Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

I know a lot of bloggers do weekly round ups, and I’m a huge fan. Typically published on Fridays, they get me excited for the weekend, and it’s always fun to catch up on things I’ve missed online during week. If there’s one person who never wants to miss anything on the old internets, it’s me.

I thought I would jump on board and start doing round ups, but I got to thinking about how Mondays are the day when I actually need the most motivation and distractions. Everyone knows Monday is the worst day of the week (sorry, Monday), so I thought it would be more fun to put together some things to look forward to for the week ahead.

Here we go!

I read Bon Appetit’s Southern issue yesterday, and it includes some seriously awesome looking recipes. I’m trying this one for Chicken & Dumplings tonight. It involves making your own gnocchi, and I can imagine that you could use them as a base for dozens of other dishes in the future. I’m also dying to make their Potlikker Noodles with Mustard Greens, Chickpea Stew and Stir-Fried Lettuces with Crispy Shallots, among many, many others. Bon Appetit is so good lately, do you agree?

This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday! I am beyond excited that the Giants are playing. With my husband being from Indy, and me being a huge Peyton Manning fan as a result, we’d initially hoped to go to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis and watch the Colts play this year, but it wasn’t meant to be. But, let’s be serious: I’m from New York, so I’m just as pumped about Eli and the Giants being there. On Sunday, I’ll be making this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze and trying not to freak out, have a heart attack and die during the game.

From the above, you may be starting to think that I all I think about is food. You’re pretty much right, but in an effort to be a more rounded (and skinnier) person (the months in Italy took a toll, people!), I’m trying to get into a running routine. I set up my Nike+ account this morning, and I have to say: it is so cool! I have the Nike+ iPod sensor, which fits into a slot in the bottom of my shoe, and it makes running outside SO much easier. It syncs with your iPhone and a little voice alerts you to each mile you’ve completed as you listen to music (in my case, all 90’s jams). I was mapping runs using MapMyRun prior to this, and using the Nike+ sensor is just so much easier. After you finish your workout, you can upload the details to Nike’s website, where they save all the info on how far you’ve run, plus you can set goals for yourself and create a tiny avatar of yourself running and saying motivational things (see mine above). I highly recommend it. Disclaimer: you pretty much do need to have Nike shoes with the slot for the sensor in them for this to work. Luckily, there’s a Nike Factory store in NOLA, and they had some really affordable running shoes.

Lastly, here are a few more links to things around the web to spice up your Monday afternoon:

How to defriend people in real life.

Paula Deen has been getting so much flack lately that I kinda feel bad for her even though I am very turned off by her diabetes-announcement-strategy thing. I don’t want to pile on, but this slideshow from Complex showcasing her 10 Deadliest Recipes is worth a gander. They’re pretty gross (cheeseburger with donuts for buns or deep fried butter, anyone?).

There are so many great new restaurants opening in New Orleans it’s getting hard to keep track. Next on my list to try are the French-Vietnamese restaurant Tamarind at the new Hotel Modern and Manning’s, Archie Manning’s new restaurant in Harrah’s.

Speaking of Mannings, if you’ve been following the drama regarding Peyton Manning’s future in Indy, this article from yesterday’s New York Times is worth a read (sob).

I love the Best American Short Stories anthologies. The 2011 one is out and I can’t wait to finish it this week.

And, J. Crew has some awesome colored jeans. It’s important to wear bright colors, so people know you’re alive.

Happy beginning of February! Hope everyone has a good week.


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Southern Style Pesto

I’m still dreaming of this Southern-style pesto sauce we made in cooking class last week. It was so bright and fresh, and better yet, it’s really, really simple to make. There are only six ingredients, and with the help of an immersion blender or mini food processor, all you have to do is buy the ingredients and blend them together. 


It’s great to use as a dipping sauce for any kind of fried starter (which is what we did in class), or as a sauce over your pasta, or even drizzled over some fresh mozzarella.

Basically, an excellent and deceptively simple way to impress guests while doing hardly anything at all. I love deceit! A win-win for everyone!

Southern Style Pesto
(courtesy Chef Andrea Consoli)

Three handfuls, cherry tomatoes
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Handful of almonds
Pinch of salt
2 garlic cloves
A few leaves of fresh basil

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.
If the sauce is too liquid, add some parmesan cheese and blend again.
Bow. Serve.

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Pasta e Ceci Soup

Full disclosure:  I am abnormally obsessed with soup. Once I start eating it, I can’t stop. It’s a (delicious) problem.

So far, I’ve been surprised about how few soups are on menus in Rome. I guess that’s more of a Tuscan thing. The one soup that I have been seeing around, however, is Pasta e Ceci Soup (pasta & chickpeas). There’s a restaurant near my apartment, Ristorante Paris, that makes a very good version of the soup. I’ve been going there a few times a week to get my fix.

To feed my addiction, I’ve decided I should try to be better about making my own soup at home. It’s hard, though. A lot of recipes for soup out there end up turning out really bland, don’t you think? And, I’m bad at making my own stock, so I guess that adds to my difficulties as well.

Before I left for Italy, I remembered that I’d seen a recipe for Ceci e Pasta Soup in Williams Sonoma’s “Rome” catalog, so I decided that I should at least try to give that a whirl. Then I looked at the comments. They were about 75% negative. I tried to find another recipe, but there were so many conflicting versions on the internets. Also, a lot of them added pancetta or guanicole, and I was sure that the version I loved at Ristorante Paris had neither.

So, I winged a recipe for the first time in my life, and it turned out to be really tasty! I’m really excited about it, so I wanted to share it with you:

Pasta e Ceci Soup
Serves 2 or 3 as an entree (2 if one person dining is a soup freak)

1 can chickpeas, 1/3 pureed (I crushed these with a fork since I don’t have a food processor or an immulsion blender here)
1 1/2 – 2 cups, chicken or vegetable broth, depending on how brothy you like your soup
1 tomato, diced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 parmsean cheese rind
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 fresh rosemary stalk, chopped finely
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup pasta of your choice
1 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesean cheese for serving, if desired

Heat olive oil over medium high heat.
Add onion, and a pinch of salt & pepper and sautee until soft, about 8 minutes
Add celery and carrots and continue sauteeting, about 10 more minutes
Add tomato, garlic and half of the parsley and continue sauteeing, about 8 more minutes
Add broth and chickpeas and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta to al dente. Save the pasta water.

After you’ve brought your soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add pasta and some of reserved pasta water, if your soup needs more broth.
Add remaining parsley, remove parmesan rind and serve.
Top with freshly grated parmesan if desired.

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