One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! 😉 She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.
Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti) and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)
Now that you’ve made the ciabatta from yesterday, all you need are juicy sweet tomatoes. These are the tomatoes I picked up after lunch at the Love Dove Farm stall at the Howard County Farmers Market. Aren’t they just gorgeous? I grabbed a pint of Sun Gold tomatoes and a pint of Black Cherry tomatoes. I could snack on them all day.
Farm stalls are overflowing with all different tomato heirlooms and varieties during the summer. Once you’ve tried fresh picked tomatoes off the vine, the ones you find year round in the supermarkets won’t do. It’s hard for me not to pick up a pint or two when I’m out at the farmers market. When using such delicious produce like farm fresh tomatoes, it’s best to keep whatever dish you’re making as simple as possible. You want the natural sweetness and bright flavors to shine. A great dish to show off summer tomatoes is Bruschetta. Here are a few different ways I dress my tomatoes. (more…)
Why is bread making so daunting? It really shouldn’t be. I’ve made plenty of quick breads at home like scones, biscuits and Irish brown bread without a problem. But you see, they don’t require yeast. There’s something about using yeast and letting things proof for a long time that puts me off of making those types of breads. (more…)
Here is another fantastic summer pasta dish that I love making at home – pasta with swordfish (a typical dish from Southern Italy and Sicily). You can find swordfish at the fish counter in most supermarkets these days. Whole Foods always has them. If you tried the steak seasoning from my last post and have left over anchovies that you weren’t sure what to do with it, this recipe is for you.
Pesce spada is Italian for swordfish, literally fish spade. Whenever I hear the word spada, I think of my friend from university who studied abroad with me at Università per Stanieri di Siena. She was telling me about her excursion to San Galgano, a medieval city 30 minutes or so outside of Siena, famous for the legendary sword in the stone. They say it’s where the story of King Arthur and Excalibur originated. She told me that she saw the spade in the rock (spada nella roccia) and I could not stop laughing. I never heard it called that before – the sword in the stone sounds much cooler. 😉
Speaking of friends from Università per Stranieri di Siena, a good friend of mine, who I met there while studying abroad, is getting married this weekend in Oregon! So greetings from Portland guys! We’ll be here until the weekend and I can’t wait to share with you our experiences and all the great food we eat when we get back. (more…)
I used to make pesto so often, anytime we had guests over for dinner, they’d assume I would be serving it. I couldn’t help it – It’s fragrant, tasty, and extremely easy to make. If you tried the spaghetti carbonara recipe I posted, you’ll know when I say something is easy – I mean it!
Pesto originates from Genoa (Genova in Italian) in Liguria. One of my Italian professors at university was from Genoa and she would tell us stories about how as soon as you land at the airport you can smell the fragrant basil in the air. How wonderful is that?! So one summer when Kevin came to visit me in Italy, we took the train to Cinque Terre in Liguria and I had my very first plate of pesto alla genovese. It was delicious and I try to replicate that exact dish whenever I make it at home.
A few months ago, I decided to have themed cuisine weeks at home. The plan was pick one cuisine and cook at least one dish from that cuisine a day for a week. It was a lot of fun and I was able to experiment with recipes and dishes I had always wanted to try. We made it through 4 weeks (Korean, Japanese, Italian and French) before I started getting lazy. Although this was an attempt to broaden my culinary skills and palate, most of the meals I cook at home tend to be Korean or Italian anyway, some weeks weren’t as adventurous as others. I gained some weight during French week (We drank wine every night and went through a good amount of butter – it was glorious!). I really enjoyed Japanese week and I find myself making Japanese regularly these days. Here is one of my favorite recipes that is extremely easy to make – Yakisoba.
A dish that I make quite often in our house is Spaghetti alla Carbonara (aka breakfast spaghetti). It doesn’t require much cooking and uses very simple ingredients. This is all I need to make lunch for two. By the way, when you get to the rind of your parmiggiano cheese, don’t chuck it! I’ll show you how to use it in soups like Pasta Fagioli or Pasta Ceci.
Trying to use up the last of the produce I have in my fridge before we go out to the markets again this weekend. Unless I’m throwing a dinner party, I don’t have meals planned out in advance. I usually open my pantry and my fridge and make something on the fly. Before you start thinking I’m some kind of Iron Chef, let me be clear – I’m not whipping up culinary masterpieces! When I say ‘on the fly,’ I’m talking spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino, rice and egg, pasta with tuna, lemon and parsley, poor man’s bibimbop (rice, stir fried carrots and scallions in sesame oil, can tuna, fried egg, with bibimbop sauce) …very simple and easy dishes. In order to do that, I pretty much keep these items in stock – onions (scallions, shallots, anything in the onion family), garlic, parsley, carrots, lemon, can tuna, eggs, pasta and rice.