Home Cookin’- salads, bruschetta, pastas, and of course, pizzas

Last time I was in L.A. I had this great salad at Amici Trattoria at The Americana At Brand. Mom asked me to recreate it at her house, so I did. It’s just arugula, shredded hearts of palm, sliced artichoke hearts, and thinly sliced parmesan. I also added garbanzo beans for my own little twist. It’s topped off with a lemon vinaigrette. Mom had some lemon olive oil so I used that with some white balsamic vinegar. At my house, I don’t have the lemon olive oil so I just make the dressing with regular olive oil, some lemon, and the white balsamic. It’s tasty!
Amici Salad

Amici Salad

I made some sauteed chicken, some really good pan-roasted potatoes, and a green salad for Mike to take to work the other day. He likes to keep all his food separate but I like mine all mixed up. So I turned it all into a salad and added some avocado and a mustardy vinaigrette.

The chicken was just sauteed in a cast-iron pan with some butter.

The potatoes were adapted (what else is new!?) from a great book that I highly recommend called Cucina Fresca. I’ve had it for years and it’s all sloppy from being used so much! I think the link above leads to a new version, the one I have is out of print.

Anyhow, the potatoes (the way I made them):

Ingredients

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 sage leaves, minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the potatoes to the pan and stir them to coat them in the oil. Add the sage, salt and pepper then cover the pan. Turn the heat to low and let them cook, tossing them from time to time until they’re tender. The book said 15 minutes but it took mine more like 20-25. You should start checking them after about 15 minutes. Once they’re tender, take the lid off the pan, increase the heat to high and cook them till they get a little crusty and crispy.

The salad dressing was just olive oil, white wine vinegar and mustard. Everyone likes the proportions of salad dressing different so just do it however you like it.

Toss it all together (don’t forget the avocado if you have it) and yummy!

Chicken and potato salad, no mayo

Chicken and potato salad, no mayo

I’m still getting lots of tomatoes and basil from my little garden. Check out that weird-shaped tomato down in the lower left corner!

Bruschetta ingredients

Bruschetta ingredients

To make bruschetta you just chop up tomatoes, basil, and garlic. You can add a little olive oil if you want to. Then you take some nice bread, put a little olive oil on it and put the bruschetta mixture on top. Then cook it all in the oven or broiler till it’s nice and hot and the bread is toasty. I usually use the oven instead of the broiler because the broiler scares me a little.

Bruschetta ingredients ready to put on the toasts

Bruschetta ingredients ready to put on the toasts

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

I also made a nice checca to put over pasta with my tomatoes and basil.

It’s similar to the bruschetta topping except that you cook it a little . I’ve always cooked it, but I come to find out that real checca is not cooked. Oh well, I always cook it. Basically heat some olive oil in a skillet, add some tomatoes and some garlic and cook it till it’s the consistency you want, then add some basil.

Checca

Checca

I served it on top of extra-long spaghetti and topped with parmesan!

Pasta checca

Pasta checca

I make pizza so often now I can’t even remember what this was. Looks like just olive oil, mozzarella and parmesan. One of these days I’ll make a post just about how I make pizzas.

Pizza!

Pizza!

We’ve had a couple of Italian cream sodas lately so I thought I’d try to make them at home. It’s easy. Just a little bit of flavored syrup (We use Torani), some sparkling water, then topped with half and half. It’s really good!

Cherry Italian Soda

PJ isn't sure he approves of Cherry Italian Soda.

When Mike came home from having his spine surgery, his throat was really sore from the breathing tube and all the jostling around of the vocal cords, etc., so I made him some easy-to-swallow stuff, including chocolate peanut butter milkshakes. Mmmmmm.

Chocolate peanut butter milkshake

Chocolate peanut butter milkshake. Easy to swallow (Yeah, that's why it's good)

Ok, I didn’t make this ice cream but I thought it was pretty so I took a picture of it.

Ice cream!

Ice cream!