Personal pan pizza

While fixing the site last night I took advantage of a lengthy Ftp transfer to make some dinner. I chucked pizza dough ingredients into the breadmaker I bought recently as a concession to my lack of time, and lacking a pizza stone, employed my trusty cast-iron skillet. One Hawaiian pizza later, I had leftover pineapple that went into the blender with ice, milk, cocoa, vanilla and rum.

I also got to break in my Cuisinart shredding some Brussels sprouts and broccoli for a sautee. That thing is like having a pet ninja.

Good eats almost balm my having to skip a party to fix the site.

personal pan pizza

pineapple chocolate vanilla rum shake

Pulled pork, piled plates

Finally did something I’d been meaning to do for ages: bought a pork shoulder, mashed a couple of bulbs of garlic into paste with Adobo, olive oil (and mustard, because come on — it’s pork). Let that sit overnight.

Next morning I loosely wrapped it in aluminum foil and slow-roasted that baby at 250 for half the day. Towards the end I tossed in a couple of quartered onions, and I drizzled a little orange juice over it for flavor and crispification, cranked the heat up to 400 and let it ride.

Rice and beans, mandatory accompaniments.

Say, what’s that non-pork looking dish? Pico de gallo with the best chips in the neighborhood. That’s right, got a Gil Elvgren senorita on top and everything, tastier than Tostitos and stronger for scooping, too. Sip with mango juice spiked with Dominican rum and you have got yourself a meal. Then you settle in for some Community and enjoy the drop-off-the-bone fruits of your labor (mostly pounding garlic).

And of course, breakfast tacos the next day.

My breakfast slays gods 3

Poached eggs with corned beef and barley hash and an avocado spread on home-baked bread. Tomatoes for a refreshing note.

Cleaning out the fridge is how I make my best recipes.

Just a reminder

I’ve written a series of almost-funny essayettes for some stock photos Hachette had lying around, and when you get done reading it, you’ll be less likely to screw up your next barbecue. It’s out May 2, with a U.S. release come Labor Day, because we like to bookend the grilling season. Also, I never let a birthday go by without a release party, unless it’s the best birthday I ever had.

One day, I’m escaping to the Outer Banks again.

The Man's Book of the BBQ

Fish tacos

I moved into new digs more northwest in the borough of Queens that feeds me oh, so well. I expect my cooking to bend towards whatever Russian fun I can find. But till then, I went with what I know and made the best fish tacos ever from scratch. Short of pounding my own tortillas and impregnating the fish’s mother, this is all by hand, right down to a special batch of Russian salad dressing (a nod to my new neighborhood, though I also used guacamole for half of these).

I also bought myself a fine mortar and pestle as a housewarming gift, because I’m the only one who welcomes me to any area. I crushed up some herbs and spices into a paste for these tilapia fillets, then let the thing soak while I made another powder batch for the guacamole.

The Russian dressing was easy — just relish, mayo, ketchup. Being unable to leave well enough alone, as usual, I added a little bit of mustard and hot sauce, which turned out very well.

So there’s that. I also chopped up the tomatoes, onions, and red pepper the day before so the diced veggies could perfumate each other in the fridge. All that was left to do was slice strips of red cabbage while the fish seared in a pan with just enough butter to grease the bottom. I then turned it down to low and covered it. Over to the left, I had some tortillas stacked in a pan, and I half-covered those. It’ll soften them nicely so they bend without cracking, and at the same time sear the side touching the pan for structual support.

Knowing how your tortillas work is key. They’re like plastic bags: you have to double-layer them or they’re no good. Why nobody makes thicker tortillas or double-weave plastic bags to skip the nesting, I don’t know. But here’s what I do: put some guacamole or Russian dressing between the tortillas (or if making regular land-dwelling tacos, put cheese there). It’s a way to help keep everything together without making so much mess. You still get the flavor but it’s not oozing out of what’s already a messy meal.

In goes the fish. Down pours the mortar-made ahi. Then the raw onions and tomatoes. Then sprinkled cilanto. Then the shredded cabbage. Pour yourself some tarragon-vanilla Russian soda the color of the finest emeralds, and brother, you’ve got yourself a meal. Eat while watching Breaking Bad.