September 26, 2007

Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40 in Richmond, VA!

I'm so proud of my sister. See the article here. Scroll down to Jill Bari Steinberg to see her mention!

September 25, 2007


German food is one of my favorites, and this weinerschnitzel is easy, and fast enough to make on a weeknight. Pound some veal cutlets. Salt and pepper them.

Dredge them in flour.

Give them a quick bath in an egg and milk mixture.

Pop them in some breadcrumbs.

Fry them over medium heat in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil for a couple of minutes on each side. Wait until the pan gets hot to start!

It is best not to overcrowd the pan, so I did two at a time, drained them on paper towels, and popped them in the oven (preheated to 200 degrees) just to keep them warm. I served them with artichokes and leftover pasta, but you can really use any side dish you like. If this had been a weekend, I would have made sauerkraut and maybe some spatzle- you might be able to find spatzle in the international foods section of your grocery store. I was looking for a quick fix, and this was the perfect opportunity to use my new artichoke serve ware. Another spur-of-the-moment, yet delicious, dinner saved the day...and the eggs.

September 23, 2007

Fettuccine ai Funghi Porcini! (Grazie, Amelia!)

I'm not sure if it was the Chianti, the Il Postino soundtrack, the pasta or the warm fuzzy feeling of reuniting with a childhood friend who just happens to be a foodie. An Italian foodie! Let's just say it was a combination of all of the above. This was one of those meals where you take your time, enjoying the flavors, the music, the wine and the company. The flavors were right-on- I waited all week to have the time to attempt my first real Italian meal, and this was worth the wait. Here is the recipe, in Amelia's words:

Fettuccine ai Funghi Porcini

500 gr. of porcini mushrooms - if you have no access to porcini you can use portobello mushrooms. (note: I used baby portobello)
500 gr. of good pasta - fettuccine, or large macaroni will do
four cloves of garlic (note: A standard package is 454 gr. and is what I used)
50 gr. fresh chopped parsley (note: I used flat-leaf Italian parsley)
1 crumbled red hot chili pepper (note: I used 4 good pinches of crushed and it was hot!)
olive oil
1 dab of vinegar
50/80 gr. grated Parmesan cheese

Clean the mushrooms - use no water, just rub the dirt off with a knife. Cut them in thin slices. Pour a slight veil of olive oil into a large pan. Take the skin off the garlic and press the cloves with palm of hand using the wide part of the knife. Put the garlic in the oil and add the chili pepper. Add the mushrooms and turn the fire down. Add half a glass of water, bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer and turn repeatedly for half an hour/40 minutes. At mid cooking time add a small dab of vinegar, let it evaporate. At the end of the cooking time add the chopped parsley. Meanwhile, put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta. Bring it to a boil, add a small fist full of salt, and put the pasta in to cook. Read instructions on the pasta box for cooking time. when it is cooked, drain the pasta and put it back into the pot. Add the mushrooms, the grated Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Serves 4 people. Enjoy, and tell me how it went!

The garlic and hot pepper.

The mushrooms!

I added toasted pine nuts because I love them.

Fettuccine- oh yeah!

Well, Amelia, it went quite well :). I would have liked to use porcinis, but couldn't find them fresh. Could I have used dried? The baby portobellos were delicious- the juice they cooked in with the garlic, hot peppers and olive oil coated the pasta, and the taste was amazing. When I added the cheese at the end, it got a tiny bit clumpy, but didn't hurt the overall dish. It was a lovely dinner, and is now one of our favorites. I would be happy to hear your comments- was it sac religious to add pine nuts? I hope not :) We look forward to the day that we share a meal with you and Giulio. In the meantime, I am ready for my next assignment...and the eggs.

September 21, 2007

Thank you, JB!

Lately, it has been dark when I leave for work in the morning and dark when I get home. Yesterday, there was a little beacon of light sitting on the doorstep! A sursee (surprise present) from my sister, JB (AKA Muffinface). For those of you who know JB and wonder how she got the nickname, the picture above should clear things up for you. Anyway, on to the sursee, it was this beautiful artichoke serveware. So unique and functional. You might consider artichoke serveware a want as opposed to a need. If you have ever tried to serve and eat an artichoke without adapting your dinnerware in some way, you will quickly learn that you need dishes specifically for artichokes, not to mention that the discarded leaves will look much prettier on these plates than they do on crappy paper plates. I'll pick up a couple of arties tonight on the way home and start my weekend off right and with the right accessories! Thank you, JB...and the eggs.

September 20, 2007

All Trabajo and No Juego...

It's not that I haven't been thinking about you- it's that I have been taking care of other business, which has left me too drained to be inspired in the kitchen. I do have plans, though! I recently reunited with my oldest childhood friend, Amelia. I am happy to report that she is a foodie, an Italian foodie, living in Rome. She has even given me a recipe-- Fettuccine ai Funghi Porcini! I will have it tested and posted by the end of the weekend. This is my first real Italian recipe, and I can't wait to try it.

In the meantime, how about a funny story? Two Saturdays ago, we had a guy, I'll call him "the boss", stop by to give us an estimate to trim the trees in our yard, one of which had grown so large we lost use of most of our deck. The boss spoke no English, NONE, so his girlfriend translated for him via cell phone. We all agreed on a price, and last Saturday he came back with a crew. It was a hot and humid day, and I filled a cooler with ice and bottled water for the guys. After they had been working for a few minutes, I realized the cooler might go unnoticed as we couldn't put it too close to them due to tree limbs flying everywhere. How would I tell them about the water? Brainstorm- I went online and crudely translated "here's cold water", memorized the phrase, and went outside to save the day. I caught the boss' attention and with exaggerated gesture toward the cooler and loudly (because it helps if it's louder since they can't understand a damn thing you're saying anyway)... loudly said "aqui agua frio"!! "Aqui agua frio"!! The boss nodded, walked towards me, and asked "hey, do you have any rope"? I think my eyes got as big as saucers, and I was dumbstruck, I didn't know what to I just said yes, and went to get the rope...and the eggs.

September 13, 2007

The Perfect Steak!

I have been in a slump. People say that if you try too hard for something, it won't happen. They say wait, relax, it will come to be when you least expect it. As soon as I started to give up on ever finding and cooking the perfect-tasting steak, it happened. I'll whine no more. A couple of New York strip steaks (grain fed) and a red-hot iron skillet gave me what I have been waiting for. A few minutes on each side, and I was in carnivore heaven. No need for words, I'll let the pictures do the talking.


Pretty darn good if I do say so myself...and the eggs.

Happy New Year!

Rosh HaShana translates to Head of the Year. Each year, we start off by dipping apple slices into honey and reciting two prayers, blessing God and thanking God for the fruit of the tree and asking to be renewed for a good and sweet year.

I think you will agree that each of us celebrates holidays our own way in our own hearts. The beauty of the Jewish holidays to me is that I am doing something that my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc. etc. did. It links me to the past generations of my family. Of course, I would like to think that I feel them with me each day I live, but I don't. I feel closest to them when I light the Shabbat candles or when I open the door for Elijah during the Passover Seder. The knowledge that I am carrying on a tradition thousands of years old is, at times, overwhelming for me. During those times, I feel my family members - those who are here and those who have passed on. I feel them reaching out to hold my hand, as I reach out to the next generation.

Happy New Year...and the eggs.

September 11, 2007

Cheesesteaks and An Eagles Game

The cheesesteaks turned out much better than the game did. As I watched the Eagles fumble their way to a well deserved loss to Green Bay, the pain was almost eased by these sumptuous sandwiches.

2 pounds of boneless ribeye, top sirloin or eye roll steak thinly sliced
2 medium onions (white or spanish) sliced
1/2 pound of white american deli cheese, sliced
vegetable oil
1 small container of sliced mushrooms (optional)
fresh hoagie or sub rolls

Sautee onions in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When they start to turn translucent, add mushrooms and continue to cook until just browned.

In another pan over medium high heat, add 3 tablespoons of oil. Add beef, flip constanly until cooked through- approximately 5 minutes, depending on thickness.

Drain excess liquid off of beef and add onion and mushroom mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. In pan, portion out enough for one sandwich and place cheese on top. At this point, I turn down heat a bit and just let the cheese melt.

When the cheese has melted, slice a roll and put it right down on top of the meat and cheese you separated out for the sandwich. Let it sit right on top of it for a minute- it soaks up a bit of the juicy goodness and the cheese melts into the roll. Hold the top of the roll with one hand and using a large spatula, scoop underneath, pushing the mixture up into the roll. Flip. Done!

The result is a bona-fide Philly Steak. I have had the best, and this is every bit as good. It took a few years for me to perfect my recipe- just using the wrong roll can dramatically change the outcome. If you start making these about half way through the second quarter, you'll be eating by the time halftime is over. Timing matters if you want to minimize your time in the kitchen and maximum your game-viewing time. If the Eagles' special teams had been half as good as my cheesesteaks were, the final score would have been a whole different story...and the eggs.

September 10, 2007

Grouper in Curry Sauce AKA Roy's Catch Part 2

I found the perfect recipe to use the other grouper filet caught by my friend Roy.
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Cup milk
1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
Dash of Ground Ginger

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour and curry powder. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add milk and continue to stir until sauce thickens. Add dash of ground ginger. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper to taste, lower heat and continue to cook for 3 minutes, until thickened. Cover top with wax paper to prevent skin from forming.
Put a small amount of butter in another pan and saute grouper for a few minutes on each side, until almost done through.

Drain moisture from pan and add curry sauce. Cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Serve! It's easy, and very delicious. The base for the sauce can be used with all different types of spices- I chose curry because that was the taste I was going for. It was perfect- grouper is a firm fish with substance and a nice taste- not overpowering. I doubled the recipe for the sauce because I had so much fish and it worked out perfectly. All the grouper is now a good memory, and I look forward to the next time Roy stocks me up...and the eggs.

September 7, 2007

Congratulations, JB!!!

My very own little sister, JB, was voted one of the "Top 40 Under 40" by Style Weekly magazine in Richmond, Virginia. She is an actress and has been involved with Richmond theatre since she attended college in that city. If any of you are in the Richmond area, check out Style Weekly's September 25th issue to see all 40 "kids".

JB has a blog of her own, which you can find here. She writes about her cooking adventures and misadventures, and also writes about family and friends. She has a wacky sense of humor, which you'll quickly learn if you read any of her posts. Spelling correctly is not something she concerns herself with- don't say you weren't forewarned.

So, congratulations, JB. That was good timing on their part, wasn't it? Top 40 under 40? I guess it would be your last year to be nominated for an honor like that...hee hee...and the eggs.

September 6, 2007

Primanti Brothers: Last Stop in Pittsburgh

Melt-in-Your-Mouth corned beef, provolone cheese, tangy cole slaw, onions, tomatoes and... FRENCH FRIES?!?

OK I could only manage to eat a half of a sandwich, but it was fantastic!! I wish I had the other half right now.

Here is the same sandwich, sans everything except the corned beef. Doesn't it look a little sad and lonely?

Oh yea, cheese fries to die for!

The sandwiches come with all that stuff on top!

This should be a mandatory stop for any visitor to Pittsburgh. As luck would have it, there is one Primanti Bros. outside of the Pittsburgh area, and it is in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. That fact helped to ease the pain of leaving Pittsburgh, as I waddled on the airplane for my trip home. ..and the eggs.

September 5, 2007

Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse - Pittsburgh!

Each time we go to Pittsburgh, the whole family makes a point to have dinner at Sapporo. We're suckers, we love the entertainment- and the food is delicious. Sapporo is our favorite for one simple reason- they do not put peas in their fried rice. Yes, we have an unreformable pea-hater in our family- I won't use names because I have been advised that anonymity is preferred.

First and second courses- fresh salad with ginger dressing and delicious mushroom miso soup.

Third course- the wonderful rice!

Fourth course- shrimp appetizer, with a quick sauce of butter, soy and lemon!

Do not try this at home!

Finally, my favorite item- simple and really delicious- the filet mignon.

I think I tasted each and every dish at our table- from the teriyaki beef to the salmon, and each was better than the last. This food is straightforward and cooked to perfection. Seeing it cooked by a masterful chef/knife thrower, inches from our faces, never fails to entertain. It was a great way to spend our last night in Pittsburgh...and the eggs.

Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse & Seafood in Pittsburgh

September 2, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I can't make my first impression with only one kind of cookie, so I also asked my mother for her chocolate chip cookie recipe. I have never had another chocolate chip cookie with this exact taste, and want to impress my new co-workers (see last post, below).

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used a little less)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat shortening and butter for 30 seconds on medium to high speed. Add brown and granulated sugar, baking soda and salt and beat until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much as the flour as you can with the mixer, and stir in the rest with a wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden on top.

These cookies are fantastic. You can taste the brown sugar in the dough and the dark chocolate chips add extra decadence.

You might find it corny or just plain pathetic that I am going to such lengths to make friends at work. This is a good time for a story.

My brother is the Media Relations Director for a professional basketball team. About 10 years ago, his team played in the city where my mother lives, and she went to the game with bags laden with tins of cookies. At some point during the game, she sent the cookies back for the staff, the team and the coaches. I thought my brother would die of embarrassment, but if he did, he never told me about it. The next day, everyone knew the "new guy's" name, thanks to "Jon's mom". It has become a tradition, and each year my mother shows up at that game with cookies in hand. They love her cookies. They look forward to that game because they know cookies are coming. It worked for him, and I hope it works for me...and the eggs.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

More Pittsburgh to come. In the meantime, I tried my hand at baking.

If you ever want to win friends and influence people, make up a couple of batches of these cookies. I start a new job on Tuesday- sort of. It's a lateral move and I'm just going to a different department- Labor and Employment law. I'm moving to a new office on a new floor, and want to start things off right.

2/3 cup margarine, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (can be fast cooking but not instant)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used a little less)
1 1/4 cup craisins (the organic packs are good if you can find them)
2/3 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add eggs. In a separate mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt- mixing by hand. Add that to the butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in crasins and chocolate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on cooling rack for 15 minutes, and pack into containers. My mother buys white tins from The Container Store, and layers the cookies in batches in between wax paper. I did the same, but they'll taste just as good no matter how you store them.
They're oaty, fruity and the white chocolate chips add just the right amount of sweetness. This is my mother's recipe, and it's the first time I tried it. I am very proud of myself today- these taste just like moms! The true test will come Tuesday so wish me luck...and the eggs.

Jimmy G's- Comfort, Comfort, Comfort!

Sharpsburg is an area of Pittsburgh which has seen better days. Having lived in Philly, I am familiar with this type of neighborhood decline. If you look hard enough, there are always gems which surprise. In this case, it was Jimmy G's. We went for lunch, although I perused the dinner menu and would love to go back sometime to sample their extensive menu of steaks, chops and seafood.
Although the lunch menu was varied, our party ordered strictly comfort food- here is my partner's Turkey Devonshire. The menu describes it as "Turkey or Chicken served on toast points with mornay sauce, bacon, tomato and broccoli". I never had devonshire, and I didn't order it at Jimmy G's, but I did try a bite. It was out of this world. The turkey had wonderful flavor, and combined well with all of the other ingredients. When I go someplace new, I try to order something new to me- so I tried Artichokes Romano.
You might not consider artichokes a comfort food, but if you read this blog, you might know that artichokes are my favorite food. This dish offered the best of the artichoke - the heart- thinly sliced and sauteed in a light batter. Be still my heart. A wine sauce with lemon, butter and parsley on top of crispy, tender artichoke hearts. I could eat it every day.

Cynthia's roast beef and gravy. Looked good, looked very good. She loved it. I forgot to ask for a taste. In fact, the moment I bit into one of the artichoke hearts, I sort of floated off into my own little world. That's how good they were. I will have to learn how to make these, or maybe, I'll just look forward to another trip to Sharpsburg...and the eggs.

Jimmy G's in Pittsburgh