Sunday, July 19, 2009

magnificent large zucchini

Pretty and yummy zucchini boats are a great way to entertain. It looks very presentable and the flavors burst with fresh summer ingredients!


farfalle pasta

2 large zucchinis

2 shallots, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

2 garlic cloves

a cup of cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

salt and ground black pepper

grated cheese

fresh basil all grown up!
preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta
Cut zucchini in half length wise, scoop out and discard seeds. Use a small, sharp knife and tablespoon to scoop out flesh, chop the flesh coarsely.
Gentry fry shallots, ginger adn garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes, then add zucchini flesh, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft.

Add pasta, pine nuts and basil to the pan, stiry well set aiside.
Meanwhile, place zucchin halves in roasting pan, season
Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

summer snacks

It's over 100 degrees outside, best to enjoy some afternoon summer snacks

Homemade fries with truffle sauce

Hazelnut Gianduglia and Vanilla raspberry swirl ice cream

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thai stix

As I was just missing and thinking about Thai fish cakes and shrimp cakes, Michele suggested to hit up Thai Stix on Montrose, for he was craving for some authentic Thai food...We ordered way too much for 2, ( as usual) but felt satisfied and left with almost exploding bellies. When ordering, we always ask for dishes to be extra spicy, but at this place, our Waiter asked, "American spice or Thai spice" we laughed and without hesitating replied, "Thai spice". Good question - we like!

Golden fish cakes were really delicious and flavorful, the sauce was amazing with hints of herbs and citrus.

Thai BBQ pork - very juicy and fatty with a sweet plum sauce

Pad Kee Mao was bursting with flavors ( the sweet, the chili, the fragrant basil, soy sauce and fish sauce) and radiated with bright colors from lots of veggies

Green Curry was good, but it was not was a good texture and presented itself pretty with lots of colors but it was lacking a depth which Thai curry should carry...

However, overall the food was amazing except the rice was cooked a bit too wet and sticky. But this definitely won't be our last trip to Thai Stix restaurant!

The pasta lover enjoys Thai noodle dishes - pad kee mao, pad thai, etc...and he enjoys spicy foods because it's so different on the palate compared to Italian food. It's interesting how the Italian man really likes Thai food. I mean, I love Thai food and Thai restaurants are popular in Taiwan, but I always thought that it's because living in an Asian metropolitan, the Taipei folks are adventurous of other Asian cuisine, and that Thai food had some sort of similarities but enough differences compared to Chinese cuisine. It's especially popular among younger crowds, because of the big bold spicy flavors...I remember there were some trendy Thai restaurants in Taipei that had DJs spinning live (Very Thai 非常泰) , or had modern decor situated in fancy hotels ( Thai &Thai @ Mandarin Crown Hotel was designed by an Italian interior designer).

But all in all, I'm glad it's a type of food we, both from the east and the west, enjoy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Manicoti al Forno

Fancy Pancy stuffed manicoti with ground turkey

Serves 4 - 6

ground turkey, 1 pound
3 cups of bay mushrooms
1 garlic clove
1 shallot
2 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
1 egg, beaten
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Manicoti tubes
tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place ground turkey in a medium mixing bowl.
Place the mushrooms, garlic, shallots in a food processor or chop until finely ground
Beat mushroom mixture into ground turkey with egg, salt add salt and pepper, and then add lemon juice to taste.

Cook manicoti in salted boiling water for 7 minutes according to pacakge. Drain well, pat dry.

Place filling in pastry bag and fill each tube. Lay the filled tubes into a single layer in a buttered casserole dish. Spoon tomato sauce over and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until brown and boiling.

Serve warm, garnish with parsley sprig

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spring Green Risotto

From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa show on the Food Network , but we slightly changed the recipe a bit...Love cooking with some mascaporne!

1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock,
1 pound thin asparagus
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

We garnished with parsley =)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tilapia with tomato, artichokes, tofu

Hearts of gold Tilapia with tofu cubes

A light yummy tilapia for a weekday dinner. However, any kind of white fish like cod, haddock, grouper, and chilean sea bass fillets would all work well in this recipe. We went with tilapia since it was the fresh fish vs. the defrosted ones at the market. The tofu soaks up all the delicious fresh juices from the ingredients, and adds a fusion twist to this dish. Serve fresh with simple veggies.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons of white wine
2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 1/4 teaspoons fresh rosemary
half carton of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 pounds tilapia fillets
1 1/2 cups defrosted artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 1/2 teaspoons with red pepper flakes


Sprinkle the tilapia with salt and pepper, a dash of white wine and set aside.

In a large deep frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add tofu cubes, bring to a simmer and continue simmering, covered, for 10 minutes.

Add in artichoke hearts and red pepper flakes, and simmer for 5 minutes. Nestle the fish in the sauce, pour in red wine, bring back to a simmer, and continue simmering gently, covered, until just done, about 6 minutes for 1/2-inch-thick fillets.
Now, carefully remove the fish from the pan. Stir the fresh mint into the sauce and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Stir in any accumulated juices from the fish. Spoon the sauce over the tilapia.

Pair with greens, here we paried with plain blanched broccoli to give it a nice balance.