Now, more than ever, chickens and cows are granted a few more days to graze the fields in order for alligators and kangaroos to take center plate. However, despite this overwhelming rush to serve the more exotic, I was recently disappointed (twice) after ordering a simple appetizer of fried calamari. I thought these restaurants played it safe by omitting, what I claim to be, the tastiest part of the squid – its tentacles. And I make this claim not because I’m trying to compensate for my long overdue appearance on Fear Factor, but instead do so with concrete culinary evidence on my side: the tentacles have more surface area, which makes them crispier, which in my book translates into yummier.
While in Italy, I noticed a great deal of attention was given to the palate and the way in which food was perfectly orchestrated from preparation to consumption. Meals had an order to them; appetizers actually opened up my appetite (shocking, right?). Chicken wings swimming in a puddle of sauce or a mountain of nachos forgotten under a cap of plastic-like cheese was simply unheard of. I loved how food made sense there.
Breakfast was usually small and quick – un caffè accompanied by a biscotti was delicious and typical. Ordering a “decaf grande, half-soy, half-low fat, double-shot, marble mocha macchiato, no foam, 2 Sweet-n’-low, extra hot” was grounds for excommunication with a side of public humiliation. Lunches were equally enjoyable, and I can continue to rant about how fabulous the al fresco dinners were, but that’s not what this entry is really about. This entry is my little tribute to the Sicilian classic, Fennel and Orange Salad.
Festive green, nutty and full of fragrance; Pasta alla Zarina is my spin on the classic pesto Genovese. This dish is fresh, modern and was inspired by my fashionista friend, Zarina (and her love of spinach).
Zarina and I met at an internship one summer and were practically joined at the hip. Between our Shakira-tuned car rides to work and our late-night mint chocolate chip sessions, there wasn’t much we didn’t do together. This pasta dish is her absolute favorite (or so she tells me) and the least I could do was name it after her… and blog about it.
This entry is dedicated to Raquel, my friend who thinks making focaccia out of a box is OK.
Romans are credited with an array of modern marvels, from the arc to democracy; but how easily do we forget the gastronomic contributions they’ve brought forth to the culinary world. The taste of artisan bread perfumed with sprigs of rosemary and topped with a few crystals of sea salt is considered perfection in the eyes of gourmands around the globe. A predecessor to the pizza, focaccia’s extensive history has turned it into a versatile canvas for all sorts of delicious ingredients. Zesty sun dried tomatoes; briny olives; earthy crimini mushrooms, you name it and focaccia will deliver.