Pizza

I love pizza. My wife and I don’t eat out much, but pizza is our one regular splurge. But as routine as pizza is, there’s always something special about home-made:

Pizza fresh out of the oven

Slice of pizza

I had a lot of fun making this one. Its amazing how much better something as simple as pizza is compared to ordering in. Usually, pizza is a gut-bomb…delicious, but way too filling (or when its not so delicious, its a good excuse to try out one of my new hot sauces, another regular splurge). This was pretty easy to prepare at a leisurely pace and tasted vibrant, fresh, and light, which is a nice change from greasy and heavy. Plus, it gave my pizza stone, an oft negelected tool in the kitchen, some much needed TLC. 😉 Also, a nice side benefit to making this dish: you’ll have extra dough leftover which you can store in the fridge/freezer so that… click to read more…

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Stewed Creole Barbecue Chicken

This is a favorite of mine–a chicken dish that’s hearty, savory, rich, and spicy, blending creole flavors with barbecue for a match made in heaven.

Stewed Creole Barbecue Chicken

I’ve prepared variants of this dish for a long time, but it never had a name beyond “barbecue chicken.” Let’s face it, that evokes a mental image of just throwing a bare piece of chicken on the grill which I’m sure you’ll agree is a far cry from the above photo. So now that I’m writing about what I cook, I am faced with some of the really difficult life changing decisions. I tried to seek out dishes that seemed similar so I could have an interesting name. I was tempted to call this a gumbo, but it really isn’t. Same goes for jambalaya and étouffée…but they’re so close. The flavors at play are definitely similar, but there’s no roux, andouille, or celery, and let’s face it, those kinds of ingredients are key to… click to read more…

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Chicken Francaise

I’m not sure what it is, but it seems that when I want something quick, easy, and tasty, I fall back on Italian-style food. This week’s not-actually-Italian-but-common-in-Italian-restaurants food: chicken francaise (but doesn’t “francaise” mean French?).

Chicken francaise with creamy garlic pasta

This version of the dish has a light and delicate sauce that packs a surprising amount of punch. The core ingredients are some very Mediterranean flavors: white wine, lemon, capers, and parsely with broth standing firm as the backbone. Of all of those components, I really like to try to highlight the lemon in a big way–it brings a vibrant, fresh flavor, and if you can get any great produce in Florida, its citrus 😉 . The capers bring that peculiar salty sweetness (not quite sure how I’d describe their taste) to the dish and the parsely just gives that earthiness that you need to temper the lemon. Like chicken marsala, the core idea to preparing… click to read more…

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Beef

Along with the pumpkins, October rings in a great variety of squash. Acorn squash is a fun one to work with, providing you with a rich, orange-colored, naturally sweet bowl that is ideal for stuffing with something savory. You’ll find a really wide range of interesting fillings out there–apples, nuts, rice, meats–all sorts of things. No matter what the filling though, they all have one thing in common: they showcase the tender texture and the sweetness of the squash.

Acorn squash stuffed with beef

In this case, I’ve stuffed my squash with a ground beef mixture which has Mexican flavors akin to a milder mole sauce that is tilted less towards spicy and more towards sweet and savory so as to enhance the sweetness of the squash. There’s a lot of savory spices and a small amount of heat, but a lot of the major players in this mixture work towards having a fuller profile of sweetness:… click to read more…

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Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Rosemary Sauce

I think pork can be a really fun meat to cook with because it goes surprisingly well with fruit, and in this case, pomegranate.

Slices of pork tenderloin with pomegranate sauce

Pomegranate is a curious fruit if you’ve never worked with it. The flavor is kind of hard to describe: sweet but tart, as well as both dark and somewhat tannic (that mouth-drying feeling you get from red wine). Given the history of this fruit, pomegranate can add either a real middle-eastern or Mediterranean flare to a dish, which is just what we’re going for. We’ll rub the pork with a middle-eastern styled dry rub and glaze it with the dark, subtle fruity flavors of pomegranate mixed with the complex sweetness you get from basalmic and fresh rosemary. This is also my entry for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Haalo from click to read more…

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Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan, next to lasagna, is to me, the quintessential Italian comfort food. Its not too heavy, not too unhealthy, and can work as a nice dinner or even as a hero/sub/hoagie/whatever you call it in your part of the world.

Chicken parmesan

I had my doubts in writing this post that Chicken/Veal Parmesan was in any way, actually Italian. Surprisingly, it seems that yes, at one point, there was an authentically Italian version…it just had no cheese, tomato, or anything that would look familiar to us today beyond the meat. But history aside, this is still delicious and is another household favorite of mine that can surprise a lot of people, because, like burgers, I feel that most people are accustomed to subpar versions of this dish. I suppose that’s the price you pay for popularity.

For me, the key is to use a really flavorful breading on the meat, frying it as… click to read more…

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