Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pizza! Pizza! St. Louis Style Pizza

I admit it, I am a pizza snob and LOVE Vic Cassano's Pizza King (based in Dayton, Ohio).  It's really the only type of pizza I had growing up, and didn't realize there were other types of pizza until I moved to Idaho from Ohio.  Now, in 2012, I have come to learn that my fav childhood pizza originated in St. Louis.   I saw this pizza recipe this month on Cook's Country TV show and 'bout cried when I realized it was the yummy oozy flat pizza from my childhood!
Thank you Cook's Country for sharing this recipe with the world, well, me at least!

From Cook's Country magazine

St. Louis Style-Pizza (similar to Cassano's)
  Yield: 2 (12-inch) pizzas (8 servings)

For the sauce:
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • For the cheese (see note):
  • 2 cups shredded white American cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 drops liquid smoke
For the dough:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

2. Prepare the sauce. Whisk together tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, 1 tablespoon sugar and oregano in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Prepare the cheese. Toss American and Monterey Jack cheeses with liquid smoke in a medium bowl. Set aside.  NOTE: or use Provel Cheese.

4.  Prepare the dough. Combine flour, cornstarch, 2 teaspoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine water and olive oil in a measuring cup. Stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times, until cohesive.

5. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, press into a small circle and transfer to a sheet of parchment paper dusted lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll and stretch dough into a 12-inch circle, rotating parchment as needed. Lift parchment off work surface and onto an inverted baking sheet.

6. Top each piece of dough with half of the sauce and half of the cheese. Carefully pull one sheet of parchment paper and pizza off a baking sheet and place on the hot baking stone. Bake until underside of crust is golden brown and cheese is completely melted, 9 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out the remaining dough and top with sauce and cheese.

7. When first pizza is done, transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for a few minutes. Bake second pizza. Cut pizzas into 2-inch squares and serve (this is a must)!

Note: Substitute 2 1/2 cups of provel cheese, if available, for the cheese mixture. The dough can be made in advance; tightly wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Recipe developed by Meghan Erwin of Cook's Country magazine

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cherry Mountain

A trip down memory lane.  Cherry Mountains.  Love cherry and chocolate combined!

St. Louis BBQ Pork Steaks

The smell of BBQ sauce makes my mouth water.  A famous St. Louis BBQ Sauce is made by Maull.   I couldn't find Maull's in my neck of the woods so I researched and found a few recipes, and revised this one to make it my own.

Pork steaks are taken from the shoulder of the pig, and is a tender cut (and inexpensive for those of us on a budget).    They are typically seared and dry roasted on a grill but I braised them in my 5.5 quart LeCreuset French Oven, and finished the cooking process in a 350' oven.   They were delicious!

St. Louis BBQ Pork Steaks
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can light beer  (feel free to drink the remaining beer left in the can)
  • 4 T A.1 Steak Sauce
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teas. garlic powder
  • 3-4 drops hot sauce
  • 1/2 teas. liquid smoke
  • 6 pork steaks
Heat 2 T olive oil in dutch oven or large skillet.  
Season pork steaks with fresh black pepper and brown, reserve on platter until all are brown.  Remove from pan.

Whisk together tomato sauce, A.1, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, hot sauce and liquid smoke in a bowl.  

Return pork steaks to dutch oven or baking dish.   Pour BBQ sauce over the steaks, cover and bake at 350' for 1 1/2 hours.  
Skim fat from sauce, serve sauce with the steaks. 

Some of the tasty ingredients in the BBQ sauce
 Simmered in BBQ Sauce
 Ready to Eat!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Honda 2012 CR-V EX-L

This girl loves her new ride!   
2012 Honda CR-V EX-L, All-Wheel Drive, Eco Assist, Bluetooth, XM radio, Sunroof, and enough cargo space in the back to lay the seats completely down and haul an antique 5-drawer dresser from estate sale to the house!   

Urban Titantium Metallic Exterior
Beige Leather Interior
More Fun, Less Fuel! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Take on Hash Brown Casserole

First time my lips tasted Hashbrown Casserole was back in 1986, and it was smothered with crushed potato chips or corn flakes on top.  Tasty but kind of, greasy.    Since then, I've made about 500 hashbrown casseroles (even substituting plain yogurt back in the day when I was trying to save calories and not use sour cream, bad idea).   

Today I am happy to blog that I've made the best Hashbrown Casserole that I think has passed through my oven!   Here is my new take on Hashbrown Casserole and I am excited to share with it you.

New Take on Hash Brown Casserole

  • 1 1/2 packages frozen shredded hasbrown potatoes
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 T Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teas. pepper
  • 1 teas. salt
  • 1 teas. onion powder
Melt butter with chopped garlic in the microwave (cover with paper towel), checking every 30 seconds until melted.

Place hashbrowns in large bowl.   Add cheeses, mix.  Stir together melted butter & garlic, soup, sour cream, cottage cheese, chopped carrots, and seasonings.    Add the soup mixture to the potato mixture.  Pour into a 13 x 9 pan, bake at 350' for 45 minutes. 

Italian Greyhound

Ahh, Rocco as a puppy Italian Greyhound!  Cute lil' face he had.   It's like looking at baby pictures!  Here he is when we first brought him home in 2005.
 Now, the boy is almost 7 years old, and still as strong and beautiful as ever.  Rocco is truly, the best dog in the entire universe.  Well, my universe.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Easy Parmesan Knots

This recipe went great with the Chicken Brunswick Stew.  My husband was impressed I could take a refrigerator biscuit, roll it, knot it, and glam it up!

1 tube refrigerator biscuits (I used Pillsbury Golden Layers)
1/3 cup canola oil
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 teas. Italian herbs for dippin, OR
1 teas. dried oregano
1 teas. dried parsley flakes
1/2 teas. garlic powder

Roll each biscuit into a 12" rope and tie into a knot, tuck ends under.  Place 2" apart on a baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper.   Bake at 400' for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

In a bowl, combine the spices, cheese and oil.  Brush the warm knots with the mixture.  Makes 10 knots.

Chicken Brunswick Stew

Sometimes I watch so many food shows, and read so many food blogs that my eyes bug out.  I am always on the search for a dish that is comforting and easy to prepare.  A dish that after someone eats it says, 'that tasted like a Vicky dish'....I've been told my food has it's own signature.  My cooking style must come from watching my dad at the stove, on Sunday mornings at 7 am, chopping, stirring, roasting, and getting Sunday dinner ready for his gaggle of girls.

Today I found a recipe I've been wanting to try.  I modified it to suit my taste buds, and it turned out to be a hit!

Chicken Brunswick Stew
4 chicken thighs
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz. can creamed corn
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup BBQ sauce (my fav is Sweet Baby Rays)
1 T liquid smoke
1 chopped onion
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Cooked rice - (I use Jasmine rice)

In a large pot, cover the chicken thighs with water to cover and bring to boil.  Cook until the chicken falls of the bone, about 30 minutes.  Drain the chicken and cool.  Remove the skin and bones, and chopped meat.

In a separate pot (I use my 5 1/2 qt LeCreuset), mix the remaining ingredients.  Add the chopped chicken.  Simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.  Add a bit of the chicken stock if the stew becomes too thick.  Serve over steamed rice.