Why You Need to Try Grilled Pizza

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I love pizza. I also have grown to love making it at home. Frozen pizza is good and a cheaper alternative to take away or delivery. My homemade efforts are improving with each pie that slides off the pizza peel. Now that summer has arrived, I fire up my Weber for grilled pizza. The charcoal heat gives it a smokey, charred touch you just can’t get via other methods.

Grilled Pizza Basics

The dough will require a bit of advanced planning if you make it from scratch (video here and another recipe here) OR you can get pre-made dough from groceries like Trader Joe’s (if you get it from TJ’s, add a bit of salt to the dough).

The better the ingredients, the better the results. Seems intuitive, but I’m usually (almost always) super cheap. Get some good meats like hot capicola if you like spicy food and fresh veggies. Rather than pay pizzeria prices for a smattering of toppings you can truly make it a meat lovers pizza for $3. Continue reading Why You Need to Try Grilled Pizza

#TortillaChallenge | A Gringo's Mission

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What would you do if you only had one tortilla?

This was the question that consumed me Sunday night as I warmed my last tortilla on my Weber grill while the chicken breasts finished cooking. The obvious answer is “buy more,” but what if it were the very last tortilla IN THE WORLD?

What would you fill it with? Chicken, steak, fajita veggies? Would it be corn or flour? Cold? Warm? Crispy or soft? Folded in half for a quesadilla? Salsa verde or roja? Or would you make enchiladas?

Friends often send me articles about the best taco joints or every time Taco Bell or Chipotle is in the news. They also treat my photos like a variation of “Where’s Waldo?” Surely there’s a tortilla in that photo somewhere.

I am a tortilla-eating fiend. Think of the Cookie Monster, but with tortillas. I will use them in place of plates. I will eat them on their own. I prefer flour to corn, mainly because I’m a gringo. But yellow corn tortillas tend to fall part each time I use them.

Incapable of going a day without my beloved, I went to the store Monday night and restocked with a 36 pack of small, white corn tortillas.

Thus begins the #TortillaChallenge! Post your ideas in the comments or use the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.

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For the next 36 tortillas I will do my best to make different dishes and highlight the supreme versatility of the circular wünder food.

The first three tortillas were dinner on night one. After warming the blanco discs, I sprinkled shredded cheddar cheese, then topped the melting queso with slices of grilled chicken. Arugula and halved cherry tomatoes came next before a light drizzling of #BBANCH.

Each tortilla was delicious. But I can do better.

Thirty three tortillas remain.

Are you up for the challenge?

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Reuniting with my grill

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pork chop, grill, weber, summer, chicago

After two weeks of eating out every day I longed to create my own sustenance. Last night, I brined some center cut pork chops, fired up the Weber grill and started scouring the web for recipes to grill fruit. The first few days in Italy I forgot a crucial diet necessity: fiber.

Most recipes suggested balsamic vinegar. This bachelor didn’t bring any of that back from the Europe. But I did have sugar and maple syrup. Let’s face it. Fruit isn’t sweet enough on its own. It needs that extra sucrose boost.

The grill was hot. The pork, hopefully tenderized. The fruit, macerating waiting to sizzle on the grill.

The results? Tender, perfectly cooked pork with some singed fruit.

This left only one question. Who is going to pick up my plate?


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5:38 AM – A Morning Smoke

Smoked Chicken

Some people wake up and fumble for the snooze button. Part gift, part curse, I never set, or need, an alarm. I wake up around the same time every day, regardless of when I went to bed. My circadian rhythm is more steadfast than Edward Snowden looking for his next passport stamp. Continue reading 5:38 AM – A Morning Smoke

Skinny Chef Gains 3 Pounds. Blogs About It.

I did something.

Something I’m not proud of.

At some point during the past 3 weeks I gained 3-4 pounds. And no, I didn’t just eat a delicious Chipotle barbacoa burrito.

This is my life.

For those who have yet to meet me, I was recently described as “ridiculously skinny.” Was it comments from family on the multitude of my food pictures? Or a subliminal seed planted by med student friends who warned that my metabolism will slow as I age and that the “Burrito-a-day” plan isn’t “healthy”?

Am I going through the change?! If I continue at this rate, how long do I have before my BMI surpasses my age? Continue reading Skinny Chef Gains 3 Pounds. Blogs About It.

Smoked Chicken Orzo Salad

 

My summer project has been smoking meats. I’m not sure if the cave dwellers figured this out, but this is the ideal way to cook. Minimal setup, minimal effort, minimal cleanup and exceptional flavor!

I put a dry rub on some chicken thighs and leg quarters. Soaked some cherry wood chunks. Fired up the coals. Setup the water/beer tray. Then let the grill do the rest.

Adding the orzo salad took a little extra time but it ended up being a week’s worth of food and bait for my coworkers to perform some of my office duties.

Make the orzo as directed–just like pasta. 10 mins of cook time once the water is boiling. Total time: 15-20 mins.

Chop up some veggies. I used red onion, kalamata olives, roasted green pepper, grilled zucchini.

Add some olive oil and lemon juice. Salt & pepper.

Once the chicken is at 170 degrees (about an hour), let it cool. Chop up and add to the party.