Halloween at the Dakes

Heating up the kitchen!

The big thing I do every year on Halloween, besides giving out the full-sized candy, is in remembrance of my uncle. Usually, I make pizza from scratch, or ribs, or barbecued chicken, or burgers, or… (This year, it’s Italian sausage sandwiches.) I know, a lot of people are probably not making the connection, but here’s why. (Cooking tips included below.)

You see, our uncle owned several pizzerias over the years, and his shop was always kind of like a safe space for us. If our family didn’t have anything to eat, we could go there and get awesome food for free. When we needed money to pay bills, or just to get something for ourselves, there was a job to do to earn it. And yeah, my Uncle Frank was someone we could confide in, too.

Anytime I touch flour, and believe me, I hate the way it feels, it’s still has me thinking of hanging out at the pizza shop. Now of course, there are only three acceptable beverages that goes with what I make for the special dinner, and that would be NeHi grape pop or RC. Why? Because that’s what he had, along with Diet Rite, Orange NeHi, Dads root beer and 7Up. (But let’s be honest – grape pop is amazeballs, but if he was running low, he’d tell me I could have RC). The third is Heineken, that he preferred, but I don’t like beer, so…

Italian sausages, with grilled peppers and onions, simmering in red sauce

Now to make sausages, you have to fry them and then let them simmer in the red sauce all day until the casings pretty much disintegrate- making it so you have to spoon out the chunks!

To make the barbecued chicken, first you fry the chicken, then you dunk the pieces in sauce- which is just Open Pit with hot sauce and extra rub seasonings stirred in. It tastes kind of like “mild sauce“, but not quite. Then, you bake the chicken in the oven until caramelized. A LOT of pizzerias make their barbecued chicken this way- the fry then bake method. And trust me, it’s gooooddddd!

Now for his thin crust pizzas, cut in squares with a double-handled machete, damn it, a lot of butter was used. Gotta have the butter! He also used live yeast.

So needless to say, besides giving out whole candy bars to the kids who come by, I have cooking to do!We live in Northfield by Waukegan and Willow Rds, so maybe if your kids fight off the snow, we’ll see you!

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