Friday, May 28, 2010

Kluski Kapusta Po (Cabbage & Bows)

Polish Comfort Food. For those of you with such roots, this dish brings a smile on a cold winters day. Of course, you may ask "hey, it's almost Memorial day, aren't you a wee bit late on the uptake here...?"  Well, we've been feasting on clams on the 1/2 shell & soft-shell crabs the last few days....and haven't made anything the blog is dying a slow death from it's initial excitement....I thought I'd give you some filler while we wait to see who I send a $10 check to for the silly contest at left. 

Coming soon: Collards. And why Google & I decided to no longer carry ads on this blog. Bon appetit!

-2 lg Spanish onions, diced
-3/4 lb smoked pancetta (bacon, if you must), diced small
-6 lb cabbage, chunked
-1 lb farfalle (bow ties)

-Saute' the 1st 3 items
-Add the cabbage, cook until wilted
-While you do this, cook AL DENTE the farfalle
-Strain and add the farfalle

The longer it sits as a leftover....the better it tastes! 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dish naming Contest

So....what I thought was a novel idea was rather a bust. I had grandiose visions of 60 entries, me sifting through them diligently, winnowing feverishly to the final 5....and lots of excitement!

They said not to smoke hashish in college, it would lead to delusions of grandeur. They might have also pointed out that $10 prizes are about as motivating as an opportunity to french-kiss your mom.

Regardless, some intrepid souls ventured to bare their imaginations. On the left are their offerings. Please ignore the former Mayor Daley's advice and only vote once? Have fun! (And feel free to comment how I can spice up the next contest).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana alla Normanno

What is a “signature dish”? I’m told that mine is my Eggplant Parmigiana. As in “what do you mean you’re not making it for your Christmas Eve party this year….it’s your signature dish, you jerk”!!

As defined: A signature dish is a recipe that identifies an individual chef. Ideally it should be unique and allow an informed gastronome to name the chef in a blind tasting. It can be thought of as the culinary equivalent of an artist finding their own style, or an author finding their own voice. In practice a chef's signature dish often changes with time or they may claim several signature dishes.

I’m not sure if my wine-guzzling friends qualify as “informed gastronomes” as much as perhaps “buzzed friends with munchies”...and referring to myself as a chef would be akin to calling myself a captain while on a canoe trip. I do like the part about changing over time…my recipes certainly do. What I once prepared as a traditional type recipe, loaded with breaded eggplant dripping in the oil it was fried in,  was altered by me to become un-fried and therefor healthier (that is to say, less likely to make me begin to resemble a bowling pin). The trick to this dish came to me one day eating leftovers, when of course one tends to point out "tomato dishes always tastes better the second day". So....why not incorporate this into the recipe itself, I pondered? I hope you enjoy my latest take on this quest.

3 eggplant, peeled, sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
¼ lb fresh mozzarella
¼ lb. shredded supermarket mozzarella
1 packed cup basil leaves (I slummed and used my frozen crushed ones from the garden)
½ cup grated parmesan (Locatelli brand, of course)
tomato sauce (for this dish, simplicity: I sauté 2 finely chopped onions & a head of garlic in some olive oil, add 1 cup red wine, 2 cans puree, 2 cans crushed, a bunch of oregano from my garden…or yours. Simmer an hour.)

15 easy steps to prepare:
1. oiled baking pan with eggplant
2. broil eggplant until brown
3. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with breadcrumb
4. Cover with a layer of eggplant
5. Cover with tomato sauce
6. Cover with shredded mozzarella
7. Scatter with basil leaves
8. Cover with Parmesan
9. Cover with another layer of eggplant
10. Top with tomato sauce
11. Top with fresh mozzarella slices & Sicilian oregano (more on this another day)
12. Bake at 350 for an hour, covered
13. Let sit in the oven until cool
14. Put in refrigerator for a day….or more
15. Reheat at 350 for an hour, covered…..and feast!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Growing Garden

So, not exactly a post about food, more one about food to come :) There's really nothing to eat in my garden right now except some lettuce, but I was outside today working (weeding, weeding.... it's a shame that weeds are inedible, because they grow like the dickens!) and took some pictures of things that are coming along. Call it a Garden Status Update, if you like. It really looks like it's gonna be a success, can't wait to start making up recipes with my very own home-grown!

My beets are doing rather well (this was before I weeded the bed), and whats even better is that the pesky rodent that has been snatching some of my stuff doesn't seem to like these!

However, the leeks on the other hand seem to be a favorite dish. More than half of them are gone, and it makes me pretty sad because they are growing so well otherwise. I will have to go buy some more before it gets too late.

Here, my herbs and squash plants are just starting up, I forgot how fast squash grows! You can see my marjoram, basil, and parsley plants to the left.

Last, but not least, I finally got around to thinning my carrots. They were almost too big, which would have been an oops, but I got to them in time. Now they have lots of room to grow. This is a new thing for me, I've never grown carrots before, and I'm pretty excited!

Well, that's all for now, I'll leave you with this quote which I read recently and am going to turn into a sign for my gate....

"Take nothing from this garden except;
nourishment for the body,
inspiration for the mind,
contentment for the soul."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Boarish Sunday

Sunday, and a day of rest. Okay....not really...I'm making a tray of my signature Unfried Eggplant Parmesan alla Normanno, which I will soon post.  But Jason's well-written tome from a vegetarian point of view reminded me of this video: Click here

DISCLAIMER: I don't use bacon in my cooking. But it turns out I am a ham.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

the king of all things vegetarian is here!

So I kept telling Norman I'd post a recipe up here but a few trivial things (work, beer, sleep) have been keeping me busy. But after two cups of coffee on a warm Saturday morning, I think I'm ready to show you what real (vegetarian!) cooking looks like. Put on The Smiths and get psyched!

This recipe for Tomato and Basil Sausages (adapted from a recipe at Everyday Dish TV) started my obsession with seitan and trying to create vegetarian and vegan friendly foods that look and taste like meat. Even my omnivorous friends and family enjoy this recipe, which means I must be doing something right. This is a great and easy introduction to seitan and it's versatility!

Meatless Tomato and Basil Sausages (makes about 8 sausage links)

Dry Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten (available at many supermarkets, usually in the health/organic food aisle, also available at most natural and health food stores)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes (this one is a bit harder to find, but i've had the most luck at most health and natural food stores like Wholefoods)
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tbsp granulated onion
1 to 2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp ground smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups cool water
2 tbsp vegetable stock (i always use a homemade bouillon, i'll post that recipe at a later date)
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
handful of finely chopped fresh basil
1/8-1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, chopped as small as you can get them (i use my food processor for this part)

Other Materials:
Large steamer pot
Aluminum foil

1. While you're following the steps below, put your steamer pot on the stove, fill it about half way with water and bring it to a boil
2. Put all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well with a fork.
3. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl then slowly pour it into the dry ingredients, mixing it all together with a fork. It will look like a wet dough at this point, which is exactly what you want.
4. Take a measuring cup and scoop 1/2 cup of the dough mixture onto a 12" piece of aluminum foil. Shape the dough into a sausage link and tightly roll it up in the aluminum foil, making sure to twist both ends.
5. Place the sausages in your steaming tray, lid on, and let them steam for 30 minutes.
6. Take the sausages out, place them on the counter and let them cool. Unwrap them and let them sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

After all that waiting, cook the sausages up like you would with any other type of sausage (I recommend grilled or pan fried) and add it to your favorite dish! I'll be adding lots of faux-meat recipes in the future and feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Until next time...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Iron Chef" Dish Naming Contest

*****Win a $10 Gift Card by naming This Dish (rules at end)*****

So there we were last night, preparing for yet another road trip today, because cramming the family into a car and driving 8 or more hours while the kids fight with each other is our idea of masochistic heaven. As usual, I want to clean out the refrigerator before we go, and found the following perishable items:

6 leeks
1 lb baby spinach
1 red pepper
2 cups of leftover tomato sauce from stuffed red peppers

What to do? Hmm. I didn't make dinner, still have to pack, so it needs to be quick...and on the table in 20 mins. So, here are 2 additional ingredients, and what I did:

- Boiled 1 lb of piccolini (aka wagon wheel pasta)
- In a separate pan, I started by sauteing 3/4 lb of diced guanciale (a seasoned cured italian fatty meat that tastes great, sounds bad) until crispy brown
- I then added the red pepper, diced up small
- I added the leek, diced....continued sauteing all until the leeks were done
- I added the baby spinach, which wilted quickly
- I added the tomato sauce, and once warm, tossed it all on the piccolini.

The family loved it....and my daughter said "what should you call it?" That is when I had the idea for the contest!

- Did you notice that there are some interesting ads this site...? They are sponsored links. Treat them as such.
- Email me ( your idea for a name no later than 6am Wed May 26, 2010. Anything goes.
- Later that day, I will put the 5 best names (or snarkiest, I do have a streak of it myself) on this blog. I will then open it up to a vote by all readers.
- The winner will be selected on Monday, May 31, 2010....and I will send them a $10 gift card as a reward for their tenacity, creativity, or skill at amusing me. Its worth $10. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Savory Stuffed Artichokes

My 9 year old daughter is a foodie. I'm pretty sure of this, because I've never heard my friends kids say things like "when are you making rabbit stew again" "can I go to the food show again this year"...or, when I respond to her inquiry about what I came home with telling her "artichokes", she exclaims "YES!" and begins dancing.

My 22 year old doesn't get nearly this animated...and the 4 year old is so picky I'm not sure I've ever seen her eat solid food. The universe ensures balance, it appears.

Artichokes are an easy prepare, and abundant this time of year. Try this:

Trim the leaves a bit with scissors, so as to remove thistles.
Cut in 1/2, remove the "choke", or fuzzy stuff.
Stuff them. Lay them stuffing-side up in a pot with 1/2 inch water, cover and simmer 45-60 minutes.

I stuff them with a mixture of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped garlic, olive oil and breadcrumb...about equal amounts of each. Or at least I did this time...I'm prone to change.

Monday, May 17, 2010


So.....I'm headed to North Carolina this week to see my Aunt Chris and Uncle Ronnie. He's from there, she's a transplant...and we get along great, considering we speak different languages:

Me: ungonna bring a tray uh my homemade mon-a-got. Jeet dat?
UR: Wha?
Me: mon-a-got
UR: ah toe jew, know-men, ah don't git ya
Me: tubes filled with cheese
UR: oh....manny-cottee?

I was introduced to their friends once, who asked whether I was a yankee, or a damned yankee. I asked the difference...they asked "are ya movin' here?" I told them no...they smiled and said "well then, you're just a yankee".

Anyway....they are the greatest, and I can't wait to see aunt is the most excellent cook, and I generally eat them out of house & home...which is why I'm bringing them them some homemade manicotti.

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tbl melted butter
2 eggs
mix the above, and using a small non-stick pan, add about 2 tbls of the batter, cook, flip, set aside.

Ricotta Mixture:
1 lb ricotta
1/2 lb shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup Parmesan (Locatelli brand, of course)
2 tbl shredded fresh basil
1 egg
Mix well.

My twist on the standard: instead of making a tube with all the cheese in the middle, I cover the shell thinly (1/4 inch) with cheese and roll it up...which gives it the same taste with less cheese. Lastly, place them in a pan coated with marinara sauce. Cover all with marinara, and bake at 350 for about an hour. And then pig out.

Clement's Prawn and Pasta Salad

Here is a recipe that comes from my friend Clement who lives in Australia and is in training to become a chef. He made this up on the spot at my request and it was a huge success at my get-together tonight!

(I made quite a lot, so these levels of ingredients can be altered to suit your taste....)

2 lb Tri-color rotini
approx. 2 lb Prawns (Shrimp) small
1/2 pint Sour cream
1 Red capsicum (sweet red bell pepper)
1 small Red onion
3 cloves Garlic (cored)
1 large handful of cilantro (fresh coriander)
a bit of parsley
1 small lime
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Preparation couldn't be easier.... Cook the noodles al dente, cook the shrimp. While these are on the stove, slice and chop the pepper and onion finely, and core and mince the garlic. Roughly chop the herbs. Soften the sour cream and mix it with the noodles, shrimp, vegetables and herbs all together in a large bowl. Start with half the lime and squeeze it in, tasting as you go until you reach the desired citrus level. Season to taste, and Voila! You're done.

I put mine in the refrigerator and we had it cold, but I'm sure it would be delicious warm also!

Have fun, Enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A culinary find at Mayfest

Now...for those don't don't live in the backwater we call the South Jersey Shore...there is a town called Smithville...lots of old buildings with shops. Great place to spend a day strolling the bucolic splendor, but more known for hosting a Mayfest and Oktoberfest...which look oddly the same, the exception being the Oompah bands along with Oktoberfest beer in the fall. What is also generally the same is hundreds of crafters and foodie booths. The crafters generally offer things that you can make yourself...but one clever man had a sign at his that said:

"Yes, I know you could make it yourself, but will you...?"

Most food booths...left me uninspired. I was at one that offered pepper jelly...and I didn't mean to deflate their ego's when I told them "It's nice...but it tastes like every one I've tried". They handled this unsolicited feedback with much grace, so they get a gold star.

THE REAL FIND of the day was a booth where I met a wonderful woman named Jackie who is the distributor for Leonardo & Roberto's Gourmet Blends. Being the perennial food snob, I told her that I already use a 25 year old balsamic from Modena Italy that would be very hard to beat. But to my surprise, when I sampled it, it actually beat it out on 2 factors:

1. Tasted much sweeter
2. Wonderful Price point. $27-30 for a 12.7 oz bottle, compared to my 8 oz bottle at $33.
They have a number of infused oils and vinegars besides the basic model...and they ship anywhere. I highly recommend this product (and those that know me also know I don't bestow my approval easily) and suggest you give it a whirl. You can reach them at (their new website), learn about the product at, or just give her a call at 609-525-0339. Jackie was also one of the nicest people I met, and I hope you all support her efforts at bringing quality food products to us.

Snack Food

So...while I had the house to myself, I invited my buddies Tim & Chi-chi for the weekend, reputedly to go visit the Smithville Mayfest, but lets be honest, it was really an opportunity to hang at the house with the surround-sound at max playing classic rock....just like the old days. The exception being that in the old days we drank beer and ate doritos. Now that we are adults, we still play the same songs, but I was making killer bloody mary's, and put out a spread of pesto's, bread, cheeses, meats, stuffed peppers etc.

Made myself a plate with a piece of real Italian bread with sun-dried tomato pesto, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and topped with a dollop of pesto genovese (the popular pesto most know)...and some capacola & speck. Speck is an interesting it for all intents and purposes prosciutto, but instead of being cured with salt, it is subtly smoked. (The name is so un-Italian sounding because it comes from the Alto Adige region of Italy, formally German territory). I had to take a picture before I ate it...and continued eating. Of course, the pesto's and peppers were my creation..and I'll post methods for any of it in the comment section if so requested.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Well, along with the amazing and awesome things that come out of my "gardening experience" I suppose I must tell you about the various failings and sheer idiocy it sometimes brings out in me. Luckily, though, these things affect no one but myself, so I can laugh at them and (hopefully) learn something in the process.

First, a no-no that I return to every year.... I plant too early. As soon as the first light zephyr of springs wafts across the land my brain reacts with, "Plants! Seeds! New Soil! NOW!!!" So. With my spring-time need for all things outdoors, my beds are tilled, the soil replenished, and plants and seeds in before you can say "Jack rabbit!" Which, of course, leads to this eventual outcome.... I lose some of my plants to the frost. I thought I was clear of that danger this year, but a sneaky cold spell just after the general safe date (Mother's Day) did claim some of the more tender plants. Most everything survived, and if I had took the weatherman's frost warning seriously I would not now have to trim the tops off all my tomatoes and peppers, or replant the beans. I could have prevented this with frost cloth, or the cheaper but more irritating solution - painter's plastic. The problem with covering your plants with plastic is that you have to drape it over in such a way that the plastic does not actually touch the plants. Otherwise the condensation on the inside of the temporary "greenhouse" will do just as much damage as the frost would.

Then there's the matter of the local wildlife. The first year I had a problem with the wild turkeys, which ate all of my tomatoes. (I had no vegetables the first year.) The next year, the chickens dug up all my onions and garlic and half of my beets. Then I built a fence which kept out the wildlife, but the deer still came and ate my sunflowers down from the top. So I had heard of using Irish Spring soap, just put it around and the deer won't come near it. I stuck some to my fence posts and sprinkled some chunks of soap around, and guess what? It worked! I never had a problem with deer again. (I can see why, though.... Irish Spring is rather potent smelling.)
This year it is voles. I still don't know how to get rid of the pesky buggers, but as the vegetation has been flourishing elsewhere they have been leaving my beds alone so for now I will just live and let live.

On a brighter note, I found a way to stop the grass and weeds from growing between my raised beds. Last year I had to make my way through a jungle to get to my veggies, not to mention the ticks and other pests living in the tall grass (which would seem to grow overnight as soon as I cut it). Anyway, like I said, I found a great way to stop this from happening....and it only cost me ten bucks and an afternoon. I picked up some cardboard boxes from the produce place and Pier 1 and opened them. These nice big sheets I layed in between the beds, covering all the ground. I then spread a nice thick layer of straw on top of the cardboard. (2 bales = approx. $10). Now I have no weeds or ticks to worry about, just nice clean walkways!

And my last worry (and most constant one) is about the weeds in the beds. I can't cover these with cardboard, so the only thing to do is pull them by hand! So I am now going to stop typing and go get down and dirty with the weeds....

on being a "cook"....

Okay, while I would never intentionally be watching Oprah, I happened to be at my buddy's beach house waiting for him to show I threw his TV on....and as luck would have it, there she is, with Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz. Before I could change the channel, I hear:

Oprah: so Cameron, i hear you are something of a cook.
Cameron: actually, I like to eat ...which is why I cook.
Oprah: so what do you cook?
Cameron: breakfast.
Oprah: such as.....?
Cameron: oatmeal. I make a great oatmeal.
Oprah: oatmeal is a grain, isn't it?
(the next 5 minutes are spend discussing how she personalizes her oatmeal, and what it's like to be famous)

I'm posting this because I couldn't possibly make any of it up. I managed to lunge for the remote. The thought of being challenged by Cameron in the kitchen is too much to get my head around. And I suddenly don't regret that TV is what got cut when something needed to be removed from the schedule.

Duck l'Orange

....the family left for Ohio, but before they left, I made them duck. Now, duck isn't something I have ever made, mostly because a) they aren't common in my market and b) they are $3 a lb. Being notoriously thrifty....I have always had problems paying a lot of money for a bird that, for all intents, is not much different to me than the ones that I can get for less than $1lb. Of course, some would weigh in that those birds are cruelly mass-produced.

Jason: Chickens are mass-produced.
Me: They are cheap, and taste pretty decent.
Jason: They are raised in a cruel fashion.
Me: I was too...and believe a predator would find me tasty regardless.

Ethics aside...the market didn't sell enough ducks this week, so I was able to buy one at 1/2 price. I decided to stuff it with a broccoli, wheat bread, pine nut mixture.

Stuffing: Blanch some broccoli, cube some wheat bread, add some pine nuts and parmesan.

Duck: Stuff it. Lightly score the skin with a sharp knife...this will allow this fatty bird to drain. Place on a rack in your pan, and cook at 425 for 30 minutes, and 375 for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Sauce: 2 cups juice of orange juice (clementines are primo), the zest of 2, and 2/3 cup sugar. Combine over high heat, and reduce over 1/2 to make a syrup.

Serve: I put mine on a bed of red quinoa (Trader Joes again) with some broccoli before covering with the orange sauce.

I thought it was tender, juicy and not fatty, and the family must have also, as it went in one sitting. Maybe later I'll tell you how I made the carcass into duck soup...and thought of Groucho Marx all day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

for the love of garlic

Oddly, some find it stinky...I once worked for a guy named Jim who hated it. One day, standing next to me at the office, we had the following interchange:

Jim: You ate garlic last night.
Me: Yep. I eat it almost every night.
Jim: I can smell it on you. I don't like garlic.
Me: Then don't stand so close to me.

He intended me to understand that he was offended by garlic. I'd rather he understand that I like my space. And he was in it.

Where am I going with this? Just wanted to share my love for garlic...I have a million uses, but today I share a shortcut. While I prefer to use fresh heads, let's face it, having a full-time job that forces me to leave my kitchen for extended periods means I look for the occasional shortcut. In this case, I found that I can buy 5lb. jugs of peeled cloves (this week at the South Philly Italian Market for $5), and utilize my 21 y/o daughter (aka "indentured servant") to cut off the tips. I then use my chopper to...uh...chop...I fill mason jars with the final product, and add my other favorite ingredient: olive oil. Thus prepared, the jars go in the refrigerator, where they can keep almost forever, and are there whenever I am in a rush. Or when Diane makes eggs, which is all I allow her to use my kitchen for. Which is a tale for another day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hello, good friends.... hello, good food!!

Rebecca Nell here!

This would constitute my first-ever BLOG POST. So exciting (at least for me)! Anyway, I just wanted to kick-start this web related adventure with an introduction to myself and my future contributions to this blog....

Let me start by telling you about my garden. I am now in my third year of having my own vegetable garden, and while the work can be sometimes overwhelming, I find the benefits outweigh any challenges I come across. This year is my most ambitious to date, and I hope will turn out to be my most successful! I have planted; tomatoes, peppers, leeks, garlic, onions, beets, asparagus (2nd yr), herbs, salad greens, peas, beans, zucchini, yellow squash, and sunflowers. Yet to plant; pumpkins, watermelons, and wildflowers!

My main focus in the food I cook is to use what I can from my garden and land, and where that is impossible, to use ingredients that are as local and sustainable as possible (without breaking the bank). So, along with the recipes I invent, I will try to keep abreast of and blog about any local food sources I find, be it markets or road-side stands. I'd also like to keep up with the sustainable food practices of people around the globe. So all this plus the daily foibles of my own organic, self-sustaining plot of land is what I will be writing about.... so, enjoy!

First, simple and easy....

As my garden is still in it's early spring stages, the only thing ready to eat are the lettuces and spinach. Well, I can work with that! This is the recipe for my favorite breakfast to eat right now. It takes 2 minutes to make, and is simply smashing!

Poached eggs and toast on spinach and spring greens

It being spring, fried eggs are just a bit too heavy for me.... So I go poached! Light and buttery (with out the butter!) It's a perfect spring time breakfast. 
First, I go out to the coop and pick out two eggs from the finicky chickens! (You don't have to have a coop, but with a little searching you may find someone right in your area who has just a few too many eggs for themselves.... knowing where your eggs come from is wonderful.... More on factory farming at a later date.) One my way back from the coop I stop and pick a couple handfuls of spinach and mesclun greens. These are two crops that grow like weeds, almost from the moment you plant them!

When I get in the house I put two pieces of bread to toast. I like to use whole grain bread as it gives a nice rustic crunch to the overall meal. My favorite brands are Ezekiel bread, Vermont bread Company, and also Trader Joe's makes a nice sprouted multi-grain bread if I can manage to get there to buy it!

So, while the bread is toasting, I fill my frying pan with a couple inches of water and bring it to a boil. Crack the eggs right into the boiling water and away they go! This doesn't take long.... while they are cooking I have just enough time to wash my greens, give em a whirl in the salad spinner to dry and arrange them on the plate. At this point i scoop some of the water over the eggs to cook the top slightly, but the yolk should still be nice and runny. Put the toast on the plate, scoop the eggs out of the water with a spoon (draining off any excess water) and put one egg on each toast. I like to top the whole thing with a drizzle of grapeseed oil and some salt and pepper. Ta-da!! Breakfast is served. End of May through the month of June I even have a couple strawberries every morning outside the front door to add as a garnish!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Soft Shell Crab Francese over Zucchini

Sunday was Mothers Day...and when i asked Diane what her heart desired, she said "soft-shell crabs francese". Who was i to argue with that?

- 2 lbs zucchini
- 8 soft shell crabs
- breadcrumb
- oil
- 1 stick butter
- 1 head garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Wondra brand flour

  • In a pan, saute the garlic in the butter. Spoon out most butter & some garlic, set aside. Cut up Zucchini, put in the pan & saute.
  • In another pan, simmer the remainder of the butter and garlic, add Wondra to to thicken, then add the wine.
  • Bread the crabs. In another pan, put 1/4 inch oil. Cook the crab at high heat, 2-3 minutes each side.
  • Place the zucchini on a plate, top with crabs, top with francese sauce.

and so it begins....

....i had a dream. the dream was, of course, related to food.

i have always enjoyed cooking, ever since college where i would cook for my 4 roommates (an easy task, as young guys will eat anything). i then married, and took over the daily preparation of the family dinner...i would make a lot of my families traditional italian or polish dishes...and the rest would be standard fare.

then, in 1993,  my entire family took a trip to rome, followed by reconnecting with my fathers family in sicily. my cooking would never be the same...i was in the land where AWESOME food was almost invented. everywhere i went, my senses were awash with new and exciting dishes...i learned new ingredients....and fell in love with food in a new way. (sicily, having been invaded by arabs, greeks, spaniards, and yes, normans, has a very rich heritage and mixture of dishes).

in 2003 we built the new house...with a large kitchen...and i began breaking out from what my biggest fan (my wife diane) called my "italian phase" (no matter what i made, it always had an italian spin)...and began experimenting with vegetarian, asian, indian and other ethnic styles...all with a focus on the decadence of food...yet balanced nutritionally.

today...the dream reaches another phase as it manifests itself here...with a blog where i and my closest foodie friends can talk about food...share our recipes and discoveries...and our passion for food. tasty, wonderful food. sensuous, enticing food. food food food food food.

my sister claims that we only talk about 3 things in my family: what we've cooked, what we're eating, and what we are going to cook next. i hope you enjoy reading about it all as much as we enjoy talking about it.