italian boy

italian boy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

McDonalds. This is so disturbing.

This is so disturbing.  "Pig innards and plenty of salt. Typically, "restructured meat product" includes pig bits like tripe, heart, and scalded stomach"

What's the McRib made of, anyway?

The popular McDonald's sandwich is back. Find out what's inside — if you dare

McDonalds' McRib and its cult-like following are back. Thank goodness the "disconcerting" sandwich is only returning for a limited time only...  to continue reading click here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

sometimes the simplest things are best

Can you ask for a healthier, more vitamin-filled breakfast?  I guess it won't work if you're on Southbeach (the diet) but having a spread like this in the morning is so much more refreshing than pancakes, bacon or even cereal.  I luckily work near a grocery store so it's not difficult for me to walk in for a peach, plum and kiwi in the morning, if not an already prepared fruit salad.  Save the chocolate waffles for a treat when you're snowed in and reach for something simple and fresh.

Monday, October 24, 2011

fried hot peppers and potatoes

I know I've written about this before but it's just so great.  Get some hot peppers, wash and cut them in half removing the stems (leave the seeds if you want it extra hot), drop them in an inch or two of hot frying oil and fry them till they're soft and start to crisp.  Remove them with a slotted spoon or fork, set them on some paper towels to let the remaining oil drain .  Now drop sliced potatoes into that same [now seasoned] hot oil, let them fry till they start to turn golden brown, mix with the hot peppers and you're done.  I will make an entire meal out of this dish but it's also a perfect side for almost anything.  Steaks, roasts, rotisserie chicken... I can't wait to have this with my turkey on Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Awesome bruch idea & not a bad review: Rooster Cafe, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

I LOVED Rooster Cafe on Isla Mujeres not far from Cancun.  It's totally American style coffee and brunch, but has some really unique menu items, has wifi, comfy chairs and is in the center of it all.  This breakfast sandwich was sooo creative and such a great idea.  The epitemy of sweet and savory.  Picture grilled ham cheese and avocado sandwich but with strawberry jam an sugared waffles instead of bread.  Great idea and such a treat.  Was perfect with spicy potatoes and fresh fruit.

bacon-wrapped goat cheese-suffed jalapenos

These are so delicious and will go flying of people's plates.  SO simple, you can prep these a day in advance or even fully cook them and just warm in the oven before serving.  Get large jalapeno peppers,cut them in half and fill with goat cheese.  Then wrap with a strip of bacon, secure with a toothpick or two, arrange on some foil then either broil or carefully place in your grill.  Turn once or twice with tongs till the bacon gets crispy and you're done.  
This recipe is very versatile, as you can substitute cheeses or even peppers (if you would like something more or less spicy).  Use your favorite apple-wood smoked bacon, or just a regular cut.  Even think about adding raisins or cranberries to the cheese before you wrap in bacon! 
These are also just as good if you make them earlier in the day or the night before then just heat them in the oven just before serving- no one will know the difference!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I LOVE hanging out with my parents

This is about 4 minutes after walking into their house. We didnt even make it to the table. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Green eggs

For 2-3 people.  One large onion, 2 jalapenos, 2 cups chopped broccoli, 2 cups frozen spinach, 2 tablespoons of capers, 5 eggs (just whites are fine too) and top with fresh basil.  Sautee the veggies till tender before adding the eggs then add your favorite cheese at the end. Very healthy, goes great with toast and a mimosa.

Summer rice.

Great for the summer.  Just a plain yellow rice, use a standard recipe or buy it already seasoned but when you put the water to boil add half a chopped onion and a cup and a half or corn (frozen is fine but roasted or grilled is better).  After the water boils, add the rice, cover and let sit for 20 minutes or so.  In the mean time caramelize a large onion and about 5 cups sliced hot peppers then added that to the cooked rice, chop an entire bunch of cilantro, add 3 tablespoons or capers, black pepper and you're done! Great with seafood or by itself, everyone goes back for seconds.

swedish meatballs

I really don't care what you say I heart Ikea meatballs so much.

REVIEW: Red Derby, Washington DC

Red Derby in PetCo (Petworth/Columbia Heights) is a super fun place to go for beers, discovering the latest ironic hipster mustache styles and also for super fun brunches.  Food is good, informal and casual menu, drinks are pretty great but chilling out on the roof is just an awesome way to spend your Saturday morning.  Take advantage while the weather holds up. Red Derby 3718 14th Street Northwest
Washington D.C., DC 20010 (202) 291-5000

Monday, July 11, 2011

REVIEW: 901 Restaurant & Bar, Washington, DC

(please excuse the iphone photo above) Dinner last night was at 901 Restaurant & Bar, for Will Thomas' 21st [wink wink] birthday.  Open for only about a month, 901 really is "Sexy. Sophisticated. Sharing."  I had a marvelous Sweet and Spicy Seared Tuna Salad followed by Peppercorn Lamb Chops (Sweet potato croquette, curried onion straws, black pepper demi glace) then cheesecake. We were however the only table in the house.  Still virtually undiscovered, jump on the opportunity to skirt reservations and crowds, service is fantastic and the food impeccable. Check out the menu here.  901 Restaurant & Bar, 901 Ninth Street NW Washington, DC 20001 202-524-4433

Monday, June 27, 2011

READER CONTRIBUTION: Gyro... in Greece

My girl Tanya is in Greece and just texted me her gyro.  Nuff said.  I need to get out more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

GOOD FIND: Santa Cruz Peach or Cherry Lemonade

I haven't posted a "Good Find" in a minute but holy frijoles these are so good.  Just found peach lemonade and cherry lemonade at Whole Foods.  So great and refreshing for the summer and I'm thinking not a bad mixer with some vodka crushed ice and mint garish.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

steak and cheese sub

So there's a ton of varieties of how you want your steak and cheese and at some point you have to try all of them.  This is a super fun version that's GREAT for a cookout or to prep for a back yard keg party.  Get a better-quality cut of beef and cut it into bit-sized cubes or strips.  Personally for this I like tenderloin since they'll be small chunks and its better if they're not chewy or tendonous.  Combine with some chopped green peppers and onions, season with some salt and just a bit of olive oil then either toss in a grill wok over fire or sautee on high in a shallow pan on the stove.  Once it's cooked to your liking spoon some in a toasted sub roll and here's the kicker, ladle about a half cup of melted Velveeta over top.  That might sound ridiculous but it's fantastic.  A little class, a little Kmart, this tenderloin-Velveeta steak and cheese will be the talk of your party.  Oh and to stay with the street vendor tradition, be sure to serve in aluminum foil!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

REVIEW: Tsunami Sushi & Lounge, Washington, DC

FANTASTIC!  I've been a sushi/japanese food snob for years and this was amazing and a great price.  Tanya got one of the sushi lunch specials (they actually have real-size sashimi) and I grabbed the tonkatsu (fried pork) which maybe have been hands-down the best I've had outside of Osaka.  Weekday lunch time is empty so no problem if you're a larger group. Tsunami Sushi & Lounge, Upstairs from ThaiTanic, 1326 14th Street NorthwestWashington D.C., DC 20005-3611(202) 588-5889

yellow rice and seafood.

Seafood and yellow rice- 25 minute total cheat recipe that 100% of the ingredients can be hiding in your freezer or cupboard.  Prep a standard yellow saffron rice, if you want even get the already seasoned dry rice, get your water to boil and just when you drop in the rice (for 4 people), throw in two cups of frozen chopped mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, onion), and 3-4 cups of cut frozen mixed seafood (scallops, shrimp, calamari), add butter or oil as directed on whatever rice  you choose, let that come to another full boil (covered), then shut off the heat and let that steam itself for 15-20 minutes.  If the rice is still watery, turn the heat back on and simmer uncovered for a few minutes and if it's to dry and slightly crunchy, simmer gently uncovered and add water 3/4 of a cup at a time till its perfect. Add some chopped parsley and you're DONE.

Friday, May 6, 2011

cavatelli with minced chicken, peppers, mushroom and tomato

This is a great pasta dish (pasta alternatives listed at the bottom) if you're looking for some lean protein and fresh vegetables.  Heat some olive oil and caramelize half an onion some garlic then add some hot pepper flakes.  To that, add two chopped green peppers, 4-5 diced plum tomatoes, a handful of chopped mushrooms and a pack of ground chicken  (I prefer to cut my own chicken breast in cubes then mince through a food processor-that way I know exactly whats in my ground meat).  Season with some salt and stir occasionally till the chicken is fully cooked and the peppers are tender.  Mix with cavatelli or your favorite pasta, add fresh parsley and your done!  If you're being anti-pasta for diet or gluten reasons try over brown rice, quinoa or even over a bed of fresh baby spinach. 

REVIEW: La Molienda - 14th Street Columbia Heights

More outdoor seating on upper 14th Street in Columbia Heights!!!!!.  14th and Perry to be exact. Great Mexican and Salvadorian cuisine, margaritas, and rumor has it that there's karaoke every night upstairs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

READER CONTRIBUTION: closing your bird

"After 5 years I finally did it."  hahahaha.  Photo from my friend Sunny's kitchen.  She finally managed to "close" her chicken like me.  I can't recall when or why I started threading legs like this but I think it looks neat and you eliminate the need for a ball of string.

READER CONTRIBUTION: killer breakfast sandwich

Now THAT is a a breakfast sandwich.  Scrambled eggs with ham, cheddar and apparently tomatoes. I think I'd have to eat it with a fork though!

I made one like this once but it had sausage and sour cream- total artery clogger.

Thanks for sharing!

mixed seafood with kimchi

This is a variation of something I had in Korea over the summer.  Its a hearty, yummy dish and you can make it as spicy as you like.  In a large pan with a bit of canola oil, quickly sautee about a cup of chopped kimchi,  a tablespoon of crushed or chopped garlic, and a chili pepper or two.  Once that starts to cook and the garlic browns add two diced potatoes, a small can of crushed tomatoes (and that same can's worth of water), and let it gently simmer.  Season with a bit of fish sauce (if you don't have fish sauce you can substitute with soy sauce) and after the potatoes soften and the sauce reduces (15-20 minutes) add a bag of frozen mixed seafood (I usually get the squid/mussel/shrimp mix)- let that cook for about another 5 minutes then serve with some white rice, chopped scallions and chili paste on the side.  Goes great with edamame or pickled green beans for appetizer and a plain spinach salad on the side. Quick and easy way to bring some flavors of the Yellow Sea into your home. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

REVIEW: Gushers

hahahaha i had to post this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GOOD FIND: blender bottle


I love this thing.  It's made to shake up your protein mix with water or milk but use it to bring soups to work, to mix your batter for pancakes, waffles or even to scramble a couple eggs without the mess if you're apartment living.  Dishwasher safe and the come in a medium and large size.  I got mine at Whole Foods but I've seen them at GNC and a couple other places where heath and exercise products are sold.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

broccoli rabe and sausage

My mouth is watering just thinking about the bitter greens with the savory sweet sausage.  YUM! Wash your broccoli rabe (2-3 bunches), with a small knife trim the tips of the stems and slightly split them where they're thickest (just so they cook evenly). Then boil (or steam) with a touch of salt.  When they're tender drain and set aside. In a large pan or a wok, throw in 4-5 links of chopped sausage and garlic and simply cook that over medium to low heat till it's all golden brown.  Mix the sausage with the broccoli and VOILA, just drizzle a bit of raw olive oil over the top and serve with cracked red pepper. This can work as a side or a full meal on its own!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

pepper and gorgonzola crostini

Another Angela Abrusci masterpiece.  These are great warm but delicious cold so theyre still great to make or at least prep in advance.  Get at least 2 red and 2 yellow bell peppers, and to roast'em, wash them and throw them in the broiler turning as they start to blacken.  After they're evenly blistered and partially charred, let them cool then remove the stems seeds and the black skin (I like to leave some black). Slice them into strips and set them aside.  Then again in the broiler, on a cookie sheet quickly toast a loaf of sliced French bread. Just before you're ready to serve, add a fork full of peppers on each piece of bread still on the cookie sheet, add a little crumble of gorgonzola cheese, drizzle with olive oil and throw it back in the broiler (or a hot oven) for a few seconds only till the cheese starts to melt.  Plate and SERVE!!!! so delicious!  Feel free to substitute a goat cheese or even leave without dairy and just sprinkle with salt.

easiest pizza ever

My sister Angela just did this for my niece's birthday and it's seriously an no brainer and works every time.  Its fantastic if people are coming and you need just a little something extra, it's great to make early in the week to bring to work for lunch, awesome for picnics and even a great idea to take a couple pieces for road trips.  So, you make your standard pizza dough OR honestly, if you don't have time I know Trader Joes and a bunch of other grocery stores sell them already made, or just swing by almost any pizzeria and they'll sell you enough for a pie of like 2 bucks.  Spread it out in a buttered cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, push in a bunch of halved cherry tomatoes, spread a chopped onion on top and season with sea salt.  Maybe let it rise another couple minutes at room temperature then throw it in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes or until its golden brown.  (tip: cut pieces with kitchen scissors instead of a knife) Great if you're looking for low cholesterol low fat meal and much nicer than serving plain bread.

Friday, March 4, 2011

sesame soy vodka chicken over a bed of roasted sweet and hot peppers

This dish was fantastic with a little prep work and just a couple minutes to cook.  I picked up a a flat of chicken thighs from Whole Foods.  They come debonned so its a flat piece of meat much like a thin chicken breast.  An advantage of cooking with the thigh is that it won't dry out but stay nice and juicy.  Throw them in a bowl and cover with about half soy sauce and half vodka* and then add the juice of 2-3 limes.  Let that marinate refrigerated at least one half hour but leave it over night if thats easier.  Next, from the store buy one or two of every pepper you see, long, short, red, green, yellow and orange.  Put them over some foil and in the broiler till they start to blacken (note: they're going to roast at different times since they're different shapes and sizes), take them out and after they cool cut them into strips removing the seeds and stems but keeping the blackened skin and toss with a touch of salt, olive oil, chopped garlic and some parsley. When you're ready, spread some sesame seeds on a little dish, and one at a time take the chicken out of the marinade, coat them in the sesame seeds and gently lay them in a hot lightly oiled skillet.  If you like, for some extra flavor, add a few teaspoons of the marinade over the chicken as it cooks but be careful as it can burn after it caramelizes. Cook the chicken over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until they're golden brown, plate over a bed of the roasted peppers and enjoy!  This goes great also with some seasoned rice, avocados and an Asian salad with ginger soy dressing.  This will DEFINITELY impress!

*one advantage of marinating and cooking with alcohol is that it will bond with the fatty and water based molecules so it can draw the flavors from your marinade deep into the meat.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

REPOST: rainbow cupcake... i like these better

I like these better than the last post.  This girl is ridiculous though. 

REPOST: rainbow cake

Interesting idea and fun for a ton of occasions.  Flip through it to get a better idea cause it's kinda annoying to listen to this guy talk. I can smell the milwaukee's best on his breath. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

spicy meatball appetizers

Easy to make and can be done a couple hours in advance since these are fine at room temperature. Get about a pound and a half of lean ground beef (I only get beef ground in-store so I don't have mystery meat body parts coming from a far off warehouse), a cup and a half of bread crumbs, 2-3 cloves of chopped or crushed garlic, some ground black pepper, a handful of chopped cilantro, 3/4 cup of Sriracha (or try a full cup to cup and a half if you want them very spicy), quarter cup of white vinegar, one egg and a light sprinkle of salt.  Mix everything together and roll into bite-sized balls (you can do all of this the night before).  If the mixture is too dry and wont stick add a little more vinegar and if its too wet try sprinkling a bit more breadcrumbs into the mix.  When you're ready heat a pot with about an inch and a half of vegetable oil, gently drop in the meatballs and let them fry till they brown -OR- spread them over a cookie sheet and bake @400 degrees for 15-20 till the brown, turning them gently about half way through (I like them better fried- duh). Serve these on platter with an handful of toothpicks and I like to include another small cup or Sriracha sauce and then another 'cooler' sauce like a ranch or blue cheese for extra dipping. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

food and sex ... hahaha shop organic

stuffed cherry tomatoes

Fantastic for appetizers and you can make them the night before. Wash a pint or two of cherry tomatoes, cut the tops off and with a small melon baller scoop out the inside.  You might need to ruin one or two till you figure out the trick.  Set the tomatoes aside and in a food processor make your own concoction of a chunky cheesy pesto.  If you need inspiration for a start, throw in some fresh basil (at least a fistful of leaves), one cup of parmiggiano, black pepper and half a cup of olive oil.  Start pulsing slowly and add ingredients a little at a time till you have an evenly distributed, loose but still tacky mixture you can spoon in the tomato cavity.  Taste your mixture as you go along till you get the combination you're really looking for and if you want to complicate this even more throw in some roasted peppers or balsamic vinegar. Spoon the mixture in your tomatoes and keep cool till your ready to serve.  I did these for my birthday this year and they made AWESOME garnish for bloody mary's the morning after.

snow and syrup

This is quite possibly one of the funnest desserts you can make ESPECIALLY when you're snowed in.  Literally just [clean & fresh] snow and syrup.  Traditionally we would use vino cotto, which is a syrup we make from boiling grape juice just as it starts to ferment but before you get wine, but feel free to use regular maple syrup, chocolate syrup, or anything you would normally put on ice cream OR if you got throw on a vanilla or camel flavor shot like you're at Starbucks.

boquerones, marinated white anchovies

don't cringe just cause you hear the word anchovy.  These taste nothing like what you're used to finding in a can and are honestly some of the most delicate and delicious savory snacks you may ever come across. Some of you may know these as boquerones and you'll find them at almost every tapas bar in Barcelona. Making them really isn't that difficult, just salting, cleaning and marinating the fish but at this point you can find them at Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca and a couple other specialty or international stores. Think of these to add to your spread next time you have people over for drinks and appetizers.

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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