No Good Saturday Lie About!!

So I set the mandolin to thin and sliced away at some potatoes that were left lying about. (How I hate a lie about.) Its partner in crime, The Onion, sat there mocking me with its many layered personality and me, with mine, so shallow, so base . . . so hungry. I grabbed the onion and noticed that the eyes, of the remaining potatoes, never left me. They stared at me unflinchingly as I julienne sliced their brothers. The onions never shed a tear. They both took their final swim in olive oil and pepper and thyme and salt. I laid the saute’d remains on a bed of thinly rolled dough I’d pressed into my quiche pan. A topping of 4 eggs, thyme and parmesan cheese and into the oven they went.

The inspiration for this came from my father’s dear departed aunt. She did this thing with potatoes, onions and butter. YUM!! Always plenty of good eats at auntie’s. So in an homage to dear Priscilla I will happily share . . . what’s left.

Eat well and smile often!


Spinach and Bleu Cheese and Eggs, Oh My!!

Best breakfasts, (say that three times fast) come from unintentional leftovers. My friend Suzanne, Cooking By The Bay, and I were working on some recipes for her cooking classes the other day. One thing we were trying was a baked Filo Cup with Spinach, Bleu Cheese and Walnuts. It was a tasty tryout which we both decided needed more cheese to pass muster.

Hello! Morning muster and I’m hungry. What shall I have? An omelette of course but what shall I put inside? A dig through the fridge produced our leftover spinach mix, some extra bleu cheese, (like there is ever such a thing as extra bleu cheese) and a bit of parmesean close to the rind. Now to cook a perfect omelette I’ll let you in on the secret:

1. Cold pan – a slope sided pan that has been seasoned with oil before cooking, teflon will work too
2. Cold oil – a tablespoon or two right in the pan
3. High heat – Burner on high – Trust me

So basically you take your fillings and warm them gently in a side pan. Whip two eggs in a bowl. Place the pan on the burner, add the oil, add the eggs THEN turn the burner on high. Using a non-melting spatula work the edges of the cooking eggs to make sure they don’t stick. Slide the pan on the burner to keep the omelette from sticking. If you find that the outside edges are cooking much faster than the center, lift the cooked edge of the eggs with your spatula and let a little uncooked egg run over the edge onto the metal of the pan to cook. This entire process wil take about a minute and a half.

If you are brave you will flip the mostly cooked eggs and turn them over in the air. Otherwise you can use the spatula or an even better technique, place the entire pan under a preheated broiler for about 20 seconds to finish off the top. Slide the eggs on to a plate, fill with the good stuff, fold over, grate a little extra cheese on top (right no such thing as extra cheese) and Voila’ – you are eating French food again.

Happy flipping and smile often,


Bread of Life!!

For years, like ever since I was 8, I have been trying to bake a loaf of soft, light, sandwich bread. I even spent . . . $18,000.00 . . . going to culinary school to learn how. You think I would have it down by now. Not.

These loaves taste great and they will make a fantastic breakfast of french toast for me. But, to the discerning eye, one will notice the crumb is too dense and that the gluten has not been fully developed. This was an intentional mistake on my part. The successes I have had with bread involved a supercharged yeast, an 8′ long deck oven, a temperature controlled proofing box, a massive Hobart mixer and an experienced baker looking over my shoulder. Like many things, my childhood memories haunt me. My dear sweet mother, angel of a woman, a saint even, who could literally burn water, told me once; as I bragged about my youthful kneading skills; “It was good bread just hard and dense.” so I have been attempting to lighten up a little. By lightening up I mean not kneading as much. Kneading too much makes the bread chewy, I’m not going for chewy here.

What this means, with these loaves, is that I did not knead the appropriate amount. Therefore the gluten has not developed properly which, as a result, did not provide the correct crumb or cell structure to capture the Co2 released from the yeast which gives the bread it’s lift and lightness. Shucks. Only one two things to do:

1. Eat the bread warm with butter, eggs and syrup
B. Try it again.

Cheers and smile often,


Pizza Pizza!!

My friend Suzanne, of Cooking by the Bay, and I spent the weekend working a new pizza dough recipe. That’s all fine and good but eating plain, old pizza dough is kind of boring in my opinion. So, we worked up toppings from the leftovers in my fridge. Now the week prior my friend Tish, of Sun and Water Farms, dropped off a mess of potatoes, onions, carrots and bell peppers she had left over from a catering event. While I made use of the potatoes by slicing and baking them in butter, it was the peppers and onions that fell prey to my knife and died a slow and glorious death caramelizing in the pan.

A bit of spicy chicken sausage and you would think we had a complete pizza but, there has always been one thing about pizzas that has eluded me since . . . well . . . birth. What makes a good pizza sauce? It is tomato of course but what else? Suzanne and I decided to start out simply and Thank You, Thank You we needn’t go any further. Our sauce was just a combination of pureed canned tomatoes (Hey, they were on my shelf), tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic and some freshly ground chili flakes; add heat for 5 minutes and we’re done.

This pizza was so good we made two in one day and I made another last night.

Cheers,    tj


Pizza (by layers)

Pizza dough,     rolled thin
Olive oil,     extra virgin (for the taste)
Tomato sauce   thin
Mozzarella     fresh, grated
Peppers & Onions   caramelized
Sausage     spicy chicken is good
Mozzarella     more of the same

On a pizza stone in a hot oven, 450 degrees F, until brown around the edges

Cool it, slice it and stick it in your head.