Posts filed under ‘food’
After talking on gchat tonight to my friend Kristina in China, I got hungry and restless. Now, this isn’t my normal reaction to talking with K, so I knew it had to be something else. I think my body is telling me it needs to travel.
My last big trip was when Dan and I went with his family a year ago to visit China and see the Olympics. It truly was one of the greatest vacations ever. Dan and I walked miles and miles everyday and I think I gained about five pounds in two weeks since I had to eat everything in sight.
Because real-travel isn’t in the cards right now, I am going to have to dream-travel with you all tonight with this blog post.
If I woke up tomorrow and I was in China, I would do all of the following…
…wander the gorgeous public parks…
…do a little shopping…
…eat A LOT of food (and probably a crazy amount of street food)…
…and just enjoy the craziness that is China…
(wo ye ai ta) =)
This is a recipe for one of my favorite dinners of late.
Alex’s Cute lil’ Stuffed Squash
- Happy face
- Round squash (I used 4 round-ish squash)
- 1 package (about 3 lbs.) ground meat (tofu will work too-I used ground turkey for this creation)
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese (or 2 cups if you are as obsessed as I am); another 1/4 cup for sprinkling the top
- 1 cup finely chopped cooked carrots
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
- Any other veggies you would like (kale, spinach, celery, etc.)
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup of butter (I like Smart Balance)
- Salt and pepper to taste
[Excuse the pictures. They are only from my iPhone.]
First, start with your squash (I used beautiful squash from my CSA box. The green squash is called “eight ball squash” and the white squash is a type of “sunburst” squash.) Scrub the squash clean and then cook them in the microwave for about 10 minutes in a small dish with about 1/2 inch of water.
Heat oven to 400. Cook the ground turkey in a skillet alone and set aside. Cook carrots, chop, and set aside (I cheated and cooked my carrots in the microwave.) Then–like almost everything I make–get the garlic, olive oil, and onions going…
After the onions cook for a couple minutes alone with the garlic, add the chopped carrots to the mixture. If you are using other veggies, you can add them to the skillet at this time too. Add salt and pepper as you like. While that is cooking, cut the tops off of the squash and scoop the insides into a strainer. Let the insides sit in the strainer in the sink and keep shaking it to get most of the liquid out.
Mix the cooked ground turkey, bread crumbs, onion/carrot/garlic mix, and the squash-insides together in a large bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of melted butter and mix again. Then add the Parmesan cheese.
Now stuff ’em! Pour the rest of the butter over the top of the stuffed squash and then sprinkle a little bit more Parmesan cheese on top of each.
I had a lot of leftover stuffing so I just put it in a pan to cook on its own. (Of course I drizzled it with butter and Parmesan too).
Then, bake your cute little squash in the oven at 400 for about 40 min. Check the squash with a fork periodically to make sure it is tender enough and doesn’t overcook. Fork should go in easy once it is good and ready.
Let me know if you try it!
La Strada International Deli
Location: Barrington south of Sunset, Brentwood
I first came to La Strada a few years ago after hearing about their delicious sandwiches. I now love this deli and the never-ending list of paninis named after streets in Los Angeles and Rome that hang proudly on the back wall. La Strada was opened in 2004 by Rebecca and (Roman-born) Simone Totti after the pair moved back to Los Angeles from Italy. Following the tradition of naming paninis and other menu items after neighborhood streets, Rebecca and Simone Totti decided to take this tradition one step further and name the establishment “La Strada”, meaning “The Street” in Italian.
My only problem with coming here is that I always take too long to decide what to order and almost always default to something with prosciutto and pesto sauce
I don’t have a picture of the prosciutto panino, but this picture of the “Sunset Strip” sandwich (Oven-roasted turkey, domestic swiss cheese, avocado, cucumbers, sprouts, iceberg lettuce and sliced tomatoes on multi-grain bread–$7.45) is making me want to accidentally forget my homemade lunch tomorrow and make a quick trip to La Strada for some fresh deli slices.
On with the search!
This next ristorante is probably the one I am most excited about. I saw it while driving down 3rd street the other day and knew that I had to come try it.
Allora Cucina Italiana
Location: 3rd just east of La Cienega, W. Hollywood
From the call to make a reservation, I knew I would fall in love with Allora. Carlo, one of the two very Italian men who ended up waiting on us, answered the phone with a joyful “Ciao! Come stai sta sera? (Hello! How are you this evening?)”. His greeting took me right back to Italy where the warm restaurant owners would try, from the stoop of their restaurant doors, to charm you in to eating with them. When we arrived for dinner, we were greeted with “Alessandra? Buona sera, Alessandra ed amici (Good evening Alex and friends)!”
One of the great things about Allora, for now, is that they do not have their liquor license and so allow you to bring your own wine which they will serve you without a corkage fee. This really helps with the bill–not that the place is at all expensive. The pastas were very reasonably priced (in the $12-18 range) as were the appetizers.
I ordered the arugula salad with artichoke hearts and shaved Parmesan cheese to start. It was delicious with a light oil and vinegar dressing. For my entree, I chose the mushroom ravioli which ended up being exactly what a ravioli should be. The raviolis were obviously handmade with very thin pasta folded delicately around a flavorful mushroom mixture. The sauce was a light truffle oil that couldn’t have complimented the pasta more perfectly. It is definitely one of my favorite Italian food dishes. Here is a nice tutorial on how to make homemade raviolis. I really want to try it sometime.
Allora is a perfect Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. I highly recommend going (make a reservation first, because they do get busy). And don’t forget to bring your bottle of wine!
Ever since I returned from Rome two and a half years ago, I have embarked on a never-ending search for the best Italian food in Los Angeles. My list of places to try is still very long but I thought I would share some of my favorites thus far. I started this post thinking that I would be able to talk about all of the restaurants in one shot, but quickly realized that it would be the longest post ever. So, this is part 1 of my Italian Food in Los Angeles series. I’ll try to post one a week this week.
Location: Melrose between Gardner and La Brea, W. Hollywood
This unpretentious and warm restaurant is the project of Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s weekly food show “Good Food”. She opened Angeli Caffe in 1984 with the goal of providing a restaurant that would serve light and simple food that was both stylish and affordable. I found that both the simplicity of her restaurant and the composition of the dishes reflect her mission.
I was so excited the first time that I opened the menu at Angeli and saw supplì and other croquettes with the appetizers. If you have not had one of these amazing treats, it is worth it to go to Angeli for a glass of wine and a plate of croquettes. Supplì are small rice balls filled with variations of meat sauces, cheeses and vegetables. Italians usually make supplì when they have leftover risotto from the night before. Croquettes are generally made with potatoes instead of rice. Evan posted an excellent recipe for her Eggplant Croquettes and I have been dying to try this recipe for traditional supplì.
When I was living in Rome, an American ex-pat friend of mine took me to a small pizzeria in Piazza di San Cosimato in Trastevere and introduced me to this Roman delicacy. If you wanted supplì for lunch, you had to arrive at the beginning of the rush hour because they were always sure to be gone by 1pm.
In addition to supplì, I have tried Angeli Caffe’s Penne Bolognese, Linguine alle Vongole (w/ clams), and the Ravioli al Magro (spinach and cheese ravioli w/ butter and a light tomato-basil sauce). See the menu here. The dishes were all fantastic and remind me of my grandmother’s kitchen. Just like the atmosphere of the restaurant, the food at Angeli Caffe is warm, unpretentious, and delightful.