Classic Osso Buco

Yesterday I was out shopping with my sister and on the way home, we stopped at Ferrarro's Meat Market. I was hoping to pick up sandwich steaks for tonight's dinner. What I got instead was Osso Buco. Wow! What a fantastic dinner! I found an easy recipe on the Cooking with Nonna site. So good!

Classic Osso Buco from Rossella’s Cooking with Nonna.

4 veal shank steaks approx 1 inch thick
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
3 carrots diced
2 potatoes diced
2 celery stalks diced
1 large onion diced
3 bay leaves
all-purpose flour for dredging meat
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚F
Dredge shanks lightly with flour and fry in olive oil until browned on both sides, place in a roasting pan.
Saute all veggies in the same pan until slightly soft approx 8 minutes.
Add sauce and wine and cook an additional 5 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour veggies over veal shanks in roasting pan and add the bay leaves.
Cover and place in oven for approx. 1 hour.
Remove cover and roast for 25 minutes.
The osso buco should be fork tender with a thick sauce and tender veggies.

I made Roasted Brussel Spouts and Aborio Rice as sides. Perfect dinner!

For breakfast, I made Brown Sugar Apple and Cinnamon Chip Scones. Loved these!! I have been looking for Cinnamon Chips at every local store I go into. I can never find them. Until I checked Amazon. Yup. Found them!

I was going to make just Cinnamon Chip Scones but then I noticed the apples on the counter. What happened next resulted in the best scones I have ever made.

Brown Sugar Apple and Cinnamon Chip Scones

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda, sieved
0.5 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 c diced apple
1c cinnamon chips (see note)
1 egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c buttermilk
raw sugar for dusting

Combine the flour, baking powder, and soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Stir in diced apple. Combine the egg yolk, the vanilla, and the buttermilk; stir this into the dry ingredients until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flowered surface and knead for 6-10 turns. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a 6-7 inch circle. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Brush each circle with lightly beaten egg white, dust it with sugar and transfer the wedges to an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack; after 5 minutes, cover loosely with a dish towel until completely cool.

My Favorite Saturday Night Dinner

I love breaded Pork Chops. First into egg wash then coat with a mixture of plain breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, sage, and parley. I brown them up in a saute pan and finish cooking them in the oven. The breading is crisp and the meat is moist. Bone-in is the way to go. All you need is applesauce. Next time I will try to make some homemade applesauce.

Scallops with Fettuccine

Happy Anniversary! 27 years. I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers at work and chocolate covered strawberries. Oh My!!! Shari's Berries are the bomb!

Back to dinner. Chris has a friend who got us some freshly caught scallops from Stonington, CT, right off the boat. I found a recipe for Pan Seared Scallops. Chris said he would like them with homemade pasta. Yes, I have homemade pasta in the freezer. 

I followed the recipe for Pan Seared Scallops closely. Scallops are a high anxiety dish. I sauteed the scallops 2 minutes per side and put them on a plate covered with foil while I made the sauce. I added a little more butter and wine and some pasta water to the saute pan than the recipe called for.

I can not tell you how really good this was. The scallops were cooked perfectly and combining them with the sauce and the pasta was sublime. The flavors melded together perfectly.

This could become an anniversary tradition. We enjoyed dinner with a lovely bottle of wine from the owner of the company where I work. Delicious!!!

Zucchini, Onion, and Red Pepper Tart

I love tarts, quiche, pot pie. Just anything that has a crust and I am in love. This recipe was inspired by the post for Sweet Pepper, Zucchini and Onion Tart. My version is not gluten-free. The crust is the usual Pate Brisse. For cheeses, I used feta instead of thchèvre. Close enough. 

Here is the recipe for constructing the tart with my changes -
I made the crust and blind baked it.
Cut the peppers lengthwise. Carve out and discard the stem portion and the seeds and ribbing inside. Cut each half in half crosswise and finally slice each piece into short ribbons no wider than 1/4 inch.
Trim zucchini top and bottom, quarter lengthwise, then cut into 1/8 inch.
Warm up the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion to the skillet, stir to coat and let cook on medium-low heat for a couple of minutes.
Five minutes after you started cooking the onion, add the peppers, stir and continue cooking, stirring every now and then.
Five minutes later, add the zucchini, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Cover and cook on gentle heat until the peppers are of the desired tenderness (20-25 minutes). Every few minutes uncover and stir.
When the peppers are ready, sprinkle the salt, adjusting the amount to your taste and stir, then remove the pan from the heat. Let cool, then add the goat and stir well to distribute it evenly.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Transfer the filling on the prepared crust and distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Bake for 30-32 minutes. Take out of the oven, slice and serve right away.

Frittata Night

We have not had a frittata in a while.  I use to make the frittata on the weekend and serve it later in the week for dinner. Now with the job closer to home, I can cook one up fresh for dinner. It does taste better. Tonight we kept it simple. Zucchini, onion and red pepper. Oh yes, there was also the prosciutto.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This was a delicious dinner. I love the slow cooker. We had a lot of activity going on at home today. The slow cooker enabled us to have a fantastic meal with little work. I found the recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore on

I used all chicken breasts for the recipe.

Of course, there was a lull in activity so I took advantage of the time and made some homemade pasta. The recipe I always use for pasta is from Tide and Thyme.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients -
3 lbs chicken breast or thighs
1 onion, sliced
15 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
15 ounces tomato sauce
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
Stir to mix well.
Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6

General Tso's Chicken

30 Minute Meal! This recipe is from EatingWell. I, of course, made an adjustment or two. We love this recipe. The Green Beans are from my sister and her husband's garden.

General Tso's Chicken

5 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, divided
1 large egg white
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 cups Green Beans

Method -
Combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and rice wine (or sherry) and egg white in a bowl.
Add chicken and stir to coat.
Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornstarch, soy sauce and rice wine (or sherry), water, hoisin and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken; cook without turning, breaking up stuck-together pieces, until golden on the bottom, 2 minutes. Stir; continue cooking until golden on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Green Beans; cook, stirring often, until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan; cook, stirring

until heated through, about 1 minute more.

Eggplant Parmigiana - Campania

The Eggplant Parmigiana Battle continues tonight. Besides the eggplant for the pizza, I also ended up with 2 dishes of Eggplant Parmigiana. Tonight we had Eggplant Parmigiana, Campania. I was lucky to have a Focaccia bread in the freezer.

The Eggplant Parmigiana was delicious. I do believe frying the eggplant makes a huge difference. I usually bake Eggplant Parmigiana. I try to make the healthy choices but this was a delicious choice.

Eggplant Parmigiana, Campania

2 lbs eggplant (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 lbs tomato puree
1 bunch fresh basil
5 oz mozzarella
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Trim the ends of the eggplants, peel them and slice them. Salt them and set them aside for half an hour to lose their bitter taste; rinse and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomato puree, salt, and a few basil leaves, then cook down at very low heat until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan, cook the eggplant slices a few at a time and drain well.
Pour some tomato sauce into the baking and cover it with a layer of the fried eggplant slices along with some mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with more sauce and make another layer of eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ending with a layer of tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is crisp. Serve at room temperature.

Ham, Tomato and Onion Quiche

I am looking forward to Fall. It will be here on Saturday but I pulled out the leaf cookie cutters today.
The crust is my usual Pate Brisee. The filling was sauteed onions, diced ham, and sliced tomato from the last of the tomatoes from Lenore and Ralph's garden.

I usually use the quiche filling recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. This is the basic filling recipe-
Beat 3 eggs and mix with 1 1/2 cups milk or cream, (I use low-fat milk) Season with salt, nutmeg, and fresh ground pepper. Pour filling into crust. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until filling is set. Depending on the size of the pie dish I am using I may reduce the # of eggs and milk. 
A good hint is to put your other fillings in the crust and pull out the oven rack and place the pie dish on the rack and then pour in the egg and milk mixture into the crust. Less chance for spillage.

The Eggplant Parmigiana Battle: Campania vs Puglia

Thank you, Lenore, for dropping off these beautiful eggplants. I opened La Cucina The Regional Cooking of Italy to find an authentic Eggplant Parmigiana recipe. I found 2 recipes. One from the Campania and another from Puglia. The difference in the two is the Campania recipe does not coat the sliced eggplant in flour and egg. I decided to try both so we could decide which we liked better.

I put both on our pizza tonight. Along with the usual sauce, homemade Marinara, Mozzarella, Parmesan and a little Ricotta Cheese.

Which side did we prefer? 
We devoured both sides.

Eggplant Parmigiana - Campania

2 lbs eggplant (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 lbs tomato puree
1 bunch fresh basil
5 oz mozzarella
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Trim the ends of the eggplants, peel them and slice them. Salt them and set them aside for half an hour to lose their bitter taste; rinse and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomato puree, salt, and a few basil leaves, then cook down at very low heat until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan, cook the eggplant slices a few at a time and drain well.
Pour some tomato sauce into the baking and cover it with a layer of the fried eggplant slices along with some mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with more sauce and make another layer of eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ending with a layer of tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is crisp. Serve at room temperature.

Eggplant Parmigiana - Puglia

1 lb eggplant (about 2medium)
olive oil
flour for dredging
2 eggs, beaten
1.2 cups tomato puree (I used Marinara Sauce)
3/4 cup mozzarella
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Peel the eggplants, cut them lengthwise in thin slices, then salt and drain for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a high-sided pan.
Dip the eggplant slices in flour and egg and fry until golden on both sides.
Cover bottom of an ovenproof pan with tomato puree and cover this with a layer of fried eggplant.
add mozzarella, more sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, then make another layer of eggplant. Continue the layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of tomato puree and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the top is golden brown about 20 minutes.

Gnocchi with Eggplant Balls and Vodka Sauce

I was so happy when I opened the freezer and found a container of Vodka Sauce and a container of Eggplant Meatballs. As much as I love 3 day weekends, the 4 day work week is a challenge.

The Vodka Sauce was made without cream. Not because I don't like the cream but I did not have any in the fridge when I made this.

28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c chopped onions
2 tbsp olive oil
6oz vodka
1 c milk
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
up to 1/2 c parmesan cheese (freshly grated, optional)

Heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and cook to translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and stir into onions until softened a bit. Add can of crushed tomatoes and stir into onion-paste well. Stir in vodka and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes so alcohol can cook down. Stir in up to 1 cup of milk until thinned and light enough to your preference. Add freshly grated parmesan for a little extra kick.

The Eggplant Balls recipe is from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook. I think the next time I make these I may fry them. These got surprisingly good reviews from Chris. (Eggplant is not one of his favorites!)

Ingredients -
1/4 cup olive
2 large eggplants, peeled and diced
2 tbsp water
2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
4 oz shredded mozzarella
4 eggs, lightly beaten, I would start with 3 eggs and then add the 4th if mixture seems dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour for rolling the eggplant balls

Method - 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced eggplant and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the heat and turn into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, basil, mozzarella, eggs (see note above about number of eggs to use), Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.

Form the mixture into meatball size balls. Gently roll each ball in the flour to coat evenly.
Bake in a preheated 350-degrees oven about 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.

If It's Sunday...

Have our dinners become too predictable? Yes it is Sunday and yes we are having pizza. But not just any pizza. A leftovers pizza. We had an extra pork chop that no one ate last night and those peppers and onions could not be wasted. Yes I even put the leftover zucchini on the pie. It was delicious! We ate almost the whole thing!

Pork Rib Chops with Peppers

An easy dinner tonight. The recipe is from the Martha Stewart site. Pork Rib Chops with Sweet Peppers. The meat was moist and the peppers and onions just melted together. We will have this recipe again. The recipe is a perfect under 30 minute meal for a weeknight dinner.

4 bone-in pork rib chops (each about 8 ounces and about 1/2 inch thick)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound sweet peppers (3 or 4), such as red and yellow bell peppers, stems and ribs discarded, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings

1 medium red onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 sprigs fresh basil, plus small basil leaves, for garnish

1/4 cup cider vinegar

Season chops with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper total. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chops, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook peppers, onion, and basil, gently stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and turn golden in places, about 7 minutes.

Return chops along with any accumulated juices on plate to skillet, placing them on top of vegetables.

Add vinegar, cover, and cook until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops (do not touch bone) reaches 145 degrees, about 3 minutes.

Discard basil sprigs and divide chops and vegetables evenly among 4 plates. Garnish with basil leaves.

Black Eyed Peas, Pork, and Eggs

Thank you Lenore for the Black Eyed Peas!!! 

I can not tell you how happy I was eating dinner tonight.  We had Pork Chops the other night and there were leftovers. I had boiled the Black Eyed Peas and froze them when my sister gave them to me. Tonight I took the defrosted Black Eyed Peas and sauteed them in some olive oil and added the chopped up pork. Seasoned with the usual salt, pepper, crushed red pepper. In other pan I fried up the eggs. Oh this was so good! And the best part is I still have more Black Eyed Peas in the freezer!!

An Open Faced Calzone

This was just supposed to be a pizza but then I added some ricotta and realized it was more like a calzone than a pizza. I used up the left over Sausage and Peppers. And added some of my sister's tomatoes. A little bacon, some basil and cheeses and voila! A darn good dinner. It was more of a fork and knife pizza than usual but the flavors were spot on! Did I hear someone say this was delicious? I am sure I did!

The Taste of Summer

I love steak cooked on the grill.  This steak was grilled perfectly! The corn was from Cole's Farm Stand. It is the best corn in our area. The tomato salad was a combination of tomatoes from my sister's garden and some from my friend Kelly's garden. Both of these gardens have produced lots of veggies. More of their vegetables will be featured throughout the week. 

The tomato salad was simple. Tomatoes, some cucumber, olives, fresh Mozzarella, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, olive oil and champagne vinegar. Light and refreshing. 

Vegetable and Chicken Chow Mein

When I was little my Mom occasionally tried Chinese recipes. That is when the La Choy products starting showing up on the grocery shelves. My Mom's Chinese dinners were good but they always tasted Italian. Tonight's recipe is from Food & Wine and the flavors were not Italian. They were pretty close to take out. I had some leftover chicken from yesterday's roast chicken which I added to the dish. For veggies, I picked up some bok choy and my sister gave us some zucchini. I followed the recipe below, but of course, did not add garlic. This was a hit.

Vegetable Chow Mein, from Food & Wine (with my changes) -

8 ounces yellow Chinese egg noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 medium bell pepper, seeded and sliced

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse under cold water, drain and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and water. Set aside.
Heat the oil over high heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, and ginger. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the garlic and onions are soft and fragrant.
Stir in carrot, zucchini and bell peppers. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the noodles and sauce mixture. Toss everything together until combined and heated through about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Our First Margherita Pizza

I have never made a Margherita Pizza until tonight. When your husband brings home the most delicious tomatoes from Coles Farm and your basil plant is busting with leaves what else can you do? I stopped at Bishop's for some fresh mozzarella and headed home. I took pizza dough out of the freezer this morning. I believe I could have eaten the whole pie myself. Just ask my friend Heidi about my college days, it can be done. I was an adult about this and only had 3, okay maybe 4 pieces. The tomatoes are the best ever!!!

Fried Dinner

Another under 30 minute one pan meal. This a quick thrown together variation of a recipe from Bon Appetit which I would have made but I was missing an ingredient.

To a saute pan with heated olive oil add sliced Italian bread. Cook until both sides are browned. Remove the bread to a serving dish. Add more olive oil to the pan and add chopped Swiss Chard, obviously rinsed and de-stemmed. Cook that down until it wilts. You can add about a 1/4 cup of water and cover the pan for a few minutes. Uncover the pan and add a small drained can of chickpeas and saute for a couple of minutes. Uncover the pan and add one or two sliced hot dogs. Cook until the hot dogs have crispy edges. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Put this mixture on top of the bread on the serving dish. Add a bit of butter to the pan and fry a couple of eggs. Place the eggs on top of the chard mixture and dig in.

Unstuffed Zucchini Pie

This started off as Stuffed Round Zucchini. I thought it would be cute, perfect for Instagram, and a tasty meal. But then I rethought the idea. I decided to not stuff it but make the dish into a pie.

Easy prep work. I cut the zucchini as if it was an apple being sliced for a pie. I sauteed chopped onions and then added the meat, cooking it through. I chopped up some of the slices of the zucchini and added that to the pan. Seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, basil, and some parmesan cheese. I put that aside and wiped out the pan. Adding more oil to the pan I sauteed the zucchini slices.

The meat mixture went into a pie dish and it topped the filling with the zucchini and a sprinkling of cheese. Into a 375˚ oven for 20 minutes. Delicious!

Pasta cresciuta con zucchine

I saw this recipe on the Memorie di Angelina site. I made half the recipe. If I had made the whole recipe we would have eaten all of them. Visit the Memorie di Angelina site and try this recipe. You will be so happy you did!

Frozen Vodka Gimlet Pie

This is as good as it sounds. Wow! I do like Vodka Gimlets but this is a whole different ball game. I made individual pies. Six in total. Next time I will make one large pie.

Frozen Vodka Gimlet Pie

6 Graham Cracker pre-made pie shells

1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. kosher salt. divided

3 1/2 tbsp chilled heavy cream

3 limes, zest removed and put aside

7-oz. sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 Tbsp. vodka

Whisk heavy cream in a medium bowl until cream begins to thicken to the point you see ripples and stiff peaks begin to form, 3–5 minutes.

Cut 3 limes in half and juice into a fine-mesh sieve set over a glass measuring cup (you should have about 1/4 cup juice). Pour lime juice into another medium bowl and whisk in 7 oz. condensed milk, 1 1/2 Tbsp. vodka, and 1/8 tsp. salt until smooth.

Fold half of the whipped cream into lime juice mixture, carefully folding under and over while turning the bowl. Add remaining whipped cream and continue to fold until no streaks remain.

Pour in filling. Gently spread filling to edge of crust.

Sprinkle the lime zest over the pie.

Freeze pie at least 8 hours, or preferably overnight.

This is a variation of a Frozen Margarita Pie found on Bon Appetit. I just prefer this one!