My day of marinating went well. I hope my dinner guests like pickled peppers because they all are getting a jar as a parting gift.
Tom & I went out last night with friends Mike & Caryl, who introduced us to another fun couple, Nancy & Zach. Nancy picked out the restaurant, Jasper. Tom knew one of the owners, Eyvind Johanessen, from way back. It's such a small world. The service was good, totally unpretentious & the food was amazing. Jasper is a chill, fun place. It's our new favorite restaurant.
We are putting together our costumes for tonight. I'll reveal them tomorrow. Keep in mind that they are not Politically Correct or for the faint of heart.
I'm off to the market to get all the things I need for cooking today. I'm also going to pick up stuff to make my gravy on Monday. I did have my grandmother's sauce mastered, but the last time I made it I doubled the size, which means I doubled the ingredients & it just didn't taste right. So, on Monday, I'll try again. I still haven't figured out what to make for the third course. I want to make a simple fish or chicken dish that complements antipasto & lasagna. O.k. all you chefs out there, any suggestions?
I'm sooooo tired! I worked late last night & I'm headed back to work now. My last customer of the night was Dr. Dre. I thought he was Chuck D. I'm not really into rappers, but he was nice.
Tomorrow is cooking day. I'll put on some Frank Sinatra & let the marinating begin.
The Red Sox won & they are from Mass. So, maybe this will give fellow Mass. resident John Kerry, a political boost. I know my site is about food, decorating & family, but I'm also very passionate about politics. I've kept the election out of the content so far & it's been killing me! I'm totally freaking out about this election!! It's less than a week away. What if W wins again? It could be disastrous. So, please keep this in mind when voting; The president of the USA should be smarter than your average goldfish.
My dinner party will take place next Saturday. The Raffs have rsvped already. The antipasto course will feature cured meats, Italian cheeses, olives, etc. I'll be making roasted red peppers, which is my very own recipe & Momma's pickled peppers & marinated mushrooms. This will be my first attempt at the pickled stuff. I'm going to make them a week in advance so they really have a chance to soak up the vinegar.
I don't have any new info on my sister or the baby, but I'll keep everyone posted.
My Mom went ahead & picked out centerpieces & favors for the baby shower without me. She went with an autumn theme. I was bummed because I really wanted to make the centerpieces & favors and add them to my portfolio. I am working on becoming the next Domestic Diva, afterall! I'm still in charge of designing the the baby's nursery.
On a serious note, my sister is having major health problems & her little guy may be here in a couple of weeks instead of Xmas time. Can everyone keep their fingers crossed, say a prayer, chant, do a sacred dance or whatever, for her & my nephew?
I decided to throw a small dinner party in a couple of weeks. This will force me to test out many recipes. I'm still planning the menu. I'll probably start with an antipasto followed by lasagna. I haven't figured out the third course yet. For dessert I would love to make my Aunt Maria's cheesecake, so I hope she is willing to share the recipe.
I live in NYC & yes, I'm a Yankees fan, but, the Red Soxs won fair & square. They totally out played our team & obviously they really wanted to win more. And besides, the curse is not fully broken unless they win the World Series. So, we'll just have to wait & see what happens.
Halloween is next week & Tom & I have not come up with our costumes yet. Usually by now we have already begun making them. I was a dark angel last year & Tom was my victim. I made a gown with a long train(which was stepped on all night) & I had huge black wings(that kept getting stuck in the crowd), so this year, I want to keep it simple. I don't want to sew anything & I want to be comfortable. Tom likes to be scary, gory things & I like to be pretty, fantasy things. And we like our costumes to kind of go together. We have already been Anne Rice vampires & Little Red Riding Hood & The Big Bad Wolf. Anyone have any ideas?
My mom & I are planning my sister's baby shower & we are having some major disagreements. First she wanted to hold it on Halloween & have that as our theme. I talked her out of that. Then we were going to do a tea party. We decided not to do that since my sister is having a boy. Well yesterday she called & wants to do a Xmas theme. The shower is a month and a half before Xmas. It's a baby shower. That's the theme! You know, baby things, teddy bears, bottles, the color blue, etc...My mother said that she wants to do a holiday baby shower because my nephew is scheduled to arrive right around Christmas time. Well, my sister is having some health problems and the doctors think that they may have to take the baby early. So, he might be a Thanksgiving baby instead. Uh-oh, my mom may want to use pilgrim hats as centerpieces.
We booked a flight last night, so we are going to Costa Rica. I also made eggplant parmesan yesterday. It came out good. We have so much left over that we'll be eating it for a week. Maybe I'll freeze some. I'm very into freezing things lately. My grandmother always makes large portions & sticks some in the freezer. I used to think that was crazy, but not anymore. I made a huge pasta sauce a few weeks ago, broke it down to individual portions (with meatballs & all) & froze it. Last night I took one container out, popped it in the microwave & presto, instant homemade gravy(that pasta sauce to the rest of you). I'm going to ask for one of those vacuum sealers for Xmas. Then I can continue my latest obsession in style.
Tom has a big B-day coming up at the beginning of December. He wants to go somewhere cool, so he decided on Costa Rica. We've been looking into it & I'm beginning to feel stressed. I want to go, but it's so close to Xmas and Costa Rica isn't cheap. I can't say no because I had a big B-day a while back & he took me to Paris. Maybe, I'll win the Mega Millions Jackpot soon!! Hey, you never know.
This weekend I'm making eggplant parmesan. I really don't like eggplant. Tom's not a big fan either, but it's an Italian classic. Oh well, maybe I'll test it on some neighbors.
Last night Tom & I got all dressed up & went to Carnegie Hall to see Brian Wilson. He played lots of Beach Boys classics, but he also played his entire new cd, Smile. Smile is a very elaborate rock symphony. It was a great show. There were some people smoking weed at the show, which was so funny to Tom & I . Marijuana & Carnegie Hall just don't seem to go together.
I had a very busy weekend. I worked very hard on my soon to be nephew's nursery. It looks great so far, but there's still much more to do. I still have to make curtains & find accessories. I had a great little helper, my Mom's new man, Ken. He was very handy.
Momma & I made manicotti together. They came out great. They are not difficult to make, but, they are definitely time consuming. Momma did send me this recipe about a month ago, but she forgot 3 major ingredients, so it's a good thing we did this together. We also made a couple of pizzas. Poppa was our taste tester. He liked everything (when it comes to food, he always likes everything).
I'm leaving for R.I. on Saturday & I'm so excited about working on my nephew's room. I guess my sister & I will spend a good deal of time at Home Depot getting all of our stuff. That's fine with me because I love Home Depot. I think I love it there more than Ikea.
I will also be cooking with Momma, which should be fun(I hope). I'm also going to try & gather recipes that I am missing, like my Mom's lasagna & Auntie Maria's famous cheesecake. I'll take pics & let you know how everything turns out. Have a good weekend!!
This is so simple. I think it's all about the butter.
Italian bread, sliced thin
American cheese (preferably white), 3 slices per sandwich
Slightly overlap 2 pieces of cheese in the center of bread & allow 1/4 of inch of the cheese to hang over top & bottom of bread.
Layer third piece of cheese on top, in the center.
Butter both sides of the sandwich.
Place a couple of slices of butter in pan & set over low heat & melt.
Cook until both sides bread are golden brown.
You can also add bacon or sweet Italian sausage (sliced). Cook bacon & sausage first. Place on paper towel to remove excess grease & then add to uncooked cheese sandwich.
My cousin Dina, kindly(I think it was kindly), pointed out an error in my last entry. I referred to manicotti as stuffed shells, but they are different. Manicotti are crepes & stuffed shells are pasta, but, they are both stuffed with similar ingredients, at least in my family.
People have asked for my grilled cheese recipe, so I'll post it soon. Some people are also asking for the wine & pepper biscuit recipes. I'm still testing them. I probably will not post those since they will be part of the cookbook. If I post all of my family secret recipes, then no one will want to buy the book. So, please bear with me. I'm working on it & I will definitely share other recipes on the site, including Italian ones.
There's not much to report on the cooking front. I've been working many extra days & nights. I've also been working on designing my unborn nephew's nursery. I'll be in Rhode Island next weekend & I'll start painting & putting his room together. I will also be receiving a cooking lesson from my grandmother. She's going to show me how to make manicotti, otherwise known as stuffed shells. Italians in R.I. call them
mon-a-gauth. My grandmother has not seen my website yet, so, I'm going to take to a my sisters house & show her. I'm not sure what her reaction will be, but I'll let you know.
I have been working a lot at the restaurant, which always makes me miserable. I have lots of things coming up that require extra cash; my sister's baby shower, Tom's Birthday, & a wedding next weekend in RI. Columbus weekend, I'm going solo to an old friend's wedding. I'm not too thrilled about it, but Tom will be in V.A. pitching a movie of his. The idea of being dateless is bad enough, but, I really don't want to go in the first place. I love my friend, but, we've definitely grown apart over the years. I'm just wondering if we will even see each other again after she is married. Has that happened to anyone else? It seems as though I go to some of my friends' weddings & I do not see or hear from the bride or groom again(or until 2 years later when they have a baby,to be invited to the christening). What's up with that?!?