Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gourmet Pizzas Fast

     I love to cook from scratch. Had I the time and the money I would cook everything I make from scratch, however this is the real world with jobs and family and I just don't. It is easy to think however that there are only two categories of cooking- completely from scratch or completely processed and packaged. I like to think of things in shades of gray, and compromise. My wife and I do make pizzas from scratch on occasion but not always. We did however stumble upon a half-way point between fresh and frozen when it comes to pizzas. We buy the basic cheese pizzas from Costco which are relatively inexpensive and we spiff them up with some delicious ingredients.

     I am fond of seafood on pizza. Tonight I made a marinated black tiger shrimp pizza with fresh garlic, red onion, baby bell peppers with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes. It was delicious even if I do say so myself! I buy the frozen shrimp but always the ones that are still raw. I find the ones that have been cooked and frozen turn out like rubber. 

Marinated Black Tiger Shrimp Pizza with Feta Cheese and Veggies:

1       medium frozen cheese pizza
12     black tiger shrimp
1       baby red bell pepper
1       baby yellow bell pepper
5       slices of red onion
1       clove of fresh garlic
6       cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2    cup of feta cheese
1/4    cup of cheddar cheese
1       tsp. of dried oregano

Marinade for black tiger shrimp:

1       tbsp. of sesame oil
1       tbsp. of fish sauce
1       splash of lemon juice
1/4    tsp. of cayenne pepper
1       clove of fresh garlic (crushed)
1       dash of salt


Thaw shrimp in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain excess water, remove shell and tails and cut in half. Combine all of the ingredients in the marinate and place shrimp in the marinade for at least 30 min. 

Spray cookie sheet with Pam or oil and place the pizza on the sheet. Spread the shrimp pieces and onion evenly on the pizza. Add the peppers, then the feta cheese, then the cheddar, and lastly place the halved cherry tomatoes. Lightly dust the pizza with dried oregano. Bake at the usual temp for 15-20 min. (depending on pizza instructions) until the crust is golden brown or to your liking. Let the pizza rest for a few minutes after it has finished cooking. Cut and serve. Delicious gourmet in 55 minutes.

Tacos Mexico Sabroso, Abbotsford BC, Review

While vacationing in BC I happened upon Tacos Mexico Sabroso at 32228 South Fraser Way. I discovered it through one of my favorite apps for my iphone called, "Urbanspoon". No doubt many of you are familiar with the app. When looking for a good restaurant or a specific cuisine this is one of my most trusted tools, though it helps to understand a few things about Urbanspoon. One of the first things I look at the percentage of people who like the restaurant, and the next is how many have contributed reviews in order to create this percentage. A restaurant with a high rating but low reviews is not as reliable as one with a lot. Tacos Mexico Sabroso had over 30 reviews at 94% positive review so I thought I would venture out that way to enjoy some authentic Mexican. 

I ordered two tacos...

One taco was Carnitas (pork) and one Carne Asada (beef) (see above). They serve Taqueria style Tacos with fresh soft tortilla shells, a generous portion of marinated meat, topped with fresh cilantro and green onion, and served with a wedge of fresh lime. They were very tasty though perhaps a bit on the salty side. The combination of rich meat flavor with the freshness of the tortillas and cilantro was a delicious combination of flavors and textures! I could have eaten two or three more of these.  Here is a recipe on for Taqueria Style Tacos... from

The second dish I ordered was the "Pozole Mechoacan Style". This was a chance for me to try something new. On their menu "Pozole" is listed as one of only two specialty items. I really enjoy authentic cuisine and items described as "specialty" at any restaurant are worth consideration.

"Pozole, (pronounced poh-SOH–lay), is a quintessential Mexican comfort food--... a hearty meat broth, laced with chili and augmented with hominy (known as cacahuazintle in Mexico)"1 The description in the menu read: "Delicious corn grain with pork or chicken, red stock with chilies, and served with lettuce, oregano, lime, plus a deep fried sopapillla"

The Pozole was a generous helping, served in a large bowl with the lettuce, lime, and sopapilla on the side. I tasted the broth on its own and it was hearty and had quite a kick. I could certainly taste the chilies. I'll admit I was hoping for more flavor in the broth, perhaps the same rich meatiness that I enjoyed in the tacos. I asked the server how one eats the lettuce, etc with the soup. The server then brought me a shaker containing dried oregano. She instructed me to put shake some oregano into the soup and then to add the lettuce and the lime (which I had guessed) and then to dip the sopapilla into the soup. I was a bit skeptical about the lettuce because I knew it would quickly wilt from the heat but it added a surprisingly mild sweetness and freshness when combined with the lime and oregano. Although it wasn't my favorite, and I was hoping for a bit more flavor from the broth especially since it was highlighted in the menu as their "speciality". However, it was a refreshing choice on a hot day and I agree that this is indeed comfort food. For the adventurous Pozole Rojo, Michoacán style