Mario Dinner

Sunday, some of us got together for a mid-term feast.  Having never done this before- I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I will say- it was delicious…and more importantly FUN.  Will definitely do again.

Everyone signed up for a portion of the dinner and we ate in courses- Gluttonous?  Yes.  But it was a fitting end to Thanksgiving Weekend.

Appetizers-

carrot frittelle with feta cheese and prosciutto, goat cheese and green bean rollups-

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Minestrone Genovese (with a few modifications)- healthy and satisfying.

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Sweet Pea Risotto-

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Chicken Saltimbocca, Kale Gratin, and Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes.  I wish I had a picture of this plate… I’d lost focus at this point.  For future reference, we all agreed that the potatoes were WAY too salty.  On a fork with gratin and mushrooms- still tasty.

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Finally, because we hadn’t consumed enough- lets finish off the evening with the Honey Walnut Cake- just the right amount of citrus.  Yum.

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For everyone that came- thanks!  it was fun.  For those who were unable to make it- we will do it again- AND I for one really encourage group cooking.  Food is better when shared.  🙂

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Caponata Sub

I have a tendency to avoid eggplant.  The meaty texture and somewhat mild flavor makes me wish I were eating something else- but the photo on the page combined with my unnatural love of sandwiches made me think I really needed to try this dish.

The sauté has eggplant, celery, onions, pine nuts and dried currants.  IMG_5167

Add tomato paste, spice, and pop it on a roll with some provolone and pecorino gives you this…

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Pop in oven to melt together… and in my case it came out looking pretty unappetizing.  BUT it was REALLY tasty.  Didn’t miss meat- loved it.  I actually ate it for lunch four days in a row.  I ran out of the left overs and made it again.  Really good.  Just the right amount of spice for me!

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So imagine that mine turned out looking like this….

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Because that’s what it tasted like.

Recipe can be found here.

I just went to the store for more eggplant.  Really.

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Chicken Pot Pie

OK- these aren’t really chicken pot pies.  I had made a Turkey for Amy’s birthday and had a ton of leftovers- seems like the perfect time for some Turkey Pot Pie!

I don’t have much to say about this- other than this is my new favorite pot pie recipe.  The crust is especially flaky and delicious.  It’s made with Swiss Chard which makes me feel like I’m eating something nutritious… even if it makes it look a little green.  It also shows how sloppy I am at pouring these in the bowls.

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Mason was sure he wasn’t going to like it.  Of course.  But even he enjoy a few bites before declaring it was too spicy.  (which makes no sense)

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I made eight of these little guys and put most in the freezer for a delicious dinner in a pinch.

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Do yourself a favor and make this today.  (I am… again)

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Apple Fritters

I made these the other day- REALLY easy.  Quite delicious.

Start with some peeled, cored, apple rings- and dip them in your batter-IMG_4615

Pop in your Fryer for a few minutes.

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Roll in some cinnamon and sugar…

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Enjoy with some cinnamon whip cream… because just an apple fritter wouldn’t be enough.

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Note- don’t eat right before bed like I did.  You are likely to be up all night.

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Sweet Pepper and White Bean Soup

I was drawn to this recipe (pg. 73) because of its list of simple and fresh ingredients.  It is a yummy soup and the pancetta and cannellini beans add some richness and heartiness.  Although if I were to make this again I would probably make Mario’s “Arugula and Fontina Panino” (pg. 114) to accompany it.

Start by cooking your onion, sage, and pancetta.

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Add in your diced red bell peppers and tomato paste.

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Add your boiling chicken stock and simmer for five minutes.

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At this point it says to transfer small batches to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  At this point my four year old had tiptoed into the kitchen and unbeknownst to me was quietly watching as I proceeded to cover my entire kitchen in red soup splatters.

Twice.

Apparently my batches in the blender were not “small” enough.  If you have an immersion blender, use it instead!  And if you have a four year old sneakily watching you while you accidentally destroy your tiny kitchen, make sure to curse silently to yourself.

We enjoyed the soup. Especially my two year old.

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Orecchiette with Sausage and Collards

This is what I have missed.

IMG_5070A couple pots on the stove.  A mixer working hard- and anticipation of something delicious.

I’m a sucker for any sort of pasta dish- so I knew I had to try the orecchiette.

I was also intrigued about making my own- I’m a glutton for punishment.  It was actually super easy.  Just two ingredients- and a long time with the dough hook in the kitchen aide.

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I never thought it would get there- but it actually turned quite pliable.  Easy to roll into logs- and cut.

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I was down at the Market and picked up my favorite Uli’s Sausage for the italian sausage ragu.

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I did all of this in advance- so at the end I could just boil my little Orecchiette and pan fry the collard greens.

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Everything gets tossed together- simmer for a moment to meld and sprinkled with some pecorino.

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Oh man.  This was delicious.

Last time I did Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe and I enjoyed this much more. (and I liked it the first time)

1.  The Orecchiette was delightfully chewy.  Reminded me of Korean rice cakes.  I know that might sound like an odd comparison- but if you try it- you’ll know what I mean.  I’m so thrilled I made a double batch so I have some waiting for me in the freezer.  Homemade makes a REAL difference.

2.  For those of you who are Rabe averse- the collards are great.  Very mild.  Next time I will probably double up on them because they were so good sautéed with the garlic.

Thank you Mario.  And Thank you Nature Delivered Farm.  You made my belly (if not my waistline) happy.

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We’re Baaack!

It has been a LONG time since we had a meeting.  Seattle summer got the better of us and now we are back in the kitchens and hard at work.  Or at least back in the kitchens.

Never missing an opportunity for a good time, we were able to get together and discuss (finally) Canal House Cooks Everyday.

Thought I would share some picks from that afternoon before we launch into our next book.

Mind you- I know I’m missing photos of at least two dishes- I was too busy eating them- so my apologies to those who I missed.

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Next up:

America Farm to Table by Chef, Mario Batali and  Journalist, Jim Webster.

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