Taco Bell Fire Salt

The Starving Artist rarely partakes these days, but there was a time when weekend benders regularly ended with a late night sprint from the studio to Taco Bell. Which brings to mind an article I read recently about the art of infusing salt with flavors like lemon or herbs. That's when it occurred to me that I have a kitchen drawer full of leftover Taco Bell sauce packets. Introducing Taco Bell Fire Salt. Now you can bring a little late night bender to just about any meal.



  • 6-10 Taco Bell hot sauce packets, depending on how strongly flavored you'd like your salt. Six will give you a seasoning with the aroma of Taco Bell, but you’ll need a few more than that for the heat to come through.
  • 1/4 cup fine sea salt


  1. Combine the sauce and salt in a food processor and blend it together until you have a sandy mixture that is uniform in color.
  2. Spread out your salt/sauce mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pop it in a 200 degree oven for about two hours, until the salt is bone dry.
  3. Return the dried salt to the food processor, grind it up, and live más!

Lazy Artist's Naan Margherita Pizza

The Starving Artist would like to apologize for being a slacker of late when it comes to posting StudioHotplate's usual Monday recipes. But come on, what do you really expect from an artist? While camping out on the couch for 6 weeks with a broken leg, it was all to easy to embrace the laziness that leads to a life of Netflix binging and Starving Artisthood. But that's all behind me now. I'm back – at least for this week – and I hope you enjoy my Lazy Artist's Naan Margherita Pizza. It's delicious, and you'll barely have to lift a finger – or leg – to enjoy it.



  • 1 Naan bread
  • 3 pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tomato, sliced as thin as possible
  • 5-6 leaves basil, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To start, press your fresh garlic, mix with the olive oil, brush the Naan bread with with half of the oil and garlic mixture, then place in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up.
  3. Next, remove from oven and place 3 slices of cheese on top of the Naan, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, then place the sliced tomatoes on top and repeat with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  4. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes, plus an extra 2-3 minutes on broil. Watch the bread closely, if its too dark before 2-3 minutes, remove it from the oven.
  5. Meanwhile mix the remaining oil and garlic with the balsamic vinegar, stirring until a smooth emulsion forms.
  6. Once the pizza is baked and the edges are golden in color, remove from the oven, drizzle with however much of the balsamic vinegar mixture you would like, then sprinkle with basil leaves.
  7. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Chicken Sliders with Hoisin Beer BBQ sauce

The Starving Artist went on what could reasonably be called a date this weekend. You could also reasonably call it a bender. Either way, it's a rare occurrence, and I was in rare form. That said, I spent most of Saturday on the couch recovering, dreaming up this slider recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. Obviously it's a little late for your Super Bowl party, but it's not too late for March Madness or baseball's Opening Day. I'm sure you'll find an occasion to whip up these amazing sliders.



For the Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup beer

For The Braised Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups beer
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 15 mini Hawaiian bread rolls


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle the chicken with salt on all sides, then place in the pot and cook on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Cover with 1 and a 1/2 cups of beer and 1/2 cup chicken broth, then cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked.
  2. While chicken is cooking, prepare the barbecue sauce by warming olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add 1 cup beer, hoisin sauce, chili powder and soy sauce. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened and reduced, then remove from heat.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from pot and allow to cool. Using two forks, shred chicken as thinly as possible, then add to hoisin barbecue sauce, tossing well to coat.
  4. Split rolls in half across the middle to resemble small sandwich buns, fill with chicken.

Easy Lemon Chicken Potstickers

I've got a killer new wok that's been hanging in the studio for months on end, unused, and that streak won't end today. Despite my love of Asian food, stir fry for one always seems like too much work, and it kills me that the investment I made in that baby remains unutilized. But on a less lazy, more hopeful note, I did find a package of about-to-expire potsticker wraps on sale at the grocery for 75% off – a perfect fit for the Starving Artist's budget. And perfect for making these easy and delicious Lemon Chicken Potstickers. I'll bust out the wok one of these days, but for today, it's potstickers.



  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon peel, freshly grated
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 package of potsticker wraps (also called gyoza)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Place the ground chicken in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, lemon peel, green onions, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix everything together to thoroughly combine.
  2. To build your potstickers, place a teaspoon of the lemon chicken filling in the middle of a potsticker wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water, then fold in half and press together the edges, making small pleats to seal the potsticker. Repeat until all your wrappers are filled.
  3. Next, heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and place about 12 of your potstickers in the pan. Fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Now, carefully add the water to pan. Cover and steam for 4 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for another 3 minutes or until water has evaporated. Repeat with remaining potstickers, wiping out the pan after each batch.

BBQ Chicken Puff Pastry Pizza

It was so cold in the studio this weekend that practically all I did was cook. Holding a brush with frozen fingers is not something taught in art school. Firing up the hotplates and toaster oven was the only way – short of whiskey – to generate the warmth I needed to stay motivated for the whole "working on the art" thing, especially given the Starving Artist's life is sadly lacking a woman who might help in the whole "warmth" department. In fact, I cooked so much that picking a dish to highlight this week was pretty damn tough. But I rarely shy away from difficult choices, and it didn't take long to realize that the toaster oven was the real hero this weekend. That baby generated some serious heat, and therefore deserves all the glory, especially since it helped make this amazingly delicious BBQ Chicken Puff Pastry Pizza.



  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked, diced or shredded
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the defrosted sheet of puff pastry on the parchment paper then set aside.
  2. Stir 1 tablespoon of barbecue sauce in with the cooked chicken, and toss well to coat. Spread the remaining amount of barbecue sauce onto the puff pastry like pizza sauce, making sure to leave a 3/4" border around the edges all the way around.
  3. Distribute the chicken evenly over barbecue sauce then top with shredded mozzarella and thinly sliced red onions.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly, just beginning to brown, and the pastry crust is golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for couple minutes before sprinkling with chopped cilantro. Slice and serve!