Monday, April 18, 2011

Café Cubano

A little something that I picked up from my friends in Miami. Cuban coffee has a wonderfully sweet taste to it and goes great with breakfast. It's easy to make and goes down even easier!





Café Cubano

  • Fresh ground Cuban or good Italian coffe
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbs of brown sugar


Make four shots of espresso if you have an espresso machine, or brew a pot of coffee. Using a medium sized sauce pot add brown sugar and milk and bring to a boil to scald the milk. Allow to cool slightly. In a large coffee mug, add a shot of espresso or fill about a ¼ of the way full with fresh brewed coffee. Top with ¾ of scalded milk. Dust with cinnamon if you desire. Enjoy!

Sunday Gravy

If you grew up Italian then you know what Sunday gravy is! Even though I am only a half breed (or a wanna be, as David calls me), my Mother who was the Italian half, used to make pasta sauce on the weekends. It's a slow cooked red sauce that simmers all day and fills your entire house with the wonderful smell of Italian food! Everyone has their own version of what they put in it. It is almost like an art form and each sauce has its own unique flavor. My recipe is sort of a conglomeration of my Mother's sauce combined with some of David's secrets. I made it for him several weeks ago and it seemed to have passed the "real Italian" test. We joke all of the time because David is 100% percent Italian (and a hot one at that!) and my parents were Italian and Swedish. He calls me the "wanna be"!


Sunday Gravy

  • A large Dutch oven or heavy sauce pot
  • 1 large onion peeled and left whole
  • 4 country spare ribs
  • 2 links of Italian sausage (the real stuff, not the hot Italian stuff they pass of at the grocery store as being real, go to an Italian deli!!!!)
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Rind from a wedge of Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Fresh chopped basil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 hardboiled egg, peeled
  • 4 large cans of chopped San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary leaves
  • 2 large dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup of dry white wine

    Add olive oil to the dutch oven and heat over high heat. Add meats and brown evenly. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to low and add garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Add in tomatoes and paste to pot and white wine. Return browned meats to pot. Reduce heat to low. Add whole onion, cheese rind, egg and all the herbs. Simmer over low heat for 3 to four hours stirring often to avoid burning the meats that will settle to the bottom of the pot. Sauce will reduce and thicken. The slow cooking process will sweeten the sauce on its own so there is no need to add any sugar!

    Remove meats, cheese rind, and onion and egg and set aside. Serve sauce over any type of pasta with fresh grated cheese on top. The onion and egg make a great treat! Serve the cooked meats on another day for a separate meal if you wish or have them with the pasta on the side.

David’s Anchovy Pasta

David makes a wonderful Italian dish called Aioli, using good olive oil cured anchovies. I know that a lot of people cringe at the word "anchovy" but if you have never had good ones then you are missing a real treat. DON'T use the anchovy paste! Use a good Italian brand of cured ones that can be found in any good Italian grocery store. The paste has a very fishy and salty flavor and the cheap anchovies are also very fishy. A good anchovy should have a nutty flavor when cook and will dissolve into the cooking oil.


David's Pasta Aioli


  • ½ cup of pecorino romano cheese grated
  • ½ cup of pecorino romano cheese shaved
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion finely sliced
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • ½ cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 4 oil cured anchovy fillets


Cook pasta according to package. In a large skillet sauté onions over low heat in a little olive oil until carmelized. Set aside and clean skillet. Do not leave any onion pieces in the skillet or they will burn and make a bitter taste in the dish. Add ½ cup oil to skillet and heat over low. Add the whole garlic cloves and allow to slowly brown. Remove and discard garlic. Do NOT allow garlic to burn or again you will have a bitter flavor in your dish. Add anchovy fillets to hot oil and mash them into the oil until they start to dissolve. Cook for three minutes and remove skillet from heat. Add cooked pasta, onions, basil, grated cheese, and bread crumbs to skillet and toss to evenly coat. Plate and top with shaved romano cheese. Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Although I have not made these for David yet, I wanted to share them! Summer is coming and I am getting a craving for fresh tomatoes! As a kid, I grew up in the country on a farm and we always had our own vegetable garden. My father grew fantastic tomatoes and I was spoiled by having them. It ruined me for any sort of store bought, half ripened, flavorless tomato! In the summer, after school, my grandmother would go out to the garden and grab a few fresh green ones and fry them up as an after school snack. They were FABULOUS. If you have never tried them, I highly recommend it!


Too Green

Just right!
Ok, the trick to a flavorful green tomato is all in the choosing. When a tomato ripens it goes through several phases. First it's a very bright emerald green color when its first forming. It then begins to turn a lighter green, then to almost white, then to a light orangeish yellow, and then finally red. You want to choose a tomato that is still in the light green phase of the ripening process. When they are this color they have an almost tart flavor to them and are delicious. Emerald green tomatoes have very little taste and the orangeish yellow and almost white ones are too soft and mushy to fry and begin to taste like a regular ripe tomato.


Fried Green Tomatoes
  • 4 green tomatoes
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • Fresh chopped dill
  • 2 tbs of salt
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 3 cups of white flour
  • Ground black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • Cold water
  • ¼ cup of whole milk

    Slice tomatoes into ¼ inch slices and place in a large bowl with salt and vinegar. Fill bowl with enough water to cover tomato slices. Refrigerate for one hour.

    Beat eggs with milk and place in a medium sized bowl. Finely chop dill and set aside. Place flour in a medium bowl. Place olive oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium high heat. Preheat oven to 350.

    Dip tomato slices in egg mixture and then dredge in flour, and then re-dip in egg mix. Place in hot oil on skillet. While frying sprinkle dill and black pepper over slices. Brown until golden on both sides. Remove and place on a baking sheet and bake in oven at 350 degrees for ½ hour. This will finish cooking the tomato slices. If you skip this process the tomatoes will not be fully cooked and will be chewy.

    Remove from oven and allow to cool a little. For a great sandwhich butter two slices of whole wheat bread and place two slices of tomatoes in between. Tastes awesome!

Lemon Dill Papradelle Pasta with Breaded Veal Chops

Last night David created a wonderful romantic dinner for two as a little Palm Sunday surprise. Here is what was on the menu for the evening!


Lemon Dill Papradelle Pasta
  • 1 lb package of Lemon Papradelle Noodles
  • ¼ cup of low fat ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of cooking water from pasta
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • ½ tsp. of ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup of fresh chopped chives
  • ½ cup of fresh chopped Italian broad leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh dill
  • 4 tbs. of grated Pecorino Romano cheese

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/3 cup of hot cooking liquid. In a large mixing bowl add the ricotta and cooking liquid and blend until creamy. Add salt, pepper, chives, parsley, dill, olive oil, and cheese to mixture. Give it a good stir until creamy and blended. Run a knife through the baby spinach so that it is roughly chopped into large bite sized pieces. Add spinach to mixing bowl and toss to coat. Stir in pasta and mix until the sauce is evenly distributed through the pasta. If the mixture is too dry you can add a little more pasta water. Plate and serve along side the breaded veal!

    Breaded Veal

  • 4 veal cutlets
  • 1 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon


Pat the veal dry with a paper towel so that the breading will stick. Place olive oil in the bottom of a non stick skillet and heat on medium high. Beat the egg in a medium sized bowl. Plaee breadcrumbs in a medium sized bowl as well. Dip veal into beaten egg and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Place in skillet and brown evenly on both sides. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove and squeeze lemon juice over top of breaded veal. Plate and serve!