Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Piccolini with Mushroom & Tomato Ragu

The Recipe:

1 carrot, grated
1 onion, minced
1 stalk of celery, grated
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 lb Piccolini Pasta(Mini Farfalle)
1/2 cup grated cheese (e.g. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino)

Garlic Powder, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Nutmeg, Salt, Black Pepper
(See "Notes" below for more information on spices.)

Heat onion, celery & carrot in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook about 5 mins and then add mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and about 1/2 of the spices. Cook about 10 more mins or until veggies are translucent and soft.

Pour in wine and deglaze pan allowing alcohol to evaporate.

Add tomatoes, sugar and remaining spices. Mix well, bring to light boil and reduce to simmer, cooking for an additional hour, stirring occasionally.

Cook pasta, drain and add to pan, mix well and stir in cheese. Enjoy!


- For spices, 1/2 tbsp of Oregano, 1 tsp Rosemary,
   1 tsp Thyme and a good pinch of crushed red pepper & nutmeg were used.
   Fresh garlic can be used instead of 1 tbsp of garlic powder.
   Season according to your taste.

- I purposely chop some of the mushrooms with my wooden spoon when cooking. It's helps make it more of a "Ragu".

- The remaining stubs after grating the carrot and celery were chopped and thrown into the frying pan. You can chop additional amounts and add if desired.

- The celery had nice leaves so they were chopped and also used.

- The sugar helps to cut some of the acid from the tomatoes and adds a little sweetness.

- Use whatever wine you enjoy drinking or have open. White will work just as well or omit it all together. Vegetable broth can be used instead. It's all about the flavor.

- I've made this omitting the onion for onion-allergic guests. And it came out just fine!

- Farfalle/Piccolini is the same as "Bow-Tie" Pasta.

U.S. FDA Recalls Website

For those of you interested, here is the link for U.S. Food and Drug Administration Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts:


"This section includes the most significant product actions over the last five years based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk. In this section, you will find a listing of FDA and industry press releases regarding the product recalls.

This page includes the most significant product actions of the last 60 days, based on the extent of distribution and the degree of health risk. ..."

Found it very interesting, for example:

"John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Snack Mix and Cashew Products Due to Possible Health Risk"

This is a recall of 12 different types of snack mix 11 of which are sold under the Archer Farm Brands at Target.

The reason for this recall is because of a voluntary Black Pepper recall which snowballed into recalls of products containing this spice.

Hope you find FDA website useful. You can also sign up for updates when new information is posted. They send you an email to confirm your request so make sure you check your inbox.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sloppy Joe and Cornbread Bake

The inspiration for this receipe came mainly from two things. The first being I've been on the hunt for quick & great tasting recipes and came across Sloppy Joes in my cookbook du jour; The Best 30-Minute Recipes by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated.

Secondly, incorporating cornbread, which I both love and was stolen from another recipe, Skillet Tamale Pie which was on the page before. After I read the Skillet Tamale recipe, I knew it wasn't for me but I liked that it was topped and baked with cornbread. And so the journey begins...

The Sloppy Joe's: I use the recipe from America's Test Kitchan as a base but modified it by using ground turkey. I also added more of slightly heaping 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, because I wasn't adding in the Tabasco. Additionally I added a tad more garlic & brown sugar. Just make sure the sloppy joes aren't too dry as you'll want some good moisture to go with the cornbread.

The Cornbread: I've made tons of cornbread from scratch and quite frankly, I still find myself going back to the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. It's cheap, fast and I love the flavor as it's a sweeter mix and goes well with the robust sloppy joe's.

The recipe is simple.

1) Make your favorite sloppy joes.
2) Put the hot sloppy joe mixture into a 9x9 baking pan
3) Make your favorite cornbread mix.
(A box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix works well).
4) Bake according to cornbread directions
(usually takes a little less time so watch it carefully)
5) Enjoy!

It turned out AWESOME! We liked it so much I'm going to make it in bulk and freeze some 2-portion containers for weeknight meals.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Spring 07 Roma/Plum Tomato Harvest

I got yelled at for not posting any pictures of the garden... These Pictures say it all! These were taken May 22, 2007. If you want a larger view... just click on the pictures.

The Bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil was part of a Christmas gift from my sister Denise!

Anyone have any really great unique AND delicious Tomato Recipe's?? We have plenty of Basil and Parsley (and Chives & Sage & Tarragon & Rosemary ...) growing too!

This plant was one for the record books! It grew out of a compost pile that I had started earlier last year. Combine that with added extra composting of egg shells, tea and coffee.

And for those of you who complained... guess you need to come Florida if you want to taste them!

And String Beans Too!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Spitzad - Zucchini, Onions, Tomatoes & Yellow Squash

This is one of those great summer dishes that I would like to share. My mother made this dish a lot in the summer while growing up and it's one of the few vegtables dishes that Mark actually loves. I'm not really sure how it's spelled, so I spelled it like it's sounds.

It's great to make when the bounty of tomatoes, zucchini and squashes are at their peak. It's definitly versatile allowing for many variations. It's an excellent side dish. It goes great over rice and with pasta.

Get the frying pan going over med-high heat. Add 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite oil. Start with the onions, then zucchini/squash and finally the tomatoes. As you cut them, put them directly into the hot frying pan and let them start cooking in the oil. After vegetables are done, chop up herbs to your liking and add to vegetables reserving some for the end. Add salt and pepper to your taste cover and stir every 15 minutes or so. Keep it covered, allowing some steam to escape, but let it retain some of it's juices, especially when serving it over rice. After about 40 minutes or until veggies are cooked, remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese reserving about tablespoons. Mix gently and top off with reserve cheese. The basic recipe consists of:

1 med Zucchini sliced into 1" pieces
1 med Yellow Squash
- sliced into 1" pieces
1 med-large onion cut in 1/2
- cut into 1/2" verticle slices
3 cups of tomatoes
- quartered
4 tbsp Fresh Basil chopped
3 tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley chopped
1 tbsp italian seasoning (dried)
1 cup of grated cheese, parm. reggiano, locatelli, etc all work well.

Use any combination of herbs you want. I found that the dried Italian Seasoning works well when used with fresh herbs.

The day I made this, I used 2 green squash (in picture above) and 2 yellow squash, one very large "sweet" onion and about 3/12/ cups of tomatoes. It also refrigerates very well and never tried freezing it. For it's simplicity, you gain something that is very healthy and tasteful. I like to serve it with a my egg & cheese pasta, but that's for another time.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Skillet Lasagna

On a recent episode of America's Test Kitchen, they demonstrated an effective method of making Lasagna on the stove in one pan, hence, skillet Lasagna. After watching the episode (and specifically this segment) a second time, I was off to the store to gather up the ingredients. Even though I love lasagna, it can be quite the time consuming process to put together! (Nothing still beats a lasagna layered with homemade pasta sheets!) I used the Barilla lasagna sheets but they used regular lasagna noodles in the show.

I think Mark will agree with me, this dish came out absolutley delicious! It made so much that I was even able to freeze some for a future meals! The recipe is available on the America's Test Kitchen website. If you are looking for a fairly quick way to make a very tasty lasagna, I highly recommend this recipe! Finire di mangiare! (Eat Up!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

May 2006 Pictorial Garden Update

Just a few pictures to show how the garden is coming along. Although quite small, it's doing quite well, especially with the lack of rain, but that seems to be changing. The Roma/Plum Tomato plant is just full of fruit!

This first picture, above, is of the tomato plant that can be seen rooting in a blue glass jar on the window sill in the, "My Gardening Inspiration" entry. This is how it looks as of May 13th. It's growing very nicely and even has a few flowers on it.

The Roma/Plum Tomato Plant

It looks like it just might be a good harvest and soon!!

This is the basil plant which is beginning to flower. I planted some more seeds yesterday.

The Italian Flat Leaf Parsley. I used this is a dish I made for last nights dinner, Oregano & White Wine Chicken which will be tomorrows post.

And this was the plant from which the Oregano was used!

Purple Sage and Lavendar

Happy Gardening!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tony Makes Kalyn's Egg "Muffins"

I've been intrigued by this recipe for quite some time. There was some Canadian Bacon that had to be used up so I thought it would be a great time to make: Kalyn's Egg "Muffins".

When shopping one day, I happened to find silicon cupcake pans that were actually on sale. There was no issue of them being released from baking. Kalyn had mentioned in a later post about theese muffins that she wouldn't make them in any other type pan.

I mixed in a chopped scallion and chopped candian bacon and some grated cheddar and Asiago cheeses along with salt and pepper and they came out Eggalicious!!!! And it's great for a Low-Carb Diet! :-) Thanks Kalyn!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hot Cross Buns

I saw these in the supermarket yesterday while grocery shopping and just had to buy them as they reminded me of my childhood and I thought they'd be a nice treat this weekend. These have the taste I remember but someone must have found some of those green fruits they use in Fruitcake at Christmas time and thought that they would be good mix in with these. (They're not, they ruined it and I picked them out).

When researching the significance of this pastry which always appeared around this time of year when I was a child, the book of Dates and Meanings of Religious & Other Festivals, hot cross buns:
"used to be kept specially for Good Friday with the symbolism of the cross, although it is thought that they originated in pagan times with the bun representing the moon and its four quarters."
Helfer Pastries online states:

Hot Cross Buns are made with sweet, yeast-raised dough, raisins, currants, cinnamon and other spices. They are finished with roll icing in the shape of a cross, to remind us of the death of Jesus and the victory of His Resurrection!
Hot Cross Buns are mainly associated with Good Friday than Easter Sunday.

Bella Online had the following to say about their pagan origins:

Their origins lie in pagan traditions of ancient cultures, with the cross representing the four quarters of the moon. During early missionary efforts, the Christian church adopted the buns and re-interpreted the icing cross. In 1361, a monk named Father Thomas Rockcliffe began a tradition of giving Hot Cross Buns to the poor of St Albans on Good Friday.
In years that followed, many customs, traditions, superstitions, and claims of healing and protection from evil and were associated with the buns. In the 16th century, Roman Catholicism was banned in England, but the popularity of Hot Cross buns continued. Queen Elizabeth I passed a law banning the consumption of Hot Cross Buns except during festivals such as Easter, Christmas and funerals.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging 2

These days, I don't have nearly enough time to spend in the kitchen as I'd like. I have, however, managed to put some energy into building a new herb garden.

As of March 26th, the following were planted: Oregano, Thyme, Italian Parsley, Chives and Purple Sage! Also included in this bunch is a Roma Tomato plant and a baby Rosemary and Lavendar bush. Since then I've also planted some garlic and scallions but I'll save them for a future entry.

The Tomato plant has been growing non-stop as well as the Purple Sage and Flat-Leaf Itailian Parsley. I actually pinched off a baby branch off of the tomato and am currently rooting it in the house.

The Basil plant was given to me as a gift around Christmas time from Sarah, a co-worker of Mark's. It survived in a pot over most of the winter as I did have to bring it in the house a few nights It was the first to be planted when I finished building the garden and it has come back quite nicely! This plant has already started going to seed.

Sage, Basil, Parsley, Thyme and Rosemary are my Five basic herbs that I love to have available all year. I hoping the rosemary, thyme and sage will survive throughout next winter.

It took twelve 40 pound bags of top soil/garden soil; two 40 pound bags of Hummus and two large (50 lbs?) bags of miracle grow garden soil to build this garden. I built this garden around a lone peach hibscus bush that was already planted and it's just the first of many to be built! More in tomorrow's entry . . .

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging

I get so much inspiration from all the different blogs I read ... especially from:

Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
. . . and . . .
Joe of Culinary in the Desert
...A Great Big Thank You!

So I thought I'd hop on the Weekend Herb Bloggers Train and share what's going on here in Tampa.

Tonight's shopping adventure yielded a few new seed packets...
The agenda for Saturday morning already has seed planting listed! The mint will go into a pot so I can keep it under control.

With mid-afternoon temperatures now averaging in the low 80's at the end of this first week of April, it's prime time growing season.

We all know there's nothing like using fresh herbs when cooking so tomorrows blog entry will show what's been growing in my new garden!