spinachpasta.jpg

Carmen DiTizio was one handsome man. He had a shock of dark hair combed back like a movie star. When Jennifer and I first met we travelled to Pescara in the Abruzzo region to meet the patriarch and player. It was the end of summer and we happened to arrive during tomato harvest. There were trucks piled high on every block of the seaside town.

Carmen would open up the little kitchen that sat under a palm thatched roof right on the beach and whip up this fresh pasta dish to lure the ladies walking past who were on holiday from Rome. They would giggle with delight and one would cry, “dottore”, another, “avvocato”. This man was a pro, David and did it with little effort. You, as I, can follow in his footsteps.

Spinach Fettucini with Fresh Tomato and Basil

You’re going to need a substantial amount of time to work on your hair to look like Carmen’s so I’d forego making the pasta youself. Run to Raffetto’s and pick up a couple of pounds of spinach fettucini. Don’t make fun of the lady with the moustache, she’s there to help.

In mortar and pestle make a paste with 1 clove of garlic and 2 anchovy filets. Transfer the paste to a large bowl and mix with 2 chopped, large, ripe tomatoes. With your nimble man fingers, shred 8 basil leaves and stir in to the mix with 3 Tbs fruity olive oil from Tuscany.

Boil a pot of water and add 1 lb. of spinach fettucini. Once it returns to a boil, cook 60 – 90 seconds. This is crucial, no one likes soggy pasta, especially a woman on holiday from Rome. Toss the pasta with the tomato basil mixture, 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, salt to taste and a couple turns of the peppermill.

Plate the pasta while calling out, “Signorinas! La chirurgia è completa!” Garnish with basil leaves and serve with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Dentiste!

Advertisements

Strawberry Lemonade

July 23, 2006

lemonade_01.jpg
Remember when you used to sit on the porch hiding from the sun on those sweltry afternoons with the most beautiful girl in the world? It felt like it could go on forever. The summer would never end. Just when you were about to kiss her, she dashed off, her words trailing behind on the hot breeze, “My mom said be home at 5.”

This time David, find a Southern girl who is of legal age (at least in the state of South Carolina) and doesn’t live with her mom. This concoction goes down like candy and it will turn those afternoons into evenings into mornings.

Infuse the Rum

Slice a pint of wild strawberries and pop them into an airtight vessel. The wilder the strawberries, the wilder she’ll be for your company. Fill the vessel with the finest amber rum and let it sit in the shade for at least 2 days but preferably 2 months. It takes awhile for the rum to coax the flavor from the tender morsels.

Whip up the Simple Syrup

Use a 1 to 1 ratio of well water to raw sugar. You’re a rugged guy David and this will come through in the flavors. Heat in a sauce pan until dissolved and store in a cool place or in the fridge until you’re ready to do the deed.

lemonade_02.jpg

Shake the Lemonade

For each glass, squeeze one lemon, add a tablespoon of simple syrup, a quarter cup of ice cold well water and 2 jiggers of the infused rum. After the first glass, add three. Shake what your momma gave ya and pour it over cracked ice in tall glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a wheel of lemon. Put your feet up and enjoy!

geisha.jpg
How good will you look in a purple shirt and tie smoking a cigar lit by a beautiful woman in whiteface? You’ll be pimpin! If you thought the bufallo milk was a big hit, just wait until you try the powers of raw flesh. We’re talkin alchemy. Give thanks to the gods. You’ll soon have a whole entourage of Geisha.

The Tuna

1 lb sushi grade tuna
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds toasted and ground
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds toasted and ground
1 cayenne pepper seeded and minced
3 spring onions or scallions minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
juice of one lime
pinch of salt

Trim the tuna and cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Mix all ingredients gently, careful not bruise the flesh. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until ready to plate.

tunatartar.jpg

The Cucumber Mint Salad

1 cucumber seeded and cut into 4″ sticks
2 Tbs chopped mint
2 Tbs chopped cilantro
1 oz. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil

This is where you make use of that mint garden again. And you balked David. See how handy? Don’t be afraid of the word Metrosexual. That translates to “man with entourage of geisha” or “playah” depending on what area of Tokyo you hang out.

Toss the ingredients with cucumber and mint. Arrange a two story bed and mound the tartar on top freeform. Don’t use a ring or mold, that’s a bit fussy even for a man who’s comfortable with his sexuality. Pair with a chilled dry sake like Bichuwajo Junmai Ginjo or if she can’t handle her spirits, a vodka martini with a lime twist. Serve as an appetizer to black sesame crusted salmon with wasabi lime emulsion or serve as part of your tapas menu.

bufala_02.jpg

Before there was Spanish Fly, there was buffalo milk. It’s a lusty flavor filled with the sharp tangy aftertaste of pheromones. When the Italians pull it like taffy into the famed mozzarella di bufala it’s pure sex. If you don’t believe me, ask Fidel (fcastro@cuba.org). He imported water buffalos and Italian cheese makers to Cuba in the early 60s to please the actresses on jaunts from Rome who loved to run their fingers through his crumb flecked beard. As if being a dictator in the tropics isn’t hot enough. Seem like overkill to you David? Yeah, me too. I replaced the picture with Castro’s face on my “Who Shot JR” tshirt.

I like to add the earthy flavor of the fava bean to this dish, but be careful as this is already serious stuff. Be prepared. No glove, no love.

Insalata di Mozzarella di Bufala con Tomate e Fava

Shell a pound of fava beans and boil them for about 8-10 minutes until al dente. Pop them out of their casing and toss with a clove of crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp sea salt, juice of half a lemon, 2 Tbs Sicilian olive oil and 3 small chopped tomatoes.

You’re going to need some sun soaked tomatoes grown in God’s green earth for this one. Forget the hydroponic, genetically engineered pretty things that you find in your local supermarket. They’re only a facsimile. If I were you, I would start in March with heirloom seeds. If you didn’t plan that far in advance, get yourself to the farmers market and shell out the big bucks for the ugliest, most delicious tomatoes you can find. Go for a variety, like green zebras, brandywines and cherokee purples. Don’t be afraid of color, you’re a manly man.

Slice the mozzarella di bufala into 8 slices. Place the trembling white dynamite onto a bed of of fresh basil, cilantro, parsley and thyme. Arrange the tomato/fava bean mixture on the plate and drizzle more olive oil on the mozzarella. Garnish the salad with picholines.

Unbutton your shirt at least to nipple level, cut a loaf of ciabatta, pour 2 glasses of Nebbiolo and let the Buffalo milk work it’s magic. If you’d be so kind, send me pictures.

boil.jpg

Summer time at the beach! Such a wonderful time of year. It reminds you of that first summer you noticed Lori in all her pubescent glory. She looked so amazing in that polka dot two piece you had to go hide in the dunes until your tshirt could conceal the shrinking beast in your trunks.

This is the time to recapture those glory days David. Jump in the car, point it in the direction of Maine and pick yourself up some lobsters and fresh shrimp from the dayboat. On your way back to the city, stop for ice at the convenience store next to the trailer park. Any one will do. Pop a microbrew, lean back against your rental car and wait for them to stroll by. When the one that looks like Lori comes out of the store with a gallon of milk and a loaf of white, hit the button for the trunk and show her the goods. When the saliva stops dripping from her plump lips, open the passenger door, pull out of the lot careful not to squeal wheels and head for your kitchen.

Downhome Shrimp and Lobster Boil
Serves the two of you and two of her best friends

2 lbs of fresh, not previously frozen shrimp
2- 1.25 lb lobsters
Half a dozen ears of corn
4 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning (Her name was Lisa and I saw her in Ocean City, Maryland)
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp course sea salt
2 ipa, amber or another strongly flavored favorite

Add the Old Bay the cayenne, the beer and the sea salt to a large pot of water. Start with the shrimp. Boil them for about 3 minutes or until just cooked through. Toss the shrimp, shell and all with another pinch of old bay and a pinch of salt. Serve with a cocktail sauce.

1 4oz. can of tomato paste
2 Tbs vinegar
3 Tbs horseradish
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs water
1 tsp hot sauce

Next, in go the lobster. Recently, I’ve decided I’d rather have my head chopped off as opposed to being boiled alive, so I put the tip of my knife just behind the eyes of the lobster and split the head in two before I put them in the boiling water. It just makes me feel better. Boil the lobsters for about 7 minutes or until just cooked through. I like to split the tails before I put them bare naked on the brown paper covering the table. That way she can dig right in and enjoy. She’ll go for a claw next and you can watch her wrestle with it. When it cracks and spatters lobster juice on her nose, you can wipe it off gently and enjoy a WB11 moment. Serve with melted butter.
While you pop another beer, slip the corn in the pot and boil for 7-9 minutes depending on how well-done you like your corn. I like it to have a bite — al dente. By this time, she should be doing suggestive things with the corncob. Oh, don’t forget the potato salad.

Citrus Aiolli

1 egg yolk
1 tsp taragon mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil
salt

Mix all ingredients together and whisk the olive oil in a slow drizzle. While your pot is coming to a boil, you can have her drizzle the olive oil in while you whisk with deliberate strokes.

Dill Potato Salad

6 russet potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/8 cup citrus aoilli
1/4 cup minced red onion
salt and cracked pepper

HAPPY JULY 4TH DAVID!