Spaghetti & Fontina-Stuffed Veal Meatballs

Lately, my pasta dishes have kind of obviously been focused on comfort-food, and this is no different. Today, we have another classic dish, with a little twist to make it something special: spaghetti and fontina-stuffed veal meatballs.

Spaghetti & Fontina-Stuffed Veal Meatballs

I decided to make my own tomato sauce, but I struggled with it. When I say struggled, I don’t mean that making the sauce was hard–far from it! The real difficulty was resisting my temptation to over-complicate things and throw in all sorts of herbs and spices. I decided for once to give the classic Italian cooking mantras a chance and to let the tomatoes speak for themselves, hoping they wouldn’t let me down. As it turns out, the tomatoes heard my prayers and they came through! I didn’t have any great fresh tomatoes, but I did try a recommendation for a click to read more…

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Nutella Crêpes w/Strawberry & Banana

Crepes were always a rare but special treat for me as a kid. When we’d go on family vacations, there would be a few places that we absolutely had to go to for breakfast so we could have crepes. As simple as they are, something about them is just always a delight, and so for breakfast (or a dessert), today we have nutella and fruit (strawberry and banana) filled crêpes.

Crêpes — nutella & strawberry, nutella & banana

Given how special crepes were to me as a kid, when I was much younger, my brother and I had tried to make crepes for my mother on Mother’s Day (fancy schmancy breakfast in bed–what more could you ask for? 😮 ). Of course, having no real knowledge of cooking and a box of pancake mix did not spell success–along with the fact that we didn’t notice that the box was about two years past expiration. To make a long story short, those crepes were henceforth known as “craps,”… click to read more…

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Moroccan Beef Stew

After the last Moroccan dish I made, I simply had to have more. The approach to cooking the food is simple, the spices strong and seductive, and the end result is uniquely complex and delicious. Really, my first experience woke me up to a whole new genre of food that I had to explore. Today: a Moroccan Beef Stew.

Moroccan Beef Stew

Combining my new regional food interest with my newfound obsession with braising, this stew just made a lot of sense. Plus, this was an exciting opportunity for me to crack open the jar of preserved lemons that I had started so long ago–finally, after all of the suspense, I could discover what all the fuss was about. And you know what? They really are unlike anything else. Clearly lemons in appearance and flavor,… click to read more…

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Osso Bucco

I love veal, and if I could eat veal all the time, I would. Unfortunately, its one of those foods that caught something of a reputation that it doesn’t entirely deserve. This makes enjoying it all the more difficult though since not everybody you’re cooking for will approach or even consider veal quite the same way as you (a veal lover, of course). I however, couldn’t hold back the craving any longer and I went right for the veal dish that is one of my all-time favorites: osso bucco.

Osso Bucco plated atop some mascarpone polenta

If you’ve never had osso bucco before, you really have to try it. This is one of those dishes that, I think, always leads to full bellies, happy guests, and clean plates. Why? Osso bucco is a beautiful, Italian preparation of veal that really shows off the unique flavor and tender qualities of the meat with the culinary sensibilities of Italian cuisine.

You start with a thick, tough cut of… click to read more…

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Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

Poltena is a delicious, creamy side on its own right, but with more cream, butter, and some luxuriously rich mascarpone, you have a very rich side dish indeed.

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

This is a very simple dish and something of a blank canvas for anything you’d like to color it with (sort of like risotto–the awesome rice that demands equally awesome additions). My reason for keeping it simple will be clear in the next post (I served this as a side-dish), but if you’d like your polenta to stand out more, you’ve got many options: mushrooms, squash, beans, greens, ham, formed and deep fried–it all works and works wonderfully. Heck, you could even employ it in desserts. But additions aside, polenta, at its core, is simply boiled cornmeal, cooked and whipped so as to be light, puffy, and creamy, sort of like having a rich porridge that ever so faintly resembles cornbread. Its a good, comforting side dish that leaves a lot… click to read more…

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Moroccan Lemon & Olive Chicken

This is my second venture into the world of Moroccan flavored food (the other part: a delicious side of tagine veggies) and was the original dish that prompted me to start preserving lemons. A whole chicken is braised and simmered in an herby, lemon-olive sauce, and is then cooked in a tagine for a delicious, savory meal.

Lemon & Olive Chicken (breast meat)

The dish sounds pretty simple and the name, also, simple–simple enough that you might doubt the flavors. I mean, yeah, lemons are good and olives are good, its a curious pair, but will it really go anywhere?

Well, I really can’t do the chicken justice–the combination of lemons and olives simmering in a slow heat, somehow, some way, brings out the best of those two to create something new and exciting. They just sort of merge into one harmonious taste. The chicken itself is spiced in a… click to read more…

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