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200 posts categorized "14) Fish/Seafood, Pasta & Vegetarian Too"

11/07/2015

~ Hungarian Galuska (Small Soft Eggy Dumplings) ~

Raise your hand if you love doughy, hand-crafted noodles and dumplings. Among my favorites: flat and square Pennsylvania Deutsch pot pie noodles, odd-shaped short strands of German spatzle, my mom's almost-golf-ball-sized Russian halusky, small and nubby Italian gnocchi, and, I'm about to add these Hungarian galuska to this list (very, very similar to spatzle, galuska, a bit more "bare bones", are typically made with water, not milk, and contain no nutmeg). "If you can't make galuska, you can't cook Hungarian!" If you want to dabble in putting some authentic Hungarian fare on your family's table, which I have been doing...... View full recipe for "~ Hungarian Galuska (Small Soft Eggy Dumplings) ~"

10/28/2015

~ For the Times When You Gotta Have Garlic Knots ~

Garlic knots always remind me of the movie Saturday Night Fever (even though not a single knot got eaten in the movie). That said, in the opening scene, when Tony Manero grabbed "a couple of slices" and did his famous disco-stroll down 86th street, every lover-of-disco who had occasion to travel to Brooklyn wanted to make a pilgrimage to Lenny's Pizza -- including me. I almost made it too. An October ice storm caused us to cancel our plans, and, soon afterward, the couple we were traveling with moved to Connecticut. Eileen and I had worked together in a Happy...... View full recipe for "~ For the Times When You Gotta Have Garlic Knots ~"

09/26/2015

~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~

Coleslaw, one word, or, cole slaw, two words. It's a humble side-dish. It doesn't pretend to be flashy. It just sits in its bowl, patiently waiting for someone to take a scoop. What's sad is the quotes and jokes that get made about coleslaw, which, in my opinion are 100% unwarranted. When it's properly prepared, and correctly paired with the right entree, it is the master of crunchy cabbage goodness. It amps up the volume, of many meals, from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~"

09/24/2015

~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~

Excuse me, I'm just going to go ahead and eat this fish taco while you all argue over what constitutes a perfect fish taco and its toppings -- deep-fried vs. pan-fried (sometimes grilled), corn tortilla vs. flour tortilla, green slaw vs. red slaw, pico de gallo vs. salsa, and, crema vs. sour cream. My favorite fish taco, as long as it is well-balanced in both flavor and texture, is the one that is in front of me, and, the first one I ever ate was so good I've declined to debate this issue with anyone -- if you bring it...... View full recipe for "~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~"

09/22/2015

~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~

For those who home cook more than their fair share of Tex/Mex fare, you likely have your pico de gallo recipe committed to memory -- I do. You also know that pico de gallo is much more than a condiment to dip tortilla chips into or plop on your tacos. In my kitchen it's a tasty topper for grilled or broiled chicken and fish, it's great on thinly-sliced flank, skirt or flat-iron steaks, and, a spoonful on fried, poached or scrambled eggs in the AM will change your outlook of the day ahead. Here in Central PA, my garden is...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~"

08/25/2015

~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~

"I could have had a V-8." If you've ever leisurely sipped on a chilled glass of traditional gazpacho you wouldn't say that, even in jest. It is the ultimate vegetable smoothie. Here in my Happy Valley kitchen, me making gazpacho is a sure sign that Fall is around the corner. Our vegetable garden is producing almost more stuff than I can use efficiently. Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing, cool way for me to put a bounty of produce to a delicious use. Gazpacho is quite easy to make, but if you're under the impression it's as simple as throwing some...... View full recipe for "~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~"

08/16/2015

~ Lemon-Pepper Pasta & Oodles of Zucchini Noodles w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmgiano-Reggiano~

Pasta and noodles. Noodles and Pasta. It's hard for most of us to resist either in any shape or form any time of the year. Both staples in the world's kitchens, over the years, on our travels, I've experienced myriads of cultural versions. To the best of my recollection, I've never encountered a pasta or noodle dish that I didn't like, and, I don't think I've ever observed anyone eat either and walk away in a bad mood. Pasta and noodles are quintessential feel-good fare. What exactly is the difference between noodles and pasta? The difference between noodle dough and...... View full recipe for "~ Lemon-Pepper Pasta & Oodles of Zucchini Noodles w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmgiano-Reggiano~"

08/13/2015

~ My Electric-Extruder Pasta-Machine Pasta-Dough ~

I love my pasta machine. By today's standards, it's is a dinosaur. It celebrated its 25th birthday over the weekend. I celebrated my 60th birthday over the weekend. It was my 35th birthday present. How's that for Kitchen Countertop Appliance Statistics 101. I'm hoping "they still make 'em like they used to" because the Italian-made Simac is an amazing piece of high-quality equipment. It has earned a place on my kitchen counter right next to my Simac gelato machine. No store-bought pasta product compares to scratch-made pasta in taste or texture. I've hand-mixed plenty of pasta dough and a put...... View full recipe for "~ My Electric-Extruder Pasta-Machine Pasta-Dough ~"

08/11/2015

~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~

I am here today to report scallop abuse. Over the weekend I ordered pan-seared sea scallops in a restaurant. I was less than impressed -- overcooked on the outside, undercooked on the inside. It was disheartening because they were really big and beautiful, and, I never relish sending a dish back to the kitchen in any establishment -- ever. That said, as one who knows a thing or three about cooking scallops, I do get somewhat upset when a restaurant chef doesn't know, or hasn't taken the time to teach the person in charge of cooking the scallops, how to...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~"

08/09/2015

~ Fluffy Lemon & Pepper Rice for Fish &/or Seafood~

The perfect, carefully-chosen side-dish really can turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. Recipes for side-dishes aren't usually the most exciting thing to write home about, but, as a food blogger, I can attest to the fact that home cooks routinely conduct searches that clearly inquire: "What to serve with (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, etc.)?" That said, it's not uncommon to have narrower searches include the word(s) "vegetable" or "starch", and/or, "quick" or "easy" -- it seems that people don't like to spend a lot of time hovering over complicated side-dishes. I'm not making this up. I check my...... View full recipe for "~ Fluffy Lemon & Pepper Rice for Fish &/or Seafood~"

06/14/2015

~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~

If you're looking for a change of pace to spice up your Summer menu, my tropical fruit salsa is your answer. While I love it served atop grilled white fish (like grouper and sea bass) on a bed of steamed jasmine rice, it is delicious on cheesy Tex-Mex nachos and chicken quesadillas. That said, it pairs equally as well with Thai-Asian fare like my ~ Crunchy Thai-Style Deep-Fried Coconut Shrimp ~ as an appetizer (recipe found in Categories 1, 11, 13 & 14), and, my East-meets-West fusion main course ~ Thai Turkey Patties & Rice w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~. Newsflash...... View full recipe for "~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~"

05/19/2015

~Eliot's Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce~

Eliot, our middle son, developed a somewhat serious interest in cooking around the age of fourteen (1985-ish). I allow myself to believe it had something to do with me, but, if there is one thing I have learned over the years it's: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Not the case with Eliot and cooking. For the most part, he had a natural instinct for combining the right spices with the right ingredients. When he got old enough to take on a Summer job, he became a waiter in an upscale, downtown Italian...... View full recipe for "~Eliot's Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce~"

04/15/2015

~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~

There was an eight-year timespan in my life when I spent every day cooking for a crowd. In mom-speak, it is referred to as "the teenage boy years" and I raised three. During those years, one casserole of anything was not enough -- two was mandatory, and, if I wanted leftovers I made four. On pizza nights, I made six -- big ones. I doubled or tripled every recipe that could be doubled or tripled to accommodate their appetites. I put a second refrigerator in my garage, bought a 24-quart stockpot for my stovetop and a 20-cup food processor for...... View full recipe for "~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~"

04/12/2015

~ Sinfully-Simple Sherry & Cream Newburg Sauce ~

Newberg or Newburg sauce is a 100% French sauce with an all-American name, and, is 100% associated with the famous dishes: lobster Newberg and seafood Newburg. That said, this sauce is not just for seafood. In fact, the sauce itself doesn't contain lobster or any other seafood, and, it isn't made with lobster or seafood stock either. It's a silky-smooth, sinfully-rich, liquor-laced cream sauce, originally made from cream, cognac, sherry, egg yolks and cayenne pepper. This combination of rather ordinary ingredients renders it very versatile -- perfect for saucing all sorts of fish, seafood, meat, poultry, egg and vegetable dishes....... View full recipe for "~ Sinfully-Simple Sherry & Cream Newburg Sauce ~"

04/10/2015

~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~

This sinfully-rich dish of sweet, tender seafood swimming in a silky-smooth cream sauce is one of those quintessential dishes of the latter 1950's, '60's and '70's that sadly, many cooks have forgotten about. Not me. It's one of the first fancy-schmancy restaurant dishes American housewives started making at home because it didn't take a ton of time or a lot skill to prepare from scratch. Then, as with almost anything made with a cream sauce at the time, the cream-of-soup people stuck their two cents in and began to sell cream of shrimp soup -- dumbed down versions began appearing...... View full recipe for "~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~"

04/07/2015

~ Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes ~

Today we enjoyed our first thick, juicy outdoor-grilled steak of the Spring season. Yes, Joe does grill off-and-on throughout the Winter, but, there's just something celebratory about the official opening day of grill season. This simple, straightforward side-dish was the only thing I needed to turn a steak-on-a-plate into our entire meal, and, we gobbled it all up. While this pasta dish goes great with chicken or shrimp tossed into it, I enjoy it the most served next to a steak. That said, it is also well-balanced enough to be served "as is" as a dang-good meatless meal. This has...... View full recipe for "~ Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes ~"

04/05/2015

~ It's Easy Being Green: Cream of Asparagus Soup + (How to: Choose, Store and Cook Asparagus too!) ~

The calendar, green grass, daffodils and sunshine tell me it is Spring. That said, a few days of uncharacteristically warm March temperatures took a dive down into the mid-thirties to start April off. Yesterday I turned the heat back on in the house and today have declared this to be a soup day. No vegetable announces the Spring season and the Easter holiday like asparagus! They are in-season, plentiful, plump and flavorful. I've been buying them in 2-pound quantities every couple of days, and it just so happens I have 1 1/2 pounds of them in my refrigerator, just enough...... View full recipe for "~ It's Easy Being Green: Cream of Asparagus Soup + (How to: Choose, Store and Cook Asparagus too!) ~"

02/09/2015

~ A Dream of a Creamy Caraway-Spiced Carrot Soup w/Carrot Coins & Caraway-Seeded Rye Croutons!!! ~

I believe I've loved carrots since the day my mom fed me my first spoonful of Gerber strained carrots -- right out of the jar. Next to onions and celery, the carrot gets used often in my kitchen. I'll eat carrots raw, boiled, sauteed, steamed or roasted. I like them candied, pickled or marinated. I have no ax to grind with folks using canned or frozen carrots as a time saver. I love carrots in soups, stews and braises, I make a great carrot souffle, and, let's not forget carrot cake! Did you know that besides being a great source...... View full recipe for "~ A Dream of a Creamy Caraway-Spiced Carrot Soup w/Carrot Coins & Caraway-Seeded Rye Croutons!!! ~"

12/14/2014

~ When in Rome, start with: Bucatini all'Amatriciana ~

Amatrice is a town in the mountainous northeastern panhandle of Lazio, near Abruzzo (central Italy). "All' Amatriciana" means "made in the style of Amatrice and sugo Amatriciana is one of the oldest Italian sauces. It's a humble, rustic pasta dish commonly found on the restaurant menus of Rome. This immortal sauce is bold-flavored, and, like many Italian classics, it is easily prepared with a short list of ingredients, but, the list is specific and the dish is only as good as the quality of said ingredients. Recipes vary, so there is some room for improvisation, but this is seriously not...... View full recipe for "~ When in Rome, start with: Bucatini all'Amatriciana ~"

12/03/2014

~ Rise & Shine: Creamy Crustless Crabmeat Quiche~

If you are like me, there can never be enough easy and elegant breakfast or brunch recipes in the food world. On my best day I am not a nice person early in the morning. I'm not mean (depending upon who you ask), I just tend to need time to quietly organize my thoughts in the morning. A typical weekday for me entails cooking and cleanup with photography and writing sandwiched in between and afterward. This leaves me protective of my mornings to myself. That said, I entertain regularly too, and, when I have overnight guests I want their morning...... View full recipe for "~ Rise & Shine: Creamy Crustless Crabmeat Quiche~"

11/18/2014

~ Parmesan Sherry Cream Sauce for Pasta/Seafood: Don't Debate It, Grate It -- It'll melt your heart away! ~

"Calling all cars, there's a woman in Happy Valley putting cheese sauce on her seafood". That sounds nonsensical because it is nonsensical and no self-appointed authority on Italian food (yes, Italians in particular get their panties in a bunch over this) is going to convince me otherwise. In certain circumstances I find the combination of pasta and seafood swimming in a sea of silky, smooth, cheese sauce sensuous and seductive. In fact, the food world is a better place because philistines like myself aren't afraid to break a culinary commandment once in a while -- especially one without any meaty...... View full recipe for "~ Parmesan Sherry Cream Sauce for Pasta/Seafood: Don't Debate It, Grate It -- It'll melt your heart away! ~"

11/15/2014

~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~

If you write a cooking blog long enough, you learn that sharing old, classic recipes is as important as sharing new, innovative ones. Another way to say it is: "what's old is always new to someone", and they appreciate learning about it -- and that includes a bit of history too. I know this to be true because by the time I was in my thirties, tetrazzini had been around for a very long time but I had never tasted it. I grew up a tetrazzini deprived child. My mom didn't make it because my dad doesn't care for anything...... View full recipe for "~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~"

11/10/2014

~ Cooking with Bay Laurel (Fresh vs. Dried Leaves) ~

My husband grows things. He's one of those people with two green thumbs. So, when he decided to add a bay laurel tree to his herb garden, for me it meant one more in a long list of wonderful fresh herbs I get to cook with throughout the year. The good news for the bay tree is, it gets to come indoors for the Winter and enjoys a sunny spot in front of my kitchen patio doors. There was never a time that I didn't have a jar of Turkish bay leaves on my kitchen spice rack. Over the years,...... View full recipe for "~ Cooking with Bay Laurel (Fresh vs. Dried Leaves) ~"

09/06/2014

~ Farfalle w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmesan (Basic Pasta al Burro con Formaggino w/Panache) ~

When I'm having a serious late night snack attack, the kind that two or three slices of cheese, some salty deli meat and a few crackers can't cure, for me, a one-pot pasta dish is always on my short list. The criteria: it must be simple, straightforward, seriously flavorful, and, on my plate in the time it takes to pour a glass of wine and cook the pasta -- start to finish: 15 minutes tops! Pasta al Burro con Formaggino (Pasta w/Butter & Cheese): The Italians came up with a solution for the snack attack centuries ago in the form...... View full recipe for "~ Farfalle w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmesan (Basic Pasta al Burro con Formaggino w/Panache) ~"

09/04/2014

~ When Life Hands You a Basket of Grape Tomatoes: Get Sauced - Make a Batch of Oven-Roasted Magic ~

Savvy cooks all know that roasting tomatoes (which contain quite a bit of natural sugar) concentrates their flavor, rendering them a truly succulent and sweet ingredient with a myriad of uses: condiments, dips, salsas, sauces, soups and side-dishes to name a few. If you are a tomato lover like me, this is great news because high-quality store-bought tomatoes can be transformed into a tasty treat with some EVOO, an herb, a spice or two, and, a stint in the oven. Unless you live in an area where high-quality store-bought tomatoes, like Campari tomatoes, ("the tomato lovers tomato") are available, the...... View full recipe for "~ When Life Hands You a Basket of Grape Tomatoes: Get Sauced - Make a Batch of Oven-Roasted Magic ~"

08/21/2014

~ Oh My Thai: Crispy, Airy, Puffy & Fluffy Omelette ~

A Thai omelette is comfort food at its best. The Thai people satisfy hunger with Kai Jeow (Khai Jiao) the same way we Americans satisfy it with pizza or macaroni and cheese -- which -- is why -- Kai Jeow is a very popular snack or street food too. Why? Unlike America, in Thailand an omelette is not primarily associated with breakfast -- omelettes are for eating any time of the day! A bit about Kai Jeow-style omelettes: Aside from the fact that they are made with eggs, they are quite a bit different than the thin, light-colored, creamy French-style...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Crispy, Airy, Puffy & Fluffy Omelette ~ "

08/18/2014

~ Oh My Thai: Quick, Easy and Classic Fish Cakes ~

If the thought of snacking on fish cakes sounds a bit uninspiring, you've obviously never encountered Thai fish cakes -- they are unlike any European or Western fish cake you are ever going to taste. They're one of Thailand's signature and most popular street food snacks. They're one of my favorite Thai snacks too, and that's not just because they are bursting with Thai flavor. If you keep canned Thai red chili paste in your pantry, once you have a fresh fish fillet and some green beans in hand, you can satisfy your craving for Thai food in less than...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Quick, Easy and Classic Fish Cakes ~"

08/15/2014

~ Oh My Thai: Spicy Red Curry Sweet Corn Fritters ~

Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August (when local sweet corn is in season) and sweet apple fritters in September and October (when local apples are in season). I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on Doughnut Day, and, even though they're deep-fried, we don't call them fritters either. Why? Like their precursor cousin, the beignet, they don't contain any chopped protein, fresh or dried fruits and/or vegetables, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Thai: Spicy Red Curry Sweet Corn Fritters ~"

08/10/2014

~ Summer Squash & Saffron Rice Stuffed Tomatoes~

Summer tomatoes and Summer squash. These two pure and simple Summer "vegetables" (botanically both are "vine-fruit" because they are the receptacle for the seeds of the plant) are two of my favorite August things to eat. It has nothing to do with eating healthy, I just plain love them -- I'd love them even if they weren't healthy. If you grow your own in your backyard you know you've got a lot of both right now. If you don't grow your own, after one quick inexpensive trip to your local farmers market, and the time it takes to cook some...... View full recipe for "~ Summer Squash & Saffron Rice Stuffed Tomatoes~"

08/07/2014

~ Pure & Simple: Summer Squash (Zucchini) Saute ~

Joe's August vegetable garden has been keeping the vegetable bin of my refrigerator full of green and yellow zucchini for almost two weeks now. I've been keeping up with them (which really isn't a chore because I love them), but, the moment Joe walked into the kitchen this AM with his latest harvest (12), I knew I had to get things under control ASAP. This recipe is a tasty way to use 6-8 of these fast growing veggies at once, and, it's about as pure and simple as it gets: delicately-flavored Summer squash (green and yellow zucchini are a type...... View full recipe for "~ Pure & Simple: Summer Squash (Zucchini) Saute ~"

08/03/2014

~ Crunchy, Batter-Dipped Panko-Crusted Deep-Fried Yellow Zucchini w/Sweet Chili Sauce (Mae Ploy) ~

^I don't know about you, but I want some of that!^ The long, cylindrical, golden zucchini/yellow zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables. It is slightly sweeter than green zucchini, but, not enough for me to prefer one over the other. For me, it's all about how appealing they look when served together that makes me insist Joe grow both, and his garden is full of both now. Botanically, zucchini are the fruit of the zucchini flower, but culinarily, they're treated as a veggie. They're best if harvested small/medium, 8"-10" long, while their seeds are still young and tender. You...... View full recipe for "~ Crunchy, Batter-Dipped Panko-Crusted Deep-Fried Yellow Zucchini w/Sweet Chili Sauce (Mae Ploy) ~"

06/29/2014

~ Conchiglie Pasta tossed with Crispy Pancetta, a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce, Spinach & Walnuts ~

I really did encounter this dish in a restaurant at a tennis club in Taipei! Damn straight. The year was 1986. Joe's engineering company was doing business with a manufacturing company in Taiwan. It was owned by an interesting American businessman who, having being stationed in Taipei after the Korean War, decided to return to Taiwan to live for the rest of his life. Thanks to Lee's English-speaking Taiwanese secretary, while the men were conducting business, I spent ten days being chauffered around to sight-see, eat and shop. On the last day of our stay, Lee, who knew that Joe...... View full recipe for "~ Conchiglie Pasta tossed with Crispy Pancetta, a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce, Spinach & Walnuts ~"

06/27/2014

~ My Creamy Dreamy Gorgonzola Sauce for Pasta ~

As a gal who grew up in the latter '50's, '60's and early '70's, my family didn't venture into trying the worlds vast varieties of artisanal cheeses. We stuck with what we knew, which, like the rest of suburban, middle America, was limited to the selection in the dairy case of our one or two local grocery stores. When it came to slicing or grating, if it wasn't white American, it was yellow cheddar or marbled Colby. We ate mozzarella, but it was the aged low-moisture kind, and as for Parmesan, there was little need for that in an Eastern...... View full recipe for "~ My Creamy Dreamy Gorgonzola Sauce for Pasta ~"

06/19/2014

~ Shrimp, Orange, Avocado & Onion Wedge Salad + A Sun-Kissed Orange & Very Citrus Salad Dressing ~

Women love to go out for long relaxing lunches, especially lunches that can be enjoyed dining "al fresco" (a fancy Italian phrase for "outside in the fresh air") on the patio or porch of a busy streetside cafe or a serene picturesque rural eatery. I'm no exception to this. That being said, my last two luncheon experiences were borderline agony. The salad selections were so over-the-top goofy "nouveau" (a fancy French phrase for "having recently been designated the thing to do") I wanted to shred my menu, stand up and scream, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to...... View full recipe for "~ Shrimp, Orange, Avocado & Onion Wedge Salad + A Sun-Kissed Orange & Very Citrus Salad Dressing ~"

06/17/2014

~ My Grapefruit, Gorgonzola & Walnut Wedge-Salad + Pretty in Pink-Grapefruit & Citrus Salad Dressing ~

Winter is traditionally the season for grapefruit (February is National Grapefruit Month), but happily, for the past two weeks, I've been enjoying delightful "Sunkist, Star Ruby", pink grapefruit from California. They're in our local markets, and, after a little research, I found out this is a variety that Sunkist has available all year long. For me, a lover of grapefruit, this is great news. When I was growing up I only got to enjoy grapefruit once a year. Every February a big bag of golden-colered ones got delivered to my parents door (they were a fundraiser for my brother's cub...... View full recipe for "~ My Grapefruit, Gorgonzola & Walnut Wedge-Salad + Pretty in Pink-Grapefruit & Citrus Salad Dressing ~"

05/27/2014

~ Roast-Chicken Caprese-Panzanella Pasta-Salad ~

Here in the Northeastern part of the United States, the Memorial Day weekend is the official unofficial kick off to the Summer season. Gardeners fertilize their soil and plant their seeds while barbeque grillers iron their aprons and sharpen their knives. Public swimming pools and beaches open, and fishermen put their boats in the water. The young, the old and everybody in between is ready to set up their lawn chairs and move outdoors for a few months. As of yesterday afternoon, I have switched gears. I am officially in Summer meals mode, meaning: During the Summer, what I enjoy...... View full recipe for "~ Roast-Chicken Caprese-Panzanella Pasta-Salad ~"

05/23/2014

~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~

Macaroni and cheese is near the very top of the American favorite food list. This ooey-gooey irresistable mixture of unpretentious pasta and cheese has earned a beloved place on tables ranging from your grandmother's kitchen to college dorms to gourmet restaurants. We love it and we serve it year round, indoors or out, at all sorts of gatherings, holidays and celebrations. My guy wants my Mac & Cheese served with our son Jesse's Bone-Suckin, Charcoal-Smoked Spareribs for Memorial Day! I'm sure there is a percentage of you who think Mac & Cheese was invented by Kraft foods (their first version...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~"

05/21/2014

~ Pappardelle Pasta & Crispy Pancetta tossed with a Creamy Sauteed-Mushroom Asiago-Cheese Sauce ~

If this sounds like a dish you would be happy to find late at night on a restaurant "after hours" menu it is: my own. Here in Melanie's Kitchen (also known as The Preschutti Bar & Grille), we call this: "The House Pappardelle". Just like another of my house specialties, "Spaghetti a la Carbonara", it is pure, simple, perfection. Don't ask me why, but, there is just something magical about feasting on spaghetti at midnight any time of the year under any weather conditions. We've been inundated with a few days of cooler than usual, AC off/put the heat back...... View full recipe for "~ Pappardelle Pasta & Crispy Pancetta tossed with a Creamy Sauteed-Mushroom Asiago-Cheese Sauce ~"

05/18/2014

~My Basic Asiago Cheese Sauce for Pasta/Veggies~

As a gal who grew up in the latter '50's, '60's and early '70's, I did not grow up eating fake "cheese-feed" products. You know what I mean: thick, bottled Olive Garden-type pasta sauces that bear no resemblance to delicate, real-deal Alfredo sauce, and, gloppy, jarred Cheez-Whiz-type concoctions that get poured over vegetables and nachos. Besides the calories (and who knows what else), I feel lucky that I grew up in a family during a time in history when everyone appreciated good cheese. Back then, even us Americans hand-sliced and grated our own cheese (it didn't come out of a...... View full recipe for "~My Basic Asiago Cheese Sauce for Pasta/Veggies~"

05/06/2014

~ Jesse's Bacon-Wrapped Dijon-Shrimp Appetizers ~

My son Jesse adores bacon and he loves shrimp. Jesse, if left to his own devices, could probably live on bacon, and, our family has many stories to tell about his early years and "all you can eat" bacon escapades. Jesse is also an extremely picky eater. Jesse does not eat any fruit except for orange juice and ketchup, or, any vegetables except for peas and potatoes. Now, don't go blaming me, his mother. As an toddler he ate everything, including pureed applesauce, peaches, carrots and green beans. As Jesse grew up, he created his own food pyramid. His diet...... View full recipe for "~ Jesse's Bacon-Wrapped Dijon-Shrimp Appetizers ~"

04/15/2014

~ A Puerto Rican Bacalao Guisado (Cod Fish Stew) ~

Let me start by saying I am just an American girl cooking a really good Puerto Rican stew for dinner tonight -- this is not a lesson in Puerto Rican cooking. My knowledge of Puerto Rican cooking is limited, but, my experiences with Puerto Rican food have all been good ones, so, don't ruin that for me with criticizms. For a brief period of time we had a Puerto Rican neighbor named Yvonne. It was from her I learned a little about Puerto Rican homestyle cooking. Her specialties were "frituras di maiz" (corn fritters), "picadillo" (ground meat stew), and, "bacalao...... View full recipe for "~ A Puerto Rican Bacalao Guisado (Cod Fish Stew) ~"

04/11/2014

~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~

I never met a fish cake or a crab cake I didn't like. Some recipes are better than others, but generally speaking, I love them all. Whenever I broil, bake or poach fresh fish filets I always buy two or three, for the sole purpose of having leftovers to make fish cakes the next day. Almost any kind of fish can be used to make fish cakes, but, this recipe is the one I use specifically for white fish cakes. Firm, lean and meaty cod, grouper or haddock are my favorite three, and, I found some beautiful wild cod filets...... View full recipe for "~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~"

04/08/2014

~ Mel's 30-Minute "Brain Food" Meal: Broiled Cod w/ Spicy Saffron Rice, Peas & Stewed Tomato Sauce ~

"Fish is brain food." That's what my mother always said -- to entice us to eat it. I never had to try to buy into that fish tale because the fish I ate as a child was quite good, and, as far as I was concerned, I was a sharp kid. (Back then, "fish is brain food" was a claim that was dismissed as an "old wives tale".) Like a lot of the world, our household fasted on religious "Fish-Fry Fridays" (as I now affectionately refer to them), but, shrimp cocktail and fried salmon patties were the only two recipes...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's 30-Minute "Brain Food" Meal: Broiled Cod w/ Spicy Saffron Rice, Peas & Stewed Tomato Sauce ~"

04/03/2014

~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~

'Stuffins' -- just saying it brings a smile to my face. These are just plain fun to make, kid-friendly, and, practical too -- pretty little portions of complete happiness. If you brown bag your lunch, just wrap one up and toss it in. If you're cooking for just you or for two, make a dozen to have on hand for the entire week. They're a surefire crowd pleaser as well. A few years ago, I made a huge batch and took them to a Fall tailgate party where the men couldn't get enough of them! Stuffins can be made from...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~"

03/26/2014

~An End of Winter Ricotta & Spinach 'Pizza' Quiche~

Pizza quiche? If you're thinking those two words don't belong together in the same sentence, you have two choices: read on or move on. Busy moms who know how to cook are notorius for pulling an inventive, delicious meal out of their apron pocket in the blink of an eye. Busy moms who have the creativity to give it a kid-friendly name, especially if it's got spinach or broccoli in it, are natural born story tellers. As I always say, "there is more to a recipe than a list of ingredients. There is either a history or a story behind...... View full recipe for "~An End of Winter Ricotta & Spinach 'Pizza' Quiche~"

03/24/2014

~ Ricotta & Spinach Gnudi (Dumplings) w/Marinara ~

There was a period in my life when I taught cooking classes on a regular basis (which I'm just too busy to do nowadays). It was a rarity if I chose the subject matter. When a group of people or an organization wants to take a class, they usually know what it is they want to learn before they come a calling. In every class, one of the things I enjoy the most are the questions that get asked. Questions reveal two things: What is spinning around in the heads of people interested in food, and, what food trends are...... View full recipe for "~ Ricotta & Spinach Gnudi (Dumplings) w/Marinara ~"

03/19/2014

~ Ditalini Pasta con le Lenticchie (Pasta with Lentils)~

Over the past week I've shown you how to make two of my favorite "legume meals". I soaked some dried kidney beans to make hearty red beans and rice, then I made some luscious split pea soup in my slow cooker. In a nutshell, legumes are the dried seed pods of beans, peas and lentils. It wouldn't be right for me to close the pantry door on legumes without cooking some lentils, so, I'm tying a bow on the trio by making my favorite lentil dish today: pasta with lentils! In Italy, pasta with lentils is very common. Here in...... View full recipe for "~ Ditalini Pasta con le Lenticchie (Pasta with Lentils)~"

03/08/2014

~ Quick-Soaking Dried Beans vs Overnight Soaking ~

There is always a method to my madness and occasionally it includes writing a post about a method, a technique, or, an ingredient . It's easy for anyone to take a pretty photo, write a list of ingredients, hand out a six-pack of instructions, and, send readers on their way. Unfortunately, if you've ever taught a cooking class, you know you can't do that. If you write a blog that teaches people to cook step-by-step, you REALLY can't do that. I can't do that. Today is such a post. Dried beans, peas and lentils are mature beans that are dried...... View full recipe for "~ Quick-Soaking Dried Beans vs Overnight Soaking ~ "

02/25/2014

~ Mel's Got Spaghetti "a la Carbonara" on Her Mind (A Simple Recipe w/Fond Memories & Rich History) ~

Carbonara. A word every foodie is familiar with. Not familiar with it? Not a foodie. Don't like the word foodie? Go write your own material. Carbonara is Italian, and, if you have ever eaten it in its city of origin, Rome, or had it prepared for you by someone from Rome, you have little patience with American bastardizations. Carbonara is the definition of "simply extraordinary"! Carbonara = Pasta, Pork, Eggs, Cheese & Pepper A bit about carbonara (kar-boh-NAH-rah): (The following is a run-on sentence.) Carbonara is a dish of al dente pasta (usually bucatini or thick spaghetti) tossed into a...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Got Spaghetti "a la Carbonara" on Her Mind (A Simple Recipe w/Fond Memories & Rich History) ~"

02/21/2014

~ Rainy Days & Lazy Fridays: My Winter Minestrone w/Anelletti Pasta & Garnished w/Parm & Pancetta ~

After almost two months of weather-related captivity, I am declaring a ban on weather forecasts. They stop now. I will no longer listen to them or watch them. It's high time I stood up to these masters of disasters. I've wasted precious time allowing them to affect me. I am a domestic goddess -- this title comes with priviledges. I do not have to go outside. From this day forward: "What happens outside, stays outside. All that really matters each day is what's cookin' on the inside!" ~ Melanie Today is a soup day. I decided to make minestrone because...... View full recipe for "~ Rainy Days & Lazy Fridays: My Winter Minestrone w/Anelletti Pasta & Garnished w/Parm & Pancetta ~"