Marie Barone isn't the only one...
I have been holding onto a secret for quite some time… or rather, secret recipe.
Did you ever watch the show, Everybody Loves Raymond? Marie Barone was one of my favorite characters. I mean, she could cook some beautiful foods, though she was very secretive of this. One recipe in particular got my gears moving and my curiosity on high alert. It was steak pizzaiola, a name that I memorized and thought about quite a bit.
Carne Pizzaiola means “meat in pizza style,” and is mostly made with cheaper cuts of beef, but can be other meats such as chicken. Basically, it is a wide range of combinations that you can use. The best way to put it is that the meat is a replacement for pizza crust. I have no idea on where in Italy this dish was first made, or even when, but I thank the Italians for such lovely fare.
I decided to look a recipe up and you’re probably going to giggle at where I found it at… I hijacked Martha Stewart’s recipe for her easier version (she has both that and traditional). I made it the first time several years ago, but right away I decided to change what I saw because her recipe seemed so… well… herbless? She was using round steak, which is quite lacking of flavor to begin with, and there wasn’t much in the way of even Oregano. I don’t even remember if she used it or not.
I thought about how I like my pizza in general and went for it. My family gobbled it up, including my very picky dad who didn’t like flavor much (aka, he had a bland pallet, the poor man). Guess what? It’s actually very easy to make, and you don’t even have to tenderize the meat because it’s a slow cooked, one pot/pan meal!
Totally optional but worth it, refined method:
Serve with pasta or bread if desired!
Note: I omitted the paste because that is how I like the sauce, so it might look different on my plate than it will look on yours if you use the paste.
The best part of this recipe is that you can play with it, adding what you like on pizza. If you are so inclined to add mushrooms, or other meats, or what have you. I like to keep it simple, closer to traditional. If you use a different meat, your cooking time might change, Chicken breast is better added back into the pan close to the end of the sauce cooking so it doesn’t dry up, chicken thigh would probably work better.
Funny story about a different protein that I used once for this recipe… My dad absolutely loathed venison. He swore up and down that he would be able to tell if it was deer or not. My sister asked me to cook dinner for a Christmas gathering, perhaps a few years back, knowing that dad would throw a fit if he knew it was Bambi in the pan and not Heifer. Challenge accepted. I made one of my best batches of pizzaiola that evening, making sure I was there before everyone else so dad wouldn’t see the venison before it was cooked. It turned out so tender and delicious that dad ate seconds… I had fooled him into eating deer meat!
When I told him a year or so later that we fed him Bambi, he said, “I knew it all along,” in that tone of voice a kid gets when they find out they’ve been duped.
And I laughed and laughed. (I kid)
With that all being said, I bid you good day and:
Mothers Day was yesterday; my sisters and I wanted to do some things that were special for my mom, given that it's been a rough time since dad left us. We put together a brunch and my older sister asked me to make something to bring, and one of mom's favorite things that I make is an easy chocolate mousse, or what other people would call a whipped dessert since it isn't traditional mousse.
I was going to make a strawberry sauce for it and maybe some other fruit, but my strawberries were freezer burnt and my plans had to change. I remembered the bananas I had sitting around, all ripe and brown looking in their overly sweet glory. I remembered that my mom liked banana pudding, so the bell went off in my head: I would make banana mousse and I could put the chocolate in as chunks, which would make it appropriate for a brunch dessert after all.
Before I get into the recipe, though, I want to talk about my mom. My dad was not the only person who contributed to this passion of mine, it was my mom that taught me a few basics like boiling water and making boxed foods like mac n cheese, or spaghetti. The story she told me about her own cooking was that she wasn't a very good cook when she was first married to my dad, but she never really said that was why she was teaching me some things.
She did the best she could at the time, but it was hard for her when dad had gotten sick from driving truck and could no longer work. She'd work rough hours at a nearby nursing home during second and third shift, thus leaving my dad to do the cooking while she did everything she could to keep food on the table. I remember how she would buy a lot of pork chops because those were some of the cheapest, and a lot of ground beef for the same reason, but she didn't get to eat them with us.
Mom told us later that it was really hard for her to keep the hours she did because she missed her babies. By the time she got home, she was asleep, she couldn't see us off to school, and she didn't g et to see us much at all during her second shift job. Finally, she decided to go to school to better her life as well as ours, was able to get a better job with better hours and we were able to eat better food.
Needless to say, I appreciate my mom's role in encouraging my knowledge of cooking and being supportive of me when I decided to go to culinary school. Mom, I hope that you read this because writing out my feelings tends to be much more eloquent than my sometimes stumbling words.
More about the dessert
This dessert is so very easy and delicious that you might be surprised. The secret to making this non traditional mousse is cream cheese or Neufchatel instead of gelatin, which not only gives it the thickness it needs, but it adds depth to the flavor of the dessert.
The end result is something wonderful... If you are a fan of bananas, anyways. I absolutely loved the texture it had after it chilled overnight. You can, in fact, freeze this one and make a lovely ice cream of sorts, it is that velvety. The flavor of the bananas is subtle after only an hour, and stronger overnight. The dark chocolate balances out the sweetness (No added sugar, by the way!) to the dessert and makes for a rich flavor combination. Fair warning, it's not quite diet food either, but a little bit does go a long way.
Speaking of Bananas!
I am pleased as punch to update you on QDFoodie's cute kitchen food. The kick starter campaign is now in full swing, and they could use some help from friends all over to make their dream into reality. For as little as a $2 donation and simply spreading the word through social media, you will be a big help.
You could end up with a gratitude gift of one of my favorites out of this collection, the banana measuring spoons that are both metric and standard, as well as in braille. These wonderful tools are for a good cause, helping kids of all sorts to develop a love for cooking as well as adults who happen to like cuteness such as these.
I am looking forward to testing these babies out, and you will help make that happen.
Be sure to check them out at their Kickstarter Campaign!
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.