Easy Calzones – (Pizza in Ball Format)

Easy Calzones - (Pizza in Ball Format)So this week we’ve got a house guest (or a room guest more accurately – given the size of our place) and we’ve been doing a lot of eating out.  Tonight we had some sushi and wandered around a few of the great local markets.  Home and safely ensconced in our warm little abode thoughts ran to what we might like for dinner/late night snack.  Pizza was an idea but then I thought – I’ve already done pizza – what the hell else can I make that we like – that’s easy – tasty – and quick.  Calzones!  That’s what.  I like me a calzone, and a simple one at that.  It needn’t be stuffed with chicken or meats and peppers and all manner of things.  How about some dough, cheese, and sauce.  That sounds mighty tasty all by itself.  So let’s get to it.

I started with my usual pizza dough recipe.  I even cribbed some of the text right from that post – you know because I’m lazy: Continue reading

Best Bread Pudding You’ll Ever Have

Best Bread Pudding You'll Ever HaveThe other night I went to the identical to Whole Foods rip-off Metropolitan Market down the street from my house.  By rip-off I mean even the font is the same and the signs looks like someone went into Whole Foods in the middle of the night and ran off with them.  That’s some hustle.  And it’s better than Whole Foods.  Better cheese section – they stretch their own Mozzarella! – and even friendlier staff.  Oh and it’s 24 hours, stacked on top of a 24 drug store/pharmacy combo.  What’s not to like about that.  It’s not any cheaper but you can’t have everything.

They have a bread pudding that’s a bit different from this one but it reminded me how good bread pudding is and what I dope I’ve been for not making my recipe.  I love me some bread pudding!  Their’s is a bit drier and has raisins aplenty.  No one’s perfect though. Continue reading

Asparagus, Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Pizza

Asparagus, Bacon, Egg, and Cheese PizzaWe’ve got a very good pizza dough recipe down and use it fairly regularly.  It’s easy to make and let’s face it, nothing’s better than a good homemade pizza.  Often it’s just a simple pizza with red sauce or a white pizza heavy on cheese or garlic.  We were looking for something a little different the other night, however.  This pizza certainly qualifies I think. Continue reading

America’s Test Kitchen Rescues Your Baking With A Nifty Infographic

Ever start baking cookies and wonder what the hell happened?  How did you end up with a mess on your sheet instead of gooey goodness?  Masters of all-things-kitchen America’s Test Kitchen have created this nifty infographic which should get you out of many a baking jam.  Granted, you’ll probably want to familiarize yourself with it before you start putting stuff into the oven, but it’s a great resource to figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it.

For those unfamiliar, America’s Test Kitchen is like the Consumer Reports of cooking.  They’ll do anything, spend anything, and try as many times as necessary to get you the truth.  What’s the best chocolate cake?  How do you make the best burger?  What’s the best spatula out there?  Chances are they know all about it.  It’s not a free service – you’ve got to pay a little bit every year but it’s immensely valuable information and worth every penny.  They’ve got a TV show or two as well which show up here and there on public television, or you can follow that link and watch online.

Are your cookies are running together into one huge sheet?  Maybe your oven isn’t up to temperature yet, or maybe you should stagger the rows on your cookie sheet.  Burning your cookie bottoms all the time?  Throw down some parchment paper before you start baking them.  Check out the infographic below for more help on common baking foibles.

So be brave, fire up the oven, and make you and your loved ones some baked goods this afternoon with the knowledge that if things go wrong you’ll have America’s Test Kitchen on hand to bail you out.America's Test Kitchen Rescues Your Baking

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

For a long time I shied away from bruschetta.  I had some sort of fear about uncooked tomatoes.  Not sure where I was going with that but I’m happy to say it’s been over for quite a while.  One day I said to myself “Hey – this is bread” and it’s all been roses since.

Perhaps not all roses.  I’ve had bad bruschetta foisted upon me on more than one occasion and it’s infuriating, especially since it’s not hard to make a good one.  So simple and pure is this appetizer (or meal if you’re like me); bad ingredients and an uncaring hand in the kitchen are really the only spots you can place blame.  A shame then.  Why bother?

Bruschetta can be a great many things.  In its simplest form bruschetta is bread, lightly coated with olive oil, toasted over coals, rubbed down with raw garlic, and coated lightly with cracked pepper and salt.  That sounds devastatingly good.  Variations on the theme include chopped onions, herbs, beans, and tomatoes.  The recipe that evolved below is fairly similar to what you’ll get in most Italian restaurants when you place an order. Continue reading

Rustic Italian Bread

Rustic Italian BreadMan can not live on bread alone.  A true statement.  He’d need butter or olive oil to go along with it.  For me that would probably be enough.  Maybe a lemon or two to keep the scurvy at bay.  I don’t think I’d need much else, such is my love for bread.

This is a go-to recipe for me.  It makes a great loaf, has a great crust, and looks even better.  As far as breads go, this recipe is really simple (most breads aren’t that complicated – it’s the yeast that scares everyone off.)  Yeast used to scare me a bit before I started meddling around with it.  I quickly found out it’s really easy provided you follow a few steps.  Keep it packaged and keep it in the fridge.  Aside from that, just making sure you’re using the proper temperature water, give it the time it needs to do its gassy work, and you’ve just about got everything you really need to know. Continue reading