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Three Ways To Enjoy Bread

20 Aug

I love bread! I don’t discriminate, I love just about every kind of bread. Wheat, Italian, ciabatta, cinnamon raisin, banana, bagels, croissants, sourdough, rye, pumpernickel, rolls, buns, Hawaiian, doughnuts, pizza…pretty much if it has some combination of flour, water, salt, sometimes yeast then I will probably love it. A little over a year ago an awesome friend of ours Alex made us homemade buns and breads while we were at his house. Since I enjoy cooking it was no surprise that Alex’s delicious hamburger buns inspired me to go home and begin making my own breads. Though I am no expert, I am always trying different ways of using bread at home. Everything from basic white loaves to pizza doughs to desserts. This weekend was no exception. Per usual, I was feeling a burning in my culinary bosom. We had a colleague over Friday night and I wanted to do something Italian. Saturday we watched an enticing episode on Food Network called The Best Thing I Ever Made and an episode of Guy’s Big Bites. The weekend resulted in a lot of delicious variations in the wonderful world of bread.

Friday night we decided to make an Italian themed dinner for a colleague of mine and her fiancé. We needed to go get ingredients for my homemade pesto and chicken pasta, bruschetta, garlic bread, and homemade cannolis. We decided this was a perfect opportunity to visit Lenoard Labriola’s Italian market. If you are needing ingredients for an Italian dish, this is the place to go. They have every kind of pasta type you could imagine. I did not make bread for this evening because they have fresh loaves of Italian bread that looked irresistible. Oh and by the way you must get some of their imported Pecorino Romano cheese, it is fabulous. The combination of fresh bread and perfectly aged cheese led to amazing bruschetta, which was made by brushing small slices of the bread with olive oil and lightly toasting them under the broiler. After the toasting I rubbed each piece with a fresh sliced clove of garlic, which add the perfect spice to the bread. Each slice was topped with fresh diced Roma tomatoes and fresh chopped basil. It was finished with a llight dusting of the imported cheese. The four of us ate the entire plate (before dinner).

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Saturday morning we woke up and caught the end of the show The Best Thing I Ever Made (this show is guaranteed to make you hungry) and saw the chefs making from scratch, Dulce de Leche churro tots. These deep fried morsels of goodness are covered in cinnamon/sugar and are served with homemade Dulce de Leche. You need to take the time to try these stat!

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The highlight of this dish is the homemade Dulce de Leche. The downside of this dish is the homemade Dulce de Leche. Homemade Dulce de Leche is super yummy-its buttery, creamy, sugary; however, it requires a lot of elbow grease. To make Dulce de Leche you have to stir sugar, milk, and baking soda, ALOT! It took over an hour for our ingredients to caramelize, Morgan and I did the stirring in shifts. The downside was that our shoulders were sore the next day; the upside is that we burned enough calories for at least one of the many churros we ate (The recipe is loaded with sugar and butter). I recommend saving the stirring for your teenage son or daughter if they have upset you that day-an effective punishment with a delicious outcome. Let me caution you that when the Dulce de Leche is made, you will want to eat it with a spoon-do so in moderation less you want to nap for the rest of the week. I decided to also make a semi-sweet chocolate ganache (made by melting chocolate with cream that is brought to a boil) to go with the dessert. Also, unless you are making these treats for a small army, you may want to cut the recipe in half. We made roughly 3 dozen churros, many of which had to be thrown out. They lose their crispy goodness after a few days, though they do reheat fairly well. We also had plenty of Dulce de Leche leftover so Morgan made chocolate chip caramel cookies tonight.

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Pre-Dulce de Leche

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Post-Dulce de Leche (1 hour 15 minutes later of non-stop stirring)

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Yes that is butter, yes that is almost two sticks, no its not good for you. ( worry about that tomorrow).

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The dough is made by cooking the flour with melted butter and brown sugar. You will want to eat it but just wait it gets better.

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Notice the difficult finger dropping technique (its French).

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By Sunday we had topped bread, fried and dipped bread–so I guess all that was left was to stuff bread. I am big fan of Guy Fieri and he has an excellent Stromboli recipe that I wanted to try. The dough is very basic and easy to make just give yourself enough time to let it rise. I varied the recipe just a bit. I decided to use pepperoni, salami, and deli ham as the meats. For the cheeses I decided on mozzarella and Amish pepper cheese in lieu of pepper jack. The Amish pepper cheese is similar (Though I think its a little hotter). Its made with a white cheddar instead of Monterey jack, which gave the sandwich a really nice creaminess and a bit of spice.
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I also added a tad bit more basil and a bit of sugar to the marinara sauce, which is very easy to make. The marinara is great left over for other dishes like pasta for lunch the next day.

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A word of caution, the pepperoni is an oily meat. When baking the Stromboli the oil has a tendency to leak from the bread and can make the oven smokey. Or in my situation, it can make the smoke alarm go off. Luckily, the taste of the the Stromboli was not effected by this small mishap. I blame myself for overstuffing the Stromboli, but hey who doesn’t love meat and melted cheese? The Stromboli reheats very nicely and is a wonderful dish to add to the rotation.

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Cutest sou chef ever! Everyone gets involved when making delicious food.

I hope you are now very hungry, so go and indulge in the carby goodness that is bread, Atkins is overrated!

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Primanti Brothers

14 Jul
Primanti Bros.
All Over Pittsburgh
Original Location:
46 18th Street (Strip District)
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
primantibros.com

So I am sitting around the other day and I get a text message that simply read “Primanti Bros.” My brother, who is an avid Men’s Health reader, is always looking for an opportunity to share his “manly” knowledge with anyone who will listen. Recently he stumbled upon Men’s Health’s list of America’s Manliest Resturants listing Primanti Bros. on top of the list. So as any good brother would do, he wanted to make sure that I am being true to my manly form and making visits to this restaurant. Now, we have now been in Pittsburgh for 2 months. Interestingly, I have eaten at Primanti Bros. twice. The first time we ate here I had no idea that Primanti Bros. is almost synonymous with Steelers when it comes to things that are Pittsburgh.

When we moved to Pittsburgh we drove our big, yellow, rented moving truck the 800 miles from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Yes, it was a really long drive in a truck! We did it over the course of 2.5 days. Though we love to spend time with our son, it was not a hard decision for my wife and I to allow my mother-in-law to fly our, then, 15 month old son from Atlanta to Pittsburgh. There is something about his car seat that breeds discomfort and whininess. And there was no way we were going to put him in the truck with us. We were towing our only car (I guess we could have put him in tow). Gray is, overall, an adorable, easy-going, happy baby except when he is in the car for more that 30 minutes. After that time he begins to release a gurgling, scream that would be perfect as a non-lethal torture tactic for anti-terroism units. So instead of a 2.5 day drive with us, he got to take a 1 hour flight with gran-gran. The day we picked up my mother-in-law, Susan, and Gray from the airport we drove back to the city to find a place to eat. Having been here only a few days we were lured in by the large, neon sign of a gigantic sandwich that seemed to be overflowing with toppings.  We pull into the parking lot expecting to have a decent sandwich for lunch-we had no idea we were about to be inoculated with Pittsburgh culture. Once we were seated I knew we were in for a treat when the waitress told us that she assumed we were there because they were featured on the television show Man vs. Food. Now for those who are not up-to-date with their culinary television, Man vs. Food is a show where the host Adam Richman travels the country conquering food challenges–usually this consists of him eating something considered so freakin’ hot that you have to sign a waiver and wear latex gloves or eating food that is portioned large enough to feed a small country. He usually identifies and features other unique restaurants in the city where the restaurant at which he is attempting the food challenge is located. In the Pittsburgh episode Primanti Bros is not the challenge but the build-up. I believe the food challenge was at Quaker Steak and Lube, which I have not yet visited (both restaurants have stands at PNC Park). So when our waitress told us that Adam Richman featured this restaurant, I knew I was in for a treat. As you can see in the picture, Primanit Bros. features sandwiches that are massive. They pile two slices of thick white bread with meat, a vinegar based slaw, cheese, and, what else….french fries. Now as I mentioned in my Pittsburgh Surprises post, this town loves its french fries they serve them everywhere and even put them on salads. However, this was my first experience with fries on the sandwich. Its not often when you eat a sandwich and you feel like the master of your domain; but when you wrap your mitts around this meal between two slices of bread you feel powerful! I ordered the pastrami with onions, its a manly meat. Morgan ordered the Pittsburger. Phenomenal! I like to eat and this was a satisfying sandwich. What is even more interesting is that you have the option to add a slice of pizza as a side item for a few bucks. Seriously masculine! A sandwich with tons of meat and french fries and a slice of pizza on the side. Wash that down with an ice cold beer and you feel like a man. There is nothing frilly or fru-fru about this place. So if you are looking to take your testosterone up a notch go to Primanti Bros. and experience food at its manliest.

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