Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I'm alive.  Its Tuesday and I'm back at work.  I didn't leave the house once sense 2:30 last Thursday until last night for a little bit.  I had cabin fever...but thats the only fever I had so at least thats good.  Being a super duper sick couch potato over a 4 day Memorial weekend is LAME.  I had all this time to come up with new interesting things to cook, 4 days to do whatever I wanted, and I spend it sick.  I had one afternoon left, so I bust out the best kitchen tool I own and go to work.

Have you ever seen those old clunky looking grinders mixed in with the kitchen stuff at second hands stores. You probably have, but never really gave it much thought.  Well think again next time you come across one.  When I was a little kid, once or twice a year my mom would bake a big chunk of roast beef, we'd have it for dinner one night, then out would come my great grandma's grinder.  Oh boy, my dad and I were stoked!  So while in Yuma this year, my parents came across a grinder that had a few different attachments, one being, and I quote, a "nut butter cutter." Nutella. Yes.

What you'll need:
2 cups hazelnuts
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spread nuts over sheet.  Toast for 10-12 minutes on upper middle rack, moving around once half way.  They will be a few shades darker and you will see the skins starting to lift off. Allow to cool then place 1/3 into a towel, gather the corners in your hand to make a pocket and rub to shed the skins.  Do with remain nuts until most of the skins are off.

Use either your Nut Butter Cutter or a food processor and grind until just about smooth.  I ran mine through the grinder 3 times.  There was still a little grit left, but I wanted the texture.  Add the remaining ingredients and either mix by hand or pulse in your food processor until well combined.  Store in fridge.  I read somewhere that it will last 2 months in the fridge, I know mine won't be around that long, but I'm thinking it will keep for quite a while.

Grab a spoon and dig in.  Find a strawberry or graham cracker and smear on this deliciousness.  I'm really cheating on Nutella now....Enjoy!

Ground Steak Sandwich Goodness

So Kam and I had bought a pack of these nice looking round steaks, little fat, not too much.  6 in the pack, we bbq'd 2 for dinner one night and they were so tuff that we had to figured out what to do with the other 4.  So Kam came up with the idea that we should cook them up and grind them for sandwiches.  So thats what we did.  I even made some beer rolls to top of the deliciousness.  Plus I haven't really eaten in 4 days, so lets go all out on the last day of a dull 4 day weekend.  With the Nutella you can substitute the grinder for a food processor, I really don't think you can do that here.

What you'll need:
Cooked Beef (a roast, crap steaks, whatever you have.  Except ground beef.  Its got to be a whole chunk.  You could even use turkey or ham.  As long as you have around 2 pounds, use what you have)
3/4 cups mayo
3 tablespoons mustard (we used this sweet and spicy brown mustard.  It has a bit of a horseradish flare to it)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sweet relish or chopped sweet pickles

We smoked our steaks with this little smoker box we have for our bbq.  You can't cook meat until its fall off the bone smokey goodness, but it will give it a little extra flavor.  You can cook and season the meat however you like for this sandwich meat, ours was lightly salted and a about medium.  Let it cool, cut into pieces, then grind it all up.  After all your meat is ground, run a slice of bread through the grinder to get all the loose bits of meat out.  It will just mix in.  Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Done.  Slap as much as you'd like onto some bread.  Add a few more condiments, or don't.  Personally, I think its perfect as is.  Today I made patties with it and grilled them.  Then I toasted the beer rolls and we ate it like that.  Usually we aren't that fancy, just plain old soft bead is all you need.  Or just a fork.

 Don't mind that piece of pork, that ended up being a failed experiment. We smoked the steaks on the top rack.  They look a lot pinker from the smoke, the meat was much more done that it appears.

On the left is the grinder bit for the Nut Butter and the right is the size for meat.  I even have another with 4 teeth that would make an even chunkier grind.  Might try it for salsa.

See the bread.

Little dab of homemade Ketchup!

If do come across a grinder, be sure and place a bowl on the floor underneath just incase it drips.  You can also make really good razor clam fritters with one of these babies. This ground meat is seriously delicious.  This is childhood heaven.  Enjoy.

Honey Beer Buns

I have been wanting to make a loaf of beer bread for a while now.  Traditionally beer bread doesn't call for yeast, but for some reason, I felt like rising some dough.  So I went a different road with my beer bread this time.  I'm glad I did, but it wasn't quite the beer bread taste I was hoping for.  They were really sweet from the honey, very soft and moist, but not traditional.  So if you aren't a big fan of that beer taste, give this recipe a go, you will probably love it!

What you'll need:
3/4 cup strong beer like an IPA or amber (any beer will work really)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
3 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

In a large bowl, whisk together beer, water, honey, oil, and yeast until yeast is completely dissolved.  Add flour, wheat germ and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. On a floured surface, need dough until no longer sticky and forms a smooth ball.  You will probably need to flour surface a few times.  Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp paper towel or kitchen towel and let rise for an hour and a half.  It will rise a bit, but not a huge amount.  

Punch dough.  Break up into 6 or 8 balls.  Shape how you like and let rise on a lighly greased cookie sheet one more hour.  Preheat oven to 350.  Beat the egg and give the tops of the rolls an egg wash just before placing into the oven.  Bake on the upper middle rack for 10-15 minutes or until the tops begin to brown.  Done. 

Tasty little buggers.  Use them as hamburger buns, pulled pork, sandwiches or butter them and eat them as is.  They aren't too much work.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sausage Mushroom Pizza

I don't know if I will ever go out for pizza again.  I think you can make better than most restaurant pizza at home, and its quick and easy!  One by one I am checking off places that I will go out to eat.  If we go to a place now that servers food that is pre portioned or comes of the the freezer and is simply heated, I feel like we wasted $30.  For instance, a few months ago we went to this place down town Spokane called Rock City Grill.  Seemed solid. I ordered fish tacos, my staple if its on any menu, and Kam wanted to try one of their pizzas.  My tacos we bland and everything was mushy, like it came from the freezer, but it "looked" pretty and Kam's pizza was, well, the California Pizza Kitchen frozen BBQ Chicken would have won a blue ribbon compared to what he was chewing on.  There are so few places that actually make their food, or at least some of it, and the more I keep exploring new ideas and things to make at home for blog posts, the choosier I get.  Like pizza.  Its so simple to make your own curst, and if you cook it on your barbeque, its so deliciously wonderful, that I don't think I will ever be without pizza dough on hand again.  

Is anyone else going through this with me?  Getting tired of paying out the nose for something you can make better at home.  I guess I just needed to rant.

Now about this pizza.  Sausage, Mushroom and Olive has been my favorite pizza as long as I can remember.  Sure, there are others that I love love, but this will always be my A-One!  So, we made it.

What you'll need:

Pizza Dough
1 packet dry active yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (oh yes!)

In a larger bowl stir together sugar and warm water and sprinkle yeast over top.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Add oil, salt, vinegar and 2 cups of the flour and mix until well combined and not lumpy.  Add remaining 2 cups flour and begin to kneed.  It will seem too dry, but just keep working it with your hands.  Remove from bowl and kneed on the counter for about 2 minutes.  Place dough ball into a greased bowl (I just used olive oil cooking spray) and cover.  Allow to rise for 90 minutes.  Dough will double in size.  Once doubled, punch center (best part!). Divide into 3 parts and form into balls. If you want a larger pizza divide into 2.  Roll and stretch dough into desired thickness.  Mine was about 14".  You can wrap the other dough balls in cling wrap and freeze for another day. 


1 chunk mozzarella cheese (I'm finding that I don't buy the pre shredded anymore, but rather the ball and slice it.  The cheese is so much moister, but if you prefer pre shredded, go for it!)

1 sausage (I bought a smoked link out of the meat case at our grocery store, and barbecued it before slicing it into rounds.  You could use anything from your favorite brat to bulk sausage.  Just make sure what ever you use, you cook it first!)

1/2 cup onion diced
1 cup black olives sliced
4 or 5 button mushrooms sliced
Olive oil
Pizza sauce (I had some store bought left over from another pizza adventure, sometime I will make my own)

Cook sausage.  While your sausage is cooking, place a piece of tin foil in your bbq, on the upper rack if you have it, or off to the side. Lay your sliced mushrooms onto the foil.  This will dry them out and cook them slightly.  If you skip this step, your mushrooms with be almost completely uncooked by the time your crust is done.  Once sausage is done, allow to cool enough to slice.  Leave mushrooms on foil until ready to place them onto pizza.

Place a little olive oil in a small pan and saute your onions until translucent.  Set onions aside.  Slice your cheese, as much as you like, I used about a third of the chunk, set aside. Slice olives. Gather pizza sauce, and about 1/4 cup olive oil and a brush. Take everything out to the bbq.

Stretch dough into a 12-14 inch circle.  Brush one side with olive oil and place oil side down onto bbq on medium heat.  Rotate half a turn once half way. Keep your eye on it, once it begins to brown, bush top side with oil and flip.  Add sauce, toppings and cheese.  Move away from heat and allow cheese to melt.  Once cheese is melted (about 5 minutes) move back over heat.  It will take just a few more minutes to brown the bottom.  Gently slide onto a cutting board.  Turn off bbq.

I really like Kam's cutting action in this shot.

It was lovely.  We made a BBQ chicken pizza not to long ago too and used the peanut butter barbeque sauce, that turned out excellent.  Not sure why I didn't photograph it for a post.  Another day.  I do have to say that there is one place in Spokane I will go to for pizza. South Perry Pizza.  Its yummy!  And we went to this place called Waddell's last weekend, best wings we've ever had.  No lie. So there are good places, I guess I just have to find them.

Also, I'm sick right now, so if the posts seem a little infrequent, I'm still here.  Kam and I are nursing colds.  But I have cooked up an idea for a new series of posts, so stay tuned for that.  Enjoy!