Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pizza Par-tay

Our dear friend B was coming over for dinner and I decided to make one of her favorites- Pizza.
I had picked up some beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market this weekend- and what better way to enjoy them than in a little Pizza Margarita. Combine those with some Trader Joes pizza dough, fresh mozzarella a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh basil and you have yourself some very happy dinner guests.
The keys to success-
*make sure the crust is very very thin
*use a pizza stone
*preheat your oven and the stone to 450
*put the dough on the stone and then add your toppings to minimize losing your toppers on the floor on the way to the oven.

The other pizza of the evening was with mushrooms, mozzarella and truffle oil.
To prepare the mushrooms: sautee thinly sliced mushrooms on a pretty high heat with a little olive oil until browned. Then add salt and pepper, a little fresh thyme. Liquid will come out of the mushrooms and then evaporate, then add a little cream or half and half and reduce until thick. Spoon this over your pizza crust, top with mozzarella and bake. After pulling out of the oven drizzle a little truffle oil on top. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The (politically incorrect) splurge

I have a confession to make. I think veal is delicious- and although some may deem it a bit politically incorrect I couldn't resist today. I grew up in a very Italian neighborhood and veal scallopini was a pretty common menu item. When I wandered into the italian market today and saw some gorgeous little veal cutlets in the counter I could not resist. A little pricey but worth it every once in a while. Here you have Veal Marsala with garlicy wilted spinach and creamy polenta.
The Recipe:
Veal Marsala
Dust the cutlets with a little flour, salt and pepper. Sear them in a hot fry pan with some butter and olive oil. Take out of the pan and set aside. In the pan add some chopped shallots, garlic, mushrooms and get a little color on them. Add some marsala wine and a little chicken stock. Put the veal back in the pan for a few minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit from the flour on the veal.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend yumminess

For the first time in a few weeks I made it to the farmers market and managed to drag J along. He is usually game for the free samples and today he bonded with one of the fruit vendors that had some amazing stone fruits. We picked up some white nectarines, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, white corn, beets, heirloom tomatoes, and baby bok choi.
For dinner tonight I decided to revisit the korean BBQ from the birthday festivities since my ravenous friends left me with only a little taste. We had that with sesame seed studded sushi rice, steamed baby bok choi, spicy pickled cucumbers, and grilled scallions. Yum. I think that this dinner will make it into the regular rotation- for the weekend at least. Although the actual cook time was about 30 minutes it did require a few hours of marinade for the meat and pickles.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Old Faithful

I'm sure we all have one of these. The dish that you can whip up with ease- and do- just about every week. Mine is pasta with sausage and some sort of veggie. Tonight the sausage was chicken italian and the veg was broccolini and spinach. I had a moment of panic when I realized that I didn't have a full box of pasta in the pantry (shocking for me since I am a huge italian food fan) but I managed to dig this half box of rotini out of the recesses of the cabinet to save the day.

The recipe:
Green veggie of your choosing
Sausage of your choosing
Garlic ( a few cloves thinly sliced)
Shallot (also thinly sliced)
White wine (you could substitute chicken stock)
Olive oil

Fill a big pot of water and set to boil. In another pan put a generous swirl of olive oil and put on medium high heat. Brown the sausage. Pull out of the pan and slice into 1/3 inch slices. Put shallots and then garlic into the oil. Put green veg into pan. Salt the boiling pasta water and throw pasta into water. Back to the other pan add about 1 glass worth of wine. Add sausage back to the pan and sautee. Pour another glass of wine for yourself and drink. Once the pasta is done, drain and add to veg and sausage mixture. Combine and cook for another minute and then grate parmesean cheese over the top. Enjoy. The whole thing takes about 20 minutes and you even have an excuse to have a glass of wine while making it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Birthday Fiesta

This year for my birthday we chilled in the backyard and fired up the grill for some friends. I was stumped about what to do initially and finally settled on a fusion feast of sorts.
Thanks to for saving my life yet again... here's the menu.
Korean BBQ beef lettuce wraps I did them with flank steak instead of rib eye and they were fabulous. The sauce was pretty yummy too- I did add about a tsp of honey to it because it was a little too sharp for my liking. I also served these with asian style pickled cucumbers -I substituted serrano chiles for the red pepper flakes for a little more heat. And on the side an asian style cole slaw. The sauce for the slaw was SO delicious I think I may use it again over noodles.

For those that weren't down with the asian inspired menu I also had a taco bar set up. I got carne asada and chicken already marinated from a local mexican market (thanks to the spectacular translation assistance from my girl B-Fresh). To serve with this I had some typical toppers like finely diced raw onion, cilantro and salsa. I also made a corn, black bean and jicama salad which was also delicious.

For those not feeling particularly adventurous we also had some sausages and hot dogs and a potato salad. Ordinarily I don't like anything with mayo in it but the herbs and lemon really cut right through that.
All in all we had a nice chill day and everybody loved the food. A lot of it even could be prepared in advance which is always a bonus. I did have a minor mishap and got my finger doing some last minute chopping but all is well 2 days later with that. Thanks to epicurious once again for some fabulous party food, and our friends for leaving us with no leftovers.