Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I adapted this from Michele Becci’s recipe. You can serve it hot or cold as a pasta salad.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

Put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the walnut pieces to the hot, dry pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the walnuts are toasted and brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: combine the arugula, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until smooth.  Add in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Pulse until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain pasta. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Add in the lemon zest. Toss.

Add the pesto into the pasta and stir to incorporate. If too dry, add a little of the pasta water. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in a few handfuls of arugula and top with the toasted walnut pieces. Finish with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.Arugula Pesto


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Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

I got this one from Martha Stuart. It’s quick, easy and very good.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced &  pounded thin
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 4 plums, cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Slice pork tenderloin in one-inch pieces. Put the pieces between two sheets of Saran Wrap and pound into 1/4 to 1/2 inch filets.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Season with salt and brown in olive oil and butter over medium-high heat and remove.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Sauté red onion over medium heat until soft and translucent then add plums.

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Pork with Plums and Red Onions

Add vinegar, a pat of butter and stir until bubbling. Return pork to pan and toss.

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Anchovy Tomato Sauce

Anchovy Tomato Sauce – (pasta con acchiughe e pomadoro)

 

I’m not going to try to convince anyone who doesn’t like anchovies to eat them. Just keep in mind that anchovies dissolved in sauce like this aren’t the same a eating them directly from the can. Give it a try – you might like it. I called it ????? Tomato Sauce in the subscriber email so you anchovy haters wouldn’t ignore it.

*toasted breadcrumbs

Put up a pot of water for the 1 lb. of pasta – spaghetti or perciatelli is good with this sauce.


Put the anchovies and oil from the can into a large pan with an additional ¼ cup of olive oil. Add the garlic, pepper and half of the parsley and sauté on a low heat until the anchovies dissolve.

Add tomato paste and after it’s blended in with the garlic and oil and caramelized, add the water. Blend and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Check for seasoning – the anchovies are salty so you shouldn’t need any more salt.


When the pasta is almost done add it to the pan with the sauce to finish cooking. Add some pasta water to thin the sauce. Mix in the coloratura di alici, half of the breadcrumbs and remaining parsley just before serving. Serve with the remaining breadcrumbs.


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Japanese Hospital Food

Japanese Hospital Food

If you’ve ever spent time in a hospital you’ll know that the food they serve isn’t exactly gourmet. It’s far from it. The best you can say is that it’s well-balanced and nutritious. But it’s bland, tasteless and unappetizing. It’ll get you through you stay at the hospital without starving but it’s nothing to write home about. Most patients, if they’re not on a restricted diet, have friends and family bring them real food when they visit. It looks like this would be unnecessary in Japan.
Recently an American woman gave birth in a Japanese hospital and was so impressed by the food she was served that she photographed it.

Japanese Hospital Food

“Chicken with mushroom sauce, braised pumpkin and pork, daikon carrot salad, rice, miso soup, chawan mushi.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Mackerel, konbu salad, natto, spinach salad, miso soup, rice, milk, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Chicken fingers with shredded cabbage salad, bitter melon stir fry, agedashi tofu, carrot salad, rice, miso soup.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Sea bream, pasta salad, chicken meatballs, pickled daikon, rice, miso soap, chawan mushi, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Forget this fish name, braised vegetables, niku jaga (meat and potatoes), cucumber and baby corn salad, rice, miso soup, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Fried fish with tartar sauce, braised mountain potatoes, hijiki salad, spinach and carrot stir fry, rice, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Salmon, tofu, spinach salad, natto, miso soup, rice, milk.”

Japanese Hospital Food

“Final Oiwai Dinner – Camembert and raisins, roast beef, mashed potatoes, kabocha, lotus root with gravy, corn soup, rice, salad, tiramisu, fruit, orange juice, green tea.”

Japanese Hospital Food

If you’ve ever been to a US hospital, this is what you could expect.

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Cooking with Garlic

Paul Scorvino slicing garlic in Martin Scorsese’s Good Fellas

 

Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic

Lots of people think that all Italian food MUST be made with tons of garlic. That’s a myth started by Italian restaurants that served mostly non-Italians. Garlic is a useful aromatic. It makes certain recipes taste better but it should never overwhelm the dish.

Sauteing it slowly and over low heat is the best way to get its flavor. It softens but doesn’t brown. A hint of golden color is fine but brown means burnt and bitter. Minced garlic cloves burn more quickly then sliced, so sliced is easier to work with. Large chunky slices are useful sometimes because you can see them and avoid eating them (if you want to).


Everybody knows I’m into kitchen gadgets so at Christmas and birthdays I get some interesting ones. Here are two that are basically miniature mandolins for garlic. They both work well and make easily make thin, even slices.Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic


A micro-plane is quick and convenient. It makes a fine pulp. A garlic press does the same but eliminates the garlic fibers and adds a more gentle flavor.Cooking with Garlic

Cooking with Garlic


. . . or you can do it like Paul Scorvino with a razor or use a standard utility knife the old fashioned way like my mother and aunts did. A sharp knife and years of practice is all you’ll need.Cooking with Garlic


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The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

This is the simplest pasta sauce I can think of. Just 3 basic ingredients – tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. You can use any kind of ripe fresh tomatoes or a 28 oz. can of San Marzanno tomatoes would work too.
These 3 ingredients plus pasta, water, salt and pepper make a meal. You can build on it with other ingredients. You can simply add some grated parmigiana, torn basil leaves and a few drops of olive oil when serving. Maybe brown some sausage or saute a few shrimp in the pan before you add the tomatoes then simmer them in the sauce. There are lots of possibilities.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

The Simplest Pasta Sauce

Preparation:
Put on a pot of water for the pasta.
Start the sauce  by lightly sauteing the garlic in the oil until it’s pale orange, not brown. I prefer it cut into large pieces but do it any way you like. Use a low heat and take your time to flavor the oil. Add salt, black and red pepper depending on your taste. (You can stop right there if you want. In addition to being the base for lots of things, seasoned garlic and oil is all you need for a standard dish – PASTA AGLIO E OLIO.)
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
Add the tomatoes. They can be just roughly chopped alla rustica, or cored, skinned and de-seeded, depending on how much time you have. Let them simmer while the pasta water comes to a boil. As they soften you can break them up with the back of a wooden spoon.
The Simplest Pasta Sauce
When the pound of pasta is almost done, drain  it and add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Instead of absorbing water the pasta can absorb some of the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water to loosen the sauce.The Simplest Pasta Sauce

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Ellington in the Park

Ellington in the Park
Ellington in the Park is situated on two levels (we prefer the upper) of a terrace in Riverside Park. Its approximately between 105th and 106th Street. Perfect for lunch and even better for drinks or dinner watching the sun set over the Hudson River. Ellington in the Park

A FULL BAR

Ellington in the Park

GOOD BAR FOOD AND MORE

Ellington in the Park

Ellington in the Park Menu

Ellington in the Park

Ellington in the Park

Ellington in the Park

Ellington in the Park

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Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island

Somehow, a tradition started a few years back, where every Father’s Day my daughter Kristina takes me to Coneys Island. The amusement area isn’t as big as it used to be but it still has that good old Coney Island feel – a little seedy and not gentrified.
Coney Island
Kristina, Bridget, me, Nicki, Stephen and Jack – Molly had to work.

Ruby’s
We meet at Ruby’s Bar on the boardwalk for lunch. They have traditional Coney Island food – hot dogs, clams, onion rings, etc.

Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island

 


The Beach

Coney IslandAfter lunch we spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach. There must have been a crack down on vendors. You used to be able to buy just about anything on the beach – water, beer, ice cream, loose cigarettes, loose joints and nutcracker. One of my favorites was fresh mango sprinkled with hot chili powder – sounds strange but delicious. All we could get this year was lime ice.Coney Island

Kitchen 21
After a day on the beach we’d walk down to Brighton Beach and have dinner at one of the Russian restaurants but since Kitchen 21 opened we’ve been eating there.Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island


Coney Island

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Johnny Walker Black NY Yankee Scotch

Johnny Walker Black NY Yankee Scotch

I went to the liquor store to get a bottle of my brand of Scotch, Johnny Walker Black, and couldn’t find it on the shelf. I looked for the traditional black box and didn’t see any. I asked the clerk and he pointed to a black and white pin-striped box. It was a New York Yankees 2018 Limited Edition Johnny Walker Black.
The box, the label and even the bottle cap – all in pin stripes and Johnny is carrying a bat over his shoulder and tossing a baseball.

Johnny Walker Black

So, if you’re a Scotch drinker and a Yankee fan, this is for you. Since it’s a limited edition it’ll probably become a collectible and in a couple of years people will be bidding for it on eBay.
But I think I’ll drink it now.

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Macaroni and Beans

Allesandro Castelli-Italian Peasants by a Cottage

 

Macaroni and Beans

Macaroni and Beans

I don’t always do real La Cucina Povera (the cooking of the poor) recipes but this time it’s one of the best – macaroni and beans. What could be a less expensive meal for a family?  And the best part about it is that it’s delicious. Every weekday night my mother would start dinner with one of her mother’s recipes, a kind of macaroni and “something,” maybe beans, lentils, cecis (chick peas), broccoli, cauliflower and then she’d serve the main course. These macaroni dishes were terrific but she  never considered them “good enough” to serve to guests.

So here’s the family recipe for Macaroni and Beans.

Macaroni and Beans

Macaroni and Beans

Start a pot of salted water for the macaroni.

Saute the onion slowly over low heat in oil. Don’t brown. Season with salt, black and red pepper. Add the tomato paste, parsley and blend. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and let this continue to simmer on a low heat as the pasta cooks.

Macaroni and Beans

When the pasta is almost done add add it to the sauce to finish cooking. Add the beans and some of the pasta water so it has a somewhat soupy consistency. Check for seasoning and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and,if you like, some grated cheese or toasted bread crumbs.