Happy Birthday, Robert Bunsen!

Rocking beard, man.
He's 200 years young today.  Read more about this excellent chemist here on Wikipedia.  He developed one of the most useful pieces of scientific laboratory equipment around.  Many students have horror stories from their first attempts at lighting a Bunsen burner in chemistry class.  In addition, he is the namesake inspiration for one of the Muppets Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.

Pizza Delivery Order: Papa John's

Delivery Time: 65 - 75 minutes on a Wednesday night.  Seriously?
I will update with pictures of the pizza and a taste review once it arrives.

Not as imposing as it looks.

The pizza was not bad but it was still disappointing, especially for the delivery time. I would rate it a C+ mostly because it was meh temperature which kills any chance for flavor.  The pizza here was thin crust with pepperoni.

Notice the butter stain. Mmmm!

The Cinnamon Cinnapie was the saving grace of the delivery.  As far as pizza delivery dessert goes these cinnamon pastries are among the best.  They are soft and chewy, and covered with cinnamon, sugar, and frosting.  I rate the Cinnamon Cinnapie a B+ for delivery pizza dessert.  Try one the next time you order from Papa John's.   

In the meantime, think about making pizza yourself next time.  Getting a good pizza stone is the most important part for the home pizza maker.  

Old Stone Oven 4467 14-Inch by 16-Inch Baking Stone
Rada Cutlery Stoneware Round Pizza Baking Stone, 15 Inch, Made in USA
Weber Style 6430 Pizza Stone
Lodge Pro Logic Cast-Iron 14-Inch Pizza Pan

You can use pre-made crusts such as those from Boboli or Tomanetti to start with.  Some local grocery chains such as PublixSafeway, and Whole Foods Market also carry raw pizza dough balls that work well.  If you are interested in going all-out, try Easy Pizza Crusts or http://www.recipepizza.com/doughs/ for recipes to try at home.  You can find the required ingredients at the grocery stores listed above and others.  Your mileage may vary, but with time you can make an excellent pie from scratch.

The Importance of a Good Knife

A knife is one of the most important tools for quality cooking.  You can read an excellent article on Wikipedia regarding the traditional chef's knife.  Like everything else in this world, you get what you pay for in a chef's knife.  That does not mean you need to sell a kidney to get a titanium-bladed chef's knife with ivory handle (do they make those, if so, I want one!)

While a high quality chef's knife will cost you much, it will serve you tremendously well.  There are some bragging rights to having a "badass" knife in your culinary arsenal.  A good knife will improve your cooking in some ways as well, but it will not turn you into Escoffier by no means.  The most important aspect of a high quality knife is they are safer than low quality knives.

A high quality knife will have the following characteristics:
  • Balance: the knife is well balanced, easy to handle, can literally balance on your fingers: the handle, not the blade!  A well balanced knife will keep the muscles in your hand and wrist from too much strain, and you will have less of a chance of dropping it.
  • Sharpness: The sharper the knife blade, the smaller the cutting surface area.  Going back to physics class, we know that pressure increases as area decreases.  Sharper blades need less force to create the same cutting pressure.  You don't have to push as hard, decreasing a chance of slippage and a call to 911.  Hopefully, it is not a joke in your town.
If you have only enough money for one knife, purchase a 6" or 8" traditional chef's knife, depending on your hand size and personal preference.  If you are splurging also add: a paring knife, a boning knife, a serrated knife, a cleaver, a steel or stone, cutting block, storage block.  You can find a good video on knife techniques here.

I have linked a few knife sets below. All links are from Amazon.  Feel free to search the internet for better deals. I use a Wusthof knife at home and love it.  I can personally recommend them. 

Slitzer® 21-Pc. Professional Chef's Cutlery Set with Case
Saber F-11 Working Chef Knives with Chefs Knife Bag
Wusthof Classic Gourmet 3-Piece Knife Set
Victorinox 5-Piece Chef's Knife Set, Molded Handles

I hope this article was useful, and I look forward to hearing of your cooking successes after purchasing a great new chef's knife.

First post.

I will use this blog to post recipes and cooking tips.  The goal will be high quality food with minimal financial and labor costs. 

Stay tuned.