Friday, September 23, 2011

Still Summer Salad

Has it cooled down where you live?
Here in Texas it has ( instead of being in the 100's we are now in the nice cool 90's). So it's clear, September is still summer, even if the official first day of Fall is today.
Truth be told, I'm enjoying the "summer" more now than I did in July. It's still unbearably hot, but now the mornings carry a nice cool breeze and the evenings aren't so sticky. Plus, I can actually go swimming without feeling like I'm sitting in a bath tub ( always a plus).

So since summer is still in full swing ( regardless of what the calendar says) I figure this salad is pretty perfect. It has the color and crunch that we crave when the weather is down right hot, and has the perfect lemony tang that makes you want to sit in the shade.

Even if it's getting colder where you are, you'll still want to try this one out. One bite, and you'll be back on the beach.

Summer Salad

adapted from a recipe by Giada Di Laurentis

Serves 2

1/2 pound of sugar snap peas
2 large cucumbers, peeled
2 large tomatoes ( I used Roma, but any type will do)
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Blanch the snap peas in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately immerse the peas in an ice bath. This will keep them crunchy.
2) Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers. Combine with drained sugar snap peas in a large bowl. Top with salt and pepper. Toss
3) In a separate bowl, whisk oil and lemon juice together. Pour over salad. Toss and enjoy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

a new recipe and a big announcement

This time I have a valid reason for my absence.
Drumroll please......
I'm pregnant!!!!
We found out right when we got home from Greece, and even before the doctor confirmed it, I was feeling the woes of the first trimester full force.
Most nights I shied away from cooking, but on the rare event that I did turn on the stove it was only to make bland white rice, or eggs. Sometimes a sandwich or two would sneak into the pregnancy repertoire, but certainly not one worth mentioning ( because you all probably make a better grilled cheese than I do).
And that's how it went for three months.

Then, last month I visited my family in New Jersey and satisfied all of my pregnancy cravings which could not be fulfilled in Texas ( namely a Philly soft pretzel and an Italian pastry from south Philadelphia.) My mom even make me a treat which I hadn't had since I lived in Rome-white pizza topped with zucchini flowers, anchovies, and mozzarella. It didn't last long enough to take a picture though.

Being around all the great food, great family, and great friends made me my nausea disappear. And once I felt better, my brother Luciano put me to work at his restaurant at the Jersey shore.

Of course, there were many perks to working there. One night, Luciano created this fusilli pasta special that I devoured. When I came back to Texas I couldn't wait to recreate it for Gian Luca.
The verdict- it's a winner!

Fusilli with sausage and porcini mushrooms

serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed
12 dried porcini mushrooms, diced
1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 pound of fresh fusilli pasta ( dry will work too)

1)rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in one cup of warm water for 30 mins. Save the water.
2) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and simmer until golden brown. Remove the garlic.
3) Add sausage into the pan and break it up into pieces with your spatula. Allow sausage to brown and then add the reserved porcini water and mushrooms.
4) Add the diced tomatoes and lower the heat, allowing the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes.
5) Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente.
6) Add the pasta into the saucepan and toss until the pasta is coated.
7) Add grated pecorino and chopped parsley to taste.