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04 May 2010

Pizza Dough

I've been making pizza dough for years. It's great for pizza, of course, but it's also great for calzones, bread sticks, and plain old bread.

I've always made the dough by hand in the past, but since I make it much more often, and in larger quantities, I use my KitchenAid with the dough hook.

I also weigh all ingredients (as opposed to volume measurements). It's more accurate and repeatable, and it's actually easier.

This recipe scales the ingredients to match the one in Bob's comment.

The Dough

  • 750 grams high gluten or AP flour
  • 500 grams (.5 liters) cool water
  • 3 grams SAF instant yeast
  • 12 grams salt
  • 48 grams olive oil

Note: You can use bread flour or just all-purpose flour. AP will yield a softer crust.
  1. Mix the flour with the gluten and salt. If you're using instant yeast, add that now, then add the water and olive oil. If you're using active dry yeast, proof it according to the package directions.

  2. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with a whisk.

  3. Knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the dough to a cutting board, and using as little extra flour as possible, knead
    for another minute by hand until you have a smooth ball.

  5. Move the dough to a large, oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 2
    hours at room temperature or 6 to 24 hours (or a couple of days) in the refrigerator. The dough will double in size at room temperature, and not quite double in the refrigerator.

Here's the dough before and after rising (click to enlarge).

18 January 2009

Artichokes

I love artichokes. I stuff them the way mom always did: equal parts bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. I use Progresso seasoned bread crumbs (it's good enough for mom, so it's good enough for me), so there's no need for additional seasoning.

  1. Cut off the stems so the artichokes sit flat, and trim the sharp points off the larger leaves.
  2. Wash in cold water, and open up the leaves a little to make room for the stuffing.
  3. Stuff each artichoke, and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Cook in 1/2" of water in a large pot for about 30 - 45 minutes, or until the a bottom leave comes off easily.

17 January 2009

Chicken Parmesan

This is a relatively simple meal to make, since I always have tomato sauce in the freezer. Simple tomato sauce is good, but I usually have Sunday sauce on hand, so I use that.


  1. Pound the chicken breasts flat for even cooking.
  2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare 3 pie plates, one with flour, one with 3 eggs (scrambled), and one with bread crumbs.
  4. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, shaking off the excess, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.
  5. Fry in olive oil over medium heat until nicely brown. The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point.
  6. Cover the bottom of a glass baking dish with tomato sauce.
  7. Add the chicken in one layer.
  8. Spoon tomato sauce over each breast.
  9. Pile mozzarella and Parmesan on each breast. I use 2 parts mozzarella to one part Parmesan.
  10. Bake at 350F for 1/2 hour.
Serve with linguine or any other pasta.

09 January 2009

Pomelos: Who knew?

We have lots of citrus this time of year, but this is the first time we've seen pomelos (they're the big yellow-green ones; the others are grapefruit and lemons). We've always had the tree, but this is the first year it's born fruit.

Pomelos are similar to grapefruit, but milder, and they have a much thicker pith. I love them peeled and sliced with a little salt.

We picked at least 3 dozen grapefruit, pomelos, and lemons yesterday, most of which we gave away to friends and family. This time of year we have far more than we can eat; in a month the season's over, and we'll have to wait for next year.

31 December 2008

Where Pork Comes From

We eat a lot of pork between and during Christmas and Three Kings day, and we get our pork from my wife's cousins, who live a bit up the mountain from us. Juan and Jose raise a few dozen pigs a year, and during the holiday season, they will butcher a dozen or more. We witnessed this one from start to finish, and it wasn't nearly as grizzly has I feared. It didn't even smell that bad. I'll spare you the actual dispatching of the pig, and if you're squeamish, you won't want to watch these videos.

video

The beautiful young lady in the video is 12 years old, and all the family's children participate.

video

Practically no part of the pig is wasted. Here, Juan is preparing the intestines for morcilla: sausage made of pig blood and rice. I never developed a taste for this particular delicacy. Juan's wife will finish cleaning the intestines, and make the morcilla.

video

And here, Jose is remove the meat from the head, which will be smoked.

video

17 August 2008

Wordle

I found this today on A Hunger Artist (Bob always finds the good stuff).

From the Wordle website:
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide.

Hours of fun for the whole family. Here's a word cloud of this very website.
I suppose I'm a little fixated on bread. Click the image to enlarge it.




03 July 2008

Hell's Kitchen: Spanish TV

I live in Puerto Rico, so I get Spanish TV. They broadcast in English,
with Spanish subtitles. They do not censor.

I watched Hell's Kitchen last night.

I've seen this episode before on American TV; but there it was:

"You <bleep> idiot. I'm not serving this <bleep>".

On Spanish TV it's the much more refreshing:

"You fucking idiot. I'm not serving this shit".

I can take this language. I worked in a factory.

04 May 2008

Calzones

Calzones are the original Hot Pockets®, only not as crappy, and certainly no where near as crappy as Lean Pockets®.

A calzone is stuffed pizza dough. You can put whatever you want in a calzone, but I like any salume (Italian cold cuts) and cheese (usually mozzarella and parmigiano or pecorino). A little simple tomato sauce is optional, but tasty. However, putting tomato sauce in a calzone is tricky at best. It's probably better to leave it out and use the sauce on top of the calzone after it's cooked.
  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. I use a baking stone, but you can also use a lightly oiled sheet pan dusted with a little coarse corn meal, or a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.
  2. Roll out each ball to about 6 - 7" and add filling to cover one half, leaving enough on the edge of the dough so you can make a good seal. This doesn't look like it's going to work, but it does. When you pull the dough up and over the filling, you stretch it to match the other edge.

  1. Fold over the dough and seal by going around the calzone folding and pinching a bit of the edge. Cut a small hole in the top of the calzone so it doesn't explode.
  1. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until golden.
  2. Remove to a cooling rack for 10 minutes before serving.

One of these is plenty for one person. I always make more than we can eat; they freeze beautifully.

25 April 2008

Don Luis Returns

Regular readers of this blog (and there must be one or two of you) probably noticed that I haven't posted in many months. That's because an old friend a college talked me out of retirement for a 1 month technical writing gig. Ten months later, I'm still working.

Now, I want to return to cooking for my extended live-in family. My mother-in-law cooks Puerto Rican, and I cook Italian-American and American. Together, we make a lot of great home-style food.

I intend to blog more often, and if no-one reads it, so be it. Since I started this blog, I've found hundreds of other food blogs that are simply better than mine. I simply do this for my own amusement, and as a way to log my cooking experiences and thoughts.

21 August 2007

Bacalao Guisado

Last night, we had one of my favorites, bacalao guisado. Guisado is Spanish for stew.

For a picture and recipe, see Rican Recipies. What my mother-in-law makes is very similar to this, except that she serves avocado and panas (both from our finca) on the side instead of tostones, and she used canned tomatoes.

A similar dish is pollo guisado, made with chicken instead of fish, with the addition of potatoes and sometimes bell peppers and a beer. Here's mama's: