All Trains Lead to Rome

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Molti planes, trains, and automobiles later, we at last arrived at our final stop on our Italian tour, the grand city of Rome. It was Elliott’s first visit and Carinn’s third, but it is always breathtaking nonetheless. From the Forum and Colosseum to the Sistine Chapel and Pantheon, this city is filled with one ancient marvel after another.

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Michelangelo’s “Selfie”

Coming from a city that was built over the last 200 years, we were overwhelmed with the seamless juxtaposition between 3000 years of history and the modern world of Segway tours, selfie sticks, and wi-fi (though our connection at our Airbnb was still stuck in the dark ages).

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We loved the location of our Airbnb right in the center of Trastevere. The winding streets and endless selection of restaurants made for a tough decision each night. If it had wi-fi or cacio e pepe (a delicious local spaghetti made with pecorino cheese and black pepper), we were in. Though we didn’t have one bad meal during our stay in Trastevere, our favorite was Antica Pesa, an upscale restaurant with an impressive roster of celebrity visitors. Their wine “list” was a book the size of the Oxford English Dictionary and their menu featured items like cod foam and steak tartare with black truffle tapioca balls. If you’re lucky enough to dine alone like the American woman at the table next to us, you may even get a few sit-down visits from the owner who will indulge in several glasses of wine and makes effortless conversation look like an art form.

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Considering the meager amount of pasta and pizza we usually allow ourselves at home, this trip was quite the indulgence. Despite our daily orders of insalata mista, we were craving our standard dose of broccoli, kale, and other dark, leafy greens. With a kitchen of our own and a surprisingly affordable farmer’s market in Campo di Fiori, we set out to recreate one of our favorite salads.

The K+4P=D Salad

1 head of lacinato or dinosaur kale, torn into pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 pear, cubed
3-4 thin slices pancetta, fried until crispy
Fresh pecorino cheese, shaved

Dressing:
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. mustard powder
A pinch of Calabrian chili flake
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Dress the kale at least 30 minutes before serving and gently massage into the leaves. When ready to serve, toss in the remaining ingredients and add in any additional olive oil, vinegar and salt as needed (the kale will soak up a surprising amount of the dressing).

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Besides a delicious (and perhaps the best) gelato during our stay in Positano , we didn’t really dig into this frozen treat until we arrived in Rome. Enter Fior di Luna, a small ‘artiginale’ gelateria located conveniently a few blocks away from our Airbnb. Elliott had read some favorable reviews online so we decided to give it a try. We kid you not, we “tried” this place three times. From the creamy “Fred” pictured above to a pear sorbetto that was almost better than the real thing, this spot delivered, and delivered and delivered.

Elliott hard at work on the blog.

Elliott hard at work on the blog.

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Carinn hard at work with her book.

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A Week in San Francisco: Food Nerds in Paradise

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When Elliott learned he had to be in San Francisco on business two weeks in a row, it seemed like the perfect excuse to tag along and make our requisite 9:45 reservation at Rich Table (we don’t have photos this time, but the hamachi appetizer was amazing!).

We started our week in a charming airbnb in the Castro and since it was a beautiful day, we trekked up through Haight-Ashbury to Golden Gate Park. San Francisco is a very walkable city which explains the surprisingly patient drivers at crosswalks and bakeries at every corner. On our first day in town, we happened to walk into Bi-Rite, an unassuming market that is a foodie’s treasure chest. We chatted with a friendly cheese gal and walked away with a small disk of Zingerman’s — some of the best goat cheese we’ve ever tried. Combined with salami, cara cara oranges, meyer lemon yogurt, and a frangipani croissant from Tartine Bakery, we could see this neighborhood was very dangerous for our waistlines, hills or not. Continue reading

Superfood Salad with Watercress, Beets, and Goat Cheese

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A recent Time article ranked the top 41 superfoods by nutrient density. We’ve always known that dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale were powerhouses, but we were surprised to see that the clear winner, was watercress. Wasn’t that the stuff they put in those fancy tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off? The idea of pairing it with white bread cancelled out the whole health-kick we were looking for, so we came up with this salad. Watercress can be quite spicy so we complemented it with sweet, earthy beets and tangy goat cheese. Then we tossed it with a sweet dressing, sunflower seeds, and chives. The combination was quite tasty, and considering how quickly we could feel the greens working their magic, we’ll definitely be adding this to our regular rotation of salads.

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Spunky Potatoes: A Tasty New Take on Tubers

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Going into week four of my elimination diet (no wheat, eggs or cow’s milk), we were beginning to get burned out on traditional preparations for potatoes: baked, steamed, mashed, etc. We’d been pretty resourceful coming up with creative alternatives to butter, cream and wheat elsewhere in our cooking, so we decided to take a crack at putting a little ‘pep’ in our potatoes. Continue reading

Warm Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Feta, and Red Pepper

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Our younger selves would never believe this but we actually crave kale. In fact, Elliott is so obsessed, he eats it for breakfast every morning (way to get the veggies in early!). That said, we tend to reach our limits when it comes to traditional, cold kale salads (we have to give our jaws a break from all the chewing now and then). Sauteéd kale is a good way to get your kale fix but without the jaw workout. Here’s what Elliott came up with one day when he was procrastinating on his homework. Continue reading

Oscarpalooza!

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“The Wolf of Walnut Street”
Spinach Salad with Fuji Apples, Pickled Onions,
Amish Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Toasted Walnuts

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“American Brussel”
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Dijon Mustard, White Wine, and Caramelized Onion

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“Dallas Fryer’s Club”
Oven Fried Chicken with a Buttermilk Brine

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And the Oscar goes to…

The Mignon Salad

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For Valentine’s Day this year, we had a delicious filet mignon dinner with a wine reduction and didn’t think it could get any better. Then the next day we tossed our leftovers into a salad and fell in love all over again. We wondered why more restaurants don’t offer a salad with this cut of meat. Paired with Amish blue cheese and super greens, the filet just melts in your mouth and you’ll be wishing you saved more!

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Old Friends, a New Year and an Extravagant Thai Feast

Going on five years now, Elliott’s friends have been getting together each New Year’s to cook an extravagant dinner (usually followed by an adventure to the Lo-Fi for old-timey dancing). When Carinn came into the mix, we had a rabbit tagine and a couple of spit-roasted ducks. The next year we got our hands on an entire beef tenderloin and made beef wellington. Last year we went with an Indian-themed dinner which included incredible ‘lamb pops’, homemade Naan and homemade Paneer. Continue reading

Winter Detox Salad with Kale and Miso Dressing

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Since Thanksgiving was last week and the 30˚ weather is keeping us indoors, we’ve both been feeling pretty guilty. Then we pulled up the documentary Food Matters on Netflix and got inspired to do some more detoxing. Even though we always try to include a salad with whatever main course we’re eating, we’ve been going big with the butter and cream lately and thought a healthy kale salad would be a good antidote to our winter sluggishness. This salad is completely raw and with a healthy fish like black cod or salmon, it’s a dinner that really fills you up without the dairy or carbs. Now how long do you think we can keep this up before we go back to the dark side? (hint: see below) Continue reading

Go For the Green King Salmon and Saag

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After a week of binging on carbs, meat, and ice cream, it’s always a good idea to counter-balance with some hard-core greens. The recipe for this salmon is courtesy of the cookbook “Dishing up Washington,” a great compilation of recipes from Pacific Northwest-area chefs. It features an Indian saag made from spinach and kale, just the greens we were looking for. Paired with a creamy mashed cauliflower and an Indian salad based off this Jamie Oliver recipe, all our past sins were soon forgotten. Until dessert, that is.

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