Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "Grilled Cheese"

Basic Pizza

So I have a beef...I have a beef with the companies that make and sell pizza stones. They advertise them like the best thing in the world and make it sound like they will make your pizza turn into delicious brick oven pizza. Well people, let me save you from this, they suck...plan and simple. You may love them, but I hate them and I will tell you why. The thing that makes brick oven pizza special is a crap load of heat, a lot more heat then our little home ovens can produce. The problem with these pizza stones is that they are impossible to get hot enough to make a really good pizza. So here is the solution...metal. Metal is way more conductive, it heats faster and it heats more evenly. I've read that some people get sheets of aluminum cut to the dimensions of their oven, then they heat that as hot as their oven can go and then get it even hotter with the broiler. This is the ideal solution and you will be spittin' pizza's out of your oven faster than you can say....I don't know, some big word...But, since I didn't have a big sheet of aluminum laying around, here's the way I did it. Enjoy!

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • Pizza topping(s) of choice

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F

In a small bowl mix the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes until yeast is activated and foaming. In a large bowl, combine the flour, olive oil, salt and yeast mixture. Mix until dough forms. If dough is to sticky, add in 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until elastic, vice versa with 1 Tbsp of water if it is to dry. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm area until double in sized, about 30 min. Once dough has formed, knead on a floured service until smooth and elastic. 

Roll out pizza dough on a metal pizza pan or, in my case, a metal baking sheet. Don't put on any toppings yet, put dough in the oven and bake for 7-10 min until dough is starting to brown. Remove the crust from the baking sheet onto a pizza peel (You don't need a pizza peel, just put the crust on something so you can transfer it back into the oven). Add sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice. Slide the pizza into the oven, directly on the oven rack. Bake for another 7-10 min until cheese is melted, I hit it with the broiler for about 30 second to brown the cheese. 

Song of the Recipe

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

How I ironic is this? April is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month! I love jalapeno poppers, heck I love jalapeno's in general! Then I got the old noggin churning and thinking that it would be so easy to make a Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese. It was really simple and it tasted exactly the way I wanted it to! This just might replace my grilled cheese making forever because it was that good. Enjoy!

  • 2 jalapeno, medium dice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Slices of bread, whatever gets you going
  • Margarine 
  • Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4 Slices of sharp cheddar

Heat olive oil in a small saute pan and saute the jalapeno's until softened, about 3-5 min. While the jalapeno's are cooking, butter one side of the bread slices. I actually microwaved the cream cheese for like 15 seconds, so it was nice and soft so it didn't rip apart the bread. Put the bread butter side down on a work service and apply cream cheese on all slices of bread. Once jalapeno are soft, evenly distribute them onto each slice of bread. Top with 2 slices of sharp cheddar and grill until golden brown. Cut, plate and enjoy!

Cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, according to food historians, popular across the world in many cultures; evidence indicates that in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available. The cheese dream became popular during the Great Depression.

It was originally made as an open sandwich, but the top slice of bread became common by the 1960s. U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling "American cheese filling sandwiches" during World War II. Many versions of the grilled cheese sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus across the United States.

According to Woman's Day, April is "Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month."

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