Archive for the ‘Mediterranean Cuisine’ Category


Hand rolled garganelle for birthday mac n cheese

Spread out to dry overnight  After years of rolling pasta dough and feeding it through cutters for linguine, spaghetti, etc., we’ve finally tried our hand at shaped noodles. The handmade macaroni, garganelle, seemed to be the easiest shape to start with, it was only a matter of approximating a garganelle board for the rolling. We used a sushi mat, ordinarily used to roll sushi. The grooves are important to the sealing process while rolling. It turns out that the egg wash is completely unnecessary. The most important thing in our estimation is to keep your dough squares small, just over an inch on a side. We broke a likely handle off a wooden spoon and set to rolling, for the next four and a half hours. Worth it? Got four meals worth of noodles. Good Stuff!

Served with Manchester cheddar bechamel in a mac n cheese and an aged New York strip with chimichurri. Just can’t get enough of that Good Stuff!




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Florentine T bone Steak

Fresh herbs from the garden and beyond

As we thaw and warm and the flowers and birds return, we entertain pushing out the grill and firing up a charbroiled steak. Our favorite preparation is the Florentine T bone. By slicing and presenting the meat family style on a platter, we can feed two, three, even four people on a single steak. Count on a half pound to three quarters per person. Make sure the grill is blazing hot. Ideally the grates of the grill cook the steak, not the heat from the fire. Never grill a cold steak, let the meat come to room temperature before cooking. We use this time to allow the meat to shortly marinate with herb oil before hitting the grill. This is also a good time to throw the baked potatoes in the fire as they take a good deal longer to cook than the steak. Never serve your steak right off the grill. Whether it will be sliced or served on the bone, let it rest for ten to fifteen minutes before service. This is a good time to cook the vegetables. Serve this meal with a huge red wine, maybe Tom will recommend a hearty Tuscan or Piemontese for it. I know he has a lovely Roero nebbiolo. Good Stuff!


Florentine T Bone Steak

1 or 2 T Bone steak(s)

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon chopped oregano

1 teaspoon chopped basil

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary

1 sage leaf chopped

1/2 cup olive oil


The herbs can be chopped by food processor, just be careful to not turn them into pulp, we use a sharp knife. Combine all. Apply generously to the beef. Any leftover oil can be reserved for myriad uses. Season heavily with coarse salt and coarse ground black pepper. Season the entire steak, top, bottom, and both ends. Make sure the grill is blazing hot. Cook for several minutes on each side before flipping. We like to cook both sides twice in an effort to crosshatch the grill marks to make it pretty. There are many ways to determine the temperature of the meat, but he only sure way is an instant read thermometer. For rare, remove at 125-130, medium rare 135, medium 140-145. In our house we let the meat rest for most of one hour, but fifteen minutes is usually enough. Serve with baked potato and braised spinach. We rub the potatoes with herb oil, bacon fat, or butter before wrapping with tin foil and placing on the bed of coals. Turn often and remove when fork tender. Usually thirty to forty minutes. The spinach is also cooked in herb oil with much garlic. If the steak will be removed from the bone and sliced for service, it is a good idea to heat the platter in a hot oven for a few minutes before eating. Not surprisingly, it is not usually necessary to have dessert plans after this meal. Good Stuff!

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Salvaged fireplace - woodburning oven

Assembled ingredients

As promised, pizza in the backyard oven. There will be much experimentation and some misses. Last night we had a hit! A simple pizza dough recipe from the family cookbook, some garden fresh herbs and arugula, and some leftover meatballs and sauce. Good Stuff!

Tonight we lowered the stone and surrounded it with coals, much better results. Further bulletins to follow.


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Plated fava bean salad

The first fava beans of the season will soon be coming in. We jumped the gun a bit at the local market. Labor intensive, fava beans are worth the effort. Remove individual beans from the pods. Using a paring knife, or the corner of a fingernail, remove the soft skin covering each bean. We eat the beans raw, but they can also be steamed or boiled very shortly.When steaming fresh beans and peas of any sort, if you will not be eating them immediately or will be eating them cold, they must be immersed in ice water to arrest the cooking process.

This preparation is simply fresh beans, shaved romano cheese, lemon juice, truffle oil(olive oil will do,) and salt and pepper. Good Stuff!

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Parmesan at left, and a truffled hard cow(cheese!) at right.

Aged Balsamic vinegar of Modena recalls a quote from a talent I once worked for, Chef Robert. “A parade in my mouth!” Aged Balsamic may actually be the marching band. While it cannot be purchased at the supermarket, it is readily available on the internet. It is also occasionally available, at a premium, at some of your local specialty stores, butchers, and fishmongers.

Shown here are a ten year from Leonardi and a forty year from La Vecchia Dispensa. Here served with Parmesan, a staple with balsamic, and a truffled hard cow cheese. Have all at room temperature for service. Good Stuff!

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Awaiting a diner

assembled ingredients

Caesar salad dressing can take time to learn and time to prepare, but it is so worth the both. We grind the coarse ingredients, garlic, anchovy, garlic, and mustard, with the mortar and pestle, but any food processor will do. Transfer to a steel mixing bowl kitchenaid bowl.

Paste of anchovy,garlic, mustard,egg

Adding the oil to your paste can be a delicate operation. We add a little mayo for stability. Add the oil very slowly, you will see it becomes incorporated into the paste. If the dressing “breaks”, that is, does not bind the oil, you simply start anew, slowly adding your “broken” dressing to a little mayo and mustard. Once you’ve added  at least two parts of oil to every part of your original paste, taste. If too pungent, add some more oil. Finish with an equal part lemon juice, and serve over romaine, fresh fro the garden. Good Stuff!

Build a caesar!

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assemble the room temperature ingredients.

if the dough does not stay together in these cigars, moisten.

First beets from the garden! Leftover mashed potatoes, goat cheese melted in a little cream, some flour, and eggyolk. Nothin to it. The dough should be firmer than bread dough, yet softer than pasta dough. Do not knead.

Roast the beets slow and covered. Wash well, but do not peel. We eat the peels.

Roast covered, oil, salt, and pepper, in a slow oven

Wash the greens twice, change the water in between. Saute with much garlic and olive oil.

tossed and served with extra virgin olive oil

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