Italian Archive

Saturday, December 19, 2009

mushroom marsala pasta with artichokes

mushroom marsala pasta with artichokes

People, I’m about at the end of my ordered-in dinner rope. It’s not that — as the front page of this site might suggest — I haven’t cooked anything since the baby arrived, it’s just that I’ve largely cooked things that could be assembled during naptimes, and most of Alex and my conversations about meals go, “What should we do for dinner?” “I made mushroom toasts and a bowl of butterscotch sauce today!” “Right, so what should we order?” And so on with the pho, cracker-thin pizza and hummusiot dinner deliveries. For three months. At 93 days, even shakshuka broiled with haloumi gets tiresome.

snailsshroomsparmesanmarsala

Now, I don’t expect any violins, especially from folks without the East Village’s globe of food delivery options at their fingertips, but I am sure you all understand what it means to desperately crave a homecooked meal. And I don’t mean a 5-hour braise or hand-sheeted pasta (though, ahem, I wouldn’t push either away); even a simple sautéed chicken, which I managed to eek out a few weeks ago, stands out as one of the best things we’ve eaten in a month.

artichokes, thimbles, cheese

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 6, 2009

artichoke-olive crostini

green crostini

My husband and I have different packing personalities. First, I need a clean apartment, you know, before I wreck sections of it at a time. Then I need to go through every single thing we own before any of it gets packed and determine whether it should stay or does it need to go. I cannot stand the thought of moving, well, useless baggage to a new and supposedly clean slate of an apartment. Then each box has to have a separate topic; if desk stuff gets in with book stuff, I get itchy and start pacing the floor. How does Alex pack? Oh, he puts stuff in boxes until everything’s packed. I probably don’t need to tell you who is better at getting the job done.

olives, capers
artichokes, olives, etc.

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, January 24, 2009

chicken milanese + an escarole salad

chicken milanese

I have a new, colossal Food Network crush on Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and the first time I saw the show, I completely forgot every food personal crush that had come before. “Ina Garten who?” “Michael Chiarello? I never heard of him.” Because seriously, Anne Burell trumps all that came before. She’s got the kind of real cooking and fresh ideas you’d hope for from a television show, but too rarely get. I immediately want to make everything she does.

quick-pickled red onionschicken breading stationfrying the chickenfrying the chicken milanese

And if I saw chicken milanese on a restaurant menu, I wouldn’t order it. If you told me you were breading and frying chicken cutlets for dinner, I’d feign excitement but inwardly groan. Because if there are two foods in the world that will never hold my interest, they’d be chicken cutlets and anything that has been dredged in breadcrumbs and fried. I find the former bland and the latter makes everything taste the same, not that I need to learn how to form an opinion or anything. Yet, when Ms. Burell made it, I counted down the days until I could find an excuse to make it, which brings us to Tuesday night’s inauguration dinner party (where the caramel sauce was homemade, ahem, but that story for a different day).

escarole salad with pickled red onions

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, January 22, 2009

bittersweet chocolate and pear cake

torta di pere

Almost two years ago, Alex and I met friends for dinner at Al Di La, an always-packed, funky mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in Park Slope that not only doesn’t take reservations, it has no room for you to stand around while you wait for one (unless you go to the adjacent wine bar). It helps to know someone who works there.

Before we went, Alex dug up their menu online (does anyone remember life back when you actually had to arrive at a restaurant to find out what they served? Probably less tripe and rabbits feet on the menu, eh?) and decided at that very moment that we must order the torta di pere, a bittersweet chocolate and pear cake. “Fruit and chocolate together?” I said, “Why is this necessary?” as I had always insisted that they were better apart.

eggs, getting to room temppearspeeled pearswhipping and whipping the eggsbrown butter batterbatter, piled with pears and chocolate

Continued after the jump »

Monday, January 5, 2009

fig and walnut biscotti

fig and walnut biscotti

Lest you think my running of at the mouth about the evils of dieting meant that I was going to spend this month in the pursuit of only earnest foods, let me set that straight right now: all weekend, I craved a cookie and by Sunday, I’d had enough. No, I wasn’t going to break out the piping bags or the heavy cream ganaches, but when I need something sweet, I have learned that it’s better to have one and move on than to snack on twent-five other odd ends instead, oh, and still crave a cookie.

sad, dried figswalnuts, ready to toastclementine zestground figs and nuts

As far as my cookie demands went, biscotti seemed a perfect compromise. A little less rich, sweet and heavy than most cookies, they go better with tea, coffee or your morning yogurt (guilty as charged) than they do wtih a platter of even more indulgent desserts. I’d had this recipe from Gina DePalma, pastry chef at Babbo, bookmarked for years, and seeing as I am still wading through pounds of nuts and had some sorry-looking figs in the pantry, it seemed like perfect timing.

slicing the biscottihalf-baked biscotti

Continued after the jump »


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