Grilled Eggplant Salad and Burgers with Pickled Peppers

I was reading the Proud Italian blog and her post was entitled Grill Up Some Eggplant This Weekend. So I said OK. We grilled the eggplant in our grilling pan we got from William Sonoma. I added chopped green and black olives, capers, lemon peel, parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Very good!

We had hamburgers topped with Pickled Pepper. I found the recipe in the Simple Italian Snacks.

The burgers were good but the topping really added a great flavor.

Chickpea & Olive Bruschetta and Grilled Meatballs


Today I used a cookbook I picked up last summer, Simple Italian Snacks. I made Chickpea & Olive Bruschetta for happy hour. We had some Pita Chips with Salsa too. The deck is officially open!

For dinner we had Grilled Meatballs, recipe from, Simple Italian Snacks, and Farro, Radicchio and Roasted Beet Salad, from Bon Appetit, June 2010. I did not have Farro so I substituted Bulgur. And I have a new favorite vegetable are beets, roasted beets.

For dessert I made something my mom used to make quite often, Yogurt Pie. It is simple to make and nice and light. I mixed light Cool Whip with Greek yogurt, strawberry flavored. I added fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Fettuccine Primavera

I went to the Farmer's Market today. I picked up a couple of interesting things. Bok Choy and Devil Carrots. I have never cooked either before tonight. With those 2 ingredients along with yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, scallions and parsley I put together a really good pasta dish.
I sauteed all the vegetables in butter and olive oil. I used fettuccine for the pasta and the sauce was from an epicurious recipe I printed out back in 2003. It is the only recipe you ever need for Fettuccine Alfredo. It was delicious and a nice change from our meat filled menu from the past couple of nights.
Visited my dad today and took some shots of the garden.





The Best Pork Sandwich Ever


OMG! I worked from home today and decided to try a recipe that required a lot of time in the oven. The Best Pork Sandwich Ever is just that. I found the recipe on the La Cucina magazine site, and all I can say is my house smelled so good today! Kramer was going nuts from the smell of the pork. And it required no work, other than some basting. We topped the sandwiches with spreadable Feta cheese and pepper relish. The sandwich was perfect. I think the photos say it all.



Kansas City Ribs and BBQ Tofu


So tonight I stopped a Whole Foods to get some meat for the upcoming week, more on that in a day or two. While I was there I picked up some Kansas City Ribs for Chris and some BBQ Tofu for myself. I also picked up a Sweet Potato & Cranberry Quinoa Cake. Some Fingerling Potatoes with Leeks and Glazed Carrots were the sides. What a meal!

Dinner at Quattros


Tonight Lenore, Ralph, Chris and I went to a cooking demonstration at Quattros in Guilford. They prepared Crab Cakes, Veal Matesse and Tiramisu. Wonderful food and now we know how to make all three dishes!

Vegetable and Bacon Frittatta

This week instead of a pile of eggs I actually made a frittatta. I used red peppers, onion, zucchini, carrots and a little bacon. Tonight was keep it simple Monday.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Onions

Tonight Chris prepared dinner. I was on the rice. The Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Onions came out perfect. While he was grilling I was pouring over the new Bon Appetit. The Mix and Match section is very inspiring. More to come on that later...

Grilled Pork Sirloin Cutlets & Watercress Salad With Beets and Goat Cheese

Tonight we marinated Pork Sirloin Cutlets in a Kentucky Marinade. I found the recipe for the marinade in 365 Great Barbecue and Grilling Recipes. I got my copy in 1990. It's a good book to have in your library.

The Marinade-

1 Bunch Scallions

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon whiskey


Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until thoroughly combined. The marinade can be stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator for 3 days.



For side dishes I made Mashed Potatoes and
Watercress Salad With Beets and Goat Cheese from RealSimple.com. The recipe on the site called for Feta but I had Goat Cheese. I made the Lemon Shallot dressing. Loved it!


I also took the new oven out for a test run. Again from RealSimple.com I made Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies. Wow. I will be making these again and again. I even think my 2 cookie fans in Maryland might like these.


Then I found a cookie recipe from my Aunt Nora. She passed away in 2003 and at her wake there were copies of the recipes she was best know for. This was was one of them.

Aunty Nora's Twist Cookies

5 cups of flour
2 sticks of margarine
1 cup milk
2 eggs
5 tsp. baking powder
Jam
(I used blackberry and vanilla jam)
Cinnamon
Coconut
Confectionery Sugar

First, roll out the dough and spread the jam.

Add cinnamon and coconut. Then cut dough in three's. Bend in half. Twist and put them on a cookie sheet
(lined with parchment paper) and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Let cool. Dust with confectionery sugar.

Pour the coffee and let's eat.


It took a couple of readings of the recipe to figure out what she meant by cutting the dough in three's. But I just did what I thought looked right. There are a few more of her recipes I will be trying. The one recipe we did not get from her was for her Stuffed Razor Clams. I think it was just bread crumbs and herbs but boy were they good.

Sole with Peppers


This recipe comes from La Cucina. I made it back in February, but at that time I had to use Cod instead of Sole. I think I prefer the Sole. Gosh it is really easy and really tasty. Tonight we had Israeli Couscous as a side dish.

Ingredients

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced (I cut one clove in half so I could remove it before serving)
3/4 lb. sweet peppers, cored, seeded and minced
1 2/3 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes (I used a can of plum tomatoes)
2 lbs. sole, cleaned, rinsed and dried
Salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until they take on color, then add the peppers and tomatoes
Cook at low heat for 15 minutes, then add the sole.
Add salt to taste, cover the pan, and cook at low heat, shaking the pan from time to time.

And I was asked to join the Top 100 Italian Cooking Websites! Pretty cool. Mom would be pleased. I have a link to their site on the side of the blog. I feel very proud to have been invited!

Broccoli Rabe with Sausage and Polenta

My dad had a bumper crop of Broccoli Rabe this year. My freezer is stocked! Tonight I made Chris Sausage and Peppers and made myself Broccoli Rabe with Peppers. We had leftover polenta, some Italian bread and a couple glasses of red wine. Perfect for a rainy Tuesday night.

Quinoa and Goat Cheese Salad and the First Hamburger of the Year!


There is something special about that first hamburger on the grill. Tonight's burgers were bacon and bleu cheese from Whole Foods. Well enough about the meat portion of the meal, now on to the good stuff. Quinoa and Goat Cheese Salad. It is actually Greek Quinoa Salad with a couple of variations. First of all I made this salad last year and just like last year I forgot to add the damn olives! I am not a fan of cilantro so I omitted that. I added grated carrots, sliced cucumbers and scallions. And I used Goat cheese in place of the Feta cheese. Well it was amazing. Both of us went for seconds. I think I prefer this over a pasta salad. Wonderful flavors. And I have enough for lunch tomorrow!

Griddled Polenta Cakes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Honey

I found this recipe on Food52 a couple months ago and tonight I finally made it. Wow I wish I made this sooner. What a fantastic dish. I love polenta. I love caramelized onions and I love goat cheese. Chris also enjoyed it. I made a big salad as the main course.

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Blue Cheese Crusted Tomatoes


Chris manned the grill tonight. The deck is not officially open, it is still pre-season. I had cut out this recipe out from Bon Appetit last year. Grilled Bone-in Rib Eye Steaks and Blue Cheese Crusted Tomatoes. Everything was perfectly cooked.

We did our first test run of grilled calamari. Not bad. Quite good actually. Dressed them with salt, pepper and olive oil before grilling and then finished them with olive oil and lemon juice.

Archie did not have any calamari! He prefers tuna.

Eggplant Pizza


So it's Friday night. I am sitting in traffic and that means I am not cooking dinner. Tonight we had pizza from Petrillo's Pizza in Madison. When we first moved to Madison we tried a couple of different places but Petrillo's was our final choice for favorite pizza.
Tonight we had the eggplant, my favorite, and the special which has red and green peppers, onions, mozzarella, pepperoni, meatballs and sausage. So good...

Chicken Cutlets with Zucchini Spears and Rice

Chris made dinner tonight. Sauteed chicken with olive oil, butter, salt & pepper. He made a nice balsamic vinegar sauce to go with it. Zucchini spears and rice. Really good meal. Thanks Chris!
The sauce was fantastic. Perfect with Italian bread.

A Pile of Eggs &

Okay so the stove top plan is not going that well. I get home too late to prepare a meal from scratch. When I went shopping this weekend I was thinking I would be doing a lot of baking and preparing meals in an oven. I did not want to waste anything so I thought frittatta! Perhaps not the smartest idea. I sauteed the veggies - onions, red peppers, zucchini, fresh parsley. I added sweet capicola, fontina cheese and the eggs. The whole frittatta idea quickly fell apart, literally! So I guess it was scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese. Pretty, no. Tasty, yes!

Let this be a lesson to all of you, never put plastic in the oven, even if you think it will only be for a few minutes... Someone is coming over Thursday to see what can be done to fix the stove...

Beans in Sauce

Stove top meal number one. The recipe from La Cucina comes from the Campania region. It is said to be a typical dish of Salerno. I was able to use fresh fava beans which tasted wonderful. I also added some chicken sausage, just so it would not be meatless Monday.

Ingredients
1 lb. fresh shelled beans
1/2 lb green beans, tips cut off
5 tbsp. olive oil
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
5 basil leaves
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
several celery stalks, chopped
1 dried chili pepper
slices of peasant-style bread, toasted

Method
Boil the beans in a large pot of water to cover by a couple of inches until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the green beans after 10 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil and add the garlic, tomato puree, basil, parsley, celery and chili pepper. Cook until just blended.
Transfer the beans to bowl, pour the sauce over and toss to mix. Let stand 30 minutes so the flavors can blend. Serve on toasted slices of peasant-style bread.

Ricotta Cavatelli

First off this will be a week of stove top meals. Enough on that subject.
Tonight's dinner came about when I saw last Wednesday's New Haven Register and there was an article by Claire Criscuolo about a woman named Josephine Signore. Click here to read the story. Josephine Signore is my mom's cousin. In the article she says the Cavatelli recipe is from her mother which means that it is from my great grandmother! So for Mother's Day I made my great grandmother's Cavatelli recipe. Very cool. I even have my mom's Cavatelli machine. I was amazed how easy they were to make. And the taste, well lets just say it is obvious why this recipe is still around.




Happy Mother's Day