Friday, July 31, 2009

Salsa All'amatriciana with Rigatoni

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis.

2 tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. pancetta, diced

pinch of crushed red pepper

28 oz. tomato puree

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Romano Cheese

Heat oil over medium flame. Add Pancetta and onion, and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add red pepper flakes. Stir in Tomato Puree and salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and serve with you choice of pasta. We had rigatoni.

My husband actually made this meal. And he did a marvelous job. It was delicious and a little spicy but not a heavy sauce. Had the organic wine, Ladybug Red, with dinner.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nothing like a home cooked meal or two.

Monday night was a welcome home meal. Beef Kebobs with the beef marinated in soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard and oil. My husband picked up some Orzo Salad and I added some extra feta cheese and some stuffed grape leaves to it.

Now for this evening's dinner. The first night I posted a blog was when I had finished baking the Easter Meat Pies. Well I had put one of them in the freezer and tonight we had that with a garden salad. Having Meat Pie in July is one of the best reasons for baking.


Okay not ketchup but still need to cover the rest of the trip. Saturday was a day of shopping at the Towne Center at Boca Raton, a very nice mall. For lunch we ate at Bloomingdale's Petrossian Rendez-vous Cafe. I had a chicken salad with poached pears and candied walnuts (I love those!). The salad was served with a strawberry vinaigrette.

For a late dinner we had brushettta with the topping that my niece had made. We picked up some cheese and crackers and a bottle of Little Black Dress wine, seemed like a nice choice after a day of shopping. Nice chocolate and cherry aroma.

Sunday night, was dinner at South Port Raw Bar. A neighborhood type restaurant. Good apps, Bimini Loaf and Conch Fritters. Dinner was a delicious grilled white fish.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I love being on vacation...

So I was in Ft. Lauderdale visiting my niece, who has become quite the foodie. On Friday we had lunch at her house. The description is in the last entry. Here are the accompanying photos.

Friday night was dinner at Taverna opa. What a fun meal.
We started with drinks. I had a Cosmo, my niece had the Mojito and my sister had the Vodka Gimlet. For appetizers we tried the Stuffed Grape Leaves, the Spanikopita and Fried Smelts. I had not had Smelts since the last Christmas Eve dinner my mom made in the early 90's. For dinner I had the Red Snapper with Citrus White Wine Vinaigrette. What a delicious meal. I didn't even mention the belly dancer...

To be continued...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ft. Lauderdale!

That's right I am visiting my niece in sunny and thankfully hot Florida!
She made a great lunch of bruschetta's with 2 different toppings. One was olive paste (homemade), tuna and artichoke hearts and the other was a Caprese. She made a fruit salad with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with a dressing of mint, basil and homemade limoncello! Everything looked so nice. Photos will be posted at a later date.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kielbasa and Pretty Peppers

My husband made dinner tonight. Sautéed orange, red, yellow peppers and shallots with kielbasa and a side of rice. The peppers were so bright and colorful. A little mustard and we were enjoying a good meal on a rainy night.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Green Beans Part 3

Part One was the steamed green beans with dinner of Saturday night. Part 2 was last night. I made a Potato and Green Bean Salad to go with our Turkey Burgers. And tonight is one of my favorite dishes that my mom use to make. Marinara Sauce, Green Beans (which were steamed last night) and Poached Eggs.

You can use what ever type of marinara you have on hand. I had some in the freezer. I added the beans and heated it to a near boil. Dropped the eggs in one at a time. Covered the pan and reduced the heat to medium low. The eggs poach in the sauce and they took about 10 minutes.

Yesterday I made a stuffed bread out of whole wheat pizza dough and filled it with Prosciuotto, sautéed Zucchini, Provolone and Fontina cheese. It was prefect for dunking in the sauce.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another nice meal you've gotten me into...

Saturday, July 19, 2009That is what Ollie meant to say to Stan in the Laurel and Hardy films. Well it was a nice meal. A perfectly cooked porterhouse steak, as much as I prefer veggies I do enjoy a good steak. We made Grilled Herb Shrimp to accompany the steak. I got the recipe from Tomatoes on the Vine blog. The marinade was wonderful. For a vegetable we had Pete's Green Beans! This is the same person who supplied me with all that fantastic broccoli rabe a few months ago. The beans were steamed and served with a little butter and salt and pepper. We kept the prep easy by using Kohinoor Rice Treat - Steamed Basmati Rice as a starch. And we had a bottle of Salento Rosso Notarpanaro 2000.

Friday, July 17, 2009

One word: Zhang's

Appetizers - Scallion Pancakes, Crab Rangoon and Shrimp and Cucumber Rolls.
Dinner was Ma Po Tofu, which is tofu, peas and scallions in a spicy sauce. It is my new favorite dish at Zhang's. There is a large black cat sitting between me and the keyboard making this blog post impossible to continue...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grilled Balsamic Chicken

My husband was home first and made a delicious meal. I took chicken out of the freezer this morning and when I walked in to the house tonight I was greated by a dish with roasted corn, grilled onion, red peppers and Grilled Balsamic Chicken. The chicken was marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. We had an organic red wine, Ladybug Red, which was the first "organic" wine we had tried and it was quite good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Wow this is good"

And yes it was good. Not sure what to call this dish. It started out as a Sausage, Fontina and Bell Pepper Strata from the June Bon Appetit. As I was making this I was also preparing to make Baked Macaroni. As I stared at the pasta boiling I thought why not just combine the two dishes. My husband was very happy that I did. The Fontina cheese made it gooey and the flavor from the scallions was a nice addition. Obviously I did not use the bread the Bon Appetit recipe called for. Here is what I did -

large eggs
1 1/2
cups whole milk
cups sliced green onions
1/4 cup finely grated Romano cheese
tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
teaspoon salt
pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, cut into
1/2-inch wide-strips
1/2 Pasta, elbows or shells, cooked according to package directions
1 cups (loosely packed) coarsely grated Fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter ceramic or glass loaf baking dish. Whisk first 6 ingredients in large bowl; sprinkle generously with pepper. Set aside. Place sausage in large nonstick skillet; push to 1 side. Add bell pepper to other side of skillet. Sauté over high heat, breaking up sausage with fork, until sausage is cooked through and bell peppers are brown in spots, about 7 minutes.
Arrange half of pasta in prepared dish. Pour half of egg mixture over. Sprinkle with half of cheese, then half of sausage-pepper mixture. Repeat layering. Bake 45 minutes to an hour.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicken Triangles and Salad

So I had this ground chicken. I had no idea what to do with it. Someone at work brought in the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. I found this recipe for Chicken Triangles. Pretty easy to make and very tasty.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound ground chicken

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
4 sliced scallions
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
3 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Phyllo Layers -
1 pound phyllo, thawed

olive oil, for brushing the phyllo

salt and black pepper

For filling:
1. Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix the feta, egg, scallions, olives, mint, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne together in a large bowl. Stir in the drained chicken. (Filling can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 24 hours.)
3. For Phyllo Layers: Adjust 2 oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap and unfold the phyllo and carefully smooth it with your hands to flatten. Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap, then a damp kitchen towel. Brush a phyllo sheet with oil, season with salt and pepper, then top it with a second sheet and oil that sheet as well. Cut the sheets length-wise to make two 4 1/2 inch strips.
4. Place a generous tablespoon of filling on the bottom left-hand corner of each strip. Fold up the phyllo to form a right-angle triangle. Continue folding up and over, as if folding a flag, to the end of the strip. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo and remaining filling, arranging the triangles, seam-side down, over 2 parchment-lined baking sheets as you work.
5. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My husband made the delicious salad. And I got some squash flowers from someone at work. Got in too late tonight to to anything with them, so we added them to our salad. Perfect.

How about lunch?

A wrap made with grilled eggplant, goat cheese and tofu. Seasoned with salt, pepper and my favorite herb - thyme. Unsweetened ice tea to drink. Simple and fresh.

Oh by the way the tomato in the background of the photo is from that plant I picked up in May at the Farmer's Market.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vegetable Frittatta

Last week I went to see Star Trek (the best movie I have seen in a while... since Wrath of Khan!) and the theater was near the cooking store. How convenient. Anyway I picked up a new Frittatta pan. It is great! I made a frittatta with zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper, onion, potato, fresh parsley and thyme. For the cheese I used fresh mozzarella and ricotta salata. Added squash flowers on top. It was quite good. We made wrap sandwiches out of it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Made a salad of quinoa to go with dinner tonight. Greek Quinoa Salad with Feta. I loved it. Quinoa is really easy to prepare and it is so cool looking after it is cooked. Little pellets. So cute! I forgot to add the olives :( and added ricotta salata instead of the feta cheese. I ate more to this than the boneless ribs we made on the grill. Found a site that gives a nice history of Quinoa, All About Quinoa.

For lunch today I had a wrap made from some meat my neighbor Kim made last night. It was so good. I asked her if for the recipe and she sent it over. I had it with some lettuce and American cheese.
Here is her recipe -

one really big slab of beef brisket(or 2 smaller ones)
4-5 big onions
1 jar of chili sauce(any) 1 jar barbeque sauce 1/2 cup honey

slice onions horizontally..lay on bottom of glass or nonstick pan
lay brisket on top of onions(fat side up)

mix sauce ingredients...pour on top of brisket

Cover...very tightly with foil..

cook on 350 for 4 hours

cut off fat from top..use sauce in pan

Thanks Kim!

Also yesterday I made Blueberry Sunshine
Scones from the My Little Space blog. I did not have self rising flour so I added a tablespoon of baking powder to the all purpose flour. Very nice scones.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Farmer's Market Friday

Went to the Madison Farmer's Market today. Picked up lot of good stuff. For tonight's dinner I picked up some sugar snap peas. So looking to the June issue of Bon Appetit I found Orecchiette with Carmalized Onions, Sugar Snap Peas and Ricotta cheese. The lemon was a little overwhelming, might cut back on the amount the next time around. Had it with a bottle of Clos du Bois, 2005. Went to Costco yesterday, nice wine selection. Also had some bread from Wave Hills Bread. It is just the best bread ever!

By the sea... actually by the sound...

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Dinner at The Wharf restaurant in Madison. We had a wonderful view of Long Island Sound with the boats and the beach and it was not raining!

We started off with Goat Cheese and Vidalia Onion Tart which was filled with Caramelized Vidalia Onions, Goat Cheese and Herbs Served with Baby Arugula salad. The top part of the crust was nice and flaky but the bottom was soaked by the dressing from the salad. The dressing was good but would have preferred in not soak the bottom of the tart crust. I am just picky about crust. Also had the Lobster and Shrimp Cocktail. It was 1/2 of a 3/4 pound lobster with the body filled with cole slaw (wow that was good cole slaw) and 3 jumbo shrimp. It looked good and was so delicious.

For dinner I had the Pan Seared Organic Salmon in a Citrus Beurre Blanc Sauce. I liked that the sauce was served on the side. The salmon was perfect. My husband had the Pan Seared Sea Scallops in the Black Peppercorn Sauce. The scallops were also perfect.

Even had dessert. I had to after I saw the Key LIme Pie on the menu. It was so light and fluffy I am sure it did not contain a lot of calories...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More from Simple Italian Snacks

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Spiedini of Meatballs, Onions and Sage and Prosciutto and Melon with Spiced Olive Oil. This was one of the "Wow this is good" meals. The meatballs were delicious, and the recipe was easy. *Only thing is the name of the recipe says "Sage" but the recipe ingredients and directions call for "Bay Leaves". Which I used but the whole thing of not trying not to eating the bay leaf was bothering me. I almost eat a bay leaf and it just made me nervous. I think when I make this again I will use the sage leaf instead. Especially if you are feeding a child. Yes this is a worse case scenario for those who know me. I would probably use a sage leaf just to be on the safe side. I am typing the recipe as it appeared in the book. Another option is to add crushed sage to the meatball... yes that's what I would do... Also if you are using bamboo skewers remember to soak them for 10 minutes to prevent burning.

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices of bread)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 small yellow onion, minced (I used a red onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (from my small herb garden)
2 tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch squares
6 dried bay leave, cut into 1/2 inch squares (*see note above)
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine bread crumbs and milk in large bowl. Stir with a fork and let sit for 10 minutes to soften.

Add the minced onion, garlic, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano to the bread-crumb mixture, and stire with a fork to combine. Add the meat, the beaten egg and the salt and pepper. Use a fork to first combine, then use your hands until the mixture is well blended. Roll into 18 1-inch meatballs. Transfer them to a paper- towel-lined tray. (The meatballs can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 day.)

Preheat grill or the broiler to high heat.

To make the spiedini, thread a meatball, followed by a square of onion and a square of bay leaf, onto a skewer. Continue alternating to make 6 skewers with 3 meatballs each. Lightly coat each with olive oil. Grill or broil the skewers for a total of 8 minutes, turning them halfway though.

The Prosciutto and Melon with Spiced Olive Oil was also easy. Of course I had everything in the house but forgot to make the spicy olive oil early in the day... but I had some Chili Pepper Olive Oil I had purchased at the O & CO store at Grand Central Terminal in New York.

And in making this recipe I discovered that I have an Italian cat, Kramer was going nuts over the Prosciutto which is baked in the oven. He tried every thing to get on the counter, fortunately he can not make the jump. At one point he was standing on his back legs with one front paw leaning on the cabinet door. What a funny sight!

Here is my version of the recipe -

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Arrange 3 slices of prosciutto slices in a single layer on foil lined baking sheet. Bake until prosciutto had darkened in color and smells like bacon, 5-8 minutes. Set aside and cool.

When prosciutto is cool enough to handle, crumble it into bits.

Meanwhile, cut seeded 1/2 cantaloupe into 1 inch squares.

Drizzle 1/4 cup of spiced olive oil over the melon cubes in a bowl and toss to coat. You could chill the melon at this point. Sprinkle the melon with prosciutto and garnish with 2 or 3 basil leaves.

Here is a link for this small book that is packed with a lot of good recipes. Simple Italian Snacks, More Recipes from America's Favorite Panini Bar.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Was planning on a dinner by the water but than the rain came. Boring. So quick what do we eat?
I bought hot dogs at the deli yesterday. We had the rolls so...

I made a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad and some fries and it is dinner.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Caesar Salad and Stuff

At the Madison Farmers Market on Friday I saw these croutons and decided a Caesar Salad would be made this week. I usually use the recipe which is very good but than I remembered the recipe from Lidia's Italian American Kitchen cookbook. Now that is really good.

Combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and anchovies in the work bowl of a food processor (the recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic but I did not add these). Blend until smooth adding 1/3 cup olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard, a hard boiled egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste the dressing; if it is too tangy, pour in a splash or two of olive oil and blend until incorporated.

Pour the dressing over the lettuce and than toss the lettuce with a healthy splash of olive oil and a splash of vinegar and toss until all the leaves are coated with the dressing. Lastly add 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

At this point I added some of the grilled chicken that was left over from the other night. I had some pre-cooked bacon, one hard boiled egg, some ricotta salata and the croutons.
Served it with foccacia bread along with a bottle of Da Vinci Chianti and we had a fantastic Monday night meal.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th and 5th of July

Happy July 4th... Made Cookies and Cherry Pocket Pies. I have a weakness for cute baking pans. Williams-Sonoma has these cute pocket pie molds. First, if you have a pastry dough recipe that you are happy with use it. The recipe that came with the mold was not bad but I personally prefer my usual which is from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I have been using this recipe for years and it works. The results were perfect. A small cherry tart. Flaky and fresh.

The cookies were my mom's recipe which I made in a sheet pan. So I had bars instead of cookies. I made the choice of bars instead of cookies because I wanted to get out the kitchen sooner than later. My mom's chocolate cookie recipe it the best I have ever tasted. I worked with someone who's sister's cookies was a good runner up but he no longer works with me so they are a happy memory.

Anyway for dinner I dropped the alphabet idea because I had not put enough thought in to it. So we had Chicken Skewers with Zucchini. I marinated the chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, pepper and oregano. I made Potatoes with 'Ino Pesto and Green Beans from the Simple Italian Snacks book. I added radishes and baby carrots, had a few in the fridge.

July 5th was another winner app, again from the Simple Italian Snacks book, Chickpea and Black Olive Bruschetta. I think this was my favorite Bruschetta of the weekend.

For dinner we had steaks with the leftover Potatoes with 'Ino Pesto and Green Bean from last night. Not a bad weekend.

Friday, July 3, 2009


It is the funniest thing, I was thinking that I should try to make food every day that I am on vacation that starts with a letter in the word VACATION. Well I did not give it much thought and what did I make tonight Vongole! I did not even realize this until we were cleaning up.

Anyway yesterday around 1pm I ordered Simple Italian Snacks at Amazon and I received it today! No special shipping or anything.

Well this book is great. I made 3 recipes from it today. We had as appetizers Bruschetta of Herbed Riccotta with Black Pepper and Bruschetta Alla Romana. For dinner I made Vongole. It took 10 minutes and it was perfect. I picked up Italian bread which was needed to soak up the sauce. The first bruschetta was a really delicious. Just fresh herbs, olive oil and ricotta cheese. The second one was like a caesar salad with anchovies. It called for egg but said if you were hesitant about the eggs just add extra olive oil. That is what I opted for. I could not get over how easy the vongole was. Just heat the tomato, wine, garlic (yes I used garlic) red pepper flakes to boil and add the clams.

So let's see if I make something that starts with the leter A tomorrow... I am doubting that will happen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


A Singapore Sling: from Yahoo Answers- This famous drink was invented in 1903 (some say 1915) by Raffles Hotel bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. There are many variations on this potent potable, but this one seems to be the most authentic. We tested it thoroughly, of course, in the bar at the Raffles, where they serve about 2,000 per day.

• 1/3 cup gin
• 1/8 cup lime juice
• 1/2 cup pineapple juice
• 1/8 cup Cherry Heering or cherry brandy
• 1 drop Angostura Bitters
• 1 dash Bendictine liqueur
• 1 dash Cointreau
• Pineapple wedges and cherries for garnish

I don't usually drink gin. Actually I never drink gin. But this was not bad. Just a wee bit too sweet more me. I don't think I would have another....
This cocktail was followed by dinner at Zhang's. Started with Futo Maki (crab, egg, avocado and cucumber) and Scallions Pancakes. I had Salmon with Black Bean Sauce. Nice and spicy with snow peas and green beans. My husband had the Happy Family. A lot of food which means lots of leftovers.
Did I mention I am on vacation!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mediterranean Roast Beef Pita

"This is really good!" Ah, the sounds of a successful meal. This past weekend I was cruising around the internet and stumbled upon the recipe for Mediterranean Roast Beef Pita. I had everything in the house but the roast beef. So I stopped at Stop and Shop and picked that up and remembered how good the salads looked a Bradley and Wall last night. Made a stop there and got their Summer Pasta Salad and some of the Couscous Salad. They were both worth the extra stop.
The only thing I had trouble with was the toasting of the pine nuts. I would go to shake the pan and they would jump out of the pan. Best part is that I have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow!