Thin Crust Pineapple Bacon Pizza

I like wine. I like wine a lot more with food. I like wine even more with home cooked meals using fresh ingredients. Thin crust pineapple bacon pizza from scratch and a glass of red… what could be better?

The Crust
Mix a little more than two teaspoons of yeast with 1 cup of warm water, a spoonful of honey and a half cup of flour. After that bubbles for 20 min stir the liquid into 2 cups of flour that you’ve already cracked 2 teaspoons of sea salt into.
Kneed the dough for 10 minutes, shape it into a ball and cover it in a bowl with a kitchen towel for 2 hours or until it’s doubled in size. (This is the part I have the most trouble with as I can never seem to wait 2 hours). If you’re really patient, punch the ball down again after waiting the 2 hours and cover in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. I rarely get to this stage myself, but it does contribute to an even better crust.

The Sauce
I “cowboy” the sauce with whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand, so it’s a little different each time. In a blender, whazz up a clove of garlic, a shallot, a tomato, spinach, green pepper, habanero, oregano and basil using a little water to get things blending. Throw in some sea salt, cracked pepper and some tomato paste. Throw that in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 min or until most of the liquid has cooked off.

This is the hard part. It’s so tempting to throw too many things on. I’m sure you have your favourites, but try this simple approach just once and I bet you’ll be back for more. 1 ball of mozzarella grated. 1/3 of a fresh pineapple diced. and 4 strips of bacon diced. For this pizza, I had just come back from my favorite charcuterie counter in Vancouver ( so I had some smoked schinkenspeck (basically amazing hand crafted prosciutto) that I subbed in for the bacon.
Try to not add any other toppings, and you’ll see what these simple fresh flavors can do together.

I bake my crust for 8 minutes at 425 before adding the sauce, cheese and toppings. Then I cook the whole thing for another 10 minutes switching to the broiler for the last 3 minutes to brown the cheese a little. Parchment paper is a must to prevent sticking. I tried one without a while back and had to eat the pizza out of the pan with a chisel! LOL

Let me know how it turns out on Facebook, pinterest or twitter.

Jonny’s Bacon Irish Whiskey Cheddar Meat Ball Sliders

Spring has sprung, and BBQ season is upon us! I’ve decided to share my coveted Meat Ball Slider recipe with you to help inspire your grilling efforts this season.

I’m not a big “measurer” when it comes to recipes, so you’re going to have to wing it a little, but to me that’s half the fun.

In a bowl hand mix:
Regular ground beef (not lean)
Sea Salt
Cracked Pepper
1 finely chopped habanero (remove seeds)
Worcestershire sauce (many dashes)
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 shallott finely chopped
1 raw egg

Add bread crumbs after mixing the wet ingredients well until you’ve got a good patty consistency rolling. (usually at least 2 cups)

Form the mixture into meat balls (not patties) about the size of a large egg. These need to be sized to match your slider buns. I find slider buns here in Vancouver at La Baguette on Granville Island and Whole Foods has also started stocking them. They can be tough to find in the right size and shape. I’ve had small potato buns work in a pinch. The buns need to be as small as you can find and as white as you can find. They need to support the flavour of the burger, not complicate or take over. Whole wheat of flavoured buns will destroy a burger in my opinion.

Before grilling the balls, prepare the sauce. My sauce is extremely simple.
2 parts plan yogurt
1 part mayo
smidge of dijon (just enough to tint the mixture yellow, less than you think)
Make more than you think you need, at least a cup or 2)

This is a good time to get your bacon going and slice your cheese. Grill the bacon right on the BBQ (on low heat) or however you like to do bacon in your kitchen. The cheese I use (and this is key) is Irish Whiskey Cheddar – I find it at Whole Foods. When I cooked these for the guys out at Jeffy’s I had to ad-lib by marinating white cheddar in Tequilla… actually worked pretty well. Any booze infused cheese will do, but the Irish Whiskey Cheddar takes this over the top, so try and find it.

After heating up your BBQ throw a cast-iron pan straight onto the grill. Get the heat down to around 300 degrees or so and fill your pan with the meat balls. Crack a beer and keep your tongs handy… you need to keep turning these guys almost constantly to get them to brown on all sides without over cooking. My goal is to keep the center of the ball pink and juicy while the outer edge is cooked well. (The meat keeps cooking right up until your first bite, so keep that in mind for your overall timing) While you’re grilling the buns lightly, top the balls with the Irish cheddar. Might as well kill the heat and close the lid for a a minute or two while you plate.

Lay all of your toasted buns out and spoon an extra large amount of the sauce on the bottom and top of each bun. Don’t be shy here. You’re gonna want sauce dripping out of all sides when you take your first bite! Place the meat balls on the bottom bun, top with an ‘X’ of bacon and pour some nice big glasses of red wine.

The last and maybe the most satisfying step: put the top of the bun on and with your palm give the whole burger a firm “squish”. Juices, both clear and pink come rolling out of the center of the meat ball flooded with melted cheese, bacon grease and the creamy sauce. That “squish” is so important before the first bite.

Rule: On your first bite, if sauce is not dripping down your hands and covering the corners of your mouth, then you need to use more. ;)

Try and have just one… impossible.

Piano “Sorry” – A Dedication

I recently brought a piano into my life and it’s bringing out new musical expressions in me. After last weeks’s tragedy I find the words to “Sorry” have taken on a new meaning. Life is so precious. I’d like to dedicate this piano version of “Sorry” to the victims and their families.

This is my first piano post ever, a solo version of “Sorry” at home in my studio. If you believe it’s important to say you’re sorry to the one’s you love, especially at this time of year, share this emotional version of the song.

Jonny Hetherington

Lyrics to Sorry

Seems like everyday you cross my mind even after such a long long time
I’m still thinking about the way you smile, it tears me apart to know that it won’t ever be the same again
No it won’t ever be the same again

Now I’m sorry that I left you
I can’t go back, I can’t change anything
I’m sorry that I said so long, I never meant to hurt you
Sorry I waited so long (that I waited so long)

Not really sure what I’m doing back here or why I stayed away for all those years
I guess I had to try to find myself
I’m the only one to blame, no one else can ever make it all go away
Or make up, make up for all my mistakes

Now I’m sorry that I left you
I can’t go back, I can’t change anything
I’m sorry that I said so long
Now I’m sorry that I left you
I can’t go back, I can’t change anything
I’m sorry that I said so long, I never meant to hurt you
Sorry I waited so long
Sorry I waited so long

If I could do this all over I’d wanna go back, I’d wanna go back
If I could only start over I would take it all back, I would take it all back for you
I would take it all back for you

Seems like everyday you cross my mind even after such a long long time
I’m still thinking about the way you smile

Now I’m sorry that I left you
I can’t go back, I can’t change anything
I’m sorry that I said so long
Now I’m sorry that I left you
I can’t go back, I can’t change anything
I’m sorry that I said so long, I never meant to hurt you
Sorry I waited so long, I never meant to hurt you
Sorry I waited so long
Sorry I waited so long (that I waited so long)

Sex Drugs and Habanero Hot Sauce

It took almost 2 years to perfect. You may have heard about my love of the habanero pepper and my small (very small) hot sauce operation in Vancouver. (Can you call, shopping in local markets, cooking and bottling a few dozen per year an operation?)
I’ve spent the last couple of years testing the recipe on family and friends and a few willing people in the music industry. It’s burnt a few tongues and egos along the way, but when I bump into people that have tried it they always seem to want more!

So here it is! I’ve been able to produce a few of these big ass (750ml) bottles of the stuff.
If you live in Canada and want to get one, shoot me a message and I’ll let you know how.

Salmon Avocado Sliders

I guess you could say I’m simply addicted to sliders! Ever since I discovered the tiny buns baked fresh every day here in Vancouver I’ve been topping them with what ever I can get my hands on. Anyone else is slider crazy out there?

Turns out salmon is a good way to go. On this occasion I decided to try ground salmon vs salmon filets. The grilled filets were better in my opinion. I’m not a huge fan of ground fish, but I had to give it a shot. I grilled the salmon skin down on the bbq and I did the ground salmon patties in a cast iron pan on the other side of the grill. The sauce is simple – plain yogurt, mayo, lemon juice and fresh capers. The avocado slice adds some nice creaminess and a touch of green on the plate. Over all a pretty successful little meal with a stack of crisp pop chips. One lesson I learned here is use more sauce! I backed off a little on my sauce portion and it was the wrong way to go.

#1 slider rule for me (no matter what you’re putting in the middle): Sauce must drip out of the sandwich on every single bite, or it’s not a good slider!

Stick to that rule and you can’t go wrong!

Lentil Pesto Sliders

After a summer packed with delicious ribs, hot wings and too many burgers to count,  I decided I am long over due for a little veggie goodness. But I still love my burgers… hmmm what to do? How about a round of Lentil Pesto Sliders! These bad boys turned out amazingly well. Luckily I had a kick ass photographer around to cook for and to capture the ingredients in a wonderfully unique way. I find the best way to grill veggie patties is on the BBQ in a cast iron pan. You can’t go wrong!

Gotta add this quote from Season 2 of Seinfeld: GEORGE: Where was pesto 10 years ago?

Pesto: Patty Burger

Croque Madame

After our last tour I flew straight from our final show in Tulsa, OK to Paris via Toronto for a little post tour R&R. This was my first time in France and I loved every minute of it. A friend I have over there actually let me crash on his couch, so I got to see the real Paris from a resident’s point of view. Food high lights for me were the wine, the cheese, the baguettes and this amazing little breakfast I discovered in the brasseries – Croque Madame.
This was my go to meal to fuel me up for a day of exploring the city – amazing with an espresso or three!

Since getting home I’ve done my best to recreate this little gem. Here is one of my first attempts.

Top a toasted halved baguette with shaved prosciutto and shredded padano. Broil in the oven to melt the cheese, top with a basted egg and voila, Croque Madame.
I’ve since improved on this by using 2 slices of bread dipped in egg wash and grilled with the cheese and meat squeezed between.
I’ll post an update the next time I make it.

Summer Salad

If you want to tour the world in a beer and Jack fueled rock band, you’ve gotta eat your fair share of salads to  balance things out.

Salads have become a staple in my diet and nothing goes better with a light summery glass of white wine.

The dressing is key and mine is so simple.
Olive oil, balsamic, Dijon, honey, splash of soy sauce – that’s it.  Sometimes I’ll add the feta juice from the bottom of my cheese container to enhance.
Keeping the favors in the salad balanced is also good a good idea – the best rule is to keep the ingredients to a minimum.
This salad is made up of simple greens, mango, avocado, walnuts and chives.

Toss, eat, enjoy!

Linguine Vongole

I’m at Granville Island, one of Vancouver’s sweet spots for fresh market produce and seafood.
I hit up my favorite fish guy for some local clams and halibut.
On the way home I swing by this little Italian place on Main and grab a slab of parm and some imported spaghettini.
Angelo has the best stuff!
The rest is simple.
Simmer up a nice little white sauce with cream, butter and garlic. Throw in some herbs from the garden and the halibut. Steam the clams, and mix it all together with the aldente noodles.

One of my favorite summertime meals. So good.
Blasted Church’s Hatfield’s  Fuse is amazing with this if you can get your hands on a bottle.

Execution Lunch

If I had to pick my “execution dinner” it would have to be filet mignon, but if the execution got delayed an extra day and I had time to sneak in a “last lunch” this would be it. Simple and straight forward – baguette, cheese, fresh fruit and a bottle of wine. When I’m at home writing on break from tour I could eat this almost everyday, but I try to keep it under twice a week. ;) Since this lunch fell after dark I threw in a bocconcini, tomato and fresh basil salad. Crack a little sea salt and pepper and drizzle with extra virgin and balsamic – off the hook! Dip the last crust of bread in the bottom of that plate and soak up the goodness!