Wednesday, June 15, 2011


So I believe I first read about this on, which is a paleo blog.  For anyone who has read up on the paleo diet and is a foodie, the thought of giving up all grains and the tasty foods that they are in can be overwhelming.  For me, one of the biggest things I would miss is pizza.  And there have been many attempts to create a paleo-friendly pizza, including ones with cauliflower crust, coconut-flour crust, etc.

But none have really whet my appetite as much as the meatza!  Basically, a meatza is a pizza with a meat crust.  How could it get any better than that??  Let's find out ...

First, I started with not just ground beef, but ground Italian sausage (spicy version, of course).  I love eating this stuff, especially for breakfast.  But it is rather oily ... so I think it's not the best suited for this application.  Spread it out like a crust (rectangular is optional but easiest since most of the packages of ground meat come in a rectangle) and put it in the oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes, until browned like this:

Yeah ... a bit too much oil there for my tastes, so I soaked some of it up with some paper towels.

While the ground sausage was cooking, I sauteed some chopped shallots over medium heat with a little butter until they were cooked through.

Then I spread some tomato sauce, grated cheese, and the sauteed shallots on top of the ground (cooked) sausage base.  Back into the oven at 350 for approx 8 minutes!

Fresh out of the oven - mm looks really tasty!

I have to say, this was quite delicious.  I would definitely make this again (and I have!).  It makes me not miss pizza that much.  A couple of variables I have played with:
 - Trying to get the bottom of the "crust" more done
 - Using less fatty meat so that the bottom is more crust-like
 - Adding different cooked and raw toppings

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quick Slow Cooker Dinner

Using a slow cooker is a great way to save time and money, especially in winter, when stews are awesome.  Coming home to a hot meal that requires no preparation after a long day of work is so so nice.

Quick and easy!  I whipped out these ingredients in the morning - leeks, celery, carrots, and stew meat.  Chop chop chop!

Everything into the slow cooker with some salt and pepper and butter (of course).  Set on low and leave for work!

After work - voila!  Tasty meal for all of 10 minutes of prep work.  I think I set my slow cooker to shut off to the "warm" state after about 8-10 hours.

Here's a picture with the flash in case you don't like the other picture.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stuffed French Toast

This post goes out to colormemj and was also months in the making.

So in my google reader feed one day, I see one of my friends has shared this article.  I like the looks of it and wanted to try it, so I mention this fact to her and then come to find out that secretly she wanted me to make this for her and that's one of the reasons she shared it on her google reader.  Oh well, I'm a sucker for experimentation.

I couldn't find bread as good as the one in the article, but previously I had used challah bread for french toast with delicious results!

In the first corner baggie, we have some marscapone cheese (couldn't find creme fraiche).  In the second baggie, we have some orange marmalade.  Then I cut the corners, being careful to keep the cuts fairly small, as the area of the opening is proportional to the square of the length of the cut.

Next step: making the incision into the bread.  I need a scalpel, stat!

Trying to squeeze the marscapone cheese and marmalade into the bread with this method was pretty difficult.  So after this picture we had to try and hold the sides of the bread more open.

First attempt: not that much filling made it in?

Ah this method works much better.

Glorious stacks of stuffed bread.

Dipped into a mixture of egg, cream, and a little bit of cinnamon.  Loaf pans work great for this because they're flat, about the size of a slice on its side, and have high walls.

First we must cook the opening for the filling shut!

Multiple pieces!

Ahh, the fruits of our labor. With some bacon for good measure.

I'd say this was definitely a success!  they were quite tasty.  But also, I tried an experimental piece where I actually just sliced two thinner pieces and spread the cheese and orange marmalade between them like a sandwich and then fried them after that and it came out just as good!  It was only slightly harder to cook the pieces together.  In the future I would probably recommend a hybrid approach by slicing most of the way through the bread but leaving it connected at the very top so that the two slices are still sort of a single piece.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fresh Fish Sous Vide

Haha, wow it's been a long time.  Mostly I've been lazy and super busy at work.  Many of these posts are months old, but I will try to get them all out ASAP.

Recently months ago, I went fishing with a friend and his family.  We had an awesome time and caught a ton of mackerel!

So many that they were jumping out of the cooler!

Ready for transporting home:

I was also schooled in the ways of filleting them:

Back at home, I got out various ingredients to seal up the fish with:

I sliced up the lemons and lime, but just left the thyme whole.

All sealed and ready to sous-vide:

You'll have to excuse my inexactness; I should have written it down.  I believe I sous-vided this for about an hour at 136 degrees F.  I also sous-vided a small pouch of scallops around the same temp for a little bit less time, followed by a light sear:


All in all a great meal, although I don't think I would sous-vide the scallops again. I like them just seared in some browned butter. It was interesting to me to see the fish portion of this meal from live wriggling creature all the way to my plate. A delicious adventure. Thanks to the JeffCP's family for taking me fishing with them!