Monthly Archives: May 2012

purple beauties!

I was craving eggplant today! Perhaps it was the fact that I was running out of the caponata we had made, or maybe it was the gorgeous bounty that was available at the market? Regardless, it was a mission that would be accomplished today!
So after picking up two hefty, purple beauties it was time to decide on how to prepare them… I could make it as an addition to a summery pasta dish, in a vegetarian stir-fry, or my personal fave… FRIED! Well I think you all know where this is going; no not parm, but definitely something tasty. So I picked up some gorgeous brioche rolls from one of my favorite NYC based purveyors, as well as fresh mozz and roasted red peppers from my local Italian specialty food market!
Once home, it was time to slice, then dip and bread each sliver of eggplant. Into the fridge they all went to set up and then it was eventually time fry these bad boys… Of course some serious QC was required during the cooking process to make certain everything was seasoned wonderfully and absolutely delicious! [think more made it in my belly, than onto the awaiting tray]…
To serve… the brioche roll was opened gently, a slice of fresh mozz, a lettuce leaf, roasted red peppers, and lastly the star… two slices of the eggplant! Sweet from the roasted peppers, creamy thanks to the mozz, crunchy from the lettuce, as well as herbaceous from the breadcrumb.
Why do I see a midnight snack happening later…

at a low simmer…
-R

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my shrimp… my RULES!!

Needed something super-luxurious for dinner tonight. So I thought what would be an amazing, restaurant-style dish I could prepare… Then it hit me, grilled shrimp with a super sexy, spicy red pepper aioli dipping sauce!
For the shrimp, easy enough… salt, olive oil and crushed red pepper. The aioli… well that’s another story! Whirled in the food processor was roasted red pepper, asian chili paste, red wine vinegar, garlic, egg yolks, salt and to bring it all together some canola oil! This dressing is thick, velvety and packs some serious flavor and heat…
I tossed the shrimp onto the grill plate and cooked till perfectly done [no rubbery shrimps here!]. Once ready to eat, they were served up alongside the aioli, which presented a smokey and spicy flavor. Here’s a great alternative to boring shrimp cocktail! Dip, dip, away!!

***As a side note, this aioli is a wonderful dip for crisp greens, as well as for tossing crispy oven roasted potatoes or even tempura battered shrimp or onion!

at a low simmer…
-R

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light and delicious!!

To take a healthier approach to dinner, after a weekend of devouring everything in sight, I decided on grilled chicken marinated in garlic and olive oil. I sliced and rested the chicken on a bed of bitter radicchio, tossed with sliced olives, garbanzo beans, shaved provolone and homemade croutons. Simple, yet healthy and very filling!

at a low simmer…
-R

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an unforgettable day!

Today was a fun-filled holiday! Celebrated with great friends at a BBQ chock-full of wonderful food and drink. Burgers, hot dogs, chips and dip, along with salad on a skewer [awesome concept right!] Everything was delightfully delectable.
As dessert came upon us, there was a blackout cake, along with patriotic inspired cookies! To wash everything down, apple pie flavored shots and mudslides… YUM!
What an exciting, not to mention delicious day we experienced!

at a low simmer…
-R

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minty goodness [in a glass]

So to stay cool on the warm Sunday afternoon, I decided to go out of the box and whip up a twist on a classic mojito. I bought seedless watermelon, fresh mint, as well as an abundance of limes [it is a holiday weekend of course] and tossed everything into my margaritaville machine, along with a healthy count of white rum. A few whirls in the machine and out poured one of the most refreshing icy drink concoctions! Served up in a mason jar, this gorgeous delight had a hint of lime, minty coolness and of course the star… sweet watermelon flavor.
All were fresh ingredients [well maybe minus the rum] so I guess in a way this was a healthy drink after all…
Time to make another!

at a low simmer…
-R

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S’more please…

Tonight I felt like a sweet treat after dinner. Not something I normally delve into, but then again it is a holiday weekend right??
So I thought a classic campfire favorite would be the perfect way to satiate that craving! Behold… the first s’more of the season! This go-round though, rather than standing over an open fire I whipped out my trusty kitchen blowtorch [I know I say that like it’s a kitchen aid mixer] and created a soft, warm and gooey treat! Next time will be my ‘adult’ s’mores that are always a crowd pleaser!

at a low simmer…
-R

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light Italian fare…

To kick off the holiday weekend, we celebrated with a great bottle of wine and a full-on Italian dinner at one of our favorite restos!!
I decided on a golden, pan-fried chicken cutlet topped with peppery baby arugula, sweet chopped tomatoes and red peppers, along with milky diced fresh mozz.
The flavors all married together beautifully and made me wish I had a big enough belly to finish off the entire plate, but the good thing is the leftovers will make for an exceptional lunch…

at a low simmer…
-R

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Hump day = YUM day!

Today was truly a ‘hump day’… lack of sleep made for a difficult day to push through. One thing that will never suffer… dinner!
So for tonight I decided to make a great oil and garlic pasta dish. For the sauce, my infamous [ok ok maybe in my, and everyone else who has ever eaten its opinion] oil and garlic is pretty simple, but I add different elements from your average dish to make it ultra special. The basics are oil, minced garlic, salt and crushed red pepper. Heated through until fragrant and the extra secret ingredients added… the sauce rests until ready to be combined with the pasta… Tonight’s pasta selection were gorgeous tagliatelle nests! Cooked in salty boiling water till just al dente, then tossed gently into the oil and garlic. To finish bringing everything together… some fresh grated pecorino romano and chopped parsley. In order to assure that no oil and garlic went to waste, some super rustic Italian bread to sop it up!

at a low simmer…
-R

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rustic breakfast for dinner…

Fried eggs rested on a puddle of creamy polenta. The polenta was simple and peasanty with rustic flair. Milk, heavy cream and water simmered and the corn meal was gently rained into the warm liquid and stirred vigorously with a whisk, then over to a wooden spoon. A pinch of salt, grated pecorino and a secret sweetness was added to elevate the flavors and create something spectacular!
The fried eggs were cooked gently in a melted butter [I know butter, not normally how I roll] and breadcrumb mixture dressed lovingly with fresh thyme. Thanks to the breadcrumbs, the eggs were given a beautiful crusty aspect, while the yolks warm and runny…
Creamy, hearty and warming… it’s as simple as that!

at a low simmer…
-R

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we all scream for…

Boredom finally got the best of me this afternoon… rainy weather prevented me from doing anything outside so I decided to whip up some homemade ice cream! Not just your plain old vanilla or chocolate though… something spicy and delightful. So ginger ice cream it was! There is a recipe I use for this, but add my own little bump up to make it extra special…
Heavy cream [or half and half], sugar, vanilla, fresh ginger, chopped candied ginger and eggs… After heating the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and ginger to a boil it was steeped to release all of the flavors. Once fully steeped, the mixture was reheated to a boil, strained and tempered into the eggs and some additional sugar that was whipped together. Off the heat the mixture was chilled down and then poured into the ice cream maker to churn away till thick and velvety!
Once done some candied ginger was stirred into the mix for a little added texture and heat, everything was scooped into plastic quart containers and placed in the freezer to firm up even more until it is ready to be eaten…

at a low simmer…
-R

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