Years ago I found this recipe for piadina in an issue of Food and Wine magazine, and despite the presence of ricotta cheese I actually was able to convince Michael to make it fairly often. This was before I started making my own pizza dough so we’d use the stuff from the store, and then once I started making my own dough I think we became too preoccupied with making pizza to try making these again. Once we did use the ingredients on a full-fledged pizza, but I think it might have been too much ricotta for Michael to handle so we haven’t done it since. Read More
[Editor’s Note: Michael is filing this while at a conference in California, so he deserves a few props.]
Over Christmas, I made a point of requesting a large number of cookbooks in the name of expanding my culinary repertoire boldly into the realm French cookery. One of my first attempts was an as yet unpublished, seemingly straightforward Beef Bourguignonne. While everything seemed right on the surface, the final product was a bit too dry for my liking. I wondered if our very lean American supermarket beef was to blame for the discontinuity. We resolved to try again, this time with an ingredient that we hoped would be more foolproof. Read More
Did you know that in Catalan, bikini means grilled cheese sandwich? Does that seem like a kick in the pants or what? This isn’t just any grilled cheese sandwich, either, because it uses fresh mozzarella, cremini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil–not exactly Kraft slices and Wonderbread.
Perhaps I should back up first, though, and explain my sudden appreciation/curiosity/annoyance at the Catalan language. Read More
A few weeks ago, Michael started in his recent kick of craving pasta with some kind of sauce with this dish. He knew he wanted to do either a tomato or a mushroom sauce for fresh pasta, and remembering how delicious my plate of fresh fettuccine and mushrooms at Pisticci was a few months ago, I cast my vote for the little fungi. What he didn’t know at the time, though, was that I wanted to mix in some fresh ricotta into the pasta as well–and thus sparked a debate in Whole Foods on the virtues of ricotta versus mascarpone cheese.
We’ve used both in the past to mix in with delicate fresh pasta, and both are delicious, but I was really feeling Team Ricotta this time around, and eventually, I won over the husband–though I know that the next time around we will be buying a tub of mascarpone from Vermont Butter and Cheese…ah, compromise.
Making this dish is very, very easy to do: thinly slice a mixture of mushrooms (here we used 8 ounces of cremini and shiitake mushrooms), and saute them in a pan with a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil for about 10 minutes or so. Deglaze with some red wine, and let the mixture cook down more, stirring occasionally, for another ten-fifteen minutes until the mushroom mixture has cooked down some more. Mix in a half cup of ricotta cheese with the mushrooms, and then add in cooked fresh pasta (either store-bought or homemade), and toss with the mushrooms and serve.
Buon apetito! We’re back from our holiday break and we have some amazing meals to share with you over the next few weeks…stay tuned!
The week of Thanksgiving, for me at least, means two things: getting ready to travel during the most hectic time of year, and already experiencing turkey fatigue without an ounce of tryptophan in my system. The latter I partially blame on watching The Food Network during the past two weekends, as a quick scroll on the DVR showed that every single show had something to do with turkey, stuffing/dressing, potatoes, and gravy, ranging from deep-fried turkeys to potatoes au gratin to “mapletinis”. As my fellow blogger The Kitchen Witch would say, it’s a lot of attention paid to a lot of beige food, and speaking as someone who grew up eating many a Thanksgiving-lite meal during the year, the mythos surrounding this one meal has mostly dissipated.
Fortunately for me, Michael has been craving duck after watching a recent Iron Chef rerun that featured them as the theme ingredient, so we picked out a recipe for roasting a whole one for our big weekend project out of The Silver Spoon..but those details must wait for another post. Today I want to share with you the first part of what ended up being a weekend-long food celebration: Saturday night’s antipasti.
Stuffed mushrooms are a particular favorite of mine, of course, but until we tried this recipe (also from The Silver Spoon), we’ve tended to favor very simple preparations that just involve breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, and maybe some parsley for color and taste. These went well beyond that in combining sauteed shallots, anchovies and homemade breadcrumbs bound together with an egg and spooned into large caps, then sprinkled with more breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. The original recipe called for porcini mushrooms, but given that those are nigh impossible to find fresh in the U.S. (much less whole), we substituted cremini and button mushrooms in their place. Using a more neutrally-flavored base ended up working out perfectly as it allowed other ingredients to shine; the anchovies especially were able to lend a briny bite, albeit one cut by the breadcrumbs, eggs and shallots.
This is a great appetizer to serve whenever you’re in the mood for something light but different, and a great way to inject some non-traditional flavors into a typical Thanksgiving tableau without interfering with the star of the meal.
As for our star ingredient from Saturday? Stay tuned…
It’s adorable to watch the Mrs. get all enthusiastic about dinner while in the throws of our weekend food shopping, sometimes even on the subway ride. Keeping her in suspense is easier than you might thing since typically I have no idea what I want to make until I’m wherever we’re going. It’s a bit existential, I know, but lately I’ve felt compelled to well… not plan anything. I think being in a new place has something to do with it. I also think that it’s almost impossible to get used to something as large and multifaceted as NYC. As far as choice goes, I feel literally spoiled by it. This makes for some wonderfully spontaneous evenings in the kitchen, but pulling a culinary Hail Mary carries some amount risk. Read More
Usually when I want to recreate a dish I’ve had in a restaurant, I’ll go back and study their online menus to get a feel for the ingredients (at least the ones that are listed) and try to figure out a recipe using that and possibly other recipes that may be similar in execution, but there is something to be said from diving into a cookbook provided by one of your favorite restaurants. I’ve written of my love for Barcelona (the restaurant) before, and when they released a cookbook that features many of their signature dishes, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d end up getting my hands on a copy sooner or later. It arrived in the form of a birthday gift from my parents and I eagerly dove into it while on the infuriating train ride home (a trip I will relate in more detail on another day), picking out dishes to make when we finally made it home.
It shouldn’t be surprising that we’ve already started cooking our way through the book—not only were tapas the perfect meal to have after a day of traveling; they were the perfect meal idea for a Saturday of entertaining our friend L a week later. Presenting her with the book upon returning home from brunch, she was directed to pick out a few for us to make for dinner that night. Unsurprisingly, the chorizo with figs (apparently the closest thing to a top seller at the restaurant) was her primary request, but she also picked out the herbed goat cheese and wild mushroom dish and I requested the mussels in a spicy tomato sauce—something I had wanted the week prior, but was wary of purchasing shellfish on a Sunday. Four different tapas dishes seemed reasonable enough for us to nibble on as the evening wore on; after all, we only had our brunch meals to go on and we spent much of the afternoon traipsing around the neighborhood–surely we’d be fine, no? Read More