Posts Tagged ‘List of Italian dishes’


Bread (Photo credit: CeresB)

BREAD, the staff of life, gimme the dough/money!  Bread has always played a major role in our lives and diet.  When I was growing up, we lived in area where the milkman delivered milk to your door and the bread man delivered bread.  They were both white;  by that I mean we were getting pasteurized white milk and ultrarefined industrial white bread, so prevalent in the 50’s.  My dad bought Wonder bread for us, my friend, Susan’s mom bought Sunbeam.  Once in a while my father would bake delicious Italian bread with tiny bits of pork rind in it.  Warm from the oven and slathered with butter…no wonder I take a statin every day now!  Then along came Dr. Atkins and bread became the enemy.  The war against carbs still rages on, however, real bread in its naturally leavened, long-fermented hearth-baked form has enjoyed a comeback, especially in New York City where there are several well-known and much-touted bread bakers.  We have Eli Zabar, Tom Cat’s Noel Labat-Comess, Bread Alone’s Dan Leader to name a few. Bakeries such as Amy’s Bread, Sullivan St. Bakery and Balthazar Bakery produce such delicious bread, you really can make a meal out of it! 

Here are New York’s top 5 new-wave breads:  Try not to drool on your keyboard.

1.Roberta’s – CITY WHITE LOAF – Why would Melissa Weller leave the kitchen Per Se to toil in a converted shipping container? Three words: Wood. Fired. Oven.  Her bread has a dark and crackling crust, with a moist crumb.  It’s beyond “Rustic” in looks, more like a throwback to some communal oven in 19th century Paris.  

2. Nordic Breads – FINNISH RUIS – If you’re a New Yorker, you know rye bread.  However, there is a Nordic newcomer among us and this bread is dark, dense, flat as a Frisbee and has a tang that intensifies as you chew.  High fiber content, organic and made with a sour-dough starter smuggled in from Finland. Produced by Nordic Breads.

3. Hot Bread Kitchen – M’SMEN – Their repertoire ranges from corn totillas to Sephardic challah.  Their mission is to train immigrant women to parlay their native expertise into management positions in the industry.  Headquartered in East Harlem, the most extotic and delicious of their offerings is m’s men, a rough-textured, butter-and-oil enriched North African flatbread that’s rolled, slicked, and folded into a delicious envelope of dough. Rich and flaky like a croissant with the tender-crisp chew of paratha, the m’s men is girdled golden-brown and traditionally eaten at breakfast in Marrackech.

4. Runner and Stone – BUCKWHEAT AND PEAR – Peter Endriss, formerly of Per Se and Bouchon Bakery is creating such wonders as a Cheddar-and-hard-cider loaf, a sourdough whole-wheat walnut with dried sausage and red wine and a pain au chocolate encasing port-infused figs. Local grains, natural leavening, and long fermentation all conspire to make his squarish buckwheat pear loaf a thing of crusty, nutty beauty, its speckled crumb a triple-grained canvas (rye and spelt too) for nuggets of sweet poached fruit.

5. Roman’s – SPROUTED SPELT – Baker Austin Hall appropriates a corner of Roman’s kitchen after hours to bake breads for service and for retail sale on weekends.  He makes a naturally-leavened sprouted spelt, a sturdy burnt-umber sourdough loaf with a crackly, darkly caramelized crust and crumb riddled with New York State spelt berries. It’ a health bread for hedonists.

I will continue this list with more mouth-watering breads next week.


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a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

A Slow Cooker Oval Crock Pot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blessed are the meals made in crockpots for those are the days free to go and do and not worry about getting home to make dinner.

Today was a lovely sunny Saturday;  Just the kind of day to clean up the rest of the snow on the walkways, to throw peanuts out to the squirrels and of course with the bright sunshine, I was able to see some more of winter/old radiator  dust!  It was also warm enough for Peter to put the sensor light we bought a couple of weeks ago. The days are growing noticeably longer and so when we went shopping this afternoon to pick up this and exchange that, we stayed out quite late.  Then we stopped by to see our friends Joe and Michael and have a pre-dinner cocktail.  Soooo relaxing and WHY?

Because my supper was already mostly made!  This morning I prepared  a recipe that I had never tried before.  I knew this would be a good night to try it out.  It turned out to be not only amazingly rich, but also economical.  

2 TBS vegetable oil

3 lbs. boneless short ribs cut into 3″ pieces

coarse salt and pepper

1 medium yellow onion diced small ( I used a good size Mayan onion)

1 large carrot diced small (I chopped up quite a few small ones) (the kind that come in a bag already peeled)

1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes

2 sprigs of oregano or rosemary

Serve with pasta or soft polenta

In a large skillet, heat oil over med-hi.  Season short ribs with salt and pepper.  In batches, cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to ribs to slow-cooker.  Pour off all but 1 TBS of oil and add onion and carrot.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of juice from tomatoes, stirring and scraping bits up with wooden spoon.  Transfer veggies and liquid to crockpot and add tomatoes, breaking up.  Add sprigs.  Cover and cook on high till fork tender – 6 hours.  *I only had rosemary and removed them after about 2 1/2 hours).  Skim fat off. Remove meat and shred with 2 forks and return to pot.

 I thought it didn’t look like enough sauce for 1 lb of pasta so I added about 1/2 to 1 cup of a tomato basil sauce and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of red wine and heated it through in the slow cooker.  My intention was always to serve this Ragu over large shells pasta although I think the recipe may have been meant to be a main meat dish, served with sides of polenta or pasta and a vegetable.  We ate it as a pasta dish with Italian bread and a salad.  It was one of the richest sauces I have ever tasted.  And economical too.  

The costs were: Short ribs – $10.44

 Tomatoes – $1.49

                                      Bag of peeled carrots $1.29

                                      Box of large shells $1.29

                                     Mayan onion $1.00

                                    Italian bread – $1.39

                                   Half bag of salad mix w/dressing – $2.50

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English: Meals on Wheels 'HotShot' delivery ve...

English: Meals on Wheels ‘HotShot’ delivery vehicle, Hamburg Township, Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew I was getting old (-er by the day) and certainly not making the money I once was BUT I didn’t know I qualified for Meals On Wheels!!  Apparently I do because yesterday my cousin Janet (you know the one I like to call Janie) called in the morning and asked Peter if he would like to have a dinner with the most delicious sauce and the pasta of his choice.  That was pretty sexy in Peter’s mind –  and the fact that he found that sexy is yet another story.

We knew we were in for an all-around great day.  We love when Danny and Janet come because we can talk about so many things.  First of all we always like to spend a little time discussing her sister Marian ( my cousin) and the ongoing saga of what to do with the house in Vermont?  Whether to sell the condo in Florida and why not buy or rent something in Ocean Grove?  You know how easy it is to talk about someone else’s business lol lol.

But most of all we love our political conversations.  We are kindred spirits when it comes to politics and as the current presidential election draws closer and the antics escalates, we have much to talk about.  We breezed through the RNC which amounted to a substance-lacking, misinformation fest and liars convention and moved onto talking about the DNC.  Of course since we are all Democrats, it was a lovely conversation praising the eloquence of Bill Clinton, the directness of John Kerry and intelligence, demeanor and character of President Obama.  No surprises there, as I said, we are all Democrats.

However, before we convened on the front porch with drinks and a fabulous antipasto, we spent a couple of hours on the beach.  Is there anything better than sitting on a virtually empty beach on a beautiful warm sunny September afternoon?  Hard to beat that not-too-hot, not humid, soft warmth of the September sun.  The sun has quickly shifted to a new slant in the sky, it knows summer is over even if we don’t want to believe it!  Did you ever notice your shadow at about 11am during this month?  I did a few days ago and realized how intensely dark and visibly outlined your shadow is.  This doesn’t happen during the long hazy lazy days of summer.

But back to the porch…we feasted on exquisite semolina bread brought from upstate – thank God because for some unknown reason, here in the heart of the Jersey shore, I can’t find decent Italian bread.  Janet brought the bread AND everything else you can imagine or will read about in the next few lines.  Perhaps you remember that this cousin Janet, is the one I  have referred  to in a previous blog as the one with the traveling pantry and bar.  Add to that, she arrived with a change of clothes and make-up!  Here’s what came out of that cavernous trunk: A liter of white rum, 2 limes, a cucumber, 3 packages of mint leaves, 2 quarts of her famous homemade macaroni gravy, 2 lbs of spaghetti, the loaf of semolina Italian bread, a container of simple syrup, a container of pre-washed lettuce, a container of tomatoes, special salad seasoning, a stick of pepperoni, a jar of fried Italian peppers, a jar of roasted red peppers, a chunk of provolone cheese and a package of brie, 2 bottles of water for the beach, and 2 quarts of seltzer for the Mojitos.  Gosh I hope I didn’t forget anything!!!  This is serious packing!  And so you can only imagine this delightful antipasto which we relished along with Danny’s famous Mojitos.  Added to all the delicacies she brought, we added Greek olives, green olives, olives stuffed with blue cheese, dolmades and stuffed red cherry peppers.  I am surely prejudiced but seriously you can’t beat a great Italian antipasto!

When the pesky mosquitos started nibbling on Janet and I, we quickly retreated inside where while they watched MSNBC (WHAT ELSE?) I set the table and prepped the dinner.  Eventually we sat down to dinner and once again just kvelled ( a Yiddish word meaning gushing, praising) over Janie’s fantastic sauce (aka gravy).  It was dark, dark red indicating how long it had simmered into a thick rich ragu laden with sausage, meatballs and pieces of pork. OMG! we ate a whole pound of spaghetti!  The salad was barely touched because there really wasn’t much room left after all the pasta we ate.  Except of course we found a bit of room about an hour later for some cookies, dark chocolate and tea.

Thank you Danny and Janet for making my day in not quite Clint Eastwood style – although he did make quite a few spaghetti westerns before he made an ass out of himself at the RNC.

With meals this good, I’m calling to sign up for regular delivery!

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