The Hungry Man Eats

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English Muffin Pizza

English Muffin Pizza

When I was young, 30 years ago or so, a mere hungry boy, rather than the hungry man I became, if you were to ask me what my favorite food was, I would have said pizza. Not a surprising answer for an 8 year old or an adult for that matter. If it was pizza in any way, shape or form I was a fan. Growing up, my family never got delivery pizza, my pizza sources were from out at one of the closest pizza places to home, a pizzeria called Tony’s pizza located in the nearby mall, school or homemade.

For about 5 years, Tony’s Pizza was the go to place if we wanted to go out and grab a quick dinner. Option B for a quick dinner was Friendly’s, which also was located at said shopping mall, but they did not have pizza, so they are a topic for another time.

I usually had lunch brought from home, but on the days they served pizza, I was ready with 85 cents in my pocket and hoping against hope that the pre-published menu for the month ahead was still accurate for that day and that they weren’t serving something like the Rib-B-Q sandwich or the dreaded hot turkey meal. If you ever saw that hot turkey meal, you would have really wanted a Rib-B-Q instead. My 8 year old self had an unexpected craving for the pizza they would serve at school, they were plain rectangles covered with “cheese” or “cheese” plus pepperoni, 2 lonely pepperoni staring back up at you wishing they had more company…

So how about that homemade pizza? For most all of the 1980’s, every other Sunday for dinner we would have English Muffin Pizza (the opposite Sunday was usually a roast or something that was infinitely less awesome than pizza). The dinner consisted of 12 English muffin halves split four ways so that we each had three pizzas. There was one really important thing that made the pizza even more delicious than it otherwise would have been, the sauce. My mom would only make the pizza with DelGrosso brand pizza sauce (their pepperoni flavor specifically). Why DelGrosso pizza sauce? Back in the 1970’s my parents lived up in State College, PA where my dad was attending Penn State for his masters and doctoral degrees. They had very little money to spend on stuff so when my mom first decided to make English muffin pizza, she chose the least expensive sauce available, DelGrosso. Likely they were the least expensive as they were a local Pennsylvania brand (and still are to this day). As it turned out, the sauce was delicious and it became the only sauce my mom would use, none of the others would taste as good. When my parents moved to Maryland in 1975, the pizza sauce was nowhere to be found in the local groceries, so my mom contacted the company to see if they would deliver sauce to individual people. Lo and behold they did so my parents would receive a case of 24 cans special ordered about once every 8-9 months to cure their sauce craving. If there was no sauce, there was no pizza, so if a Sunday rolled around and there was no sauce around because the shipment had not yet arrived or God forbid had not yet been ordered, then we would either go out to Tony’s(yay!) or have pot roast(boo!).

So let’s make English Muffin Pizza!

Split your muffins…

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Add the sauce…

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Add your pepperoni (some people choose to put their pepperoni on top, I prefer it hiding underneath the cheese)

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Now add the mozzarella cheese.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese just barely begins to brown.

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Season to taste with Italian herbs and red pepper flakes and enjoy!

There is no need to get too complex with your preparations, even though they may make for an excellent finished product, we are aiming for a quick and easy but still delicious meal.

English Muffin Pizza
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 6 count package English muffins
  2. 1 package pepperoni
  3. 1 8 oz. (2 cup) package mozzarella cheese
  4. 1 14oz. jar pizza sauce
  5. Red pepper flakes (optional)
  6. Italian seasoning (optional)
Instructions
  1. Split your English muffins into 12 halves
  2. Add pizza sauce to the top of each muffin half and spread evenly on muffin surface
  3. Add 5-6 pepperoni slices to each muffin half
  4. Top each muffin half with mozzarella cheese
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese just begins to turn golden brown
  6. Add red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning to taste
The Hungry Man Eats http://hungrymaneats.com/

The Proper Martini

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The very first Martini I had was a drink created by the Cheesecake Factory called the Well-Mannered Dirty Martini, it is described as: A dirty Martini with Ketel One Vodka and blue cheese stuffed olives. But first, what makes a Martini a dirty Martini? Well, the answer is the addition of olive juice. And what makes a Martini a Martini for those not in the know? The Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist.
Well I remember back to that day about 5 ½ years ago, the drink sounded intriguing, the blue cheese olives were what drew me in, I love blue cheese and I love olives, the vodka and vermouth were simply the garnish in this case. The drink was awesome, but because it was the Cheesecake Factory, it was not cheap, I think it may have even been a $10 drink even back in 2007, but it was delicious, it was a true eye opener. I looked the drink up online after the fact and I was like, I can make this one myself rather easily. So I looked up how to make a Martini and I saw that gin, rather than vodka was the traditional liquor of choice for crafting a proper Martini.
At this point in time, gin and I were not friends, the last time I had gin was at a party I was attending at the very beginning of the millennium, I crafted myself a lovely gin and tonic, or what I thought was a lovely gin and tonic with a freshly squeezed lemon wedge floating in the gin and tonic. The problem, was not really with the ratio of gin to tonic, though at this point I really have no idea what ratio I really used(1:1 most likely) the problem was that rather than using some classy highball glass, I was using a large plastic tumbler closer to a Big Gulp in size than a proper highball glass. As you are probably already surmising at this point, the evening ended poorly and my lovely crafted gin and tonic paid me a return visit later that evening. So from approximately the year 2000 to 2007, gin was the devils juice, to be avoided if at all possible.
But then I came across that Cheesecake Factory dirty Martini that delighted me so and in my haste to replicate the drink, I chose gin over vodka as the traditionalist in me won out. Everything else was as described in the description for the drink online, except for the gin in place of the vodka.
So since 2007 I have delighted in making my own at home with gin instead of vodka, but then tonight, after enjoying yet another homemade well-mannered dirty Martini, I thought, “Well, how is it with vodka rather than gin?”
So I whipped myself up another dirty Martini, in my Martini glass using vodka rather than gin.
It was not good.
The problem, apparently, is not in the vodka itself, but in the vodka that I have on hand, much to my regret, the vodka I have on hand is Skol vodka. According to the website vodkabuzz.com, Skol vodka is described as: “Skol is a 40% ABV vodka from the United States. The vodka is produced by J.A. Dougherty’s Sons, Co. The quality is considered to be terrible. The average price is around $10.50 per 750mL. Rated 0 out of 5 based on 4 reviews.” This swill is what I made my vodka Martini from. I do not remember how long ago it was that I bought this bottle, but at this point in time there is only about 10% of the bottle remaining so apparently whenever I have made the decision to drink vodka or vodka with something, I have had a far less than optimal experience. This makes me sad and makes me want to rush out and buy a bottle of decent vodka like Ketel One or something similar. Now the problem with that is that I proceeded to make myself another proper Martini with the gin I had on hand (Gordon’s Gin to be specific, and the gin I have enjoyed the most in my gin consumption so far, even better in my opinion then Beefeater gin, which has been the other primary gin I drink.)
No way in hell at this point can I head out and buy a bottle of Ketel One Vodka, let alone drive (or walk in a straight line for that matter probably) I do have another bottle of vodka on hand, unfortunately it is something called Vladimir Vodka with a very angry looking Russian on the front of the bottle. I can’t imagine it is much of an improvement over Skol, so why bother at this point.
Of course what is the best thing to do after three Martinis? Blog about it of course (THANK GOD FOR SPELLCHECK IN MICROSOFT WORD)
Lessons learned:
• Gin Martini>Vodka Martini
• But you need to use a good vodka to do a proper comparison
• That said, gin imparts a flavor that is unique, but apparently not well loved by the Martini drinking masses
• This experiment must be repeated with a proper vodka
• I obviously need to exhibit a more proper respect for vodka and buy a better brand like I do for my gin, scotch, lunchmeat, tp, etc…
So how do I make my dirty Martini’s?
• 2/3 Gordons gin
• 1/3 Gallo Extra Dry Vermouth
• 2tsp. olive juice
• 2 blue cheese stuffed olives
• All these ingredients are added to a traditional Martini glass filled to the brim
I am well aware that I am heavy on the vermouth compared to what most people prefer, but the traditional blend had more vermouth than most people prefer today, and like I said before, I am a traditionalist when it comes to my beverages…
So what do you think of the gin vs. vodka battle for a martini?

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