Who doesn’t love pizza?

Pizza

Pizza with pear, pepper bacon, ricotta salata, caramelized onions

Home made pizza is even better when you add bacon. I used Rhodes Dough for the crust. Since everything on the pizza is pre-cooked, par cook the crust in a 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes, then top. The toppings in this case are pepper bacon, caramelized onions, ricotta salata and thinly sliced bosc pears. Use your favorite pizza sauce and cook until the crust is cooked through.

Salty, crunchy, sweet and savory homemade energy bars. Psst, they’re also healthy.

Energy Bars

We’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth in my house. I’m a big fan of things that are crunchy, sweet ‘n salty. I LOVE LOVE LOVE potato chip, particularly spicy ones and all the sweet and savory permutations of Chex Mix and similar treats.

These energy bars satisfy my salty, crunchy sweet craving and are somewhat healthy. Or rather healthier than eating handfuls of potato chips or Chex Mix. The added bonus is that they are high in fiber and gluten free.

You can find the original recipe here. This recipe is very easy to customize by adding whatever dried fruits and nuts your family likes. I’ve added some toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, touch more salt and a dash of cinnamon to punch up the salty, sweet, savory factor.

A couple of tips, that will make prep and clean up easier for you. Coat all cooking utensils, measuring cups and bowls with cooking spray. If you’re planning to toast the nuts and coconut flakes yourself, don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Its a few brief seconds between toasted and burned.

I crumbled up a few of the not so camera ready bars. The crumbled bits make a great topping for ice cream or yogurt. You can also add milk and eat it like cereal.

Add the crumbled kind bars to yogurt and drizzle with honey

Add the crumbled energy bars to greek yogurt and drizzle with honey

Crazy, crazy, busy week and getting a little jerky.

I work close to 30 hours a week and go to school full time. Its a crazy hectic time at work, so I’ve not been around the house to cook or to eat. My meals have come from places like Wawa, Taco Bell (yeah, I eat Taco Bell and I feel ashamed) and the campus cafeteria. Side note: I wrote a column for the campus newspaper about the 5 best things to eat from the campus cafeteria. You can read it here.

In celebration of surviving my crazy hectic schedule, we decided to have a nice sit down dinner. Earlier in the summer we experimented with jerking lamb chops. The experiment was a success. The lamb chops were moist, tender and most importantly well seasoned and flavorful. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a lot of great food in my life and I’d have to say the jerked lamb chops were probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

I love spicy food and jerk is a great combination of salty, sweet, and spicy and easy to make. A blender is a handy tool for making jerk marinade. Just throw everything into the blender and whiz. For my marinade I put half a can or so of pineapple juice into the blender, 2 bunches of chopped scallions, a bunch of cilantro, whichever type of chili you like, I use a couple of whole serrano chilies, 5 cloves of garlic, a quarter cup of soy sauce, quarter cup of brown sugar, tablespoon each of allspice berries and peppercorns, a dash of ground cinnamon, and a couple of nickel sized coins of ginger. Blend it up until everything is pulverized and well incorporated.

You can use this marinade for fish and chicken or just about any type of meat. Marinade over night and then grill if you’re lucky enough (or allowed) to have one or roast in the oven.

Jerk Lamb Chops

Jerk Lamb Chops

And if you’re not so inclined to make your own jerk seasoning, here’s a pretty tasty alternative. Its also available in a spicy version.

Grace Jerk Seasoning, this happens to be mild flavor it also comes in a spicy version.

Grace Jerk Seasoning its available in both spicy and mild.

Next up… homemade energy bars

Ramen, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Ramen the best street food ever.

Ramen with miso broth, nori,   roasted pork, mushrooms, surimi, scallions, boiled egg and baby kale

I’d be willing to guess that for most Americans their knowledge of ramen starts and stops with the little cello packets that can be purchased by the gross at the local warehouse store. Or, its one of the things that they lived on while in college along with canned tuna and boxes of cheap mac and cheese.

Ramen is believed to have made its way to Japan via China and the word ramen is thought to be a variant of the Cantonese word lo mein. Ramen has been a popular street food in Japan for over a century. Instant ramen was introduced to Japan by Momofuku Ando of Nissin Food Products Ltd. in 1958. The first flavor was chicken and now there are several flavors available. Instant ramen became popular in the states in the early 70s and is still widely consumed today.

Because of its instant food status is associated with cheap low quality food many people have not experienced ramen in its true street food form. Ramen is still one of the most popular street foods in Japan where there are numerous regional variations.

As with any soup, ramen is only as good as the broth. Some common flavors are, miso, shoyu, beef bone, pork, chicken and seafood/shrimp and within those flavors there are variations. As with the broth flavors the toppings and condiments are also varied. Scallions, corn, boiled egg, nori, fish cake, and greens are all popular.

Now for the ramen part of ramen, or rather the noodles. In a pinch I will use the instant noodles but will make my own broth and discard the season packet. My local market has fresh ramen noodles in their refrigerated section, short of buying (or rather having a source for) hand-pulled noodles this is a good alternative.

My favorite combination is a miso based broth topped with char sui (bbq pork), nori, fish cake, baby spinach or baby kale, scallions, boiled egg and mushrooms. Then I like to finish it off with a splash of chili oil and some fried garlic.

Best Street Food Ever! Sonoran-Style Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Here’s another entry in my street food series. Sonoran hot dogs are popular in the Southwestern U.S. and were probably brought here by immigrants from Sonora, Mexico. What’s not to love in a bacon wrapped hot dog? Sonoran hot dogs are like a chili dog turned up to eleven. They’re usually served on hoagie style rolls and topped with spicy pinto beans, cheese, tomatoes, onions and peppers and then finished off with mustard, green salsa and lemony mayo. You may add ketchup if you’re so inclined.

This is a fairly quick meal to put together, though I’ll acknowledge probably not something you’ll want to indulge in on a regular basis. It just requires a little bit of chopping for the veggies, you can use canned chili beans. Then its just a matter of wrapping the hot dogs in bacon and cooking. The hot dogs are also very easy for those finicky eaters in the family to personalize to their taste.