Archives for 2016

Slow-cooked Comfort Perfect For The Week After Christmas

The week separating Christmas from New Year’s can be a strange dead zone in culinary terms. We may be eating leftovers from Christmas dinner, but by the 27th we’re sick of those. New Year’s Eve tends to be more about partying and drinking than comfort food. What do we eat during that week? No one […]

Christmas Eve Risotto from Venice

This is a typical Christmas Eve dinner preparation and is unusual for two reasons: it is not cooked according to the risotto method even though it’s called a risotto, and it combines cheese with fish. The dish probably evolved from a simple fish pilaf, one using, perhaps, gò (goby, an ugly little fish that lives […]

Soul-satisfying Baked Rigatoni for a Cold, Blustery Day

On a cold blustery day, my kitchen beckons and I look forward to spending the day assembling this baked rigatoni dish. I imagine you’ve looked at the ingredient list and maybe thought “no way.” I suggest you think like a cook who sees the list and thinks “Look at that ingredient list! Isn’t it great? […]

Romanesco Cauliflower with Pasta …Studies on Mandelbrot Fractals

This preparation of the small ridged rigatoni called rigatoncello is meant to feed a large group of people.  It makes for an ideal party dish.  The romanesco cauliflower used in this pasta dish is one of those marvels of nature that once could only be found in farmers markets, but now many supermarkets sell them, […]

Old French Recipe for Veal Rump Stew, A Cold Weather Delight

This nineteenth-century recipe is from Anjou, the capital of which, Angers, sits in the middle of fertile land and excellent vineyards in the Loire valley. The traditional home cooking of Anjou was simple and not ostentatious. This recipe is adapted from the book Recettes des provinces de France that was produced in honor of Curnonsky, […]

Mashed Butternut Squash, A Simple Thanksgiving Accompaniment

Thanksgiving side dishes can be a challenge for the host who wants to serve an impressive meal. It’s tempting to get carried away and choose something too complicated when a simple dish, such as a straightforward mashed butternut squash, can make a Thanksgiving dinner elegant. Sometimes the too-complicated culprits are regional specialties such as the […]

Mac and Cheese for Halloween

Since the Kraft Company put it in a box in 1937 every American kid grew up with macaroni and cheese.  There can be no doubt that its ultimate origins are Italian, as one finds macaroni and cheese recipes from the late thirteenth century in southern Italy.  But the American macaroni and cheese has two main […]

Greek Classics For A Special Dinner At Home

Greek food is one that is festive, healthy, simple and delicious, and Greek restaurants are always fun to go to. Greek food is easy to cook at home too, as long as you have the basic staples — none of which are exotic — such as olive oil, tomatoes, oregano, lemon and feta cheese. When […]

Grilled Porterhouse Steak Very Rare

Grilling a whole, thick, big porterhouse steak that can feed four people is not only a great treat, but tricky enough to require some attention. In Florence, this very same steak is known as bistecca alla Fiorentina. In the region around Florence, a tall, lean, and heavy breed of cattle called Chianina is raised: a […]

Sicilians Know Swordfish!

The popularity of swordfish in Sicily goes back to the ancient Greeks when they established colonies on the island.  But this preparation has four of the hallmarks of cucina arabo-sicula, the folkloric cuisine believed to be vestigial of Arab influence from the Arab-Sicilian era of the ninth to twelfth centuries: the use of citrus, grilled […]

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