Posts Tagged ‘Joe Lugo’

English: "V" icon as as symbol for v...

English: “V” icon as as symbol for vegetarianism/veganism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a Vegan or a Vegetarian however sometimes I make an entire meal from garden-fresh vegetables!  This weekend turned out to be one of those inspirational meal-making events.  I found a vegan recipe for Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Carmalized Onions.  Sounded intriguing and decided it would be a great side dish.  After all it had a green vegetable and also chick peas which provided the carb factor.  Of course if we were real vegans that would have been the main dish, maybe the only dish and I would be a thinner person!  But I know my husband and he might say something like “is this the whole meal” ?  So I made him two salmon burgers and myself two veggie burgers.  Not vegan and in most eyes, not even vegetarian – it was those salmon burgers that did us in….

Saturday night turned into a different kind of culinary adventure.  We were at the shore battening down the hatches so to speak as were our friends, Joe and Michael.  Hurricane Sandy was on her way to the Jersey Shore and Governor Christie declared a State of Emergency that morning so we had a lot of work to do putting furniture away, tying down covers, securing everything and anything that might become a missile!  Joe called and offered to help us in any way, good neighbor and friend.  I suggested we might meet up for breakfast on Sunday morning.  Joe said how about a pasta dinner since he had a lot of gravy.  He’s Italian and I’m Italian and if you’re Italian you know what we’re talking about.  Sounded like a plan to me BUT I had my own ideas about the kind of pasta I was going to make.

I mentioned that I thought I would make a Pancetta and Fennel Pasta, a very delicious and elegant dish.  There was a notable silence at the other end of the phone and then I heard the words, ” I don’t like pancetta, what is fennel”?  REALLY?  After a bit of back and forth and some input from Michael in the background, it was agreed that I would make the pasta, they would bring some wine and dessert!  I still wasn’t sure that Joe would like this dish and he did mention Classico sauce SO I decided to make two pasta dishes; my own Pancetta and Fennel and also a bowl of penne and pomodoro sauce.  Add an arugula, grape tomato and red onion salad and a loaf of semolina bread and we were in business.  Turns out that Joe really was kinda, sorta kidding about the Classico sauce (he claims he doesn’t really  like it).  Well, he dug right into the Pancetta and Fennel and after a couple of  helpings, he  said it was delicious!  See I told you it was good!

The recipe for the Pancetta and Fennel dish can be found in a previous blog: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/pancetta-and-fennel-pasta/

Before I give you the Sicilian Escarole recipe, I have to tell you about the bonanza of desserts.  In true Jersey fashion, we had a dozen of Dunkin’ Donuts, many festively decorated for Halloween.  I will admit to eating a Boston Creme and at least half of a jelly doughnut.  AND then we had apple cake from Freedman’s Bakery in Belmar which was SOoooo good.  Thanks guys!

Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Carmalized Onions

1  large escarole (1 1/2  lbs) I used a large bag chopped escarole

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions halved and sliced thinly. I used 1  large Vidalia onion thinly sliced.

2 tsp sugar –  I used 1 tsp.

1/4 cup dark raisins

3 cups drained chickpeas – reserve 1/3 cup bean liquid

Heat oil over medium heat in large  saute pan.  Add onions and stir often till golden – about 15 minutes.  Add sugar and cook another 5 minutes till dark golden brown.

Add raisins and escarole.  Stir occasionally till leaves are tender, about 6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper

Add chickpeas and their liquid.  Simmer till flavors have blended, about 3 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.


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Last weekend, I was delighted to have Finley stay with us at the cottage.  Well the idea of having her here was exciting.  However, once the crib, the booster chair, the stroller, her suitcase,  the cats in their crates, the food, my bag, Peter’s bag, the other food bag, the blue bag (which carries so many things), the hanging clothes and the clean laundry and her car seat…WELL, really!!!!

Ok so I digress – we joined our friends, Susan & Jim and Joe & Michael for a “catch-up meet-up brunch” at Nagle’s.  We hadn’t seen each other in  a while due to who was sick, who was traveling and who hadn’t been in town.  And I wanted to see Michael before he left for California.  Peter’s birthday was at the end of February, Joe’s birthday had been in the week before AND moved into a new apartment. Michael left his job in CA and was going to be moving to NYC with Joe,and little Miss Fin was in town – so, Let’s Celebrate!

Jim got a large sheet cake with a  BIG RAINBOW on it-this is a running insider joke between them.  So I gave Joe a birthday card with a rainbow, a congratulations on your new home and new job card and Susan added Peter’s name to the birthday cake.

Happy Birthday, Joe Lugo, Peter, Nagle's, brunch
Happy Birthday Joe! and Peter too

photo by Lori

Joe Lugo, Peter Press, Nagle's, sunday brunch

Cutting the cake

photo by Lori

Joe Lugo, Finley Ray, Finny, Nagle's

Finley and Uncle Joe

photo by Lori

You can see where the first cut was made and if you look at the first picture, you can see that the rainbow is on the opposite side of the cake – Finny wanted a piece of cake with the blue rainbow. Even if we wanted to accomodate her request, it would have been hard to extricate one piece of cake out of the middle – Problem solved.  How about a piece of  cake and Gigi will cut a piece of the blue rainbow and put in it on your piece?  “OK” , she says.

Finley Ray Clark,Finny, blue rainbow, Nagle's

I Want the Blue Rainbow

photo by Lori

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