CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Our “Cooking with Fire” series continues with FOX 8 anchor Kristi Capel visiting Cleveland Fire Station #36 in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.

Kristi got a tour of the station, learned about their signature CrossFit workouts and met many of the dedicated firefighters who call Station #36 home base.

The firefighters stationed at #36 all benefit from the culinary skills of longtime member Raphael Smith. Raphael has more than 25 years experience in firehouse cooking and spent some time with Kristi this morning, sharing three of the station’s favorite recipes: Mt. Pleasant Pesto Pasta, Onion Brown Sugar Focaccia Bread, and White Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding.

Mt. Pleasant Pesto Pasta



½ stick salted butter

4 cloves chopped garlic

½ tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 cup whipped cream cheese

3 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

13 oz. pesto

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 cups diced cherry tomatoes

2 cups chopped green onions

12 jumbo shrimp

1 24 oz. package of spaghetti


Start by seasoning chicken and shrimp with the seasonings of your choice.  Add a little oil to a pan and pan fry the shrimp (about 2-3 minutes each side) and set aside.  Place chicken breast on a pan and cook under a broiler for approximately 12-15 minutes each side.  While chicken is cooking make pasta and cook until al dente.  Set pasta to the side.  In a large saucepan melt the butter.  Add the garlic and let it cook for about 2 minutes then add the heavy cream.  After 3 minutes and the whipped cream cheese and begin to stir until the cream cheese dissolves into the heavy cream.  Next add the Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.  Let simmer on low for about 10 minutes.  Continuously stirring.  Now add the pesto and continue to stir until fully mixed.  Now assemble the finished ingredients with pasta on the bottom, then chicken breast, sauce, and top with shrimp, tomatoes, and green onion.

Onion Brown Sugar Focaccia Bread


2 cups warm water

3 tablespoons agave nectar

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

5 cups flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ cup warm water

½ diced sweet onion

½ cup brown sugar


 Combine 2 cups warm water, 3 tablespoons agave nectar, and 2 ½  teaspoons active dry yeast in a cup and set aside.  Next, combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl and mix together.  Add ½ cup warm water and mix together thoroughly.  Add previously mixed yeast to flour mixture.  Mixed together, sprinkle half a cup of olive oil over the top of the dough and cover with saran wrap.  Let it sit for at least 3 hours. Take the diced onion and cook in a pan until browned.  Remove from heat and set to the side.   Butter a flat baking pan.  After at least 3 hours, pour the dough into the baking pan.  Taking your fingertips, gently press into the dough to make pits. Sprinkle half of a cup of olive oil over the dough.  Cover dough with a towel and let rest for another 45 mins.  Preheat over to 450 degrees.  After the 45 minutes remove towel and top the dough with brown sugar and the onions.  Place in the oven and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding

5 stale croissants chopped into 1″ cubes

1 cup heavy cream

3 eggs

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoon agave nectar

½ cup white chocolate chips

½ cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a small baking pan then add the croissants to it.  In a separate bowl combine heavy cream, agave nectar, eggs and vanilla.   Whisk together and pour over the bread mixture.  Add cranberries and white chocolate and gently mix.  Place in the oven on 350 for about 45 minutes.