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6 posts from January 2023

01/30/2023

~Cellentani or Cavatappi -- No Worries, No Difference~

IMG_6758A few days ago I made my pasta Alfredo.  I refer to is as pasta Alfredo because I don't always use fettuccine to make this classic pasta dish.  My family likes it just as much using spaghetti and I also make variations of Alfredo using linguini with shrimp,  mushroom ravioli Alfredo, and, with vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) for rotini Alfredo all primavera.  That said, my personal favorite pasta for Alfredo is penne or cellentani (also marketed as cavatappi) -- tubular pasta loves to soak up any type of sauce.  What's more fun, not to mention fork-and-family-friendly, is Alfredo made using a combination of both -- penne and cellentani or cavatappi. 

As hard as it is to believe, there is a controversy about the difference between cellentani (chay-len-TAHN-ee) and cavatappi (cah-vah-TAP-ee) -- which are both "fork-friendly, similarly sized, tubular corkscrew whirls" (the best words I have to describe their shape).  Some folks actually claim there is a slight difference in their thicknesses, while others claim there is a difference in their ridge counts.  It makes me laugh because I've been using the two interchangeably for years and I am here to tell you there is no difference -- or at least none that should concern any cook. 

Here's what you need to know:  Cellentani were first created by the italian pasta giant Barilla in the 1960s.  The company named its new pasta shape cellentani (after Adriano Celentano, a famous Italian pop singer known for his unique "springy" dance moves).  The name cellentani was trademarked by Barilla, which prevents other companies from marketing there copycat product as cellentani.  When other brands came up their cellentani, they named their version cavatappi, which means corkscrew in Italian and references the pasta's springy shape.  So, my cooking friends, no worries, there is no real difference between these two tubular corkscrew pasta shapes.

No worries, No difference -- It's simply a different name.

IMG_6755"We are all in this food world together. ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)

01/25/2023

~A Brief Bit of History about Classic Fettuccini Alfredo~

6a0120a8551282970b0278800f7135200dAlfredo is an Italian pasta dish in which any type of stranded pasta, most famously fettuccine (which means little ribbons in Italian), is enrobed in a rich sauce usually made from copious amounts of butter, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black pepper.  As the tale goes (the foodie story most told about the history of this dish)  a Roman restauranteur, Alfredo di Lelio first created it for his pregnant wife in 1914.  She had lost her losing her appetite for food or was having trouble keeping food down, either while she was pregnant or after the birth of their son.  Alfredo, set out to create a dish that would not only appeal to his wife, but would be nutritious (calorie and carbohydrate packed) as well.  He developed his dish based on the traditional pasta al burro, which was simply paper-thin ribbons of hand-made pasta with butter.  Alfredo made egg fettuccine, tripled the amount of butter and laced it with copious amounts of Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese.  His wife loved it, so, he added it to his restaurant menu.

As the story goes, as fate would have it, in 1927, the American silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, while honeymooning in Italy, stopped into di Lelio's Alfredo alla Scrofa restaurant, ate the dish and the two lovebirds adored it.  They loved it so much, before they departed, they presented him with a golden fork and spoon along with a picture of them eating in his restaurant.  When the famous newlyweds returned to Hollywood, they began serving fettuccine Alfredo at their dinner parties.  It didn't take long for the news to spread throughout Hollywood, making di Lelio's restaurant and his pasta dish world famous.

6a0120a8551282970b0278800f7135200dTry my All-in-the-Pantry Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo:

6a0120a8551282970b0263e959a305200bOr my Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo all Primavera:

6a0120a8551282970b0263e95d4366200bAnd my One-Skillet Alfredo-style Linguine & Shrimp:

6a0120a8551282970b02942f9d0ac1200cOr my So Easy Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera:

6a0120a8551282970b0263e98a60f3200b"We are all in this food world together. ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)

01/20/2023

~ For the Love of Mike's Hot Honey & Ways to Use It ~

81PCdpGp4GL._SL1500_Mike's Hot Honey.  Since its foodie founding in 2010, this food industry phenomenon has gone from being a little-known condiment one could only find in trendy Brooklyn pizza shops to practically a household name.  If you've never heard of it, or simply haven't tried it yet, this sweet and spicy addictive condiment (a combination of high-quality honey infused with chili peppers), will catapult your eating pleasure to a new level of sweet, spicy and savory happiness.

Mikes-hot-honey-7af98b4ee42448bbbb37b64f0358e920So how did a humble two-ingredient condiment jettison from obscurity to cult classic? The founder -- Mike Kurtz, who as a child was a fan of sweet and spicy flavor combos.  He got his inspiration to create his own brand of hot honey while studying in Brazil.  While visiting a pizza shop, he was surprised to find a jar of honey filled with chili peppers on each table.  After drizzling it on his pizza, the rest became history. 

1233_88A2049After returning to the US in 2004, he spent the next six years experimenting and perfecting a recipe that would become known in the food industry as Mikes Hot Honey.  He started giving his honey away to friends and family as gifts, until six years later, Mike took a job as a  pizza apprentice at Paulie Gee's Pizza Emporium in Greenpoint, Brooklyn -- a Neapolitan-style pizza shop.  Kurtz brought his hot honey in for owner Paulie Giannone to try.  After trying in on a slice of pepperoni pizza, the restauranteur asked his apprentice to start bringing in small batches of his honey to offer with their pizza.

MikesHotHoney-221b-1-1440x898This opportunity launched Mike Kurt'z career.  The sweet and spicy pizza pies sold at Paulie Gee's were just the beginning of the fast-moving hot-honey trend, not to mention Mike's relationship between North American pizza shops and Mike's Hot Honey.   That said, Mike's Hot Honey is great on all sorts of things besides pizza, and, his honey is available in everything from gallon-sized containers to single-serving to-go cups to squeezable packets so customers can get a Mike's hot-honey fix wherever they are.

My list of favorite things to drizzle Mike's Hot Honey on:

Pepperoni Pizza

Chicken Wings

Fried Chicken or Fried Chicken and Waffles

Chicken Nuggets

Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Shrimp or Fish

Deli-Chicken & Bacon or Turkey & Bacon Sandwiches

Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches

Pancakes or Waffles

Buttermilk Biscuits

Cornbread or Corncakes

Sweet Corn or Sweet Corn Fritters

Deep-Fried Pirogies or French Fries

Baked Sweet Potatoes w/Butter

Phyllo-Wrapped Baked Brie or Nut-Crusted Deep-Fried Brie 

Any Dry Nutty Cheeses, Blue Cheese or Fresh Mozzarella

Melon Wrapped w/Prosciutto

Grilled Pineapple

Vanilla Ice Cream

Steaming-Hot Tea w/Bourbon Whiskey

Intro-1596138301"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)

01/15/2023

~ For the Love of Arby's Original and Horsey Sauce ~

IMG_6664You say Arby's and I'll ask what time to meet you there.  It's no secret that I'm typically not a chain-restaurant kinda gal, but, I admit to loving an Arby's roast-beef sandwich or two drizzled with both their signature original sauce and horsey sauce.  While Arby's offers an array of 17 different sauces to pair with your favorite roast-beef, chicken, ham, turkey or fish sandwich, 'burger or salad, their original sauce and horsey sauce are my two personal favorites -- they're addicting. They're so addicting, most customers relish in the guilty peasure of pocketing a few packets of these lip-smacking sauces on their way out the door to take home -- and there's no shame in that.  Now I bring tidings of great joy -- we can buy 16-ounce bottles of both online!

440px-Arby's_logo.svgArby's is a fast food chain that was founded in 1964 in Boardman, Ohio, by two brothers, Forrest and Leroy Raffel, who wanted to sell roast-beef sandwiches (like they served in their Youngstown, Ohio restaurant) on a large scale.  The name Arby's is a portmanteau (a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel, from ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’, or, brunch, from ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’) of the Raffel brother's original initials.  Arby's signature sandwich is indeed the roast-beef sandwich, which is made with very-thinly-sliced roast beef, American cheese and Arby's original sauce served on a sesame seed bun. Their original sauce is a unique blend of ingredients that create a sweet, tangy and slightly-spicy ketchup-based condiment.  Arby's horsey sauce is a mayonnaise-based condiment that is based on spicy horseradish root and it's creamy with a subtle kick of heat.  Both condiments, drizzled separately or together are what give the Arby's roast-beef sandwich its signature appeal -- and yes, they were concocted to play well together on the same roast-beef sandwich or 'burger.

Try one or both on your next steak or cheesesteak:

IMG_6681Use Arby's sauce to glaze your next chicken or game hen too:

6a0120a8551282970b02af148cbaa2200c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)

01/10/2023

~Easy Buffalo-Style Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen~

IMG_6644In my food world I am always game for finding one more way to shovel Frank's RedHot Buffalo-Wing Sauce into my family's and tailgate friends deep-fried chicken-wing loving mouths.  This lip-making, finger-licking knife-and-fork recipe for one of the simplest of things in the poultry world to cook, the Cornish game hen, is a keeper.  Pair it up with some deli-style coleslaw, potato- or macaroni-salad, or, mac-and-cheese, it's game on for a super-fun weeknight gameday dinner!

6a0120a8551282970b02af14ae50b7200bThe Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved name for a particular variety of  broiler chicken. Connecticut farmers Jacques and Alphonsine Makowsky cross-bred the standard Cornish chicken with a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayan fighting cock in the 1950s. They were bred to mature quickly and develop a large breast and weigh no 2 pounds max uncooked (with the most common weight  about 1 1/4 pounds).

6a0120a8551282970b02af1c980479200dDespite the "game hen" in the name, the Cornish hen is not a game bird.  While the "hen" in the name implies a female bird, males and females are sold and served as Cornish hens, meaning, many aren't hens.  Once cooked, the Cornish hen is known for its tender meat which loves to absorb flavors from creative marinades or spice rubs.

The pianist and comedian, Victor Borge was an early investor and promoter of this single-serving bird, leveraging his popularity to transition the Cornish hen from an exotic item to a common household meal who's petite size and young age give it a unique flavor and succulent texture that bigger chickens simply do not have.  That said, it's as versatile as a regular-sized chicken, so, any recipe for any chicken is easily adapted to the mini-chicken (which will cook more quickly, in approximately 1 hour depending on the recipe ).  The small size also makes it easier to achieve a crispy skin with perfectly-cooked meat simultaneously with no real need for basting.

Two ingredients + coleslaw or potato salad = one fab feast:

IMG_65341-2 Cornish game hens, thawed and at room temperature

1/4-1/2  cup Franks's Original RedHot Wing Sauce

6a0120a8551282970b02af1c98050c200d 6a0120a8551282970b02af1c98050c200d 6a0120a8551282970b02af1c98050c200d IMG_6405 IMG_6405~Step 1. Remove hen(s) (cook as many as you want) from packaging and on a rack in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bend/twist/fold (whatever word you want to use) the wing tips down and underneath the hen(s) -- this will prevent burning.  Do not be inclined to season the hen(s) with salt and pepper as Frank's RedHot wing sauce is nicely seasoned -- it's perfect.  Roast hen(s) on center rack of 375º oven for 45 minutes.

IMG_6633 IMG_6633 IMG_6633 IMG_6633~Step 2.  At the 45 minute mark, remove hen(s) from oven.  Working as quickly as possible, use a pastry brush to paint the entire surface of the hen(s) with RedHot wing sauce.  Return to oven and continue to roast 5 more minutes.  Repeat the basting process every 5 minutes until an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted into the thickert breast meat, reads 150°-155°, about 15-20 more minutes.   Remove glazed hens from oven, loosely tent with foil and allow to rest 5-10 minutes prior to serving -- residual heat will finish-cook the hen(s) and allow juices to redistribute.

Serve w/a favorite side -- try my creamy-crunchy coleslaw:

IMG_6649My Easy Buffalo-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen:  Recipe yields instruction to roast and glaze as many Cornish game hens as you want to.

Special Equipment List: appropriately-sized roasting pan; aluminum foil; roasting rack; small saucepan; pastry brush; intant-read meat thermometer

6a0120a8551282970b026bde967366200cCook's Note: What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, deep-fried chicken wings, is now found in many forms.  Truth told, there's not much that Buffalo-style chicken can't do, and applying Buffalo wing sauce as a glaze to oven-roasted chicken leg-thigh quarters, or, stirring it into some previously roasted or poached chicken is the perfect way to transition this iconic game day snack into all sorts of other appetizers, sandwiches, main or side-dish salads, or, main-dish meals.  Trust me, as a lady who loves her deep-fried wings, but, only in the privacy of her own home (where she's free to lick fingers, smack lips, pick teeth, and, drip sauce), while different, the following Buffalo-Style delicacies are every bit as enjoyable as chicken wings.  For lots of Buffalo-style recipe ideas, read my post: ~ How Many Ways Can One Say Buffalo Wing Style ~.

01/05/2023

~ Easy Cornish Hen Glazed w/Arby's Original Sauce ~

IMG_6627Arby's Original Sauce.  Their unique blend of ingredients creates a sweet, tangy, and spicy ketchup-based barbecue-type sauce that gives all of their beef and chicken sandwiches extra special appeal.  In my opinion, whether you're a fan of their sandwiches or not, their barbecue sauce is addictive.  It's so addicting, most customers enjoy the guilty pleasure of pocketing a few packets of this lip-smacking sauce on our way out their door -- and there's not shame in that. That said, I bring tidings of great joy -- they've started selling it and their Horsey Sauce online!  

6a0120a8551282970b02af1c965a6e200d-320wiThe Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved name for a particular variety of  broiler chicken. Connecticut farmers Jacques and Alphonsine Makowsky cross-bred the standard Cornish chicken with a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayan fighting cock in the 1950s. They were bred to mature quickly and develop a large breast and weigh no 2 pounds max uncooked (with the most common weight  about 1 1/4 pounds).

6a0120a8551282970b02af148b0f79200c-320wiDespite the "game hen" in the name, the Cornish hen is not a game bird.  While the "hen" in the name implies a female bird, males and females are sold and served as Cornish hens, meaning, many aren't hens.  Once cooked, the Cornish hen is known for its tender meat which loves to absorb flavors from creative marinades or spice rubs.

The pianist and comedian, Victor Borge was an early investor and promoter of this single-serving bird, leveraging his popularity to transition the Cornish hen from an exotic item to a common household meal who's petite size and young age give it a unique flavor and succulent texture that bigger chickens simply do not have.  That said, it's as versatile as a regular-sized chicken, so, any recipe for any chicken is easily adapted to the mini-chicken (which will cook more quickly, in approximately 1 hour depending on the recipe ).  The small size also makes it easier to achieve a crispy skin with perfectly-cooked meat simultaneously with no real need for basting.

Two ingredients + a side-dish or two = A fab feast a la Arby's:

IMG_65361-2 Cornish game hens, thawed and at room temperature

1/4-1/2  cup Arby's Original Barbecue Sauce

6a0120a8551282970b02af148b101c200c-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af14aca808200b-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af14aca80a200b-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af148b1029200c-120wi 6a0120a8551282970b02af148b102d200c-120wi~Step 1. Remove hen(s) (cook as many as you want) from packaging and on a rack in a shallow roasting pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bend/twist/fold (whatever word you want to use) the wing tips down and underneath the hen(s) -- this will prevent burning.  Do not be inclined to season the hen(s) with salt and pepper as Arby's sauce is nicely seasoned -- it's perfect. Roast hen(s) on center rack of 375º oven for 45 minutes.

IMG_6591 IMG_6591 IMG_6597 IMG_6598~Step 2.  At the 45 minute mark, remove hen(s) from oven.  Working as quickly as possible, use a pastry brush to paint the entire surface of the hen(s) with Arby's sauce.  Return to oven and continue to roast 5 more minutes.  Repeat the basting process every 5 minutes until an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted into the thickert breast meat, reads 150°-155°, about 15-20 more minutes.   Remove glazed hens from oven, loosely tent with foil and allow to rest 5-10 minutes prior to serving -- residual heat will finish-cook the hen(s) and allow juices to redistribute.

Serve w/your favorite side(s) -- try my spicy rice & cornbread:

IMG_6624Easy Cornish Hen Glazed w/Arby's Original Sauce: Recipe yields instruction to roast and glaze as many Cornish game hens as you want to.

Special Equipment List: appropriately-sized roasting pan; aluminum foil; roasting rack; small saucepan; pastry brush; intant-read meat thermometer

6a0120a8551282970b02af148b106c200cCook's Note:  Whether you are new to cooking and looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a small group of people with or a seasoned-pro looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a few quests with, you really should consider Cornish game hens.  There's more.  If you are a hungry single person in search of an easy, made-from-scratch entree, you really should consider a Cornish game hen. When I was a young chick (a new bride about 45 years ago), Cornish game hens were trendy and commonly served -- everyone, kids and adults alike, loves a succulent, personal-sized mini-chicken.  I served them frequently for years, and then, for reasons unknown to me, I kinda forgot about them.  No time like the present to correct my course. Be sure to read my post: ~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Rock Cornish Game Hen ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)