Monthly Archives: June 2012

‘Muscles’ are good and all, but I prefer mine in a garlicky broth…

So after much thought this morning, I decided instead of going out for dinner I’d rather make something scrumptious at home!
What better to make than something not on my usual menu… so mussels in a spicy red sauce with garlic and wine. One word… SUPERB
It all started with a load of chopped garlic sauteed in olive oil until fragrant, then the mussels, a can of whole tomatoes [with their juices] that I crushed, salt and crushed red pepper were added and cooked for about twenty minutes uncovered. Lastly, I added some wine [drunk mussels are always fun mussels], chopped parsley and then cooked covered for another five until every last mollusk stumbled out to say hello.
The flavors were spicy, sultry and like the sea. Each bite made you yearn for more and more… I served this delicious meal with crusty bread that was brushed lightly with a homemade garlic infused olive oil that I grilled slightly. It was the perfect assistant to sop up every last bit of saucy goodness! Next time I’ll be sure to pick up two loaves…

at a low simmer…
-R

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the only kind of disco I can get into…

Ever have a craving for that deliciously decadent and not so good for your waistline type of food? Well that is EXACTLY how I am feeling right about now! The craving for disco fries [ok ok won’t lie, I always get a double order] hit me hard just a short while ago… crunchy, greasy fries topped with extra mozzarella cheese that I have broiled to get bubbly and slightly burnt.

When I order my disco fries, the brown gravy is served on the side and not over everything in order to keep everything crisp and not soggy! Soggy fries would NOT be a good thing in this dish, plus I get to determine how much of a dunk each fry is offered… this is also not the time to think about calories, but rather to flag down a waitress and ask for extra napkins! A fork and knife is not invited to this party, but an eager belly is…

There may be a trip to the local diner to pick up these bad-boys before the end of the night.

 

at a low simmer…

-R

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al fresco dining under the NY[City] stars…

Tonight started off with a much needed happy hour in the infamous Meatpacking District. After a few drinks with a dear friend, it was time to move on to dinner reservations at Crispo. Upon arrival, we were whisked away to a tucked away outdoor area to enjoy an amazing dining experience! Choices were not easy to make thanks to a scrumptious menu, but the waitress would not have that!
To start the dinner off, I ordered us three different appetizers. First were mozzarella risotto balls, fried to a golden hue and served with classic marinara sauce. The first bite was a crunchy surprise that revealed a silky, creamy interior. Our second was a childhood favorite, eggplant caponata. A wonderful mixture of eggplant, green olives, capers, pine nuts and other lovely flavors married in to a medley of deliciousness. Our third appetizer was an amazing crispy pork belly served with figs and bitter greens… Need I say more! For my main course I ordered bucatini alla amatriciana.
This dish was classic Italian… a fresh spicy tomato sauce mixed with guanciale (cured pig jowl), chilies covered with a flurry of pecorino cheese! Smokey, slightly sweet and just an all around hearty dish with rich flavors!
After eating this masterpiece, there was no room left for dessert… perhaps something sweet will make its way into my belly tomorrow night!

at a low simmer…
-R

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summery indulgence…

What better way to enjoy the summer months, than by eating the fruits that come along with it… So I decided to rinse off some juicy little blueberries that were picked up from a local farm and top them off with a mascarpone cream and crushed amaretti cookies. The sweet blueberries were a wonderful highlight against the tangy [although sweet in its own right] mascarpone cream, while the amaretti cookies gave a wonderful crunch and texture to an already divine sweet treat!

Hmmm maybe I should make more for dessert…

at a low simmer…

-R

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finger[licking]… err ‘ling’ good

So tonight, to compliment grilled chicken breasts, I prepared roasted fingerling potatoes in a garlic and rosemary infused olive oil. The olive oil is super simple to create and extremely versatile. It can be used for dipping a hearty loaf of bread, a lovely finishing oil for roasted veggies and even tossed through a salad instead of using a heavy dressing!
I used an entire head of garlic, a few stems of fresh rosemary, a substantial dose of crushed red pepper and of course for everything to swim in… a good olive oil.
This time I minced the garlic and rosemary, added the remaining ingredients then onto the stovetop on a super low flame for everything to draw the flavors out… It simmered for almost an hour to ensure every flavor is pronounced and permeates the house!
Once the oil was ready, I tossed the roasted fingerlings, which I cut up, into a good pour of the oil, stirred them about and seasoned with salt.
The flavors were so amazing and it’s unbelievable how simple it is to make…

at a low simmer…
-R

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BLT… everything’s better with bacon!!

So tonight was one of those nights when a simple sandwich could curb my hunger… what better sandwich than a BLT!
For my BLT I used a thick, butcher-cut applewood smoked bacon, vine-ripened tomatoes, a crisp red leaf lettuce, good mayonnaise, as well as a dense and hearty multi-grain loaf cut in thick slices.
A decent smear of mayo was added on each interior side of the toasted bread. Next, I began to pile everything to make the perfect sandwich!
The crispness of the lettuce, juiciness from the tomatoes and smokey, bacon[y] goodness in each bite. Brings me back to childhood and the excitement of these tasty treats…

at a low simmer…
-R

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it’s hot out here, but this time the sun isn’t causing it…

Since today is such a beautiful day, I found it only fitting to whip up some margaritas by the pool. Margaritas [for once] are not the star players, but rather some über spicy tomatillo-based salsa full of serious zip! It’s a pretty simple salsa actually and you can obviously cater to individual palates regarding heat…
I use eight decent sized tomatillos that I quartered up, two serrano chilies [I prefer to leave the seeds in, but you can remove to make less spicy], three to four garlic cloves, a good handful of fresh cilantro and some salt of course…
I add everything into the food processors and pulse, pulse, pulse until everything is blended, but not babyfood. I prefer to feel the textures as I scoop everything up and devour…
Once blended I taste for heat and salt and go from there… if not salty enough, add salt and if not spicy enough
well add another chili… you can play around till your taste buds sing.
Hope this makes you want to run to your local market, pick up these ingredients and whip [well blend] this salsa up!

at a low simmer…
-R

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that’s my kinda [fun]gi…

So I’ll be making one of my favorite appetizers for a graduation party this coming Sunday… stuffed portobello mushrooms!
Super simple, but full of delicious things. I start by browning sausage that I whip out of the casing, sauté some onions and garlic, add some herbs, breadcrumbs, eggs and freshly grated pecorino romano. I also add some heat to mine for that extra little pop.
These little disks are baked off till cooked through, cut into bite-sized pieces and served.
Wow all this talking, err writing is making me want one now!! Stay tuned for pictures.

at a low simmer…
-R

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from rice to wraps [well burritos]…

So tonight for dinner I thought what would be a good change-up to the norm, then it hit me… burritos served with a cilantro and lime rice, ground turkey seasoned with tons of Spanish flair, shredded Manchego cheese, black beans and lettuce! Everything was wrapped into the perfect little package, cut on a bias and plated alongside homemade guacamole.
The rice [which in my opinion was the star] was simple… fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro and salt to taste. The flavors were a touch floral and slightly tangy, but paired so well with all of the elements in the burrito!
To wash everything down… a crisp glass of Albariño… [ok who am
I kidding… definitely not a glass]

at a low simmer…
-R

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enjoying the fruits of summer…

Creamy, juicy, salty, sweet… those were some of the flavors experienced with tonight’s dinner! Rotund tomatoes sliced thickly were separated by chunks of luxurious, buttery fresh mozzarella which lined there way down a crisp white platter. For some added freshness and flavor, basil cut from my planters and Italian prosciutto purchased at my favorite local purveyor!
Everything was drizzled with a super sexy and delicious finishing oil.
I just love simple ingredients that can pack an exciting punch.

at a low simmer…
-R

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