Tag Archives: Italian

Tuscan Beans on Toast with a Poached Egg

30 Oct

Beans on ToastI have a confession. I’ve never made a poached egg before. In reality, I’m sure the majority of 23-year-olds haven’t attempted cradling an egg in boiling water. Who’s got the time, and fried eggs are basically the same, right? Wrong.

Poached eggs are eggs in their most heavenly form. Over easy and sunny side up are great if you like runny yokes, but you always run into the issue of under cooking the whites or over cooking the yokes. Poached, on the other hand, offers a perfect consistency and make just about any dish better.

While yes, poaching eggs is a little more work than just plopping them in a frying pan, but it’s worth it. I promise. Plus, if I made a perfectly poached egg on my first try, you can too.

Tuscan Beans on Toast with a Poached Egg

Ingredients: (serves 1)

For beans on toast:

  • 1 slice of toasted, crusty bread (I used two slices of a baguette because that’s what I had)
  • 1/2 can white beans
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce (I used whatever I had open in the fridge)
  • 1 slice Canadian bacon or any other type of meat (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon chives or onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ounce Parmesan (I cut slices but shaved works too)

Continue reading

A Foodie Christmas Story

25 Dec

MarketIn my family, food defines holidays. Butcher-made hot dogs reign on the Fourth of July. Red beat eggs take over Easter. And Thanksgiving’s solidified by Nana and Pop Pop’s home-made mashed potatoes. But no holiday compares to the food fest known as Christmas.

Christmas isn’t marked by a single food or even a traditional dish. Instead, it’s comprised of all of the favorites, no matter how strangely they pair together.

Christmas Eve breakfast — 9:00 a.m.

It all starts with Christmas Eve breakfast. Every Christmas Eve my family wakes up and heads down to Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. If you haven’t been there, it’s a mecca for food lovers, boasting everything from Amish shoofly pie to an oyster bar.

While the market houses to two diners and a hand-rolled doughnut shop, my family loves to start the morning right with a warm rotisserie chicken, washed down with fresh-squeezed orange juice. The combination has no right making sense, but it does.

Next, we divide and conquer, scouring the market for our yearly stands. I typically head up collecting gyros (pronounced YEE-rows for those non-Greeks) and an assortment of cheeses mostly consisting of Gouda.

Continue reading

Caprese Salad

16 Sep

Caprese SaladMy family is Greek and Italian, therefore Mediterranean flavors are in our blood. The specific ingredient that my clan can’t get enough of is the modest tomato.

My dad is a huge tomato gardener, and has spent the past 22 years (that’s only as long as I can vouch for) perfecting the heavenly fruit — remember, tomatoes are fruits not vegetables.

I vote his Cherokee purple heirlooms best in show, but all of his varieties are delicious. So delicious, in fact, that cooking them down into a sauce or smothering them over a pizza is a waste. The only way to truly understand the perfection known as my father’s tomatoes is to enjoy them in simple form.

I’m partial to housing them down with just a sprinkle of salt, but here’s a recipe that everyone can love (even if you don’t have access to my father’s tomatoes — although he does handout seedling like frozen yogurt samples).

Caprese Salad

Continue reading

Melissa d’Arabian Pasta Pescatore

29 May

Melissa d'Arabian Pasta PescatoreMy boyfriend and I recently celebrated our four year anniversary. We’re not a big anniversary couple, considering we both almost forget every year, but this year we wanted to do something special.

Since we’re both food obsessed, we thought it would be fun to celebrate by making a nice dinner, more specifically, a seafood dinner.

I don’t cook seafood often, so I turned to a Melissa d’Arabian recipe for some help. I chose to make pasta pescatore, which was surprisingly simple and delicious.

Melissa d’Arabian’s Pasta Pescatore

I made a few modifications. In the original recipe, the seafood consists of flounder and shrimp. This is a great seafood combination to use to keep the price down. Since it was our anniversary, we decided to use mussels, shrimp and scallops. Mussels are surprisingly cheap, but scallops can get a little pricey. If you’re cooking on a budget, feel free to use whatever is on sale.

Continue reading

Broiled Italian Flank Steak

10 May

SteakTopThis week, I took on the flank steak challenge. Well, it’s not so much of a challenge, more like me buying flank steak and having no idea what to do with it.

Luckily, I took some advice from my flank steak-loving roommate and turned a tough piece of meat into a juicy and delicious dinner.

Broiled Italian Flank Steak

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • 1.5 pounds of flank steak
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • cooking spray

Continue reading

Chicken Piccata

8 May

Chicken PiccataIf you’ve never tried chicken piccata, I suggest you rectify that immediately. Piccata is a method of food prep where meat is sliced, coated, sautéed and served in a sauce.

In the world of chicken piccata, that means that beautiful chicken breasts are sliced, dredged in seasoned flour, sautéed in butter and olive oil and served with a lemon, caper sauce.

If that doesn’t interest you, you can always eat ramen.

My favorite chicken piccata recipe comes from Giada De Laurentis (I’ve tried other recipes and nothing beats hers). My recipe is halved, since I only cook for my roommate and myself. I also nixed the parsley. Here’s how I do it.

Continue reading

Budget-Friendly Pasta with Clam Sauce

25 Mar
Canned clams, cayenne, garlic, Parmesan, oregano, olive oil, white wine and salt

Canned clams, cayenne, garlic, Parmesan, oregano, olive oil, white wine and salt

One of my favorite pasta dishes is pasta with clam sauce. I love the dish, but I hate ordering it out because it seems too simple to spend $15 on. That’s why I’ve taken the college student approach and decided that if it’s too expensive to buy, it’s time to make.

I didn’t want to spend the extra dough on fresh clams, so I turned to the canned version instead. Canned clams cost about a dollar a jar and have a more concentrated flavor than fresh clams. By cutting back on spending on the main ingredient, the dish becomes college budget friendly.

Here’s how I made pasta with clam sauce on a college allowance.

Pasta with Clam Sauce Ingredients: (Serves 4)

Continue reading

Quesadilla Pizza

18 Mar

Tortilla, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheeseEveryone loves pizza and everyone loves quesadillas. These two truths inspired my most recent culinary creation – the quesadilla pizza!

My roommate had left over pizza toppings from a recent pizza making extravaganza (there’s not better way to explain it, so I’ll leave it at that). I had whole wheat tortillas left from my Distrito inspired fish tacos, so I decided to combine the two to make a quick, no purchase necessary dinner.

Here’s all you need.

Quesadilla Pizza Ingredients: (Serves 2)Pizza Quesadilla

  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 can pizza sauce
  • 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese

For a basic pizza stop there. If you want to be adventurous add:

  • 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup black olives

Continue reading

Restaurant Italian on a Budget

6 Mar

College students love eating out. We’re all broke, but that doesn’t stop us from throwing down $25 on an entree from the new gastropub down the road. It’s a way to socialize and eat something not made from a galley kitchen, but it’s killing our bottom line.

My pockets are particularly light at the moment and it doesn’t help that my house it surrounded by amazing Italian restaurants. The temptation to spend is overwhelming, so I’ve come up with some tricks on how to eat restaurant quality Italian food, without paying the restaurant price.

Don’t Skimp on the Sauce

The main difference between college kitchen Italian food and restaurant quality Italian food is the sauce. Good Italian restaurants hand make their sauces daily. They simmer vats of tomatoes and spices for hours,which is why their sauce tastes so good. When I make Italian food, I just pour jarred tomato sauce over pasta and call it a day. Jarred tomato sauces are great because they’re cheap and easy, but they don’t compare in flavor to homemade sauces.

Want to know how to work around the system? Buy pasta sauce from your favorite Italian restaurant. Most Italian places sell their sauces by the pint. They cost around $2, which is the same price as jarred sauce, but are a million times better tasting. All you have to do is cook a box of pasta, throw on the sauce, and you’ll have the same restaurant dish for a quarter of the price.

Continue reading