Posts tagged Salads

Making Mexican Madness At Home


Salsa Verdeimage

Roasted Nopales
Jicama & Mango Salad
Honey Lime Chicken Tostadas

After 10 plus visits to various neighborhood delis, restaurants, trucks and even tracking down a lady rolling a granny cart stacked with packed coolers,  I’m still hooked on Mexican flavors. Over the past month, along with some friends (who I kindly call Team Taco), we’ve probably managed to eat our weight in tacos, tostadas, tamales, sopes, huaraches, spicy tripe, nopales, and chilaquiles.

My love for spice, meat and cilantro has not been lost - instead a strange surge of cravings has surfaced.  

Admittedly, I rarely eat out meals - and I like it that way.  I was the kid that didn’t go out to lunch and could be found in a corner of the lunchroom, book in hand and chowing down on lentils pasta patate or cabbage and rice (straight out of a California Raisins thermos).  I grew up in a home where we never went out to dinner or ordered in. Mom would shop at large produce markets on Ave. U, in Brooklyn, and walk out with 12 bags filled with greens, root vegetables, beans and what not for $60 (which fed a family of 5+ for a week). Father’s Day was the only exception to the dining out rule because my grandpa favored Danny’s Szechuan Garden.  Their offering of orange beef served on giant, crispy, bright green romaine leaves with red chilies, thick brown sauce and flecks of orange peel was his kryptonite.  Food for all other occasions - be it a birthday, Mother’s day and all holiday’s were prepared at home.  

Given an evening to cook at home (they’ve been rare and, truth be told, I made this meal 3 weeks ago), I craved spices, cilantro, onions, green sauce and meat. I wanted a meal that was lighter than the deli-made chorizo tacos I’d been chowing down on (which tasted so good, but left me with morning regrets.  Like many men I went home with in my 20’s).  

Happily surprised that my local supermarket had nopales and tomatillos, I knew what I was supposed to be making at home.  

Throughout this Mexican food award tour, there have been bad nopales and good nopales.  My preference is grilled (some came steamed and sitting in water baths - not my style), but I braved my oven for this meal because I could only imagine they would be delicious slightly charred and roasted when slicked up with olive oil and salt.  When cooked, the taste of a nopale could be likened to the flavor that would come about if an asparagus slept with a string bean.  Somehow those two skinny bitches would make this giant, flat, paddle like, thorny threat of a vegetable.

Salsa verde samplings also ranged from stellar to poor.  Thank you, Rick Bayless (I prefer roasting and adding more garlic and less water, per comments on the site).  

The chicken was seasoned with fresh green and red chilies cumin, adobo, fresh garlic, honey and lime, and served  with a side salad of jicama and mango (the delis were DELIGHTFUL but crunchy super fresh and a sort of sweet salad was in order).

Dear Kitchen, Pots, Pans, Knives, Mixing Bowls and Cutting Boards,
I’m glad we’re back together.

Chicken & Marinade

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (sliced thinly crosswise and cut into chunks)
1/4 c. olive oil divided)
Juice of 2 limes 
1 1/2 tsp. adobo 
2 tsp. cumin 
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 chilies (red and green, seeded and diced)
3 T. honey
Fresh cilantro
Diced Onions 

-Set chicken pieces in a pyrex dish with all ingredients, mix to coat, and let sit for 30 minutes
-Add remaining oil to a pan, over a medium high flame, and cook chicken (strained from liquid) for 8-12 minutes until no longer pink
-Spoon chicken on tostadas, top with fresh cilantro and onions and/or salsa verde
Roasted Nopales

4-6 nopales (de-thorned and sliced lengthwise)
1/4 c. olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Coat nopales in olive oil, salt and pepper
-Roast on a baking sheet (spreading out evenly) for 20-25 minutes until browned on edges

Jicama & Mango Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

1 mango (cut into cubes)
1 jicama (sliced lengthwise)
1 small red onion (thinly sliced) 
Juice of 1 lime 
2 T. olive oil
3 T. chopped cilantro 
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 

-Place mango, jicama and red onions in a large bowl and toss with lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro
-Salt, pepper and serve  

Friday, August 24, 2012 — 1 note   ()

Pork Store Memories

Antipasto Salad

Every Sunday, after church, my dad and I would go to Landi’s Pork Store.  After church,  this was the place to be - as women in their Sunday best lined up, shoved and shouted orders over one another; flirting with the young deli men behind the counter.  

I observed.  

Jerry Corrado, silent and strong - no pushing or shoving, but giving a steady nod to the owner across the store - would grab a ticket and get in line to order up the usual round of goods to accompany our dinner. 

My dad swore by Landi’s pin-wheel sausage, grizzly, speckled with parsley, and perfectly coiled so it could easily rest on a barbecue grill rack.  Their potato croquettes, stuffed with ham and mozzarella, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried can make my mouth water just upon conjuring up the memory of them - pudgy, oily and squished in their little rectangular foil container awaiting a date with my maw.

To the right of the meat case was the antipasto display.  I stared (and can still stare) at that antipasto case for hours.  Oily mushrooms sitting in fresh herbs and vinegar, crunchy antipasto salad coated with little yellow pearls of oil, tomatoes and olives, doused with lemon juice and parsley.  Olives so round, wrinkly, and speckled with red pepper flakes - pitted and sitting in individual pools of black salted water - they were all beautiful in their own right.  I listened to my father order each and every item.  He always went over board.  Everyone in there loved Jerry Corrado, and I stood quietly next to him.  His smaller chubby shadow, the little girl he made and fed well.

The guys behind the counter would smile at me in my too tight Sunday dress, and I would look down at the saw dust covered tiled floor - concentrating on my my muffin top feet as they burst out from top of my little white flats.  Getting lost in the eyelet trim around my socks; I always begged my mom for eyelet socks.  My dresses and skirts were often too tight, but I could always look down to spy pretty ankles.

I was shy.  I couldn’t look any of them in the eye, as they sliced, smiled, laughed, cursed and sounded so Brooklyn - wiping their hands on their white smocks, adding to the sauce, oil and meat stains that were already there.    

I was offered tastings of mozzarella and soppressata over the counter.  The deli man would reach, meet my hand with a salty treat and I would smile, accept, fill my mouth and dart my eyes directly back to the floor.  I would chew in silence, without muttering a word.  

Every Sunday this process excited me, although I’m sure I came off as being Jerry’s mute daughter (things have certainly changed since then).

I would help my father carry his bags out to the car.  Sometimes one of the deli guys would help, open the door, take my hand - lead me into the van - and prop plastic bags, donning a giant pig logo, all around me.  As my father drove away from Landi’s I would crane my neck - as if wanting to extend my whole body through the glass of the back window - so I could have one more moment with man behind the counter who passed me my salty snacks. 

Toto Cutugno was playing on cassette, and I could see my dad moving his lips and mouthing the words to his L’Italiano. While he sang I would sneak my hands into each bag, feeling around for a container to open.  Once my fingers met a lid, I’d pop the cover off and grab what I could.  An olive, a piece of celery, a tomato.  My father was lost in his music and had no clue what I was up to as I sat in the back seat lost in my own world of salt, snacking, and crunchy celery - wishing I’d said thank you to the deli man who graciously sated my mind and belly.  

This salad works as a refreshing antipasto.  Add pieces fresh mozzarella and/or soppressata to the mix and eat as a meal with warm crostini or a piece of bread.

Simple, salty, satisfying and delicious.

Antipasto Salad

6 ribs of celery (chopped, including leaves)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 roasted red pepper (sliced)
1/2 can of artichoke hearts
3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)  
20-30 olives (pitted and halved)
1/4 flat leaf parsley (coarsely chopped)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional (not pictured here because I’m detoxing from momo, milanese and taco overload from this past weekends eating explorations)
4-6 oz. fresh mozzarella (cubed)
4 oz. soppressata (cut into thin rounds)

-Add first 6 ingredients to a bowl and toss with salt and pepper
-Optional: add mozzarella and soppressata for a more satisfying starter, side or meal

Monday, June 25, 2012 — 1 note   ()

A Smart Summer Side

Fried Shallots

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus with Fried Shallots & Pecorino

There’s this little panini spot in my neighborhood that makes a killer fingerling potato salad topped with crispy fried shallots and finished with a snowy mountain of pecorino.  Not only does it look beautiful, but it packs a little salty hit and crunch in every bite.  

I often enjoy this potato salad with a panini, when I like to get freaky with my carb on carb action.  Consuming bread and potatoes in one sitting makes me feel like it’s 1990 and I’ve just crawled out of my grandparents basement, my shorts too tight, my little thighs rubbing together, my belly - healthy and swollen with noms so naughty but tasting so nice.  Now I just wear a loose fitting skirt and no one knows any better.  

The potato salad is wonderful when shared on a beautiful, breezy evening, dining al fresco …

BBQ season is ramping up, and I do try to attend all events before sweating season begins (July-August can be dicey if access to a hose or sprinkler is not within reach).  It’s not all about the shvitzing, and my inability to carry on a conversation when doing so -  it also has to do with showing up with a food item that looks appetizing.  Mushy pies, blech.  Warm fruit salad, heave.  Leave those items up to the host.  

Summer BBQ’s are fun, there’s no doubt, but who likes hot potato salad?  Coleslaw?  Macaroni salad? 
Dubious you just whispered to yourself, “why I do.”  And if you did, that’s pretty gross.  
Eating hot, mayonaise laden summer salads is only something I thought about doing because I wanted to get violently ill the night before my parents were shipping me off to Born Again Christian sleep away camp.  I was 9 and we were and are not Born Again Christians.  It was free to send me away. More on that later.      

I know this is going to sound crazy when it falls on the ears and eyes of my fellow Americans, but mayonaise - when applied to any food item in bulk - grosses me out - particularly in the summertime.   

Creamy white, thick and tangy lobs of mayonaise coating vegetables that will be subject to sit outside on a picnic table, showered by the strong summer sun for hours …  

No thanks, I’ll pass.

Roasted asparagus became my side salad alternative for the last BBQ I attended.  I topped the asparagus with fried shallots, pecorino and lemon zest - it was simple to plate and bring along.  As I watched folks dig into the asparagus, I wasn’t cringing - no, no - I was delighting in my fresh side salad choice.  No one would be food poisoned, not on my watch.  

If you’re equipped with a grill, you’re in luck.  If you’re not so fortunate, this will only take 10-15 minutes of oven time.  Using a cast iron grill pan on your stove top is also an option.  The asparagus should not grill/roast for too long, no one likes mushy, long green things in their mouth.

The secret to a smart summer side is below.

Roasted Asparagus with Fried Shallots & Pecorino

1 lb. bunch of asparagus (trim/shave down the ends)
2 T. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 shallots (sliced)
Vegetable oil (enough to fill the bottom of a wok to deep fry)
1/4 c. grated pecorino
2 tsp. lemon zest

-Preheat oven to 450 degrees / place grill pan on stove top over medium high flame
-Coat asparagus in olive oil
-Roast / grill  for 10-15 minutes, asparagus should be crisp
-Put aside and toss with salt and pepper
-Heat vegetable oil, deep frying shallots in small batches - total fry time is about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes
-Drain shallots on a paper towel
-Plate asparagus, top with shallots, pecorino and lemon zest  
-Applaude yourself for even attempting to cook in the heat and not taking the easy way out by going to some bootleg deli to pick up some crappy side no one would want to eat anyway  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012   ()

Spring Salads & Sides

I’ve been cooking, but my time to write has been minimal.

I’m not going to give you my leftovers.

I’m going to share what’s been going on in my kitchen since I’ve returned from Mexico.

I’m not making Mexican food.
I’m still looking for Taye Diggs and or Javier Bardem.
I’m not searching for them in my kitchen, but when I’m out with friends I’m usually staring right past them and scanning the room for someone to bring home and hold.
I’m a bit of a nut job because I’m moving and moving is always stressful.
I’m not moving far, don’t you fear.
I’m going to be based out of a tiny Queens kitchen until I can afford a house on my own, or with Taye and or Javier.
I’m not really into having two lovers at once, but I’m not opposed with these two hunks.
I’m only moving 2 miles from my current apartment.
I’m really happy about it - the apartment is oozing with good energy.
I’m going to be outfitted with a separate kitchen and a living/dining area.
I’m about to make mad noms.
I’m happy it’s share time.

See below.  

And, did you know happy was my first word?

Now you do.  

Grapefruit Salad
*serves 3-4

2 large pink grapefruits (peeled and cut into cubes)
1 small red onion (very thinly sliced)
3 T. chopped walnuts
3 T. dried cranberries
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil
3-4 leaves of radicchio, romaine, or 6-8 leaves of endive
Optional: parmigiano reggiano 

-Place cubed grapefruit in a bowl and add onions, walnuts and cranberries
-Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper
-Toss with olive oil
-Serve grapefruit salad in radicchio cups or line romaine lettuce leaves or endive with the grapefruit salad
-Optional, but delicious: top with a slice of parmigiano reggiano  

Prosciutto, Fig & Pecorino Salad
*serves 3-4

1 1/2 heads of romaine
1 small onion (very thinly sliced)
10-12 dried figs (cut each fig into four pieces)
4-6 slices of prosciutto 
1/4 c. grated pecorino romano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar for dressing

-Add chopped romaine, onions, figs ans half of the pecorino to a salad bowl
-Sprinkle with salt and pepper
-Toss with vinegar and olive oil
-Top with prosciutto and remaining cheese
-Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and serve 

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Honey Butter

1 whole kobacha squash (halved, deseeded, and sliced)
1 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
1 T. honey
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Coat slices of squash with olive oil, salt and pepper
-Line a baking sheet with foil and lay squash on its side
-Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes until fork tender (turn the squash about halfway through, so it browns evenly) 
-In a small saucepan, over low heat, or in the microwave, melt butter and honey
-Drizzle squash with honey butter and serve hot  

Spring Side: Friselle with Tomatoes, Capers, Garlic & Olive Oil 
*serves 3-4 as an appetizer

1 pint cherry tomatoes (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
3 T. pearl capers
20 olives (pitted and sliced, which I didn’t use because I was fresh out!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 pieces friselle

-Mix tomatoes with garlic, capers, olives, salt, pepper and olive oil and let sit for 30 minutes to one hour
-Lightly wet friselle, top with tomato mixture and serve  

Thursday, April 5, 2012 — 3 notes   ()

The 100th Nom

Mixed Chopped Salad With Dried Cranberries, Apples, Toasted Pecans & Gorgonzola
(in a maple & dijon vinaigrette) 


Roasted Butternut Squash & Roasted Parsnip Soup

Cornbread Stuffing

Crown Roast Of Pork 
Cooked piece of crown roast with cornbread stuffing

Coconut Custard Pie 

*Recipes follow story

I decided it would be most fun to surprise my parents - and two brothers - by flying down to South Carolina on New Years Eve.  I also thought it would be nice to share a proper sit down meal with my family for the 100th nom.  I wanted the 100th nom to be celebratory.  I flew to South Carolina with Josie in a carry on and pancetta and gorgonzola, wrapped in ice packs, in another bag.  

I was anxious to see everyone’s face when I came barreling through the door.

I don’t drive, so I’m thereby deemed useless in a driving only state.  Thankfully, I have relatives that accept me for the non-driving woman I am - and they don’t mind helping.   My aunt and uncle were in on the whole surprise, and were able to keep the secret the entire time

*Way to go Uncle Al, I’m proud of you for not uttering a word or tipping anyone off!

My aunt also played the role of personal shopper to aid in the unfolding of the above noms.  If she hadn’t done all of the shopping before I got to South Carolina, pulling off this meal would’ve been an impossible feat.  

Aunt Deb arrived at the airport all smiles and ready to surprise.  But, when we rolled up to my parents house, of course, mookie brother Louie was washing his car in the driveway.  FYI, he’s bringing Brooklyn to South Carolina.  If late December gives him 68 degree temperatures - the bells in his head go off - the ones that remind him that he should put on shorts and wash his convertible Chrysler Seabring…

Bastard, he almost spoiled the surprise…

But, my Uncle tipped my aunt and I off, that mookie was in the driveway waxing on and waxing off, so I did what any woman would do to create the perfect surprise moment…

I ducked.

I squished myself between the passenger seat and the glove compartment, curling my 5’7” curvaceous body on to the floor of the pick-up truck.   

My aunt called mookie to the car and I popped up like a Tina-In-The-Box.  
Every man’s dream, I tell you.

His reply: What the friggggg are you doing here?
My reply: Shut up.  Mommy will hear you, turd.

Yes, I’m 30 and my brother is 33 and this is how we still talk to one another.

I stealthily ran to the front door of the house.

Mom: Oh my GOD.  It’s Tinamarie.  Oh my GOD.

I could see the excitement in my mother’s face.
I could hear it in her voice.
I could feel happiness in her chest, when we hugged.

The surprise element was beautiful and happy and exciting and everything I wanted it to be.  

So, on the first day of 2011, I cooked for hours.  
I got lost in my head.
I buried my thoughts in peeling, chopping, chicken stock, sausage and sweetened coconut.

And, when dinner came around, I thought about how much I love all of the faces that looked back at me.  
I love them so much, so much it hurts.  
I love them so much, I’ve taken what they’ve given me and held on to every lesson learned and shred of hope they could share.  

I’ve held on to the small things.  

I saw 30 years of my life sitting beside me.  

I thought about the past, the present, and the future - and my mind shuttered with somewhat equal parts happiness and sadness. 

The meal, itself, was relatively silent but spoke volumes.  

*I made this meal for 8, so the below served 8 of us and the leftover soup, crown roast and cornbread stuffing gave us 3 days of leftovers.  

Mixed Chopped Salad With Dried Cranberries, Apples, Toasted Pecans & Gorgonzola

8 c. mesclun greens (or combine different lettuces, whatever your preference and chop)
1 small-medium red onion (chopped) 
1 large granny smith apple (peeled and cubed)
1/2 c. pecans (toasted: over a medium flame in a non-stick pan for 5-7 minutes; chop once cooled)
4-5 oz. gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)
1/2 c. craisins

For Vinaigrette

1/3 c. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic (grated)
2 T. dijon mustard 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

-Place all salad ingredients in large bowl and give a good toss
-Top with vinaigrette and toss, again, until salad is coated
-Individually plate or serve as is 


1 medium/large loaf of Italian bread
1/3 c. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Only use the below method if you want long crostinis, as pictured above.  You can also simply slice the loaf of Italian bread into 1” pieces 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Halve loaf of Italian bread, then halve each piece again - so you have 4 chunks of bread
-Carefully slice (lengthwise) each chunk of bread - so you get 3 slices per piece of bread (you should get, roughly, 12 slices from the loaf)
-Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and brush (tops and bottoms) with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper
-Bake in the oven, watching carefully - so as not to burn), for 10-12 minutes - or until deep golden brown

Roasted Butternut Squash & Roasted Parsnip Soup

7 lbs. butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
6 large parsnips (peeled and sliced into 1/4” thick rounds)
8 T. olive oil
4 T. unsalted butter 
4 c. carrots (chopped)
4 c. celery (chopped)
4 c. onions (chopped)
1 large bunch of leeks (greens discarded whites chopped)
2 shallots (minced)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. maple syrup
3.5 quarts of chicken stock (low sodium preferred)
2 T. fresh sage (minced)
Black pepper 

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Place butternut squash and parsnips in a very large bowl and coat with 4 T. of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
-Divide squash and parsnips amongst as many baking sheets as you need (for this quantity I needed 3) and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until caramelized and browned 
-Once squash and parsnips are done roasting, put aside to cool
-Place butter and remaining 4 T. of olive oil in a large stock pot over a medium flame 
-Add onions, carrots and celery - sauteing for 12-15 minutes - until soft
-Add shallots and garlic - sauteing for another 3-5 minutes
-Add apple cider vinegar and continue to saute another 3 minutes
-Add roasted butternut squash and parsnips to the pot and pour in the chicken stock
-Add maple syrup and sage, mixing well and let cook for 1 hour to an hour and 15 minutes
-Remove pot from flame and let cool
-Once cool, use immersion blender to make your soup smooth, creamy and NOMMY

Cornbread Stuffing
adapted from Crobin’s Dope-Ass, Dirty, Italian Stuffing Recipe

Who’s Crobin?
Crobin is my one of my favorite co-workers and a wonderfully kind friend.  He’s been talking about his cornbread stuffing for as long as I know him, so I’m so happy to pay him a little homage, on the noms, especially on the 100th.  
Thanks for reading the noms and making them at home, Crobo.

3 hot Italian sausages (de-cased)
3/4 lb. pancetta (cubed)
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 c. carrot (chopped)
1 1/2 c. celery (chopped)
1 1/2 c. onion (chopped)
8 medium corn muffins (stale - should make 8 cups of corn bread cubes, once cubed and toasted)
1/2 bunch fresh sage leaves  (minced)
1 1/4 c. chicken stock
Freshly ground pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Cut corn muffins in half and proceed to create cubes
-Place cornbread cubes on 2 large baking sheets (they should not be crowded) and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and toasted
-Remove toasted corn muffin cubes from the oven and set aside
-Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat
-Add sausage meat and pancetta, break up and cook for about 10 minutes until browned.
-Drain on a paper lined plate and set aside to cool.
-Add carrots, onions and celery to the pot (DO NOT DISCARD DRIPPINGS) and season with pepper and chopped sage (salt if need be, but the pancetta and sausage give off a lot of salt) and cook for about 15-20 minutes until soft
-Set aside to cool
-Add sausage and pancetta back into your pot of sauteed vegetables, along with toasted corn muffins
-Mix very well and add 3/4 chicken stock to the mixture and gently incorporate
-Spray a 2-quart oven-proof baking dish with cooking spray
-Add stuffing mixture to dish (I like  to pour the other 1/2 c. of chicken stock over the mixture, at this point, so as to keep the stuffing soft and supple whilst baking) and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the top is browned and crispy

Crown Roast Of Pork

1 10 lb. crown roast of pork
1/2 bunch fresh sage leaves (chopped finely)
2-3 T. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Place roast in a large roasting pan (about 3” deep)
-Rub roast in olive oil and sage, then sprinkle (use your judgement) with salt and pepper
-Cover tips of the crown roast with foil (so they do not burn)
-Place roast in the oven and let cook for 1 hour 15 to 1 hour 20 minutes, until roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees
-Once roast is done, remove from the oven, cover with foil - and let rest for 30 minutes

Coconut Custard Pie

1 9” deep dish flaky pie crust
2 eggs + 3 yolks
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 T. vanilla extract
2 c. sweetened flaked coconut 

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Beat together eggs, yolks and vanilla
-Add milk and cream, continuing to mix well
-Fold in 1 1/2 c. coconut 
-Pour mixture into pie shell and place in the oven, baking for 35-40 minutes, until middle of the pie is solid and knife comes out clean
-Remove pie from the oven and place aside to cool 
-Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and place what’s left of your coconut (1/2 c.) into the pan and let brown/toast, about 7-8 minutes
-Sprinkle toasted coconut over top of your pie and place in the refrigerator, so the pie completely sets, and serve

Saturday, January 1, 2011 — 1 note   ()

So Fresh And So Clean, Clean

Peach Panzanella

*Recipe follows story

Any email exchange I get into with Christine, generally leads to food.

Last week, her email read:

T - 
To avoid writing this article that was due last week, I cooked all weekend and thought of you…I also organized my spice rack, cleaned things that didn’t need cleaning and folded sweaters into color specific piles—but that is neither here nor there.
I did make a simple salad that I think you will enjoy—fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, peaches, evoo and balsamic. I don’t know measurements, I just kinda threw it together. But simple, refreshing, and pretty…like a good douche.
I love you.

I took her word for it.

I tried the douche salad out on Nancy and Su - to see if they thought it was fresh like a summer’s eve as well.

All signs and kool-aid smiles pointed to yes.

I added bits of fried bread, red onions and used white balsamic for the dressing - to keep it all in the sweet vein - and a good amount of salt.

This salad makes a great side for a meat plate or, if you’re me, and you don’t get out for lunch, you lap up left-overs at your desk and delight in mid-day douching on a Monday at 2.

I’m gross.

I’m also planning a double-douche reprise - by making it for dinner when my family comes to stay with me this week.  Nothing will impress my brothers new girlfriend, and say welcome to Queens, like offering up a heap of refreshing douche salad.  

Peach Panzanella

2 large peaches (pit removed, halved and cut in to large cubes)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 small red onion (sliced thinly)
8 oz. fresh mozzarella (cubed)
1 medium loaf of Italian bread (cut into 2” cubes)
1/4 c. olive oil
Kosher salt

To dress salad

2 T. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

-Heat oil in a large saute pan and add bread and salt (drizzle with more olive oil, while cooking, if necessary)
-Cook over medium heat (continuously tossing) until bread is deep golden brown
-Put aside
-In a large bowl, combine peaches, tomatoes, red onion and mozzarella
-Add bread
-Sprinkle with salt, white balsamic, olive oil and toss - top with freshly ground black pepper

Tuesday, August 17, 2010   ()

Oh No, You Didn’t

Fava Bean Puree WIth Fresh Fusilli
Fried Goat Cheese & Pear Salad

*Recipes follow story

Last week I had a conversation with someone and they actually referred to Italian food as boring.  Not only was it classified as boring, but the quote of the night was “How many ways, really, can you make red sauce with basil?  Every Italian person makes a big deal out of their mom’s red sauce with basil.”  and “What’s the point and difference between all of those pastas?  Pasta is pasta.” 

My mission was clear, I needed  an evening alone with La Cucina Italiana magazine - and, sure enough, with some intense page turning and subsequent drool wiping, I worked myself into an ever so fantastic food-gasm. 

The photos were beautiful, the recipes were simple, the spread on porecetta made me want to lick each and every page of that dirty, food picture filled publication - and, frankly, I probably would have, were I not on the train when I took the day trip to porcetta-ville.

I read the magazine cover to cover, went home and looked at their website, for the umpteenth time; and I officially decided (not like I’m the food authority), that Italian food is not boring - it’s breath taking.

I was planning to have my friend over for lunch on Saturday, and I didn’t want to be cooking while entertaining, or hot and sweaty, so I got up close and personal with fava beans.  I combined the likes of 2 recipes I came across, on the La Cucina Italiana website, to create a fava bean puree, that I served over fresh pasta.

I chose a fresh fusilli - because of it’s shape and thickness (to handle the consistency of the puree).  The tubular shape of the pasta also allowed the puree to seep inside - so the bites were luscious and full.  I also liked the contrast of the long pasta with the fava because we (in my house) would always eat fava with small pastas or bread. The glory of having so many pastas to chooses from allows for purpose and beauty -something that should be appreciated - not considered superfluous.  

For the side, a happy salad - of belgian endive and chicory, topped with pears, and pan fried goat cheese.

Nom with enthusiasm and love.  

Fava Bean Puree

4 c. fava beans (I buy the frozen kind, allow to thaw and de-shell )  
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/4 lb. pancetta (cut in to cubes)
1/2 c. diced white onion
3/4 c. chicken stock 
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper 
1 lb. fresh fusilli (or any pasta of your choice)
Aged Ragusano cheese  (for grating)

 -In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add pancetta and onion and cook for 3-5 minutes
-Add fava beans and stock, simmering until beans are tender, and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes
-Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender (I pulsed the beans, in my pot, with an immersion blender) and pulse until beans are roughly chopped
-Add salt and pepper to taste - and put aside
-Cook pasta (salt water very well) until al dente - reserving a cup of pasta water 
-Drain pasta and top with fava bean puree, tossing to coat
-Add pasta water (if mixture looks dry) and drizzle with oilve oil
-Top with cheese and serve 

*For a veggie friendly meal, eliminate pancetta

Fried Goat Cheese & Pear Salad

1 head chicory (washed, dried and cut in half)
2 heads belgian endive (cut lengthwise into thick slices)
1 large pear (cored and sliced)
1 4 oz. tube of goat cheese (cut into 1” thick slices and coated in bread crumbs
1/2/ c. flour
1 large egg (beaten)
1/2 c. bread crumbs (to coat goat cheese)
1/4 T. olive oil (for frying)

-Arrange lettuces and pear on a large platter and put aside
-Place flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs - in separate dishes
-Coat goat cheese slices in flour (shaking off excess), dipping in egg, and bathing in breadcrumbs
-Heat a large skillet, add olive oil
-Place breaded goat cheese discs in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side
-Place fried goat cheese on platter and drizzle with vinaigrette (recipe below) 

For Vinaigrette

1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic (grated)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

-Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk them - whisk them good
-Drizzle all over your salad, you or your lover … and nom 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 — 1 note   ()

You Dirty Little Pork & Leftover Loving, Bag Lunch Toting, Queen

Sloppy Seconds Salad

I eat salads for lunch …  
Almost every day.

But I’d die of hunger, and boredom, were I to eat the standard tomato and cucumber bullshit - with fat free dressing - daily.  I’d rather rock my crazy curvaceousness, with a side of olive oil, salt and little bits of meat (or good veggies) then succumb to a tasteless life of mediocre greens and subpar salad bar toppings.    

I recently wrapped honeydew in prosciutto, for an older blog post (for photo purposes), so, in my refrigerator,  there was a surplus of one of my favorite salty and satisfying treats …  

I only thought it appropriate to wrap slippery slices of prosciutto around roasted asparagus (that I had from Tuesday’s dinner) and toss into a salad.  I also had leftover roasted acorn squash - so I added that in there too. 

This salad is guaranteed to be like your very own sloppy, drunk, make-out session (but one you won’t regret a few hours later).

Throw any (and all) leftover roasted veggie noms (you might have lying in your fridge), into a bowl of mesclun or arugula, toss, and drizzle with a sweet and savory dijon vinaigrette.


4 c. mesclun or 2 bunches of arugula (washed well and dried)  

For Acorn Squash

1 small acorn squash (halved, de-seeded, and cubed)
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. maple syrup 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Place acorn squash on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, maple syrup, salt & pepper, and roast for 25-30 minutes
-Let acorn squash cool and add to salad

For Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus (trimmed)
1 1/2 T. olive oil
8-10 thin slices prosciutto (sliced in half)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Place asparagus on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt & pepper, and roast for 15-20 minutes
-Let asparagus cool, wrap in prosciutto and place on top of acorn squash and greens 

For Vinaigrette

1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic (grated)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

-Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk them - whisk them good
-Drizzle all over your salad, you or your lover … and nom 

*If you decide to make this from scratch and roast the asparagus and acorn squash (not use as leftovers) only use a portion of each vegetable in your salad.  I’m sure you know this, but - I felt the need to write a subtle reminder.

Thursday, June 24, 2010 — 1 note   ()