Mock Bolognese So Good, Your Friends Won’t…Err…Make Fun of You

mock_bolognese

In a family with two working parents and a rambunctious two-year-old, I only have a few priorities when it comes to weeknight cooking. I need something relatively simple, something relatively nutritious and something relatively delicious. All three are probably a step down from how things were in the past, but I’m OK with that.

How simple? I’d really like it if my knife prep was the most time-consuming aspect of the meal. We’ve been doing a better job with nutrition by cutting out a bit of meat from our diet and focusing on more vegetables. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask that my pasta sauce taste better than Prego. So when I thought about how I could bring some of the slow-cooked goodness of bolognese to a Tuesday night, I decided to swap out the meat for mushrooms and see how I can amp up the flavor a bit.

The keys were to get a good caramelization using vegetables that didn’t take too long to break down (mushrooms, shallots, garlic), liberal use of tomato paste and a good dash of Worcestershire sauce for some sweetness and anchovy flavor. The result was a richly flavorful sauce that nicely coated the noodles but didn’t weigh it down.

Your diners might not accuse you of spending all day in the kitchen, but if I can get something this good and still have time to watch some Pajanimals with my kid, I’ll take it.

Mock Bolognese (Mushroom Ragù)

Read More
Sponsored Content

Fast Food Review: Taco Bell's Cantina Steak Burrito

cantina_steak_burrito

I’m an unabashed Taco Bell fan. It’s in my rotation of Friday night takeout options and I even braved the wilds of Orange County for the opportunity to visit their test kitchen and see where the magic is made. I’m pretty regular in my routine. I usually stick with a basic burrito, maybe a taco and almost always a beef Baja Chalupa, although I do occasionally swap it out for the not-on-the-menu-but-available-if-you-ask-nicely Volcano Beef Chalupa.

I have to take my hat off to them for the success of scientific breakthroughs like the Doritos Locos Taco, though that sort of thing always struck me as gilding the lily a bit. But what about a new product line that wasn’t a gimmick—one that stressed high-quality and fresh ingredients? That’s where the Cantina Steak Burrito comes in.

Taco Bell’s introduction of the Cantina menu was intriguing. A trip to your local shopping center will make it clear that Taco Bell is facing competition, so it was only logical that they would fend off the challenge and take advantage of the public’s desire for a more sophisticated option. So, after seeing my wife order it on a few occasions, it was time for me to see if Taco Bell had found the sweet spot between their affordable options and the higher-end products offered by its fast casual foes.

Read More
Sponsored Content

The Endless Road Trip: Philadelphia’s Top 10 Eats 7. Love on the Run

oh

As a life-long Philly guy, I think I speak from experience when I say that this city isn’t usually on the cutting edge of the latest trends and fashions.  For all of its charms, this place can be bit more traditional…parochial, even, when it comes to new ways of doing things.  So it’s no surprise that the food truck phenomenon arrived a little bit later in Philly than other cities like New York.  That said, Philadelphia has been working hard to narrow the gap a bit with some inspired new mobile options, a few of which go beyond the everyday taco truck.

Oh, sure, we have those, too.  And not just any taco truck.  An Iron Chef taco truck:  Guapos Tacos is run by Jose Garces’ local restaurant empire and serves some tasty fish tacos.  But what if I told you that there is also a Mexican-Thai fusion truck that makes creative use of a favorite kids’ breakfast cereal?  How about a truck dedicated to Trinidadian food?  That’s not something you see every day.

Read More
Sponsored Content

The Endless Road Trip — Philadelphia’s Top 10 Eats 1. There Will Be Blood…and Beets

Endless Simmer is expanding our food travel coverage to bring you reports from cities around the country. First stop: Philly. Enjoy Part 1 in our series of 10 incredible edibles the ES team found while stuffing our faces through the city of brotherly love.

I’ll admit…it’s hard for me to get excited about beets.  They are nice in a simple salad and I certainly get why vegetarians hold them in high esteem, since they add heft and substance to a meatless dish.  Still, they’ve never been something I would go out of my way to order.

But how could I resist when the menu promised Bloody Beet Steak?

This appetizer, available at The Farm and Fisherman, has been generating buzz on the local Philly restaurant scene, and for good reason. It’s not your everyday beet salad.  The Bloody Beet Steak, shown above, is about the diameter of a CD and comes accompanied by homemade yogurt and a pan jus, under a layer of (probably unnecessary) amaranth. But it’s the preparation of the beet itself that really makes the dish really unique.

Read More
Sponsored Content

Getting Salty with Anchovies

I get excited by shiny new toys in the kitchen.  Not so much when it comes to gadgets, though I do love an ergonomic vegetable peeler as much as the next guy. For me, it’s all about the premium ingredient.

And so, it was with very little apprehension that I handed over a not insignificant sum of money for a tin of what I have long been told is the crown prince of Italian umami.  Yep, you’re talking to the proud owner of more than a pound of salted anchovies.

It is a given in every Italian cookbook that you’ll encounter a section on ingredients that urges you to skip the small tins of oil-packed anchovies for their superior salt-cured cousins.  Now that I have caved and made the investment, I have to admit…it is a better product.

Yes, they’re a bit more work, as you have to clean and fillet them off the tiny bones, but we’re talking a minute’s worth of effort using your paring knife, followed by a quick rinse to remove the excess salt.  The result is a good-sized and fresher looking anchovy.  The flavor…well, I would compare it to the taste of iodized table salt versus sea or kosher salt.  The inferior option includes the main taste of the ingredient, but it also brings along a number of off-putting notes.

Interestingly, in the case of both table salt and oil-packed anchovies, it’s a tinny, metallic flavor, and I have a strong feeling that it’s what people who “don’t like anchovies” are really reacting to.  Salt-packed are subtler and have a truer, more pleasing “ocean” flavor.”

What’s the best way to showcase these beauties?  How about…

Farfalle and Broccoli in an Anchovy Garlic Sauce

Read More
Sponsored Content

Scrapple For Everyone: Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market to Expand

The little slice of heaven that is know as Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market is slated for an upgrade.

Business has been booming at Philly’s Shangri-La of gastronomic delights thanks to the overall growth in interest of food and more recently by the expansion of the nearby Convention Center. The folks who run one of the preeminent indoor food experiences in the country are going to shuffle some of the vendors around and move some storage areas underground to free up some space.

Storage areas along “Avenue D,” the aisle closest to 11th Street, will move to the basement to make room for up to five new retailers, which have yet to be named. Veteran tenants – the Spice Terminal, L. Halteman Family Country Foods, Flying Monkey Bakery, Spataro’s, and DiNic’s – will move to new spaces.

New faces are always welcome, but perhaps the biggest impact will be the relocation of a few of the big names. DiNic’s, in particular, is the proud purveyor of what I believe to be the best damn sandwich in Philadelphia.  Yes, I’m a cheesesteak man until I die, but the roast pork with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe is otherworldly.

Read More
Sponsored Content
Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »