Antipasti Pasta Salad

Flashback to pasta salad week? This was one I actually wanted to include that week but never got around to making it. We made it this past weekend for a boating excursion and everyone seemed to love it! Yes I understand that antipasti is NOT pasta, but the idea here is to mix in with the pasta a bunch of stuff that you would normally see on an antipasto platter.

Caprese Burger

I was sitting at a relative’s house in Rhode Island this past weekend enjoying the New England summer and (comparatively to Bermuda) low humidity. We were having a bit of a post wedding hang out and grill session, exchanging stories from the night before, All my cousins being sure not to take their sunglasses off. As the burgers were on the grill, I couldn’t stop staring at the basil plant behind it. My mouth was salivating for basil! I have a basil plant in my own yard, but for some reason when I see one I have the need to eat basil immediately. Of course I snuck over and grabbed a few leaves to put on my burger only to be called out 3 seconds later. I thought I had been sneaky! The burger was fantastic and I don’t know why I have never thought to put basil on one. This got me thinking, we already have a tomato, the addition of basil means I only need to switch the cheese to mozzarella and we have a caprese burger. A Hamburger Today in 2006 says caprese burger is a bad idea, but after making one, I disagree! The picture on that post looks awful, any burger that looked like that, caprese or not, would be gross! The key to this burger is nice fresh thick summer tomatoes.

Chicken Mustard Tikka

Amy was house sitting this weekend so we decided to head over and cook up a feast. After being indecisive all day, we came up with some sort of Indian skewer thing. Mandi and I narrowed it down to a mustardy curry flavor similar to something we get at a restaurant here. When it came down to it however, we decided not to take the bones out of the chicken and skewer them. They were beautiful pieces of chicken and deserved to be grilled bone-in. Be sure to read to the bottom of this post to check out descriptions for all the Indian spices we used.

Green Mac and Cheese

Green Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort meal for Mandi and me. We make it when it has been a rough day, or on a Sunday night to relax. It is very easy to make, super addicting when you eat it, and the best thing is there are always leftovers to bring in to work for lunch. We wanted to make some a few days ago so I looked at the site to see what Mac and cheeses I have done on here to make sure we made something different I would be able to post. I was surprised to find only 2 (full) mac and cheese recipes! We brainstormed this one over email in the afternoon and feasted on its amazingness that night.

Cuban Burgers

Hello! Hello hello, sorry I’ve been away so long! I never meant to leave you… I have to admit, I got the idea for these burgers from Throwdown. You know, Bobby Flay’s show where he challenges people at their own specialty? I normally don’t like the show very much, but there was nothing on, and it was a burger challenge. If anyone can do burgers, it’s got to be Flay. The competitor was pretty interesting too. I kept the channel on and was pretty happy with all the burgers they made. My favorite was the one Bobby made to be the burger version of a Cuban sandwich. His method of pressing the burgers with a brick right on the grill was pretty neat. I liked it too because when cooking burgers for a bunch of people, normally everyone wants their bread toasted and it is kind of annoying keeping track of everything. This way you can build all the burgers on the grill and just hand them out to people.

Grilled Pizza

My fanatical love of thin-crust, brick oven style pizza has left me a bit biased against other forms of pizza. I have always been a bit of a hater and brushed off grilled pizzas as not a “true” pizza much as the same way I feel towards the deep-dish. But with time, comes maturity, and lately I have been trying to overcome my biases of the past and be more open toward other pizza forms. As you may know today is a special day, and on a day like today shouldn’t peace and acceptance be the message? Last night I finally decided to give it a whirl and I must say, I loved it. Now will I ever be friends with the dreaded deep dish? Only time will tell…

Joking aside, one thing that started to turn the tables on my opinion of grilled pizza are some old college friends. Mandi’s old roommate Sarah and her fiancé Mike are VERY serious about grilled pizzas. We called them up yesterday to make sure we were doing everything right. After a few tips and some reassurance, we were ready to go!

Nine Chile Chili Risotto

Every time Mandi and I reconstitute dried chiles, we think “what should we do with this beautiful water???” The water you use to revive the chiles always turns a deep red and retains a lot of the flavor. Risotto was the obvious thing that came to mind, so we developed this recipe from there. Now I am far from a stock snob and have nothing against store bought stock. I think it is a very convenient product and can add a deep flavor to quick meals. However, I find that if the stock is front and center of the meal like a plain chicken soup, it is essential to make your own. Risotto is a place where homemade stock will elevate the meal far beyond what you could ever get from a can or box. This is because as you make risotto, the flavors of the stock get more and more concentrated as you evaporate it into the rice.

Chicken Parm

When I was young, chicken parm was my favorite meal. I got it whenever I went out to eat. I liked it so much that my mom even made it for me on my birthdays. (which happens to be tomorrow…) As I got older and more into the food world, I started to shrug off chicken parm as cheesy Italian-American fare. Something these so-called Italian restaurants serve to the masses. Places that lay on thick accents, but the food doesn’t resemble anything you would find in Italy. I try as hard as I can not to be snobby about food. Food is something that everyone shares, and if you are a snob about it, you will find yourself eating foie gras and sea urchin alone in a corner somewhere crying into your chilled melon and prosciutto soup(mmmsalty tears). If you set too many limits on your diet and only eat things people deep in the foodie world consider appropriate or acceptable, you may end up missing out on the best meal of your life! Last week I ate chicken parm for the first time in probably 4 years. I am sorry chicken parm and I hope you find it in your tenders to accept me back.

Pasttata

Pasttata

I have never been the biggest fan of quiches or frittatas. They aren’t bad, but I would much rather an omelet or just scrambled eggs any day of the week. To me, it is easier and tastier and so why bother with the extra effort a quiche requires? Similarly, my grandmother used to make a baked egg and pasta dish she called pastair (sp?) pronounced pa-stare, or past – air. I never really liked this all that much either. It was basically baked egg and pasta cooled down and cut into squares. I would hold it in my hand like a brownie and snack on it as a kid with my sister. What I made yesterday for breakfast was sort of a combo of these things that totally changed my mind about their goodness. With components of pastair, frittata, and quiche, this ‘pasttata’ (he he he) was fantastic, simple, and fun to make! I made it with pretty much all leftovers. I even made a quick breakfast sausage with some leftover ground beef I had in the fridge.

Give the Gift of Lasagna

Give the Gift of Lasagna

OR

HOW TO MAKE AN AWESOME MEATSAUCE



I am sure right about now you are saying to yourself… “But Dannnnnn didn’t you just recently make manicotti which has practically the same ingredients as lasagna? And didn’t you also already show us how to make sauce in that very same blog entry? What can I possibly gain from reading today’s post?!?” This may in fact be true, but looking back I noticed that the pictures and instructions I gave you last time for my sauce, well they just were not that good. And it wasn’t even my perfectly ideal sauce variation anyway. I make about 5 or so different tomato sauce varieties, this one is similar to the manicotti sauce. And although lasagna does share many of the same ingredients as manicotti, it is different and special and it deserves its own post! I also wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that lasagna makes a great gift. It is easy to make a few at a time and then give one away. It tastes GREAT right from the freezer, it is fairly cheap, and people will always be grateful!