And now for something completely different...

Open-Face Crab Burgers with
Red Pepper Dressing
Once again bon appétit has delivered a great recipe. The Open-Face Crab Burgers with Red Pepper Dressing were delicious. Prepared them along with the dressing this morning and fried them up for dinner tonight. The recipe called for a hot chili sauce which I did not have. So I tasted the sauce without it and it seemed fine. I had the homemade burger rolls in the freezer so I pulled out a couple and made some French fries.

And about that broccoli rabe... Found a recipe that I have held onto since July 1998. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. It was a Prize Tested Recipe. The $200 Winner from Gloria Onischuk, Oak Park, Ill. It is Broccoli Rabe Pie. Looks good.

Broccoli Rabe Pie
9 inch unbaked pastry shell
1 /1/2 lbs. broccoli rabe
3 slightly beaten eggs
2/3 cup cream style cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 clove garlic minced
1/8 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line unbaked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake pastry shell for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, wash broccoli rabe; remove and discard woody stems. Cook rabe covered in 4 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender; drain well. Cool slightly and finely chop.
In a large bowl combine the eggs, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic and pepper. Stir in the broccoli rabe. Pour mixture into partially baked pie shell. Bake in the 375 degrees oven for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center and comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.

Nori Wrap, Pork Ribs and a Damn Good Meat Sauce

Well today I think I covered all the bases. This week Shop Rite had ribs on sale. My dad, who is 92, could not pass up this bargain. Then I get the call, "How can I cook these?"

So I went over to his house to cook the ribs. My sister was there and I told her I would pick up lunch at this place I heard about at the Farmer's Market last week, Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe in downtown West Haven. Great idea. The food was tasty. The guy behind the counter was really nice and informative. He was interesting and interested in my experience with raw food. More important my dad seemed to enjoy the food! (or at least he acted like he did)

So the ribs were next. I found this recipe online, BBQ Pork Ribs. Easy enough to make. The sauced tasted good and they looked and smelled good. Just not sure how they tasted... Reviews are pending.

Not to bore you with the details of how it happened but I ended up with a container of my sister's meat sauce and meatballs. My sister makes her husband's mother's recipe. I have always said that my mom was the best cook ever. But a close runner up would be my brother-in-law's mother. Boy could she cook and her sauce! I remember the first time I had pork skin in sauce. Oh my God it was so good. Anyway tonight we had my sister's version of her sauce with meatballs. What a delicious meal. The meatballs were perfect and the sauce was as good as her mother-in-law's.
I have requested the recipe and will post it.



Pasta e Fagioli

It seems that there are certain recipes that are just hard to settle on. I don't think I have made the same recipe for this dish more than 2 or 3 times. I remember my mom's and just can't find one that is close to hers. Also I have had a white version of this at Lorenzo's restaurant in West Haven which I would love to make at home. But I will continue with my search for the perfect, or at least what I consider to be the perfect Pasta e Fagioli recipe. Tonights version came from the FoodNetwork site. The recipe is courtesy Frankie Competelli, Frankie's on Melrose, Los Angeles, CA
Here is the link Pasta and Beans. If anyone reads this and knows of a good recipe please let me know!

Chicken not exactly as planned

I had something completely different in mind for dinner but things did not work out as planned so there was Plan B. Chicken Tenders with rice and peas. The chicken was dredged in egg and then Panko bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees turn chicken over and baked for another 7 minutes. The peas were fresh (!!!!!) so I steamed them and seasoned them with salt. Add some rice and we had a quick and tasty meal.

Ketchup!

Play on words. I have not posted in a couple of days so I must catch up... I know it is weak. Let see the last time I blogged I left off with a teaser. That was a photo of homemade hamburger rolls. Yes I made hamburger rolls. Have you read what is in that bag of rolls you get at the grocery store. I think we should try to reduce the amount of processed foods we eat. Back to dinner. Sunday we were planning on having burgers. Well let me tell you about New England weather. If you wait a few minutes it will usually change. But alas on Sunday it was getting cloudier by the minute until it was very close to supper time and the rain came. What will we do? Have no fear I bought cold cuts! The rolls were the perfect vessels for the sliced meats. I also picked up artichoke relish. That's right, artichoke relish. It is my new favorite sandwich topping. Besides making the rolls I made a cole slaw recipe that I saw on smittenkitchen.com. The recipe called for cabbage but I used a bag of broccoli slaw. And fortunately my husband ate a serving and than asked what I used and I had to tell the truth. He hates broccoli but he did have seconds!

Now it is Tuesday! And my weekly menu has been tossed out the window. One of us was feeling under the weather today and one of us had to work late. Quite the dilemma. Not it you have a store called Allegra Express in your town. Allegra Express part of the Cafe Allegra restuarant. Those of you who have seen my profile on Foodbuzz.com know it is my favorite restaurant. So I purchased two containers of Chicken Noodle Soup and one container of Roasted Red Pepper Salad. I had half a loaf of the Pain de Campagne (Country Bread) and we are talking about a pepper sandwich that was so good I almost made another one.

Saturday in the park...

I am humming the Chicago song of that title. I went to the best Farmer's Market today. Wooster Square Park in New Haven. Granola, Whipped Honey (!), Mesclun Salad mix, Milk, Organic Yogurt and than there was the pastry guy...
Oh My God! Wish I had my camera. I bought 2 ham and swiss cheese croissants, some foccaccia bread with dried fruit ( I have seen this recipe but never tried it) and Lemon Brioche. It was beautiful. Every piece of his work was perfect. Next time I will just go to his stand and spend all my money! He was from the Sono Bakery.


So dinner tonight was a large piece of meat. A porterhouse steak to be exact. There are times when I really want red meat and boy did this fit the bill. My husband was on the grill and I was on the potato. Baked potato in the microwave. Gotta love it. Grilled Zucchini rounded out the meal nicely.




And what is this....








to be continued...

Friday Night Traffic, Holiday Weekend...

Okay. It is Friday. Friday before Memorial Day weekend and wow everyone was on I-95 heading north. The only thing I could even think of putting on the dinner table was a to-go container. So I made a stop at Zhang's and picked up our dinner. Crab Rangoon, Steamed Dumplings, Orange Beef and Orange Chicken and Egg Rolls. Perfect.

Picture Perfect Calzones

When I made that pizza dough on Mother's Day I made a double batch and froze half. So tonight I used the pizza dough and some of the Broccoli Rabe that I froze and made Calzones. The filling was just ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, one egg, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. My calzone had sautéed onions and broccoli rabe and my husband's had bacon and sautéed onions. The bacon was pre-cooked bacon, Oscar Mayer. For some reason I do not like cooking bacon but I do like the taste. So this pre-cooked stuff is a good item to have on hand. We used a jarred sauce, Bobo's pasta sauce, which is made in New Haven, CT. It was very good. But after we finished eating I realized I did not take a photo. Too bad because they not only tasted good but they looked good to!

Turkey!

That's right Turkey! Turkey breast was on sale this week. The only time we eat turkey is on Thanksgiving. But it may be added into the rotation.
This recipe came from, yes again, foodnetwork.com. It is just so easy to find what I am looking for at that site. So tonight's recipe is
Basil Breast of Turkey with Peas and Garden Vegetables. First, there is no basil in the recipe. Second we omitted the peas, didn't have them and did not need them. The recipe says to wipe out the skillet after you remove the turkey. But all the good stuff is still there, the brown bits. Also did not have white wine... oh well just added a bit more chicken broth then the recipe called for. We had Knorr Pasta Sides™ - Alfredo as a side dish and a lovely bottle of Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon. I would give this meal 2 thumbs up!

A Healthy Meal!

For my birthday I got Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite cookbook. Tonight we had Cranberry bean minestone. Actually I used kidney beans. Here is the recipe
Serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
sea salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
2 3/4 oz smoked back (Canadian) bacon, trimmed of fat and chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 - 14oz cans cranberry beans, rinsed and drained

5 oz cherry tomatoes
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 3/4 oz spaghetti, broken into small pieces
Large handful of basil, finely shredded
Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onions
, carrots, celery, and some seasoning. Stir frequently over medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes until the vegetables are begin to soften. Add the thyme, bay leaf and bacon. Increase the heat slightly and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
Add the beans and cherry tomatoes, then pour in the chicken stock or water to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the spaghetti and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, ladle into warm soup bowls and sprinkle over the shredded basil. Drizzle with olive oils and grated cheese. Serve with chunks of rustic country bread.

I used fusilli instead of spaghetti. It turns out I did have a package of fusilli in the cabinet, didn't see it for the Saturday night's dinner!

Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Monday, May 18
I remember when if I wanted to try a new recipe I would have to dig through cookbooks and magazine clipping (and I am not that old!). Now with the internet the possibilities are endless. I do believe my mother would have loved the internet. Forget ordering clothes from catalogs! But back to the point of this. Sunday I made Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette. It is from Giada De Laurentiis. So I did the roasting on Sunday and we reheated it for dinner tonight with rice and carrots. It was delicious and I had enough leftover to add to tomorrow's lunch.

Frittata and Salad

Frittata with Ricotta Salata, Green Onions and Parsley and Salad

One of my go to websites is epicurious.com. I had Ricotta Salata left from Wednesday night's dinner. I did a search at epicurious.com for recipes with Ricotta Salata and found this recipe for Frittata with Ricotta Salata, Green Onions and Parsley. That with a salad and the leftover pasta from last night and another solid Sunday night meal.






25th Post!!!!

Linguini with Sausage and Leeks.
Saturday, May 16th

I went to the Farmers Market on the green yesterday. One of the things I bought were leeks. So I have leeks and there is sausage in the freezer so this is what dinner started with. The recipe is from Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan. If you do not own this please considering buying it.

Back to the Farmers Market for a moment. I found the same guy who sold me the tomato plant last year and got one this year. I hope we get as many tomatoes as last summer.

And now on to dinner.
The recipe called for Fusilli and I was looking at it in the store and thinking I need this for something but didn't pick up the package.
So I used linquini. Here is the recipe- (I made a couple of notes in the recipe, they are in italics)
3 medium leeks
8 ounces mild sausage, casing removed
2 tbps butter
salt
fresh ground pepper
1 lb. fusilli
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano

1. Cut off the root ends of leeks and trim the tough green tops of the leaves. (At this point I wash the leeks at least 2 or 3 times to remove the dirt ) Cut the leeks crosswise in half and then lengthwise in half again. Cut each quarter in long, very thin strips and place in a large bowl of cold water to soak.

2. Put sausage and 1/4 water in 10-12 inch sauté pan and place it over medium-high heat. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon and cook until all the water is evaporated and the sausage begins to brown lightly.

3. Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 4 quarts of water and place over high heat.

4. Lift leeks out of the water, so that any dirt remains in the bottom of the bowl. Discard any fat the sausage may have released, add the butter and the leeks to the sauté pan, and season with salt and pepper (bear in mind the sausage is already seasoned). Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are wilted and very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. After the leeks have been cooking for about 12 minutes and the water for the pasta has come to a boil, add 1 tbsp salt to the boiling water, put in the pasta, and stir well.

6. When the leeks are tender, uncover the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until all the water the leeks release evaporates. Remove from the heat.

7. When the pasta is done, save about 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Here is where you may want to add some of the pasta water if the dish looks too dry. Toss with grated cheese and serve at once.


Some red wine and I forgot to mention the bread! There is bakery, Wave Hill Breads, which sells it bread at the Farmer's Market, the Pain de Campagne (Country Bread) is to die for.

Freezer Food Continued....

Thursday, May 14
Barber Chicken Cordon Bleu for him and Barber Chicken Broccoli and Cheese for me! Tater Tots and sautéed zucchini. Not sure of calorie count of chicken but once in a while you just have to eat. By the way it was a delicious meal!

The Minimalist

One of the things I enjoy is reading Mark Bittman in the New York Times. His column The Minimalist is great food reading. Tonight's dinner is from his April 24, 2009 column, A Soup Only Tuscany Could Make. Both of us really enjoyed this meal. Simple, nutritious and satisfying.


"This is a really nice pan"

You know when these words are said by your husband that you are in for a tasty dinner.

Smoked Kielbasa, onions, peppers and yellow squash. He caramelized the onions, added the peppers, then the squash and last the kielbasa and seasoned the dish with salt and pepper. With rice on the side and spicy mustard for dipping. I like that pan too!

Sorry about the photo quality, must check camera settings...

Monday...

So I was a little tired yesterday, so I did not really make anything for the week. Oh no what will we do...
It is a week to clean out the freezer. Tonight there was a lot of lettuce and salad stuff from Saturday's dinner so we had another awesome salad. Also had a container of Legal Seafoood Lobster Bisque. Not a bad meal.

Mother's Day Pizza

Yesterday when I was making that frittatta at my Dad's I found my mom's rolling pin. So today I made pizza dough and marinara sauce.

The marinara was just sauteed onions, then add crushed tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

The pizza dough is 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 package of yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of warm water (between 105ºF and 115ºF) and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Just put all that in a mixer and let it knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. Put in greased bowl, use either spray Pam or olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and put in warm spot for about an hour and a half. The dough will double in size. Rolled the dough out to the size of the pan you are using. Sprinkle pizza stone or cookie sheet with cornmeal and put dough in the pan. Drizzle olive oil on top of dough. Cover lightly with marinara sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesaen cheese, Mozzarella cheese and oregano. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Bake 425º for 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned on bottom.

Gotta love Saturday nights.

Got home from my dad's to find my husband making an awesome salad. He did the grocery shopping for me and got some good stuff.

He also had pork tenderloin marinating in Paul Newman's Lemon Pepper Marinade. He cooked that on the grill while I was in charge of the zucchini and rice. A bottle of a 2005 California Merlot, Wisteria Cellars and we are talking about a fantastic dinner.


So I Have the Broccoli Rabe

I was at my dad's today and I cleaned out his freezer. Now keep in mind he is 92 and lost his wife 3 years ago to Alzheimer's Disease. It was not as bad as it could have been. Only a couple of things were questionable, is it pork? was it chicken? But then I found a container in the back of the freezer. I immediately recognized my mother's handwriting. It said "Meat Sauce, March 16, 1994." I froze. Here was the stuff that dreams were really made of. Is it still good after 15 years? I could not throw it out. It will remain in my dad's freezer until who knows...
Back to the broccoli rabe. My dad actually has more broccoli rabe than I do. He pulls out this dish from the fridge and asks what he can do with it. I say well we can make a frittatta.
Today's lesson was that you can not make a frittatta in a non non-stick pan. At least I can not. I did my best and it was not the prettiest frittatta I have ever made but it tasted quite good.

Ravioli with butter and what!

Okay, every week I post a menu. It makes it easy because my husband gets home before me. On Friday I had posted Ravioli with Butter and Cheese. Simple not fussy and good. I got home late and walked into the smell of tomato sauce. My husband made tomato sauce to go with the ravioli. Wow it was good! Tomatoes, onions, olive oil and crushed red pepper. It brought the Ravioli to a whole new level than what I originally planned. Smiles.

Monte Chris Sandwiches

Thursday, May 7 2009
No there is not a typo in the title. My husband, who shall remain nameless, made dinner. So the recipe is named after him. (oops!) I found a recipe in this months Bon Appetit for a Monte Cristo sandwich. The recipe called for a Spanish sheep milk cheese which I found at the store. But at $11 for a small slice we made a few changes.
I had Prosciutto, salami, ham and provolone cheese. We constructed our sandwiches, dipped in eggs and put in fry pan. Flip after 4 minutes and cook the other side.
Something about fried eggs and bread that just tastes really good. The sandwiches were quite filling. We used mustard as a dipping sauce.

Wow this is good!

That was my husband's comment as we ate dinner. Spicy stir fry chicken. Recipe was in this month's Bon Appetit. As we were finishing up I realized I had not taken a photo! Well it was fast and really tasty. I will be typing the recipe shortly. Just a very busy day at work and I am sure if I typed anything right now there would be a typo somewhere.

Mom's Baked Macaroni



I know every one's mom made the best baked macaroni but this is my blog so it is my mom's that is the best.

I was spoiled as a child. There I have admitted it. Whenever my mom would make something I was not really fond of there was always that dish of baked macaroni that would appear from the oven. The top was toasted and crunchy and the inside was tender and cheesy.

I think if I had to pick my last meal this would be it.

The recipe -
Boil 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Grease Pyrex loaf pan.
Alternate layers of macaroni and American cheese starting with the macaroni.
Break 3 eggs and pour over macaroni. Fill baking dish with milk to almost cover macaroni.
Top with bread crumbs, and parsley. Bake 350 degrees until set, usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Honestly that is the way the recipe was given to me.
It is pretty forgiving. Just boil macaroni and add cheese. I have used what ever cheese I have in the house. Mom used American. It is a good basic recipe you can build to fit your taste.






Rolled Flank Steak with Green Olives and Oregano

My husband gave me the Mario Batali's Simple Italian Food for Christmas. This recipe was really easy and I think I will reach for this book more often.

I made this yesterday, Sunday, so it was easy to reheat after work. My husband made the risotto. Arborio rice, lemon peel and sage. A great match for the meat. But tomorrow I am looking forward to a meatless meal.

The original recipe is for 4 servings but I made enough for the 2 of us.

3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup green Italian olives, preferably Ascolane

3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 cup chopped Italian Parsley
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4pound Braciole

Salt and Pepper
flour for dusting

1/4 olive oil
1/2 dry red wine

In a medium saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, olives and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while you assemble the braciole.

In mixing bowl, mix cheese, parsley and nutmeg. Lay pieces of steak on a board and season with salt and pepper. Divide the cheese mixture evenly over the meat. Roll up each piece like a jelly roll and tie with butcher's twine. Season with salt and pepper and roll in flour to coat.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Place 4 steak pieces in skillet and brown evenly. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining rolls. Pour off the cooking oil. Add the red wine and stir the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Add the simmering tomato sauce and bring to a boil Add the beef rolls and simmer uncovered 10 to 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Remove the meat to a heated platter, pour the sauce over, and garnish with the remaining tablespoon of oregano.

Very tasty and the house smelled very good. Also have enough sauce left over to use with tomorrow night's dinner...

And now for something completely different


Sausage, Fontina and Bell Pepper Strata

Sunday Night, May 3
This recipe is from Bon Appetit, June 2009. I had never made a Strata. I made a couple of changes in the original recipe because I did not have all the right ingredients. So here is what I did -

6 large eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casing removed
1 large bell pepper, cut in 1/2 inch wide strips
1 loaf Italian bread
2 cups coarsely grated Fontina cheese

Spray Pyrex square pan with cooking spray.
Whisk 1st five ingredients in large bowl. Sprinkle with pepper. Set aside.
Cook sausage and pepper until sausage is cooked through and the peppers are brown in spots about 7 minutes.

Arrange half the bread slices in the prepared pan. Pour half the egg mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then half of the sausage-pepper mixture. Repeat laying. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge. Bake Strata until puffed and brown, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

I am classifying this as comfort food. The bread, the egg and cheese are perfect.
I had enough to make a small casserole to bring to my dad. I see the possibility for a lot of variations with the recipe.

If I knew you were coming I would have baked a cake.


Yes there it is, the famous shot cake. There are certain things that just make you feel good. This was my Aunt Marie's recipe. Fortunately my sister had a copy. When I was mixing the batter looked and it looked like it should have I was happy. When I took it out of the oven and it looked just like my aunt's cake I was happy. And oh it smells so good. I am afraid to taste it because I am not sure I will be able to handle that much joy...
Yes it was as good as I remember.
: )

Here is the recipe-
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup spry
2 tsp vanilla
Beat the above ingredients together for 15 minutes.

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

Fold 1 cup milk into egg mixture. Add flour to egg mixture and blend well on low speed. Add 1/2 cup chocolate shots. Mix. Pour into a well greased 10" tube pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool inverted on rack.

Steak, Potato and Veggie.

Saturday night, after watching a very exciting Kentucky Derby, my husband, who will remain nameless, proceeded to grill the most delicious steaks. Granted they were the first steaks on the grill this year. I was on vegetable and potato detail. Sauteed Zucchini and Baked Potato, okay microwaved potato. We had a nice bottle of wine, El Matador, from Spain. Not a bad wine at all.