November 2009

Red Curry Shrimp Skewers

November 30, 2009

December 1st is World Aids Day. Every year, I get out my red ribbon pin, and put it on in acknowledgement and remembrance. But in reality, I remember every single day. I have watched people I love die slowly from this horrible disease, and know that others I cherish still live with it. I have not forgotten. It is impossible for me to forget. I think about the wonderful people both here and now gone, every day.

Unfortunately, at least in the US, the AIDS crisis has taken a back seat to other issues in the public eye. It has not gone away. The drugs have gotten better, but there is no cure. Lack of attention means that people are still becoming infected. In other parts of the world, the crisis has reached epidemic proportions, leaving millions to die needlessly because they don’t have access to education or the type …

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Fleur de Sel Praline

November 29, 2009

I first made this “praline” in David Lebovitz’s recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. It is by far, the best ice cream I have ever tasted and ever made.  
But is this candy really a praline? No, probably it’s not. According to my The New Food Lover’s Companion book, a praline is a “brittle confection made of almonds and caramelized sugar.” Alternative definitions I found included pecans or other nuts. While there are no nuts in this recipe (though you certainly could add them if you wanted to), I still have no idea what else to call it and if it’s good enough for David Lebovitz, it’s good enough for me.

When it came time for me to make a dessert for Thanksgiving I decided to make a Chocolate Cake with Salted Butter Caramel. I’ve added this praline as a garnish (it wasn’t in the original recipe), …

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Restaurants in Rome; Cantina Cantarini and Armando al Pantheon

November 25, 2009

Cantina Cantarini

This is a place I came across randomly while doing restaurant research for Rome on Chowhound. Usually I troll their message boards but this recommendation came from an article on their site which had the tagline of “You can get a bad meal in Rome.” This however, was an example of what the writer considered an authentic, non-touristy place, so I filed it away in case we were in that neighborhood at some point. On the day we were headed to visit the Baths of Diocletian, we needed somewhere to have lunch and this little spot was only about 5 blocks away.

After a lengthy, hot bus ride across town, one where the bus veered unexpectedly off the map,  we walk up to the restaurant and I am praying we will find it open. I don’t have a lot of options otherwise in this area, and it’s already …

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Beet, Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

November 18, 2009
Thumbnail image for Beet, Leek and Goat Cheese Tart
I was talking to a friend the other day and she was relating to me her single girl dating angst; she’s seeing two different guys. One was “hot, but a project”, and the other was “cute, but not self assured enough.” In other words, he was the dreaded “too nice” guy.  
Considering she had just broken up with a long term project, I told her she should listen to her instincts and run as fast as possible in the other direction from Mr. Project. After all, how well had the last one worked out? As for “Mr. Too Nice Guy” she needs to listen to her instincts there as well; if she likes him, great, but if there’s no chemistry, you can’t force it.
Sometimes cooking is like that for me. I know better, but I’m doomed to make the same mistakes over and over. I need to learn to …
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Restaurants in Rome; Sora Margherita and Dar Poeta Pizzaria

November 11, 2009


When is a restaurant not really a restaurant?
When it’s a “cultural association.”



Sora Margherita

We get a little lost, trying to find this place, wandering in Rome’s Ghetto neighborhood. In fact, we have to stop and ask someone for directions and end up back in a Piazza where we’d just been five minutes before. It’s no surprise because this place has no sign or visible entrance, unless you know what you’re looking for. Stand in the Piazza delle Cinque Scole and look for the doorway with the long red ribbons/ropes (the kind used to keep flying insects out). See it? Then look closer at a metal plate on the wall next to the doorway and you’ll see that someone has hand written “Sora Margherita” on it.

There is a gentleman standing in the doorway, policing all who dare to enter. We ask for a table for four. …

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Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta and Pomegranate

November 4, 2009


I was in my favorite market last week in the middle of a produce buying frenzy (I hadn’t cooked for a while) when I had a flashback to college which froze me in my tracks. No, not that kind of flashback. What brought me back to the mid eighties, was a stack of ruby colored fruit and suddenly, there I was with my sophomore college house mate, “L.”, eating pomegranates.

I’m not sure I’d ever eaten a pomegranate before I met L, but I have memories of sitting in the tiny, funky, living area of our on-campus apartment (dubbed “Farenheit 451″ due to our address), making a mess of eating pomegranates, and laughing our asses off. Now, I can’t see this fruit without thinking of her.

Butternut squash soup is one of the easiest and most satisfying fall soups to make. It’s also very adaptable to different flavors and additions. …

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