Tag Archives: Fruit and Vegetable

A Very Al Dente Thnxgvng: Mashed Potatoes Because You’re An Idiot

So the bad news is, yeah, when Aunt Hortense asked you to bring the potatoes, she was basically calling you a nigh-useless human dumpster fire who can’t be trusted to crank open a can of cranberry jelly without sawing both your arms off and staggering over a cliff.

How To Make Mashed Potatoes (Because That’s All They’ll Let You Make), by Albert Burnenko at Deadspin.com

Jared’s Note: We’re posting some thoughts throughout the week on cooking Thanksgiving dinner, as we are prepping to host it here at Al Dente HQ. Stragglers and strays are welcome, pending a doctor’s physical. Some of these will be useful, some will be funny. Some will be both. Some will be neither.

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Wednesday Dinner: Potato, Chorizo and Spinach Tacos

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I am, for all intents and purposes, sick.

I have been sick, unofficially, since September 9 or 10. The basic thrust of this cold is a cough that originates in my chest. I considered that I had bronchitis or pneumonia, however I have not achieved a fever and the always accurate spit test (you know, when your doctor asks about your sputum) has shown no trace of color.

While the cough is better and my congestion is not so bad, I’ve developed a raging sinus headache/pressure combo that has rendered my tastebuds null and void.

Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Potato, Chorizo and Spinach Tacos

Pickling Without Canning: Eggplant

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Dirty little secret: The Italian word for eggplant is often used as a racial slur. It’s terrible and intolerable, I admit, but on par with most of the shortcomings of my people. In the grand scheme of things, Italy is like Mississippi but with better food, architecture and music. Italians are, basically, the rednecks of Europe. Between the bunga bunga parties, monkey noises and bananas at soccer matches and, well, Mussolini, it’s almost embarrassing to call oneself Italian. But, here we are and here I am.

So, as a kid, I would ask my parents for mulignans because that’s what they were called in my house. Because melanzana is Italian for eggplant, but most of the dialects have turned it into mulignan (pronounced moo-ling-yan). And since eggplants are black and Italians are racist trash, well, get what you get.

Pickled eggplant was one of those delicacies tucked away on basement shelf and rarely, if ever, found in stores. To my knowledge, Cento is the only domestic company that makes a pickled eggplant for retail sale. And good luck finding it at a grocery store.

I opted for Japanese eggplant for this recipe because they are oblong and easier to cut into strips. Any shape or color will work fine here, since eggplant variations are only skin deep.

Again, I used a 1L sealed lockjar here.

2013-08-25 at 12-50-53Pickled Eggplant
By Jared Paventi

  • 2 lbs. eggplant
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp. pickling salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley

Wash your container in hot, sudsy water and rinse thoroughly.

Peel the eggplants and cut into short strips. Add to the container along with the garlic and set aside.

Combine the water and vinegar in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring to make sure the salt dissolves. Boil 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Ladle over the eggplant and let stand until it cools to room temperature. Lock or seal the container (I will tip the container upside down over a sink to make sure it doesn’t leak.) and transfer to a refrigerator. Let it stand for 1 to 2 weeks before opening.

Pickling Without Canning: Okra

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I had my first taste of pickled okra last winter in Dallas. My brisket at Stampede 66 was served with a small lock jar full of little pickled treasures: cucumbers, jalepeños and okra. I couldn’t get enough. After scarfing mine down, I stole the jars from my colleagues/friends that I was with.

Prior to this, okra was just the weird green vegetable in the gumbo I would order at Empire Brewing Company.

Continue reading Pickling Without Canning: Okra

Killing Them Softly: Easter Pizza

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EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: Easter Pizza
AUTHOR: Kate Viggiano
COOKBOOK: Our Lady of Pompeii’s Society of St. Therese Cookbook
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1973

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? Because on Syracuse’s Northside during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, this might be considered low-calorie cooking.

Actually, I’ve always wanted to make one of these. They are also known as pizza rusticas and typically made around Easter. The hard-boiled eggs turn me off, but I have seen other recipes that use ricotta blended with eggs and other cheeses to bind the ingredients.

Still, there is enough fat in one serving of this recipe to necessitate a stent. And, there’s no way this thing gets cooked in 10 minutes.

Easter Pizza

  • 5 lbs. flour
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups spry
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lbs. salami, sliced
  • 4 sticks pepperoni, sliced
  • 2 lbs. provolone, sliced
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Put flour on a board, add salt, baking powder and spry. Work spry into flour. Make a well – beat eggs, add the water and mix all together. Let dough stand for about an hour. Slice dough – roll out like a pie dough. Put last four ingredients on half the dough. Fold over pinch on edges and fork on top. Brush egg yolk on top. Bake in a 500-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Killing Them Softly: City Chicken

cookbooks

EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: City Chicken
AUTHOR: Marie Felice
COOKBOOK: Our Lady of Pompeii’s Society of St. Therese Cookbook
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1973

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? Because I couldn’t help myself. Read the title. Read the ingredients. You tell me why I picked it.

City Chicken

  • 1 lb. cubed pork
  • 1 lb. cubed veal

Unlisted ingredients: breadcrumbs, flour, egg, salt, pepper, vegetable shortening

Alternate cubed meat on six-inch skewers. Dip in egg, salt and pepper, roll in breadcrumbs, roll in flour. Brown on all sides in vegetable shortening. Put in roaster pan and pour small amount of drippings from fryer into roaster pan. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serve on skewers.

Note from Jared: WHERE’S THE FKG CHICKEN?!

Killing Them Softly: Tomato Soup Cake

cookbooks

EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.

RECIPE: Tomato Soup Cake
AUTHOR: Rose Saya
COOKBOOK: Our Lady of Pompeii’s Society of St. Therese Cookbook
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1973

WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? Because it is vile. My sister said that the Crab Ring Mold from the other day made her nauseous. This should make her barf all over her keyboard. SPOILER ALERT: There’s tomato soup…and raisins.

Tomato Soup Cake

  • 1/2 cup Crisco or Spry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup tomato soup
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Blend Crisco with sugar; add tomato soup and soda. Sift dry ingredients and add to first mixture. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into loaf pan and bake in 350 oven for about 50 to 60 minutes.

The Garden: Day 37

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Things look good.

This weekend’s dinner and sides were seasoned from the garden. The lemon thyme was particular fragrant, which is a good thing because it is exploding throughout the planter.IMG_3532

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The tomato plants seem to be progressing nicely without the sunshine and heat that they require in order to thrive. They have just about doubled in size.

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