Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pizza Romana

Pizza Romana
makes 1 12 or 15-inch Roman style pizza

Pizza Romana is an ultra-thin pizza as it is made in Rome and while it is ultra-thin it is not crispy but pleasantly chewy.  Since it is ultra-thin do not overdress this pizza, in Italy pizzas are sparsely dressed.  The baker’s formula provided will allow upscaling the recipe.

                                                                            prep time:   1 hour
                                                                            bake time:  5 minutes
                                                                            total time:  1 hour 5 minutes


12-inch pizza
1 cup 00 flour (8 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon yeast (.077 ounce)
1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt (.924 ounce)
3 ½ ounces water, about 105° F
¼ teaspoon honey (.154 ounce)
¼ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (.154 ounce), plus additional for the bowl

15-inch pizza
1 1/2 cups 00 flour (12 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon yeast (.115 ounces)
1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt (1.39 ounces)
5 1/4 ounces water, about 105° F
1/3 teaspoon honey (.234 ounce)
1/3 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (.234 ounce), plus additional for the bowl

baker’s formula (flour =100%, water = 43.75%, salt = 11.5%, olive oil = 1.925%, yeast = .963%, honey = 1.925%)


prepare the dough:

In a small bowl, stir in the honey and sprinkle the yeast over the water plus honey.  Set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast has dissolved.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the yeast mixture. Mix on the lowest speed until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Then rest the dough, still in the mixer, for 5 minutes. Add the salt and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has developed good elasticity. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the oil and mix until incorporated.

proof the dough:

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
form the pizza:

Preheat the oven to the highest setting, mine is 550° F and set an inverted baking sheet or, preferably, a pizza stone on the second highest rack in the oven to preheat the sheet or stone.  Preheat for 1 hour.

Place the dough ball on a well-floured surface and then sprinkle more flour on top. Work the dough into a small disk by pushing your fingertips near the center of the dough and radiating outward toward the edges, leaving the center just slightly higher. Continue until you have a round disk about 6 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. 

Flip the disk over and move it to a portion of the work surface that is just lightly floured. Place both hands on top, palms down, side by side. 

Use one hand to anchor the dough and, working slowly and carefully, use the other to gently push and stretch the dough away from the center. Turn a quarter turn and repeat, repositioning your hands each time. Continue until the disk is 12 to15-inches in diameter and as thin as possible without tearing. 

 Alternatively, use a rolling pin to achieve desired dimensions and shape.  Don’t worry if it is not perfectly round that would just mark your pizza as being homemade.

Sprinkle your pizza peel with corn meal.  Transfer the shaped dough to your pizza peel, shake it slightly to ensure the shaped dough moves freely as one unit, if it doesn’t gently lift the edge that is sticking and sprinkle a little more cornmeal under that edge.

Add your toppings (pizza sauce, mozzarella, etc.).

bake the pizza:

Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone by placing the peel at the far end of the stone and rapidly pulling it back sliding the pizza off the peel.  This may take a little practice but if you’ve properly coated the peel with corn meal they will act as ball bearings.

Turn off the oven and immediately and turn it back on setting it to broil.

Bake your pizza until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked, 4-5 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly and slightly charred.


Remove the baked pizza from the oven and slice into 8 triangular, if the pizza is round, slices.  Serve accompanied by extra grated cheese. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pollo Alfredo con Farfalle

Pollo Alfredo con Farfalle
(Chicken in cream sauce with Farfalle)
Makes 4 servings


1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-pint heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
½ cup frozen peas (optional)

1/2 pound Fettuccine noodle


prepare the chicken breast:

Sauté the chicken breast pieces in the olive oil until it begins to caramelize.
Remove from the caramelized chicken from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined dish.

prepare the Farfalle:

In a large stockpot, cook the Farfalle in plenty of boiling salted water according to package directions.

prepare the sauce:

While the Farfalle is cooking, in a deep sauté pan over medium-low heat, heat the cream.
Add the butter and stir gently to melt.
Sprinkle in cheese and stir to incorporate.
Add the chicken pieces and peas.
Season with freshly cracked black pepper, salt, and nutmeg to taste.
bring it all together:
Drain the noodles and add them to the sauté pan, gently toss the noodles to coat in the Alfredo sauce. Transfer the noodles to a warm serving bowl.


Top with more grated, serve immediately.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sweet Tomato Jam
makes 3 cups

                                                                   Prepartation time: 30 minutes
                                                                   Cook time:           45 minutes
                                                                   Process time:       10 minutes, 
                                                                                            adjusting for altitude 
                                                                   Total time:            1 hour 25 minutes


                                                 2 pound plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
                                                 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
                                                 1 tablespoons honey
                                                 1 lemon, zested and juiced
                                                 1 teaspoon salt
                                                 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


prepare the tomatoes:

Cut a cross in the end of each of the tomatoes.

Place the tomatoes in boiling water to blanch, about 1 minute; you'll know the tomatoes are ready to be removed when the edges of the inscribed crosses curl up.

Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse the blanched tomatoes in a pre-prepared ice bath.  One by one, peel the tomatoes and place the peeled tomatoes in a bowl.

mill the tomatoes:

Several at a time, place the peeled tomatoes in a food mill positioned over a large bowl and process the tomatoes through it.  Continue to process until all the tomatoes have been processed.

Processing through a food mill will remove all the seeds.

cook the jam:

Combine the milled tomatoes, the sugar, the honey, the lemon juice and zest and the crushed red pepper flakes in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often.  

Continue simmering, uncovered, until the mixture reaches about 220° F. on a candy thermometer or becomes thick and syrupy, about 45 minutes.

jar the jam:

Remove from the heat and place jam into sterilized jam jars, cover and process as you would any canned vegetables or use immediately.


Jam can be used as a spread for crackers, as a sandwich spread, or as an accompaniment for ham, turkey, or pork.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup for Two

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Soup for Two 
serves 2 to 4
                                                                                         prep time:  0
                                                                                         cook time: 5 hours
                                                                                         total time: 5 hours

1 boneless, skinless whole chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 10-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup chicken broth
1 10-ounce can corn, drained
5-ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies
4 teaspoons tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo (you may add 2 to 3 if you like)
juice of 1/2 lime

toppings: avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, crushed tortilla chips, fresh cilantro leaves and 2 lime cut in quarters


Place the chicken breast in your crockpot.

Sprinkle the chili powder, cumin and some salt and pepper unto the breast.

Add the diced tomatoes and juices, chicken broth, corn, the diced tomatoes with chilies, tomato paste,
chopped onion, the chopped red and yellow peppers, and the chipotle pepper; stir to distribute.

Place the lid on the crock-pot and cook for 5 hours on high.

shred the chicken:

After 5 hours remove the chicken breasts to a plate and use 2 forks to shred it finely. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, stir in the juice of ½ lime, taste and correct seasoning if necessary.


Serve piping hot in individual bowls with avocado, sour cream, grated cheese, crushed tortilla chips and cilantro leaves on the side as a topping!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Crockpot Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef
Serves 4-6
                                                                             Prep Time: 10 minutes
                                                                             Cook Time:  4 Hours
                                                                             Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

1- 2½ pound flatiron or flank steak
¼ Cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons  olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
¼ teaspoon chili flake
¾ cup soy sauce
¾ cup water
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup carrot, grated
3 or 4 green onions sliced diagonally into 1-inch lengths for garnish

sesame seeds for garnish

cut the steak:

Place the steak in front of you and, with a sharp knife held at a 45-degree angle, slice the meat against the grain into thin (about 1/4-inch) strips.

create cooking sauce:

Combine the olive oil, garlic, ginger, chili flake, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar in your slow cooker.

prepare the steak:

Cut flank steak into thin strips, cutting across the grain. Put steak into a Ziploc bag with the cornstarch and shake to coat.

bring it all together:

Add the coated beef to the crockpot, stir to combine and ensure the all the beef with sauce.

cook the beef:

Cover the crock-pot with its lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low 4-5 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender.

About 30 minutes before done stir in the grated carrots.


Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese
serves 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                     prep time:  15 minutes
                                                                       sauce cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
                                                                       Lasagna bake time:  35 minutes
                                                                       total time: 3 hours 20 minutes


Bolognese sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, 1/4 –inch chop
1 carrot, ¼-inch dice
1 celery stalk, ¼-inch dice
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into small cubes
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 pound ground beef
1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk

Besciamella sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
dash freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, quartered, to butter the baking dish
uncooked Lasagna noodles

prepare the Bolognese sauce:

Create a soffritto by sauteing the onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat until soft.  Add the raw bacon to the soffritto and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the meat; breaking it up well with a wooden spoon and stirring until all the ground meat is browned.  

Add the red pepper flakes and the parsley and cook for just 1 minute.

Drain off excess oil from the cooked meat.

Return the pot to the flame and add the wine, continue cooking until the alcohol is evaporated and the pot has been deglazed by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.

If you like your tomato sauce smooth pulse the tomatoes smooth in a food processor but remember true Italians prefer their sauce slightly chunky.

Add the tomatoes to the meat, season generously with salt and pepper and cook the sauce, over a medium flame partially covered for about 2 ½  hours, stirring occasionally. 

After 2 ½ hours finish the sauce by adding the whole milk, stir well and set aside, to cool off.

prepare the Besciamella sauce:

In a small pot, warm the 2 cups of milk.

In an appropriately sized pot over medium heat melt the butter 

Create a blonde roux by stirring the flour into the butter with a wooden spoon.  The roux is done when it loses all its flour taste.

Gradually ladle the warm milk into the pot with the butter/flour mixture, whisking constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, stirring constantly until it is thoroughly incorporated. 

Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and additional Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

bring it all together:

Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish well with the tablespoon of butter and add a very thin layer of the Bolognese sauce.

Add the first layer of lasagna noodles and in order, evenly distribute some of the Bolognese sauce, about 3 ladles Besciamella, and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

Repeat the process until you to create 3 layers. 

Top the lasagna with a final ladle of meat sauce and the remaining Besciamella, dot with a few squares of butter and finish with some additional shredded Parmesan.

bake the Lasagna:

Place the lasagna in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
Crisp the top of your lasagna by turning the oven to broil and broil the lasagna for about 5 minutes.


Allow the lasagna to set for about 15 minutes, slice into 6 servings and serve accompanied by grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, crusty Italian bread and a side salad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole
servings 8

                                                                            prep time:   5 minutes
                                                                            cook time:  3 hours 10 minutes
                                                                             total time:  3 hours  15 minutes


Creole seasoning:

1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Creole sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (14-ounces) can tomatoes, hand crushed
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
½ tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Creole seasoning
2 bay leaves

the shrimp:

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp


Green onions, for garnish


Preheat crock pot on high.

sauté the vegetables:

In sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil to the ripple stage.

Add the green peppers, the onions, the garlic and the celery and sauté until the onions are translucent and softened.

Add the chili powder and sauté until the vegetables are coated and caramelized.

create the Creole sauce:

Remove the vegetable from heat and pour them into the crock pot. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the red wine, the hot sauce, the Worcestershire, the sugars, and the salt and pepper.

Stir in the Creole seasoning add the bay leaves, place the cover on your crock pot and cook, covered, for 3 hours.

bring it all together:

Add the shrimp and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.


Serve over cooked  white rice. Top with chopped green onions.

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