Archive | Recipe RSS feed for this section

Snow Day: Oven Roasted Chicken

10 Feb

As I’ve mentioned on this site before, I have lived all over the country.  Along with that, I’ve experienced all kinds of weather.  So far, Colorado seems to be a fine mix of my experiences on both the East and West coasts.  A little snow, a lot of sunshine, and enough variety so when I’m really cold (weather-wise, I’ll always be a California girl), I know a warm-up is only a few days away.

So while my friends back East dig out from feet of the white stuff, I offer a cozy, simple winter meal that goes very well with a snow day.

Yes, we built this!

Yes, we built this!

OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN (serves 4)
3T olive oil
2 1/2-3lb chicken
3 potatoes, cut into 1 1/2in. chunks
1 garlic clove, minced
2t rosemary, crumbled
6T lemon juice
1/2t salt
1/4t pepper

Grease baking pan with one tablespoon oil.  Toss chicken and potatoes with remaining oil and arrange in pan.  Sprinkle with garlic, rosemary and four tablespoons lemon juice.  Cover loosely with foil.  Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  Uncover and bake 15 minutes more, turning chicken to brown.  Sprinkle with remaining lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon pan juices over chicken and serve.

ChickenMy brother made this last night as we watched the snowflakes fall.  Perfect with a glass of red wine and I made a side dish of roasted brussels sprouts (let me know if you want that recipe).  Stay warm out there and mangia!

 

Advertisements

I Don’t Know How She Does It: Ricotta Gnocchi

29 Jan

As I slowly awaken from the daze caused by moving halfway across the country, I am tasked with the behemoth job of… getting a job.  I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, and working in my present profession since two days after graduating from college.  So a brief break from the workaday world of 9 to 5 has been quite an adjustment.

While I’m eternally grateful that I’m able to slow down for a minute, I find that I’m not one of those people who enjoys just sitting around.  It’s been an interesting practice in patience, concerning myself with new ways to fill my day.  Many of which involve running mundane errands and taking the dog for long walks.  And cooking things I normally NEVER have the time to tackle.  Like homemade gnocchi.  For lunch.  In the middle of the day.

RICOTTA GNOCCHI (serves 6 to 8)
4C all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1lb. ricotta cheese
Pinch of salt
Flour
Grated Parmesan cheese

Combine flour with ricotta, salt and egg.  Mix until dough forms a ball.  Turn on a lightly-floured board and knead until smooth; about 5-8 minutes.  Cut dough into eight sections.  Roll each section into long finger-shaped rolls 1/2in. in diameter and cut into 1/2in. pieces.  With index finger, press each piece in the center, rolling slightly to form a shell-like shape. Sprinkle with flour and let stand 15 minutes.  Shake off excess flour and drop gently into boiling salted water.  Cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Drain well.  Toss with your favorite sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Yum!

Yum!

These were SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.  I got so involved in the creation of them, though, that documenting the process with my camera fell by the wayside until they were halfway shoved down my face.

Here’s the thing: how on EARTH did T and my great grandmother, Grandma Rosie, have time to make things like this?  With multiple children running around the kitchen and demanding, hungry husbands?  It boggles the mind.  Maybe that’s why they look so grumpy in this shot.  Well, at least T looks fabulous and grumpy.

T and GR

Suddenly, returning to work seems like a welcome respite.  Mangia!

Second Side: Baked Fennel

21 Nov

Webster Groves, the St. Louis suburb where I grew up, is home to the oldest high school rivalry west of the Mississippi.  Every year, on Thanksgiving, the Webster Groves High School Statesmen (a trustworthy government official… what a mascot) compete with the Kirkwood Pioneers for the Turkey Day title.  The winning team receives the Frisco Bell, a large bell that the school holds on to and displays until the next game.  It’s all very idyllic.

And it’s a big, big deal in town.   Both of my parents attended WGHS, my brother played football, I was a cheerleader; the whole nine yards (get it?).  Here’s a little trivia for you– I was SO into it, I actually made up a cheer:

“Hey Pioneers are you ready for attack?  Are you ready to lose to the orange and black?” 

This chant is followed by a series of clapping motions, which I still remember.  I hear, in fact, the cheer is still chanted, almost twenty years later.  How do you like me NOW??!?  I may not be an athlete, but I can write a poem.

Circa 1992. T and Popo and friends also attended the game. Nice hat, Dad. Will you be landing planes on that thing?

The Thanksgiving meal is planned around game time and even though I live in California, I’m still TOTALLY AWARE of how the team is doing while it’s being played (and this was the case even before the advent of Facebook).

So as all of my Statesmen are furiously getting their final prep on before the bonfire tonight and the big game tomorrow, here’s another fast, easy side dish option you can toss on the table for eating Turkey Day-style.

BAKED FENNEL (serves 4)
2 young fennel roots
2T milk
1 1/2oz. butter
2T grated Parmesan cheese

Remove any coarse outer leaves and cook fennel in boiling, salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes.  Cut vertically into 1-inch slices and arrange in a shallow baking pan in which half of the butter has been melted.  Pour the milk over, sprinkle generously with cheese and dot with the remaining butter.  Bake at 400 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes.

The big game

Fennel is a distinctly Italian ingredient, and most people don’t use it that often, because they’re put off by the black licorice taste.  But when it’s baked and cheesed, the flavor completely mellows out.  So try it.  And GO STATESMEN!  Mangia!

Superb Side: Sweet Potato Casserole

20 Nov

It’s almost Turkey Day!  Time to break out a recipe you can present at your table, or take along to a friend or family member’s house as a super sweet potato dish to go with the turkey.

Since I live out of town from the rest of my family, I always have the pleasure of celebrating with generous friends, with family sometimes visiting.  It’s a good excuse to party (and, of course, eat).  So spruce yourself up, slap together this side, and enjoy your holiday… let the feasting begin!

Dad comes to Malibu to celebrate seaside.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE (serves 8)
6 large sweet potatoes, cooked
1C dark brown sugar
4oz. butter
1/3C honey (the original recipe calls for Karo syrup, but honey is a good substitute)
2T lemon juice
1/4t salt
1/4t nutmeg

Peel and slice cooked sweet potatoes.  Arrange in baking dish, allowing for two layers.  Mix remaining ingredients together and spread half on first layer of potatoes and the rest on the second layer.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until nicely glazed.

Shopping for the feast with a friend

While it’s not an Italian holiday, I’ve never passed up an excuse to have fun.  Happy Thanksgiving and mangia!

Happy Halloween! Italian Hamburgers

31 Oct

Remember the days when costumes were homemade and you put your candy in a pillowcase?  And, your parents made you give them HALF your candy, to eat later (which mysteriously disappeared)?  Those were the days.  I rotated two different costumes for years.  A witch (a black mumu my mother hand-sewed) and a gypsy (a hot mess of hippie clothes from my mom’s 1960’s stash).  One year we got CRAZY and I got to be a nurse (another white mumu sewed by Mom), complete with nurse’s cap borrowed from my aunt.  Amazing.  My brother was usually a hobo or an Army man.

Man, I thought my makeup was the coolest

We loved trick or treating– in St. Louis, it’s a tradition that you don’t get any candy until you tell a joke.  I didn’t realize NO ONE else does this until I moved away.  And I got a lot of blank stares when I demanded this of children on my doorstep.

I also loved carving pumpkins, but am still scared to do it myself without my father’s knife skills handy.  True story.  I can cut a fish filet but I just can’t tackle the orange beast.

Now that I think about it, Halloween is a busy time, especially if you have little ones.  So it’s best to keep the meal short and sweet.  To service that, I present hamburgers for Halloween.  Italian hamburgers.

ITALIAN HAMBURGERS (serves 4-6)
1 1/2lb. ground chuck
1C Italian breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

1 thinly sliced white onion
Italian round buns, sliced in half
Oil for frying

Mix ground chuck, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper together until well-blended.  Divide meat into six patties.  Press one onion slice on top of each hamburger.  Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and fry on both sides until done.  Place on heated buns and serve.

It’s not pretty in the pan, but it tastes good, trust me.

Trick or treat!  And if you decide to binge on candy, I’M certainly not going to judge.  Mangia!

Fall Flavors: T’s Favorite Chili

5 Oct

As the weather cools off in parts of the country that are NOT Los Angeles, a trickle of pumpkin patch pictures are starting to show up on my social media sites.  It’s the season to bust out your turtlenecks, roll in a pile of leaves and head for a hayride.

In celebration of that, here’s a super-simple, old-school, basic chili recipe that T titled in her book “My Favorite Chili.”  So hang out this weekend, throw this together in a pot and prepare to appreciate autumn.

Circa 1982. I’ve never really been “one with nature.”

MY FAVORITE CHILI (serves 4)
3T vegetable oil
1lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 strips green pepper, chopped
1 16oz. can chili beans in chili gravy
1 16oz. can whole tomatoes, finely chopped
2t chili powder
A few drops Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1t sugar

In a heavy saucepan, heat oil on high heat.  Add meat, onion, garlic and green pepper and saute together until meat is no longer pink.  Add beans, tomatoes and seasonings; stir to blend.  Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Like I said, this recipe is old-school.  It’s nothing fancy and it doesn’t have exotic ingredients, but sometimes, simplicity is best.  Like playing in a freaking pile of dead leaves when you’re seven.  AmIright?  Mangia!

Toddler’s First Taste: Doughnuts (Sfinge)

13 Sep

As mentioned previously on For Antonina, my niece Gia has an exceptional appetite.  And she generally eats very healthfully– lots of fruits and vegetables, and she especially loves cheese and milk.  Lately, as a toddler, her tastes have shifted over to the sweeter side, and while she doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to eat junk food, her parents give her the occasional sugary snack.  She’d never tasted a doughnut until a few weeks ago.  In fact, when asked to identify them, she simply said, “Cake?”  The excitement only built from there.

After Gia’s newborn baby sister Claire was put to bed (for her customary post-feeding nap), my brother and I decided to break in his never-been-used “Dough-Nu-Matic” doughnut maker… his awesome birthday gift from yours truly.  While the limitations of the machine required us to slightly alter the recipe and doughnut shape from the one in T’s book, they’re essentially based on the same ingredients.  And after using the monstrous machine, I realize that simply pan frying (as instructed below) is probably a LOT easier.

SFINGE (makes two dozen)
2C all-purpose flour
1/4t salt
3t baking powder
1/4t nutmeg
2 eggs
1/3C sugar
1/2C milk
Vegetable oil for frying

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg.  Beat eggs with sugar; stir in milk.  Add to the flour mixture and beat until smooth.  Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in heavy pan.  Using a scant tablespoon of dough, deep fry until golden.  Drain on absorbent paper and add toppings.

We put together a bunch of different toppings: a glaze made of equal parts milk and powdered sugar (with a splash of vanilla extract), melted chocolate chips, plain powdered sugar and a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon.  We even added sprinkles!

These doughnuts are best right out of the hopper– they do NOT hold up the morning after (who does… ha!), so have a hungry crowd ready to chow down.  We ate these as an evening dessert and my brother paired them with a Rogue ale, based on a famous Portland, OR doughnut (the bacon maple at Voodoo).  Deelish.

Jammies on, Gia is disturbed that it’s bedtime and doughnut time is over.

As for Gia, her reaction to the sweet treats was nothing short of psychotic.  A normally sweet girl, she repeatedly screamed, “DOUGHNUTS!  DOOOOOOOUUUUUGHNUUUUTTSSSSS!” even when explicitly told it was time to go to sleep.  She continued to request them for the next three days straight.  Trust me, Baby G, you’ll have plenty of time to stuff your face when you’re older.  Mangia!