italian boy

italian boy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

fried fish again- just bumping it up a notch

So basically, this is the same recipe as the one I just posted but I just wanted to explain a little difference in presentation- also here is where you can get creative with how you want your meal served. With fresh anchovies (they taste nothing like salted anchovies you might be familiar with, these are just delicious little fish), clean them, open them up and butterfly them by running your fingernail (or a butter knife) between the spine and the meat- just leaving the tail. This way you have one large fillet using the whole fish. Again, flour like any other fried fish and drop in hot oil. Try also thinly slicing a lemon, flouring and frying as well. You can also try a fritto misto by getting a variety of fish, shrimp, even fruits and vegetables and frying them all together. Almost like a Japanese tempura.

fried fish

For me, every once and a blue moon I get a craving for fried fish. Not necessarily the fried whiting you'd find at Henry's on U St [yum yum !!] or many of the other soul food eateries in the area but the old school Italian style I was graced with for so many dinners growing up. Really it can be any kind of fish, large or small, pick it up fresh from the seafood dept and if you don't know exactly what you're doing have them clean the fish while they're at it. Take it home give it a good rinse and toss it in flour. Nothing special- it you want season the flour with salt, hot pepper flakes and dried parsley but you don't even have to. When you're ready just drop them in a deep pot with a finger of vegetable oil and fry till they turn golden brown. Remove, drain on a paper towel and serve with sea salt and lemon wedges.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

sweet pepper soup

This is so simple, healthy and delicious you're going to want to make it all the time. Red, orange and yellow bell peppers have such full flavor little is needed to add to their natural great taste. Basically, with just a little olive oil (or if you'd like the soup a little richer add a bit of butter) and a sprinkle of salt, sautée or cook down the peppers with an onion until they soften. Remove them from the heat, let them cool for a few minutes, throw them in a blender, reheat back in the same pot, and serve with cilantro, some cracked pepper and if you like, with a spoon of plain yogurt or sour cream. This can be a completely vegan meal (if not vegetarian) and is SO easy to make. You can make it well in advance and just reheat or even freeze it in tupperware to pull out on a night where you want something light and quick.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

mozarella e pomodori

A popular Italian salad. I've seen this many times as a side but have also eaten this on numerous occasions a a meal of its own. One of the simplest things you can do- get equal parts tomatoes and mozzarella (cherry or grape tomatoes and this type of mozzarella are called ciliegini). Toss in a bowl with fresh basil (or dried oregano), olive oil, a touch of vinegar if you like, salt and cracked pepper. Perfect with some toasted bread or just as is.

Friday, February 6, 2009

cavatelli with mussels, chick peas and tomato

This is such a great and refreshing dish my cousin Anna made a while back. It's not supposed to be served piping hot so its great for the summer (or any time really). Boil a pound of cavatelli (typically they're home made but you can buy this pasta in most specialty stores), drain and set aside, then to that add a can of drained chick peas, a pint of fresh cherry tomatoes (broken), a pint of store-bought fresh steamed mussels (or steam your own), a fistfull of loosly chopped parsley and serve. Its got lots of fresh flavors and great new recipe for seafood lovers.

mussels

So quick, easy, inexpensive and delicious. You can buy a bag of mussels from Wholefods for just a couple bucks. Make sure they're fresh (always ask when they came in). Its always good to give them a good scrub (I keep a brush just for this under the sink), debeard them by pulling out[and down] the black hair-like things with a knife, toss them on a pot with a just a few drops of olive oil, chopped onions and white wine. Cover and leave on low heat till they all open up. Discard any that are still closed and enjoy... omg my mouth is watering from typing this.

chicken and veggie stir fry with sesame tahini

I threw this together on a whim late last night because Vicky and Shannon were over and yap yap yapping about how hungry they were. FIRST of all I need to say that everyone should have a jar of sesame tahini on a shelf in their kitchen- nothing else could have pulled this together better. WELL, in a large pan coated with olive oil I threw in half a chopped red onion, one chili, a fistfull of frozen corn and a fistful of frozen soy beans. While that was sitting over medium heat I cut a large chicken breast into tini bite-sized pieces then added that to the mix with about 2 large handfuls of raw snow peas. Now on high heat, stirring almost constantly, I added two tablespoons of sesame tahini, a few splashes of worcestershire sauce and a sprinkle of salt. Let that cook for only a few minutes until the chicken is done, plate and serve. It was SO SO SO good (and healthy!) , it took only a few minutes to make and was a great spicy late night dinner for 3 with enough for lunch the next day.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

my quest for the perfect chimichanga

so from time to time I get a 'dish' and order it at as many places, far and wide, to find my top choice. For example, a few years ago my sister requested I locate San Diego's #1 fish taco and after eating dozens of them I found it [bare with me] at the last place on your left hand side as you're walking to the water on Ocean Beach.. [find the name for me and you'll get a shiny new quarter].. though I no longer eat shark, that shark taco was by far the winner. My #1 Philly style cheese steak sandwich IN WASHINGTON, DC (not in the world, thanks Dan) is in a diner in the basement of the Berkshire apartment building on Mass Ave.. I don't know if the same Chinese lady works there so my cheese steak may have to move to Emmy from Georgetown Dinette in Georgetown.. #1 crabcake I do have to say is still Japoné Restaurant on 21 and P, DC and until now I was on the quest for my perfect chimichanga. I thought I found her a few months ago at Guapo's in Bethesda, Maryland but I kept the search going just to confirm. After this last trip out west I ordered a chimichanga from Left at Albuquerque in San Francisco [pictured above] which was quite good and probably in my top 3 for presentation.. but I've now decided I'm leaving it at Guapo's Bethesda for the #1 chimichanga and am closing the search.. make sure you get yourself out there. BTW, their sangria ain't half bad either ;)

spicy asian meat patties in a lime, soy and cilantro dipping sauce

i thought this up while daydreaming over my excel spreadsheets in the office. pretty quick to do and you can prepare it all hours in advance. in a bowl i put in a package of ground pork (you can use turkey if pork doesn't float your boat), one egg, 2 hot chili peppers (be careful, you dont want to poison your food- less is better than more), chopped green onions, bread crumbs, black pepper and salt. kinda like prepping meatballs, mix it all together, roll them into tangerine-sized balls and leave them aside (or refrigerated) till your ready. when your good to go in a low pan barely coat the bottom with olive oil and then add 10-15 drops of sesame oil (you dont have to use any sesame oil- or you can use only sesame oil - thats what gives it that distinct Asian flavor- depends on your taste), let the oil get hot, flatten each of the balls into patties and carefully lay them in the pan. takes just 2-4 minutes on each side- let them brown then remove to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. if you dont feel like pan frying them broil them till they brown on each side.
for a dipping sauce i mixed together half a cup of soy sauce with half a cup of water, a fist full of chopped cilantro, minced garlic, the juice of one large full lime and some cracked pepper.
this is a great appetizer or perfect served with some rice or a salad with ginger dressing.

vegan (or not) spinach soup- either way its pretty healthy

so, we're leaving for san francisco and the refrigerator is filled with stuff that needs to be used up. among which is a box of prewashed baby spinach leaves and 4 roma tomatoes. it was way too much spinach to make into a big salad so 1,2,3 i threw it all in a blender with the tomatoes, olive oil salt and pepper. at the same time i sautéed half a red onion, some garlic with a hot pepper and threw it in as with the spinach. it barely takes more than five minutes. then i poured everything back into the pot i cooked the onions in, brought it to a light boil for a few minutes, cut the heat and served. plain like this its totally vegan and delicious, but i prefer a couple croûtons and some goat cheese crumbles or a dollop of sour cream. great for a fast dinner, use frozen spinach if thats easier, and freeze the leftovers for lunch later that week or to add to a stew later on down the road.

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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