Lovin’ our homemade pizza…

A new favorite in our house… an old classic. I found this multi-grain crust at my local Albertsons. “Culinary Circle” is their upscale store brand name. And wow… they sure know how to make a good upscale store brand pre-baked pizza crusts.

And then we topped it with some really good pizza toppings to make a Manly Meaty Pizza… garlic-infused olive oil, marinara of choice, Gallo salame and pepperoni, mozzarella cheese… you know, your favorite pizza toppings, whatever those may be.

On the “girly” side of the pizza I used my pesto of choice and a vine-ripened tomato… and maybe a few slices of pepperoni slipped in there too.

Next, I drizzled some garlic-infused olive oil on the crust… and brushed it over the top of the whole crust.

And I will say here that I’m convinced that broiler pans bake pizza doughs just as good as pizza stones. The air circulates up under the crust and dries it out… so it gets nice and crispy and perfectly done!

How did I discover this? Well, we’ve been using pizza stones for at least 10 years now (for frozen pizzas). And recently our pizza stone dropped and cracked in half. I hadn’t had a chance to replace it yet before I wanted to make another pizza. So, I gave the trusty broiler pan a whirl… and voila! Perfectly, crusty crust!

Now, on to the toppings… marinara sauce on His side, pesto on my side.

I sprinkled mozzarella cheese across the whole crust… then…

On His side I topped with meatballs (cut in half)
On my side I topped with sliced raw tomatoes

And then more mozzarella, and (oh yeah) also some crumbled bacon. Yes, bacon.

Next, salame… and some more mozzarella.

Last, a layer of pepperoni… followed by? What else… mozzarella.

TIP FROM LORI: If you like crispy pizza (and we do) then do what we do. If the instructions on the crust reads to bake the pizza at 400 degrees F, then we actually bake it at 425 degrees F for a slightly less amount of time.

So, it’s time for the close up shot…

Above: the Manly Meaty Pizza…

Below: the Girly Pesto Pizza…

Both are equally scrumptious… and a little sinful.

We also usually shake some red pepper flakes on top of one of those layers and sometimes some garlic salt too. Tonight I forgot… but we didn’t send the pizza back…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

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RECIPE: Maid-Rite Sandwich

What exactly is a Maid-Rite sandwich? It’s the sandwich made famous by the restaurant chain by the same name, based in Iowa. While there recipe might be a highly guarded secret… this is my version.

I love to taste something and then try to recreate it, or make it my own. Tonight we have my version of the midwestern favorite! We start with just a few ingredients…. and it comes together pretty quickly. Let it simmer for an hour… and make your sandwich, topping it with your favorite condiments.

Come with me on a journey to Iowa, where it all started…

Brown the ground beef and onion…

Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder (or the garlic cloves if that’s what you’re using)…

Add the “W” sauce… and the soy sauce…

… and the water… and a good stir.

Place a cover on it and allow to simmer for at least an hour.

Place some meat mixture on top of toasted buns… add cheese if desired. Or prepare to top the loose meat with ketchup, mustard and pickles.

Or if you like green olives as much as I do, add some diced olives as relish. Oh man… they add a buttery taste, amazingly enough…

4 for the sandwich and 1 for the cook!

Yummy in my tummy!

Thank you, Iowa! I owe ya one…

Maid Rites

Ingredients
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb. ground beef
½ onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon THICK Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup water

Instructions
In canola oil, brown the ground beef, onion and garlic together. Drain. Add “W” sauce, soy sauce, salt/pepper and water.

Simmer for at least 1 hour. Serve on buns with mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc.

Confession: I like diced green olives on just about ANYTHING!!! (except maybe waffles…)

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Chicken Paillard with Garlic Risotto

From Dictionary.com
pail·lard  / [pahy-yahr, pey-] – noun
a scallop, esp. of veal or chicken, that is pounded flat and grilled or sautéed quickly.

I pounded out the chicken between two sheets of wax paper, with a glass. All it takes is 5 or 6 whacks and it’s all ready. I just pounded the thicker end of the chicken breast until it was as thin as the other end. (This helps to cook the chicken fast and evenly.)

Then I salted the chicken slightly, dredged it lightly through some flour and placed into a hot saute pan with a tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil. About 3 minutes on both sides until there’s a nice crispy texture to both sides.

While the chicken cooked I started the risotto. Quick steps: butter and garlic-infused olive oil in a deep saute pan, add sliced shallots and saute until tender. Next add the arborio rice, making sure to coat each grain of rice with oil.

Following directions isn’t usually my forte… but this time I followed the directions on the back of the arborio rice container.

EXCEPT, I went out on the ledge and added 1/2 cup dry white wine to the rice before starting with the chicken broth. And I’m not going to apologize for THAT rebellion!

Allowing the wine to completely evaporate first, then I started adding the chicken stock. 1/2 cup at a time… until all 3 cups of chicken stock had been soaked up… let the stirring begin!

In the meantime, I grabbed the wine bottle again… this time to deglaze the pan that the chicken had been cooking in. I also added a little bit of chicken stock for deglazing…

Next, I added a little bit of flour to start a roux. After allowing the flour to cook a little, I added the cream and kept whisking. Then I added a little more cream.

Then I added some green onions…

Then I put the chicken back into the sauce to re-warm slightly and coat the chicken.

Next step? Finishing off the risotto and testing it to ensure it was properly cooked and seasoned.

May I present… a wonderful dinner to come back to after a bit of a hiatus in the kitchen. It was a rather nice evening… I love time at home with my hero-of-a-hubby!

Quote of the day…

“The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. “ — Julia Child

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Carnitas tacos and Not-Your-Average-Corn dish…

We’re having a heat wave this week (and probably for the next 4 months). So, it was another quick taco night.

I bought already-cooked carnitas. (Yes, I’m cheating again! Or, I’m one smart-cookie! I guess it depends on how you look at it!) So I made some quick tacos. Corn tortillas enveloped the carnitas, sauteed vegetables (orange bell pepper and red onion), a drizzle of salsa, cilantro, green onions and cotija cheese.

We had some leftover black beans from two nights ago and I have been craving my favorite spicy, creamy corn dish.

So, let me show you what it looks like!

Here’s what you need: steamed corn, diced serrano (or jalapeno), cream cheese, butter and kosher salt.

Start with hot corn and very finely diced serrano pepper… if you don’t like a lot of pepper heat then remove the seeds/ribs from inside the serrano. I usually take out about half of the seeds and ribs. (I’m a wimp!)

Melt the softened cream cheese and butter in the microwave real briefly and mix well until creamed together…

Pour it over the corn and serrano pepper… and mix well.

Salt to taste… at times i’ve also added a dash of cayenne pepper for some color and another layer of heat. Oh yum!

Serve it up with your favorite dinner… and make extra! ‘Cuz you’re going to want it again the next night!

Not-Your-Average Corn
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

Ingredients
4 cups of cooked corn
½ stick butter
½ package of cream cheese, softened
1 serrano pepper, diced
Salt/pepper to taste

Instructions
Melt butter and cream cheese in small sauce pan, on low until completely melted, combined. Add corn and jalapeno – mix well before serving.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Quick Bolognese and another panini…

Another quick dinner for a hot summer…

I found a recipe on the back of the package for Trader Joe’s pappardelle (egg noodle). So I tried it.

This is what it looks like.

But you can’t tell by looking at the picture how it tasted.

So, let me ask my hero-of-a-hubby what he thought.

He thought that he wanted to lick the plate clean. And that he did…

I’d say that was pretty scrumptious.

And the panini? It’s very simply italiano pane bread (soft, soft, soft bread) with provolone slices inside. I drizzled a little bit of olive oil on the outisde of the bread… and squished it between the panini grill and the panini press. And when I pulled the sandwich off the grill I rubbed it with a large garlic clove… just to leave a hint of garlic on the crispy bread.

My hubby also wanted another sandwich…

I’d say this dish will definitely reappear on our table at some point in the future…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Easy Shrimp Fajitas…

I so love making Fajitas <— check out my prior entry on WHY I love making fajitas and showing how easy they are. Quick recap: They are full of flavor. They are rather healthy. They are pretty fast to both prepare and make. And I don't have to stand over the stove for a long time to put a tasty meal on the table.

Confession: Last night I cheated a bit to make it even easier and quicker. (I do NOT like spending time in the kitchen when it’s hot outside!) So, I stopped by my favorite authentic mexican restaurant on the way home from work (Casa de Bandini) and bought part of dinner. I got a pint each of their amazing black beans and their even more surprising arroz amarillo.

And all I did was make shrimp fajitas:
I slightly crushed 4 cloves of garlic and threw them into 1/4 cup of olive oil.
(Crushing opens the clove enough to extract flavor when heat is added.)
I set the stove to medium-low heat and let the garlic and oil ‘get friendly’.
They hung out together while I prepared the shrimp, sliced up the veggies, etc.
(They hung out like this for about 10 minutes, just barely sizzling in hot oil.)
I sliced red/orange bell peppers and a red onion.
I then removed the garlic-infused oil from the pan, leaving just a tiny bit behind for the veggies.
The veggies went into the pan and sauteed until they just started to brown.
(Over medium-high heat, they hung out for about 10 minutes.)
(I tossed them several times to make sure they browned on all sides.)
Once soft enough, I removed the veggies to a bowl and set them aside.

This next part goes quickly…
The garlic-infused oil went back into the pan (without the garlic cloves).
I lightly salted the shrimp and added it the oil.
Approximately 30 seconds later, I turned the shrimp over.
I added the veggies back to the pan, waited about 30 seconds and tossed a few times before serving up.

These went perfect with corn tortillas that I warmed ever so slightly on the cast iron tortilla warmer.

Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and cotija cheese…

You WANT to make these. I promise.

Sidenote: let it be known, it is my goal this summer to figure out how to make the special arroz amarillo that Casa de Bandini rocks! I may have to go back time and again for more test tastes. Oh darn…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Raclette at the Swiss Chalet

While in Tahoe last week I noticed a restaurant on Tahoe Blvd I wanted to check out online. I wanted to see if they had “raclette” on their menu… and what did their website tell me?

That they had raclette…

I talked my very loving (and gracious) family members to go out for yet another meal (even though a few of us were still full from lunch). We each just ordered an appetizer…

I first had raclette in a small village in Switzerland called “Gruyeres”… yes, like the cheese. Raclette is a certain brand of cheese that melts very well and browns up nicely under the broiler. It has a very gentle “browned” taste to it… a taste like I’d never tasted before. Click here for more on raclette.

In Tahoe, it was served a little differently… since it was an appetizer it was served in a nice tidy portion. (Part of me was disappointed – but the other side of me told me I shouldn’t have much more than this anyway… ahem!)

On the menu it read “Raclette – served over potatoes, with cornichons”. I had to ask what “cornichons” stood for (since that didn’t come with the raclette serving I had in Gruyere). The waiter explained that they were pickled vegetables. The small pickled onion and gherkin were a nice addition to this plate…

Once melted, raclette cheese is very different from fondue. Fondue is more creamy… more like a sauce or a dip. Raclette is more true to the melted cheese form… and perfect over potatoes!!! Or on bread… or even by itself.

If you have never had raclette… I encourage you to search out a place nearby so you can try it. It’ll change your view of cheese! I promise…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…