brown butter brussels sprouts with crispy shiitake mushrooms

Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms

I grew up a full-fledged carnivore, and, as a kid, I successfully avoided most vegetables. It helped that my parents weren’t the sort who made me sit at the dining room table until I finished everything on my plate. If they were, chances are that I’d still be sitting there! Haha!   One vegetable I especially disliked was Brussels sprouts.  The only time I tried them they were mushy, bitter and had a weird smell. Yuck!!

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spaghetti squash with sausage, tomatoes, and sage

I’ve always been curious about spaghetti squash and until this past weekend, I had never cooked with it. A variety of winter squash, it is oblong-shaped with a hard, pale yellow rind and stringy, orange-colored flesh that resembles translucent strands of pasta when cooked. Its texture is slightly crunchy, somewhat akin to al dente pasta. Its season starts in early fall and goes throughout winter. Spaghetti squash is low in calories and is a good source of fiber as well as nutrients like beta carotene, folic acid, Vitamin A, and potassium. It makes a low carb and tasty alternative to pasta or potatoes. Continue reading

porcini gnocchi with brown butter and sage

 

I was first introduced to gnocchi about ten years ago at Salumi, a tiny storefront and deli in Seattle owned by Armandino Batali, Mario’s dad. Salumi sells sandwiches filled with artisanal cured meats made in-house and other Italian foods.  Once a week, at a counter in a small nook at the front window, Izzy, Armandino’s older sister, made gnocchi from scratch.  She made it look so easy.  I would watch in fascination as her weathered hands deftly shaped the little dumplings. She would roll the perfect pieces of dough effortlessly on a gnocchi paddle and flick them right into a sheet pan a few hundred or, maybe, a thousand, times a day.  She stood there, mostly silent, yet always smiling, for she knew the secret of making light and tender pillows made of potatoes and flour. Continue reading

egg raviolo

Egg Raviolo with Pesto and Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

This egg raviolo was inspired by the Uovo in Raviolo ‘San Domenico’, a dish I had at Davanti Enoteca in San Diego’s Little Italy last weekend.  The raviolo, which I learned from the friendly waitress is the singular form of ravioli, was filled with an egg yolk lying on a bed of ricotta and spinach.  As I broke into the raviolo for a bite, the runny egg yolk oozed all over the pasta and melded with the brown butter to form a luxurious sauce.  It was a simple dish, but the creamy and silky texture of the egg mixed with the ricotta, butter, and sage was exquisite. I knew I had to replicate this stunning dish at home. Continue reading

my urban vegetable garden


Chris & I devoted most of the last week of August working on our new garden.  Chris tilled and leveled the soil and removed some tree roots left by two huge trees in preparation for the placement of four new raised beds he built.  I had it fairly easy; I was in charge of  selecting, buying and planting all the vegetables and flowers.  I included flowers around the vegetables to add splashes of color amidst all of the green foliage.  I also transplanted all the herbs that were scattered around in different pots to a single raised herb bed.  Now most of my herbs – French tarragon, Greek oregano, Italian parsley, rosemary, sage, lemon thyme, and garlic chives are together.  I also have basil but I read that it is the perfect companion to tomatoes so I planted them together in a separate pot.  The basil is supposed to keep insects away and even enhance the flavor of the tomatoes.

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