Tag Archives: Mozzarella

Tuesday Dinner: Tagliatelle with Pancetta and Mozzarella

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The cooler air and shorter days mean the return of sauces, soups and pastas. I hold out hope that I can get one or two more grilling days in this fall, but that remains to be seen. I’m not one of those people who will grill year round. I’m lacking a deck or patio door allowing me easy entry and exit from my house. We keep our grill in our detached garage, meaning that I have a 100 or 150 foot walk from my house to the garage. Not going to happen.

So, consider this recipe as part of the transition in seasons.  What caught my eye in this dish from Vikalinka was the use of fresh mozzarella in the sauce. I was hoping that it would melt more than it did, but the softened cheese added a lot of great flavor to what might be an otherwise ordinary pasta dish. Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Tagliatelle with Pancetta and Mozzarella


Sunday Dinner: Ham and Salami Stromboli

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Stromboli Sunday? Maybe.

There was a chance that I would spend my Sunday at a local gin joint to watch football, swill beer and use foul language. So, as I was looking for a dinner option, I wanted something that could go to together quick and easy on the off-chance that I had been touched by the drink. My plans were postponed, which was just as well. The 90-minute nap I caught was equally as fulfilling as an afternoon at a bar.

Strombolis are essentially calzones with cured meats. I would assume that its name comes from the active volcano off the shore of Sicily, but that seems like a lot of research for me to do. Wikipedia doesn’t have the answer, so it’s probably lost to the food Gods. They are generally found at your local pizza shop next to the calzones. Rectangular pieces of dough loaded with ham, salami, peppers and cheese. Easy enough, right?

Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Ham and Salami Stromboli

Ironwood, Manlius, N.Y.

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When the opportunity of an evening out sans child presents itself, you take it.

When it involves an overnight at Grandma and Papa’s house, you don’t rush.

The drive to Manlius, one of Syracuse‘s higher-rent districts, was slow. Combine post-work traffic with roadwork and one of the busiest intersections in town (Lyndon Corners), and our drive took almost as long as dinner.

Located on the corner of East Seneca and Wesley Streets in the center of the village, the Ironwood occupies a storefront on the end of the block that includes the Manlius Art Cinema, a local landmark. While it lacks its own parking lot, on-street spots and a municipal lot across the street provide an assist. Continue reading Ironwood, Manlius, N.Y.

Tuesday dinner: Grilled pizza napoletana

IMG_3349This was supposed to be dinner on Monday, but there was a cookout at the neighbor’s house and I wanted to see if it was possible for me to go two straight nights (and three out of the past four) without cooking. I was successful.

Today was the first foray into grilled pizza. I’ve heard about it and read a couple of pieces on the topic at Serious Eats by the genius J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. My primary concern was the dough sticking to the grill grates and I considered a pizza shell from a local bakery to avoid that problem. Unfortunately, or fortunately I suppose, the bakery near the house with shells was closed on Monday, leaving me to pick up a ball of dough at the highly vaunted and slightly overrated Columbus Bakery on Syracuse’s North side.

IMG_3337The prep here was two-fold. You really need a clean grilling surface so that way the char on the dough is burn and not leftovers from last week’s burgers. Regular scrubbing and a canola oil rubdown (for the grill, not me) took care of that. As for the dough, using enough flour while pressing it out is essential. I tried to stay in the area between copious and sufficient, because why do something right when you can overdo it?

Continue reading Tuesday dinner: Grilled pizza napoletana

Sunday dinner: Chicken parm paninis

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No big story here. I wanted something quick and dirty for my first dinner home.

WHAT WORKED: Not making my own chicken tenders. Not from a lack of want, but simply a matter of convenience. For something like this, frozen all white meat chicken tenders or filets work perfectly.

WHAT DIDN’T: I left it on the grill a hair too long and the sauce spilled on the grill plate, taking a little extra time to clean.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Not much. She wanted to hear about my trip and didn’t say much.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely. Continue reading Sunday dinner: Chicken parm paninis

Sunday dinner: Chicken pesto panini

2013-01-20 at 18-09-23We’ve talked extensively about my big Christmas present/kitchen addition, better known as the ice cream maker. Hell, I have an entire category devoted to it now. That said, it was not the only new item in the kitchen arsenal. I am now the owner of a 1,500-watt Breville panini maker, courtesy of my father and stepmother. It’s a handy little thing. I specifically chose this one because it could fit two sandwiches side-by-side, and it had the best Amazon.com reviews in terms of cleanup.

It took some getting used to. For instance, I was buttering the bread at first, but found that the sandwiches would transform into greasy messes. I’ve since switched to flavored olive oils. It works much better. Continue reading Sunday dinner: Chicken pesto panini

Wednesday dinner: Baked orzo with eggplant and mozzarella

Mix it all you want. Leave that damn thing uncovered. It can stand for a week. Something is up with this recipe.

Even though I followed it to the letter, I ran into an issue with there being a ton of liquid in the baking dish when I spooned out portions for The Wife and I. The veggies at the bottom were swimming in the puddled stock at the bottom of my Pyrex dish.

I usually don’t have these problems with Smitten Kitchen recipes. They’re, for the most part, rock solid and easily attainable. I’m chalking this up to somewhere between operator error and a necessary adjustment in the amount of stock used. Continue reading Wednesday dinner: Baked orzo with eggplant and mozzarella

Meatless Monday II: Eggplant, mozzarella, and saffron rice bake


Generally, I dislike recipes that end with the word “bake.” It’s usually because the words “Hamburger Helper Taco” or “Cottage Cheese Tuna” precede it.

(Tangent: The same people who embrace these dishes probably think that a crockpot is a good place to cook a beef tenderloin, or think that a packet of Good Seasons salad dressing is the key to culinary magic. I recognize that not everyone is able to devote an hour to preparing dinner. And I don’t want to totally demonize the crockpot. They are useful in small doses — I’ll be busting mine out later this week for dinner — but if you use it more than four times a week then something is missing. A complete dinner does not come from the same freezer bag or box on a shelf, nor does it take 8-10 hours to cook. For all the talk about food deserts and the lack of fresh produce in poor communities, what middle-class and affluent people with access to fresh veggies do with processed food is a damn crime.)

Tonight’s extension of Meatless Monday came via Bon Appetit. I’ve run into problems with BA recipes in the past, but generally have success. This was no exception. The recipe was baked, but came out more of a cross between lasagna and eggplant parmesan. I thought I could squeeze into a weeknight dinner if I got home right at 4 p.m. From prep to table it took about 90 minutes. If I did this on a weeknight again, I would probably prep the eggplant in advance or make it on a Sunday, let it set and bake when I was ready to eat. Otherwise, this has a winter weekend dinner written all over it. Continue reading Meatless Monday II: Eggplant, mozzarella, and saffron rice bake