Italian Pizza – Its True Story Revealed

Pizza is the most ubiquitous of fast foods. It can be bought everywhere. It has a soft base and is loaded with a variety of cheeses, meats, salamis, fish and even pineapple. But this modern Italian-American pizza is a far cry from the original pizzas. Pizza has a long history in Mediterranean food. It goes … Continue reading “Italian Pizza – Its True Story Revealed”

Pizza is the most ubiquitous of fast foods. It can be bought everywhere. It has a soft base and is loaded with a variety of cheeses, meats, salamis, fish and even pineapple. But this modern Italian-American pizza is a far cry from the original pizzas.

Italian Pizza

Pizza has a long history in Mediterranean food. It goes back to the kind of flat bread that was made and sold all over the Mediterranean and Middle East. Flat bread of this kind would often be spread with oil and seasoned with olives, garlic and herbs, or dates.

Flat bread is still often served for breakfast in the Mediterranean. Originally the main meal would be served on bread of this kind. It could also be used for scooping food out of a common dish like the modern Indian paratha bread.

In Italy flat bread of this kind became known as pizza. The word was also applied to sweet dishes made of flaky pastry.

Pizza as we know it with its characteristic covering of a tomato based sauce only came into being after the tomato was imported into Europe from the Americas. The legend that the pizza was invented by Marco Polo who missed the Chinese green onion omelettes he had enjoyed in China is probably untrue.

In the course of the eighteenth century the poor of Naples began to season their flat bread with tomato. As Naples began to attract tourists so interest in the local specialties grew. The first pizza restaurant was set up in Naples in 1830. From there the pizza has spread all over Italy and the rest of the world as migrants from Southern Italy have taken their cuisine with them.

Pizza began to appear in the USA during the nineteenth century. It was sold in the streets of cities that had large Italian populations such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. The first pizzeria is thought to have opened in New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Lombardi’s in Manhattan claims to descend from this original pizza restaurant.

After the Second World War pizza began to become a genuine international food. New varieties of pizza began to appear and the big commercial chains of pizza restaurants began to appear.

The idea of the take away pizza began to emerge and the pizza began to encapsulate all that is enticing and excessive about modern convenience food. Customers could demand any topping they wanted. They could consume vast amounts of fatty cheese and meat. Like the hamburger a once simple food has become a source of obesity and ill-health.

There is no reason for a pizza to be unhealthy. Eaten in moderation and not dripping in high fat cheese and meat it can be a healthy food. Getting back to its roots is surely the way for pizza to go in the future.
Purists claim that there are only two kinds of authentic pizza: the Marinara and the Neapolitana. They are both covered with tomato paste and mozzarella but the Marinara has anchovies added. Both can be seasoned with oregano, basil and pepper.

The base of a traditional pizza is typically much thinner and crisper than that of commercial pizzas available elsewhere. This base is brushed with a light coating of olive oil and spread with tomato paste. It then has rounds of fresh mozzarella added. The grated mozzarella often served even in Italy tastes nothing like the real thing. The masses of cheap grated Cheddar type cheese that is often used in commercial pizzas is an abomination and should be avoided. It has no flavour and is high in heart-stopping cholesterol.

A few anchovies can be added before the whole thing is baked quickly in a wood fired oven. When it comes out of the oven a few basil leaves can be scattered on it. The whole result is light, crisp and flavoursome.
Those who have tried a traditional pizza baked in a wood fired oven, especially if it is fired with vine pruning, will seldom willingly go back to the commercial kind. At its best the pizza, especially when eaten out of doors on a summer evening with friends and a bottle of red wine captures the essence of simple rustic fare.

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Tips For Cooking Crockpot Beef Stew

When you are cooking a Crockpot beef stew, there are some important tips to keep in mind. While there are certainly a number of different recipes you can find, they all have different variances to them and the process can become very confusing. As long as you focus on these tips, you will be able to successfully create any of the different choices that you might find online.


The first tip is probably the most important. When you are making this Crockpot beef stew, it is important that you choose a fatty cut. While many people pick up lean pieces of meat, they do not offer the same flavor and the grease from these meats will end up giving your meal the depth you might find that they are normally missing.

Your next tip to keep in mind is that some vegetables should wait until later in the cooking process to be placed into the mix. The longer that these items cook, the mushier that they are going to be. Potatoes and similar vegetables are fine to put in at the start. These tend to need some extra time to cook. Carrots and celery can be added at the start if you want them to very mushy. If you wait until an hour before you serve them, you should find that they are tender and perfect.

Your third tip in the process of making a Crockpot beef stew is that using gravy mix in place of flour will add in some additional flavor. We find that this move not only deepens the flavor, but it should also help to maintain a good consistency inside of your stew. The best choice would be brown gravy mixes in this case as it is designed to help bring out the flavors of beef more than other choices.

Finally, for the perfect flavor consider adding in your spices at the start and use less than you might think. While these spices have all day to break down and mix with your stew, they will intensify. Putting in too much at the start will only result in your mixture being too spicy to eat. Here is a simple choice for a Crockpot beef stew that you can make.
Toss and Walk Beef Stew
What You Will Need

  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 4 large carrots cut
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 diced potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 packet of brown gravy mix
  • Salt & pepper

How to Make It
Begin by preparing and washing all your vegetables, and then place them in the Crockpot with water. Next, add in your seasonings and your gravy mix. Blend it well until it has combined. Finally, add in your stew meat and stir well. Cook on low for about 8 hours and serve warm.

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How to Make 2 Easy Crockpot Beef Stew Recipes

Today, more and more people are making great use of their crockpots while cooking meals for themselves or for their families. Using your crockpot to make meals and snacks for your family is a real time saver whether you work away from home or not. When you make use of your crockpot, you simply add the ingredients you need for the recipe and then cover with the lid. You set the heating temperature and then you let it cook for the amount of time needed to blend the flavors and cook the ingredients until they are tender and delicious.


If you are ready to save time in the kitchen and still make a mouthwatering meal that will satisfy you and your family, you might like to learn how to make these two easy crockpot beef stew recipes.
Recipe for Crockpot Hamburger Stew
What You Need

  • 1 pound hamburger or ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 sliced carrots
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 1 package mixed frozen vegetables 10 ounce
  • 1 ½ cups canned tomato
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

How to Make It
Mix the pound of hamburger or ground beef with the seasoning salt and combine well. Using a large saucepan or skillet, brown the meat over a medium high heat. Cook until done and then drain the oils off of the meat.

Add the 3 cups water to the crockpot and set the heating temperature to low. Add the sliced carrots, the beef bouillon, chopped onions, mixed frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, and pepper. Stir to combine while melting the beef bouillon.

After cooking the meat in the skillet or saucepan and draining the oils off the meat, add the browned seasoned hamburger or ground beef to the crockpot. Cook on low heat for about 10 to 12 hours. Of you prefer you can also cook on a high heat setting for about 5 to 6 hours or until the vegetables are tender.
Recipe for Crockpot Steak and Mushroom Gravy
What You Need

  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds cubes steak
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup 10 ounce
  • 1 can drained sliced mushrooms 4 ounce
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt

How to Make It
Mix together the flour, salt and pepper and combine well. Add the steak cubes; roll in flour mixture to cover meat completely. Set aside until needed.
Set the crockpot on the lowest setting. Into a medium size mixing bowl you will add the water, cream of mushroom soup, the drained sliced mushrooms, and garlic salt. Stir to combine well. Place the floured steak cubes into the crockpot and then pour the mushroom gravy mixture over the floured steak. Cover and then cook for about 6 to 8 hours on low. If you are in a hurry, you can also cook the dish on high for about 3 to 4 hours. After cooking serve over a bed of rice or pasta noodles.

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How To Make Vegetarian Meatballs

Meatballs are traditionally for meat lovers but why should vegetarians not get a chance to enjoy this tasty snack as well? There are various ways to make vegetarian meatball recipes and some recipes feature cheese, ground soy granules, tofu, or nuts to add bulk and flavor.

Vegetarian Meatballs

You can serve these in various ways. They are nice served hot or cold and you might like to serve a dipping sauce on the side unless the recipe calls for the balls to be poached in soup, broth, vegetable juice or another liquid. A garlic dipping sauce is always nice or you could serve a salsa or even a selection of dips.

Simple Soy Meatballs With Cheese
One of the easiest ways to make this delicious appetizer is to combine two cups of cooked ground soy granules with a cup of breadcrumbs, a cup of grated cheese, a grated onion, and any seasonings you like. You can use plain or seasoned soy granules for this. Beat an egg and stir it into the soy mixture.

Dust your hands with flour and make small balls with the soy mixture. Fry the vegetarian appetizers in oil in a skillet. You will need to do them in batches and turn them occasionally. This recipe will make twenty of these little appetizers and you can serve them hot or chilled. What about serving these with a spicy salsa for dipping or some kind of blue cheese dip or spinach dip? These little meatballs are really versatile and you can serve them with pretty much any dip or sauce you like.

Cottage Cheese Meatballs In Mushroom Sauce
Combine a cup of cracker crumbs with half a cup of ground nuts, a sauteed diced onion, half a cup of cottage cheese and two beaten eggs. Add some garlic salt and shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Brown them in a skillet in vegetable oil, then put them in a loaf pan.
Mix a can of mushroom soup with a can of water and pour this over the balls. Bake them for forty five minutes at 350 degrees F. This recipe makes ten or twelve appetizers.

Pecan And Cheddar Balls
Combine three beaten eggs with a cup of Special K breakfast cereal, a cup of pecan meal, a finely chopped onion, a minced clove of garlic, two tablespoons of cream, milk or mushrooms soup, a pinch of salt, three quarters of a cup of grated Cheddar cheese and quarter of a cup of quick-cooking raw oatmeal.
Shape the mixture into balls and brown them in oil. Simmer them in vegetable juice or tomato juice, adding a pinch of sugar, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a bay leaf to the mixture. Let them cook for about half an hour over a low heat, then serve hot.

Although vegetarian meatballs do not contain meat as such, you can still call them meatballs because of their shape and size and because their wonderful flavor gives them a meaty feel!

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Vegetarian Recipes: How To Make A Creamy Spinach Dip

Vegetarian recipes are very popular today with many different types of people. You can learn how to make all sorts of dishes that you can enjoy eating and serving to others whether you are serving them at home to your family or you wish to prepare something for a special social event.

 Vegetarian Recipes

For instance, for your next get together you might like to learn how to make a creamy spinach dip. You can serve this dip with various types of vegetables on a vegetable tray. It is easy since you will be adding cut fresh crisp vegetable sticks of carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, and so many others. Vegetables taste great after dipping them in this delicious creamy spinach dip.

You can also serve this dip with all sorts of different types of chips, such as corn chips, potato chips, plain or fancy crackers, bagel chips and various types of crusty crunchy breads as well as soft breads.

Making Easy Party Appetizers for Your Next Party
You can easily make some easy party appetizers for your next party while using this delicious and creamy dip. There is no cooking or baking to do while preparing it. You can make it ahead of time and then place it in the refrigerator until you need it. Making appetizer ahead of time helps save you time. You can whip this recipe up in hardly any time at all and then you will have all the time you need to prepare yourself and your party setting.

Recipe for Creamy Spinach Dip
What You Need

  • 1 container sour cream 8 ounce
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup pureed artichoke hearts
  • ½ cups pureed water chestnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped bell pepper
  • 3 cups thawed, cut frozen leaf spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It
Using a medium size bowl, add the sour cream, mayonnaise or yogurt, dill weed, celery salt, garlic powder and onion powder and then stir to combine together completely.

Stir in the green onions, artichoke, and water chestnuts and then add the bell peppers and the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to blend thoroughly.

Cover with a lid or with plastic food wrap and then place in the refrigerator overnight to enhance the blending of flavors in the creamy spinach dip.

You can adapt this recipe by adding fresh herbs rather than dry ground spices. You can marinate the vegetables using your favorite marinade recipe or one tablespoon of lemon juice to enhance their flavors before adding them to this recipe. You can add various ingredients or remove any you do not like or even exchange one ingredient for another while preparing this type of dip. Taste it after removing it from the refrigerator after chilling the dip to see if you need to adjust any of the seasonings.

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