Category Archives: BBQ Sauce

Getting Creative with Homemade Pizza

With my lease ending at the end of April and my future whereabouts unknown, my goal is to be sustainable and use up everything I have in the kitchen. I bought some dry yeast back in December and made these little Greek donuts called loukoumades but haven’t used anymore since. The other day, I was in the mood for pizza, so I made pizza dough and with pizza dough comes pizza!

Sustainable homemade pizza

I looked around briefly and came across a great blog written by Suzyhomebaker and she had adapted a recipe for pizza dough in a book appropriately called My Bread by Jim Lahey. I had virtually everything in the recipe, so away I went. Her adaptation for the pizza dough is below and my comments are in brackets.

As for the toppings, I was inspired to see if I could make a delicious non-pizza pizza since my roommate is doing his annual Greek fast, meaning no dairy and no meat. Luckily, I had some vegetables that were waiting to be transformed into sweet goodness…onions and garlic. I love cooking down raw onions and roasting garlic, so I did just that!

Ingredients for pizza dough

  • 3-3/4 cups bread flour (I didn’t have bread flour, just all-purpose white flour, it seemed to do the trick!)
  • 2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 tsp plus pinch of sugar
  • 1-1/3 cup room temp. water (72 degrees)
  • extra virgin olive oil

1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough is a bit stiff so I added a tiny bit more water to be sure all the ingredients were incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic and towel and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

(I also found the dough a bit stiff and all the ingredients weren’t incorporated yet, so I added just enough water to combine everything and I didn’t cover it with a towel, just the plastic wrap. It seemed to do the trick, but it definitely didn’t look like Suzy’s or anything i’ve seen on the Food Network. I was so unimpressed with my dough at the time, I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture of it.)

2. Once all the toppings are ready to go (which are just below), oil up a baking sheet. Divide the dough in half and gently pull and stretch the dough across the surface of the pan, and use your hands to press it evenly out to the edges. If the dough sticks to your fingers, lightly dust it with flour or coat your hands with oil. It will be very thin all around and ready for the toppings.

Toppings

  • 2 onions
  • 3 heads of garlic
  • 10-12 spears of asparagus
  • BBQ Sauce

3. While waiting for the dough to rise, start prepping your toppings. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the very top off an entire head of garlic, just enough to see the top of all the exposed cloves. Place the garlic bottom down on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle some olive oil over the top of the exposed garlic. Sprinkle some salt over the top and wrap it tightly and place it in the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until you can easily poke a knife through the aluminum foil (You’ll also smell the sweet garlic scent in the kitchen!) Once you remove the garlic, open up the foil and let them rest for a few minutes as it will be very hot! Once they cool, simply squeeze the bulbs out into a small bowl. (If you’ve never done it before, wait to be amazed!)

4. Chop up the onions and place aside. Heat up a frying pan with some olive oil over a medium heat. Place the onions into the pan and sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt. Don’t be alarmed if the onions are overflowing over the pan. Keep stirring the onions as they start breaking down and get brown. Keep stirring until they get soft and brown and look nothing how they started!

5. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and begin dressing your pizza. Shmmmear the roasted garlic over the dough. Place the asparagus and caramelized onions over the garlic spread and finally drizzle the entire pizza with BBQ sauce. Place on the centre rack of the oven and let bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the dough become golden brown.

6. Cut and enjoy!

I was pleasantly surprised with how the dough came out, it smelled like pizza dough and tasted like pizza dough, so I guess I made pizza dough! As for the toppings, everything is fair game to go onto a pizza, enjoy being creative and seeing what your kitchen has to offer. And in case you were curious, it wasn’t just me who liked it, my roommate thought it was great too.

Lastly, thank you for making it down all the way to the bottom for what is my longest post to date…I think!

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Filed under Asparagus, BBQ Sauce, Caramelized onions, Pizza, Roasted Garlic

Make Sauce and Be Happy

We’re all busy and it’s easy to get caught up in life. We usually don’t mean for work or whatever to take over our lives, but somehow it just happens and you lose sight of the simple things in life that make you happy. I felt this way the other night, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t found the time to blog lately, even though I kept thinking about it and wanting to do it.  So with that in mind, I went to the grocery store wanting to cook and treat myself to something and as I was walking by the meat counter, I was caught by some meaty looking short beef ribs.

Needless to say I picked them up and rushed them home with the excitement of a yet to be created marinade being tossed around in my head. Once I got home, there was no measuring, just a free for all of sauces being married together that turned into Ethan’s Sweet & Salty Kicked Ribs. It turned out fantastic and I can’t wait to try this with fish and tofu as well!

Ethan's Sweet and Salty Kicked Ribs

The Sweet

  • Carolina Honeys BBQ Sauce (I happened to have Tony Roma’s BBQ sauce in the fridge)
  • Banana Ketchup (A Filipino condiment that is sweeter than the ketchup were accustomed to)

The Salty

  • Soya Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce

The Kick

  • Thai Garlic Chili Sauce
  • Tabasco

After letting it marinate for an hour or so, I heated up a pan with some oil and got it nice and hot and simply cooked them evenly on both sides. They tend to be pretty thin, so it didn’t take more than 4-5 minutes per side. I did cheat and make a little cut in the middle to check the color before removing it off the heat (I like it right at Medium). Once I took it them out of the pan, I let them rest for a few minutes with a tent of aluminum foil. If the chefs on the Food Network have taught me anything, it has been to let the meat rest and let the juices redistribute and settle before slicing and serving, if not, the juices will run out and it will be very dry.

Today wasn’t about cooking or a homemade sauce, it was about taking a moment and relaxing and doing something you enjoy and makes you happy.

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Filed under Banana Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Food Network, Oyster Sauce, Short Beef Ribs, Soya Sauce, Sweet & Salty Kicked Ribs, Thai Garlic Chili Sauce, tobasco, Tony Roma

Homemade BBQ Sauce 101

I have good news, my premonition was on the money and the simple act of opening the fridge unveiled a cornocopia of deliciousness! Not only were all the usual suspects there, but there were also some pieces that were going to comprise tomorrow night’s dinner, namely beef ribs. My father cooks often and one of his specialties are big beef ribs with his homemade BBQ sauce. The sauce is always a nice blend of sweet and spicy, but not the kind of hot that is uncomfortable, just enough that it’s saying hello and making sure you know it’s there.

Simply put, I used to wake up with a smile on my face with the scent of sweet onions knowing there was a serious meal being prepared for later in the day. That morning was no exception as the ribs had already been parboiled and the BBQ sauce was in the process of being reduced. I realized I had never asked about the sauce, I had just taken it for granted, so imagine my surprise when I asked for the recipe and I was told it’s whatever happens to be in the kitchen! Of course, there is a starting base to the sauce, but from there it’s all improvisation, which is really what makes it fun to cook!

Beef ribs done to perfection

Beef ribs done to perfection

It doesn’t have a name, but it does now…introducing Robert’s Whimsical and Manly BBQ Sauce

The Base

  • 1/2 of a sweet onion – finely diced
  • 4 gloves of garlic – minced

Cook down the onions and garlic, let the onions begin to caramelize, but not fully, you still want them to have a little crunch to them.

The Rest (there is no actual measurements here, this is where you play with measurements, blends, etc)

  • Ketchup (as it’s always in the fridge or at least should be)
  • Typically at least 2 types of BBQ sauce (as it’s always in the fridge or at least should be)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chinese chili sauce
  • Honey
  • Or whatever else you happen to come across

Mix them all together with the onions and garlic and let it reduce a bit on low until it seems like it has a good thick consistency. Let it chill out in the fridge to get even thicker so it can really stick to the ribs when you apply it.

Slow and low is always the mantra when doing ribs, usually around 250 degrees and they usually get coated 5-6 times with the sauce.

And for the record, they came out delicious as usual! Not only does it taste better with friends, it also definitely tastes better with family.

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Filed under BBQ Sauce, Beef Ribs, Friends, Garlic, Honey, ketchup, Sweet Onion