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Pizza Wars

I’ve been making pies at home now for a few years with varied amounts of success.  I tried tons of recipes and never really got the results I was looking for until I realized what makes good pizza.  Good pizza making is good bread making.  Learn a thing or two about bread and you can whip out whatever style pizza you want at will.  With just a few simple tweaks of ingredients, cooking temperature and hydration you can go from Neapolitan to New York style to Totino’s pizza.  I have no desire to expound on what variety of pizza is best.  Just because they do it a certain way in Naples doesn’t mean I want my pizza that way in Ohio.  In my opinion, if anybody has it the most right, it’s probably New York.

I however am not qualified to judge New York style pizzas.  Therefore, the following is for a pizza of my own style.  It has elements of Neapolitan and New York styles, as well as slight deviations of my own.  I don’t mean to sound overly original or proud here; it’s just pizza.  I just don’t want anyone being offended that I call my pizza a certain style.  You’d be surprised how strongly some people feel about the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

Grilling Steaks

 

There seems to be a sentiment that a good restaurant steak is hard to recreate at home.  Outside of a special occasion, I rarely order steak at a restaurant.  The main reason being financial.  Every restaurant I trust to make a good steak just isn’t in my normal dining budget.  I also hate returning food.  When I order a steak and it isn’t cooked well, it ruins my whole meal.  The choice whether to return food to the kitchen or deal with a crap meal is a lose/lose situation.  If you send it back a myriad of outcomes are possible.  Least likely of which is having a perfectly cooked piece of meat quickly delivered to the table.  More than likely is getting a snotty attitude from a waiter, an even worse cooked steak returned and possible saliva contamination.  The other option is to accept your fate and eat the piece of shit you just wasted $40 on.

There is something to be said for a good steakhouse though.  Outside of the meat, the specific ambiance of a real old school steakhouse is a pleasure.  Unless you have giant luxurious leather booths, a dimly lit room with a smoked stained ceiling from “the good old days”, a guy in a tux playing piano in the corner and a parking lot full of Lincoln Town Cars, there is part of the experience you may not be able to recreate.  The Meat however is something you can do.  Easily. Read the rest of this entry »

2012 Garden Photo Journal

I’ve kept a garden in some form for quite a few years now, and it’s time I started taking notes.  Though I consider myself fairly handy in most matters, raising vegetables is not something that has come naturally to me.  A season doesn’t go by without at least part of my garden being obliterated by bugs, drought, mold, disease, or any other number of plagues.  I have spent a bit of time researching the various aspects of home gardening, but only to the point that makes me realize how little I actually know.  So, this year, for the first time, I’m going to try to really pay attention to what’s going on in my garden.  Hopefully by writing a few things down and recording some images I’ll begin to have better results.

 

The Yard

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Crabbier Cakes

Crab cakes tend to be either fantastic treats or indiscriminate lumps of deep fried bread.  I don’t recall ever having a crab cake and saying “meh”.  When left alone, succulent chunks of blue crab are by themselves their own kind of deliciousness.  Hence, the notion of forming them into a cake should bring out the reserved side of a chef’s nature.  This is simply not the case though.  People either do it right, or horribly wrong.  Horribly wrong being using so much filler and binder that the crab disappears into a background of soggy oily bread and old bay seasoning.  Here’s a fairly simple way to keep the crab in crab cakes.

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