Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pizza Margherita

New York or Chicago? While I've only gorged on Chicago deep-dish I can confidently tell you that I prefer neither of America's pizza powerhouses. That's right, the two headlining pizza cities can piss off. I tell you the best pie resides in St. Louis, Missouri! St. Louis pizza dons a thin, crispy crust loaded with toppings; leaving little to no room for an outer crust. The cracker like crust demands that the pie be cut into squares; not triangle shaped cuts like a normal pizza. If you're a fan of thin crust, STL style pizza is a must. If you're curious and conveniently find yourself in the Overland Park/KC area do yourself a favor and check out Imo's Pizza. I've sat here drooling for too long, dreaming of my perfect pizza. With a lack of *great* pizza joints in Manhattan, I set off to build my own pie.

I knew from the get go that I wanted a classic pizza. What's more classic than a pizza margherita? Nothing. Except maybe peanut butter and gumball pizza. A margherita pizza is simple. Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. Perfection. It's real deal, authentic pizza. The way they made it in the old country.

With toppings out of the way, it was time to focus on the crust. This was the nerve racking part. If I duke the crust then the pie is ruined. I found solace in this website, . The website is great, with a lot of helpful hints and years of pie making experience. I should've felt comfortable cranking out a stellar crust. But I wasn't. I've never been into the whole baking thing. But I mean how do you make a bad pizza? Pizza rules! No matter what kind of funk possesses it. I used the dough recipe on the webpage and had a fine time whipping up the dough. The only downfall was that I had to wait 24 hours to see how it turned out.

Well, 24 hours later, after rolling out and docking the dough I was ready to prep my pie for the oven. I drizzled the dough with olive oil and proceeded to layer tomatoes and mozzarella. Once prepped, I threw the pie into a scorching 500 degree oven and waited. About 13 minutes later I was staring at a beautiful homemade pizza margherita. Almost too sexy to eat. ALMOST. So snarf I did. The pizza turned out great and much better than anything I could've had delivered. If you're ever in the mood for a damn good pizza pie, forget ordering, and make your own.

I snarfed like Dr. Zoidberg

I want pizza now.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fish Tacos w/ Spicy Southwestern Slaw and Roasted Chile and Avocado Salsa

My, my it's been far too long. Sorry for the post-educational blog drought.

This past weekend I had the pleasure to cook with my pal Amber (w/ Carianne and Matt). This is the woman who taught me how to make homemade tortillas; so you know she's special. The last time we cooked we whipped up a batch of Chile Verde, so the next logical step is obviously fish tacos, right? Ever since coming home from Tampa, Fl. over spring break I've been craving fish tacos. Amber sounded interested when I brought them up in conversation so we decided to go ahead and try our luck. Surprisingly, Amber had never eaten fish tacos. I curse myself for this geographical isolation I've been born into. You just don't come in contact with fresh seafood out here in the Heartland.

Fish taco virgin, no more!

It doesn't matter if it's ground beef, steak, or fish; tacos are easy. One and a half pounds of tilapia provided the foundation for our tacos. White fish is bland and takes whatever flavors you throw at it. So I took olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper, cumin, cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, and lime juice and let all of those flavors mingle with the fish. After allowing the fish to marinade for 30 minutes, Matt and I cooked the filets on a foil lined grill (as to deter any sticking of the fish). That's it! The fish turned out good, too.

The roasted chile and avocado salsa took these tacos to a whole other level. I wish I always had a jar of this stuff in the fridge. I wouldn't hesitate to eat a pile of peapod gravel if it was topped with this concoction. Amber bummed this one off our good buddy, Emeril. Here are the ingredients:
  • 1/2 Hass avocado, flesh removed from peel
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion, divided
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons water
I thought Amber made a batch of pesto when I saw the finished product. It's an earthy green color with a relatively smooth texture. It's fantastic and you HAVE to make it. That's an order, dammit.

The slaw was pretty good. I think Amber and I could have created something with more flavor. But it still complimented the tacos well. Slaw adds this cool, crisp crunch that I just can't deny. Tacos are a combination of textures and a homemade slaw is an easy way to add a crunch. Here's the recipe.

"No only fish and pretzels!"-Jake Cuevas

The fish, slaw, and salsa were all housed by homemade tortillas. Thanks to Amber and Carianne's "Uelita" (famous for her salad) for the recipe. With Uelita's permission, I'll have to feature the recipe. You'll never feel the same about store bought tortillas.

Fryin' tortillas.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Beef Chow Mein with Black Bean Sauce by Sam the Cooking Guy

Sam the Cooking Guy is by far my favorite television cooking show host. If you've never seen it, you need to. The show is called Just Cook This with Sam the Cooking Guy, it's on FIT TV and Discovery Health. If you don't have those channels just Youtube: Sam the Cooking Guy. He's just an ordinary dude who films his show out of his own home. Sam frets on cooking for yourself and eating out less, which I totally agree with. Cooking at home is cheaper and better for you. Sam is an inspiration through his cooking and hilarious personality. Anyway, this is a recipe from Sam and it's a breeze to put together and tastes great. Check out his manifesto.

The main flavor in this dish comes from garlic black bean sauce, which I found in the Asian section at Dillons. It's good stuff, I recommend picking some up if you like Asian cooking.

It took less than 10 minutes to cook this.

Ham Sandwich.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Zach's Orange Chicken and Breakfast Tacos

Special two for one entry!

I've been day dreaming of this spicy, sticky Asian chicken dish. Well I didn't day dream any of the ingredients, except for chicken and jasmine rice, so I was off to the store to forage ingredients. I've been curious about hoisin sauce and thought that could be the Asian twang for my sauce. Hoisin sauce has a bit thicker consistancy when compared with ketchup and contains; water, sugar, soybeans, white distilled vinegar, rice, salt, wheat flour, garlic, and red chile peppers. It's pretty good, some people describe it as Asian BBQ sauce. But don't expect it to taste like KC Masterpiece. Of course I had to pick up another bottle of Sriracha, which is Thai hot sauce. It's my favorite hot sauce. So, the Sriracha's heats things up. Now I need something sweet. Orange juice? Sure, why not, that'll be the primary base for the sauce. So, the sauce is ready to go. Grabbed some chicken, an onion, and some shiitake mushrooms to round everything off. I wanted to get a ginger root but didn't want to fork out the money for it. Five bucks and I'd probably only use a tablespoon of it. I'll have to get one sometime because that is a staple in Asian cooking.

To start the cooking just get an olive-oiled pan rolling at medium to medium-high heat. (I would like to point out at this time that the stove I cook on has 5 buttons: warm, low, 3, 2, and high. I'm cooking on 2, so whatever the hell you want to call that on a normal stove top.) Cut up two chicken breasts into bite-size pieces, season (I put salt, pepper, and some onion powder. I have more spices but none of them fit with this recipe. But season it however you want. Some cayenne would've been nice), and throw it in the pan. Brown the chicken and pull it out. Add half of a diced onion and some sliced shiitake's. Cook for maybe a minute, until you see some color. Now these next couple of steps aren't exact at all, so I'm just going to rap it off like it happened. I added some OJ. A couple good gurgles, enough to constitute the base of a sauce. Next I added 1-2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce. Then I squirted in a healthy portion of Sriracha's. I zig-zagged the Sriracha's all the way across the top of the sauce, so there was quite a bit, but I like it really spicy, so add as much heat as you want. I brought this mixture up to a boil and then stirred in a little water mixed with flour. You know, thicken things up a bit. Make a nice sauce! You lika the sauce. So, once that is boiling again throw the chicken back in and let it finish cooking. Serve over jasmine rice. Alright.

It was sort of sweet, and really spicy.

Breakfast tacos. No frills. These would be good for a hangover. Bake off some sausage links. Scramble three eggs, with pepper jack cheese. Heat 2 taco sized tortillas. Put two sausage links on each tortilla, top each tortilla with half of the egg mixture. Drag some of that Sriracha's over top. Yeah, you.

"But Paul, we're having your favorite, breakfast for dinner!"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Honey Chipotle Chicken

I knew I was going to eat chicken for dinner tonight, I just didn't know how I was going to cook it. I could eat it over rice. Wait, no I can't because all the other pans are dirty. I have tortillas! I love tortillas, so much better than bread. So, what kind of chicken goes good with a tortilla? Spicy chicken. I have chipotles in adobo sauce in the fridge, that is spicy. Eureka! So, I cut up the chicken breast into small pieces and seasoned it. Threw it into an olive oiled pan on medium-high heat and cooked the pieces till they were about a minute from being done. I threw in about a tablespoon of the adobo sauce and a strong squeeze of honey and let the chicken finish cooking. Once the chicken was done I mixed in about a tablespoon of sour cream just to cool things off a bit. That's it and that's all, enjoy!

I still have plenty for lunch tomorrow, and I only
used one boneless skinless chicken breast.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Dinner

*photos were taken on my phone so they are extra crummy. Some day I'll use the office camera. :)

As people gather to "celebrate" the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I sit here to write about my families most recent Easter "celebration". Attention all Caby's: Easter lunch has been rescheduled and renamed! This year Easter lunch will be dubbed Easter dinner and the approximate time of mass consumption is 5 PM on Saturday. Approximate because of the usual stragglers, *cough* Ron and Lacey *cough*. Excuse me! Anyway, the 1st Annual Caby Easter Dinner started around 5:30 PM on Saturday, April 11th. The time change came as a benefit for me because I was feeling a little weak after a Friday night of drinking in Lawrence.

1st Annual Caby Easter Dinner set list. A little fuzzy but it
reads: Turkey, ham, (2) hashbrown casserole, (2) corn bread
casserole, baked beans, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and
rolls. There was more on this set list, all of the deserts and other
sides are listed out of the shot.

So I loaded up my plate with turkey, ham, green bean casserole, corn bread casserole, hash brown casserole, beans, and two homemade rolls. There was no surface area left on the entire plate, I had to hold it from the bottom. So, I have to take a time out and tell you about two of these dishes. Corn bread casserole is some sort of funky, sorta gooey corn bread bake with pieces of corn littered through out and some other ingredients I don't know, but it is the perfect soul food side dish. It's so good, you'll have to talk to my sister Erin about it. She's obsessed with it. I think it was her birthday cake last year, or something like that. The other dish is hash brown casserole which I think may be a little more familiar to most people. But for those people who aren't familiar with it, all it is is cubed hash browns and a ton of cheese baked with a corn flake topping. I have had so many different variations of it before but no one makes it as good as my Grandma.

"Hey mister, guess what I had for breakfast? Beans!"

The thing I absolutely love about eating at my Grandma's is the way I eat. I take little portions of EVERYTHING on my plate and eat it all at once. That's right; turkey, ham, green bean casserole, corn bread casserole, hash brown casserole, and beans all on one fork load and into my mouth. Properly followed with a bite of a roll, and washed down with a tall, cool Miller Lite. The second thing I absolutely love about eating at my Grandma's is that I still sit at the kids table, and I don't think I'll ever not want to sit there. I love the kids table. I'm the oldest at 21, Laura is 18, Erin is in 7th grade, Courtney is a sophomore in high school, Cara is in 5th grade, Billy isn't even in kindergarten. Ashley is in like 2nd grade or something? I'm not sure, but she's little. So, I just sit out there with them, stuff my face, and usually crack poop or butt jokes to Billy and he absolutely goes nut! On some occasions the poop or butt joke may only consist of saying, "Ha, poopy butt!". Once Billy cracks up, the rest of the kids start to laugh and choke on their food. It's great. My third and final thing I absolutely love about eating at my Grandma's is seeing all my family and eating in glutenous proportions. Special thoughts go out to my Mom, Austin, and Brandon who couldn't attend the 1st Annual Caby Easter Dinner.

"Better watch your back Fish! Squirrel Master ain't gonna be there
for you all the time. Next time I come for you, I'm gonna want
some cocktail... FRUIT!"

Dad you should try golfing in that aprin, might
give you a couple more yards on your drive.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Southwestern Pork Chop "Curry"

So, I have been on this curry kick the past couple of weeks. The couple weeks before that I was in a Tex-Mex kick, but I'm almost always in a constant state of Southwestern day dreaming. Green chiles, mmm. So the "curry" part comes from the realization I had after making my second batch of chicken curry. The realization: I really like preparing food in a sauce and serving it over rice. Specifically, jasmine rice. I can't get enough of that stuff. Sticky and fluffy all at the same time. Anyways, the Southwestern bit comes in because I have a can of chipotles and green chile sauce sitting in the fridge from making braised tri-tip tacos last week. Pork chops. Well I used pork chops because that is what my Mom gave me, so that is what I shall cook with, because it was free! Enjoy.

Sear the pork chops on both sides in olive oil over medium-high heat. Pull the chops. Turn heat down to medium. Add some chopped onion, a couple splashes of green chile sauce, and one chipotle and bring to a boil. Throw the chops back in, turn heat to low and simmer sauce and chops covered for like, I don't know thirty minutes? Something like that. Serve over rice and a dollop o' sour cream.

Pretty tasty.

What could be better than eating an easy, delicious home cooked meal? Eating brownies after inhaling your home cooked meal, of course! Not only that, I didn't have to cook the brownies. Thanks, Monica.

They were still hot. *Caleb salivating*

Monica is special. But she can still bake brownies.