italian boy

italian boy

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

my ultimate comfort

I just have to say for me the ultimate comfort food is a nice plain dish of pasta with a simple tomato sauce (olive oil, onion or garlic, crushed tomateos and salt), some hot pepper and freshly grated cheese. A brasciole di coteca or due polpette are a great treat but nothing beats just this- just how my mamma makes it. If carbs are your issue don't switch to whole wheat pasta. Sick with your regular semolina di grano duro-- just limit your portion size and be sure to eat earlier in the day.

make your own stocks and broth

To be honest, store-bought chicken, beef or seafood broth grosses me out. I just assume that the more random, unwanted and generally abandoned parts of an animal end up in the stock pot. I could be wrong, especially depending on the brand, but either way I was taught to cook with whole ingredients. If you wanted your risotto to taste like beef, then use beef to get there. Most days I (nor you) have the time to make your own stock but if you get a chance its the simplest thing- I'll usually make a large batch in a slow cooker over night (or in a regular stock pot on a weekend.
Here, I got my crock pot, threw in two halved chicken breasts (on the bone) (3 or 4 drumsticks are fine- get whats on sale), an onion, couple carrots, celery, a jalapeno, for a little kick, salt and filled the rest with water. Let it cook over night and you're done. If you want you can just keep the broth (add a little rice or pasta and it makes a great meal) and discard the rest but I LOVE the veggies just like this- and if you like, the chicken meat will fall apart in your hands which will make a great chicken salad or mix it with some breadcrumbs, hot pepper and a beaten egg for some spicy chicken meatballs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

mindless roasted root vegetables

If you're stuck preparing a dinner and desperately need another dish but don't have the time effort or the money, this is a tasty solution to fall back on. In a shallow baking pan throw in some peeled and loosely chopped potatoes, carrots and red onions. Add some olive oil, fresh parsley if you have it, season them with salt and pepper, hot pepper flakes if you like and if you want any other spices (like cumin or oregano) that might compliment your meal- however I usually like to leave them plain. Throw it in the oven [uncovered if you want them crispy, covered with aluminum foil otherwise] at 375 for 30 minutes or so until they're tender and a fork easily pierces the flesh of the potato. Perfect all summer and through the winter. Goes great on picnics or with steak dinners, its a great solution to fall back on.

papa's rice salad

This is one of my father's specialties and an addictive salad/side. Basically, its just plain boiled rice (rinsed well to remove some gluten) and with that is very finely chopped red onion, celery, carrots, olives, parsley, marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, or even corn or any other jarred marinated Italian antipasto- just chopped very finely. If my father were to make this on Christmas Eve, where fish is the theme he might add a can of whole tuna, maybe chopped marinated calamari, or imitation crab meat. Since most things you add already come marinated seasoning is minimal to non but I always like some cracked pepper. One bite and you're sure to go back for seconds and leftovers are even better the day after!

stuffed cherry peppers

You can buy these peppers already preserved in a jar in the Italian section of most supermarkets or you can make your own by boiling them in a 1:1 white vinegar:H2O solution. Carefully remove the stems and seeds, then in a separate bowl mix bread crumbs, parsley, capers, cheese, toasted chopped nuts, garlic, if you like add anchovies or prosciutto or even raisins if you want them sweeter. These are delicious, spicy, vinegary treats- one is never enough. You can prepare them even a day in advance and refrigerate (so they're perfect to bring over as an appetizer to someone's house) OR even freeze them and when they thaw bake them until the tips are slightly golden brown. They're sure to impress even the toughest of crowds.

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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