It occurs to me that there are a lot of greens in my house. I have a big bag of kale that I picked up at Wegmans two weeks ago (kale keeps forever), two bunches of Swiss chard from my Saturday farmer’s market trip and a bag of mixed greens that I grabbed at the store. The latter is a blend of kale, and turnip, mustard and collard greens. They were on sale and looked intriguing, particularly since I knew that this dish was on tap for this week.
I actually intended to make this last week, but The Wife’s digestive system fell apart (she would probably appreciate that I did not go into any further detail). This meant that my Meatless Monday plans were pushed to Tuesday, and we had a bland dinner of turkey sandwiches. Looking at all of the food I bought, this was the dinner that could get bumped until this week.
Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Pasta with Mushrooms, Pancetta and Wilted Greens
One of the things I learned early on about The Wife is that she really liked carbonara. It’s a great sauce, and for a long time, I thought it got its name from the black pepper, resembling coal loaded into charcoal burning carbonari.
Apparently, I was wrong. According to Dr. Jeremy Parzen, a food historian, Italian translator and proprietor of the Do Bianco blog. He mentions the historical significance of the carbonari — a secret society of Italian revolutionaries — and the fact that alla carbonara is a Sicilian cooking style that uses cuttlefish cooked in its ink. So, the coal miner thing is out. Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts
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
There are two ways to use your slow cooker. Ninety-eight percent of America uses it as a time-saving device. They are too busy to cook, so they careless toss things into it — chicken breasts, Good Seasons Italian dressing or Hidden Valley Ranch packets, jars of Ragu, chipmunks, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream — in an effort to prepare something called “dinner.” Us remainders, the civilized 2 percent, use it because braising a piece of meat in an unattended oven while at work is unsafe.
I’ve seen people take perfectly good pieces of beef and pork and render them an overcooked gray. I’ve seen recipes on Pinterest that brag about some cheesy chicken concoction that kids love to eat. Everything that comes out is a thoughtless mess of otherwise good food that has been forced to sit in one place together for too long. Dinner from a crockpot is what happens when you put food through jury duty. Continue reading Thursday Dinner: Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder Pasta
I don’t care what she did. I don’t care what she snorted. I love Nigella Lawson.
She could have drowned puppies. She could make weekly visits to daycare centers to kick babies.
I don’t care. She is wonderful. The only thing she has done wrong, as far as I’m concerned, is marry Charles Saatchi.
No Christmas meal in an Italian home should be without a pasta dish, but I was looking for something out of the alfredo/marinara realm. Enter Nigella and her orzo recipe, which may be the most copied recipe from her 2012 cookbook Nigellissima. I happened to find it at Williams-Sonoma.
Continue reading Christmas 2013: Orzotto With Pancetta and Peas
I’m not all that picky when it comes to Manhattan vs. New England Clam Chowder. Frankly, I would just assume have a bunch of fish thrown into a pot with some tomatoes and eat the result. But, when it comes to clam chowder, I lean towards Manhattan but don’t discriminate. That said, if I am going to eat New England Clam Chowder, I want it to be thick. I want it to be slightly thinner than wallpaper paste. Runny New England Clam Chowder just doesn’t cut it. And that’s what this recipe yielded. Yes, it was designed to include corn, so I actually cut back on the liquid. It didn’t matter. Actually, adding frozen or canned corn would have only made it worse as the veggie would likely drop its liquid and thin the soup out further.
Continue reading Last Week’s Dinner: New England Clam Chowder with Pancetta and Herbs
My hypothesis was simple. A pizza shell would work better for grilling than dough because it would be less brittle or prone to tears.
I was incorrect.
The first thing the shell did when I put it on the grill was break nearly in half. The shell was rather thick and dried out much quicker than fresh dough. Worse, it pitched a tent, going convex on me and letting the toppings roll off onto the grill surface.
Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Grilled Pizza With Clams and Bacon
The Kid’s Celiac disease diagnosis has meant a fairly vast overhaul of the food we keep in the house. Our cabinet and cold storage is not large, so we try to do our best to use the space we have. Since The Kid spends a lot of time eating frozen breakfast foods like pancakes and french toast, we have stocked up. As a result, our freezer is pretty full.
Saturday, after The Wife and The Kid went outside to enjoy the weather, I cleaned out the refrigerator and, then, the freezer. My best guess is that I threw away about $60 in freezer burned or more than one year old meat. The best laid plans were to use the leftover half-pound of ground lamb or ground beef in the freezer. The best laid plans were to reanimate my cryogenically-frozen pancetta when cooking dinner. Continue reading The best laid plans…