Panzanella

Panzanella

Panzanella is a perfect dish for the hot weather we’ve been having, as it is refreshing, makes good use of the summer’s bounty, and the basic version doesn’t require any cooking. Originally it is an Italian peasant lunch prepared to use up old bread: the bread is mixed with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olive oil, and … Continue reading

Spinach Risotto (Risotto agli Spinaci)

Spinach Risotto (Risotto agli Spinaci)

We love risotto and I’m always trying to come up with new recipes. This spinach risotto turned out really nice, and it was even nicer with the garnishes of pancetta and sous-vide egg-yolk. But the risotto is delicious by itself, so for a vegetarian version you could easily leave out the pancetta. However, using homemade … Continue reading

Clafoutis

Clafoutis

Clafoutis is a flan-type cake from France, usually stuffed with cherries. I’ve stayed very close to the recipe of Stéphane’s great grandmother, which he posted on his wonderful blog My French Heaven. It is quite easy to make and it was delicious. According to the traditional recipe, you are not supposed to pit the cherries … Continue reading

Quick Pasta with Zucchini

Quick Pasta with Zucchini

After all the decadent restaurant meals, it is time for something very simple. This plate of pasta takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish. The list of ingredients is very short: pasta, zucchini, parmigiano, salt, pepper, olive oil. The secret to this dish is the generous use of parmigiano reggiano cheese (pecorino would also … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Piazza Duomo***

Dining in Italy: Piazza Duomo***

In 2010 we ‘discovered’ Piazza Duomo of chef Enrico Crippa in Alba, at that time still relatively unknown (although it already had two Michelin stars), thanks to the Gambero Rosso guide, in which it already had tre forchette. We liked it a lot, and went back the next year when we were travelling in the same … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Vissani**

Dining in Italy: Vissani**

The next stop with tre forchette in our culinary tour is Casa Vissani, by lake Colbara on the road between Orvieto and Todi in Umbria. Because the restaurant is located outside a town, it is very convenient that it also has some luxurious guest rooms. The hotel and restaurant are very different from Reale, where … Continue reading

Sous-vide Warm Aged T-Bone Steak

Sous-vide Warm Aged T-Bone Steak

When I prepared a Bistecca alla Fiorentina in January to celebrate Conor’s board, there were two things I put on my to do list: (1) to try this with real Chianina beef from Tuscany, and (2) to try to ‘warm age’ the t-bone steak first to make it more tender and to make it easier to … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Reale***

Dining in Italy: Reale***

Reale is the restaurant of chef Niko Romito and his sister Cristiana in the mountain town of Castel di Sangro in Abruzzo. I had been curious about this restaurant with tre forchette from Gambero Rosso for a while, but it was always too far from where we were in Italy. When Reale got its third Michelin star, … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Vecchia Marina

Dining in Italy: Vecchia Marina

The next stop in our culinary Italy tour is the beach town of Roseto degli Abruzzi, on the Adriatic coast in the region of Abruzzo. There are only 15 trattorie in all of Italy with a tre gamberi (3 ‘shrimp’) rating by Gambero Rosso, and one of them is in Roseto degli Abruzzi. It is Vecchia … Continue reading

Cauliflower and Lemon Ravioli

Cauliflower and Lemon Ravioli

When I made my first batch of ravioli with a cauliflower stuffing some weeks ago, I contemplated whether I would make it with red wine or with white wine and ended up making a delicious red wine version with great depth of flavor. The idea of a ‘fresher’ version with white wine and lemon lingered, and … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Povero Diavolo*

Dining in Italy: Povero Diavolo*

Is there a good reason to go to Torriana, a small village half an hour inland from the Adriatic beach town of Rimini? Yes there is, and it is chef Piergiorgio Parini of Il Povero Diavolo. It is not the single Michelin star that lured us there, but Gambero Rosso’s tre forchette with a 56/60 score … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Locanda al Gambero Rosso

Dining in Italy: Locanda al Gambero Rosso

Our favorite restaurant guide for Italy is that of “Gambero Rosso”. It is available as a book, but also as a handy app. The best restaurants are awarded one, two, or three forchette (forks), and the best trattorie are awarded one, two or three gamberi (shrimp). We’ve been using the Gambero Rosso guide since 2007, … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Devero**

Dining in Italy: Devero**

Enrico Bartolini is one of the rising stars in the Italian restaurant scene. For his restaurant, located in the Devero hotel by the autostrada just outside of Milano, he recently received his second Michelin star and his third fork (forchetta) of the Gambero Rosso restaurant guide. So it was time we paid the restaurant a … Continue reading

Sous-Vide Steak Fajitas

Sous-Vide Steak Fajitas

We love fajitas, Tex-Mex flour tortillas stuffed with chicken or steak, bell peppers, onions, salsa, and cheese. At least that’s how I like to prepare them. We usually have them with chicken, but I was curious to try them with steak. Skirt steak is sometimes also known as ‘fajita meat’, and so that was the cut … Continue reading

Hot Smoked Salmon, Dry or Wet Cure?

Hot Smoked Salmon, Dry or Wet Cure?

When I first got a stovetop smoker, it came with a very simple user’s manual that said to season fish with salt and pepper and smoke it with 2 tablespoons of smoking dust for 15-20 minutes. This user’s manual was aimed at catching your own fish from a river and then smoking it right then … Continue reading

How to Cut a Bell Pepper

How to Cut a Bell Pepper

In a change of pace from a very involved preparation and a very sophisticated meal, in this post I’m going to show you how I cut bell peppers quickly and with zero waste. A lot of food is wasted. The statistics are staggering. One of the ways in which food is wasted is by wasteful ways … Continue reading

Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2014)

Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2014)

This is the third review of Librije on my blog, which is not a surprise as it has become a tradition for us to celebrate our wedding anniversary there every year (starting with our 3rd anniversary). We started this tradition in 2005, and so this was our tenth visit. There is not a single restaurant … Continue reading

Stuffed Round Zucchini

Stuffed Round Zucchini

Lately round zucchini have shown up around here. After seeing Marina using them to make stuffed zucchini, I thought I’d try that too. My version is vegetarian, but I did use her idea of using coriander seed to give an interesting flavor to the stuffing. Since I had an unexpected guest for dinner, I had … Continue reading

Hot Smoked Grey Mullet with Steamed Wild Asparagus

Hot Smoked Grey Mullet with Steamed Wild Asparagus

Yesterday’s dinner featured two unusual ingredients: grey mullet and wild asparagus. I served them as simple as possible, dressed only with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. It was delicious and ready in less than half an hour. Grey mullet (not to be confused with red … Continue reading

Homemade Guanciale

Homemade Guanciale

Guanciale is cured pork jowl. It is the traditional ingredient for Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Amatriciana and Gricia, but difficult to find outside of Italy. Pancetta (cured pork belly instead of jowl) can be used as a substitute, but of course it is nicer to use the real thing. After the success with making my own homemade … Continue reading

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup

I’ve already posted about homemade ketchup in my most about making my first hamburgers from scratch. I wasn’t completely happy with the ketchup back then, and I’ve been experimenting a bit to find a recipe I liked better based on  a recipe posted by ChgoJohn. That recipe makes a very spicy ketchup, and I’ve made a … Continue reading

Chunky Salsa for Fajitas

Chunky Salsa for Fajitas

I’ve sung the praises of cooking from scratch before. Sure, you can buy something similar in a jar in the store. But you get to tune this homemade salsa to exactly how you like it, how about that!  You can make it as mild or as hot and spicy as you like. Or as sweet. … Continue reading