Uh-oh, watch out ladies....Little Joe is in the kitchen again! This time Little Joe was begging me to make Homemade Pizza including the dough. Luckily I have a bread machine to do the work for me but you still have to start early in the day for the dough cycle to run its course. The dough setting on my machine takes a little over 2 hours for 1.5 lbs of pizza dough. I follow the recipe that came with bread machine.
The pizza sauce takes no time at all. Maybe 30-35 minutes. Little Joe tried to tell me that the sauce is not really homemade since we did not start with real tomatoes. I reassured him that the Hunts factory started with tomatoes so it was FINE.....
For the sauce, we heated some olive oil and added large onion slices (my daughter hates onions, large slices add flavor, but do not end up on the pizza!). After the onions soften, we add the tomato sauce and then top with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning and basil. I like more basil flavor, feel free to adjust to your liking! Stir and let the mixture simmer 20 minutes. Then add the secret ingredient..... SUGAR. We like a sweet sauce with an undertone of savory, in fact Little Joe and I would just like to drink the sauce. YUM! I would add a tablespoon of sugar at a time until it is how you like it or leave it out if you do not prefer a sweet sauce. Simmer another 10 minutes then turn off the heat.
Next we divided the dough and worked it with our hands to fit the pans. First, spread the sauce, then sprinkle with Parmesan-Romano cheese. And if you are me you have to keep any eye on Little Joe who is sneaking mouthfuls of shredded mozzarella! Next add mozzarella and your favorite toppings. Little Joe's ultimate favorite pizza toppings are Green Bell Pepper and Black Olives. Not a bad combo....
Next we put our pizza into a 385 degree oven and watch it bake with much anticipation through the oven window. Even more awesome is that the sauce recipe makes enough to save for another pizza making day or a perfect snack for me and Little Joe eating out of the pan with spoons..... HUSH! Do not judge us! LOL
When the cheese is golden on the edges and bubbly the pizza is done! Then of course after that is the grueling 5 minute wait for it to cool down enough to slice and serve.....
In the end, it is very much worth the wait for the fresh dough, yum-o-la sauce and delicious toppings. Little Joe's belly is full for now.......
Mommy of Little Joe
Guacamole Time! Little Joe was all ears when my friend, FoodieGirl said she had an awesome guacamole recipe. Little Joe and I have tried to make it on our own, but have never had a formal recipe.
So, when cooking with FoodieGirl she sends you shopping and Little Joe loves the grocery store especially the produce area. FoodieGirl gave Little Joe a few tips on finding just the right avocados. Little Joe took his time picking out onions and just the right jalapeño pepper. I even gave a lesson on using the scale to weigh the veggies!
After shopping we headed over to FoodieGirl's kitchen where she had her top secret must have LAVA BOWL (Molcajete) for the guacamole. Little Joe was checking out the fancy lava bowl when he noticed the Sea Salt. Before I knew it Little Joe and FoodieGirl were having this discussion about all the types of salt you can buy. OH BOY, sounds like a Little Joe Adventure!FoodieGirl showed us how to grind the onions, jalepeno and cilantro in the laval bowl with the pestle and even Little Joe gave it a try. FoodieGirl took care of handling the hot pepper since Little Joe was convinced he picked the hottest one in the store! Before I knew it they were just about done and adding the tomatoes. Now for the true test...the Little Joe test. Little Joe loved the guacamole and chowed down and quickly made a date with FoodieGirl to check out all the varieties of salt very soon!
By: Valerie Delmonico, Mommy of Little Joe
1/2 cup sweet onion chopped1/2 cup cilantro chopped1/4-1/2 tsp coarse sea salt1 seeded and diced jalepeno (you can always add less!)
Mash well in bowl with pestle, then mix in
2-3 large Haas avocados, pitted and choppedThen add and mix in10-12 grape tomatoes halved
Serve with tortilla chips!
Malt Vinegar Boy
Soooo, the Blue Danube came recommended by one of my BFF's! We were out for the day and just finished up at the Ohio History Center and the Blue Danube is literally around the corner. My FIL was with me and was all skeptical about the location being in a shady neighborhood and was worried about street parking vs parking lot. I have no idea why the parking was bugging him. I told him to settle down and it would be fine! Good ole', Poppy! My kids love their Poppy. Well, first thing to say is there IS a parking lot! The Blue Danube doesn't look like much from the outside but it was very clean inside and screamed OLD SCHOOL DINER BABY! I was in heaven! We sat down at the booth and Little Joe had reached his sugar low and was being grumpy about his hungriness. I went over the menu options with Little Joe and NOT surprisingly he chose the Fish N Chips. Little Joe has a thing about comparing Fish n Chips, meatballs and pizza. I scanned the menu and there was a lot of things I was considering BUT hands down the Fried Bologna Sandwich was what I wanted. I LOVE Bologna.... and it came with grilled onions...another weakness of mine. The food arrived and Little Joe's first observation was that the fries looked like frozen fries. Little Joe likes fresh cut fries. Second observation was the fish looked very crunchy which is a must for Little Joe and his fish n chips eatin'. Little Joe scanned the table and realized there was not any vinegar on the table and almost had a panic attack. No worries, Poppy hailed the waitress and she delivered the vinegar and Little Joe was a happy camper. Little Joe was talking with his mouth full and said the fish was not under or over cooked it was just right, but he wished the fries were different. Little Joe's fix for the freezer fries? MORE VINEGAR of course. Kid loves vinegar. The waitress was super nice and was putting up with my FIL's inquisitive ways. We were playing "I SPY" with the colorful ceiling tiles and then it dawned on us, where does the Blue Danube get all their artsy ceiling tiles? Well, our lovely waitress told us all about the ceiling! When the smoking ban went into place the Blue Danube started to replace their ceiling tiles that had yellowed over the years and decided that patrons could buy a ceiling tile at a hardware store and decorate it and bring it in to replace an old tile! The Blue Danube still takes new tiles and rotates the art. How about that? Guess what me and my kids are doing over winter break?? CEILING TILES and another fab meal at the Blue "Dube"! SMAC Approved! -Valerie Delmonico, Mommy of Little JoeSocial Moms Around Columbus
Sunny Days...at Sunny Street Cafe' in Westerville! My family loves to eat breakfast out on Saturday or Sunday mornings! This particular Saturday morning we found ourselves weighing our breakfast options in the area and we decided to head over to Sunny Street on Rte 3 and Maxtown. Now I know everyone loves to hear Little Joe's foodie adventures BUT Little Joe does not like EGGS or SAUSAGE. So what does Little Joe eat for breakfast? OATMEAL with lots of fixins and Sunny Street had plenty to satisfy! While we were waiting for our food Little Joe opened a couple creams for my coffee and then when I looked back it was like E.T. or Poltergeist came to visit and stacked a perfect pyramid of little creamers.... OKAY, back to the food! Little Joe ordered a BIG JOE sized portion of Oatmeal, with brown sugar, cinnamon, cranberries and milk and sourdough toast on the side with apple butter. Little Joe loves cranberries! I ordered the power wrap which was delicious! My daughter got choco chip pancakes and my husband got Eggs, Sausage and Pancakes. Coffee was good and the service was great. My family also enjoys the outdoor patio seating too!
-Valerie Delmonico, Mommy of Little Joe
Over the weekend we had a broccoli salad at brunch at Bel Lago on Sunbury Rd by the Hoover Reservoir. Little Joe could not get enough of the salad at the restaurant, so I decided that we should make broccoli salad at home. We bought all the ingredients; broccoli, red onion, apple, raisins, sunflower seeds, bacon, mayonnaise, sugar and a lemon. As we got all of our ingredients onto the counter, I explained to Little Joe that he was going to be my "Sous Chef". Little Joe squiggled up his nose and asked what a Sous Chef was. I told him that the Sous Chef was in my opinion one of the most important jobs in the kitchen (that got a grin!) and that the Sous Chef cut, chopped, peeled and prepped all the ingredients for the day to make the Chef's job easier. So, I got a plastic knife for Little Joe to chop all my ingredients for the salad. While Little Joe was cutting the broccoli he was very focused on the jar of mayo. "I don't like mayonnaise", Little Joe said. IMPOSSIBLE, I told him. If you are related to me you could eat mayo right out of the container. He did not seem entertained by this notion. I also told Little Joe another bonus to making this salad was frying bacon in the middle of the day. AHH, nothing like the aroma of bacon grease. After my Sous Chef, prepped all my ingredients he mixed the mayo, sugar and lemon juice to create the dressing for our salad. As Little Joe was , stirring he looked at me and said, "Mommy you need an employee and do you think you could give more money at church so I don't have to go to Sunday school?" Now, who doesn't want to cook with Little Joe?
Mommy of Little Joe
Broccoli Salad (Recipe from my dear friend, Clarice Rhetta)
4 c. broccoli florets
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. apple, diced
1/4 c. red onion, diced
1/4 c. raisins
1/4c. sun flower seeds
1 and 1/2 c. mayo
4 tbsp. lemon juice
Imagine this.. you are 6 year old boy and your sister heads out to a sleepover..what do you do? If you're Little Joe you hit Mom and Dad up for going out to dinner WITHOUT your picky eater/annoying sister! Typically we head to our favorite Asian restaurant, but this time we decided to go to Marcella's on Polaris. When we arrived it was packed, but then again it was a Friday night. The wait was 45-60 minutes. Little Joe was not amused. I was also was not amused, there was hardly any room to stand around the hostess stand. Daddy decided to distract Little Joe by getting him a Sprite from the bar and it worked he felt like a big kid with his drink! Believe it or not the time passed quickly and I enjoyed people watching. We were sat at a table right in the middle of the dining area. I asked Little Joe if he wanted to try some different cheese and he said, OK, but I want pizza. I was surprised he wanted to order off the kids menu. Mommy and Daddy ordered a bottle of red wine, a cheese plate, salad and gnocchi. One of the reasons I come to Marcella's is for the gnocchi and not much else. The cheese plate arrived (aged goat cheese, pecorino, gorgonzola dolce and apricot preserves). Little Joe was intrigued and went for the gorgonzola first. He said it was pretty good, but why was some of the cheese blue? I decided to skip that question! Next pecorino. Disgusting to Salty. Now for the goat. Little Joe loved the goat cheese. In fact he ate it all. He was curious though why it was called goat cheese. I did answer that one by explaining we can get milk from goats like we get milk from cows. The kids cheese pizza arrived , but Little Joe had his eyes on my Apple Salad. Little Joe was snatching the candied walnuts off my salad, so I just gave him a small plate of my greens. Little Joe plowed through his salad sample and then said, the nuts were good but the salad had no taste. I would have to agree, all the ingredients were fresh, but other than the nuts there was not much flavor! Little Joe was chowing away on his kids pizza but noticed the bread and dipping oil on the table. Little Joe took a slice of bread and took it for a swim in the oil. I literally had to wipe the oil from Little Joe's chin several times. What a maniac! Now for my entree and the reason I come to Marcella's... Gnocchi con Bolognese (braised lamb, marinara and parmesan reggiano). This is dish is old school Italian. I am talking my Gramma may be in that kitchen. Absolutely mouth watering and delicious. Little Joe loves gnocchi, but I was not sure he would like the sauce or lamb, but as we all know Little Joe tried it anyway! Little Joe's eyes rolled back in his head and said it was good. I admit I was hoping he did not like so I did not have to share :( I let him have a few bites.. I mean what kind of mother would I be if I did not share? Little Joe polished of his meal with a chocolate gelato! SMAC Approved!
Written by: Valerie Delmonico, Mommy of Little Joe
Wow, a New Year blogging with my Little Joe! I have to admit he is getting bigger and so is his appetite to learn all he can about FOOD. Little Joe loves to EAT, COOK, GROCERY SHOP and watch the FOOD NETWORK. This particular day I was making Tilapia coated in crushed multi-color tortilla chips and decided to make a salad to go with the meal. Little Joe asked if he could watch. I went over all the ingredients: olive oil, salt, pepper, tomatoes, avocados, red onions, garlic and lemon juice. Little Joe's first query was. "Where is the lettuce?" I explained that you don't always need lettuce for it to be a salad. As Little Joe stood on a stool watching me slice my tomatoes, we began talking about our NEW IDEA for 2012, "Cooking with Little Joe". Little Joe has all sorts of ideas; CUPCAKES (like Cupcake Wars), CHICKEN FRIED STEAK (like Paula Dean), or what about CHINESE FOOD (just because it's his favorite). I told Little Joe I doubted that I could make any Chinese Food that tasted good. I suggested that we take a trip to Barnes and Noble and buy a cookbook from a Food Network Star. Little Joe was excited about this idea as he was fumbling around with some garlic. Second question, "Why is there paper all over this garlic?" I showed Little Joe how to peel the paper off the garlic, and I began slicing garlic for my salad. Then the best question, "Can I taste the garlic?" I kinda giggled and remembered when Little Joe asked if he could taste a PEPPERCORN. "Sure, go ahead take a bite", I said. Little Joe sunk his teeth into the clove of garlic and began to chew, his eyebrows raised and then his jaw dropped, his eyes watered and he started to fan his mouth! I laughed so hard, then I gave him some water. I asked Little Joe how it tasted and he assured me that it is better cooked. Ahh.. Cooking with Little Joe.
By: Valerie Delmonico, Mommy of Little Joe
So excited to take the family to the Old Mohawk! Usually we head to the Spaghetti Warehouse after the theater but not this time!! We headed over to German Village and found the Old Mohawk, parked and walked a few steps on the cobblestone walk to the entrance. The little brick homes in the Village were decorated with wreaths and bows and looked like they were out of a storybook. The Old Mohawk looked weathered and worn but filled with locals who know where to go for good food and service, We sat right down and my husband commented that we stuck out like sore thumbs. My husband may of felt that way but the kids and I did not. We are used to getting out of the burbs and being adventurous! Our server told us there was no kids menu, but I was not surprised. I told the server it was no big deal because I am sure that my kids will eat anything that is fried. We ordered the Fish n Chips for my kids to split, I ordered the Mini Burgers with Potato Pancakes and the husband ordered French Onion Soup. The kids always snarl their noses at the pungent smell of french onion soup, I just laugh! The potato pancakes were delish, the burgers were dried up patties that seemed as though they were cooked yesterday and then microwaved today. French onion soup was outstanding and it was surreal watching my husband dip potato chips in the bit of soup left in his bowl. The picture to the left is half of the fish n chips order! The fish was awesome, possibly the best fish n chips in Columbus and the potato wedges (jo-jos) were nicely seasoned. Never fear everyone Little Joe pulled his usual when eating fish n chips, which is to slather it all in malt vinegar and lick his chops. SMAC Approved!
Get out of the burbs!!! http://www.theoldmohawk.com/
Food, Family and Fun! That was how the Greek Festival was this year for Little Joe and his family! If you did not make it to the festival this year, I hope these pictures inspire you to go downtown to the cathedral next fall! Enjoy the slideshow. OPA!
YES! I took my Little Joe on a food tasting adventure downtown at the North Market located on Spruce Street. Little Joe was not sure what to expect, but was very curious if there were any samples of food to taste. I assured him that we would get plenty of foods to taste! Parking at the North Market is really EASY. You can park in the North Market lot and if you make a purchase, have the merchant stamp your receipt and you will not pay a fee. If you do not buy anything, your parking fee is $12. Another tip is to bring some change to feed the meter parking in case the lot is full. Little Joe and I came up with a plan to walk around the whole market to see what the food options were then we would buy our food then sit at the picnic tables outside and watch the downtown traffic. So many options! We settled on hummus, pita bread, pierogies, soft pretzel, chicken cutlet, macaroni and cheese and saffron roasted carrots. Since we were tasting so many foods, I packed my own water bottles to say a few pennies! There were lots of people on lunch breaks eating at the picnic tables, which made for some fun people watching. Little Joe and I shared a table with a women who was very impressed that Little Joe would try all these foods. Little Joe is a big hummus eater and thought the hummus from the market was better than the kind we buy at Giant Eagle. The pierogies looked tempting in the buttery onion sauce, but were a little on the dry side. The pretzel, was super yummy and would beat the socks of an Auntie Ann's pretzel from the mall any day. The chicken cutlet was very tender and Little Joe thought macaroni and cheese was very good. The saffron roasted carrots were questionable. Little Joe did not care for the saffron and I have to admit neither did I. After our lunch we went back in the market and snapped some photos then stopped at CaJohns. CaJohns had salsas, hot sauces and BBQ sauces out to taste. Little Joe loves BBQ sauce so we purchased a bottle to take home. We then rounded the corner and came to Mozart's Bakery case. Little Joe chose a chocolate dipped biscotti and I chose a florentine. Little Joe thought the market was fun and wants to come back with his Daddy and his sister. This is a great adventure for the whole family! SMAC Approved!