Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Category
I wrote about this brand previously, which may or may not have been born out of a Wisconsin tavern. Last time I was intending to get an “all meat” but somehow got home with a supreme, a type I would never buy. If you’re not bothering to click over to the other review, here’s the spoiler: I thought it was pretty good.
Here’s the most excellent news: none of these sausage ingredients start with “mechanically separated” (anything). They are PORK! WAHOO!
More careful this time, actually got home with the one I wanted (ham, sausage, bacon bits, pepperoni). 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and voila! Cracker like crust, mild sausage, good cheese. Sausage bits could be bigger (my preference), but overall flavor is great. The odor of the smoke flavoring in the bacon is fairly strong, but not objectionable.
Luigis Frozen Pizza Review
Mrs. Burgerdogboy came back from an outing with her pals at ScarletGirl.com, with a most unusual rave – no, not the latest in intimate playthings for couples, but rather a tip on a pizza her husband must try!
So Sunday nite she urged us out the door as the punctuation for a week we have both been suffering from the Portland winter crud sickness – either as a very loving jesture or in fact as an excuse to pick up some ice cream – the cure all for any known feminine malady.
We motored over to Uncle John’s Market in Burlingame, long the destination of Portland pizza whisperers, but heretofore unvisited by Portland’s leading “pizza expert.” (Moi).
So here’s the drill. There is a strictly take-out pizzeria inside this neighborhood market, offering slices or one-sized (x-large) pies to go, with your choice of toppings.
The mistress of Scarletgirl had recommended the pie as a thinner crust rendition of typical NY pizza, a two-handed slice, and she was spot on in both her description, and her understanding of what Burgerdogboy likes.
We grabbed a single slice of pepperoni for $2.75, and both enjoyed noshing on it on our way to ice cream land.
It’s thinner than typical NY pie, bordering on a cracker-thin, crispy slice, with nice cheese bubbles and a little char on the crust.
I grabbed a take-out menu, as it’s near to impossible to find details (or a phone number) for this neighborhood gem online.
For a quick slice in SW Portland, hit up Uncle John’s, or call ahead and order a large pie to go, or to enjoy al fresco (in your car) as we did!
Tried out a new pre-made pizza sauce last night, from Chicago pizza supplies and food supplier, Pastorelli, who have been around for a million years or so. In addition to pizza sauce, they have a number of consumer products including tomato derivatives, olive oils, and pre-made crusts, which I tried previously. The past few years, I’ve been pretty satisfied with Contadina Pizza Sauce in a squeeze bottle, when I’m not in the mood to make sauce from scratch, but they may have fallen from grace, or at least to second place, after sampling the Pastorelli.
Take a look at this ingredient list: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Canola Oil, Import Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese, Spices and Garlic. You can’t get much more basic than that! I like the flavor and texture, it leans to the thicker end of the sauce spectrum, and nicely covers a pie. It’s not sickeningly sweet, and has a nice little zest. It also comes in one serving pouches, if that’s your preference, though the small can works out perfectly too. Buy online if you can’t find it in your local grocery.
If you’re really hungry, take comfort in knowing that many of Pastorelli’s products are available in 55 gallon barrels, and 250 gallon totes.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, my recipe for homemade pizza dough is pretty straight forward, but does require some advance planning.
Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Review
I’m reluctant to try almost any freezer pizza that says it can be microwaved. Just never works out, in my opinion. But Reggio’s is one of my favorite frozen brands, and the individual sized were on an endcap and on sale, so I thought I’d give one a whirl. I’ve tried the size before, but in a conventional oven, as I am likely to do, given the option. The results were satisfactory.
Two things that food producers have so far failed to master, one is microwavable pizza, the other is “crispness” on deep fried products. The Reggio’s pie includes one of those “specialized” baking surfaces (within the box) which is supposed to amp up the crisp factor. In the base of this product, you remove from the box and the cello, and slide the frozen pizza back into the box for its minute or so in the nuke-a-torium.
I wasn’t very happy with the result. While the familiar taste of a Reggio’s pie was there, and the interior portion was adequate, the crust rim was rock hard, and part of the pie was left in the box. It doesn’t appear there is any easy way to get the pie out of the ‘cooking chamber box’ intact.
As with most products that give you the option of conventional oven or microwave, despite the time needed and energy consumption, I always recommend using your oven. In the case of this pizza, the upside results would have been two fold: 1) even crust baking, and 2) better appearance.
The relative new kid on the block in Chicago pizzerias, Edwardos has been cooking up their special ‘stuffed’ pizzas since 1978 from multiple locations in the Chicago area. They are also available in the frozen food section at your grocery, or you can have them shipped.
Despite the massive publicity Chicago pizza received courtesy of Jon Stewart (video below), there remains some confusion among locals, not to mention tourists, as to what exactly Chicago pizza is. Is it deep dish? Pan? Double crust? Stuffed? Thin Crust? The truth is, they are all Chicago pizzas.
Edwardo’s version is deep, AND stuffed. With a thin layer of crust on the bottom, topped with cheese, or cheese and meat, or cheese and sauce, and then another thin layer of crust, with sauce on the TOP. That’s right. It’s a Chicago thing with the deeper pizzas, sauce on the top.
At the grocery, you’re going to pay $7 plus for the small, which will easily feed two or three. At the restaurant, about $20. By mail, $25 plus shipping.
I opted for the sausage kind. There are some Chicago pizzerias that make a blanket of sausage on the pie, it covers from rim to rim. Edwardos goes with chunks of flavorful Italian, on the cheese layer.
The crust is buttery, as many Chicago pizzas are. It has a nice flaky quality, too. The cheese is tremendous, ample quantity, great flavor, and great “pull.” Sauce is ample and fairly mild, leaning more ‘sweet’ than ‘savory.’
The pie takes around 30 minutes in a 425 oven, and you should let it set for a few before slicing.
I’ve taken a look at most every frozen Chicago pizza, including Connies, Reggios, Home Run Inn, Vito and Nicks, Ginos, and others. While Vito and Nicks remains my favorite thin crust, having pushed past Home Run Inn this year, this one, Edwardo’s Natural, is the first ‘deep dish’ I’ve found that is worth buying and consuming. I’ll do it again. Going to one of the shops? Here’s the menu.
Edwardos Natural Pizza
PIZZA KNOTS FOR TAILGATING PARTIES
I got a crazy itch this past weekend to try and make garlic knots for the first time. But I didn’t really feel like spending all weekend at it – when I usually make scratch bread or pizza dough, it’s a two day process.
So I went with the old reliable frozen bread dough. Which isn’t all that impromptu either, as you need a day to thaw it.
1 loaf frozen bread dough or pizza crust
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 T fresh parsley diced
1 T basil
4 oz pepperoni diced
3 oz your preferred “Italian” cheese
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
Using a roller, or a 2 liter bottle of soda if you don’t have a rolling pin, make a couple of 8” circles of dough.
Slice lengthwise into ½ inch wide strips. Tie into a loose knot. Set aside.
Place the butter and oil in a cast iron skillet. Saute the garlic, herbs and pepperoni until it has a little crisp going on.
Spoon out the garlic, parsley and pepperoni, and leave as much oil/butter in the skillet as you can. Place in a bowl and toss knots in the mixture.
Put the knots in the skillet in a single layer, drizzle with more oil and cover tightly, allow to double in size. Probably 3-4 hours.
Preheat over to 425, put skillet in oven on center rack for 25-30 minutes. Brush with more olive oil when you remove from oven and dust with your Italian cheese. Serve immediately. Or “knot.”
You can serve some marinara on the side for dipping if you like.
pizza knot recipe
Bridgford Thick Sliced Pepperoni was on sale this week, and I try and stock up when those little delightful discs of processed pork are discounted.
Bridgford started about 80 years ago in Southern California; its still a family business and headquartered in Anaheim. They were primarily in the bread dough for consumers business (dough, heat and serve) until diversifying through the acquisition of a meat snack plant in Chicago. In addition to those two facilities, the company has plants in Dallas and North Carolina.
In addition to the pepperoni, the meat portion of the company makes jerky, beef sticks, and salami. Products are available nationwide.
But back to the subject. I’m always sampling pepperoni, as I make pizza at home often. I look at the ingredients, flavor, and texture. I most want to avoid pepperoni that cups and chars on top of a pie, tho some people find that a positive attribute.
At our house, the flavor has to be raw, as Mrs. Burgerdogboy prefers her pepperoni right out of the package as a snack – she doesn’t go for it “cooked.”
We like this one for the ingredients: pork, beef, salt, paprika and just the usual sodium based preservatives. No corn syrup, powdered milk or other fillers. Plus it’s got a little “kick.”
It’s made in the Chicago plant, pictured below, which is just a few blocks west of the loop, on Green, right below the Green/Pink lines.
Buy recommendation: Hell, yes!
Bridgford Thick Sliced Pepperoni
Imported from Italy from a company that for the last hundred years has focused on processing tomato products and only tomato products, you can’t get much more straightforward than these ingredients: tomatoes (99%), salt, basil, oregano, onion.
Mutti is located in Parma. In addition to pizza sauce, they make peeled tomatoes, puree, pulp and concentrate.
I have no earthly idea how they get their sauce this thick, no matter how long I cook tomatoes down, the result is usually somewhat watery.
In any regards, this is the real deal for pizza sauce. You can buy it at Italian / Euro food shops in the US, or order online at Amazon.
Why is it European food companies make products superior to those in the US? Tighter regulations? Looser? Small batches? Puzzlement.
Mutti Pizza Sauce
Orv’s Pizza was originally from Kaukauna, WI, and may still be produced there, but it’s now under the ownership of Minneapolis pizza company Bernatellos, that also makes and sells Roma and Brew Pub brands.
I wonder if Kaukauna Cheese is still made in Kaukauna? Hold on. OK, seems like its still made nearby, but now owned by a cheese brand collecting company from Chicago. (BTW, cheese company, I see you also hold Merkt’s, which I prefer, especially for burgers.
Wow, talk about careening wildly off track!
This Orv’s “Tasty Toppings” Sausage & Pepperoni Think Crust weighs in at a hair over one pound, and they were on sale today at 2 $8.00. That’s about the right price-point for the weight. I’m having a hard time seeing any quantity of sausage, and they may have missed a few spots with the “Real Cheese,” (as is noted on the front of the package.
BTW, before I tell you what I thought of the experience, I give the company props for the ‘real’ ingredients. Sausage is pork and seasonings, pepperoni is pork, beef, and seasonings, and tomato sauce is just….tomato sauce. So they got that going for them.
The pepperoni slice was paper thin. Say have you seen Jack Link’s is making thick “crinkle cut” pepperoni? Ain’t that interesting? Saw it at that store that John Boy and Mary Ellen started….you know, the Waltons? Right.
So how is Orv’s pizza? The thin crust is crispy, the tomato sauces leans towards being more sweet than savory and I think they shouldn’t be so stingy with the cheese. I’d say this pizza belongs at the top end of the budget lines like Totino’s, Jeno’s, and no-name brands, but even at this sale price, is pretty spendy for that category. I tried the parent company’s premium pie, Bellatoria Ultra Thin Sausage Italia, about six months ago, and it was pretty ok.
425 at 10-12 minutes brought the result shown below.
Orv’s Pizza Review
Well known for a few things, including the American Birkebinder cross country ski race, annual world lumberjack contests, and a nearby former hide out of Al Capone, the ville of Hayward, Wisconsin is nestled among pines and birches on rolling hills in Northwestern Wisconsin. Numerous lakes dot the landscape and it’s a regular fisherman’s paradise.
Trail’s End Resort is on nearby Lake Couderay, has cabins and boats for rent, camp sites and a nice lodge bar (“Michelle’s”) that features live music, (like Todd Eckart) that serves lunch and dinner daily with an emphasis on house made items from local ingredients.
Entrees enjoyed included the rib dinner and a thin crust bacon-topped pizza. Both got raves. The ribs are massaged with a house-made rub before being slow-smoked and finished on the grill; many of the meats served at Trails End (including the bacon) are from the provider 6th Street Market, in nearby Ashland, WI, who have been cranking out specialty meats and sausages for 25 years.
Here’s their full menu.
Trails End Resort