I love pasta. Recently tried a pasta dish known as ricotta cavatelli with broccoli pesto and salami. It sounded appetizing, but ended up a disappointment. It was just standard dry cavatelli, with a tasteless green emulsion of broccoli topped with cold ricotta and chunks of salami. Yikes! Sometimes anger can work in one's favor. This time it led me to whip up a batch of ricotta cavatelli dough. Eliminating the broccoli pesto, I charred some romanesco cauliflower, added some sliced garlic, a bit of tomato product with water from the pasta, and finally wonderful salami from my butcher. It was so much better. And the cavatelli were fresh and made of ricotta!
As a by-product to trying grano arso in bread, I also used it in orecchiette, the ear shaped semolina and water pasta. Initially I tried shaping with my thumb. That's a bit time consuming. I found it faster to use a knife. It consists of a basic scrape across the surface, then inverting the dough to get the classic ear shaped pasta.
Booming playlists while you're eating out. Anyone else find it annnoying? Lately, I have wondered when it became an addition to an eating-out meal. We already are a society barraged by noise. The New York Times had a piece recently about all the noises this city generates. Personally, I love music. Actually, I also embrace the everyday jazz urban street life. That said, it seems to me we often lose sight of the real reason to eat - which is a sensual and social pleasure. An always-on world of blaring media has generated a lot of multi-tasking people who can't even seem to eat without diversion of noise. I hate to seem puritanical, but listening to thumping soundtracks via bad acoustics in packed dining room can ruin a potentially good meal for me. It feels like you're a prisoner to the shuffles. Can we just turn down the volume please?
After I'd seen an episode of Anthony Bourdain's The Layover set in Philadelphia, I decided I wanted to try Zahav restaurant . It's located in the "Old" historical part of town, with a windowed view which kind of reminded me of photos I have seen of Israel's capital building, the Knesset. Step inside and you find a dynamic dining room with a first rate staff handling the crowd.
The place was full so I ate at the bar, which let me enjoy my food while gazing at the semi-open kitchen as well as the bustling bar. The menu is full of flavors and choice. I started with hummus, served Turkish style (which has a mix of butter and olive oil). Along with the house-baked laffa bread, it blew me away.
With a bit of raki and a delicious list of small mezze style dishes (including a nice falafel of summer squash sent from the kitchen), I was deliciously pleased with all Zavah offered. Dessert, which is usually an after- thought for me - a bit like cocktails - were the final punch. A knockout.
Ice cream is something I like to make and eat. Though I periodically indulge in buying it, in my opinion most of it sucks. Badly stored, often it's with freezer burned. Or the flavors are super sweet and uninteresting.
Fast forward a few weeks back, I bought a gelato maker on e-bay. From the first churns, hiccups and misstep,I finally got some decent flavors and formulas going. Nothing better then using farmer's milk (goat or cow) and seasonal fruits.
Method: Combine and stir the first four ingredients
Whisk sugar yolks, dry milk and guar to combine.
Heat milk just to scald to 40 Celsius-104 Fahrenheit, when the temperature reaches 45 Celsius-113 Fahrenheit; Temper heated milk to the rest of the ingredients and bring to 85 Celsius-185 Fahrenheit, pass through a sieve and chill to +4 Celcius-40 Fahrenheit.
Let sit overnight in fridge and then churn next day.
My brother came over recently and proposed a last minute weekend bike tour. For him (and, by extension, for me), that meant a 100-plus mile ride. From Conneticut to Rhode Island. Though it's fun, it's a good idea to prepare and prep. Sort of like cooking or baking.
Regardless, the fresh air and spinning wheels are a good way to chill, lose weight, and enjoy nature - in between trying to avoid the seeming abundance of idiot drivers simultaneously on their cell phones and hogging the road! We made it to Rhode Island, a really pretty state, with quaint towns that recall New England and friendly hello's, not so common today.
Two weeks ago I visited a summer event at the Big Apple's New Amsterdam Market, held under the FDR highway near New York's Fulton Fish Market and the South Street Seaport. At one point, the Seaport was supposedly going to have a regular farmer's market. Unfortuately, the Seaport's owners saw more green developing high priced hotels than a green market. Anyway, there were numerous highlights at the event; fantastically fiery pineapple paletas by Fany Gershon, interesting breads by Kamel Saci from Il Buco Alimentari, and fantastic pork burgers from Mosefund Mangalista Farms.
While passing the lovely farmers market at Union Square, I decided to buy some stinging nettles. With just a handful, I was able to make three different things; pizza, pasta and pesto. In the case of pizza and pesto, I blanched and pureed the nettles first, keeping the flavor and color green but removing some rawness from the taste.
For the pizza, I used three cheeses; comte, parmigiano, and buratto. The nettles gave the pizza a rich fragrance and a deep earthy flavor, not to mention a bit of sting! For the pasta dough, I substituted the nettles for some of the eggs in my formula. It demands a scale; you weigh one of your eggs and then - for however many eggs you want to eliminate - add in a corresponding amount in weight of nettles. After chopping the nettles in a food processor and adding to the pasta dough, I then froze this combination, hoping to use it for an August marriage with late summer ingredients or perhaps just cheese.