Pappa al Pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato Bread-based Soup)

When I got married, my wife I honeymooned in Italy, taking a slow, meandering trip through Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. Every aspect of that trip was a dream, and the food was no exception. One very friendly restauranteur in Florence insisted that we absolutely had to try his soup before we ordered dinner, telling us it was a traditional, Tuscan tomato and bread soup, called Pappa al Pomodoro.

My wife and I, at a loss for what to try, decided to try his recommendation, and soon enough two intricately decorated bowls were brought before us with a hearty portion of this thick, chunky, most amazing smelling soup. In the blink of an eye, we both emptied our bowls and licked them clean. Needless to say, the restauranteur was smiling ear to ear. We stopped back at the same restaurant for another bowl the next day, and I’ve done my best to recreate it here after some of… click to read more…

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Pan Fried Grouper with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

My ongoing quest to more regularly eat fish continues, but like with anything, some times, you just have a craving for simple, strongly flavored dish, so this dinner was such a quickie. I was in the mood for something garlicky, so I decided to make a cream sauce that focuses on roasted garlic and poured it over breaded, pan-fried grouper.

Like chicken parmesan, this is simple and delicious. The fish has a nice, crisp, tasty crust with a tender, flaky inside. The sauce, despite its modest appearance, has a creamy, round, full flavor that just explodes with that delicious, nutty, roasted garlic flavor. Unfortunately, your breath won’t help you make any friends in the short-term, but everyone should go on a garlic bender once in a while, right?

  • 1.25 lb red grouper
  • Sauce
    • olive oil
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 1 small shallot

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Quadruple Berry Crumble

Some desserts are decadent, elaborate, and call for a lot of careful planning and effort. This isn’t one of them. Some times, you just want something quick, simple, and delicious. This rustic-looking treat fits just the bill and is very easily tweaked to whatever fruit you have handy. With a crunchy, nutty, crisp top layer, and a gooey, temptingly sweet mix of red currants, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, this Quadruple Berry Crumble will hit the spot.

The berries are delicious in their own right and I love the balance of sweet and tart achieved by this mix, but I also wanted to add a few other subtle flavors to the mix. I love the mix of strawberries and balsamic vinegar, so the dark, sophisticated sweet flavors of balsamic were in. I also chose to enhance the sweetness with a bit of ground black pepper (it sounds strange, but try it!… click to read more…

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Veal Shoulder Steak with Port Fennel Mushroom Sauce

Like most braises, this isn’t quite hot-summer-day food, but if you can’t wait til winter (and given the seasons for one of the key ingredients, winter isn’t possible), this is a good dish for a gloomy, rainy day when you want something hearty to warm you up from the inside out. First, a fennel bulb (a fun vegetable to work with) is caramelized and braised with mushrooms to make a delicious side dish and leave a strongly flavored broth behind which, combined with a bit of Port, is used for braising a veal shoulder steak.

This is something of an ugly duckling. If you tell me that photo looks beautiful, I’d say you’re being polite (but I would also serve you dinner…see how much you get if you tell me what you really think of that photo! 😉 ). But that’s just fine as we all know… click to read more…

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