italian boy

italian boy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

spicy lime lettuce wraps with peanut, ginger, white beans and minced pork

These lettuce wraps are one of the funnest things you can eat- especially with a small group wrapped around the kitchen table.  Everyone gets in with their hands, its potentially messy, goes great with beer and DELICIOUS.  In a [very] large pan or skillet, sautee a chopped yellow onion, a chopped piece of ginger (about the size of your thumb) and a habanero pepper with some salt and ground black pepper.  Let that cook down for a bit and add 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce, the juice of 2-3 limes, two flats of ground pork (I prefer pork for this but feel free to substitute beef or turkey) and break up the meat as it starts to cook.  While thats cooking throw 2 cups of peanuts into a food processor or chop them by hand.  As the pork cooks add a bit more soy sauce and lime juice then as everything starts to 'dry out', move the meat to the side and crack 3 eggs on the bare bottom of the pan, break the yolk then let them cook.  When the eggs are almost done, scramble them into the meat.  Shut the heat off, and add two cans of drained white navy beans, about half the chopped peanuts and a large handful of chopped cilantro. Add more fresh lime juice to taste and serve in the center of your table with a plate of washed lettuce leaves, a small bowl of chopped peanuts, lime wedges, slices of jalapeños for the adventurous ones, mung bean sprouts  (if you can get your hands on them) and plum sauce. You should be able to figure out the rest: STUFF, TOP, WRAP AND EAT!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas gift ideas?

If you're struggling with that one person who has everything or don't want your $15 tchotchke to be forgotten or regifted, think FOOD & DRINK. A bottle of wine or liquor (stuffed in a Christmas sock is always a great idea) will always be appreciated.  For higher-end friends make your own basket of your favorite cheeses, dried meats and olives, and in the case of an informal Secret Santa or something more casual, you can make you own gift box better than you'll ever find out.  Photographed above was a "Taco Night Kit" that I made for the Komen-DC Holiday party. Other great ideas can be a "Breakfast Box" box of pancake mix, a small bottle of syrup, chocolate chips, raisins, can of whipped cream and a can or two of fresh berries.  Another fun one for coworkers is "The Office Snack Survival Kit."  Instant oatmeal, Top Ramen, Cup-of-Soup, Nuts, raisins, hot sauce, salt and pepper shaker and a box of tea.  Be creative and you'll be surprised. Gifts like this can be lots more fun (and cheaper) than you'd ever expect.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pasta e fagioli

Craving pasta but looking for some extra protein and fiber?  This is something my parents would often make in the winter with the leftover pinto beans from the garden that they would freeze.  In our case today, used drained and canned pinto beans or soak and drain the dried ones.  Some people like to make this more soupy but i Like mine better like this.  Choose your pasta but keep the shape small enough to match the shape of the beans- orechiette work perfectly.  Then in a saucepan with olive oil, sautee a chopped yellow onion with some hot pepper (I’ve been using habaneros these days) and a bit of salt.  After the onions soften put your pasta pot with water to boil and add 2-3 chopped tomatoes to the saucepan. After about a minute add 2 cans (or the equivalent) of the pinto beans, cover and leave on low heat.  After the pasta is aldente, drain the water, then mix the beans with the pasta in the same large pot over medium to high heat for 30 seconds to a minute stirring constantly then plate and serve with some black pepper (fresh parsley if you have it) and your favorite grated cheese.

REVIEW: Cowgirl Creamery

So I was talking about cheese on Saturday with Jackie and I find out she still somehow has never been to Cowgirl Creamery.  Holy frijoles, this place is amazing.  Located on 9th and F in DC and @ the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco, Cowgirl Creamery carries its own organic brands while promoting small scale artisanal cheeses from across the world.  Walk in and find specialty sauces, cheese boards, books and accessories then make your way to the back to discover a an overflowing case of cheeses just waiting for you to sample.  Ask your questions and get ready to learn as the maître fromager hands you sample after sample of the world’s finest dairy indulgences.  Don’t get carried away because you can end up purchasing more than you planned but I guarantee if you check it out once it won’t be your last time. Cowgirl Creamery in Washington DC. 919 F Street NW, Penn Quarter, Washington DC202.393.6880

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

HAPPY HOUR DC: Nage, Scott Circle

With two locations (Rehoboth Beach & Washington DC), Nage's District location is not far off the beaten path but seemingly in the middle of nowhere-- on Scott Circle in the Courtyard Marriott.  The food here is fantastic, everyone's friendly, the lunchtime crowd is always nice and happy hour is.. happy hour is actually pretty good- as long as you dont want to see and be seen or if you need catch up with a friend some place where you're sure to not run into anyone. Lighting is kinda funky red at times but you get used to it after your first cocktail.  Happy hour, Monday - Friday $5 Specialty drinks $4 Stoli $3 Select beers $2 Select house wines $1 Fries.  Check it out and don't worry, you're smack between Dupont and Logan if you're planning on doing anything after. Nage 1600 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, here we have it.  Vodka with a rumored 2 grams of protein per shot.  Who's gonna go first, Jeffries or Von Storch to put a bar in the lobby of their next gym (common Doug!)?  Turns out the protein cuts the bitterness normally associated with vodka and apparently helps with a hangover.  Seems like the only place to purchase this sweet thang is Cali or New Jersey.  I might need to pick some up next time I head up the Turnpike!

this stuffing may kill you...

...but it'll sure be a good time.  Little late for Thanksgiving recipes but this is what we did:  Bacon, sausage and salami, all chopped in bite size pieces and cooked to perfection, then add chopped asparagus (the thicker kind), and mix in enough eggs till they're "swimming."  Spoon this into your turkey and toss the bird in the oven. The mixture will expand in the cavity and will come out PERFECT (or don't bother with the bird and just make the world's unhealthiest omelet).

DRINK: Chocolate martini

Chocolate martini.  PERFECT for the holidays.  Swirl some chocolate syrup on the bottom of a martini glass then over ice, mix 2oz of vodka (Goose is great for this), with 1/2 ounce creme de cacao and 1/2 ounce Frangelico.  Pour and serve.  If you want you can rim the glass with cocoa powder, add a mint leaf or drop in a cherry, but I like it just like this.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

REVIEW: Julia's Empanadas, DC

So Julia's got her empanadas scattered all over the city, conveniently next to lots of the clubs and bars.  I wonder why? No I don't wonder, I know.  Because they're salty, spicy, warm, completely gratuitous pockets of dough filled with a right combination of angels and demons that make the absolute perfect drunk food. Not gonna say they're healthy but at least they're baked.  They come in Chilean Style Beef, Jamaican Style, Spinach, Chorizo, Salteñas and Vegetarian. My and my friends' favorites are always Jamaican and Salteñas.  Get one at 3:20 am after a night of dancing and a few too many cocktails and you might think you're in heaven.  Also, not bad  on a cold windy day like this. Julia's Empanadas Dupont, Brightwood, Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights

food and sex


stuffed calamari

Much easier than you would think.  Get six or so fresh squid heads-  Whole Foods usually has them but you might need to shop around otherwise.  Get them home, rinse 'em out real good and set aside.  In a food processor (or by hand if you don't have one) throw in two boiled potatoes, half a cup of bread crumbs, 2-3 jalapeños, and good fistfull of parsley, 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, then mix in some salt, black pepper and an egg. With a teaspoon gently fill each of the heads, secure it with a toothpick and pan fry for a few minutes on each side till they turn white and just get golden brown.  This is FANTASTIC over a bed of baby spinach with shaved radishes, red onions and a balsamic reduction.  This is a good alternative when considering sustainable seafood and sure to impress anyone who appreciates calamari. 

mushroom risotto

So there's really no healthy way to get around this but every once in a while you need to indulge- ESPECIALLY on a rainy winter day like this.  Over low heat in a large pot, coat the bottom with bit of olive oil and sautee half a red onion and some fresh garlic with about a tablespoon of salt.  Then toss in a 2 cups of unrinsed arboro rice (we always use arboro for risotti) and toast that for about 30 seconds to a minute, constantly stirring.  Add a cup and a half of white wine and half a stick of butter.  Once everything mixes and sets (about another minute or two) add a cup and a half of chopped, dried porcini mushrooms and four cups of water (for a richer risotto substitute a broth for the water just be careful as it can get salty).  Once that all comes to a boil I like to throw in a diced tomato or two and finely chopped chives if you have them, give it a big stir, cover and shut the heat of.  Let that to sit for 15-20 minutes and the rice should absorb all the liquid.  In the end the risotto should be thick but loose and not watery.  If it turns out too dry and the rice is a bit crunchy, stir in more water or broth over low heat, half a cup to a cup at a time- and if you feel its too loose just keep it over low heat for a bit- just be sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Just before serving add 3/4 of a cup of grated parmigiano cheese, plate and serve with some cracked pepper and some fresh mint or basil leaves. 

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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