Saturday, February 25, 2006


well, that's what my mom always says. but i know i could never make any decent dessert without following a recipe!

like most food blogging foodies, i am addicted to cookbooks. and i have to admit, i spend more time reading them as if they were novels than actually following the recipes. my mother (who is from goa, india) recently gave me the 1989 edition of the above cookbook from india entitled "the chef" by isidore coelho. it is a book i remember seeing in my mother's hands when christmas sweet making time came around. indian sweets can be pretty complex, so she would always double check the ingredients with mr. coelho. this photo is actually of her 1964 edition which i prefer to my cover since it is a vivid visual memory from my childhood. it really isn't a book you follow recipes from since it is very vague. for example, the recipe for egg batter is:.....
"beat the required number of eggs and apply to materials for frying" and that's it!
and the definition of cooking is:
"the work done in the preparation of food by aid of fire is called cooking......" which i guess could be considered a concise definition of cooking?!
chapter 7 and chapter 8 are by far the most interesting: "a few medical hints by an experienced doctor" and "home remedies". these chapters include everything from recipe no. 1520 "hints to nursing mother" to recipe no. 1543 "ginger juice for stomach trouble". and i have to confess that after a heavy meal i often make myself a fresh ginger tea. but instead of the salt recommended by mr. coelho, i use honey. it's much tastier!

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Friday, February 24, 2006


on a recent trip to my home town of minneapolis, minnesota i had a chance to enjoy a lot of good food and some proper cocktails. some venues were old faithfuls that i never miss when i am back and some were new treats. surrounded by fantastic wine in italy i don't often crave cocktails. but when i am back on american soil i can't get enough of them! this time my pick was the standard cosmopolitan. that probably sounds boring and typical to someone who lives in the united states. but believe me, when you live in a country where cranberry juice is virtually non existent, a cosmo hits the spot! so when i sat at the bar of the 112 eatery in minneapolis and i saw the drinks they were mixing with grace and care, i opted for a cosmo and my brother for what he claims to be one of the best gin and t.'s he has ever had. fresh, clean and served with a splash of fresh squeezed lime in a chilled glass, my cosmo was the perfect companion as i perused the fabulously concise long as you aren't looking for something like fried ice cream, this menu has a unique and creative list of choices. my list of sampled dishes: lamb scottadito with goats milk yoghurt (and other yummy ingredients), duck and radicchio salad (topped with a thinly sliced egg and a east asian inspired dressing), steak tartare (mixed to perfection with the basic tartare condiments), blue prawns with rooster mayo (not one drop of oil from the fried batter and perfectly paired with the spicy rooster mayo), french fries (gotta have 'em), stringozzi with lamb sugo (the pasta and the sugo are both homemade). dishes i will try next time: the burger served on a english muffin and the carbonara that is finished with a whole raw egg yolk that you get to twirl into the pasta yourself. combined with a concept that is perfect for someone who can't eat the super size american portions, who likes to try several different dishes, this restaurant is definitely my new restaurant pick. the kitchen is open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (they take last orders at 1 a.m.), the atmosphere is intimate and the unpretentious staff makes you feel at home. so at home, that i went there 3 times on one week! and now that they accept reservations, i highly recommend that you make one.

112 eatery
112 north 3rd street
minneapolis, minnesota, 55401
tel: +1.612.343.7696

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Sunday, February 19, 2006


i am such a sucker for kitchen supply stores. i can spend hours (and way too much money when funding is available) in them, exploring every corner. there isn’t a product i don’t look at. and, i always find some funky new 'gizmo' that i just have to have. when i walked into the Kitchen Window store today my innocent intention was to browse the cookbook section and to buy a silicon bristle pastry brush. my old brush died on its last mission over my homemade breadsticks, leaving clumps of bristles everywhere. after browsing through the cookbooks, i couldn’t leave without checking out the rest of the store as well. at the end of my adventure, i left with a new pastry brush and a bamboo cutting board by Totally Bamboo in hand. the boards were all placed on a spacious shelf like works of art hanging in a gallery. what caught my eye were the simple geometric patterns and the natural golden tones of the boards. i had never seen them before but they looked gorgeous, so I had to have one...........from what i learned later, bamboo is a very durable and dense wood, and therefore not too porous - which is a good thing if you are like me and you are cutting everything from bread to squid on it! you know those plastic boards color-coded for fish, meat and veggies? they are not for me. i mix the colors up all of the time anyways and end up cutting fish on the veggie board. all of my cutting boards (until today) are olive wood and I choose the board based on size, not color. and, a simple scrub down with a piece of lemon always kills any odors left on the boards. one of my favorite perks from the purchase i made today is that bamboo is an easily renewable resource. it doesn’t have to be planted every season because it continuously pushes new stalks through the earth. that sounds like a small miracle to me! the human race is doing a pretty good job of plowing through the resources of planet earth so it’s nice to discover alternatives that encourage the conservation of our home.

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Friday, February 17, 2006


i do have an excuse for unwillingly neglecting my blog. here goes: i am back in the united states where i was born and raised, stocking up on family comfort and comfort food (and i haven't had internet access for two weeks!). eventhough i live in pastaland (i.e. italy, or food paradise) there are several things i do miss from time to time: a proper char-grilled burger, unagi sushi, indian thali, mexican tacquitos and old fashioned malts, just to name a few! however, my first stop when i am back on u.s. soil is often for some mexican flavor. my love for mexican food could be connected to the time i spent there as a small child chowing on "tortillas" and "frijoles". but my guess is that it is simply the foodie d.n.a. i was born with. so, this trip, first port of call: guacamole central. as i sipped on my icey "negra modelo" beer our chef prepared guacamole from scratch directly in a "molcajete" dish at our table.

a quick swirl of onion, cilantro and jalapeno to start.....perfectly ripe pulp from a shimmering black/green bumby skinned avocado, and another twirl. and last, finely chopped tomatoes and salt swiftly tossed with a wooden spoon. i scooped up the divine mixture with my crispy white corn tortilla chips and dove in, leaving only a few scraps for my parents.............i'll let my father demonstrate our tastebud experience:

so i wonder if my excuse pardons me for briefly abandoning my blog?!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006


i recently tasted my first no-bake cheescake. yes i know, you are probably wondering how i got through life without having had one. and i have to confess that before my first taste the other day i didn’t actually know they even existed (the no-bake version of course)! so when i was looking for a simple no-bake recipe, i found the “domestic goddess” had the answer. based on a martha stewart recipe, the “goddess” has written an extremely easy and quick no-bake recipe. i made a couple of variations to the recipe: i wanted to use lime instead of vanilla, so i used the peel and juice of one lime. and for the crust, i used the “pan di stelle” (“star bread” in above photo), a staple dry good for italian children (and for some adults like me). these yummy chocolate biscuits are decorated with little white sugar stars and work perfectly as a su
bstitute to wafer cookies for the crust. the reviews from the dinner party guests were fantastic: a gold medal for presentation, excellence for taste and divine for consistency! this is a recipe i will be using again soon. actually, i have to make a dessert for a dinner party tonight.........just had a thought: i can’t imagine it is very easy to find the “pan di stelle” outside of italy so i guess this variation will be more useful to foodies in italy.

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