My Pizza and Bidet Experience in Naples

naples bidet and pizza-poppopcooks.com

A long long time ago when I was in the Coast Guard I got transferred to Libya. Before I got to the base in Libya I had to go through Naples where the central command headquarters for the Coast Guard in the Mediterranean area was located. I spent a few days there before I got flown down to Libya.

My first night there a few of the guys that were stationed in Naples (lucky bastards)  offered to show me around to a local “ristorante” and “taverna”.

Our first stop was the ristorante who’s main claim to fame was it’s pizza. The waiter came over and I said that I wanted one with pepperoni and onions. My new friends rolled their eyes and laughed.

I said “What?”

They explained that it only came one way and that’s it. So we just ordered pizza.

I asked where the mens room was and got pointed to the “toilette”. When I got inside there was the funniest looking urinal that I had ever seen. It wasn’t up against the wall. It was on the floor and had some funny looking plumbing sticking up a little ways from the bottom.

So I peed in the “urinal” and finally found the little handle to make it flush and when I bent over and “flushed” it, it squirted me in the face.

When I got back to the table and told my new pals about it they almost fell on the floor laughing. It took a few minutes for them to recover and they explained to me what a “bidet” was.

Way in the back of the ristorante I could see a huge furnace looking thing that was made out of stone and obviously had a fire going on inside of it and a guy was putting raw pizzas in and taking the cooked ones out. Nothing like the pizza ovens that I was used to seeing back in New Jersey. It was explained to me by my “guides” that there was a wood fire burning  in the back of the oven.

Then our pizza showed up and it looked something like this!!

naples bidet and pizza-poppopcooks.com

Besides not looking like any pizza that I had ever seen before it wasn’t even sliced. We all had plates, knives and forks and it was explained to me that we each would cut off our own pieces.

Well, it was delicious! The crust! Wow! I could have made a meal out of just the crust.

I asked, “Where’s the oregano and what are those funny looking leaves”.

That got some more eye rolling and I was told that the leaves were basil and that oregano wasn’t used on pizza there in Naples.

Later on I met a cute “signorina”  at the taverna and she also taught me a few things.

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10 Tips for Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals

Ten Tips for Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals

I hope that you find this helpful. If you have any additional tips please send them to me at jack@poppopcooks.com. I’ve used all of these tips and many more and I will be posting more tips after sending a few more recipes your way. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think.

 1.  Potatoes usually take longer to cook than the other ingredients in your “quick and easy” meals so if you want to cut some time use your microwave. Even if you want to finish them  in the skillet to get that pan fried look and taste…….

One Skillet Chicken Dinner-4-poppopcooks.com-one pot-one pan-quick and easy-gluten free

………like in this One Skillet Chicken Dinner shown here, you could cook them halfway in the microwave then finish them of in the skillet with the rest of the ingredients. Even “baked potatoes” can be done in the microwave in about 5-10 minutes depending on how many. You can even do “twice baked potatoes” in the microwave. You can also prep for hash browns in there also.

2. Chop up onions and garlic in big batches – even in a food processor if you want – and keep them in zip-locs in the freezer so all you have to do is measure out what the recipe calls for and not have to chop on a busy weeknight. You could also use pre chopped onions like these that you can find in the freezer section. And…..

 

 

 

……..chopped garlic in a jar like this in the produce section.

3. Look for ways to cook the whole meal in one pot or in the oven in one cookie sheet or baking dish like this Salmon, Broccoli and Sweet potato weeknight supper.

One Pan Salmon Dinner-4-poppopcooks.com-one pot-quick and easy-gluten free

4. Put your pasta in the pot as soon as you put it on the stove. You don’t have to wait for the water to boil. It took me a while to give in to that, being the old time cook that I am but It works! and saves time. And when you are using a cut pasta like penne or rigatoni you can more easily make it a one pot meal by cooking the pasta right along with the other ingredients. Like these gnocchi with shrimp. BTW gnocchi cooks  in about 2-3 minutes.

 

One Pot Shrimp Dinner-9-poppopcooks.com

5. Whenever you boil up some rice make a lot more than you need that night and store the extra in zip-locs in the freezer in amounts that would be right for your usual busy weeknight meals. And/or keep some minute rice in your pantry for a quick batch. Both options lend themselves real  well to one pot meals. You can also do this with pasta and potatoes.

6. When you’re in the right mood double or triple the recipe and put the extras in portion size amounts in the freezer to take to work for lunch – your coworkers will like the smell and want some cooking lessons from you – or for a “weeknight nuke it no brainer” on those nights when you don’t want to do any cooking.

7. Use those pre-cleaned and pre-cut  veggies – either frozen or fresh. They are a little more expensive but will save you a lot of time and you will have no waste or cleanup.

8. Keep some dishwasher safe cutting boards on hand for when you have to cut or trim chicken or fish. Really reduces the cleanup time and effort.

9. Have some of these pre trimmed and portion sized chicken breasts in the freezer. They have had the fat trimmed off and are ready to go. Just defrost in the microwave and get going with your supper. Or……..

………..when you have a little time on a weekend put together some Grilled Chicken for the future   and store them in the freezer so that you can have some pre cooked chicken filets on hand for an even quicker and easier weeknight meal.

10. Keep a variety of spices in your spice rack like dried basil, dried oregano, cumin, dried dill weed, lemon pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, sage, and on and on. To give life to everyday meals. For instance you can change the flavor and presentation of chicken filets or salmon steaks lots of different ways.

Any questions or want some advice – just about cooking, sorry – email me at jack@poppopcooks.com.

 

 

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops with Cheesy Baked Asparagus

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops poppopcooks.com

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops with Cheesy Baked Asparagus is WAY easier than it sounds. This is an easy weeknight supper that tastes like a Sunday sit down dinner. Let’s do it!

Put a skillet, that is just large enough to handle the pork chops, on at medium high with just enough vegetable oil to be about 1/4″ deep. Pre heat the oven to 350°F . First get the Parmesan breading ready. In a shallow bowl put the bread crumbs, salt and pepper, garlic powder, dried basil and the parmesan cheese. Whisk it all together.

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops2 poppopcooks.com

In another shallow bowl whisk together one large egg and about 1/4 cup of milk.

Cut about an inch off the stem end of the asparagus spears and rinse them off. Pat them dry and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Lightly drizzle them with some olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. Gently toss the spears by hand right in the pan until they all are coated with the oil and stuff.

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops1 poppopcooks.com

Put any kind of cheese that you want on the spears covering all but the ends. Here they are almost done.

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops5 poppopcooks.comWhile the asparagus is in the oven. Dip the pork chops one at a time in the egg wash then the bread crumb mixture. After you get both sides of the chop covered in the crumbs press each side down into the crumbs to help the crumbs stick.

Put them in the pan and depending on the thickness cook until they are browned and done the way you like. If you press in the center of the meat and it is still soft it is too rare for pork. If it is not totally firm and has just a little bit of give to your poke it is pink in the middle aka medium well. If it is firm it is well done without any pink in the middle.

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops3 poppopcooks.com

The asparagus should be done now and will look like this.

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops4 poppopcooks.com

It’s easy and it’s good. Enjoy!

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops poppopcooks.com

 

 

Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops with Cheesy Baked Asparagus
Recipe Type: Meat, Main Course
Cuisine: Poppop’s
Author: Poppop
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Pan fried Parmesan breaded pork chops and oven baked cheesy asparagus spears.
Ingredients
  • 2. pork chops (about 6oz each) or 4 thin ones
  • olive oil for pan frying and drizzling
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears (about a big open handful)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or swiss or cheddar or Monterey jack or whatever is your cheese of choice to top the asparagus.
Instructions
  1. Put a skillet, that is just large enough to handle the pork chops, on at medium high with just enough vegetable oil to be about 1/4″ deep. Pre heat the oven to 350°F .
  2. First get the Parmesan breading ready. In a shallow bowl put the bread crumbs, salt and pepper, garlic powder, dried basil and the parmesan cheese. Whisk it all together.
  3. In another shallow bowl whisk together 1 large egg and about 1/4 cup of milk.
  4. Cut about an inch off the stem end of the asparagus spears and rinse them off. Pat them dry and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Lightly drizzle some olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. Gently toss the spears by hand right in the pan until they all are coated with the oil and stuff.
  5. Put any kind of cheese that you want on the spears covering all but the ends and put them in the oven.
  6. While the asparagus is in the oven dip the pork chops in the egg wash then the bread crumb mixture. After you get both sides of the chop covered in the crumbs press each side down into the crumbs to help the crumbs stick.
  7. Put them in the pan and depending on the thickness cook until they are browned and done the way you like. If you press in the center of the meat and it is still soft it is too rare for pork. If it is not totally firm and has just a little bit of give to your poke it is pink in the middle. If it is firm it is tan without any pink in the middle.
  8. It’s easy and it’s good. Enjoy!
  9. [img src=”http://poppopcooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pan-Fried-Parmesan-Pork-Chops.jpg” width=”610″ height=”550″ class=”aligncenter size-full” title=”Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops” alt=”Pan Fried Parmesan Pork Chops poppopcooks.com”]

 

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Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon poppopcooks.com

Grilled Salmon is just that. Put your salmon fillets on the grill and after a few minutes turn them over and grill the other side. But, then comes all the great things you can do with the tons of different sprinkles, rubs and marinades. This Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon is real simple and real good. Oh, Gammy says “zested” isn’t a real word. I told her, “It is now”. She didn’t think I was funny.

Put your Skillet or your stovetop grill on at medium high and spray or wipe it with vegetable oil. Gammy got me a one burner stovetop grill for Christmas and this is it’s maiden voyage.
 Put your fillets in a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil. Then add the zest from about half of the lemon, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roll the salmon over a few times in all of the zest etc.

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon poppopcooks.com

Put the broccoli florets in a bowl and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and the parmesan. Toss it all together.

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon2 poppopcooks.com

 

The grill, or skillet, will be ready for action now so just place the fillets on one end and spread the broccoli on the other.

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon3 poppopcooks.com

Give each side of the salmon about 2-4 minutes depending on how well done you like it. Turn the broccoli over a 3-4 times as the salmon is cooking to avoid getting any scorched spots.

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon4 poppopcooks.com

Serve it up and enjoy your Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon with broccoli!

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon poppopcooks.com

 

 

Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon
Recipe Type: Seafood
Cuisine: Poppop’s
Author: Poppop
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
[b]Easy grilled salmon with a side dish of grilled broccoli[/b]
Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • salt and black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 2 cups broccoli florets. The frozen ones work good and save time.
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Put your Skillet or your stovetop grill on at medium high and spray or wipe it with vegetable oil. Gammy got me a one burner stovetop grill for Christmas and this is it’s maiden voyage.
  2. Put your fillets in a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil. Then add the zest from about half of the lemon, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roll the salmon over a few times in all of the zest etc.
  3. Put the broccoli florets in a bowl and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and the parmesan. Toss it all together.
  4. The grill, or skillet, will be ready for action now so just place the fillets on one end and the broccoli on the other.
  5. Give each side of the salmon about 2-4 minutes depending on how well done you like it. Turn the broccoli over a 3-4 times as the salmon is cooking to avoid getting any scorched spots.
  6. Serve it up and enjoy your Lemon Zested Grilled Salmon with broccoli!

 

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