Best Pizza Dough – NY Style

I love pizza – of that there is no doubt. However, I never knew that I could make some of the best pizza I’ve ever had right at home. There are several secrets including a great dough recipe, a very hot oven (450+) and a pizza stone pre-heated to wick the moisture from the pizza dough as it cooks.

Great Pizza Dough…
Check out this technique that I’ve been using for a couple of years now. It makes a fabulous tasting dough. I’ve taken his proportions and reduced them for a manageable batch.

Ingredient His Quantity My Reduced Quantity
Cool Tap Water 12 Quarts 1.2 Quarts
All Purpose Salt 10 oz 1 oz
Granulated Sugar 10 oz 1 oz
Olive Oil 24 oz 2.5 oz
Eggs 6 large 1 large
Fresh Yeast 2 oz 0.2 oz
High Gluten Flour 50 lb bag 5 lb bag




Angry Peppers

Peppers Washed   These peppers have a very aggressive flavor (thus the ‘angry’ reference) but I love the taste of them on subs, sloppy joe or bbq sandwiches.  The original recipe mentions doing them whole with a slit up the side to allow the liquid to penetrate.

It also had jalapeno only… but over the years I’ve added a few habanero slices to the mix to increase the heat level while adding another layer of flavor along with some slivered garlic.

You only need one or 2 slices of these peppers (or even just a drizzle of the oil) to really liven up a sandwich so I usually can them in pint or 1/2 pint jars.

The Liquid:

1/2 cup Canola oil
1 pint white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 T. crushed oregano
2 T kosher salt

The pepper mix:

10-12 Jalapeno peppers
1 Habanero pepper
2 cloves garlic (whole)

Angry Peppers MixedDirections:

Put the liquid mixture in a sauce pan and get it started heating on the stove while you slice your peppers.  Stir it occasionally while slowly bringing to a boil.

USE GLOVES!   Wash peppers & whole garlic clove and slice thinly.  I like to use a mandolin for this to get consistent, thin slices.   Mix this together in a bowl and then place the mixture into your canning jars.  Leave enough space at the top for your liquid mixture to cover and still have 1/2 inch air gap.Peppers Packed

Pour the boiling liquid mixture into the jars to cover.  I usually tap the jars on the counter top to shake any air bubbles to the top and then add any additional liquid that is needed.

Wash peppers and place a slit in the side (or slice if you don’t want them whole).   Place the peppers in jars.  Pour boiling mixture into the jars to cover, then close with lid and ring

Wipe the jar rims, apply lids and rings and process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for 5 – 10 minutes after the water returns to a full boil.

Remove and let cool.  When cooled to room temperature, remove the rings and test the tops for sealing.   If you have one that didn’t seal, it goes in the fridge and is the first to be used.

Store in a cool, dark location and use within a year.

Peppers Canned

Magic Meat Rub

I do a lot of meat smoking and in so doing need a lot of rub.  It has taken several years to come up with my ‘perfect mixture’ but now that I have it, I not only use it for meats before smoking but also as a seasoning for many other dishes.

It works on anything with potatoes, sausage, eggs and many other flavor profiles.  For instance, I take equal parts or this and mix with grated parmesan to sprinkle liberally on corn on the cob.

I won’t give you the exact mix because mine is never quite the same anyway…   I always tweak it a bit depending on the heat of the chili powder:

  • Kosher salt   (1 cup)
  • Smoked Paprika   (1 cup)
  • Homemade Smoked Chili Powder  (1/4 – 1/2 cup).  This depends on heat level – if you use store bought you’ll need the upper end of this.
  • Onion & Garlic – dried flakes (1/4 cup each)
  • Black Peppercorn   (1/4 cup)
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (1 – 2 Tablespoons)
  • Cayenne (~1 Tablespoon)
  • Mustard Powder (~1 Tablespoon)
  • Hungarian Hot Paprika (~1 Tablespoon)

I put the peppercorns, onion & garlic flakes in my bullet grinder to create a course grind, then put all the ingredients in a container that I can shake to mix.

I do not put any sugar in my rub!  For smoking meats I do not want the danger of the sugars burning.  For ribs that like a little sweetness, I mix apple juice or apple cider vinegar, water and brown sugar and spray it on several times at the end of the smoke session.

I’m also a fan of dry rubbed ribs so I add some sugar to this rub to sprinkle on to finish the ribs.


Ultimate Breakfast Casserole

Just as I have – you’ve probably had or tried to make them all…    Potato cheese mixtures or bread bits and sausage drowned in scrambled egg mixture.

None of them are bad, but they all left me wanting for more.

The flavor profiles I was looking for was flavorful potatoes, cheese and sausage.  I enjoy shredded potatoes and onions cooked as a hash brown mixture then add spicy bulk sausage and topped with cheese to left melt down through it.  I have also begun to love the added flavor that caramelizing onions brings to my dishes but didn’t want to spend time slaving over a pan of oil / onion mixture to get the perfect ‘doneness’.

Ultimate Breakfast CasseroleList of basic ingredients:

  • Onion & bell pepper – roasted / caramelized
  • Bulk sausage – browned & seasoned with salt, crushed red pepper & cayenne
  • Frozen hash brown potatoes – just because they were there
  • Cheeses – Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Shredded Parmesan
  • Sour Cream
  • Eggs & Milk
  • Magic Meat Rub

Step # 1 was actually done the night before.  I thinly sliced an onion on the mandolin and also sliced up a green pepper, spread it out on a tray, drizzled some olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper and placed it under the broiler of my toaster oven.

On the stove I started browning some bulk sausage with salt, crushed red pepper and a sprinkle of cayenne.  I like my sausage pretty spicy so you can adjust these flavors as you wish.

The next morning I left the frozen hash browns thaw a bit, then mixed about a cup of them with 3/4 cup of the sausage mixture, 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar, 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan and 1/4 cup of sour cream.  Season with a tablespoon of kosher salt and a tablespoon of my magic meat rub.

After mixing this well, I put it in a small loaf pan but in hindsight should have used a larger, shallower pan to lessen the cooking time.

I took 4 eggs and a 1/4 cup of milk and beat them together with a fork, added a tablespoon of kosher salt and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper to make certain that the egg mixture was well seasoned.  I then poured this over the potato and sausage mixture allowing it to sift down through.  Next came a layer of Monterrey cheese and the shredded Parmesan which creates a nice texture layer on top when the baking is complete.

I baked this in the toaster oven at 325 and it took about an hour.  To test for doneness, simply dig into the center and make sure the eggs are still not ‘wet’.

How did it taste?  The SO and myself both agreed it was the best breakfast casserole dish we’d ever had.  Multiple layers of flavor along with nice textural differences and mouth feel.

The egg mixture really only settled halfway down into the potato mixture so there was a different texture and flavor in that layer.  As a dish it was not as heavy and grease-laden as the typical fried hash brown and sausage dish that we already love.

Admittedly, we were both pretty hungry, but the two of us ate then entire casserole.

Try it and let me know what you think…

Pepperjack Tomato Soup

OK, I happened to be in midstate PA last month and stopped at a local chain (Isaacs) soup and sandwich shop.

I usually don’t order soup but it was cold and the booth next to me had 2 bowls and it was looking pretty good so I decided to try it.  I’ve never had tomato soup this good!

I decided to look up a recipe online and found one that was close and modified it a bit.  Try it and let me know what you think.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 – (14-16 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 – (10-12 oz) cans condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 6 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated
  • Tabasco or Red’s hot sauce


  • In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in tomatoes, soup, milk, sugar, basil, paprika and garlic powder.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream cheese & pepper jack until melted. Add a few drops of hot pepper sauce to taste.  Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).