Monday, November 01, 2010

Bari Pizzaria in Galloway, off to a good start

We had a craving for pizza last night feuled by an ad we had seen in the weekly community paper (Westside Messenger) for a new local business, Bari Pizzaria. The ad had a $5 coupon and a link to their website, We really wanted to eat out, so I called and asked if they had any eat-in tables. I was told that, yes, they do, but they have no public restrooms.

O.K., why not...

Upon arrival, we found a small front section to what is essentially a carry-out business, but there were two small 3 seat tables. We looked over the menu a bit more and ordered a 14" pizza with pepperoni, onions and mushrooms. We also ordered a side of breaded fried cheese ravioli ($4.50) and 3 cans of soda (Grape Crush, A&W Root Beer,Diet Pepsi). With our $5 coupon, our total was $17.50. We sat down to wait and the owner showed us that the two arcade game machines were free to play while we waited (my 10 yr old son loved that!). One machine was the "Multicade" machine, which has 60 different classic video games... The wait passed quickly.

When our pizza and ravioli arrived, we were NOT disappointed. The first thing we noticed- the pizza was cut PROPERLY! Not in those stupid little squares that Columbus pizza is 'famous' for, but cut into slices, 8 nice triangular slices, like a pizza should be. Next, we noticed that the mushrooms were fresh, not those rubbery canned mushrooms most places use; and then we noticed that the onions are a mix of both white and red onion, another very nice a tasty touch.

So far, it looks great. But how does it taste? Quite good, actually. The hand tossed crust is nearly perfect; it has the correct consistency and the right flavor, the pizza crust flavor that I remember from my youth in Jersey. The only thing that would have given it a perfect rating would be if it was a bit more crisp in the center, as can only be achieved in a genuine high temp flat bottom traditional pizza oven (Bari uses the modern moving track pizza oven). The sauce was very good, somewhat mild, possibly could use a bit more oregano and garlic, but still very tasty. The cheese was plentiful, had a very nice melt to it, and a genuine and fresh taste. The pepperoni was mild and not too greasy, perhaps a bit too mild, but the mushrooms had great fresh taste as did the onions, which were not burnt or even crisp, they were probably put on late in the baking process so they didn't lose their flavor. As I mentioned above the onions were a mix of both white and red onion. And I could actually pick up a piece and fold it like a good slice should be folded!

All in all, it was a very good pizza. I'm an East coast boy, a native New Yorker, raised in central Jersey, and Columbus has just been hell when it comes to decent pizza. Bari gives me hope.

I didn't get a shot of the pizza at the shop (forgot the camera!), but this is what we had leftover:

We'll definitely be back for more.

One more test that all pizza must pass - the morning after test - how does it taste right out of the fridge for breakfast? This pizza was THE best cold breakfast pizza I've had so far in my 24 years in Columbus! Outstanding - worth ordering a larger size just to have extra to put in the fridge for later!

Bari's menu lists both Chicago style deep dish and stuffed pizza and we're big fans of Chicago style pizza, especially Giordano's , so we'll be giving Bari's Chicago style a try, too.

Oh yeah, the Breaded ravioli...Not bad, not great. they were stuffed fat, had a very nice crispy golden crust and were served with the Bari pizza sauce. Not bad, not great, but interesting. Glad we had the $5 coupon, though.

If you live anywhere near Galloway, please give Bari's Pizzeria a shot. It's worth the drive to pick it up. They've got a good product, a clean shop, a good attitude towards using fresh ingredients and the owner is a real friendly guy.

Bari Pizzaria
946 Galloway Rd
Columbus, OH 43119


Friday, August 06, 2010

Chocolate Strawberry Sorbet

After the success of our first two sorbet attempts (based on Martha Stewart's recipe - see my Blackberry sorbet attempt here, My son wanted me to make Strawberry sorbet - he loves strawberries, they're in season AND on sale at the grocery store. He suggested that we add cocoa powder to it so it would be chocolate strawberry flavored.

And so we did.

Same basic recipe -
12 ounces of fresh fruit, frozen overnight;
Process the frozen fruit in bursts to break it up some;

Add syrup (1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar (dissolved)) while processing (for this recipe, I added a large tablespoon of cocoa powder and blended it in well to make a chocolate syrup);
push the mixture down into the process and mix it a bit,
then process it lots more until it's really smooth. It will be slightly frozen at this point.

Transfer it to a container and freeze for an hour or two;
Eat and enjoy!

Like I said up there, I made the syrup with 1/4 cup of sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water, then whisked in a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder. My son says it has "a very good balance of chocolate to strawberry, neither one is overpowering the other, but they're playing off of each other well."
I'll have to take his word for it since I do NOT eat strawberries - besides the fact that I don't like them at all, they make me break out really badly, so none of this batch is for me...
But you should make this!


Vanilla Peach Sorbet

This is Sorbet recipe attempt #2, a la Martha Stewart's recipe (I previously posted the recipe as I made it with Blackberries). I was ok with the blackberry version, but berries always seem a bit 'grainy' to me - it's a texture thing, what with all of the seeds...the flavor was great, though. Since peaches are in season right now, I thought I'd try them out this way. And for some reason, I thought a bit of vanilla flavor would be great with them. I was almost right - wrong vanilla, but great flavor.

So here's what I did:
Peeled and cut up 12 oz of fresh peaches.
Froze said peaches overnight
Process the peaches as in the original recipe - a few good bursts to break the up;
then whir the crap out of them while adding the 1/4 cup of vanilla'd syrup (1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar dissolved in it + 1 teaspoon of pure REAL vanilla extract).
Push the mixture back down into the processor and keep processing until smooth.
Freeze for a couple of hours.
Say Mmmmm......

It was quite tasty and I ate nearly all of it over the next 3 days - I did share some, though;
I'm not that mean.

You have to try this with your favorite fruit. Next up for us: Chocolate Strawberry sorbet.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Grilled Lamb Kebobs

My wife did the grocery shopping recently and came home with a pound of organic free range ground lamb for me do something with. Normally, I would make Kheema, but since it was nearly 7 PM and still over 90°F outside, I didn't want to cook anything in the house; Grill, baby, grill!

I went in search of a grilled ground lamb recipe and found this recipe for Ground Lamb on Skewers - essentially, Grilled Lamb Kebobs.

It's a pretty straight forward recipe, chop up some stuff, combine some spiced/herbs, mix it all with the meat, skewer it and stick it on the grill.

Grilled Lamb Kebobs
1 green chile, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound lamb (or beef)
2 teaspoon coriander
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
vegetable oil
1 egg

For the chile, I used a jalapeƱo and the 'coriander' I took to be fresh cilantro (both right off the plant from the garden). I ground some raw almonds in my spice grinder. Be sure not to process too much, it'll get a bit pasty if you're not careful.

Preheat grill.
Mix all ingredients together.
Mold mixture around long skewers (or do it the hard way and form the mixture into long thin sausages and thread onto skewers). Only the ends of the skewers should be visible.
(obviously, thiswas not how I did it!)
Place on grill, brush with oil and cook until done.
Remove from skewers and serve.
Traditionally served with rice and onion slices.

Kebobs just placed on the grill

After the first turn

A little flare up starting from the oil/grease

Into the fire for a final char

Off the grill and ready to serve

And ready to eat!
Topped off with some tahini on a bed of Jasmine rice.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Blackberry Sorbet, oh, so easy

A former coworker (now retired) posted a comment on Facebook last week about making Raspberry sorbet in a flash using a recipe from the current issue of Martha Stewart's magazine. Later that night, my wife was raving about the fresh blackberries she had purchased when she went grocery shopping earlier.

Wife: You have to try these, they're perfect!
Me: Hmm, fresh berries, now what did I just read about making something with fresh berries..., Oh yeah, sorbet!
Son: Sorbet? Did you say you can make sorbet? Can we do it NOW?

And out to the store we went for more berries.
We bought two 6 ounce containers of beautiful fresh blackberries and stuck them in the freezer.

<time passed... about 12 hours. 12 very long hours>

Then after less than 10 minutes more of blender splendor, Sorbet.
And not too shabby for a first go at it.

And no ice cream maker needed!

This is Martha's original recipe:
Raspberry Sorbet with Fresh Whipped Cream

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup plus 1 T. sugar
1 bag frozen raspberries, 12 oz, OR 3 cups fresh raspberries, frozen
1/2 cup heavy cream

Stir together water and 1/4 cup sugar until sugar dissolves.
Pulse raspberries in food processor until coarsely shopped.
With machine running, pour in sugar-water; pulse until mixture is smooth.
Transfer to an airtight container, and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Whisk cream and remaining tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Scoop sorbet into 4 glasses and top with whipped cream..
Serves 4

I modified the recipe only to use blackberries. I froze fresh berries myself (they were on sale - $1/6 oz pack) and after the initial pulse, I had to run the processor while adding the sugar water, then push the mixture down and process some more to get the right consistency. It was still a bit grainy, but WOW, is it tasty.

Oh, yeah, I skipped the whipped cream. It would work really well, though.

These photos aren't the best, but you get the idea.

The ingredients

After the initial pulsing

Half way there, time to push it down inside my little processor

Ready to put in the freezer for a while

Voila. Blackberry Sorbet.

The boy wholeheartedly approves.

I'm looking forward to trying this technique out with some other flavor combos, like mango, strawberry & chocolate, peach and vanilla, maybe even apple caramel.

Any other ideas?


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jambalya-Red Beans and Rice mashup, Quick Style

While out doing the weekly grocery shopping, I came across Aidells sausages. On sale and with coupons! I tried the Chicken and Apple, Italian style with mozzeralla (both were very good in the dishes I made with them) and I also bought the Cajun Style Andouille. Ok, what should I do with THAT? First thought - Jambalaya. But I don't really have the time to make a good from scratch Jambalaya. I've had box of Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice up in the cupboard for a while, though, so I could do that, but I didn't really want to make just a plain reb beans and rice dish. Jambalaya or Red beans and rice? I like 'em both...Which should I make? Can't decide, can't decide...ok, I'll make them BOTH! Together! In one pot! know what? It was pretty good and pretty quick. My son's friend was over that night and chowed down on it big time. I sent the little bit of leftover home with him for his parents to try, but he never gave them the chance (he ate it for breakfast the next day!).
A couple of weeks later I had to make a dish for the annual Cub Scout Blue and Gold dinner and it was suggested that I make that same dish. Off I went to the store to find the mix and sausage. The good new was that the mix was easy to find. The bad news was that they were out of Aidell's...The only thing I could find was Johnsonville New Orleans Brand Smoked Sausage. While I didn't like it quite as well as the Aidell's, it did the job just fine.
I doubled the recipe, included additional rice, both canned and fresh tomato, the "holy trinity", green pepper, onion and of course oil; but not just any oil. Lard, baby, lard. You, of course, can use plain old vegetable oil if you prefer.

The resulting big pot of food disappeared quickly at the dinner, garnering praise form those that partook.

Mission Accomplished.
Jambalya-Red Beans and Rice mashup, Quick Style
Ingredients used:
6 1/2 cups of water
2 tablespoons butter,margarine, vegetable oil or lard. (DO NOT DOUBLE THIS ITEM)
2 packages Zatarain's® Red Beans and Rice
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 fresh tomato, diced
1/2 cup each celery, bell peppers, and onions, all diced.
1 package of Aidell's Cajun Style Andouille sausage, sliced, diced or whatever size cut you like (see photo for how I did mine)

On high heat, haat a large dutch oven and add the sausage. Cook while stirring constantly, until just starting to brown a bit. You should get a bit of browning on the pot's bottom from the sausage.
Remove the sausage to a bowl and add the oil and the celery, bell peppers, and onions and saute until the onions return opaque.
Add the oil, water, rice mixes, tomatoes, stir it all around and bring it all to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low.
Slap a lid on the pot and simmer 25 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot.

You can also add some cayenne to it if you like it with even more of a bit more kick.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Matzo Ball soup - not like mom's

A couple of weeks ago I made a batch of Matzo Ball soup, using a box of Manischewitz Matzo Ball & Soup Mix. I hadn't had it in a long while and it wasn't bad, but sure wasn't like mom's. Actually, the broth was pretty darn close, but the balls, well, they were light and fluffy. I don't like them light and fluffy. Mom always made them, um, differently, far "firmer" - we called them "cannon balls"! I love them that way, but I can't figure out how to make them so.
Anyone have any idea how to make hard matzo balls? Leave me a comment!


Cayenne peppers - finally made the grind.

Last spring I planted cayenne peppers in the garden.
After I picked them, I let them dry while hanging in a bag, a great bag that I got a loaf of bread in (from Giant Eagle) the year before. It's got holes in it that let the peppers dry out just right. It took a while, a couple of months at least, but the end result was worth the wait.
I used my old Braun coffee grinder for grinding all of the spices I need to grind, including the Indian spice blend I use for Kheema. It works great. After I'm done grinding, I clean it by grinding a tablespoon or two of kosher salt, then wiping it out with a wet paper towel. Again, it works great.

So I went from this:
to this (there's one of those bright red beauties on the left:
and into this bag:
and they finally became this:

Last week, I finally got around to grinding the peppers and the results were great, a full 2.5 oz bottle of nice finely ground cayenne, which should be enough to last 'til next harvest.
After pulling the stems off and grinding, I wound up with this:
I used a bit in the stuffing for the tilapia stuffed with crabmeat that I made the next night. Great heat, great flavor.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

Got a cold? You need chicken soup, boobula ...
It's January, 2010, winter is here, and it came in with a vengance.

I hate winter, just ask anyone that knows me .

I hate winter. And just like everyone else, I always get at least a bad cold and nothing, but nothing helps a bad cold like a good bowl of Homemade Chicken Soup. A few years back, I discovered an easy way to make a very quick pot of soup, done and ready to eat in less than 15 minutes, an important thing when you or some one you love feels like crap. If I've got leftover chicken, I chop it up and add it in while the noodles boil. If not, I try to add some uncooked chicken (if I've got it) at the beginning.

This recipe uses one of my favorite fast/easy ingredients, Orrington Farms Chicken Base. I use it to make "broth" quickly for many of the dishes I make, including and especially this one!

One of the things I like about this soup is that it needs only a cutting board a knife and one pot to make:
6 cups water
5 teaspoons Orrington Farms Chicken Base
1 large carrot, sliced very thin
1 stalk of celery, sliced on the bias, very thin
1 small turnip, cut in a small dice
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Chicken, equivalent to 1 breast, diced or chopped up. Use leftover chicken or fresh/frozen.
chopped celery leaves for garnish
Fine Egg Noodles, like Manischewitz , as many as you like (I use about a 1/4 bag, 3 oz)

Add the water to a small stock pot, then add the chicken base. Turn the heat up to High and bring the pot to a boil.
Slice the carrot and the celery. Add them to the pot.
Dice the turnip and add it to the pot.
Add the seasonings (parsley, celery seed and pepper)
Chop the chicken and add it to the pot.
Add the noodles.
Cook until the noodles are done.
Server with a sprinkling of chopped celery leaves.

Enjoy, and feel better...