Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Katie's Passion Mac

I have a new Mac! . . . I'm learning, I'm searching, I'm reading, I'm exploring and I'm anxious to push this new Apple into many different directions. I definitely will not push it into any hot caramel, though. LOL. All new. Big screen. Tons of storage. No virus threats. Amazing photo and video options for organizing, editing and sharing. Let's see how creative we can be with this wonderful technology. I'm pumped. All I need now is time! What am I talking about? I have time. It's only 1:50 a.m. and there are quite a few hours until the sun comes up. No complaints. I'm taking a nice big bite out of this apple. Thank you Mark. It's really suh-weeeeet.

Since my last post, I have had some delays with transferring files from my old computer to the new Apple, a really busy schedule with my "real" job ($ 4 Clunkers, anyone?), many various blog neglect justifications, but, NEVER MIND
all of that b.s.! Let's talk about F O O D !

Here are a few things I have eaten, cooked, drank, thought about cooking (or eating), read about, did (or thought about doing) . . . you get the point. OK. Let's see . . .

First, there was Mom's Stuffed Cabbage. Talk about comfort. Mmmmm. This was simply delicious and simple to make. Emily & I used an old, old recipe from the Antoinette Pope Cooking School Cookbook, my mom's "go-to" reference for pretty much everything. Ground beef and cooled, cooked rice, rolled up in partially cooked savoy cabbage leaves . . . piled up, covered with canned tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and slowly cooked in my grandmother's Magnalite roaster. I love that roaster so much that my mom just gave me the rest of her stash. Now I have a total of 5 Magnalite pots/roasters. These babies are built to last! Love your vessels. That's what I say. Here's a shot of the gawooomkees (LOL) on top of homemade mashed potatoes. Oh yeah. In the background is a cool and creamy cucumber and onion salad with radishes, sour cream, white balsamic vinegar, and just a pinch of sugar. Another Mom delight. Thanks, Em. It was a great night and a delicious meal.

Then, there was the olive oil cake. Kind of
unusual. I woke up on a Sunday morning and had
to bake it before I did anything else. That was
the only thing I wanted to do that morning. To
make a long story longer, LOL, I cheerfully whipped up the egg whites to stiff peaks (while
videotaping the entire process), I beat the yolks with sugar until they were thick. I sifted the flour. I reminisced about using the Vin Santo that Mark and I brought home from Santorini several years ago along with extra virgin olive oil. I was for sure in my KPK element. The entire process exhilarated me as I sipped the Vin Santo and brushed my springform pan with olive oil. I was so happy. I was happy as the lovely aromas filled Katie's Passion Kitchen. I was happy as the cake rose and domed nicely as it was becoming a lovely golden brown. I was happy when I peeked through the oven window. I was still happy while I was washing the dishes. Then, happy turned to leery as I questioned the length of time the cake was to bake. It seemed much too long and the cake looked really brown. But, it smelled nice. It was not burned and it rose beautifully, right? I gingerly removed it from the oven and inspected it carefully. Of course, I was taking pictures and even videotaping my concerns. As the sides of the cake shrunk away from the sides of the pan, the gap between the cake and the pan became more substantial. Hmmmmm. As the cake cooled, it kept shrinking. After I unbuckled the springform pan and removed it from the sides of cake, the cake looked as if I had tied a ribbon around it and squeezed it a bit. Kind of like a squashed hourglass. Or a UFO. After pondering what may have caused the shrinkage, I continued my inspection. Nice crumb, but too dense at the bottom. Nice flavor. Kind of eggy. Moist. I liked it. I knew that it had to be served by the slice with a brightly flavored fruit compote and definitely not on a pristine, show-off pedestal because this cake was NOT a looker. I tossed some berries into a pot with a few drops of water, some sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and a chunk of lemon rind. Just FYI, the natural pectin in the lemon rind (the white pith) acts as a thickener when you're heating fruit for dessert. You don't need to add any other junk to thicken your fruit. Mother Nature is awesome. I believe I heated strawberries and raspberries that day, maybe blackberries, too. I love this method of heating fruits, for example, plums and raspberries, yum. It really enhances their naturally perfect flavors and it's great to top ice cream or cake or frozen yogurt. You get the picture. Try it some time, if you haven't yet. Cool? No. Warm.

Next, there was the grilled zucchini parmesan.
This was really delicious. It was not really intended to be our main course the night I made it, but it was a perfectly satisfying main course along with a salad and some great bread. Everyone knows about Eggplant Parmesan, right? Well, this is a little lighter, since the zucchini is grilled and not fried, and it's definitely less of a mess in the kitchen. So, I had 2 blemish-free, large, firm zucchinis from my brother, Joe's, organic summer garden. We have been enjoying the fruits of Joe's labor all summer. Zucchini, baby eggplant, heavenly beans, perfect tomatoes, endless cucumbers, firm, shiny peppers, and more . . . I sliced the zucchini, tossed them in a bit of olive oil, sprinkled them with kosher salt and grilled them on my gas grill with the heat set to medium. 5 to 10 minutes on each side until they were firm-tender with nice grill marks. Before I grilled them, I made a batch of tomato sauce with some onions, garlic, fresh basil, some red pepper flakes and a bay leaf. Fave brand of canned tomato sauce and canned whole tomatoes: Dei Fratelli. My fave. Mom's fave. Teri's fave. Any fave brand switches must be immediately reported to all family members to avoid feelings of neglect or paranoia. Like, when my mom switched from Charmin to Charmin Ultra, without telling Teri, there was a problem. And . . . I don't remember Mom telling me about the switch from Tide With Bleach Alternative to Gain. Come to think of it, is Mom using Saran Wrap or Glad Wrap? If she switched without an APB, there will be trouble. These changes must be promptly communicated. Um, did I digress? Back to the zuke parm. OK. Baking dish. Layer of sauce on the bottom. Layer of zuke slices. Drizzle of sauce. Showers of grated cheese. I used Grana Padano and it was DELICIOUS. Nuther layer of zuke slices. More sauce. Lots of cheese. Then. top the whole kit and kaboodle with homemade fresh bread crumbs that you have tossed with olive oil, kosher salt, more grated cheese and a little pepper. Pop it into a pre-heated 375 degree oven, uncovered. Oh my. I love dishes like this one. Simple and hearty. I like to have fresh bread crumbs on hand at all times. I toss stale bread into the food processor and pulse it a few times. I store the crumbs in a freezer bag and use them as needed for meatballs or crusty toppings like this one!

Plus, we had wonderful evening with the Garcias and the Byttows on Sunday night, August 30th for a celebratory Italian meal. Antipasto on the patio, a little vino, a little Dean Martin, some Jerry Vale, and a couple of pounds of Pasta Bolognese in the dining room. Wish we could do that every night! Happy Birthday Steve! Thank you to our wonderful guests and hope to see Elsa and David soon in Zacatecas!
Until my next post, Buon Appetito my friends, family and fellow lovers of food and wine. By the way, read Julia Child's My Life in France when you have the time. It is a lovely and inspiring book. I am enjoying every word and every adventure with utter delight. Julia was joyful and funny and so very passionate about French food. Devour it today! You won't be disappointed. Ciao familia!

Katharine Fioretti
Owner, Creator, Author, Head Cook & Bottle Washer
KATIE'S PASSION KITCHEN

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Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew
A KPK cross between Spanish style Cod and French Boullabaisse

Smoky Spanish Albondigas Soup

Smoky Spanish Albondigas Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup
aka "Got-To-Go" Soup, inspired by Louie

MORE 4 U

From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

Love, Katie ~ I am so glad you're here! Stay awhile!

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Click on the image to link to a simple and lovely recipe at Fine Cooking

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Yes I Did

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an outdoor grill regular at the crib

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