Perhaps it's no irony that the dish whose name recalls the "oldest profession in the world" is also among the most aromatic and nuanced, its flavors rooted in sea and earth. Below is my hommage to those ladies who made this power packed delicacy of basic ingredients. Oh, the power of love on a plate. Grazie signore.
Just got back from a three day look & see in California, specifically Orange County. Got to visit offline with online friends. And got the chance to eat, and eat some more. Great food! I even got to use a wood burning oven and play with dough! Southern Cal, specifically Los Angeles, reminded me of a Jim Morrison song. Like Soul Kitchen...yeah!
Gnudi, pronounced "nu-di" with a silent "g," are a bit like dumplings or ravioli. April Bloomfield's eatery, The Spotted Pig, gave them some recent cache. My hankering for them came from this site. My mom's garden provided some nice kale and tomatoes to add to the Amish ricotta mix. Light and delicous, oh, yeah!
My charcuterie friend Jonel Picioane has the most awesome store. His Sunnyside market was my go to shop where I buy nduja and all sorts of good things. But to visit his Ridgewood European Pork store....well, it's smoking! Literally as you walk to this hidden gem in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, it's a one of a kind, because not many butchers with his skill have survived. If you catch him behind the counter your eyes, and all senses are opened by his craft work, go check him out!
Cork Buzz Wine Studio has a new spot in Chelsea Market. A small tasting bar menu, with simply designed but chock full of flavor bites. I was introduced to the chef's "Hillary Sterling and Missy Robbins", and we chatted up about food adventures and tastings around the world. One thing I miss at my own work place is a working with the opposite sex, women. They bring a fresh air to the dungeon like skulleries of man food restaurants, and these two culinarians impressed me with execution and flavors and the wine was exceptional as well the service. Here is what I had.
Fregola is a durum pasta from Sardinia, closely related in shape and texture to moghrabieh and used like cous-cous as an anchor within larger dishes or salads. Fregola is toasted, with a toothy bite, and goes especially well with seafood such as a recent paella-like dish I made from shellfish, garden herbs, and tomatoes. Really easy to cook, and served hot,cold, with vegetables or protiens, it's a great addition to the pantry.
Served with Trapanese pesto, or more typically a ragu, for my topping I started with Farmers Market tomatoes and corn. And to accent the dough's cinnamon-like flavor, I added a touch of ancho harissa. Mangia!
This past weekend I had the lucky opportunity to meet Sara De Bellis, the manager of Greenwich Village-based restaurant, Abbottega, a transplant straight from Italy. Offering traditional "osteria food," it started in Milan, now is in New York, and will soon open another location in Miami. Sara invited me for a tasting of the existing menu, which she soon will be revamping. Here are some of the dishes we tried. Get out and support a newcomer to the New York food scene. Bien venutto, Sara!
Recently I made a Tuscan Schiacciata - which might be thought of as a grape pizza. The base was an untraditional, no-knead pizza sour dough. The filling was Pantelleria-grown dried raisins bought at Gustiamo. The flavor enhancers Nocellara Belice olive oil, finocchieto salvatica (wild anise) and Thompson grapes. A hybrid creation and a lovely result.