Tag: Italian food

The Serious Foodie 10 Steps for Sexy Meals

We have a saying at the Serious Foodie – there is nothing sexier than good food and good wine.  This is especially true for Valentine’s Day, which is our second least-favorite day to dine out (next to New Year’s Eve).  Why?  The good to great restaurants are packed, the kitchens are stressed, the prices are higher, and many places will dumbed-down the menus to accommodate the folks who venture out only on Valentine’s Day.  Besides, this is THE DAY for the Serious Foodie to impress with a hand-crafted meal for the significant other(s) in our life, with matching wines, candle light, flowers, and other romantic touches. Besides recipes and ingredients, you should also consider certain DO’s and DON’Ts.  Here is our Serious Foodie 10 steps for sexy meals which will help you to impress your date, get another date, and who knows what else? [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”black”][vc_column_text] 10 Steps for Sexy Meals [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Not all great food is date food! Make sure you find out likes/dislikes before you start getting your ingredients together (“Didn’t you know that I’m allergic to shellfish??!!!) Don’t just buy the most expensive ingredients, especially if you haven’t had experience with them.  For instance, do you really […]

Know Your Pestos – Recipes for Classic Sauces Part 1

Pesto is simply a technique which combines nuts, salt, herbs, aromatics (such as garlic), and oil together to form a paste.  The word pesto derives from the Italian verb “pestare,” which means to crush.  Originally, all pestos were made by crushing and grinding the ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Most of the Italian recipes add cheese (almost always Parmesan), and quite a few use vegetables such as roasted peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.  There are versions of pesto that are found in other cuisines (such as the Spanish Romesco sauce) – but we’ll address those in another article. The pesto sauces are very versatile – you can use it with any pasta, or mix it with marinara sauce.  It is also a great cooking sauce for basting roasted chicken or on roasted vegetables.  Use it as a finishing sauce or condiment on burgers, fish, or make a pesto butter for using on steaks. In this article, we explore some of the classic Italian recipes.   Pesto Genovese      Ingredients 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts 4 cups washed and dried fresh basil (about 3 large bunches) 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1/4 lemon 1/2 cup […]

A New Take on Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Capers

We have made versions of this recipe for quite a few years, and it is close to a classic recipe.  When we came across a bottle of preserved Meyer lemon (Lulu Gourmet, found at Sur La Table), we thought we’d take a shot at updating this classic recipe.  This recipe would probably work with regular preserved lemons, but the Meyer lemons definitely took this dish up a notch. Ingredients 4 chicken breast halves, or 8 thighs (or a combination) All purpose flour (about 3-4 tablespoons for dusting) Italian seasonings (we use the Serious Foodie Sette Erbe) 4 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon butter 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes 1 cup dry white wine (Soave works well in this recipe) 1/2 cup sliced pitted green Sicilian olives (or other brine-cured green olives) 2 tablespoons drained capers 1 1/2 cup chicken stock Juice and zest from 1/2 Meyer lemon 1 piece preserved Meyer lemon, finely diced Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons butter 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Directions Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and the Italian seasonings.  Dust the chicken pieces with flours, and shake off any excess. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high […]

Marea: One of New York's Finest (And a Crudo Recipe)

There are so many choices in NYC for fine dining, and it seems that bar gets raised higher and higher as new restaurants open, new concepts explored, new trends established.  Marea is not so new (opened in 2009), relatively speaking, but it is still “young” – and still has the feel of youthful exuberance in its atmosphere, service, and menu.  It’s hard to believe that an Italian seafood-oriented restaurant can rival the great Le Bernardin, but Marea is at the same level. From start (amuse bouche) to finish (house-made mini chocolate cake), we were “wowed,” which is no small feat.  Highest quality crudo in the city, done with elegance & creativity.  And probably one of the best pasta dishes in the world (octopus & bone marrow – simply amazing!).  Worth the trip, and worth the price.   We also want to greatly complement the wait staff.  We were there the day before the Super Bowl, with every football dignitary in town. A well-known group from the Washington, DC area requested a last minute change – from a table of six to twelve.  The wait staff performed an incredible ballet to accommodate, orchestrated by Maitre d’ George, which minimized any inconvenience […]

Enzo's – Just Like Mia Madre

I was invited to lunch with a fellow foodie, Chuck, at one of his favorite neighborhood gems.  He kept his choice under wraps, telling me just shortly before our meeting – he was trying to surprise me, bless his heart. Little did he know that Enzo’s was one of my favorite haunts when we lived in Lawrenceville, NJ from 1984 – 1994.  We’re really very picky about our Italian restaurants, since they have to measure up to Mama Mickalene’s cooking – a very high hurdle.  So, to my great delight, I got reintroduced to Enzo’s.  The restaurant is still family-run, with the majority of recipes coming from their own traditions.  Anna Scozzari, and her mother Rita, were gracious hosts.  It reminded me of being in Italy, ushered into a restaurant where everyone is family, whether or not you’re related. Even though it was lunch time, Anna brought out quite a banquet for us (Chuck simply said: cook what you think we’d like).  There were quite a few highlights, especially the Eggplant Rollatini (very light, very flavorful), a wonderfully fresh beet salad, and al dente pasta with their home red sauce.  Each dish had balanced flavors (sweet, salty, spicy) which makes […]

Andiamo a Antimo's

We have seen the evolution of Antimo’s from a simple pizza spot, to an Italian restaurant serving great pasta – a true neighborhood gem.  MrSeriousFoodie and the DinnerDoctor had many meals from Antimo’s, and we were delighted to see their growing success and popularity.  One day in March, after they were reviewed by a local publication, there was a line waiting for a table.  This was good to see. For many dishes, the pasta is homemade by pasta maker Nino.  You can ask for fresh pasta with any dish – and it is certainly worth the little extra wait.  There is nothing like truly fresh made pasta, and there is no restaurant in the greater Princeton area that makes it.  They make a form of filled pasta which they call agnolotti (a filled pasta traditional to the Piedmont region); their version is more like manicotti, but it is very good, especially with their meat-based Bolognese sauce.  Try their traditional Neapolitan specialties, such as the lasagna (homemade) and their stuffed shells. Their lasagna is one of the best we’ve tasted outside of Italy. And their red sauce rivals our homemade version, which is a very high bar. Antimo, or one of […]

Best Pizza – at the End of the World (Nearly)

We were wandering through the more touristy section of Key West FL, off of the north end of Duval Street, looking for some gelato. We ignored the typical island-type ice cream shops, trying to find something that had a bit charm and authenticity.  What we found was outstanding – true artisans, making fresh gelato daily, with flavors and textures that rival the best in Italy.  Servers Steve and Giancarlo walked us through their gelato selection, giving us a taste of whatever we wanted.  We had a nice talk with the Giancarlo, mostly in Italian, and appreciated his patience with our limited vocabulary.  The flavors of each gelato “popped” in our mouth – intense flavors, but somehow in balance with the cream/egg base. We did not taste their pizza on our first visit, but we know that folks are raving about it on TripAdvisor. Their dedication to the best fresh ingredients attests to their devoted followers. We had to find out if the buzz was warranted, so went back the next day for lunch, having slices of margarita pizza and a focaccia sandwich of proscuitto, arugula, fresh tomato, and cheese – all were top flight.   The crust was just right […]

Italian Easter Pie – Torta Pasqualina alla Mickalene

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Growing up in an Italian Catholic family was all about family, food, and tradition.  One great tradition was making the Easter Pie. During the Lenten season, we all fasted, especially on Good Friday (no meat) and on Holy Saturday.  When it came to Easter Sunday, we splurged. I can remember the smells on the Saturday before Easter, when Mickalene was frying off the sausage, making the crust, then baking the pies.  We couldn’t wait until we dug into the cheesy, meaty, dense delight – but it was reserved for Easter Sunday morning.  The dish was incredibly labor intensive, and my Mom make enough to feed a small army. There are many varieties of the “Easter Pie,” based on the regional Italian cooking.  It’s called Pizzagaina, pizza piena (stuffed pizza), pastiera in the Naples, pizzachino, pizza rustica, but we called it  Torta Pasqualina (which is simply Easter Pie). For the most part, it is a quiche-like savory pie, but I have also seen some sweet versions.  The basics of the savory version call for eggs, cheese, meat, often a green vegetable (we used spinach, our Tyrolean parts of the family used asparagus, and we’ve seen others use swiss chard).  My Mom’s […]

Felidia's – Meraviglioso!

Everything about Felidia’s is spot on, including service, food, and wine. And, at the end of the meal, we feel we got our money’s worth. MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor celebrated with two of our regular tasters, MsL-Foodie and MrSignificantOther. Top notch pasta as always, especially the spinach tagliatelle with duck ragout. MrSignificantOther had the long-time favorite of Cacio E Pere (pear and fresh pecorino-filled ravioli, aged pecorino, crushed black pepper).  DinnerDoctor had a simple pasta dish with fresh black truffles, and it was simply delicious. Both dishes were so subtle, the pasta is so light, and the sauces were simple but elegant – truly Italian perfection. Andrew the sommelier served us a great Pignolo, which was a revelations for us. The wine had just the right notes of pepper and spice – it was med-full bodied but had sensational aromatics, with a nice after-taste of raspberry.  It paired beautifully with all the food. Felidia’s – our longtime go-to NYC restaurant – is just like my Mom would have made – if she ran a professional kitchen.