Corn Soup

Corn Soup

Navajo Corn Soup ingredients

No, corn soup isn’t an Italian recipe but I replaced the salt pork in the original with pancetta. You can use either.

Ingredients:

Navajo Corn Soup (2)zz

 

Salt pork or pancetta
Your choice, salt pork or pancetta
Green poblano and a red bell
One each, a green poblano and a red bell

Preparation:

  • Brown pancetta & cubed pork and remove.
  • Sauté onion, add peppers, garlic & oregano and cook until softened.
  • Return meat to pot. Add stock and simmer covered for 1 hour.
  • Taste and add salt and black pepper.
  • Add corn a few minutes before serving.

corn

Click here for updated GALLERY

Zucchini Soup

Zucchini Soup

zucchini soup

My mother made zucchini soup often. My sister Rochelle still makes it and gave me the recipe.

Rochelle
Rochelle

ingredients

Preparation:

In a pot, sauté a finely chopped onion in oil until tender and transparent. Don’t brown. Add the zucchini and just cover with hot water – about 2 cups. Season to taste. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Scramble the eggs with the grated cheese and add to pot. Add one cup of marina sauce (see below) and stir until well mixed. Serve with additional cheese.

Zucchini flower
Zucchini flower

 

Marinara Sauce

  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (cut in large pieces so they can easily be removed)
  • 1 ½ lbs of fresh tomatoes or 1 28oz con of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Lightly brown garlic in the olive oil.  Add about a pound and a half of chopped fresh or one large can of crushed tomatoes (approx. 28 oz.).  Add salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer ½ hour on medium heat and it’s done.

Click here for updated GALLERY

Hollywood Beach

Hollywood Beach20151113_122705

We just spent a lazy week and a half at the Marriot on Hollywood Beach. The hotel is on the beach, only separated by the Broadwalk, a 2.5 mile long, 30 foot wide pavement open only to pedestrians and bikes. I say lazy because except for a lunch in Little Havana and a dinner in South Beach we never left Hollywood. We spent most of our time on the beach and were able to walk to plenty of very good restaurants, either right on the Broadwalk or the Intercoastal.

20151108_113616


Capones Flicker Lite – Chicago-style deep dish pizza – MENU

capones


Ocean Alley  – seafood on the Broadwalk – MENU

The waitress took this pic and I don't know how she got those colors.
The waitress took this pic and I don’t know how she got those colors.

GG’s Waterfront Bar & GrillMENU

GG's Waterfront Bar and Grill


Taverna Opa – on the Intercoastal – MENU Hollywood, FL _ Greek Restaurants And Dining At Taverna Opa Restaurants_Page_2


Rocco’sMENU

rocco


The Taco SpotMENU

taco


Little Havana

 

El Pub Restaurant, 1548 SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho) MENU

elpub aa


La Tradicion Cubana – Calle Ocho & 13th Avenue


South Beach

 

The Delano – Rose Bar

Delano Rose Bar

 

Dolci – MENU

DOLCE ITALIAN


 

IMG00496-20121002-1418a (2)

Click here for updated GALLERY

Pasta 101

Pasta 101

sophia-loren-spaghetti

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

Cooking – Let’s start with the basic cooking of pasta – you boil it. First, use more water than you’d think you’d need, about four quarts for one pound. Add a lot of salt, at least 2 tablespoons (it can only absorb so much) and don’t pay attention to what the celebrity chefs say and add a few drops of oil if you want. Some people think it keeps the pasta from sticking together as it cooks and others think it prevents the sauce from adhering to it. Make up your own mind. Pick a pasta shape that compliments the sauce. Cook it until it’s done the way you like it and don’t worry about the Al Dente Police raiding your kitchen. If you have room in the pot you can finish cooking the pasta in your sauce. Save a cup of the pasta water. You can use it if you need to thin the sauce.

Secca vs. Fresca

pasta-secca 1
Pasta secca
fresa
Pasta fresca

 

One isn’t better than the other, they’re just different. Secca is the most common one. It’s the dry pasta you find in every grocery store – think Ronzoni or Buitoni. It’s made with semolina flour (hard durum wheat) and water and can handle the mechanical process required to make it. It lasts for months. Secca is more popular in the south of Italy, it’s cheaper than fresca and can be used with heartier sauces. Fresca is made from bread flour and sometimes eggs. It lasts about 5 days in a refrigerator. It’s tender and absorbent and works with light sauces – try sage and butter.

Cavatelli

My mother used almost only secca but on special occasions she would make fresca. Cavatelli, which she pronounced in the Salernitano dialect gav-a-deel, was so simple that I would often help. I’d roll out a snake-like section of her dough, cut it into one inch pieces and then sort of smear them with my thumb. Mine weren’t as pretty as hers but still not bad.ravioli

On very special occasions we’d have ravioli. My mother, aunts and grandmother never used anything but a ricotta mix for stuffing. Since we never ate in Italian restaurants I didn’t know they could be made with meat or anything else (pumpkin?) until I was almost an adult. My family’s ravioli were square, large, sealed by crimping with a fork and laid out on a clean sheet on the bed to dry before cooking. You can get good ones at Piemonte on Grand near Mulberry Streets or Pastosa.

Pasta Asciutta – Not a very common term but it’s nice to know. That’s pasta served with sauce as opposed to minestra, a soupy pasta with vegetables i.e. Pasta Piselli , or Minestra and Zuppa

Noodles – There are American egg noodles and Chinese rice noodles but as far as I know there are no Italian noodles.

sophia
Sophia – che bella!

Grated cheese – Since cheese is so closely associated with pasta I’ll mention it here. Use Parmigiana, Loccatelli, Romano or whatever you like but don’t think you can put it on everything because it can overpower a delicate dish. If you really want cheese, eat a piece of cheese. Instead of the hard grating cheeses, try dry ricotta salada sometime or maybe a tablespoon of fresh ricotta in your dish before you put in pasta with tomato sauce. Instead of any grated cheese at all, try toasted breadcrumbs. And remember – never, never put cheese on seafood.

 Click here for updated GALLERY

 

Escarole, Broccoli & Cardoons

Escarole, Broccoli & Cardoons

Three green recipes –  simple and cheap.


Escarole

Usually a side dish but it makes a great vegan sandwich. 

escarole (2)Escarole ingredients

Preparation:

Cut of the base of the stem off 2 heads and cut the leaves in half. Soak in sink full of cold water.

Place leaves in a pot, cover with cold water and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pan with 1 tsp salt, black pepper and garlic. Drain the leaves and add to the pan while they’re still slightly damp. Toss and simmer for a few minutes. Remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon. Drizzle with a little more oil in its serving dish.

escarole sandwich


Broccoli Salad

broccoli salad

Broccoli Salad ingredientsRinse broccoli & trim florets and stems. Boil in a salted water until stems are tender and drain.

Add salt and black pepper, thickly sliced cloves of garlic, oil and lemon juice and toss. Chill and serve.


Cardoons

(This is for Bea)

growing wild

This is a rare edible weed that you seldom find commercially, even at the best markets. Whenever I’ve eaten it, it was only because someone went to a rural area in New Jersey or upstate New York in spring and picked it where it grew wild.like celery

It’s a leafy plant that grows close to the ground. The leaves are inedible. It’s the stems that you want. When cleaned they look something like a stalk of celery but don’t attempt to eat them raw. They have to be boiled to soften them with the thicker ones split down the middle to make them all about 1/2 to 3/4 inch width.

Dry them and dip them in an egg wash. Then coat them with bread crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper and maybe a little finely chopped parsley. Fry them until golden brown in olive oil. They are worth the troublefried

 Click here for updated GALLERY

Caffé Roma

1aa

I grew up in Manhattan’s Little Italy and was fortunate enough to be able to walk to two very good pastry shops – Ferrara on Grand St. and Caffé Roma on Broome St. Caffé Roma was a little more homey but I liked them both.

seats

A few years ago, when Easter was approaching I stopped into Ferrara to see if they had started making pizza con grana*, an Easter specialty.

I asked the manager, “Do you have pizza con grana yet?”

He replied, “If you want a slice, go to the pizzeria across the street.”

I lost my temper and said “What’s wrong with you? Do I look like somebody who would go to a pasticcera for a slice of pizza? I asked for pizza con grana.”

“Senor, I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. We don’t make that any more.” As he indicated the crowds of tourists eating pastry with their early evening cappuccino** he said, “These people who come here don’t know what that is.”

So they decided to cater to their tourist customer’s pedestrian tastes instead of attempting to show them something different and traditionally Italian that they might like. That was the last time I ever went to Ferrara.

I left and walked up a block to Caffé Roma, which still hasn’t been Disneyfied with the rest of Little Italy. They had some of their tables pushed together and covered with freshly baked pizza con grana. They also still have zeppole di San Giuseppe around his feast day in March and struffoli at Christmas. They remain old school.

counter 1

Caffé Roma is a classic so don’t order like you’re in Starbucks. They serve excellent espresso, tea and even hot chocolate. For cold drinks they have the standard Italian sodas and orzata: gelato too. But it’s the pastry & biscotti you should go for, baked daily and right there. It’s been run by the same family since 1881 and I hope they keep going.counter 2

They’re located in what’s left of Little Italy at 385 Broome St. on the corner of Mulberry.

* Pizza con grana – a sweet pie made from wheat berries, ricotta and orange flower water, traditionally served at Easter time.

** from Wikipedia – cappuccino is consumed only up to 11 a.m., and Italians consider it very “strange” to ask for a cappuccino after that hour.  Espresso with milk is for little kids and breakfast. I suppose you can drink it any time, just like you can have corn flakes for dinner if that’s what you want.

Click here for updated GALLERY

 

Venison Giambotta

20151018_191114

Venison Giambotta

When my grandmother’s family arrived in New York in the early 1900s, some of them couldn’t get used city living like she did.They were southern Italian farmers and felt more comfortable living in “upstate” rural areas. They farmed and often hunted. When visiting my grandparents they’d bring Concord grapes, apples and sometimes venison. My grandmother came up with this recipe. It originally contained deer heart but I substitute chicken hearts. (A heart isn’t like other organs. It’s a muscle just like a steak or chop.)

ingredients

Venison Giambotta ingredients

Preparation:

  • Sear strips of seasoned venison in a very hot pan (no oil) and remove.
  • Do the same with the chicken hearts

venison

  • Cut unpeeled fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes in ½ in. slices. Add oil and lightly brown enough slices in same pan to cover the bottom of the pan, S&P and remove.potatoes
  • Fry the green pepper until soft and lightly browned in a deep pot
  • Add 1 small roughly chopped onion to the pepper and sauté in the same pot
  • Clear a hot spot and add 1/2 small can (3 ozs.) of tomato paste and caramelize then mix with peppers & onions.

20151018_184625

  • Use some stock to deglaze the pan and pour liquid into the pot. Add about 1/2 of the remaining beef stock to the pot and add the bay leaves. You won’t need all of the stock.
  • Add meat and potatoes to the pot, stir and simmer on low, covered for 10 minutes.
  • Add more stock if necessary to get a stew like constancy.20151018_185104

Buon Appetito!

venison

Click here for updated GALLERY

 

Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz's

Bridget and I went to lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen a few weeks ago on a Sunday. Bad idea – it’s way too crowded on Sunday. Besides being crowded, we noticed two tour buses parked outside so the crowd included more than the usual amount of tourists. They didn’t understand how the lines worked so instead of going to the confusion at the counters we got a table. We sat next to two women from Maryland who were on a food tour. They’d just come from Ferrara on Grand St.

When they ordered two chili dogs the waiter said, “Do you think you’re at a county fair? I’ll give you some more time to think about it and come back.”

Chili dogs may have been on the menu but the waiter knew better. We ordered frankfurters with sauerkraut, pastrami on rye and Doctor Brown’s – that got a smile of approval from of the waiter.

Maybe you saw “Annie Hall.” Diane Keaton ordered a pastrami on white with lettuce tomato and mayonnaise. The waiter almost had a heart attack.

menu

OK, it’s not cheap. If you want cheap you don’t have to go to Katz’s. But if you want to have a good laugh, look at the Yelp reviews of Katz’s. Most are 5 Star but you can sort them “lowest rated” first. The 1 Star reviews are ridiculous –

  • it was a mediocre tuna sandwich
  • they didn’t have whole wheat toast
  • it hasn’t been redecorated since the 70s
  • the man who made my turkey sandwich sent me to another counter for lettuce and tomato

Would you expect a  French restaurant to serve you sushi just because they have raw fish in the kitchen? No, it’s not what they do.

Katz's tables
Lots of free seats just before noon
Musée Cinéma et Miniature
Musée Cinéma et Miniature

One more word about mayo – Milton Berle said “Everytime someone puts mayo on pastrami, a Jew dies.”

You either got this post or you didn’t. Don’t be offended and maybe you can learn something you can use next time you go to a real deli.

click here for updated GALLERY

 

Atholl Brose

Atholl Brose

Atholl Brose

The Scottish legend is that the 1st Earl of Atholl got a rebel leader drunk with this and beat him in battle. True or not, Atholl Brose is a tasty drink and maybe was worth it for the rebel.

There are lots of different recipes for Atholl Brose. Some people soak the oats in water to make the brose and then mix an equal amount of Scotch with it. Others leave out the cream. I suggest you try this one and then improvise. Use a good blended Scotch but no need for anything too expensive.

atholl brose ingredients

Mix the Scotch and steel cut (not instant) oatmeal in a bowl. Cover it with cheese cloth and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 2 days.

Strain it into a 1 quart sauce pan (be sure to squeeze out every drop of Scotch from that cheese cloth). Add 2/3 cup heavy cream and ¼ cup honey. Bring it to a simmer and stir.

Give it a couple of shakes before pouring. You can serve it hot in the winter and cold or on the rocks in the summer. I’m not really encouraging it, but since it’s made with oatmeal you might want to try it with breakfast.

Atholl brose ingredients (minus the cat)
Atholl brose ingredients (except the photobombing cat)

click here for updated GALLERY