Monday, March 24, 2014

College kids, pizza & the # tag generation

I was able last week to cook pizzas for about 650 college kids... Yes, this was by design.  Thinking back to my year(s) in college, when I thought of pizza, surely, I didn't think of Kim-chi and rustic flat bread....  I mean, we were progressive right? In the nineties? The economy was in a good place even though we could care less.  We worked for one thing, beer money!  We went from school, to work, to the bar, to our apartments, to sleep... Repeat. Our idea of pizza was the biggest, doughiest, cheesiest thing we could eat at 3:30 in the morning with pizza sauce and pepperoni.

Clearly, 2014 has different ideas of pizza.  Success of the traditional pie with sauce, cheese and a variety of toppings will always remain king but, Artisan style of flatbreads(or so they're called now) have everything from jambalaya, southwestern chicken to glazed scallops & truffles.  Holy crap!  These kids now ask for words I didn't understand in college.

Which brings us to last week.  At 6:30 on a cold, wintry night at the University of Akron; I made 3 simple "flatbreads" and 2 types of bruschetta (i knew this as garlic bread growing up).  Knowing that kids liked cheese, 2 simple plays on cheese pizza were prepared.  the first, had caramelized red onions, balsamic vinegar, oven roasted grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese on Naan bread.  Popular...um, yes.  The second was, made on the same Naan bread topped with Wisconsin beer cheese soup, cheese curds wrapped in pretzel crumbs and shaved slices of red peppers.  Finished with aged cheddar cheese, fired in a stone pizza oven.  Madness is what happens when one "excited" student gets a flavor taste of it and then tweets his or her results for all to see.  I felt like a spilled bucket of chum in an opened shark tank.  Kids can eat.  One student exclaimed that the roasted peach jalapeno and menonita cheese bruschetta was "life changing".  Life changing, really?  I guess today's students seem to be a little more flavor versed than a generation before.  But, in spite of all the healthiness that they were asking for, the most important food came back to bread, sauce and cheese.  that simple.

Cheers!



Peach and jalapeno bruschetta  

1 french baguette loaf-sliced on bias
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 oz olive oil
1 oz white wine
1 t. dry Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
2-3 peaches diced fine
4 leaves mint, fresh, shaved thin
3 oz Mexican melting cheese
1/2 jalapeno, fine diced
method:
1. in bowl, mix together tomatoes, 1 oz olive oil, white wine and spices. roast in 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until tomatoes are soft.  let cool.
2. with remaining oil, brush bread and toast in oven until crisp. 8-10 minutes.
3. top bread with tomatoes, peaches, cheese, jalapenos and mint.
4. toast in oven until cheese is gooey good.
5. enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fast Eddie's Mahi Tacos

Growing up in a very small town, we did things a little different.  Car tag, lion's den, kick the can were all games that the whole town would play late into the evenings.  There wasn't things to worry about like there are now.  Society is much angrier now and people want what you have and, are not afraid to come into your house and take it.  This is an unfortunate side effect of not knowing who your neighbors are and being too inclusive, exclusive or self indulged.  I feel for the parents of close friends in our little town who used to leave the keys in their cars but, now, have to deadbolt their door due to snatch and grab idiots too self indulged in their next fix or their own boredom to care about their neighbors.

Great things however, come from our little town too.  Things like how to genuinely mean Hello when we say it and strength in faith.  Sundays were made for church and family and... in my circle of friends... BASKETBALL!  Not just on Sundays but, everyday.  It was our outlet, it was our life.  It was kinda the Sandlot for our generation of Brilliant-ites.  3 basketballs and 4 pairs of shoes were average purchases each year as we grew up.  We went from watching the high school kids and randomly getting chances to run with the big boys to becoming the big boys, giving the younger kids thier "breaks".  It was a right of passage.  I am thankful for Brilliant and for the fun little things we did to keep busy.  Although, life isn't the same there now, there are moments that are undeniably small town USA.

Cheers!

This recipe goes out to one of my fellow gym rats, Ed Nest, who, has always had the spirit of life!  Thanks Ed for being that guy that has always been original.

Mahi Tacos

6ea 4" taco shells flour
10 oz mahi mahi fillets(cut into strips)
2 c prepared fish batter
2 c napa cabbage(chopped
1/2 c sesame salad dressing
1 T. chipotle mayonnaise

method:
batter mahi & fry to set batter.  cook until golden brown.
in bowl, mix cabbage & dressing.
toast tortillas
finish with chipotle mayonnaise.