italian boy

italian boy

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tip: frozen shrimp

Shrimp freeze remarkably well. I fun quick tip is to keep a bag in the freezer and then every once and a while when you want to add a little flare to your salad, soup or entree, take a couple out, thaw them for a minute or two under warm water, shell and devein them if their not already then pop'em in the broiler just until their cooked and start to char (see photo). It super easy, restaurants so it all the time so you should too.

Tip: Shrimp (avoid foreign-farmed, trawled and tiger shrimp, eat wild-caught northern shrimp, pink shrimp and spot prawns from Canada and northern U.S.) (from

Monday, December 28, 2009

REVIEW: Red Rocks pizza

So I know I've reviewed a Matchbox and Radius for brick oven pizza in DC, but now I have Red Rocks. Red Rocks is on 11th and Park and is totally a Columbia Heights neighborhood restaurant. They're always busy, the food is fantastic and its got everything from airy patio seating when the weather's warm, a cozy brunch for two ($9 bottomless mimosas!!!), and even a friendly nice dinner upstairs with a small group of friends. The pizza's are fantastic, creative and most importantly DELICIOUS- the staff if uber friendly and they clearly enjoy their job. The pizza pictured above is theCipolla- mozzarella, carmalized red onions and sweet fennel sausage. YUM. I think you really can't go wrong here- there's a very subtle twist to dishes you may be familiar with like a Prosciutto and Pineapple pizza and fabulous cocktails (Dirty Garlic Martini anyone?).

CHECK THIS PLACE OUT.. If you're up on Wisconson Ave, I'd say to shoot for 2 Amys but if you're anywhere near Columbia Heights, you have to stop by RED ROCKS!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

bratwurst for brunch?

(sorry cameraphone) Bratwurst, onions and peppers. Cook till the links ar nice and browned on each side, let the onions and peppers cook a little longer till they're caramelized, throw them in a bun or between 2 slices of bread and OMG, you might cry its so delicious.

ps. make sure its decent bratwurst and not some variation of a hotdog- you never know in grocery stores these days.

Monday, December 14, 2009

baby potatoes with rosemary, cracked pepper and olive oil

Title says it all. Wash everything well, toss together all the ingredients (add a little garlic powder if you like) drop in an oven-safe pan and roast, covered, on a middle rack for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees until they're tender with a fork and then roast uncovered for the last 5 - 10 minutes till they get nice and crispy brown. Great side dish an leftovers heat up well -OR- add a little water and mash the leftovers for a different twist.

Monday, December 7, 2009

REVIEW: Kababji - excellent Lebanese grill

Maybe I got lucky for lunch at Kababji during their inaugural week but I may have experienced the best hummus I've had in DC- at least for quite a while. Silky smooth, just the right amount of citrus, perfectly savory and light on the garlic- perfect if you're have PM meetings back at the office. The menu is divided into 3 main areas- appetizers, meat/kabab entrees and sandwiches. From what I remember sandwiches run you about $6 ($3 extra for fries) and the meats/kababs go for 13 14ish. Portions are not enormous but this is definitely a step above some of your standard Middle Eastern fare. Dishes are beautifully prepared and are seasoned to perfection. The space on Connecticut Ave just south of Dupont Circle, is large, airy, very clean and the wait staff is extremely (almost too) attentive (they'll calm down after a couple weeks ;) ). Definitely reccomend you try it out, also great for small groups or casual business dinners where you can share larger sampling platters. Check it out!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

seared tuna steaks with red onion and lime

Start to marinate your tuna steaks at least an hour in advance in the juice of 3-4 limes, a touch of white vinegar, a chopped red onion, some black pepper and a touch of salt. Turn the steaks upside down occasionally and then simply sear in a hot pan with some olive oil. Serve with avocado slices and a light salad. YUUUUUM!

fresh clams

Sautee half a diced onion in some olive oil with salt and pepper. Add a cup or so of white wine and when it starts to heat add a dozen little neck clams. Cover on low heat, check back in 10-15 minutes and they should be opened, steamed and ready to eat. DELICOUS.

Friday, November 20, 2009

spezzatino d'agnello

This is something my mother makes every Easter and one of my favorites since I was a kid.
Cube the meat from a leg of lamb in bite-sized pieces and set them aside to marinate for an hour or two with: salt, garlic, black pepper, a touch of rosemary, and some lemon juice.

Slowly cook them with onions and parsley until the onions are translucent and the lamb is lightly browned.  Deglaze with a mouthful of white wine.  Raise the heat and add 3 or 4 eggs- and quickly stir to mix in with the meat as they cook.

At the same time, steam or boil a bunch of large asparagus then cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
Combine the asparagus with the lamb and serve hot with some fresh or toasted
Italian bread.
A traditional but unique dish you'll be sure to cook time and time again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

anisette steamed snapper

Okay okay, I know this is a sad photo to have up on my blog but A. my camera is still in the shop and B. I didn't think of using my phone camera till after. This was hands down the best snapper i ever made. When I was at the fish market with my dad I asked them to clean the fish but leave the head on- when we got home in a low pan I made a "basket" with aluminum foil, laid the fish inside, I filled the cavity with sliced fennel, red onion, lemon slices and sprig of rosemary. I scored the upper side of the fish with a knife the cracked sea salt and made another layer of lemon slices then poured about 1/2 a cup of anisette in the bottom of the basket. I then lifted the sides of aluminum foil and wrapped the fish closed (make sense?) 25-30 minutes in the oven at 275-300 degrees and out comes the most aromatic, fresh tasting steamed fish you can ever imagine. The anisette lifts the fennel to another level and adds such an intense aroma without overpowering the fish. The red onions add a touch of sweet and the lemon gives such a fresh after taste. Definately worth a try and I'll post a better photo next time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

salad for dinner

Half the people I know don't eat half the greens they should. If you need to get more green in your diet but have a hard time stomaching it just make the salad work for you. The other day, i made fresh bacon bits, hard boiled eggs, sliced avocado, I chopped dried figs, grated cheddar cheese and cut up some jicama on top of a huge bowl of romaine lettuce. Salt pepper, oil vinegar and that's it. This is by no means the healthiest salad on Earth but probably healthier that what you'd get out. Get creative, mix flavors and textures. If you have to add meat and cheese go for it but cut back on dressing (just use oil and vin) to watch calories.

Other things to top your salad: chopped apples, orange or tangerine wedges, blue cheese gorgonzola or goat cheese crumbles, shelled edamame, chopped peppers, olives, marinated artichoke hearts, diced lunch meat slices, cubed grilled chicken breast, canned corn, ground beef, canned beans... really the posibilities are endless.

wild rice risotto

So a couple days ago I made some chicken stock and immediately froze it in a Pyrex container for the future. Well, I was short on groceries so I threw the frozen stock in a large pot and let it thaw on low to medium heat. Once it came to a boil I added 2 cups of wild rice, a chopped onion, carrot, a hot pepper and a fist full of parsley. I let it cook for 45-55 minutes (till the rice was cooked and the liquid absorbed) then just before serving I threw in a large handful of grated mozzarella. THATS IT. Yum!

turkey cupcakes

Sometimes I call them turkey muffins. Hahaha, I know it sounds gross but I decided to jump on the cupcake craze myself. I have a whole line of savory cupcakes... well.. actually these are oversized meatballs baked in a cupcake tin. For these I cot a container of ground turkey breast, breadcrumbs, an egg, parsley, chopped onions, chopped carrots, shredded cheddar cheese, horsradish, salt and pepper. Roll them into large balls, drop them in a cupcake pan sprayed with Pam and throw it all in the oven at 275 ish till they're nice and brown. This is a fun novelty at a dinner party or a just a GREAT idea to make a batch (as lean and healthy as you like.. or not) early in the week and take two for lunch th rest of the week (Try these with ketchup, mayo, hotsauce, wasabi- or anything else that blows your skirt up).

Monday, October 12, 2009

sarde ripiene al forno

Quite impressive for simple dish. Buy a number of fresh cleaned sardines (2-3 per person), if you can buy them butterflied, do that, if not, when you get home all you do is open the cavity and run your thumb nail under the spine (starting from where the head was) to the end of the fish and breaking off the bone just before the tail. So you basically have one flat filet of sardine meat with the [decorative] tail at the end. Lightly flour each side and lay them flat on a work surface skin side down. In a large mixing bowl combine breadcrumbs, one beaten egg, a fair amount of
grated cheese, fresh parsley, finely chopped nuts if you have them, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix that all together (add breadcrumbs if too soft, add some white wine if too dry), spoon a bit of the mixture on each of the sardine fillets, roll them and lay them flat, seam side down in an oiled baking pan. Once they're all packed pour some white wine on bottom of the pan and bake covered for about 10 minutes then uncovered for another 10-15 minutes. You can prep these well in advance but pop them in the oven last minute so they can be enjoyed warm. This is a delicious treat I learned from my Zia Luisa in Sardinia a few years ago. Give it a shot and I can guarantee that people who aren't even devoted seafood fans will love this.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Basically, you just make the standard Abrusci meatball mix (we usually like pork or a pork/beef mixture). Mix the meat with breadcrumbs, eggs, salt pepper, fresh parsley and grated cheese. Roll them into tini meatballs slightly larger than a marble then quickly drop them in a pot of hot oil for just a minute or two till they brown evenly. Drain them on a paper towl and from here they go GREAT in a tomato sauce, add them to any soup, serve them at a party with a couple toothpicks, or just snack on them the way they are. If youre worried about frying then just bake them on a cookie sheet. Kids will love them, they're so delicious and just fun for any dinner.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

shrimp and rice

(sorry my camera's in the shop so the rez is terrible on this) A traditional Bahraini dish I learned from my friend Zain years ago, just make a little plain rice, if you can add a little saffron, salt, pepper, capers or whatever your favorite seasonings are and at the same time sautee a couple shrimp (I took the shell off and split them down the middle to butterfly them) in olive oil and some chopped garlic. Add the two together and THATS IT. It incredible how fast you can get a top not meal.

bloody mary time

I think one of the best brunch ideas ever is to have a make-your-own bloody mary bar. Have out the vodka, tomato juice, clamato if you like, A1, hotsauce, black pepper, lemmon wedges, beef broth, old bay, cracked pepper, pickled green beans, celery, asparagus, crispy bacon... the options are endless. This is a great way to get inventive and one of the few occasions where I say "more is more." Today this modest bloody had vodka, tomato juice, worchestershire sauce, a touch of taco seasoning, cracked pepper, hot sauce, fresh parsley, green olives, celery and a lemmon wedge. PERFECTION.

About Me

My photo
Hi there, my name is Giacomo and I enjoy things delicious. Long story short, my parents moved from Italy to NJ where I grew up (and loved it) but found myself in Washington, DC fourteen years ago and haven’t yet found an excuse to leave. Food has always been a huge part of my day and life… from happy times, sad times, holidays, drunken escapades and all the rest in between, I’ve usually spent a good portion of that time putting something in my mouth. I guess I started this blog a little while ago to keep track of what I was cooking and places I’d eat-- simply because my friends were always asking “how do you make this” or “where do you get that” but surprisingly over time I guess real people started reading too. SO, take a look around and let me know what you think. You’ll see that the backbone of lots of my food is Italian but I manage to cover most bases. Thanks for stopping by. BUON APPETITO!

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