Saturday pizza has become a regular thing at our house, per my son’s request. I had a good thing going with the KJ Classic and a 15” stone setup, down to a science. But a few weeks ago decided to change it up and try pizzas on the Akorn Jr, half to use less charcoal on the high temp and half cause I had a steel I’d never used. And half just for the challenge....okay that’s three halves. But I digress....first couple weeks went okay, a little learning curve with the AkJ getting to temp MUCH faster and the possibility of overshooting temp, coupled with the steel getting and retaining heat much easier than the stone.
Last weekend I burnt the crap out of the bottom of three of four pies (finally got it to cool down a bit by the last one...should have given more time after I charred the first). Having to wait a week for redemption is killing me, but I ordered the canning rack I’ve seen many use on here for the Junior setup, so fingers crossed tonight goes better. And I’ll definitely be watching my temps and shooting the steel with an IR thermometer. I’m hoping more separation of the steel and deflector in addition to getting the stew up higher in the dome makes the difference.
With the wife and I on the Weight Watchers plan, I’ve been avoiding some of my favorite Mexican dishes. Now that I think about it, this really isn’t necessary if I’m carefully what I choose and how I prepare the dishes. Take fajitas for example. A protein, seasoning and some veggies. Made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and not much oil the fajitas themselves are only 1 point per serving. I can live with a diet that includes chicken fajitas, can’t you? Well, that leads me to the sides. Made carefully many of the sides are 0 to only 2 points per serving. Follow along with me and I’ll show you how I prepared everything.
The night before I mixed up some blue corn masa to make up some tortillas. (This is the one item I couldn’t cheat on to lower the point value. 3 tortillas = 5 points)
I also got out the onion and bell peppers to cut up
and mixed up the fajitas seasoning.
1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt to taste
1/4 tsp. Chipotle pepper 1/4 tsp. Oregano
The next day started out by making a batch of my Mexican rice. (1 Point per serving) Started out by sautéing the veggies.
I measured out 2 cups of Brown rice, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 tbsp. of OO and put this in the rice maker. I now added 1 cup of Clamato Picante juice and 3 cups of chicken stock.
Next, I added the veggies to the pot.
I closed the lid and pressed start. Here are the results.
Next up was the Guacamole. (2 points per serving) Cut up 1 medium Hass avocado.
Now I added 1 tbsp. of light mayo, some granulated garlic, 5 heaping tbsp. of my Pico de Gallo, some fresh squeezed lime juice and mixed this up and covered.
Next up were some frijoles. I sautéed some diced onion, 1/2 a jalapeno, some bell pepper and corn and then added two kinds of black beans. (0 points per serving)
I now got out 3 boneless skinless breasts and coated them with the fajitas seasoning.
I took them and the cut-up veggies out to my gas grill side burner.
Now I needed to make the tortillas, so I rolled up 6 balls of masa about the size of a golf ball. I flatted them a little to make them easier to press out.
I was some issues with the masa sticking to the press so had to experiment with dusting the bottom with some of the blue core masa.
I heated them up on a C.I. griddle, very lightly sprayed with some OO.
Next I sprayed my 12” Camp Chef C.I. skillet with some OO. After it was heated it up I put the 3 breast in and cooked them for 8 minutes per side.
Once they were cooked I removed them to a cutting board and was left with the fond.
I dumped in the onions and bell peppers and let them start to cook.
While them were cooking I sliced up the chicken.
Now I dumped in the chicken
and stirred it in and continued to cook until the veggies had soften.
Now I brought it all in and plated it up with a Modelo Negra.
Here is a shot once I took it inside to eat.
Gratuitous side shot close ups.
OMG!!! This was so delicious!
Thanks for looking.
I have an Akorn. I cook pizza like other people. Place deflector on the grill grate, put stone on top of it and make sure there is around 1-2 cm gap between them. I am still new in cooking pizza. After 6 times tries, I want to share some idea.
1. The temp is between 300-350°C is all right. When someone say, the best temp is 300, whereas the other says 350. They may not consider the stone temp. See below.
2. If you just cook one pizza, that's fine. Tonight I cook 4 pizzas for my family. I see a problem, when I cook the first pizza, the kamado reaches 300°C, in theory, it is a good temp to cook, but the base is white, the second is perfect, the base is lightly smoke, the third one is terrible, the base is burned. The fourth one I close both vents, it still in between 300-350. the base still burns, but not as heavier as the third one. Because the stone's temp doesn't climb as fast as kamado's temp, the base cooking is faster than the topping cooking, that's why the first base is undercook and the last 2 are overcook.
I make a dough with 500 grams flour and split into 4 pizzas. I cook them one by one. To next time when kamado reaches 300°C I will wait a couple of minutes until the stone temp goes up. For the rest of the pizza, I may check the base during the cooking, once the base looks perfect but the top doesn't, I will place something flat like cast iron crepe pan in between stone and pizza until the pizza fully cooked.
Does anyone cook more than 1 pizza and have the same problem? What's your solution?
My wife and I have been cooped up in our house for 2 weeks so we decided to take a drive just to get out. We drove down to Downtown San Diego to see what things were like and found a virtual ghost town. This video shows us driving up 5th in the Gaslamp District. Normally there would be thousands of people on the sidewalks and bumper to bumper traffic. Pretty surreal!
I’m really getting into wok cooking. Here a cook I did last Sunday for Dinner.
Here are most the ingredients.
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tsp Siracha
1 Tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten, seasoned with salt
2 Tbsp cooking oil (I used Sesame)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (approximately 1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 cup small diced onion (approximately 1/2 of medium size onion)
1 boneless skinless chicken thighs (approximately 4 to 5 oz) (I used Chicken Breast)
1/4 cup carrot, small diced
2 cups cold jasmine rice, or brown jasmine rice, recommended a day old (I used Cauliflower Rice)
1/4 cup frozen peas, optional (I added Celery)
4 green onions, chopped
sesame seeds for garnish
salt and pepper
I heated up the wok and put in 1 tbsp. of sesame oil. I then put in the ginger, garlic and onion and let them start to soften.
Next was the carrots. (Cooked for approximately 1 minute)
Next was the chicken. (Cooked until it was opaque)
Next was the celery including some leaves. (Cooked for approximately 1 minute)
Now I added the rice and the sauce. (Mixed it together and cooked for approximately 1 minute)
Next, I moved the mixture aside and added another tbsp. of sesame oil
and added the beaten eggs. (Cooked until it had mostly formed solid. Approximately 1 minute)
I then mix everything together. (Cooked for approximately 1 minute)
And finally, I added the green onion.
I cooked it for approximately 30 seconds and served.
Sorry no plated shot but this was delicious!
Thanks for looking.