Monday, November 25, 2013

A Most Amazing Soup

Escarole, Chorizo, Chicken and Cannellini Bean Soup. When I finished making this soup I smiled. It looked good and it tasted even better then it looked. I love making meals like this.
I sauteed chopped onion, carrot and celery in a pan with olive oil. When the vegetables were soft I added the washed and chopped escarole. I let the escarole wilt a bit and then added chicken broth, chorizo and chicken (the chicken was from the broth I made in September and had in the freezer). Next I added the rinsed beans and seasoned the pan with salt, pepper and thyme. I let it all simmer and then I squeezed 1/2 a lemon into the pan. It was light and had a fresh taste to it. Perfect for a very cold November night.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Osso Bucco and the Day of the Acorn Squash

It was so darn cold out today. And the winds made it a perfect day for a braised beef dish for dinner.
The recipe for Osso Bucco is from Twice Baked Twins. It was so delicious I ate my whole piece including the marrow.

Osso Bucco, from Twice Baked Twins 

Ingredients -
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 dry bay leaf
2 whole cloves
3 shanks , veal or beef
sea salt & pepper
all purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock

Method -
Tie together the rosemary, thyme & bay leaf with twine, set aside. This will be the herb bouquet. For the shanks, pat dry with paper towels, they will brown better if they are dry. Season each piece with salt & pepper and dredge into the flour and shake off the excess. In a large pot, heat the oil and butter until very hot and brown the shanks on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove shanks & set aside. In this same pot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and mix well. Return the shanks to the pot and add the wine and reduce the liquid by about half, about 5 minutes. add the bouquet and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover pan. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat falls off the bone. Keep checking and turning shanks every 15 minutes or so. You can add a little more stock if needed. The cooking liquid should always be 3/4 of the way on the shank. When done remove the bouquet and remove shanks. At this point you can blend the sauce and vegetable with a hand blender. Taste and re-season.

Now about that Acorn Squash. I stopped at Whole Foods the other night to pick up some things and to get the Acorn Squash for the dish I am bringing to my sister's house on Thanksgiving. The squash were a little larger than I was looking for but I picked 8 of them anyway. On the way home the same night I stopped at Bishop's Orchard for some escarole, the escarole at Whole Foods was just awful, and of course they had the size Acorn Squash that I was looking for. Now I have a few too many squash.
I roasted the ones I was not going to bring to my sister's house and ended up with four 2 cup bags of puree, 2 halves of a squash filled with Pearl Barley, Dried Cherries and Pecans, and a small dish of Acorn Squash Lasagna.
All of these went in the freezer.

And being a Sunday some of us took a cat nap...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chorizo & Spinach with Pappardelle

Tonight's dinner came together really fast. I cut Chorizo sausage into 1/4 cubes. Sauteed the cubes in a little olive oil until the edges just started to crisp up. I added fresh spinach,  a knob of butter (that's about 2 tablespoons) and some white wine.  How much... I think it was about a 1/2 cup. I let the wine simmer for about 5 minutes. And I added some sliced grape tomatoes to the pan.

Meanwhile the Pappardelle were cooking in a pan of boiling salted water. When they were just about done I added them to the saute pan along with about a 1/4 cup of pasta water. All the ingredients were stirred together and the pasta finish cooking.

This dinner was very good. The Chorizo had just enough spice and the noodles were a perfect match for the sauce. A glass of red wine and some bread were all that was needed.

Today would have been my Dad's birthday, 97th birthday.
 I am sure they have vanilla ice cream in heaven... just not sure about Coco Puffs.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cinghiale in Umido

Happy Birthday Chris! For this birthday dinner I pulled out all the stops. I ordered a Boar Roast from the Meat Shop. I got a 1 3/4 pound roast. Price - $35. Other than the Christmas roast this was the most I spent on meat for one meal. But just put the cost out of your mind because it was so amazingly delicious. Chris has requested this to be on our weekly menu, I hope he was kidding...

The recipe, Cinghiale in Umido (Braised Wild Boar) was supplied by my brother-in-law, Ralph, who also gave us a bottle of wine to go with dinner. The recipe is by Lidia Bastianich. Her recipe serves 8 so I cut it in half, I should have made the whole thing!

Ingredients -
3 1/2 pound boneless boar roast
salt and pepper to taste, plus 1/2 tsp of each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 olive oil
6 oz pancetta cut into 1-inch cubes (1 1/4 cups)
1 large yellow onion, diced, (1 1/2 cups)
2 large carrots, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
4 stalks celery, diced (1 1/2 cups)
6 whole garlic cloves (I did use the garlic!!!)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 bottle Chianti or other hearty red wine (this is not what we drank with dinner)
1 28 oz can peeled Italian whole plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
2 cups chicken stock

Method -
Preheat oven to 350˚.

To prepare the roast, dry the meat and season well with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a large shallow plate and turn the meat in the flour to coat lightly, shaking off the excess.

In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil (enough to fully cover the base of the pot) over medium high flame until the oil is shimmering but not yet smoking. Add the meat and brown deeply on all sides, allowing the pieces to sit on each side long enough to develop a thick brown crust. There will be considerable splattering of oil during this process, so use caution. The total browning time should about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the other 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet or saute pan over medium-low flame. Add the diced pancetta and saute about 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic cloves, rosemary and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to the pot, increasing the heat to medium high and saute about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are soft and almost mushy. Remove the mixture from the pot and set it aside.
When the meat is finished browning, begin to add the wine one cup at a time. It will splatter and hiss, which is good – you want the alcohol to burn off. Bring the wine to a full boil around the browning meat. Boil for 5 minutes, then add the sauteed vegetables and the reserved pancetta. Pour in the can of tomatoes, the 2 cups of stock and 2 cups of water.

Remove the stock pot from the stove top, cover it with aluminum foil, and place it on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Simmer for 3 hours, until the liquid had reduced and the meat is literally falling off the bone. The mixture should be thick and gelatinous.

Remove from the oven and carefully remove the meat, using two large spoons or spatulas.
Take the remaining liquids and solids in the pot and press them through a fine sieve using the back of a wooden spoon, collecting the liquid in a large bowl. Skim the fat from the surface of the strained liquid. At this point you may either slice the meat and serve it topped the liquid or shred the meat with a knife or by hand and combine it with the liquid to create a thick pasta sauce.
We opted for the pasta sauce. 

The noodles were homemade pappardelle noodles, recipe from Tide and Thyme.

This meal is going to be on this year's top ten list.

And I baked a cake. I made my Mom's Two Egg Cake. I added Chocolate Shots to the batter. The batter is enough for a 9 inch square pan, perfect size for 2 people (and some people at work!).

Mom's Two Egg Cake with Chocolate Shots

Ingredients -
2 eggs
1 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Chocolate Shots

Method -
Blend shortening and sugar. Add eggs, beating well after adding each egg. Add flour to egg mixture and blend well on low speed. Add 1/2 cup chocolate shots. Mix. Pour into a well greased and floured pan. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Bake until tester comes out clean. Cool on rack.

The wine we had with dinner was Castelgreve Chianti Classico Riserva 2009. Perfect match to tonight's dinner.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Butternut Squash Ribbons & Pancetta with Spinach Tagliatelle

You have all visited the Proud Italian blog haven't you? Don't worry I will wait while you visit....

Okay it is an amazing blog. The photos are drool inducing. I wish I lived next door to the writer. But I do not so I just make her recipes. Tonight I made Butternut Squash Ribbons with Spinach Tagliatelle. But I made a couple of changes in the recipe. Chris is not a mushroom fan so I substituted zucchini. And I added pancetta. Yeah that was a nice addition. I picked up pancetta at the Meat House, more on that later in the week. I had it sliced into 1/2 inch slabs. I diced one of the slabs and fried it up. Nice and crisp! Then I cleaned the pan and sauteed the zucchini in a little olive oil, seasoning it with salt and pepper. I made the cream sauce following the recipe and added the squash and other ingredients at the end. Gosh this was so good. Not heavy at all. And did I mention how good the pancetta cubes were?
Here is my version of the recipe but if you want the original version, Click Here.

Ingredients -
12 oz. spinach tagliatelle
butternut squash ribbons created from the neck only of a butternut squash
1 cup of sauteed zucchini
1/3 cup cream or half and half
1/3 cup of stock, chicken or vegetable
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
parsley for garnish
olive oil

Method -
Cut the top off of a long neck medium sized butternut squash, peel skin off then make long ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Turn as you peel. Toss into a bowl and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper all over then place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 375 to 400 until edges start to curl, keep watching as to not burn. Set aside.
Cook tagliatelle al dente.
In a saute pan drizzle olive oil. Pour in the cream, stock and cheese, cook until slightly thickens.
Add the zucchini and gently toss everything together and place on a platter adding more grated cheese, a nice drizzle of olive oil and fresh parsley for garnish.

While dinner was cooking we had some munchies. I picked up some bacon wrapped jalepeno poppers, what's not to like about that! And some cheese. English Cheddar Cheese with Mustard and Ale. Yum!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Frittata Sandwiches

Homemade Foccaccia and a Frittata consisting of zucchini, yellow squash, onion, Italian frying peppers and bacon. Perfect meal after a very crowded commute.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chicken Cutlets and a Thanksgiving Sneak Preview

If you are reading this and will be eating at my sister's house on Thanksgiving - SPOILER ALERT!!!

Tonight I did a test run with what I will be bringing to dinner. Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Apples and Leeks from Food and Wine. Just need to adjust the seasonings a bit but it should be a perfect side dish!
And we had Chicken Cutlets that I had in the freezer.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stuffed Artichokes and Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Yeah I know it is an odd combo. I saw the artichokes on sale and had to make them. The soup was already planned for tonight's dinner.
The stuffing for the artichokes is similar to what my mom used except I did not use mushrooms. I sauteed diced carrots and onions and the artichoke stems. I mixed breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan cheese, olives, olive oil, salt and pepper and added the sauteed vegetables. Not bad but not as good as Mom's. This will require more practice. And more stuffing. There was just not enough. I was reading a recipe by Lidia and it suggested baking them. My mom put them in a pan with water and steamed them. Next time...

The soup recipe comes from It was quite different from anything I have tried before. A slurry? Isn't that from the 5th Dimension song Stoned Soul Picnic? Oh sorry that was surry down!

It did taste just like chicken pot pie... but I did miss the crust!

My version of Chicken Pot Pie Soup, from

Ingredients -
2 tbsp flour (to make gluten-free use 2 tbsp cornstarch instead)
1 cups water
2 cups fat free milk
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/2 medium chopped onion
1 carrot chopped
1 chicken bouillon
fresh ground pepper
pinch of thyme
10 oz frozen classic mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn)
1 potatoes, peeled and cubed small
8 oz cooked rotisserie chicken, diced small

Method -
Create a slurry by combining 1/2 cup of the cold water with flour in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.

Pour remaining water and milk into a large pot and slowly bring to a boil. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, chicken bouillon, thyme, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables and return to a boil. Partially cover and simmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove lid, add potatoes and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, and slowly whisk in slurry, stirring well as you add. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until soup thickens, adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve. We did a cup of water the the broth to thin it out a little.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sausages with Pan Cooked Chutney & Leek Mash

From we have Sausages with Pan Cooked Chutney & Leek Mash. I was hesitant about the chutney but it was very good. I used Chicken Sausage with Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Cheese. This was a very delicious dinner. The leeks in the mashed potatoes was a nice touch. And I liked the fried sage leaves too!

Ingredients -
1 kg potatoes, peeled and halved
olive oil
2 leeks, sliced and washed
200 ml milk
extra virgin olive oil, leaves picked
1 sprig fresh sage, leaves picked
2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
1 good handful fresh or frozen (and thawed) cranberries
2.5 cm piece cinnamon stick
5 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 Chicken Sausage with Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Cheese

Method -
Cook the potatoes in simmering water for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain, cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, add a lug of oil to another saucepan and add the leeks. Sweat gently for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the milk and bring to the boil then turn the heat off and add to the potatoes. Mash well and season to taste. Cover and set aside.

Preheat the grill to medium. Add a splash of oil to a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the sage leaves until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add some more oil to the pan and saute the onions for 5 minutes, then add the cranberries, cinnamon and a splash of water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring, until the onions are soft and the chutney has reduced. Add the ginger and vinegar and cook for 30 seconds. Season, then remove the cinnamon stick.

Meanwhile, pop the sausages under the grill for 15 minutes, turning, until cooked. Serve with the mash, chutney and sage leaves. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Beef Rolls Roman-Style

Tonight's main dish is from La Cucina, the Regional Cooking of Italy. Involtina Alla Romana, Beef Rolls Roman-Style. It looks like a lot on the plate. I used Sandwich Steaks so the meat was sliced nice and thin. It was quite good with the sauce from the pan. Page 590 for those of you who have the book! 

Involtina Alla Romana, Beef Rolls Roman-Style.

Ingredients -
8 slices lean beef top or bottom round about 3 oz each
8 sliced prosciutto
2 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch matchsticks 
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper 

Method -
Pound flat the slices of beef and salt and pepper them. Remove the fat prosciutto and set aside. Place one slice of prosciutto on each sliced of beef. Top each with 3 strips of celery and 3 strips of carrots.  

Roll up the beef slices,  being careful not to lose the contents, and tie closed with kitchen twine, which must be later be removed before serving. Toothpicks can also be used.

In a saute pan combine olive oil and the reserved prosciutto fat and onion. Place over medium-high heat and cook until the onion is golden. Add the beef rolls and cook at high heat for 1 or 2 minutes. 

Pour in the wine and when the wine has evaporated add the tomatoes. Cook over low heat to keep the sauce from thickening; if it cooks down too much add 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, repeating this if necessary. When the rolls and filling have cooked, about 20 minutes, adjust for salt and serve hot.

I found Baby Brussel Sprouts! Roasted them in olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

Notice the pasta? Homemade and served with Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce. Four, that's right four ingredients. And it was an amazing sauce!

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

Ingredients -
2 cups tomatoes, with their juices (for example, a 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
5 tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled and cut in half

Method -
Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.

Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.

Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Italian Beef Stew

I love this time of year. It is comfort food time. A big pot of beef stew. Some bread. A glass of wine. Yes that is comfort. This was a new stew recipe that I tried from Cooking Light. Instead of the mushrooms I added red peppers. Nice flavors and the meat was so tender.

My version of Italian Beef Stew, from

7 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry red wine
3 3/4 cups chopped seeded peeled plum tomato (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
I sliced red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion and chopped carrot; sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Add half of beef to pan; sauté 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure.
Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 5 minutes). Return meat and the onion mixture to pan. Add tomato and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, and stir in sliced pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil, and parsley.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup and Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Galette

It was 28 degrees out this morning. Soup is on. Chicken Noodle tonight. I have been reading recipes that say to squeeze a lemon over the soup before serving. Forgot to try it tonight but will make a note for the next time.
This Galette was amazing. It was so light, the crust was perfect! The filling was a little sweet from the apples but then the goat cheese and shallots brought it back around to savory. Click here for the recipe.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Meatloaf and Roasted Zucchini

But first there was breakfast - Cinnamon Chip Scones

And Egg and Cheese Sandwiches on No Knead Wheat Bread

Now on to dinner. Meatloaf, my secret recipe. Heck no real secret. Ground beef, ketchup, mustard, horseradish sauce, Worcester sauce, sauteed diced onions and carrots, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, parsley. Sorry I don't measure!

The Zucchini was a new recipe that I found. Grrr, I can not find where this recipe is from. When I do I will update this post. But this is my new favorite way to prepare zucchini. The zucchini is cut in half and then into 3 inch pieces. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and Parmesan cheese. Bake 400˚ for 15 minutes on lower oven shelf then move to top shelf for 15 minutes. The outside is just a little crispy and the inside melts in you mouth.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Steak Pizzaiola and Butternut Squash Ravioli

Where did the week go? We had a little health issue with Archie. Poor guy. I brought him to the vet on Thursday, Halloween. I don't think I told them he wanted to be a poodle for Halloween.
Dinner tonight was pretty good. The Steak Pizzaiola was prepared using my mom's recipe. Two Rib Eye Steaks, topped with diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, basil and olive oil. Baked for 25 minutes at 400˚. And yes you need Italian bread because the sauce is quite good.

Now about the Ravioli... The recipe for the stuffing was from Food52. The pasta recipe was from Tide and Thyme. I tried making the cappellacci following the directions on Food52. Perhaps if I had started earlier in the day to make them but they were too time consuming.
I remembered I had a Ravioli Maker! Much faster production using the ravioli maker.

And the recipe for the stuffing makes quite a bit. What to do with the extra? I rolled out some pasta and made a small casserole! Looks like lunch. 

And I still had extra pasta dough so I made noodles which I can pop those in the freezer for another day.
 Hope everyone had a lovely fall Saturday and don't forget to turn your clock back!