cheese pizza


Wet dough with 20% semolina, that is two level tablespoons for 1/2 cup water, all purpose flour for the rest in increments until the dough pulls away from the bowl and not so much flour that it can be handled without sticking and with no salt to speed up proofing. 

At second proofing dumped onto a baking pan with generous oil and treated as focaccia, salt and dry oregano poked in, olive oil drizzled into the depressions that can go all the way through, sauce ladled on. 

The sauce absorbs into the bread on the second rise.





It's been a lot of pizzas lately. The thing is, I weighed myself a week ago and discovered I'm underweight, one-hundred forty-three LBS at six feet, so, skinny. scrawny, you might say. 

Ten stone. It suits me. And then you might say I suffer dysmorphia. Best I put on a few pounds. That's why all the pizza all of a sudden.

Plus it's easy. Childsplay, in fact. One of the first things I learned in first grade by following Chef Boyardee Pizza instructions. Each boxed pizza kit comes with a package of flour with yeast mixed in and salt. A package of dry herbs. A tiny package of dry Parmesan cheese, and a tin of tomato sauce. The simplest of all possible pizzas and I thought that is what pizza is, and how clever having it all figured out in advance like this.

I had a terrible time pushing the dough to the edges. It is difficult to manage and it kept shrinking back. I had no conception of dough resting and relaxing, no idea whatever of gluten protein molecule nor of its properties. I knew nothing about kneading or water-absorbtion. And even if it was explained I would still want to get on with the pizza. Sitting around waiting for it to become cooperative would be unacceptable, it wouldn't have made sense when I could be pushing it around into submission.

All those ingredients that come in a kit are everyday pantry items but I did not know that. The only reason for being is the boxed kits satisfy the needs of children with young mums who don't know that either.

I've been enjoying these pizzas a lot. I hope they do the trick and help put on a few pounds or at least stop the trend.  

baked potato, bacon, cheese sauce


Jacket potato. Full metal jacket except more like a warm comfy sweater. A sweater made of soft gooey cheese sauce.


Raw ↑.




1 cup béchamel regular white sauce.

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
brown these two things in a small pot
1 Cup milk whisked in increments. Will thicken when boils. Will thicken more when cools.
Salt/pepper
few grinds nutmeg


Baked ↑.





chile rellenos



These chiles are small.


Cheese is cut into wedges. How much cheese? As much as you care to eat. As much as the chiles will hold. 

A batter is prepared with one egg and water, flour and masa harina. 

Masa is where the corn flavor comes from. 

Chile with a cheese wedge inside is is rolled in flour to help batter adhere. The batter is thinner than you'd imagine. The consistency of thin pancake batter, or thin as batter for crêpes. 

Water will make crispier batter than milk.


Cooked on medium low so that the cheese inside melts before the egg in the batter cooks. 



flank steak, grilled onion, Hatch chile, tomato



This dry rub has a different flavor profile than for all previous flank steaks. It has a lot of celery seed and fennel seed, what shows most is red chile flakes, and black pepper, ground up in a heavy stone crusher. 

There is no salt. That would pull meat-moisture to the surface from within to sear off and I do not want that. Salt is held off for after cooking. Unless it were actually brined or the dry rub prepared so far in advance that it behaves as a full-on saturation of brine. That is, draw moisture to the surface, dissolve salt, damage cells by dragging salt into the meat creating more open exchange, achieve equalization of salt concentration between surface and internal meat-moisture. This is not that. This is an abundance of spices allowed to mingle and penetrate somewhat, and be there right on the surface as crust on the flank steak that tends to fall off and as a ribbon of flavor for each individual slice. You decide how much flavor coating to put on.





The cast-iron grill pan stays hot. I can hear it sizzling, and it will keep sizzling for too long. I want cooking to stop and for meat-resting to start so the flank steak is transferred to a cutting board, the tin foil with it, and rested away from the pan.



This is a wonderful tasting and wonderfully simple dinner. A real winner. 

The flank steak cooks so quickly it's amazing. Only a few minutes each side at high smoky heat. 

I wish I hadn't goofed on the whole thing. It should rest, say, five or ten minutes. Exhausted, I fell asleep and then slept hard uninterrupted and this steak rested covered for eight hours. 

I guess I wasn't that hungry. I woke up still not hungry. Not one bit. Hours elapsed until finally getting to this, a full thirteen hours later. The prepared plate shown is microwaved for 2.5 minutes so there is no red meat showing and the whole thing is incredibly delicious. I wish I had forced myself earlier. Now that I have, I want more right now.

French dip, Tony's Market, Taste of Philly







A woman greets me at the counter. I haven't seen her before. They sure do come and go quickly around here.

Wanna see what I got? Wanna see, wanna see, wanna see?
I wanna see, I wanna see, I wanna see.
Z-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p a gallon of milk. Psych!
Oooooh! I thought it was going to be something ... illeg ... alive ... cool. 
Nah. Too bad. I'm more boring than that. See, yesterday I got some broth from Tony's. Have you been to Tony's?
No, never been there. What's it like?
Down a few blocks. Upscale. Everything's expensive. Except right there. Bang. Open freezer filled with all kind their overpriced house prepared frozen foods, burritos, ravioli, pierogis and such every little frozen tidbit is like a dollar each, each package fifteen bucks, and stock. Sometimes full of stock and sometimes nearly empty. So yesterday nearly empty I was scrounging around ... because you guys don't have a French dip.
No. We don't. I know. Too bad.
All kinds. Chicken, beef vegetable, fish, everything, turkey, and it's the best. Really the best. The chefs make it right there with their own special chickens and their vegetables and it really is the best possible and it's the one single thing in there that that is not overpriced, that's not expensive. Compared with everything else available it's probably underpriced. I recommend it.
Wow. Thanks. I'm going there.  

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