Customer of the Month: Dennis McConnell
Summer is one of our favorite times of the year when many families and friends plan their gatherings around their Authentic Pizza Ovens which have become a staple of entertainment for many decades!
It is simply one of the best times to celebrate the endless possibilities of our ovens while swimming, camping, and cooking delicious wood-fired recipes that make the season truly unforgettable.
Meet Dennis McConnell from the coast of New Jersey. He has embraced the infinite possibilities of his Pizzaioli Stone Arch Premium oven by cooking various foods ranging from pizza, desserts, and one of his favorites, seafood.
Read more from our interview with Dennis, and how he has brought his culinary skills from the kitchen to his own backyard for all his friends and family to enjoy!
Where are you from and a little background information about you?
My name is Dennis McConnell and I am from New Jersey and live along the shore where I can live life to the fullest! I am an avid fisherman, boater, and water enthusiast. Most hours of the day you can find me with a fishing rod in my hand or in a beach chair in the sand.
When I'm not indulging in all the luxuries the coast has to offer, I spend my time as the Chef de Cuisine at a private golf club, where I have been creating culinary favorites for over 20 years. Being that I live and work within five minutes of the Atlantic Ocean, most of my cooking centers around seafood from local fish markets.
Which oven did you choose and why did you choose an Authentic Pizza Oven?
One of our favorite family foods is pizza! My family and I recently moved to a new home, and I quickly realized that my new outdoor kitchen wasn’t complete without a wood-fired pizza oven. As a chef, I wanted an authentic-style pizza oven that could cook basically anything a home oven could be used for.
After weeks of researching pizza ovens, I found Authentic Pizza Ovens on Instagram. I read the reviews and testimonials and was inspired to see the amazing outdoor pizza oven set-ups from excited customers. Of all the oven models offered, I knew the Pizzaioli Stone Arch Premium oven was the one I wanted.
The purchasing and delivery process was seamless thanks to Amber Kennedy, who walked me through every step of the way. She answered every question I had promptly, provided much-appreciated recommendations, and really provided legendary customer service! This is a company I am proud to recommend to anyone looking to purchase a pizza oven.
Did you build your setup or have someone else do it?
Building my pizza oven set-up was a group effort between my friends and me. After going to a few stone and block companies, we finally found the right block for the job. We used a block in a horseshoe shape to allow for convenient firewood storage underneath. The design compliments the rest of my outdoor kitchen perfectly. It is a piece of paradise in our own backyard!
What is your favorite thing to cook in your oven, and have you tried any recipes besides pizza?
Pizza is my favorite thing to cook in my oven as it’s always a crowd pleaser with adults and the kids! Make-your-own pizza nights have become something we look forward to doing weekly with our friends and family.
In addition to pizza, I have also cooked Baked Ziti, Italian Sausage, Clams and Shrimp, Stromboli, Roasted Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Apple Cobbler, and local Black Sea Bass.
Recipes by Dennis
Drunken clams and shrimp
Jumbo Shelled Shrimp
1. Using the Authentic pizza oven Portuguese casserole dish add ¾ bottle of Stella Artois beer, a stick of butter, 2 tbsp minced garlic, and 1 freshly squeezed lemon.
2. Finished with Fresh Italian parsley or herb of your choice. Cook it at about 200 degrees Celsius covered with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes or until clams open.
3. Remove foil halfway through and rotate the dish twice.
Simple but delicious!
Spicy Sausage Summer Stuffed Peppers
1lb ground spicy sausage
1 cup white rice
salt & pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 fresh diced tomato
2 tsp oregano
4 Bell Peppers
Fiesta Blend shredded cheese (or Monterey Jack shredded cheese)
1. Heat wood-fired oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, brown onion and garlic. Add spicy sausage and cook until no longer pink breaking up. With a wooden spoon, drain any excess grease.
2. Add the tomato sauce.
3. In a small pot, cook rice according to directions. Add rice and fresh diced tomatoes to the sausage mixture. Add salt, pepper, and oregano.
4. Cut tops of peppers off and scoop out insides. Drizzle peppers with olive oil and place in Portugues style baking dish.
5. Stuff peppers with sausage and rice mixture top each pepper with cheese. Cover baking dish with foil and cook until peppers are tender about 35-40 minutes.
6. Uncover and brown cheese. Top with fresh basil.
Apple Skillet Cobbler
1 cup flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup of milk
4 cups sliced very thin apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Heat wood-fired oven to 400 degrees.
2. In large cast iron skillet melt butter.
3. Mix flour and white sugar together, and add milk. Pour the mixture into the butter and mix well.
4. Toss the apples in the brown sugar lightly and place them on top of the mixture in the skillet. DO NOT MIX.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for about 35 minutes.
6. Turn skillet halfway through to cook evenly.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BEING FEATURED AS CUSTOMER OF THE MONTH - please email Amber@authenticpizzaovens.com
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