Generally known as Cubanelles, some people refer to them Italian green peppers and my mother called them “frying peppers.” They’re easy to prepare and are good as a side dish, with fried eggs, and cold or room temperature in an antipasto or in a sandwich.
Cut the stem end off the peppers and remove the core and seeds. Slice them in half or quarters lengthwise.
Heat the oil and add the two crushed garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the garlic starts to brown.
Discard the garlic and place the sliced peppers in the pan. Weigh them down to flatten them. You can use a dish and tomato can (or whatever weight you like) and fry for a few minutes on each side.
When they’re done, place them in a container layered with the sliced garlic clove. Add a little extra oil if it’s to dry. It’s good to let them marinate in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
This is a one ingredient recipe. You put the beef bone in the oven, heat and eat. The femur is the largest bone in the steer, and it has the best marrow to bone ratio. My butcher ties a few sprigs of fresh oregano on the bone to make a better presentation in his display case. Even salt and pepper aren’t really necessary, but it can’t hurt.
Since marrow is mostly fat use a high heat for a short time, so it doesn’t all melt away. Place the bones in an oven proof dry pan in a 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve with good bread. If you love steak, you’ll love a roasted marrow bone.
I know people who said they didn’t like eggplant until they tried it done like this. Grilled eggplant can be served room temperature or chilled as a part of an antipasto, side dish or on a sandwich.
2 medium to large eggplants
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Salt, black, and red pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Trim the stem ends off the eggplants and slice lengthwise, about ¼-inch thick. Lay the eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle salt on both sides. Wait 15 minutes and blot up moisture.
Prepare the marinade:
Heat the oil in a small pan, add salt, black and red pepper and lightly sauté the chopped garlic. Add the herbs, lemon zest/juice, and the garlic/oil mixture to a blender, food processor or if you need the exercise use a mortar and pestle.
While you heat your grill (charcoal, gas, or a grill pan), use a brush to lightly coat each eggplant slice with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant slices on the grill oil side down and add oil, salt, and pepper to the top side of the eggplant. After you get nice grill marks on one side, turn and grill the other side. They cook fast so watch them.
Prepare a large serving platter with some of the marinade on the bottom. Layer the eggplant slices as they are done and spoon some of the marinade on each layer. Leave them for an hour at room temperature to marinate, then cover and refrigerate.
The story I heard is that the Portuguese first created peri peri chicken in Mozambique, and it later became a South African staple. The name “peri-peri” is derived from Swahili. ‘Piri-piri’ means “pepper-pepper.” You can make peri peri sauce as described below and use it on any number of dishes – grilled shrimp, rotisserie chicken, pork chops, etc. You can also make it as hot as you’d like, just add more chilis to the mix.
The Marinade/Sauce – Roughly chop the shallots, garlic, chili, thyme, and roasted pepper. Place them and the oregano, the remaining paprika, salt, black pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process until it’s a smooth consistency. You should have about 2 cups.
Place the chicken and ½ of the marinade in a plastic bag and coat well. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
Scrape away some of the thicker marinade and place it in a pot with the unused marinade.
Get 2 heavy pans – one to cook the chicken in and the other to weigh it down. Cover the bottom of the weight pan in foil. Place the weight pan in the over at 400o for 10 minutes. Heat the cooking pan on a medium high stove burner and pace the chicken in it skin side down. Put the pr-heated weight pan on top of it and press it down using a potholder or a towel. The chicken is now starting to cook from below and above.
Turn the heat to low and check after 5 minutes. The skin side should be dark but not black.
After about another 10 – 12 minutes place the cooking pan with the weight in the 400o oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the weight and turn the chicken skin side up and baste with the pan drippings. Continue cooking, skin side up for 15 – 20 minutes, basting once more.
Add the pan drippings and 2 pats of butter to the marinade. Heat and stir for a few minutes. Brush some on the chicken and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp the skin.
Remove from the oven and let it rest 20 minutes. Serve with the sauce on the side.
Pasta al Pomodoro Light is adapted from an Eric Kim’s recipe in the New York Times. This sauce is delicate and subtle. Its appearance is very plain although very tasty. You can dress it up with a sprinkle of parsley and some grated Parmigiana cheese if you’d like.
½ cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3 lbs. plumb tomatoes roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper.
1 lb. spaghetti
Lightly sauté the sliced garlic for 5 minutes in a large pot. Don’t brown it. Add the tomatoes and raise the heat to medium high. Stir until the tomatoes start to release their liquid and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Put the cooked tomatoes a few spoons at a time into a sieve over a bowl. Force them through with the back of a wooden spoon. You should have about 2 plus cups of sauce. Discard the tomato skins, seeds, and garlic.
Leave whatever liquid is left in the pot and add enough salted water to cook the pasta.
When the pasta is almost done drain the water and add the tomato sauce. Cook for another few minutes, tossing until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes to absorb more sauce.
I adapted this recipe from The Cooking Foodie. It’s a new way to make fried chicken breasts and it’s quick, easy, and tasty.
3 medium or 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tbsp. butter divided
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
Allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Score the breasts with a sharp knife (an at least 1/2-inch-deep crosshatch), season with salt and pepper, and lightly dredge in flour. Heat 3 tbsp. butter in a large frying pan and cook both sides of the breasts for 4 or 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the breasts, until lightly browned.
Remove the breasts to a plate and add the chopped garlic to the pan. Sauté for one minute and then add the honey, vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir and then return the breasts to the pan and cook on each side for another 5 minutes or until done.
After my post about Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana I started wondering if there was any connection between the bar and the Sloppy Joe’s sandwich. I was told that the American Sloppy Joe’s sandwich is an off shoot of the Ropa Vieja (old clothes), served in Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, Cuba. A friend got this Sloppy Joe’s sandwich recipe from a waiter at a restaurant in Key West, Florida. It works for me.
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup onion
½ cup green bell pepper
1 lb. ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Black pepper and salt to taste
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
½ cup Heinz Chili Sauce or ketchup
2 tbsp. brown mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
6 hamburger buns
Roughly chop the onion and green pepper finely or place them in a food processor until well diced. Put the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Fry the onion and green pepper until some of the moisture evaporates.
Add the chopped beef, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper. Break up the beef with a spoon as it browns. When the meat is browned, drain the excess grease from the pan.
Set the pan aside and combine the crushed tomato, mustard, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. Mix well.
Pour the sauce into the pan with the meat and raise the heat to medium-high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Sloppy Joe’s Bar opened in Havana in the 1930s. It was frequented by Earnest Hemingway, Errol Flynn, Alec Guinness and many other celebrities. I recently came across their cocktail recipe book online and tried a few. They’re kind of fruity and tropical which makes them perfect on a hot day.
Sloppy Joe’s Cocktails
1 ½ oz. white rum
1 ½ oz. pineapple juice
1 tsp. Grenadine
1 tsp. Luxardo
Shake with ice and serve in a flute.
Juice of ½ lime
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. Italian vermouth
1 oz. Apple Jack
1 tsp. grenadine
Shake with ice and serve in a cocktail glass.
Juice on 1 lemon
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. green crème de menthe
1 egg white
1 ½ oz. gin
Shake with ice and serve in a flute. Typically, a “fizz” is topped off with some club soda, but not this one.
Different people make Bolognese differently. My recipe is for basic Bolognese. I don’t used any garlic because the sofrito (carrot, onion, celery) is enough for the aromatics. Some people use pancetta, but with a mix of pork and beef it isn’t necessary. Often recipes call for chicken or beef stock but that’s not needed with a pound of chopped meat already in the sauce. Don’t be tempted to add and basil, oregano, bay leaf or any other herbs or spices. They’re not needed. On American menus you sometimes see “Spaghetti a la Bolognese.” Spaghetti should never be served with Bolognese sauce, only broad long pasta like mafalda, pappardelle, tagliatelle, fettuccine, and sometimes rigatoni.
1 diced carrot
1 diced medium onion
2 diced celery stalks
½ lb. each – beef and pork
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white or red wine
salt & black pepper to taste
Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. That’s the sofrito, the base for many Italian sauces. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the sofrito to a bowl and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Return the sofrito to the pot. It’s fine if some of the meat is still a little pink.
Now add the wine and deglaze the pot. Stir and cook for 5 minutes and then pour in the crushed tomatoes and 2 cups of hot water. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 2 hours. If the sauce gets too thick as it simmers add more water. While the sauce is simmering, start a pot of boiling water for the pasta. I’m using fettuccine. Drain the pasta when it’s done and save a cup of the pasta water.
To serve, put a sauté pan on low heat. Put some of the sauce in the pan, add some pasta, and stir with a little pasta water. Place in a dish and sprinkle with Parmigiana cheese.
This is a simple and quick recipe similar to aglio e olio. You can make the sauce in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes has a fresh light taste so I wouldn’t recommend any cheese on this one.
1 lb. spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt, black pepper
Red pepper (from a pinch to a tablespoon)
½ cup chopped parsley
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Start a pot of water for the pasta and begin to cook the pasta.
Slowly cook the garlic in the oil in a large frying pan. Add the seasoning (salt, black and red pepper) and the parsley. Stir and then add the tomatoes (half of them cut in half). Cook over a medium heat until the pasta is almost done.
Add a cup of the pasta water to the sauce and then add the almost cooked pasta to finish cooking. Add additional water as necessary to keep it moist.