italian boy

italian boy

Friday, January 30, 2009

the best effing burgers you'll ever have

a couple months ago i saw someone make a hamburger by salting and peppering a patty of ground beef and throwing it on the grill... until then i had no idea thats how people in the US made hamburgers.... well.. growing up with the rare rare luxury of mcdonalds or any other sort of processed american deliciousness, our hamburgers went something like this (exactly, i dont remember but this is how i do them now). in a bowl throw in half lean ground beef and half ground pork. throw in 2-3 eggs, chopped onions, hot pepper, lots of fresh parsley, black pepper, your favorite grated cheeses, or anything else you would want your burger 'stuffed' with... (bacon bits, mushrooms, corn).. then the key is to add at least half a cup of vinegar. balance out the moisture and consistency by adding more breadcrumbs if its too wet (or more vinegar or an egg if its too dry). let it sit and marinate for an hour or two refrigerated or completely overnight, then form into patties and grill, pan fry or broil... usually they're so delicious people dont bother with hanburger buns or ketchup but do whatever works for you... great for summer time bbqs or sliders for a superbowl party. have fun!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

sweet potato chips

okay i realized ive been writing about fried stuff for a while and trust me i dont cook that unhealthy all the time... but this dish is ALSO fried... and served with sour cream it can be considered a heart attack on a plate... but its so good. so so so good. peel a couple sweet potatos (think one per person) then slice them long ways WITH the potato peeler so you end up getting chips. heat a finger or two of vegetable oil in a pot [you dont have to make them spicy but LOVE them this way] drop in one habanero pepper* sliced in half, let that fry (to season the oil) then drop in the strips of potato. move them around so they dont stick and when they start to brown remove them to a paper towel to drain. they'll still be flippity floppity when you take them out but they'll get crisp when they dry. sprinkle them with sea salt and serve them next to a bowl of sour cream.. so bad but SOOOO good. you can prepare these a day or two in advance. great for superbowl parties or anything similar. hot, sweet and salty all in one with the rich sour cream to cool it all off. mmmm.

*peppers can sometimes be unpredictable so be careful- if youre afraid it might be too hot try a jalopeno then next time move up to a habanero. its better they be not spicy enough and you can add pepper afterwards.

chicken balls

When I make soups I prefer not to use already made stocks or broth so I purchase a whole chicken (or an assortment of legs, wings et cetera) and boil it with some carrots and celery to make my own. After the stock is made, instead of throwing out the meat, I like to prepare a treat my Mother makes at home. Separate all the meat from the bone and and place in a medium size bowl. If you'd like to make this dish otherwise then just buy ground chicken at the grocery store.
To the pulled (or ground) chicken add one or two eggs, salt, breadcrumbs, a generous amount of parsley and a fair amount of hot pepper flakes. Mix it all together by hand (if its too wet add more breadcrumbs; too dry and not sticking together add the second egg), roll them into balls or patties and drop them into hot oil. These can be deep or pan fried in just a bit of oil. Make sure they evenly brown, let them drain for a moment on paper towels and prepare yourself for a spicy savory treat!

an italian antipasto

its hard to find youself at any italin dinner and not have some sort of a vinigary preserved something on the table as an amuse bouche. some are more elaborate than others, usually depending on the occasion. one sectioned dish (or a number of smaller bowls) would contain olives, marinated artichoke hearts, pickled beets, roasted peppers, sliced mozarella, some prosciutto or other salted meats. dont buy the single jar of premixed everything usually labled "italian antipasto" but keep everything seperate to savor each flavor independently and prepare your mouth (and your stomach) for the meal to follow.

fried calamari

for a fun seafood dinner this is a great appetizer that you doesnt have to be eaten only in a restaurant. most grocery stores sell precut cleaned frozen calamari rings- those work perfectly. let them thaw then get a ziplock bag and fill it 1/3 of the way with all-purpose flower, throw the calamari rings (which should naturally already be moist, if you want you can dip them in beer so they come out crispier or some people like them in buttermilk but really i think those or just unnecessary calories) in the same bag with the flour give it a good shake so they all get a nice coating, take them out and carefully drop them into a pot with 1 to 2 fingers of hot vegetable oil. while frying move them gently with a metal fork or spoon so they cook evenly and dont stick together, then slowly remove them from the oil letting them rain and place them all a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. they're best served hot with lemmon wedges but theyr fine at room temperature. experiment with fun dipping sauces, a spicy marinara always goes well, a garlic mayo is yummy too. you can even just fill little bowls with assored salad dressings and diping sauces so theres a variety for everyone.

vers garlic shrimp

one of the fastest easiest and versatile ways to make shrimp. it literally takes only a few minutes and makes a great side, you can serve them over rice for a main meal or even toss them over a lettuce with sliced palm hearts, water chestnuts and a ginger dressing for a slammin asian salad. buy a bag of raw frozen already shelled and deveined shrimp, let them thaw or drop them in a bowl of warm water. in a skillet melt some butter or coat the bottom with olive oil and put it on low heat. throw in a generous amount of garlic- 3, or 4 cloves chopped or crushed, and just as they start to lightly brown throw in the shrimp. stir them occasionally so they dont stick and as soon as they're fully pink (and no longer grey) they're done. you really can't screw this up. if you let them cook too long the shrimp with get a little tougher but they're still delicious!

About Me

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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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