Joe’s of Avenue U

JOE'S OF AVENUE UJoe’s of Avenue U

If your favorite Italian restaurant is Olive Garden and your favorite dish is spaghetti and meatballs (with all the bread sticks you can eat) maybe Joe’s of Avenue U in Brooklyn isn’t for you. Some of the one- and two-star Yelp reviews are pretty funny – submitted by people who don’t know Italian, let alone Sicilian cuisine like arancini, pasta con sarde, and vastedda.JOE'S OF AVENUE U
JOE'S OF AVENUE U
Cod Fish Oreganata

JOE'S OF AVENUE U
Sarde a Beccafico

Someone complained on Yelp that the chef refused make shrimp parm when there were other “parms” on the menu. She obviously didn’t know that cheese doesn’t go on seafood – it’s mortal sin. Instead of dumbing down their menu they tried to educate her but she wasn’t happy.

JOE'S OF AVENUE U
JOE'S OF AVENUE U
Take-Out Selection

If you want to try typical, well-prepared Sicilian cuisine and have an open mind you should go to Joe’s. If what you really want is a standard American red-sauce place, there are plenty of those around.

JOE'S OF AVENUE U

A Siciliani Marionette


Avenue U just off MacDonald Avenue – on the F train


JOE'S OF AVENUE U“Buon Appetito”

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Pork and Pepper Meatballs

Pork and Pepper Meatballs

There are lots of ways to make meatballs. Here’s another one.

Pre-heat the oven to 450o. Mix the bread, egg, and pepper liquid until the bread has absorbed it and is moist. Add the minced peppers, salt, black pepper, parsley, and pork and mix thoroughly with your hands until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Shape into golf ball size balls. You should get ten or twelve meatballs. Lay them in an oiled baking pan or dish and roast for 15 minutes. Serve them plain or with sauce.
(a simple marina sauce)

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Nathan’s Famous

Nathan's Famous

Nathan’s Famous

There are Nathan’s all around the world but the original is still on Surf Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn and it’s been at that location since 1916. It’s open every day – winter too.
Nathan's Famous

The Surf Avenue location is special and has a larger menu than the branches. You can get calamari, lobster rolls, clams on the half shell and even fried frog legs.Nathan's Famous

They have an annual hot dog eating contest. Last year’s winner, Joey Chestnut, won with a new record of 74!

Nathan's Famous


If you’re on the beach and don’t feel like walking to Surf Avenue for a hot dog, they have a location right on the boardwalk.

Coney Island

Posted by Robert Iulo on Monday, July 1, 2019


Nathan's Famous

Nathan's Famous

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Cast Iron Margarita

Cast Iron Pan Margarita Pizza

This recipe is for a 12 inch pan. Smaller pan = less dough. I buy my dough ready made for a nearby pizzeria. Here’s a link to a recipe if you want to do it yourself. I don’t buy jarred marinara sauce. It’s too easy to make. There’s a recipe at the bottom of this page.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. pizza dough
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 oz. marinara sauce
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil
Start by heating the oven to 500 degrees. Flatten and shape the dough to fit the round pan. Pre-heat the pan so it’s hot but not smoking. Spray or brush the pan with olive oil. Place the dough in the pan and stretch it across the bottom and up the sides. Touch the dough, not the pan – it’s hot.
Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the pan on a burner at medium heat. Just when it starts to bubble pour on and spread the sauce. Place a few thinly cut slices of mozzarella on top, leaving some spaces so the red sauce shows. A Margarita should be red (tomato), white (mozzarella), and green (basil) like an Italian flag.
Put the pan in the 500 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove from the over and scatter torn basil leaves over it while it’s still hot. Let it cool and slice.

Marinara Sauce for Pizza
  • 3 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Salt, black and red pepper to taste
  • 1 28 oz. can of pureed San Marzano tomatoes
Put the oil in a pan on low heat and lightly saute the garlic. Add the salt and pepper. Don’t let the garlic brown. Pour in the tomatoes, stir and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
That’s marinara sauce – easy, right? You can also make this with crushed tomatoes but puree is better for pizza. After you use 3 ounces for the pizza you’ll have enough left for to serve with a pound of pasta.

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The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

 

The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

Hailed as “One of the year’s more engaging cookbooks...” by the New York Times, the book has sold well over 100,000 copies. 

“…a one of a kind collection of heartwarming stories and authentic recipes that you’ll want to have for your cooking library…these recipes recall special memories of far away lands or of dearly loved relatives…much more than a recipe compilation, it is a personal journey with stories and reminiscences that will touch your heart.” ~ Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book Club


Arroz Con Pollo – adapted from the Ellis Island Immigrant Cook Book

The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs. of chicken pieces (I used breasts and thighs cut into smaller pieces)
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 3 cups hot chicken broth divided
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tsp. saffron
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. salt
Equipment – You’ll need a large oven proof pan with a cover for this. Mine is 15 inches. If you don’t have one that big, cut the recipe in half.
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the chicken until golden brown. Do same to pork and remove.
Sauté the pepper and onion in the drippings until the onions are transparent. Add tomato, parsley, garlic and bay leaf. Mix well and cook until soft. Set skillet aside.
Add the chicken and pork to the pan with the vegetables. Take 1 cup of broth and dissolve the saffron in it. Add the wine and lemon juice to the broth and pour this mixture into the skillet over the chicken and pork. Cover and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook
Add the rice between the chicken pieces. Add the remaining 2 cups of broth. Stir carefully. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the preheated 325° oven for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is done.  Remove, let stand 15 minutes covered.The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

Purchase a copy of The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook here

The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook


Click here for information on Save Ellis Island’s  HARDHAT TOURS.

The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

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The Churchill Tavern

The Churchill Tavern
We had a great lunch last Sunday at the Churchill Tavern. They served their traditional Sunday Roast – a choice of roast beef, lamb, pork or chicken with a bunch of sides – and regular menu of English favorites.
Full menu here

They have a wide beer and cider selection on tap and in cans and bottles, including many English brands. There’s a nice selection of Single Malt Scotch too.
If you’re in New York and want good English food and ambiance  you should try the Churchill Tavern.

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Neopolitan Meatballs

 

Neapolitan Meatballs – (Polpette Alla Napolitana)

This is an old-fashioned recipe. You can leave out the pinoles and currants but if you use them it makes these polpettes special.
Polpette Alla Napolitana
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup dried currants (soaked)
  • A small loaf of day-old Italian bread with the crust removed
  • Some milk to wet the bread
  • About 1 lb. of ground beef chuck
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiana cheese
  • 1/3  cup pinoles (pine nuts)
  • Olive oil for frying
Soak the currants in a little warm water. Soak the bread in the milk. Squeeze out the excess milk, break it apart and put it in a bowl with the beef, parsley and garlic.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Mix it well and add salt and pepper, the egg, cheese, the pinoles and drained currents.  Mix this thoroughly with your hands.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Shape the mix into small balls (I use an ice cream scoop to get them the same size) and let them rest for 15 – 20 minutes and then fry in a good amount of olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Keep rolling them to brown on all sides. Drain and serve with tomato sauce. They’re very good plain too.

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Eating in Little Italy

Where to Actually Eat Well in NYC’s Little Italy

I came across an interesting article in Eater New York. It’s a list and description of the best places to eat in New York’s Little Italy.

Here’s Eater’s list –

You can find the complete article here.

If you’re in NYC, you might find this list useful, and I’ll help with my opinion on the places that I’m familiar with.
I’ll start with their No. 1 – Emilio’s Ballato. I agree that it should be No. 1. It’s my favorite Italian restaurant in Little Italy. Not only that, it’s located in the building that I grew up in -55 E. Houston St. I remember the original Mr. Ballato and Emilio has continued his high-quality cooking tradition.
After that, I’d rate Il Cortille and Forlini’s as the same quality. They’re both excellent and stand out from the  mediocre red sauce restaurants in the area.
For pizza Lombardi’s is the best. They brought Napolitano  pizza to New York when they opened on Spring Street in 1905.
Umberto’s Clam House is pretty good and famous for that Joe Gallo incident but they should have also included Vincent’s, on the corner of Mott and Hester Street. It’s been around for a long time and was always one of my favorites.
Di Paolo’s is a first rate food store on Mott and Grand Street. I’m surprised the equally good Alleva on the then same block wasn’t also on the list. It was my mother’s go-to Latticini e Salumi.
Their only pick that I take issue with is Ferrara’s. It used to be good but not anymore. Instead of trying to educate their non-Italian customer on what good Italian pastry is all about, they dumbed-down their menu and quality. There are much more authentic patisseries in the area. My choices are Caffé Roma – 176 Mulberry St, Caffé Palermo – 148 Mulberry St. and La Bella Ferrara – 108 Mulberry St.

Caffe Roma

Caffe Palermo

La Bella Ferrara


The restaurants on the list that I didn’t mention are new to the neighborhood. Maybe you should give them a try and let me know what you think.

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Peugeot

Peugeot

When you hear the name “Peugeot,” cars come to mind. But what a lot of people know them for are high-quality pepper mills. We’ve had 2 of them for a very long time. They’re reliable and make a precise grind. Peugeot didn’t start out a s a car manufacturing company.  There was a recent article in FOOD 52 about Peugeot and their exceptional pepper mill.

3 Little-Known Facts About Peugeot & Their Iconic Pepper Mills

by: Amanda Sims

“It hardly matters what’s being served (simply dressed greens, strawberries and cold whipping cream, cardboard)—top a plate or bowl with freshly cracked black pepper from a proper grinder and it will take on an air of sophistication. Become something to sit down to. Wine might appear on cue. . . “

The complete article here


Our 2 Peugeots – old but still going strong.

Our 2 Peugeots - painted red and green to decorate the table one Christmas.

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Birds Eye Chilis

Bird’s Eye Chilis

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I like spicy dishes. I’ve posted a few simple recipes for hot pepper infusions and sauces and here’s another one. This calls for Bird’s Eye Chilis. You can usually get them in Chinese markets. There’re about an inch long and look like little red fire crackers. They’re small but have big heat, somewhere between Jalapenos and Habenaros.

There’re not always available but last winter I came across some in a Manhattan Chinatown sidewalk stand. I asked if they were “Hot,” and the merchant said I should taste one. I did and although it was 22 degrees my face started sweating. They were hot.

I found some in Italy that were the same as the ones I get in Chinatown. I was surprised to see them there since they were typically Asian but they were the same. Different food cultures sometimes come together.

The infusion is simple. Get a handful of peppers, about 20-25. Cut off the stems and tips so the interior of the pepper is accessible to the olive oil. Put them in a liter bottle and fill it with oil.  It doesn’t have to be EVOO.

Give it about a week for the oil to pick up the flavor and get a reddish tint. You can use the oil for frying and it’s also very good for drizzling on a sandwich, or pasta or any dish you’d like to give a little kick.
The best part is when the bottle of oil and peppers is just about empty, shake out the remaining peppers and oil into a frying pan and scramble some eggs with it – excellent!

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