Tag Archives: Spaghetti

Gift Guide Part 2

Today’s Gift Guide is for ‘The Cooks’ in your family and friend circle. This can be a particularly difficult category because it’s hard to know what kind of equipment they already have or if they have personal loyalties to a specific brand. One tip is to buy them an accessory to something you know they already have. Like a soda syrup, a Kitchen Aide attachment, or maybe a braising base for the Dutch Oven they got last year. Here are some of my thoughts on original ideas for the cooks in yourlife.

Okay, I know monthly food clubs sound a little corney but I gave my dad a wine of the month club gift for 3 years in a row and he lovedit! Also, one of my brother’s best gifts to me was a hot sauce of the month club! New on my radar this year is Murray’s Pair of the Month Club. Cheese paired with honey, chocolate, chutneys and more!
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So this is a little gadget-ey but I think it serves a lot of purpose! The foodpod
is a little silicone steamer basket. The one I have is metal and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to maneuver pulling it up without burning myself! I can also see this foodpod jamming perfectly into my disorganized utensil drawer.
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Lately, my family has been obsessed with smoking meat. We even smoked a turkey this Thanksgiving. I did some research and found the Nordic Ware Ovengot some great reviews and it can be used indoors and outdoors. Note of caution, just about every review who used it inside said your house will probably smell for a little bit…but who cares!!!
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If you have some female cooks and bakers Anthropologie has a cute rolling pins and kitchen mits and towels
I also really like the vase they use for utensils. Maybe that utensil draw of mine could benefit from something like that!

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And I couldn’t complete my guide without a little pasta for my little rolotini’s!! So when it comes to pasta making I’ve used my Kitchen Aide attachment and the Imperia tabletop one, both work really well. The Imperia can slide a little if your table isn’t even and only has like 3 settings. The Atlas pasta maker
has lots of different attachments for your basic pappardelle, spaghetti, even ravioli! But then goes really specific for noodles like reginette (like ribboned papardelle, translates to little queen, that’s my kinda noodle!).

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And lastly one final gadget is this Spaghetti measurer. No matter how many times I make spaghetti for myself, I could still use a little guide in portioning out one of my favorite food groups!

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Great Food, Good Hearts

City Harvest has posted their 2010 Edition of Great Food, Good Hearts, a guide to New York’s most generous restaurants.  One of the great things about food culture in New York is that sucessful chef’s and restauronteours are so generous to those in need.

Download the full list here: http://www.cityharvest.org/restaurant-guide/Picture 1

Some of my personal favorites on the list:

Hearth – 403 East 12th St.  Great ambiance and focus on season, and locally sourced ingredients.

Scarpetta– 355 West 14th St.  Based on previous posts one can gather my slight obsession with this place.  A portion of the famous spaghetti dish goes to charity!

The Stanton Social– 99 Stanton St.  Creative menu with a great ambiance.  Awesome for sharing and big groups.

Rickshaw Dumpling Bar– 61 West 23rd St.  A neighborhood favorite, Anita Lo took a great product and adapted it to modern face-paced living.  And the truck is fun to follow on Twitter!

Tabla – 11 Madison Ave.  Solid Indian food (even my plane jane mother loves this place!) with awesome service and ambiance.

Dawat Haute Cusine of India – 201 East 58th St.  Another Indian classic.  Some Indian friends took me here and I was widly impressed!

Hudson Cafeteria – 356 West 58th St. I also feel so NY posh when I go into the Hudson Hotel.  And this restaurant has great food and the open kitchen pit makes for great entertainment.

Honorable Mentions that are on my hit-list:

Aldea – 31 West 17th St.  Has been getting great reviews and Mediterranean flavors sound great!

Annisa– Anita Lo is an awesome chef and contributor to the community.  Would love to patron her place!

Blue Hill– 75 Washington Place.  One day when the gods of reservations work in my favor!

Dirt Candy – 430 East 9th St.  Such an interesting concept on modern vegetarian, and always on the food blogs

The Little Owl – 90 Bedford St.  Joey Campanaro is another great contributor to the community.  Would love to stop in for the famous meatball sliders!

Locanda Verde – 377 Greenwhich St.  Right up there with Blue Hill and the gods of reservations.

Market Table – 54 Carmine St.  I met Mikey Price at the New York Wine and Food Festival Chef’s panel.  I real believer in educating kids about healthy eating.  My kinda guy!

Any of the Momofuku’s

Spice Market – 403 West 13th St.  I can’t believe I haven’t made it there yet!

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Peace Love and Pasta!

That was how Chef, Scott Conant of Scarpetta signed my NY Cooks – 100 Recipes from they City’s Best Chefs cookbook which I received at the book’s panel discussion over the weekend as part of New York City’s Wine and Food Festival.  Somehow the pasta gods joined forces and a reservation opened up for early Sunday evening (the best time for Italian Sunday Dinner).

One of the topics on the panel discussion was how has the economy effected your business.  Many chef’s including Scott replied that the ego has gone out the window and really making the guest feel welcome and taken care of  has prioritized in economic turmoil.

Walking into the magnificent dining room of Scarpetta the feeling of being welcomed could not have rung more true.  At least 4 different people welcomed our family and hoped that we enjoyed our dinner.

One of the inspirations for Scarpetta, which in Italian means ‘little boot’ also happens to be the shape taken on by bread when you dip it into olive oil.  Scarpetta encourages the bread bowl throughout the entire meal so you can gather up the last bits of the incredible sauces on the plate.  And indeed I did!!

Also encouraging was the ability to share plates to ensure maxium tasting abilities.  A nice touch was the division of the dish onto two sharing plates as seen below with our pasta course.

We of course had to try the signature spaghetti dish with a portion of the proceeds of the dish going to City-Meals-On-Wheels.  That accompanied by the seasonal flavors of Pumpkin Tortellini!  Second course was split between the Imported Turbot  served with root vegetables and pumpkin seeds, and the Sicilian Orange Spiced Duck.  For dessert, Pear and Almond Tart with Ginger Gelato accompanied by some Limoncello and Fragoli Strawberry Liquor.

Some of my favorite “Nice Touch” moments were the simultaneous unveiling of our dishes from under the ceramic food lids, folding of the napkins if you got up from your seat, constant flow of water, a visit from General Manager, Jeffery Tascarella, the restaurant support for farm-fresh ingredients, and I noticed that the bartender brings your drinks from bar to table upon your tabling being ready.  Ultimate “Nice Touch” was of course Scott Conant visiting our table at my request to the waiter.

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Spaghetti Doesn’t Grow on Trees ya’ know!

Except in Switzerland that is.

Spaghetti Trees

BBC documentary about the Spaghetti Trees

Contrary to popular belief it was not the Italians who created spaghetti rather the Chinese noodle was the earliest evidence of the form we know today.  The Italians were actually chowing down on pasta in the form of gnocchi-like dumplings when the Muslims down in southern Italy (around the 12the century) developed pasta from grain to the long thin shape we know today along with its ability to be dried out and stored for months or even years.  Possibly, Muslim traders with links to Arab trade routes to China were tipped off about this fantastic dietary staple.

In the 19th Century pasta factories were popping up all over Italy and by the end of the century it reached the United States.  Restaurants called it Spaghetti Italienne, a soogy noodle with tomato sauce diluted with broth.  Yum!  A few decades later some genius decided to adapt the recipe with some garlic and peppers.

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