Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

You don't need a lot of time to make a great pizza at home for dinner.  In fact, in less than 30 minutes you can pretty much put together any combination of toppings and have a great pie for dinner.

Mandy and I really didn't feel like doing much for dinner tonight so I decided to do a fig and prosciutto pizza.  I got this recipe from my uncle and it has become our go to pizza for quick dinners.  I usually make my own dough, and it doesn't take long, but tonight I went for a pre-made dough.

To make this delicious dinner all it takes is fig preserves, prosciutto, and manchego cheese piled on top of a thinly pressed dough.  I heat up the jar of preserves before I try to spread it so it goes on easier.  I then place the prosciutto on, followed by some shredded manchego cheese.

Before I started I preheated the oven to 450 degrees so the oven would be ready when I got the pizza put together.  I put the pizza in the oven for 15 minutes and then pulled it out to let it set for about 5 minutes before I cut into it.

I sliced, plated, and devoured a couple of slices of this masterpiece with a delicious Long Hammer IPA.  

Burger Night

This has been a busy start to the new year and included a quick trip to Monterey for work.  I always love going to the Central Coast of California. The weather is always mild, and it is a much slower pace than Southern California.  Unfortunately this was a whirlwind trip in and out so I didn't get to go enjoy any chowder down at the Fisherman's Wharf.

What I do love is that even airports are jumping on the craft beer movement so waiting for a flight is getting easier, and delays are almost welcome.  When we arrived at San Jose yesterday afternoon to catch our flight home we were delayed for about an hour so we enjoyed a couple of Big Eye IPAs while we waited.  Big Eye IPA is a Ballast Point beer from San Diego.

After a week of not eating anything with flavor, coming home I decided it was going to be a burger night.  Since I didn't have time to grind my own meat I picked up a package of Sommers 100% Grass fed beef from Sprouts.  While it isn't sourced locally in California, for the area, this is our best option right now.

If you don't think there is a difference in the flavor of the meat over conventional beef, there is, and it is better!  I formed my patties loosely packing them to prevent the consistency from getting to dense and let them set at room temperature until I was ready to cook.  We love loading up our burgers with toppings so we have to have a hearty bun that can stand up to the mountain of meat, cheese, mushrooms, and avacado that get packed between them.  I picked up pretzel buns for tonight, so a light coat of butter and 5 minutes in the oven at 425 is perfect.

I have grown to love my cast iron pan.  It has become my grill alternative when it is late or the weather is not cooperating for grilling.  I prefer to heat it up slowly to a high heat until the oil (lightly) is just starting to smoke and then I drop the burgers in the pan. I sear the burgers for 4 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat to medium and cook them for another 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size for a perfect burger.

Paired with sweet potato fries and a Saint Archer IPA, this was an amazing end to the first week of 2014.  Hopefully that is a good sign for great things to come.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Foodie Nightmare

As a true lover of food, and beer, I believe I have slipped into an alternate universe that is toying with my desire to consume any food at all.  Over the past four days I have come to appreciate how fortunate I am on a daily basis to try new food, and experiment with new recipes to find the ultimate dish.

I will spare the details but over the last four days I have consumed saltine crackers, rice mixed with chicken broth, and more of the above.  Things that on a normal day I would spice up or add to another dish to make delicious, or at least edible.  I am a cheese freak and put down a grilled cheese sandwich on Friday after one bite.  

So as I drug myself from my cocoon to return to work today I pondered what I would eat for lunch with a brazenly overconfident attitude which was quickly put into check when stood for more than a few moments.  Knowing that returning to work was not something I could get out of, I grabbed the leftover flavorless slop from the night before and headed out the door.

As people walked by my office asking what I had smoked this weekend I grimaced and sadly replied nothing. The first weekend of the new year and I didn't cook anything!! I do not think I have gone this many days without a meal in at least a decade. Trust me, I have the waistline to prove it.

So as I long for the day (hopefully tomorrow) that I can resume looking at, and consuming magnificent food and beer, I encourage you to try something new, and enjoy a tasty brew!