Ditching the Gas – Going to Charcoal

Ever since I bought my first “place,” a condo in south San José, I have been using a gas fired Webber for my grilling needs. First a small Spirit I bought in 1999, and later a Genesis Series (model 310) that I bought in 2009. Both served me well, and made multiple moves.

However, even after several attempts, they have one major shortcoming. They suck for smoking food. I tries all the tricks, mostly in the era of the Spirit, but all the attempts were sorry failures.

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Kamado Kapers: Brined Turkey Breast

A couple weeks ago, on a lark, I bought one of those Jennie-O frozen turkey breasts, with the intent to cook it on the Kamado. I freely admit that I am not really a fan of the big bird. This is largely due to a confluence of a few factors. The first being that my mother – may her soul rest in peace – cooked a turkey drier than a Monument Valley August afternoon. Bone dry would have been a juicier bird.

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Baking Tools

Last week, I mentioned how some baking success sparked a new passion, to bake bread. Delicious, full gluten, and wholesome bread.

I did buy some special equipment to assist and streamline the baking. Today, I used it.

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Basic Pizza Dough

This is a basic dough for the crust of a pizza. It is simple, and if you have a food processor, trivial to make, and gives good results.

I do recommend buying a kitchen scale if you are serious. Especially with flour and baked goods, measures by volume are pretty spotty.

This is from the NY Times Cooking area, and it is my go to recipe for a basic pie. I often make it without the Type 00 flour, and it comes out fine. If you have access to the type 00 flour, your crust will be smooth and chewy. Continue reading →

The Quest for the Perfect Pizza

My earliest recollection of Pizza was Round Table take out in the early 1970’s. At the time, Round Table was local to the SF Bay Area, and it wasn’t a terrible pie. However, it wasn’t inspiring.

Then sometime in the mid 70’s, we had pizza at a local place. I think it was called Anchors, or something similar. I do know it was at the end of Homestead Road where it hit Foothill Expressway. Continue reading →

Bread – a non-Gluten Free zone

Last week, I mentioned how some baking success sparked a new passion, to bake bread. Delicious, full gluten, and wholesome bread.

I did buy some special equipment to assist and streamline the baking. Today, I used it.

The new gear:

  • Cambro 6 quart containers
  • A Lamé
  • An Emile-Henry Potato cooker
  • Dough Scrapers Continue reading →

New Hobby – Baking Bread

A poorly kept secret is that I worked my way through college (and after as well) as a chef. Well, I started in my mid-teens as a dishwasher, and rose through the ranks, ultimately being the Chef at a local chain of Italian restaurants. In this time I wen from bistro food, to American classic, to Seafood and Mexican, to time spent in a large kitchen at a country club.

All through that time, I rarely baked. Sure, we had a pastry chef, and there were some fun around making gourmet pizzas, but I never really baked bread. Continue reading →

Pork Chili Verde

Growing up in the south bay (the San Francisco Bay Area) we often ate at Mexican restaurants. One of my favorite dishes was, and remains to this day, a hearty green pork chili, called Chili Verde. While there have been many differences in the dish, it is always a green chili pepper of modest heat (Anaheim is milder, and Poblanos make it hotter, but I often use what looks freshest when I shop, even Jalapeños). Continue reading →