Category Archives: Cooking the book

Recipe’s from some of my favorite cookbooks.

Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken scar-par-ri-ello…bet you never heard of this one before. Think sausage and peppers marries chicken cacciatore and they have a menage a trois with hot peppers. This dish is jam-packed with flavor from the get-go, but truth-be-told it tastes even better the next day.

Serves: 6
Prep time: ~10mins
Cook time: ~40mins

Printable Recipe

Get yourself:

  • .25C Extra virgin olive oil
  • .5C Vegetable oil
  • 6 Italian sausage (mixed hot and sweet), keep in casing and cut each link into quarters
  • 4lbs Mixed chicken pieces (I used a fryer pack with legs, thighs, and wings)
  • .5 12oz Jar sliced sweet peppers (reserve juice)
  • 1 12oz Jar sliced hot cherry peppers
  • 1.5lbs Baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and sliced
  • 3 Bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 Medium sweet onions, cut in half through root end and sliced into strips
  • 2 Cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1C Chicken broth
  • 1/2C Dry sherry or white wine
  • 1/2C vinegar from jar of sweet peppers
  • 1T Dried oregano leaves
  • 1t Garlic powder
  • S&Cracked pepper to taste

Heat up the oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet

Grab your sausages

When the oil in the skillet is nice and hot…

Saute the sausage until browned on both sides, ~5-7mins

When done, remove with tongs to a plate lined with paper towels

In the same skillet, add the chicken and brown on both sides

When chicken is done remove with tongs to a paper towel lined plate, set aside

While the chicken browns start on the veggies

Slice up the bells into strips, about 1/4″ thick

Slice onions in half through the root end and cut each half into strips

Cook and slice up your potatoes

Check this out to see how to make potatoes real quick in the mic:

Quick Cook Potatoes

Cook peppers, onions, and garlic over medium-high until soft and beginning to brown

Once peppers and onions are done you can add in the sausage and chicken…


The sweet peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, oregano, chicken stock, wine, garlic powder, reserved vinegar, and s&p

Stir it all up

Bring to a boil for ~5mins

Reduce heat to simmer and cook ~25 minutes

Taste and adjust for seasoning

Serve as is with some crusty artisan bread, over rice, or throw into some Italian bread for a  badass sandwich

Don’t get me wrong it’s good, but just wait until the next day and you’ll see what I’m talking about


(Post) Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Objectives: RELAX and EAT.

…and so we did…all day.

We decided to kick things off with leftover cinnamon rolls from the Pioneer Woman (wifey froze half of the disturbingly delicious cinnamon roll dough from last time). Perfect.

And so the deliberate yet destructive eating began…

Our next venture was Oreo cookies…homemade, super chocolate-y, creamy, straight up milk dunkin’ OREO’s!…yea that’s right I made ’em and even colored the center…pause. Thanks to a little inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, I whipped up a big batch of V-day O’s, all pun intended…

The day turned to night…

We started dinner off with a lite, weight watchers friendly appetizer…

Swiss fondue with homemade bread

Take bread, dip repeatedly in warm, melty, gooey cheese. groan.


Note: Use a fondue pot if you have one. I battled it out with the cheese in this sauce pot for a good 20mins. You see, stainless steel pots heat too quickly and if the cheese gets too hot too fast it seizes up. I had to beat the seize outta my cheese. Here’s the recipe (click the pic to enlarge)…

Needless to say, dinner did not come immediately after. As a matter of fact, we both fell into a deep food coma and woke up an hour later. Of course I get blamed…

“Why’d you let me sleep that long?!”

“I didn’t let you, I was sleeping myself.”

“But, I thought you were cooking dinner?!”

“Are you seriously hungry after we just inhaled a pound of melted cheese and a loaf of bread?!”

“Well, I’m not starving…but we have to eat dinner.”

“We’ll eat later, in the meantime let’s drink.”

Drink of the night….

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

This seriously tastes like a chocolate covered cherry…got wasted

Get yourself: 2oz Chocolate vodka, 20z Black Cherry vodka, 2oz half and half, 2oz simple syrup, 6t Maraschino cherry juice + 4 cherries, 1T Ghiradelli Double Chocolate-Hot Cocoa mix, Chocolate syrup.

To make: Combine all your liquids into a shaker over ice and shake. Line rim of glass with chocolate syrup. Place cherries at bottom of glass. Pour drink in. Dust top of drink by putting cocoa powder in a sieve and tapping it. Sit down. If standing, grab hold of something stable such as a counter top or banister or such as…drink, enjoy, thank me later.

Okay, now that we’re feelin’ loose…let’s, uh, cook dinner?


Sherry Baby Bella’s

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

Porterhouse for Two — Ruth’s Chris style

I wanted some classic sides to go with the 2.5lb hunk of beast I was serving so I thought sautéed mushrooms and mashed potatoes would be perfect. Then I thought, that’s boring.  So I tweaked them a little and now, lucky me, I can never go back to the classic way because it just pales in comparison.

Sherry Baby Bella’s

These mushrooms are bangin’!

Get yourself: 1 shallot, 5T butter, 2T extra virgin, 6 cloves roasted garlic mash, 2 packages of sliced baby bella’s, 1/4 cup dry sherry cooking wine, salt and cracked black pepper, 1T fresh chopped parsley

To make: In a skillet over medium flame heat up your 3T butter and 1T of oil. When butter foam subsides toss in your roasted garlic mash and stir to break up. Then add your shallots and cook for 5 mins until soft and starting to brown. Now toss in 1T of butter, let it melt, and then add the mushrooms. Toss to coat. Let mushrooms cook down a bit and get nice and soft. Now, raise the flame to high, add in your sherry wine and cook for a few mins scraping bottom of pan to deglaze. Reduce flame to medium and stir all together.Continue to cook mushrooms, they should be shrunken and slightly browned at this point. Add your last T of butter and olive oil. This will create a buttery, and velvety sauce for the mushrooms. Kill the flame. Toss in your parsley. Put the fork down.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan (s)mashed Potatoes

This recipe yields a batch of (s)mashed potatoes like no other. There’s a hint of roasted garlic and Parmesan and the texture is silky smooth. Roughly mashing the potatoes leaves some chunks of potato and skin which gives the dish  contrasting textures.

Get yourself: 3lbs new baby red potatoes, 1 cup heavy cream, 2T butter, 6-8 cloves roasted garlic mash, 1T extra virgin, 3 handfuls of grated Parmesan, salt&cracked pepper.

First things first, cook your potatoes until fork tender. I like to throw mine in a huge Pyrex bowl, add 1/4 cup of water to the bowl, cover, and heat in microwave for 6-8 mins/lb. They will pierce easily with a fork. Dump any remaining water from the bowl and smash the potatoes.

Leave it chunky (it’ll break down when you stir later). In a large pot heat your butter and roasted garlic mash. When foam subsides on butter add the heavy cream, black pepper and Parmesan. Stir to make saucy. Toss in your potato mash and stir until the potatoes are somewhat creamy and take on a sheen.

I’m warning you may be tempted to eat half before it even gets to the plate!

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…our headliner this evening….

weighing in @ 2.5lb and measuring 2″ thick…

Porterhouse (for 2)

Get yourself: a big slab of Porterhouse beef (I put in a special request at the local butcher), 2T butter, 1T fresh parsley, oven-safe serving platter, s&cracked pepper.

Can’t picture a 2.5lb porterhouse, see for yourself…

To make: All it takes to cook this is a quick sear ea. side over high heat and then it gets finished in the oven. First you will take the meat out at least 15mins before cooking so it gets to room temp. Preheat oven to 450F. Next, liberally salt and pepper the beef.  Heat a cast iron skillet grill pan until smoking hot. Sear the steak on one side for ~3mins then flip. Place 1T of butter on top of beef. Place skillet in middle of oven and check for doneness after 8-10mins. Once beef is done, put 1T butter on oven-safe platter and put under broiler for a few mins (watch that butter doesn’t burn). Take out and sprinkle with parsley.  Then place meat on platter and carve.

Make sure you have your stove exhaust on high bc this steak will hiss and smoke like crazy!

And there you have it…

be VERY careful, the plate is hot!

effin’ White Bread

I once experimented in college (No, not that kind of experimenting). I walked down the bread aisle and checked the ingredients of every single loaf of bread determined to find one without trans fat and/or high fructose corn syrup. To my surprise, they ALL had them. Annoyed, I vowed never to buy supermarket bread again. I eventually caved in, but had to shop at Whole Foods just to find a decent loaf. Luckily, bread makers, forced to comply with new FDA regulations, had to take the trans fat out of bread and today you can find descent loaves at the local supermarket. That’s great for convenience and all, but if you want some seriously good white bread…make your own. Fresh baked bread is on another level. You just can’t get this taste in supermarket bread, I promise. It’s easy. You can also make a huge batch and just break and bake as you need–The Artisan Bread in 5 method.

The loaf I’m featuring in this post is like white bread married a croissant and bore a child. My recipe was inspired by artisan bread in 5. I just tweaked it a little, you know because I like to make it my own…

You will need:

7C AP unbleached flour

3C warm water

1 Stick melted butter + more for the top (I use salted)

1.5T Kosher Salt

1.5T Granulated yeast

2T Vanilla infused sugar

Large container to store dough

9x4x3 in. NON stick loaf pan or Pyrex

Go ahead and melt the butter in the mic @ 30sec intervals

Add melted butter to warm water

Toss in your vanilla infused azucar

And your yeast…nice action shot huh? lol

And in goes the salt…

Mix really well.

Good thing for Kitchen Aid stand mixers…cuz this is a pain to mix with a wooden spoon

Julia Child’s is probably laughing and calling me a wuss for saying that

Dough will be shaggy. Don’t knead

Add a pad of butter to the bowl and toss the dough in.

Roll it around in the butter like a pig in mud

Cover and let rise for a couple hrs or until doubled

Now’s a good time to catch up on all your DVR’d shows

Break off a nice big chunk and store the rest of the dough in the fridge for ~week

Liberally butter a NON STICK loaf pan Pyrex and let rise for ~40mins

Once risen, slash top with a bread knife

Than lather about 1T of butter on top

After baking at 350F for ~45mins, or until golden brown, or until thermo reads ~200F

or until a little voice says it’s done dammit! Go ahead and take it out and rack cool it

By the way, your house will smell amazing!

Put on that straight jacket and wait ~20mins for it to cool completely

It’s time to slice…

It’s time to savor. Those @ home, it’s time to envy.

That right there is pure, unadulterated, down right wholesome, buttery,

fluffy, croissant-ish, white bread

Now cut another slice offSmell it and tell me it doesn’t remind you of a croissant

If you don’t think you’ll polish it off within a day or two, then slice, wrap in Saran, wrap in foil, and freeze

Take it out in the morning to defrost on the counter

Let me know how yours turns out.

effin’ Artisan Bread

It’s snowing outside. Not a flurry, a full on blizzard dumping inch after inch of snow by the hour. In the kitchen there’s another blizzard, my wife is making the PW’s cinnamon rolls. She is very precise with all of her measurements and hates when kitchen stuff is not where it belongs. Thanks to me, nothing is where it belongs. Oops.

“Where’s the teaspoon measuring thingie?!

[Draw slams]

“Uh, I’m pretty sure it’s in that draw you just slammed. Try looking for it again.”

[Rummages thru drawer; sounds of utensils clanking]

“It’s not here, [Puppy dog eyes] can you find it for me?

“But…I’m in the middle of my bread post” [Slams drawer]

“Fine, I’m never cooking again! You make them.”

Did I mention that we’re snowed in? You bet your bottom I went and scoured the kitchen for that measuring spoon.

So…back to the reason you’re reading this. We’re baking bread. I’m talkin’ the kind of round loaf you’d pick up from a corner bakery. Soft yet crispy crust. Chewy and slightly tangy flesh. Flour dusted around your lips after biting into it.  Pull it of the bag, rip a piece off and quickly butter it up while it’s still warm kind. Yea…you know what I’m talkin’ about. If you don’t…well, you will after you make this.

This post is long thorough.

Before you start in…I highly recommend you pick up a baking stone. I prefer the Williams-Sonoma kind, but you can pick up a cheap one from Bed Bath & Beyond  to get the job done. If you absolutely can’t get a stone, we can make this bread Jim Lahey style and dump it in a dutch oven to bake.

This recipe makes a huge batch. You will proof the dough and store the rest in the fridge. You will break off a chunk to bake.

Lastly, the key to a good tasting bread is a long and slow rise. This allows the dough to develop sourdough characteristics. I store my dough in the fridge and the bread I make after the dough has sat for about a week tastes different from the dough I made the second day. Try for yourself.

**This is a master recipe. See DIY section for other loaves made using this MR.

Let’s do this!

Get yourself:

  • 6.5C AP white unbleached flour
  • 1.5T Granulated yeast (Not rapid rise)
  • 1.5T Kosher salt
  • 3.5C Luke-warm water
  • Pizza peel
  • Pizza stone
  • Loaf pan
  • 1C tap water for steam
  • Stand mixer (optional)
  • Large bin for dough storage
  • Digital thermometer (optional)

Inspired by Artisan Bread in 5

Making the Dough

Grab your flour, salt, and yeast

Measure out your water and warm in microwave for ~30secs

Add yeast to water and stir

Should get foamy

Toss your salt into the flour and mix

Slowly add your yeast/water to flour/salt while mixing on slow

Mix until all liquid is incorporated into flour

**If you have some leftover dough in he fridge from a previous

batch then add a few oz to the new batch for extra flavor**

Mix with dough hook to bring everything together

*Remember, you’re not kneading the dough

Just combine until it’s shaggy

**If you don’t have a mixer you can add all ingredients to a mixing

bowl and just stir like crazy to combine with a wooden spoon

(I’ve broken wooden spoons this way)

Dump the shaggy dough into a large container

You’re going to cover (not airtight)

Add a little olive oil to container to prevent sticking

Let rise for 2-5 hrs. After initial rise, store in fridge

If you’re making bread right away…

Let dough rise ~18hrs overnight, then bake

After initial rise, dough should have doubled in size

It’s not Dom P, but it should be bubbly

Cover and store in fridge @ this pt.

Now you’ve made your dough. Pat yourself on the back

You’re halfway to a great loaf of bread


Baking the Bread

Huge shout-out to my wifey for the photography in this section!

You better friggin’ give me credit for those pictures!

Ahhhh, she’s a sweetheart

Ok, let’s bake some bread!

Cut off a nice size piece of dough

Flour your hands and shape into a ball

Do this by folding the dough over on itself several times

It’s coming together

Have your pizza peel ready. I sprinkle mine with semolina flour

Once ball is formed, flip over and pinch bottom closed

Place dough on board and touch up

Flour ’em up

Moving clockwise, twist the dough with your palms until a nice plump ball forms

Sprinkle with flour

Stone on center rack. Pan on bottom

Preheat to 475F @ least 30mins before baking bread

Cover and let rest for ~30mins

Rested dough

Ready to slash and bake

Using a floured bread knife, slash dough

I went for a +, you can Zoro it if you want…go nuts

Moving QUICKLY, slide dough on stone

Add your tap water to hot pan

This technique creates steam in the oven while the bread bakes

Enhances the quality of the crust and crumb

Set a thermo to 208F

It will take about 35mins to get to this temp

Here’s what you want to look for…


Tap the bottom, it should sound hollow

Glamour shots

Mouth watering yet?!

Chewy and airy “Butter me” flesh

Serve it warm. Butter it, dip it in seasoned olive oil, make a sandwich…

That’s a grilled cheese, baby.

I’m convinced Atkins lost his marbles

bc who in their right mind gives this up?!

Good food, Good wine, Good friends…that’s the only rule in this house…

oh and putting stuff back where you found it…