The token post

Posted: January 7, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Obviously, after a year like 2009, many of us are looking for a change. It was not the best of years for many, and I for one am thrilled to see the back of it. With all the deaths, and all the changes, and everything that’s gone on, sometimes it’s hard to remember that just a year ago, we were celebrating one of the most amazing moments of our time – President Obama’s inauguration. I was crying at my desk, unabashedly, thrilled that times had changed and better things were on the horizon. With that in mind, I toast 2009.
Cheers to Monsier Georges DuBoeuf tooThe 2009 Beaujolais, by the way, is lovely. Get some while you have a chance.
As we move into 2010, many people are thinking and talking about resolutions. Resolving to eat healthier, go to the gym, be neater, be whatever. My friends complain about the New Years Resolutioners clogging up the gym. Food Network allegedly runs a Healthy Eating week (although I can’t watch it, because Cablevision and Scripps Networks are in a fight). People make promises to themselves and break them, and it’s all part of the cycle of life.
I’m also hoping to shake things up in 2010 although mine are more along the line of lifestyle changes, not simply resolutions to abandon.
Regardless of what you’re looking for out of 2010, eating healthier can’t hurt anybody. And the fact that this dish I’m about to tell you about is both healthy AND delicious is like a double bonus. We could all use something like that, right?
Tilapia Puttanesca Tilapia Puttanesca
Puttanesca is a sauce that has many different origin stories. My favorite is that it is easy, hot, and quick, just like the prostitutes (putana in Italiano) that invented it to feed their customers. It may or may not be true, but hey, who cares?
Ingredients: (serves 2)
2 pieces tilapia – 4-6 ounces each
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 -2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup olives
2 tablespoons capers
1 small onion
chili flake, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
4 ounces dried spaghetti

1. Put some salted water on to boil. When it’s ready, cook the pasta.  Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet.
2. Dice the onion finely, and saute it in the olive oil for a  minute or two, until it gets translucent. Add  chili flake to your taste, and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, stirring until it is all combined and delicious and whatnot.
3. Add the tomatoes into the skillet, and smash them with a potato masher. WATCH OUT. They will spit liquid back at you, which can get icky. So smash gently, but get them good and crushed.
4. Once the juices in the tomato sauce are simmering, season the pieces of tilapia lightly with salt and pepper, and chop the olives roughly.
5. Add the olives, capers, and about 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet, then add the tilapia. Cover, and simmer until the fish is cooked through, and the flavors in the sauce have melded.
Serve the fish over pasta, and get ready to enjoy. It’s delicious. It’s supposed to be spicy, so be a little bit free with the chili flake. And just as a heads-up, tilapia falls apart when you try to scoop out of its poaching sauce. So be prepared for that, and just heap a little extra sauce over. I won’t tell anyone.

Happy 2010, folks. Here’s at least one healthy new meal.

The catering side of being a foodie…

Posted: July 12, 2009 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

This weekend, my mother, my sister Paige and I threw a baby shower for my sister Leanne.  Of course, the baby shower was at Leanne’s house…so she and her husband did just as much work as we did, but its the thought that counts right?  So as usual for most family events, I ended up being in charge of food.   I have been working on this menu for a while,  but of course things like the guest list tend to guide the menu so it wasn’t truly finalized until the night before the shower when we all went grocery shopping.  We finalized the guest list at 12-15, so here is the final menu that we settled on:

Caprese tomatoes

2 loaves of antipasto bread

Chicken wraps

Roast beef wraps

Spinach Artichoke dip

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and blue sprinkles (Its a boy :) )

The roast beef wraps just had butter, and cheddar cheese.  The chicken wraps were Paige’s idea, and she spread the tortilla with cream cheese and  salsa, then sprinkled it with mexican cheese and added chicken.  It was something I wouldn’t have thought of, but they were really good.

For the spinach artichoke dip, I just used Paula Deen’s recipe which is super easy, and really good.  I haven’t found a recipe I like better yet, so I’m going to keep with that one until I find something better.  The only thing I do differently is add 1-2 cloves of finely chopped garlic…because lets face it, garlic makes everything better.

I also have to report that sadly, in the interest of time and ease, we used a cake mix for the cupcakes…so I can’t really report on that.

The antipasto bread is something that I have been making for a couple years, since I found a recipe in my mom’s recipe box.  Basically you take bread dough, once its risen completely, roll it out and then put in whatever you want.  Leanne requested pepperoni and cheese in one of them, so I just tooke sliced mozzarella and covered the dough, leaving about an inch on the outside, then I put down sliced pepperoni.  From there just roll the dough up like you would a jelly roll, pinch the dough all along the seam to completely seal it.  Score it across the top with a knife a couple times, then put it on a greased cookie sheet, seam side down and bake it at 350 for 30 minutes.    The second loaf is the standard loaf that I make.  Its the same process, but the ‘stuffing’ is different.  I take a pound of ground sweet italian sausage and sautee it with garlic and onions.  Then, once the sausage is completely cooked, let it cool down and add one package of cooked chopped spinach and parmesan until it tastes like you want it to.  Line the rolled out bread dough with sliced mozzarella, and then top it with the sausage mixture, again, leaving at least an inch perimeter at the edge of the dough.  Roll it, score it, bake it the same way, and when you open the oven 30 minutes later, you have a delicious loaf of bread stuffed with deliciousness.  I forgot to take pictures, but I make it all the time, so I will be sure to do a follow up.

Now…the dish I am most proud of.  I am a HUGE fan of the caprese salad (for those of you that don’t know, thats just tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil.  Usually with balsamic)  Its a really great summer dish, its easy, its light and its SO GOOD.  So I wanted to do the caprese, but decided to change it up a little bit.  Rather than making it a knife and fork kind of a salad, I wanted it to be more like finger food.  So I searched around and found a lot of stuffed tomato recipes, and a lot fo bruschetta recipes, but nothing that was what I really wanted.  Most of them talked about cooking the tomatoes, or doing some other crap that does not make sense to me, so I took some ideas I liked and came up with the most simple recipe on earth…and freaking delicious to boot.  I got two packages of campari tomatoes which are nice because they are like a two bite size.  I just cut the tops off of them and hollowed them out with a small spoon.  They tend to get a little wet witht he juice, so just wipe them with a towel to dry them off.  Then I took two large balls of fresh, water-packed mozzarella (try to find the firmest ones you can).  I diced the cheese fairly small, and mixed it with some fresh, chopped basil.  Then just stuff the tomatoes with the cheese and top them with some basil chiffonade.  Before you serve it, just drizzle them with balsamic, or you can serve it with a balsamic reduction dipping sauce.  Overall it worked out really nicely, and was delicious!IMG00141-20090711-1041By the way, I think this is also my best photography to date…so thats exciting too :)


Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.