, cover and lower heat slightly. 

Cook covered until potatoes soften.  Increase heat to medium, tossed potatoes occasionally as they brown.  When they brown to your taste, add thyme and garlic and sautée for 2-3 minutes more.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Plate with chicken breasts.