Chicago’s Gino’s East coming to Texas

A good friend of mine, Nafeisa, forwarded this bit of gossip with me recently:  Chicago’s Gino’s East is coming to Texas.

I’ll believe it when I see it….in it’s physical form right in front of me!  While I love Lou Malnati’s, I do like an occasional Gino’s East too.  But why not Lou’s coming to Texas??  Awwwww, beggars can’t be choosers!

I’m looking forward to some Chicago-style grub 😉  Thanks, Naf, for the heads up!  And, thanks to Crave DFW for sharing that BIG NEWS!

Kitchen mojo gone wrong

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These kids were scary…just like how my food tasted! (my middle-schooler is the farthest left)

Do you ever feel that you lose yourself when you cook?  As if your cooking mojo is so on that you just mindlessly go with the natural flow your kitchen takes you and BOOM….out comes this amazing, heavenly, euphoric dish??

Ok, I do and y’all are probably rolling your eyes reading this right now thinking, this chick is messed up.  Am I right?! Haha!

Well, I’ll admit, it’s like the spiritual demons take over me when my kitchen mojo is on.  Though, when my kitchen mojo is off…and I force a divine dish, it all goes wrong.  My mood, my mojo and sadly, my dish :(.

My perfect environment to creating my beloved dish is in a super quiet house, maybe a little Hipster Cocktail Party music on Pandora playing quietly in the background….no kids, a sleeping dog, no husband…just me, myself and my kitchen….stress-free.  Then magic happens.

Friday night was Halloween.  My lovely neighbor put together a last-minute get-together for the kids and grown-ups with just a few families, whom of our kids are all friends with each other.  I love sharing my food with my neighbors.

My contribution to the get-together on a chilly Halloween night:  a s’mores dip and bacon wrapped chicken bites.  It seemed like the right thing to put together.  My cravings told me it was the right thing to do.  It really did.

Well, I was feeling sick….congested, tired, coughing out lungs and then some.  I had a ton of errands I was running that day….like buying cold weather clothes!  Of course, my favorite Walmart was packed with last minute Halloween and cold weather shoppers like myself.  I had to clean the 1st floor of our house some, so trick-o-treaters who did stop by didn’t think we lived in squalor (I’m somewhat exaggerating there….somewhat).  I couldn’t find the purple pumpkin my daughter has been using every year to trick-or-treat with.  I was off….my mojo decided to take a sick day and didn’t notify me.

Of course, I winged the s’mores dip in my little crockpot.  I didn’t like the recipes I’ve seen online and read way too many reviews.  I left it on low and figured it would be good to go by 5pm.  I threw together the bacon and chicken bites in less than 25 minutes, so I can throw it in the oven before bringing it to my neighbors’.  I didn’t even taste the dry rub I made to season the bacon.  Just threw it all together and left it in the fridge.

Showered, picked up my girl from school and drove straight to her gymnastics.  My middle-schooler came home while we were gone, let himself in, and I sent him a text to “leave the crockpot alone”.

My little girl and I came home from gymnastics to find a burning chocolate smell in the kitchen.  My poor s’mores dip was burnt.  I revived it some mixing it with some milk, but that taste I was dreaming of was tasting more like a burnt milk chocolate. SO f@!%!^$ disappointed.  I have to serve this s$&*???!!!  I added more milk chocolate chips and it helped a little.  Man, I was so mad at myself for screwing it up.

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My food didn’t turn out at all, but at least my girl’s french braid looked good

I did a mad french braid on my girl’s hair, as she was a fairy, and sprayed glitter spray in her hair.  The bacon chicken bites were baking in the oven, while trick-or-treaters were ringing the bell, and I was feeling like a truck hit me…..so stinkin’ exhausted while coughing out my lungs.

Pulled the bacon chicken bites out and no taste 😦  It wasn’t seasoned enough.  I had about 60 bacon chicken bites and the taste was not exceptional to my liking.  In my mind, there was no fixing it after baking.  And, I have to serve this s#!^ too?!!  Again, I let myself down.  So ho, hum….had to bring it over to the potluck.  My neighbors were looking forward to it because I talked it up, and had to serve my portion to the smorgesboard that wasn’t candy.  Lesson learned: don’t talk up the food you are bringing.  Let it be a pleasant surprise.

SO, after this long schpeel I just wrote about…..when you’re not feeling your kitchen mojo is on, don’t force it!  Cook when you feel right and well.  My solution to this day was probably best to run to Kroger and get pre-made stuff as my contribution to the potluck.  But I LOVE to cook, so it’s hard for me to pick up pre-made stuff.

My lesson learned from this Halloween debacle:  Your best work in the kitchen comes when you are physically and mentally healthy…and let your kitchen mojo just happen when it’s natural, creative, and in the right moment…don’t force it to come out!  When you force it, like I did, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.  When your kitchen mojo is absent….go to Kroger!

Pizza break

Due to the overwhelming requests by my family to stop baking pizzas, I’ve taken a bit of hiatus.  Which is terrific because I spent more time googling & researching the next closest “Lou Malnati” deep dish crust.  This time, I think I’ve found it!  I think.

By the way, I do have a life and real stuff to do, but I choose to space out my priorities…like pizza researching come first!

You can count on me to do some testing here and there very soon.  In the meantime, my belly was craving for Southern food….WHAT?!!!  Yes, I had a sudden urge to cook some grits n’ stuff.  First time for me and it was unbelievably delicious and easy.  Southerners sure know how to do it right.

This is what I came up with:  4-cheese grits and shrimp, topped with bacon.

shrimpngritsNot bad, eh?!! 😉

The Chicago-style deep dish saga continues

So this is seriously the 8th pizza I’ve baked in the last 3 weeks.  To say the least, my family is getting really tired of eating pizza.  I could never think of such a thing!  Pizza is like air to me.  I need it to live…..OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  Pizza everyday and I would be one, happy camper.

another fabulous deep dish dough resting

another fabulous deep dish dough resting

With 7 pizzas behind me, I’m not giving up in achieving that ‘perfect’ deep dish – Chicago-style!  My goal is to get something close to the look and taste of Lou Malnati’s style.

You know what that’s like?  It’s a firm, crunch, sturdy of a crush….not bready, but sturdy is the right word.   The crust is not too buttery, nor too bland or sweet.  It’s a nice combination of a little buttery taste, a little sweet.

The cheese is outstanding and nutty.  The sauce is not sweet or too salty.  I think I’m getting closer to the deep dish pizza I have in my mind…..crossing fingers!