Thursday, August 21, 2008

Confessions of a Distracted Blogger: Part Deux

Well, after that trip, that audit, and that chicken roasting I was just about ready to hit the stove top again when a most unexpected turn of events occurred. On August 8th my Grandfather (PopPop) went to the hospital complaining of pain. A short while later we learn of a pulmonary embolism and that he had an even shorter time to live. The next day 81 year old Richard James Joyce passed away in Naples, FL. No doubt his life was great with a WWII Navy service career, a 18-0-1 Golden Gloves Boxing record, a marriage lasting 58 years, 8 children, 21 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and two more preparing to make it 5 by next year. My PopPop was the iconic Irish grandfather who loved brandy and cigarettes, golf, Jesus, his wife, his family, and most importantly - being Irish.

(Some of the Joyce clan at my graduation party. Pop's got his arm around Grandmom.)

Even though 'Joyce' is akin to 'Smith' in Ireland, our family still feels a special bond with our name and family we don't quite know still on the island. We are so much so attached to our heritage that I used to sob knowing I'd have to give up my proud Irish name of Joyce when I got married. Now I realize you are how you are and nothing can change that, but it just goes to show that even a half-Italian girl can feel be entirely Irish at times. In summation, I miss my PopPop.

PopPop was the first to really share his sweets with me creating a lifelong love affair with the chocolate chip cookie. In fact, the day he passed I made a batch followed by two more for his reception along with the raspberry almond thumbprint shortbread cookies which just delighted my large family. I can also blame my PopPop for instilling a sense of Philadelphia pride that just seems excessive at times. Living in Florida, I often pine for Philadelphia and the surrounding areas and I jump when I hear anyone say anything about my hometown. I could pull this thread all day, yet I will exemplify the over-the-top, "one-upper' Philadelphia attitude by expressing my feelings on the Philadelphia cheese steak.

The Philadelphia cheese steak can and has taken on many variations. While the original format has been tampered with, it is in fact complimentary that so many people fall in love with a sandwich and then want to make it their own. Some eateries do this the right way by not calling it a Philadelphia cheese steak on the menu. By stating 'Philadelphia' in front of 'cheese steak' you are contextually telling me that I am looking forward to a chopped steak like a Steakums sandwich smothered in either provolone, american, or cheez whiz on a nice crusty roll. Those are the roots of an authentic Philadelphia cheese steak. If it ain't that, it ain't a Philly cheese steak.

I really love making cheese steaks because they are fatty and good. In honor of my PopPop and my preferred palette, I have made some Rachel's Italian Philly Cheese steaks. Peppers, onions, and all other condiments are up to the individual eater, but you will see pictured for these particular cheese steaks: 1/2 red bell pepper, sweet cherry peppers, 1/3 yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, a heaping handful of mozzarella, crushed red pepper, provolone sliced cheese, Steakums, and Amoroso sesame seed rolls left out a bit to crunch-up the outsides.

The preparation is so simple, you'll slap yourself. In order to make some meaty cheese steaks, you need a lot of frozen steak. I used all the Steakums pictured, 7 sheets per box. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with a cooking spray of your choice. Break each sheet into several large pieces and put into the skillet. You'll cook and break apart the steak until the edges start to brown. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbslp. of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Chop, mince or grate your garlic then start cooking that in the oil. Cut up your red bell pepper, cherry peppers and onion to about 1" to 1.5" in length. When you smell the garlic and oil infusing, drop the veggies and season with salt and a good amount of crushed red pepper. Sautee these up for about 6-8 minutes, set aside.

When the meat is fully cooked to a crispness, but in your cheese. A great melting method is also break up slices in large pieces and fold into the meat letting it just gob up and melt all over. Here we used a heaping handful of mozzerella and 9-10 pieces of sliced provolone. Once it all melted, put a large amount of meat on the bun, cover with sauteed veggies, and voila!...

Rachel's Italian Philadelphia Cheesesteaks


Clayton said...

Hello from Foodbuzz! Ok now that that is out of the way: That food looks freaking TASTY.

Gonna have to make that one of these days.

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

Hola Clayton! Thanks for props-gotta love ;)

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