I love to cook.  More than that, I love to eat.  So its very easy to make the jump of combining the two loves into one big fat delicious LOVE.  Here you will find some great recipes for dishes like Steamed Mussels, Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Fennel with Anchovies and Sambucca, Blueberry Pancakes.  You get the picture, good stuff!  You can post a recipe too and together we can be chefs of the city (or the country if that is where you live).  Also, I'll be telling you about some of my favorite restaurants around town.  So enjoy!   

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Urban Food


Linguine Con Panchetta e Tonno Rivera!

     That my friends is linguini with Panchetta,(Italian bacon) and tuna. So very good and so easy to make. The story of how it came about originally is one night I was very hungry!  And very lazy, which ment I did not want to go to the market, which is what I normally do every day to see what's fresh, and what strikes my fancy. So instead I rummaged through my pantry and came across a can of Italian tuna packed in olive oil, a package of linguini and in the fridge, some Panchetta.  Voilà, the proverbial light bulb went off in my head and I thought, "why not mix all this stuff together and make a dish??!!"  If it fails, so what, I've got some good wine to wash it down with and nobody's here to see me scarf it down anyway- which I would have done, win or lose. 

   But it didn't fail. And here's how to make it. 

1/2 package linguini or linguini fini

1 can Italian tuna packed in olive oil

3 strips of Panchetta or bacon

hot pepper flakes to taste

   Fill your pasta pot with water and add a LOT of coarse sea salt until the water actually tastes like the sea. 1/2 cup is norm. While waiting for the water to come to a full boil, fry the Panchetta until crisp and crush it. ( however you do that is your business, I used my hands).  Put aside. When linguini is al dente, drain it and add the tuna which you have drained HALF the oil out of, and the crushed Panchetta. Add the pepper flakes and mix liberally. Plate it and drizzle extra virgin olive oil and grate fresh parmigiana -reggiano over it. 

   Now a word on tuna. No, no, no you can't use Chicken of the Sea chunk light packed in water. Italian tuna like the brand name, Tonno, for instance, is higher grade tuna and it is packed in olive oil, which you must use part of to make this dish. Plus it looks cooler doesn't it, if you're trying to impress someone and you're using imported fish in your Italian dish!  

   So there you have it dear readers, Linguini con Panchetta e Tonno Rivera. Serve with a nice Dolcetto or Pinot gris or with an ice cold beer!  Buon Appetito!


Pasta Puttanesca!


Poulet Avec Crème fraîche Rivera!

   I think on a Summer evening people want to eat something light, refreshing, yet filling.  And I have created the perfect meal to fit that bill!  Poulet Avec Crème fraîche.  That is Chicken with Crème fraîche.  This is a dish that has the light yet satisfying protein of breast of chicken in a savory, citrus tinged, herb infused cream sauce over penne pasta.  Served with a crisp mineraly, lemony Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, can it get any better than that?  I think not!  And this is how you make it.  

1 boneless chicken breast

3 tbl olive oil

1 pat butter

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs-thyme, sage, marjoram

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 small shallot chopped

1 cup New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

3 tbl Crème fraîche

2 tbl chopped Italian Parsley

1-2 cups pene pasta



   Fill a large pot with water and add LOTS of salt, doesn't have to be sea salt for the pasta.  Why lots? Contrary to many pasta recipes that call for a tsp of salt for a pot of pasta, truly great chefs use lots more.  This is because the pasta water is the first step in the seasoning of your pasta.  Trust me, in this case, MORE is more.  I try to achieve in my pasta water the taste of sea water.  Try it, you'll be amazed at the difference.  Also add about a tbl of olive oil.  And it doesn't need to be said that when olive oil is mentioned, extra virgin is the default.  And when it comes to water and pot size, go for big.  You want to give the pasta room to swim around.  That reduces the starch and the stick factor.  So now you have your pot of 'sea water' over flame, proceed to the rest of the recipe.


   Pound chicken breast between 2 sheets parchment paper or in a plastic bag until musle fibers are broken or perhaps reduced in thickness by half.  heat in a skillet at just under medium the olive oil and add the garlic and shallot and a pinch of the herbs.  Sauté for about 1 minute, DO NOT BURN.  Add chicken breast.  Turn up heat to medium and brown on both sides.  Remove from pan.  Add wine and butter and scrap the bottom with a spatula so that the scrapings become part of the sauce.  Add the rest of the chopped herbs and the salt.  Reduce at medium until half gone, stirring frequently.  

   Another break from method.  Why did I specify a certain type of wine from a certain country as opposed to any dry white wine?  Good question.  And yes, you can use any white.  BUT, I have found that the Sauv blanc's from New Zealand have a very special citrus quality to them that lends itself very proprietarily to this dish.  It gives it a clean, lemony flavor that offsets the other creamy buttery aspect and makes your taste buds just jump, some say, with joy!  So onward.

   Once reduced, place breast back in the pan.  Cover and reduce heat to 1/4.  Add pasta to boiling water and stir, or if timed right, pasta will already be on the boil.  Sauté chicken breast for about 5 minutes, or until done, turning a few times.  Do not overcook.  Drain pasta into colander and add the Crème fraîche at the very end into pan with chicken.  Stir in and simply warm.  Plate breast and pour pasta into the pan and stir, coating it thoroughly.  Pour onto plate and garnish with chopped parsley.  

   This dish pairs extreemly well with the Sauvignon Blanc, its sharp minerality cuts through the creamy dish like a hot knife through butta!  A couple of good ones are Kim Crawford http://www.bevmo.com/Shop/ProductDetail.aspx/Wine/Sauvignon-Blanc/Marlborough/Kim-Crawford-Wines-Ltd/Kim-Crawford-Sauvignon-Blanc-12/_/R-4-11706  and Matua, 


both of which are excellent.  Crème fraîche can be bought at Trader Joes, Sprouts or any fine grocery store.  

   Make this dish, its really far more simple then it looks and you'll thank yourself!  Of course the recipe is for one and if need be can be doubled etc.  




Seared Ahi Tuna 2!  

MMMM MMM!  Here's a very cool way to prepare seared tuna.  Prepared right, with some lemon and wasabi, it is the perfect high clean protein, low calorie dinner known to man!  


Summer Afternoon Lunch

   I like sandwiches as much as the next guy.  But sometimes you step it up a notch without hardly anymore effort and have a class A lunch that you'd have to pay an arm and a leg for at a fancy-schmancy restaurant downtown.  No?  

   This is the European Provincial style -simple, fresh food, cooked quick with no fuss and muss but so delicious!  A trip to the Farmer's Market for fresh mussels, heirloom tomatoes and some fresh peaches.  Then its out to the garden for some fresh picked herbs, marjoram and thyme. 

   Here's how to make the mussels!  

   In  a sauté  pan, pour in some olive oil.  Put heat a bit over low and add chopped garlic, chopped marjoram and thyme.  Sauté until soft but do not burn.  Maybe one minute.  Add mussels and some butter.  Pour in wine.  Amounts vary depending on the size of the pan and the amount of mussels.  Raise heat to medium/high and sauté  until mussels open- about 7 minutes.  

   Serve with crisp baguette, cheeses, olives, and whatever else you like that is fresh.  All this is washed down with a crisp dry rosé or a Chablis, or an ice cold beer.  And there you have it, a perfect Summer lunch, best served outside and best served in a garden if you have one.  From start of prep to serving, perhaps 15 minutes.  Bon Appetit!