Please understand that I have no interest in discrediting the standard summer hot dog served up on that doughy white bread bun and weighed down in yellow mustard or store-bought ketchup. Plant one of those babies in front of me right now and I dare you to predict how long it lasts!
The whole experience of the low-brow, shiny stadium-style dogs clumsily wrapped in cheap wax paper and dripping with salty juices will never get old. Forget that they’re considered traditionally American, family-oriented, and best of all, cheap. They just taste good!
But a simple, inexpensive hot dog can go so much further. And right now is the perfect time of the year to take this standard summer staple out for a test drive, and see what it can really do for you.
Continue reading “Texas Dogs” »
If you want to ruin delivery pizza for yourself forever, start fooling around with making your own crusts and sauces. New York Pizza and Pasta at 7123 Sunset Boulevard used to send at least two pies my way every week. The delivery guy once saw my face so often he’d chat me up at my door like I’d been best man at his wedding. Well, New York Pizza and Pasta’s delivery menu has been replaced on my refrigerator door with my recipes for homemade pizza dough and this habanero pizza sauce. That’s how often I’m making them both these days.
This is a pretty standard sauce recipe with the exception of the habanero which kicks things up a notch. But not too much. Those who like to avoid foods that make their eyes water will not be put off, though they will receive a subtle indication with each bite that there’s something sneaky going on. It’s just a pinch of heat that won’t linger on the tongue but will definitely make its inclusion known.
Homemade mozzarella is next!
Continue reading “Habanero Pizza Sauce – The Sauce that Bites Back!” »
Say hello to the Dinner of the Devil!
If you’re looking for a meal that will quite literally bring tears to your eyes, a meal that could help you lose friends and alienate people, a meal that will not only stimulate your taste buds, but your nasal passages and your digestive tract as well, THIS is the meal to make.
MG had to stop eating it midway through because it was just too much for his sinuses to take. As for me, I didn’t seem to have the same problem, and finished both my portion and his as well. Some that know me may attribute this to the fact that I have no detectable soul.
So be it.
Continue reading “Cayenne Chicken and Roasted Brussels Sprouts” »
Can a man stand tall and proud when he’s hunching over to pull out baked stuffed mushrooms for him and his boyfriend to enjoy on a Sunday night while waiting to watch the one-hour premiere of Kirstie Alley’s Big Life? (I’ll leave out references to the powder blue oven mitt I got for Christmas). Two days later, I still am unsure of my answer to that question and would like to pass until the next round, Wink. I will say, however that there was not one bit of stuffed shroom left anywhere in my home within twenty minutes of turning down the oven and presenting them to a most-surprised and delighted MG. One might argue that it’s nearly impossible for anything to taste bad when slathered in a mixture of heated cream cheese, bacon, parmesan and Worcestershire sauce, but I would like to think that my ever-mounting kitchen skills had something to do with these coming out as awesome as they did.
I’m still not the biggest fan of the shroom, but the zesty aroma will make them hard to refuse. A definite must-bring to any pot-luck party. Just make sure your host has available oven space to cook them just before putting them out. (Geez, I sound like Martha Stewart! I’m tossing that powder blue oven mitt the minute I get home!)
Recipe for Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
Here’s a simple twist on the recipe for crab puffs I posted a while back to accomodate those heathens who dislike crab. There were more of them out there then I originally realized – my mother and father being two of them – so out with the crustacea and in with a hot and zesty one-two punch of prosciutto and serrano pepper that’ll keep these babies flying into your mouth faster than you can keep count. And being as light and mouth-watering as they are, you won’t want to keep count.
Recipe for Prosciutto Pepper Puffs
Once you start showing off what you’ve managed to learn to make in the kitchen (say, on a blog for example), you have to take a certain level of responsiblity when friends and family start making certain food assumptions about what you’ll prepare for them when you invite them over. I became accutely aware of that fact earlier this week when my friend Travis asked what I was going to be serving at my weekly LOST viewing party and dinner:
Travis: “What are you making tonight, Gary?”
Me: “I’m making this amazing jalapeno popper mac and cheese.”
Travis: “Cool… what else?”
Me: “What do you mean what else?”
Travis: “I mean… what else are you making to go with it? And what, no dessert?”
I guess my days of gliding by with spaghetti and meatballs served on plastic plates I stole from my college dining commons are over, but I’ll happily leave that era in my past. MG often reminds me of my typical day’s food rundown from our first year or so of dating. I don’t recall, but apparently I lived exclusively on Hot Pockets, McDonalds and Tombstone frozen pizzas. I’m guessing MG is happy I’ve left those days behind as well.
On to the mad mac and cheese recipe I found over at Let’s Cook.
Continue reading “Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese” »
I’m giving this pizza four stars. One for every slice of it MG polished off last night. And they weren’t small slices, either. They weren’t even reasonable slices. These were some seriously wide and weighted down wedges! You really have to respect MG’s tenacity. He gets the job done!
Underneath that deceptively simple asiago/mozzarella cheese canopy are hiding chunks of shiitake mushroom, aromatic fennel, tangy tomato, onion, and thick cuts of spicy salami. I had complete confidence in all of these ingredients with the exception of the fennel. I’d never used it in a pizza before, and I was worried its flavor might overwhelm. No need to fear. This pizza was all sorts of savory, rich, and meaty, with just pings here and there of fennel sweetness.
Continue reading “Salami with Fennel and Asiago Pizza” »
The 1942 live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book offers up an entire menagerie of real-life jungle animals in its opening minutes. Before we meet any of the film’s main characters, we are treated to footage of predatory wolves, mischievous monkeys, lumbering elephants, leopards, bears, hyenas, jackals and a man-eating tiger. It reminded me of the terrific Disney True Life Adventure documentary series I watched when I was a kid.
The footage is a masterful way to open the story. Unfortunately, real-life bears, leopards and gazelle are notoriously temperamental when it comes to performing traditional movie duties like, say… delivering lines, hitting their marks and recounting their cocaine addictions to Mary Hart. So, after these few fun first minutes, the live animals all but disappear, and we spend the next ninety minutes with stuffed tigers, rubber snakes on strings, and an alligator who’s head completely separates from the rest of his body whenever his jaw opens for the camera. I choose to believe this particular alligator merely suffers from a herniated disc in its neck and just needs some good acupuncture. I’m still working on an excuse for the fact that I could hear its motor.
Still, considering it’s nearly seventy years old, The Jungle Book is a pretty ambitious film. The human actors, once they arrive, do a fairly good job at moving the story along. And even though most of the animals may be constructed from fiberglass and paint, they still demonstrate more charisma than my actual living cat does any day of the week.
Oh Z, what would become of you in the wild?
Click here for the Recipe!
The only regret I have in putting this meal together last night was that I neglecgted to take any picutres of the streams of juice that dripped from these finished burgers, snaked around our fingers as we ate, and rained down onto our plates. If you decide to make these, look forward to the experience. It’s an extra perk of these decadent dream-burgers.
The smell over the burners as the mushrooms and onions browned together was truly intoxicating. The portobellos add a rich, woodsy flavor to the meat.
Mature mushrooms such as portobellos store higher levels of octenol in their gills, leading to a richer aroma when they’re cut open. I topped them with a simple slaw made with celery, apple, sugar and cider vinegar that rendered any additional topping or condiment unnecessary
Tender buffalo that melts in your mouth, packed with aromatic mushrooms and topped with a zesty slaw. Write your own ending to this one. I just remembered there are two left over in the refrigerator!
Continue reading “Portobello Buffalo Burgers” »