Torn Between Two Loves


We met at this little Italian place downtown. When we were first introduced I wasn’t sure that we would hit it off, but to my surprise, after that first meal together I couldn’t get her out of my mind…

I had grown up with her older cousin and I enjoyed their similarities. Both were pleasurable, warm and inviting. Both were Italian-born and I had learned over the years that each could at times go from being bland and uninspired to rich, robust and addictive. That was always dependent upon where we would meet…

I was torn. Was it right to go from one to the other, day after day, year after year without paying a price for my indecision? But how could I choose? I loved them both so much. If only there was some way that I could combine the delicious comfort of my hot little Neapolitan delight with the classic, saucy, international flare of my first love.

But if I could, what would people think when they discovered that I’ve forced my two great loves to unite in front of me so that I might enjoy their desires at the same time? Would it be moral? Would it be proper? Could it ever really work?….

Aaah, the hell with it! Let’s do this thang!

Katt’s Two Love Spaghetti Pizza

(What did you think I was talking about?)

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Eating Down the Fridge: Leftover Turkey Parmesan

I did not make a turkey this Thanksgiving.  I let someone else tackle that particular beast. And thus, my dear husband, suffering from leftover deprivation, cooked a whole gigantic turkey on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I am not sure if it can even be called leftover turkey if it never hit the table in the first place, but in any case, come Monday, we had a whole fridge full of the stuff.  I am always trying to eat down the fridge, but I was particularly avid this time because there was no room in our itty-bitty freezer for 10 pounds of bird. If you need ideas because you’ve still got turkey sitting around yourself (or if you have the type of husband who makes a second turkey after Thanksgiving) here’s what I’ve been doing:

Round one (Monday):Barbecue Turkey Pizza.  The dough was homemade, the sauce was Sweet Baby Ray’s and the cheese was Aldi shredded mozzarella.  I promise not to judge you if you use Pillsbury crescent rolls in place of the homemade crust.

Round two (Tuesday):  Turkey Tacos. As you know, Tuesday around here is Taco Tuesday, and I would have hated to break with tradition.  For the meat, I shredded 2 c. of turkey, then put it in a pot with  1 T. chili powder, 1 T. cumin, 1 T. oregano and 1 t. salt + 1/2 c water.  Stir, simmer, enjoy with tortillas, etc.

Round three (Wednesday): Turkey Parmesan. This was the final day of the turkey takeover, not because we actually used it all, but because we just couldn’t take it any more.  What a way to end, though.

Leftover Turkey Parmesan

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Proving Mom Wrong: Salami Mozzarella Bake

A recent visit from my mother reminded me that I didn’t always have the ability to cook a meal. Claiming that cheese on toast and a bacon sandwich doesn’t count (you be the judge), she insisted that I cook for her during her visit. Naturally, I obliged.  However, during that meal I came to realize that I had in fact cooked for her—I was vindicated.  There was one dish, a dish that I have cooked a lot, but not in recent years.

A salami-mozzarella casserole bake. Ha. It isn’t a fancy dish or a dish to impress, but in these cooler months ahead it is one to add to your chili or soup collection. It’s filling and flavorful, and incredibly addictive.

It’s been over 15 years since I first cooked this dish. I can’t tell you where the recipe came from; it certainly wasn’t something I created myself and it preceded most Internet recipes. I can’t even recall the original ingredients as it’s one of those recipes you can alter to whatever suits your taste—which I have done over the years—so long as you keep the three key ingredients: salami, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Salami Mozzarella Bake

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Sandwiches in the City

New Yorkers are obnoxiously proud of our lunchtime options. We don’t do chains because we don’t have to. Not when you can find everything from banh mi hot dogs to Brussels sprouts sandwiches for under $10. That’s exactly why I’ve been so bothered by the rapid proliferation of Cosi, Pret a Manger and the like across Manhattan in recent years. Are New Yorkers really lunching at these places now? Sure, these semi-upscale sandwich chains are better than Subway or Quiznos, but I’d still take a Boar’s Head bodega roll any day of the week.

Recently entering the midtown sandwich contest and blowing the chains out of the water is City Sandwich, a Portuguese-style sandwich shop from chef Michael Guerrieri. Now, you foodies may be noting that there’s not really any such thing as a Portuguese-style sandwich. This is true. Like most refined Europeans, the Portuguese prefer to sit down and eat their meals with knives and forks. So Guerrieri, who was born in Naples, raised in New York and spent 13 years cooking in Lisbon, has taken traditional Portuguese meals and turned them into an array of newly-invented sandwiches.

The crispy bread is brought in twice daily from a Portuguese bakery in New Jersey; the insides scooped out to make room for fillings and to ensure the sandwiches aren’t too heavy. Each one is spread with high-quality olive oil and built using unique ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other sandwich shop in the world. For example, the Bench Girl, pictured above, contains alheira, a smoky, spicy sausage that was pioneered by Portuguese Jews during the Inquisition. In an effort not to stand out among their pork-eating compatriots, the Jews invented this chorizo-like link that is actually made from chicken, but looks enough like the real deal that no one could guess they weren’t dining on swine. Apparently, back in the day on the Iberian peninsula, not eating pork was enough to get you burned at the stake. Today, a little bit of pork has managed to sneak into most versions of alheira currently produced in Portugal, but it’s still a superbly rich and flavorful sausage that’s not quite like any other. It’s paired here with an omelet, grilled onions, spinach, and melted mozzarella, for a savory breakfast-y sandwich that is appropriate any time of day.

For a look at City Sandwich’s other inventive, Portuguese-influenced sandwich creations, keep reading after the jump.

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5-Hour Energy Lasagna

On my first day off from cooking in about six days, I was wondering what to do with a free day. Those taxes still needed to be done, but that didn’t sound stimulating. I finally settled on doing some cooking and eating of my own after finding the sharpest, most bad ass knife at the Asian Market for $4.99 (seriously!!). It will be a strong competitor to my $135 Shun. Taxes can wait. And after all, a killer knife is somewhat like a new outfit: it’s impossible not to use immediately.

Since cooking rustic Italian food at my new job for the last month or so, lasagna sounded pretty divine. I have no doubt that you ES-ers love some good lasagna. But if you have your own secret lasagna recipe, I would like you to add one thing to the ingredients: one 5-Hour Energy shot. No, not to put into the lasagna…to drink before commencing said lasagna making. I’m a Red Bull girl, but this 5-Hour Energy is pretty stellar. You can do jumping jacks or wrestle on the couch when it is in the oven to burn off some calories, if you’re planning on eating half of the lasagna like a champion (which I would never do).

You should also add the following to your secret family recipe for lasagna: home made pasta (I challenge you to think outside the box of lasagna noodles), good tunes (forget Sinatra, My Morning Jacket is great lasagna making music), fun stories about Friday Fuck Ups, and some box wine (Bota Box Old Vine Zin perhaps) so you can’t tell how much you’re actually drinking. Please take note that you should not cook lasagna on an empty stomach (or without an energy drink). I always like to eat an opposite-type cuisine for lunch when I’m going to cook dinner. That way your palate has been awakened and will not be dulled with the same flavors. Thai food would go nicely in this instance.

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Of Family, Tomotoes and Cookless Bacon


Editors Note: Who doesn’t love a good family bonding story – and over food no less? ES friend LC has been chronicling her grandmother’s recipes. And when I say recipe, I mean ES-style: ingredient listings, no measurements, no guidance. Luckily, LC’s mom is a culinary professional. Below they tackle Tomato Pie.

I made a comment about my project a little while ago.  My family’s recipes are kept by my grandmother in an accordion file full of scribblings and I have set out to transcribe them. The task has defeated one aunt and one cousin who said that it cannot be done because of the illegible handwriting, intentionally and unintentionally omitted items, and the color commentary (what is a “knuckle” of butter?)

I have spare time and talked my mom, a chef, into updating the recipes and gansie into posting them here for, frankly, additional help.  We made a three course meal this weekend but I will post the recipes one by one so you all can concentrate on the details much better than we could.

We’ll start with cryptic tomato pie. Read about my grandmother and mother’s differing food philosophies, cheating, and one tasty piece o’ pie below.

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