Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tortilla Crusted Grouper - Rose Tattoo, Philadelphia PA

A trip to the Rose Tattoo Cafe in Philadelphia with a few business associates turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The special was a tortilla crusted grouper, that turned out to be a fantastic dish. The fish was flaky and moist, with a nice nutty flavor from the tortilla crust. The sauteed spinach under it had the right amount of earthy flavor, and the hash of sweet potato, grape tomatoes and shrimp in a spicy sauce had a surprising amount of kick, balanced out by the starchy/sweet sweet potatoes. This dish was a home run in my book. My only regret was not getting a better photo. This one does the dish small justice.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Panettone French Toast

Panettone is a classic Italian dessert bread/cake studded with raisins and candied citrus zest and usually enjoyed during the holiday season. It originally came from the city of Milan, and was something distinctive to Northern Italy, however, it's popularity has spread far and wide- there is actually more Panettone consumed in Southern Italy and places such as South America than it is in Milan. It has a texture that sits in an odd halfway point between a light, sweet bread such as a brioche, and a cake- it is soft and pliable inside, but still has structure and form like a bread. I had a leftover Panettone from the holidays, and I wanted to use it in a somewhat un-traditional manner- so making it into a french toast breakfast seemed like the way to go- not something you'd normally do with a Panettone, but it isn't really a huge stretch of the imagination- and I thought the kids would like it too.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Calamari Fra Diavolo from Pizza N' Pasta, Manville, NJ

Next door to a local airfield that flys small aircraft is a bar and grill that has become a local fixture in the town of Manville, New Jersey. I'm talking about a place set up in the format of a bar and grill, but the "grill" portion of the business is really a full-fledged Italian restaurant serving all manner of classic Italian-American favorites. That place is called Pizza N' Pasta.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blessed by Mario...

An old classmate from High School, who has gone on to become a professional chef, has been slowly gaining some very significant attention from the media and may very well be on her way to becoming a full-fledged Celebrity Chef... She's made her mark with kid and family-friendly cooking  spots on the Disney Channel called "That's Fresh", but has recently had a big break- making an appearance on "The Chew" - and recieving the greatest of compliments from the one and only Mario Batali. Please allow us to introduce you to- Helen Cavallo:

Read about Helen's experiences on the sets at her own blog here. And find out more about her on the That's Fresh facebook page. Congratulations Helen!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stuffed Shells for Christmas Dinner

Stuffed shells are one of those classic baked pasta dishes that many people pass on making- simply because they can be very labor intensive. They contain practically the exact same ingredients you would use in a simple baked ziti- just organized differently. The thought of cramming individual portions of cheesy filling into each one of those shells is the heavy lifting part- however, there are ways to speed things along.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013