Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Italian Flatbread

I don’t like pizza.  I know. I know…  I think that I dislike the sauce most places use.  It is too sweet and acidic.  I also dislike the gooey under cooked pizza crust.  And the cheap ingredients.  So, I make flatbreads.  You can use any flatbread to make this, naan, focaccia, pita, French bread, or anything.  I think using fresh dough is best.

Serves: 4-6
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a skillet, a slotted spoon, a bowl, a microwave safe bowl, a pastry brush, a wooden spoon, a rolling pin, and a pizza stone or baking sheet, pizza cutter
Time: Resting time: an hour and 10 minutes, Prep time: 10 minutes, Baking time: 25-35 minutes

  • 1-16 ounce raw, fresh pizza dough (can be found in the bakery section of most markets)
  • ⅛ – ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ pound Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 5 or 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 fire roasted yellow or red bell pepper
  • 3 slices of a large onion
  • 4 ounces prosciutto
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  •  ½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  •  (cooking spray if you are using a baking sheet)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°.
  2. Allow the pizza dough to rest in the bag, at room temperature, for an hour.
  3. While the dough is resting, slice the garlic, pepper, onion, prosciutto, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  Stack the basil leaves and roll them up.  Slice them into very thin shreds. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil on medium high.  Remove the sausage from the casing, brown, and crumble.  This should take about 7 minutes.  Using the slotted spoon, remove the cooked sausage and place it in the bowl.  Sauté the onion in the same pan for 3-4 minutes or until it is soft and translucent. Set aside.
  5. Punch the dough down.  Roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 14 inch diameter circle.  It should be very thin.  The dough is very elastic and will shrink back.  Keep stretching and rolling.
  6. Place the dough onto the pizza stone or the baking pan.  If you are using a baking pan, spray it with cooking spray first.
  7. Put the butter and the garlic into the microwave safe bowl and zap at 50% for 1 minute.
  8. Pour the butter and garlic into the center of the dough.  Using the pastry brush spread it out over the entire flatbread.
  9. Dot the flat bread with the mozzarella.  Sprinkle the onions, pepper, and basil evenly over the flatbread.
  10. Next evenly cover the flatbread with the prosciutto and sausage. Next layer the flatbread with slices of tomatoes.
  11. Finally, sprinkle the red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese evenly over the whole flatbread.
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.  As soon as you remove the flatbread from the oven, sprinkle it with the remaining parmesan cheese.   Allow the flatbread to rest for 5-7 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to Eat an Artichokes

Artichokes are just coming into season.  They are a little work, but completely worth it.  They can also be really romantic.  You and your love can cook them together, feed them to one another, and then enjoy their effects as a supposed aphrodisiac.

Servings: 1 artichoke
Time: Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 30-45 minutes
Hardware: A knife and a cutting board, kitchen scissors, a spoon, and a steamer

Choose an artichoke that is tightly closed. Smaller artichokes are more tender, larger ones have larger hearts (the best part.) It is okay if the artichoke has brown spots. Those spots are where frost has 'kissed' it.

  • artichoke
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • bay leaves
 To cook:
  1. Put water in the steamer, add the quartered lemon, the crushed garlic, and two bay leaves. Turn up to medium-high, add the basket,  and cover.
  2. Wash the artichoke right before preparing it.  If you wash it earlier, it will spoil faster.
  3. The artichoke leaves will have thorns at each end.  Use the kitchen scissors and snip the pointy tips from all of the leaves.
  4. Cut off about an inch from the pointy end of the artichoke and cut off the stem.
  5. Pull off all the little leaves that are close to the stem.
  6. The water should be boiling now.
  7. Add the artichokes and replace the lid. Reduce the heat to simmer and steam the artichokes for 30-45 minutes.  The artichokes are done when you can easily remove a leaf.  The bigger the artichoke the longer it will need to steam.

To eat:
  1.  Remove the leaves, one at a time
  2. Dip the fleshy end in melted butter or in a dipping sauce. Place the end of the leaf, fleshy inner part down, into your mouth and gently bite down.  Pull the leaf through your teeth to scrape the edible part into your happy mouth.  Throw the leaf away.
  3. Dip, bite, scrape, discard, and repeat until all the leaves are gone
  4. Now you need to remove the ‘choke’ part.  Use a spoon to gently scrape the fuzzy needles away.  You will need to rinse the spoon and maybe the artichoke as you are doing so.
  5. Now you have the artichoke heart, the best part.  You can slice this up and eat it or add it to your favorite recipes.