Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hawaiian Pizza

A year ago, I cracked the homemade pizza code and eventually wrote the amazing 40 minute homemade pizza guide.  Then I discovered improvements by allowing the dough to rise and using a pizza stone.  And now it's time to progress onto something a little more complicated, but oh so delicious, Hawaiian pizza.  Aloha!

(Sauce and toppings from Devin Alexander's Fast Food Fix)
  • Pizza dough (the old standby or your favorite)
  • BBQ Sauce (yes, homemade)
    •  2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons tomato paste
    • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons molasses
    • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
    • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ chicken breast
  • ¼ chopped onion
  • 6 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 6 oz cheese (I use a mozzarella - muenster mix)


Start by making the dough.  Click here for my recipe.  If you're rushed, you can do the 10 minute version in my original post, but for best results let the dough rise.  Your options are to make it a few hours ahead and let it rise covered at room temperature.  Or make it up to two days ahead of time and let it rise in the refrigerator.  Let it sit at room temperature while you prep the bacon and chicken.

Cook up the mmm...bacon and drain on paper towels.  Wipe out the pan with a paper towel to get it ready for the chicken.

Trim the chicken breast and cover in plastic.  Grab a meat mallet...

And pound the chicken out flat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Brown the chicken.  Cook it until the inside is no longer pink, about 5 minutes per side.

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Place the dough on a unheated pizza stone.

Roll it out.  If the dough is still cold, it may fight you a little.  Just walk away for a minute and it will relax and let you roll it out.

Shape the edge and bake for 10 minutes.

Drain the pineapple.

Chop up the onion, chicken, and bacon into small pizza appropriate bites.

Now let's talk sauce.  If you're like me, you think that BBQ sauce comes in a bottle and it tastes pretty great.  So why are we going to all the trouble to make sauce?

The ingredients are all staples in my kitchen, but seldom used.  It is a lot of trouble to reach up to that top shelf.

Measure everything out.

And mix it together.  Easy, see?  But it's also easy to pour it out of the bottle, so I think I should explain why we made the sauce.  If you use regular BBQ sauce, the sweetness in the sauce and the sweetness in the pineapple are going to gang up and take over the whole pizza.  As much as I love sweet, it's not a good attribute for pizza.

OK, end of lecture.  Lightly spray the prebaked crust with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Spread out the sauce.

Add the toppings!  I usually use about ½ the chicken breast.

Add the cheese.  Normally I urge you to go light on cheese, but this is a decadent pizza so it's OK to live a little and cheese it up.  Well, within reason.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned to your taste.  Step away from the pizza and let it cool down for 10-20 minutes, about the normal time it takes for delivery pizza to make it from the oven to your house.

Carve it up!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Avocado, sausage, and cheddar scramble

My latest favorite breakfast evolved from disappointment.  I love avocados and was so excited to see a bacon avocado omelet on the menu at a recent lunch.  The omelet was humongous and had a few thin slices of avocado on top.

And that was it.  I mean, it was huge, something like 6 eggs, crammed full of cheese, had a little bit of bacon, but no frickin' avocado other than the microscopic garnish.  I had been robbed.

Such is life.  Sometimes if you want a thing done right, you have to do it yourself.  So I bought an avocado and made my own omelet.   But I couldn't leave it alone.  Suddenly the bacon got replaced by sausage, and the omelet turned into scrambled eggs.  I can't explain why other than it just tastes better that way.

(Yield: 1 omelet)
  • ⅓ avocado, diced
  • ½ link chicken sausage
  • 2 eggs
  • red pepper flakes
  • grated cheddar cheese, to taste
Start by slicing the sausage and browning the pieces in a skillet.  I'm currently obsessed with chicken sausage, so that's what I used.  If you're using regular sausage, I'd suggest blotting off the extra fat.

Now, let's slice into this little beauty and talk about what we're going to do with the ⅔ avocado that's not being used in the recipe.  As you may know, avocados don't have a long shelf life.  The secret to storing them is to leave the pit in the remaining portion.  Wrap it in plastic and put it in the fridge, where it will keep for 3-4 days.  Actually that's a lie.  I've never let it go any longer, so I can't say how long it lasts.  At least this method gives you a fighting chance of being able to finish the avocado.  The outermost layer will get brown, but it's easily sliced off.

Dice up the avocado.

Assemble the scrambling station by dicing up the browned sausage and beating the eggs.

Spray the skillet with cooking spray and heat to sizzling.  Pour in the eggs.

Immediately move the skillet off the burner (OK, you folks with gas stoves can just turn off the burner, but us electric folks have a harder life) and keep scrambling.

Add in the sausage, avocado, and red pepper flakes.  Keep scrambling until you reach the critical point between runny and dry.

Now we need a little cheese - enough so that there's cheddar in every bite, but not too much that it overwhelms the avocado.  This is where a micro planer really comes in handy.

 And with that, another successful breakfast is complete!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chipotle Chili

Yield: 4 servings
(Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 96% lean)
  • ½ small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 3-4 canned chipotles in adobo plus a heaping spoonful of adobo sauce
  • Additional hot sauce to taste
  • 1 cup stock
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes

Drain and rinse the kidney beans and set aside.  Dice the onion and garlic.

Heat the oil on medium and cook the beef for several minutes.  I use 96% lean, if you are using something fattier, drain off the fat.

 Add the onions, garlic, and chili powder.

The original recipe called for one chipotle???  What's the point?  Let's bump that up to 3-4.  Chop them fine and add to the chili.

Grab a big spoonful of the adobo sauce.

And add it to the chili. We're off to a good start, but this is nowhere near hot enough.

Let's get serious about the heat.  Does anyone else see a ghost?  As in ghost pepper sauce!

Add a small amount.  If you're not into the heat, fine, go for flavor and add a few drops of Tabasco.

Let it cook for five more minutes and add the tomatoes.  Crushed or diced, doesn't matter.

Add the stock.

And the beans.  Stir it all up and bring to a boil

Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

And eat away!