Basilicata Frittata

Basilicata Frittata

I had some leftover fresh horse radish from the Basilicata Style Pasta, so I used it for a frittata.
Basilicata Frittata
Ingredients:
  • About 12 oz./2 cups of potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 oz. grated Parmigiana cheese
  • 3 oz. grated fresh horseradish or more to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough olive oil for frying
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the cheese, horse radish, parsley, and seasoning. Mix in the mashed potatoes and blend until you have a fairly smooth mixture. Don’t worry about a few little lumps. If you made the mashed potatoes fresh, make sure they cool off before you mix them so they don’t cook the eggs.

Basilicata Frittata

Basilicata Frittata

Heat the oil in an oven proof 10 inch pan, pour in the egg mixture and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Once the eggs begin to set, place the pan under your broiler for another 5 minutes to cook and brown the top of the frittata.Basilicata Frittata
 

Basilicata Frittata

Slice and serve either hot or at room temperature.

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Basilicata Style Pasta

Basilicata Style Pasta

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I encourage you to not limit yourself to using just grated Parmigiana or Loccatelli type cheese on your pasta. For this recipe it’s grated fresh horse radish. The use of ground walnuts and breadcrumbs in the sauce and a good sprinkle of grated horse radish is typical of Basilicata, where my paternal grandparents are from. Fresh horse radish is common in Basilicata but not so much in New York expect around Passover. It’s the bitter herb in the Seder meal that represents the bitterness of slavery.Basilicata Style Pasta

Basilicata Style PastaIngredients:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • Salt, black pepper & red pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. short pasta – fusilli, gameli, rotini, cavatappi,
  • Fresh horse radish
Start a pot of salted water for the pasta and lay out your ingredients.Basilicata Style Pasta
Basilicata Style PastaHeat the oil in a large pot and cook the onions on medium low. Add one tablespoon of tomato paste, salt, black, and red pepper. Cook low and slow until the onions are soft and translucent – don’t brown. The onions add a little sweetness to the sauce which is a nice counterpoint to the horse radish.

Basilicata Style PastaAdd the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste to check for seasoning. If you want a meat sauce, now is the time to add some nicely browned sausage or braciole.

Cook the pasta until almost done, drain it and add it to the sauce where it will finish cooking. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water if the sauce is too dry. Pour in the walnuts and breadcrumbs, stir to thoroughly combine and serve. This is still a very good sauce even if you don’t have fresh horse radish.
Basilicata Style PastaCut about an inch of the end of the horse radish and remove some of the bark with a potato peeler. Pass the horse radish and a grater at the table and top each dish with a good amount of horse radish. Sometimes when the horseradish hits the hot steamy pasta it can make your eyes tear. Don’t let it bother you.

Basilicata Style Pasta


Cover the cut end of the horse radish with some foil and refrigerate.  Basilicata Style Pasta

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Teresa’s Sicilian Steak

Teresa’s Sicilian Steak

Teresa Giudice is one of the Housewives of New Jersey and she can really cook. She’s published a few cook books and this steak recipe is adapted from Skinny Italian. The light coating adds a lot of flavor and yet doesn’t take away from the taste of the steak.
Teresa's Sicilian SteakIngredients:
  • 1 steak about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmigiano cheese
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper
Place the oil and garlic in a shallow bowl. Place the steak in the bowl and let it stay at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning it after 15 minutes.

Teresa's Sicilian Steak

In the meantime, mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. Remove the steak from the oil and dip it into the crumb mixture coating it evenly.
Teresa's Sicilian Steak
Let it stand on the baking rake for 10 minutes for the crumbs to set. Place a rack between 6 and 8 inches below the broiler preheat the oven.

Teresa's Sicilian Steak

Broil the steak for 3 – 4 minutes – until the crust is browned. Turn it over and do the same to the other side for medium-rare. Ovens may vary so move the rack closer or further away from the heat source so it browns and doesn’t burn. When it’s done let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into one inch strips.

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Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar Peppers

Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar Peppers

Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar Peppers

I wish this dish had an interesting name. If I said, “Ma, what’s for dinner.” She’d say, “Sausage and chicken with vinegar peppers,” so that’s what I call it.

Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar Peppers

Ingredients:
  • Olive oil for frying
  • ½ lb. Italian sausage (about 3) cut into pieces
  • ½ lb. skinless/boneless chicken thighs (about 3) cut into pieces
  • 2 Idaho potatoes cut into half inch half moons
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • 1 cup of sliced vinegar peppers (sweet or hot)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup liquid from the pepper jar
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
Bring chicken and sausage to room temperature and season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Fry the meat in olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until browned. Don’t crowd the pan or the meat with steam instead of brown. Remove and set aside. Fry the potatoes using more oil if necessary. Season, remove from the pan when almost done and set aside.

Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar PeppersFry meat and potatoes in batches so they brown and don’t steam.

Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar Peppers
Fry the onions and when they start to brown, add the peppers. Add a half cup of water and deglaze the pan. Return the potatoes and then the sausage and chicken on top. Pour in the vinegar and pepper liquid, sprinkle on the thyme and cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.Sausage and Chicken with Vinegar Peppers

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Barramundi

Barramundi

Barramundi
Barramundi is a flakey white fish with a thin easily editable skin. It’s a new-to-the-market type of sea bass from the South Pacific and our imports come mainly from Australia. 
Barramundi
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. olive
  • Barramundi fillet
Melt the butter in a small pan on medium heat. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the lemon juice. Stir, remove from heat and set aside.  (This combination of ingredients works  for  lots  of  different  types  of  fish. ) Barramundi

Blot the fillet dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Barramundi
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Cook the filet skin side down for 3 minutes to crisp the skin.. Turn it over and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

Barramundi
Place the fish in a serving dish, pour the sauce over it and serve.

Barramundi
Barramundi

 

More on Barramundi here.   

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Regina Biscotti

Regina BiscottiRegina Biscotti

Biscotti and coffee are one of my favorite breakfasts. And Reginas are my favorite biscotti. Their name means Queen’s Cookies. This was my Aunt Vicky’s recipe except for the lemon zest. That was my idea.
Ingredients:
  • 9 oz. all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. olive oil
  • 3 eggs (separate yolks & whites)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 oz. milk
  • zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1 cup sesame seedsRegina Biscotti
Regina Biscotti
Start by mixing the flour, sugar, salt, and oil in a bowl. Add the beaten egg yolks, honey, milk, and zest and mix with your hands until dough forms. You can do this part with a food processor. Roll it into a ball, wrap with Saran, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until they start to darken. Immediately remove them from the hot pan and put aside on a plate.REGINA BISCOTTI

Beat the 3 egg whites and 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl.
Cut the dough ball into 4 sections and roll each section into a 1-inch-wide log. Cut the log into 1 to 1 ½ inch sections. You should get 5 or 6 pieces from each log.Regina Biscotti
Dip each piece in the egg white–water mixture. Roll them in the sesame seeds, covering all sides. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
Regina Biscotti
Regina Biscotti

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Shrimp Étouffée

Shrimp Étouffée

Different families have different Étouffée recipes. I got this one from a friend with a Louisiana connection. Ideally, it would have been made with crawfish but they’re not so easy to get on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Shrimp is a good substitute.
Shrimp Étouffée
Ingredients:
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 cups Cajun trinity
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. Panola or Tobassco hot sauce or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Cajun spice mix
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and shelled
  • 2 scallions, green part choppedShrimp Étouffée
Heat the butter in a large pan and add the trinity. Cook until it’s softens and then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the flour, mix and cook for a few minutes then add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for a minute.
Shrimp Étouffée
Stir in the stock and 1 cup of water. Cook on medium until reduced by half. Now add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Cajun spice mix, salt, and black pepper. Raise heat and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.

Add the shrimp, reduce heat, and stir and coat with the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. Sprinkle the scallions on top and serve with rice.
Shrimp Étouffée

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Sautéed Tomato Sauce

Sautéed Tomato Sauce

When most people think of tomato sauce they think ‘simmering.’ For this recipe you start by sautéing the tomatoes. This gives them a rich hearty flavor and it’s ready to eat in about a half an hour.
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup olive oil divided
  • Salt, black, and red pepper
  • 10 – 12 plum tomatoes
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 lb. short pasta (ziti, penne, rotelle, etc.)
Start a pot of salted water for the pasta.
Sautéed Tomato SauceHeat ¼ cup of the oil in a large frying pan and season it with salt, black and red pepper. Cut the stem end off the tomatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and place then cut side down in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat until they begin to soften and color. Depending on their ripeness and thickness they might take 8 – 12 minutes. 
Sautéed Tomato Sauce
Season the top side and then turn them and cook for another 8 – 12 minutes. Start cooking the pasta in the boiling water.
Sautéed Tomato Sauce
The tomatoes should be soft now so add the minced garlic, basil, and parsley and the remaining ¼ cup of oil.

Sautéed Tomato Sauce

Add some of the pasta water to the sauce, blend and deglaze the pan. A ½ cup might be enough but add more if needed to get a saucy consistency.

Sautéed Tomato Sauce
When the pasta is almost al dente add it to the sauce and mix to finish cooking. Serve with grated Parmigiana.

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Chartreuse

Chartreuse is a liqueur with a history. The New York Times just did an article on it.

               An Elixir from the French Alps, Frozen in Time

Only two monks know the full recipe for Chartreuse, and even in the pandemic they stuck to their Middle Ages motto: “The cross is steady while the world turns.”
By Marion Renault
GRENOBLE, France — When the world went into lockdowns this year, the monks of Chartreuse simply added another tick to their 900-year record of self-imposed isolation . . . 

For the complete article click here.Chartreuse


 

               Chartreuse comes in two strengths. Green – 110 proof and Yellow – 86 proof.

Chartreuse
I like it straight . . .

 

. . . or with some Cognac floated on top.

More of Chartreuses’ history at their website.
Chartreuse

“The Order of Chartreuse was more than 500 years old when, in 1605, at a Chartreuse monastery in Vauvert, a small suburb of Paris, the monks received a gift from Duc Francois Hannibal d’ Estrées, Marshal of King’s Henri IV artillery . . . “

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Pomegranates

pomegranates

Pomegranates

A friend unexpectedly stopped by for dinner. I took him shopping with me to get something to cook when he noticed pomegranates at the grocery store. He mentioned that he’d seen them before but never tried one.

pomegranates

I said, “What? How could you live in New York and never have had a pomegranate? Let’s get a couple and I’ll show you how good they are.”

How to cut and remove the seeds –

pomegranates

pomegranates

Cut the skin around the top and remove it.

pomegranates

Make 5 shallow cuts along the sides and pull apart into sections.

pomegranates

Break up the seeds into a bowl.

pomegranates

Fill the bowl with water so the membrane floats and can be removed.

pomegranates

Ready to eat.

Pomegranate Juice – 

On the street in Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi Coast.

pomegranates

Put the seeds in a blender with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and blend for a few minutes.

pomegranates

Strain the mixture, squeezing the seeds in a sieve.

pomegranates

Ready to drink.

Pomegranate Liqueur –

After we’d made my Aunt Lena’s Coffee Sport and it turned out so well, Bridget and I got adventurous and decided to try making pomegranate liqueur. I went to the nearest Korean grocer. In NY, Korean grocer means general merchandise and very fresh and varied fruit and vegetables. I picked out 12 pomegranates and went to the cashier. As I started to unload them from the basket to the counter, a couple got on line behind me.
When they saw what I was buying the woman asked, “What could you possibly do with all of those pomegranates?”
Her husband looked embarrassed and so did she. “I apologize. Those words just fell out of my mouth.”
“There’s no need to apologize. And since you asked, my wife and I make some old Italian cordial recipes and this is for one we one we made up.”
The cashier who knew I shopped there regularly said, “These are very expensive. And you’re buying so many.”
“Maybe but that will turn into a bottle of something that will be worth it.”
The woman who apologized asked, “Why can’t you just use bottled pomegranate juice?”
Maybe I looked a little indignant when I said, “Bottled juice just won’t be a good as fresh. We squeeze the juice, strain, then simmer it until it’s  thickened a bit. Then we mix it with simple syrup and grain alcohol, and it’s done. That’s it, a simple cordial and ready to drink.”
Here’s the recipe for Pomegranate Liqueur as well as Coffee Sport.


The Myth of Persephone

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds  pomegranates


Helpful Hint – Don’t wear a white shirt anywhere near a pomegranate.

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