Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pappardelle with Broccoli Rabe Sausage in Tomato, Butter and Onion Sauce

Okay that is one long title for a blog post. I could have left out the Pappardelle but it was amazing. I purchased it at Bogatti's on East 187th Street on Thursday.
They took the fresh noodles and hand cut them to the size I wanted. Wow!

The Broccoli Rabe Sausage, yes sausage with Broccoli Rabe in it, was from Peter's Meat Market on Arthur Avenue. I was amazed when I saw it in the meat case and was amazed when I tasted it. A little spice which was the perfect.

And the sauce. Such a perfect sauce. If you make this there is no reason to buy jarred sauce. Okay I do have a jar of sauce just in case but this is better than anything you can ever buy. A 2 pound can of tomatoes, 5 tablespoons of butter and an onion cut in two. After the sauce cooked and I pureed the onions in the sauce I added the sausage, which I had browned in a little olive oil in a saute pan. Click here for the only Tomato Sauce recipe you will ever need.

Tonight's dinner summed up why I cook the way I do. Why I take time to make homemade sauce. Why I get excited about hand cut pasta and Broccoli Rabe Sausage. Chris thoroughly enjoyed dinner. He loved the sauce. He loved the pasta. He even loved the Broccoli Rabe Sausage. Good food. Good wine. Good company. That's a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ingredients From Arthur Avenue

Now what did you think I was going to make for dinner? Actually it was hard to pick what to make first. Obviously there had to be an antipasto.

The Pinwheel Steak was so good. Prosciutto and Mozzarella and a hint of garlic. As always, grilled perfectly!

The Green Bean Salad was made with beans from my sister's garden. The dressing was what my mom use to make. Olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Arthur Avenue AKA Disneyland

I have been so beside myself with excitement about today's road trip to Arthur Avenue.
I had never been to Arthur Avenue before. All my life I have heard how if it's from Arthur Avenue it's the BEST! Well they were right. Let me back up a bit. At our last book club meeting we decided to take a road trip to Arthur Avenue. Have I told you that I am in the best book club ever! Kate drove us there in her van. We found the "perfect" parking spot. We visited the Church of the Lady of Mount Carmel and then we started shopping.

First stop was the pasta store, Borgatti’s Ravioli & Egg Noodles.  As this was the first stop I had to make sure I did not overspend, which was not easy. I purchased a 1/2 pound of dried basil pasta and a pound of hand cut pappardelle noodles. I was in love at this point. I should add that I did not take a lot of photos or instagram or facebook posts though out the day. I tried to take the day in first hand, not through the lens of my phone/camera. I actually turned off and put my phone away for most of the day. I tried to go old school...

Last night I did a little research on the area and saw that one of the stores, Tino's Delicatessen, sold something called 'Nduja. It is a spreadable pork sausage from Italy.
It is typically made with parts of the pig such as the shoulder, belly and jowl, roasted peppers and a mixture of spices. I found it and will be trying it very soon. Stay tuned!

 Bread. Yes bread. I was so good at the bakery. Madonia Brothers Bakery. Remember that name. Only purchased one loaf of bread, now kicking myself for not buying more. And
I purchased a 1/2 pound of biscotti. I can not believe I had such restraint!

All this shopping and we have not eaten yet! Karen made reservations at Gerbasi. What a fantastic lunch. They were playing Jerry Vale, which brought me back to my Dad's house. The waiter was so accommodating. We all had wine and for lunch three of us had the Salmon Piccata, and Kelly had Lasagna and Kate had Fettuccine Alfredo, which looked so good.
It was a wonderfully relaxing and delicious lunch.

Now back to shopping. The Cheese Store... Calandra AKA the happiest place on earth!
I wanted to move in there. The Prosciutto... just typing the word brings tears to my eyes.
I have said it often - when I die I want to be buried with a nice piece of Prosciutto, preferably from Arthur Avenue. Then I know I will get into heaven! So at Calandra
I purchased Smoked Gouda, Pecorina Locatelli, Prima Donna, which is a mild cheese from Holland. I also bought some Soppresetta and of course, Prosciutto.

And lastly we hit the meat market. Inside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, you will find Peter's Meat Market. And that is where I found Broccoli Rabe Sausage and a Pinwheel Steak with Prosciutto and Mozzarella. Stay tuned for more on both of those.

Some Hazelnut Gelato from Tino's Delicatessen put the finishing touch on a perfect day.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sesame Beef Noodle Salad

It was a hot today! A cold noodle salad was the perfect dinner. I received the Ree Drummond's, The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food From My Frontier for Christmas this year (Thank you Cindy!). I was flipping though it the other day and came upon this recipe. I had the meat. I had the pasta. But I am not a big Cilantro fan. So I used Parsley and Thyme from the plants on our deck.

My version of Sesame Beef Noodle Salad, from Ree Drummond's, The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food From My Frontier -

1/4 cups Soy Sauce
2 tbsp. Sugar
3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil (less If You Can't Handle Heat!)
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup Sliced Green Onion
8 ounces Spaghetti
1 cup chopped fresh Parsley and Thyme
1# Sirloin Steak Tips  (the original recipe calls for on 1/2 inch thick Sirloin Steak)
Kosher Salt To Taste

In a bowl, combine Soy Sauce, sugar, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, hot chili oil,  and 4 tbsp canola oil. Mix to combine, then taste and adjust flavors/seasonings to your taste. Reserve 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a bowl.  Pour the remaining dressing over the top and toss to combine. Finally, toss in green onions. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or until cool. You can make the noodles well in advance of when you want to serve.

Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Grill until medium rare. Place the steak inside a plastic bag and add the 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Stick it in the fridge and allow it to marinate for at least a couple of hours. You can also use leftover steak.

To serve, slice the steak against the grain into thin strips. Drizzle a little soy over noodles just to give it a little flavor boost, throw in plenty of parsley and thyme leaves, and toss to combine. Serve strips of beef over mound of noodles, or throw it all into a bowl together.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

An Amazing $12.50 Sirloin Steak, Potato Salad and Coconut Cream Pie

A lot to take in tonight. So lets start with something that caught my eye this morning. Another flower the deer did not eat. I can not tell you how happy I am that there are flowers in front of our house.

What could make me happier? Tonight's dinner was, dare I say... Amazing! Steak and Potato Salad with Green Beans.  I got the steak at Robert's Food Center. They had their 20% off meat sale, so you will be seeing a lot of meat the next few days! A nice Sirloin Steak for $12.50. Enough for both of us with leftovers ... I am thinking steak and eggs for breakfast...
I took the steak out of the fridge about an hour before dinner and coated it with salt and pepper. That's all. Chris grilled it, perfectly. Delicious!

The salad was from Bon Appetit. I tore the recipe out of the magazine but also found it online... does this mean I can toss all my magazine clippings? We loved this salad. The dressing was perfect. A starch and vegetable in one dish! And the beans were from my sister, Lenore's garden. I met her at church tonight and she gave me the beans and zucchini and parsley and a really cute scarf from her trip to Cape Cod!

My version of Caesar Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas.

1/2 pounds unpeeled assorted fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes (such as white-skinned, red-skinned, and purple), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 ounces trimmed sugar snap peas
1 bunch radishes, trimmed, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Steam potatoes on steamer rack set in large pot over boiling water until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and steam until peas are crisp-tender and potatoes are just tender, about 1 minute longer. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool slightly. Add radishes and onion. 

Whisk next 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk in Parmesan. Season dressing with salt and generous amount of pepper. Add dressing to potato mixture; toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

And we even have a dessert tonight! No Bake Coconut Cream Pie. I found this recipe on You have heard of the site, right? Well if you have not, do you remember Daily Candy? This fills the void left by the departure of Daily Candy. And it is even better than Daily Candy. Please sign up for it today. You will not be disappointed.  So the recipe said NO BAKE. And yes it was no bake but you have to stand over the stove to make the custard and I toasted the coconut in a saute pan on the stove. But you know what, it does not matter. This pie was, OMG, so good. Not on over the top sugar shock, I am never going to fall asleep tonight dessert. This had just the right amount of sweetness that made you want more but were happy with your one slice. Of course there is more for tomorrow..
10 graham crackers
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
One 15-ounce can cream of coconut
1¼ cups milk
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup cornstarch
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
Toasted shredded coconut, as needed for garnish

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they form fine crumbs. Transfer the crumbs (you should have about 2 cups) to a bowl and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix until the crumbs are moistened.

Press the graham-cracker mixture into a pie plate to form a crust, bringing it up the side and onto the edge of the plate. Press firmly to ensure the crust is even. Transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes.

Make the filling: In a medium pot, bring the cream of coconut, milk and salt to a boil over medium heat.

While the mixture heats, whisk the cornstarch with the granulated sugar to combine in a medium-size heat-safe bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract; mix to combine.

When the cream of coconut mixture has come to a boil, pour it slowly into the egg mixture while whisking constantly to combine.

Return the mixture to the pot and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick and large bubbles start to break through at the center, 7 to 9 minutes.

Assemble the pie: Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate until fully cooled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Make the topping: Whip the cream and sugar to medium peaks. Top the pie with the whipped cream and garnish with the toasted coconut. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve directly from the fridge. The pie will keep, refrigerated and covered, for up to two days.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Spinach and Ricotta Pappardelle

A recipe by Lidia! You know it's going to be good. Deconstruct ravioli. This was delicious. I used a store-bought Pappardelle, Al Dente's Pappardelle. We loved this pasta. And the sauce was the perfect consistency and the flavors were spot on. The recipe is from Food & Wine.

Spinach and Ricotta Pappardelle, from Food & Wine.

12 ounces pappardelle pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped sage
Two 5-ounce bags baby spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle pasta until al dente. Drain the pappardelle thoroughly, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the scallions and sage and cook over high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach in large handfuls and cook, stirring, until wilted. Add the pasta, butter and ricotta and toss. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and the Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately low heat, tossing, until the sauce is thick and creamy, adding more of the pasta water as needed. Transfer the pappardelle to bowls and serve right away, with grated Parmigiano. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Easter in July

Too hot to cook so what do we do? Go the freezer and defrost half a Pizzagaina. Italian Easter Meat Pie in July. When I am making the Pizzagaina at Easter I always make sure I have at least a half of a pie to freeze. This is so much better than Christmas in July!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Salad Days

Yes it is summer. I do not seem to be posting as much. Guess I am just taking it easy. 
I would like to send a shout out to all the deer in our neighborhood. 
"Thank you for not eating the flowers in front of our house this summer!!!"
 It is so nice to wake up and see flowers and not the chomped off stems.

 Ah summer! Just hot enough to reduce the time spent in  the kitchen.
Tonight's post features not one, but two salads. One is a summer favorite, Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts. I added snow peas, Burrata cheese and bread crumbs. The Burrata and bread crumbs were left over from the salad I made last night.

And that brings us to the other salad ...
Eggplant, Tomato and Burrata with Anchovy Breadcrumbs. I found this on The Italian Dish blog.
I went to a party last night and brought this salad. It was a hit. I saved a little so we could have it with dinner tonight. The oven had to be turned on for the roasting of the Eggplant but I did that early in the day, before it got too hot! I loved the breadcrumbs. I used leftover olive bread that I had in the freezer. Just a perfect summer salad. Click here for the salad recipe.

This morning I made some Very Blueberry Scones. The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. I liked combining the whole wheat and white flour. Makes it seemed "healthier"!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lobster For Lunch

Chris and I both were off today so we went out for lunch. We ended up at The Back Porch in Old Saybrook. Perfect weather. It was a little overcast but no humidity. We started with an and appetizer of Fried Calamari and cocktails, of course...

Chris had the Lobster Roll. 

I opted for the Grilled Cheese with Lobster.
Seriously, it was insanely good.
Provolone Cheese and tomato and look at that lobster!

No dinner tonight!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Roasted Red Peppers

I found a loaf of whole wheat Italian bread at the store that looked so good. And that was how tonight's dinner came together. I marinated the Chicken breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, fresh oregano, salt and pepper. I took the roasted peppers out of the freezer early in the day. The tomato was from Jake's farm stand. Chris grilled the chicken and the bread. We even added some fresh spinach to the sandwich. Perfect!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Happy 4th of July! Today we went to a party at my sister's house. My nephew Nicholas and his family were there and so was one of my niece Cindy and her family. Lots of fun with the kids and lots of good food.
I brought over the Pasta Salad. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It was a hit!
From Smitten Kitchen, Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes  (Serves 8)


Roasted tomatoes
4 cups (about 680 grams) grape tomatoes
Olive oil

Oregano dressing
1 big clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

1 pound (455 grams) dried pasta, cooked until 1 to 2 minutes before doneness and drained
6 ounces (170 grams) crumbled salty cheese, such as ricotta salata, feta, queso fresco
1/2 cup (70 grams) pine nuts, well-toasted and cooled
1/2 cup (70 grams) pitted and rough-chopped olives of your choice
Salt and pepper
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Roast tomatoes: Heat oven to 300°F. Cover 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Cut each small tomato in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up in a single layer on prepared sheets. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven for approximately 90 minutes, until somewhat shriveled and dry to the touch, but not fully dehydrated. Set aside until needed, letting them cool. (Note, if you pine nuts are not yet toasted, you can place them in the oven for the last 10 minutes, shaking them once or twice for even coloring. Let cool as well before using.)

Make dressing: Roughly chop the garlic on a cutting board, then add oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mince the mixture with your knife until it’s a grainy herb paste. Transfer to a small bowl, whisk in lemon juice and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in oil, whisking the whole time. Taste and adjust as needed; you might need more salt or vinegar. You want a strongly flavored dressing that won’t get lost in that big bowl of ingredients.

Assemble salad: In a giant bowl, place drained pasta, roasted tomatoes, cheese, pine nuts and olives and toss gently to combine. Add dressing to taste, along with any extra salt and pepper needed. Finish with basil. Salad can be eaten right away, but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days. This is also perfect for picnics and potlucks, as it can handle being out in the sun without going south.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Pasta with Zucchini, Lemon, and Mint and Picking Raspberries

A Friday off! I was driving to Bishops to get my produce and I kept thinking I should be at work!
I saw the deer on my walk this morning. And the Hummingbird later while I was reading on the deck.
Later in the day I went picking raspberries with my sister, and nieces. What a beautiful day. I have not picked raspberries since we sold my parent's house. The berries were perfect and so delicious.

Dinner? Yes, I made Linguine with Zucchini, Lemon, and Mint. I found the recipe on The Italian Next Door blog. Zucchini and pasta are one of my favorite combinations. This recipe used mint, which I happened to have in the fridge. The result was a light dinner. The combination of the mint and lemon was perfectly balanced.