provreviewsandrecipes

Food Blog with delicious recipes and also reviews of Providence, RI restuarants

Eggplant and Cavatelli Pasta Al Forno April 27, 2011

I made this recipe over the weekend and it came out so good. I really like the taste of the smoked mozzarella and the eggplant together. I did have to go to a couple of stores to find smoked mozzarella (I ended up finding it in the cheese section at Stop & Shop) but it was worth locating it. I have also included a recipe to make a simple tomato sauce to use in the dish, but you could use any store bought tomato sauce (although I don’t think it will taste as good).

Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

4 tablespoons of salt

A 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons of dried basil

2 tablespoons of dried oregano

2 tablespoons of dried parsley

1/2 cup of canola oil

1 pound of Cavatelli pasta

1 pound of smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped

2 cups of homemade breadcrumbs (I’ve included the recipe below)

Directions: Take the cut eggplant and put in a strainer and toss with 2 tablespoons of salt and let sit for 30 minutes.

While the eggplant is sitting we can make the simple tomato sauce. Combine the can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid in the can) through the dried parsley from the above list in a pot. Set the temperature to medium heat until the sauce begins to boil. Once boiling set the temperature down to simmer and cover. Cook the sauce for 30 minutes which will thicken the sauce. Stir occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the Cavatelli pasta according to package instructions. When draining the pasta save one cup of the pasta water and set aside.

To cook the eggplant, heat the 1/2 cup of canola oil over medium heat in either a wok or a large pan. Once the oil has heated up add the eggplant and cook until it is slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Be careful that you do not crowd the pan so this may have to be done in two separate batches.

Next combine the cooked eggplant, Cavatelli pasta, tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella and basil in a large bowl. Stir to combine all ingredients. Add the cup of saved pasta water and stir again. Next take the pasta mixture and spoon it into an oven safe dish. Sprinkle the homemade breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta mixture. Cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. After cooking for 30 minutes take the tin foil off and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are browned. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Homemade Breadcrumbs:

To make homemade breadcrumbs take a loaf of ciabatta bread that is two or three days old and remove the crust. Place the now crustless bread into a food processor and pulse until it is nicely crumbled. Store in an airtight container and it can last for up to two months.

 

Skirt Steak with Asian Inspired Marinade April 25, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — ProvReviewsandRecipes @ 11:25 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is one of my favorite go to steak recipes. Now it is worth searching out skirt steak to use in this recipe, but you could use any other cut of meat you choose. The reason why I cook this steak in the oven is that I like to use a baking sheet with a rim on it and put some of the marinade over the steak while it cooks. I think it helps to incorporate the flavors more. The steak has a slight spiciness to it and I like to serve it with dirty rice to complement the spice.

Ingredients:

2-3 pound cut of skirt steak

3 cups of soy sauce (I use the lower sodium one because we use salt in the recipe as well)

1/2 cup of sesame oil

1/4 cup of chili oil

Juice from 1 lime

1/8 cup of Worcestershire Sauce

1 Cup of unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon of garlic

2 tablespoons of salt

3 tablespoons of pepper

Directions: Take the steak out of the package and pat it dry. Next combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a large container with a cover. Take the skirt steak and rub the salt and pepper over both sides. Take the steak and place it in the container and cover. Let the steak marinate overnight. But if you are crunched for time let it marinate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take out a baking sheet with a rim on it. Place the skirt steak on the baking sheet so that it is laid out flat. Now take some of the marinade that is left and drizzle it over the skirt steak. Place the steak in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the steak out of the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting as the steak will continue to cook slightly. After the steak has cooled cut into thin strips. Serve immediately.

Note: Every oven is different and everyone prefers their steak cooked to different temperatures. What I have indicated above is to have the steak cooked to medium rare. It would be pink in the center. Now the key to making sure the steak is cooked to your liking is to cook it for the 15 minutes, pull it out and let it cool. After it cools cut the steak in the thickest part and also another spot where it is thinner. Based on those two cuts if you want the steak cooked more put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes and then serve.

 

Couscous Greek Salad April 18, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — ProvReviewsandRecipes @ 4:27 PM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This is one of my favorite and easy recipes to make. I like it in the summer as its light, filling and refreshing. You can use any Greek dressing you prefer, but I personally love Christie’s Lite Greek dressing. Also you can omit or add any more of the vegetables to suit your preference.

Ingredients:

2 cups of dried couscous

4 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of salt

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 an onion, chopped

1 cucumber, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 can of pitted black olives, chopped

2 and 1/2 cups of crumbled feta cheese

2 cups of Greek dressing

1/2 lemon

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine 2 cups of water, the butter and the salt. Bring to a boil. Once it has begun to boil add the two cups of couscous. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand 5 minutes, stirring about halfway through.

Take the cook couscous and combine it with the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, olives and feta cheese. Take the 2 cups of Greek dressing and mix the salad thoroughly to evenly distribute the dressing. Depending on your individual taste preference you made need to add some more dressing. Finally squeeze the 1/2 of the lemon over the salad.

This salad can be served warm or cold. So if you would like it warm than serve immediately or if you would like it to be cold than refrigerate for about a hour.

 

Roasted chicken with roasted vegetables April 14, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — ProvReviewsandRecipes @ 11:57 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

This is a recipe I made recently for roasted chicken with roasted vegetables. I used chicken thighs and the skin came out nice and crispy and chicken very tender. When the radishes are roasted they lost their bitter taste that they sometimes have when eaten raw in a salad. I used white wine in my recipe below but you could use chicken broth instead if you prefer. Also if you want to subtract or add any vegetables feel free do to so.

Ingredients:

4-5 pounds of chicken thighs

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, halved

1 pound of small potatoes, fingerling or red bliss

2 bunches of radishes, halved (At the grocery store they have a bag of radishes with the green stems cut off and this saves some time in preparation if you can find it)

1 pound of baby carrots, halved

1 bunch of scallions, cut into thirds

4 cloves of garlic, cut into fourths

1/2 an onion, cut into small pieces

3-4 cups of white wine, such as chardonnay (if you prefer substitute chicken broth)

4 tablespoons of poultry seasoning

3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning

1/4 cup of fresh dill, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry. Next remove some of the fat from the chicken thighs as there can be quite a lot (I used a pair of kitchen scissors but you can use a sharp knife).

Place the chicken thighs in a roasting pan skin side up (if you roasting pan has a rack in, please remove it so that the chick will rest directly on the bottom of the pan). Drizzle half the olive oil over the pieces of chicken. Take the 3 tablespoons of poultry seasoning and rub over the top and bottom of the chicken. Also if you are able to try and rub some poultry seasoning under the skin of the chicken. Be careful not to pull the skin completely off the chicken thigh. By doing this it will make sure that the seasoning gets to both sides of the meat of the chicken. Just placing the seasoning on the skin it will not flavor the meat directly underneath the skin as the skin does not allow for the seasoning to go through it. Finally squeeze half of the lemon over the chicken thighs. Put the chicken thighs in the preheated oven for 15 minutes uncovered.

While the chicken is cooking cut up all the vegetables. Put the vegetables into a bowl squeeze the other half of the lemon over the vegetables and add the 3 tablespoons of Italian seasoning. Mix the vegetables so that lemon juice and seasoning is evenly dispersed. When the 15 minutes are done pull out the chicken and add the vegetables to the roasting pan. Next add the 3-4 cups of white wine. The wine should just almost cover the chicken thighs in the roasting pan. Cover and place the roasting pan back in the oven. Cook for 25-40 minutes.

Ovens differ on cooking time so after 25 minutes take out the pan and test the chicken and the vegetables. Depending on how done the chicken and vegetables are you may need to place it back in the oven for up to an additional 15 minutes.

After the chicken and vegetables have finished cooking. Take the chopped dill and sprinkle it over the top of the chicken and vegetables. Serve immediately. I like to serve one piece of chicken thigh with the vegetables over the chicken. Make sure you get some of the sauce that is in the bottom of the pan as well.

I also like to enjoy a glass of wine from the same bottle I used to add to the chicken and vegetables. It helps to bring out the flavor in the food and also the wine.

 

Rice Salad with sausage, fennel and grapes April 13, 2011

Filed under: Recipes — ProvReviewsandRecipes @ 10:32 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Here is the recipe with for an Italian dish of rice salad with sausage, fennel and grapes. I made this recipe and it was absolutely delicious. It has a nice contrast between the rice, the grapes and the hearty taste of the sausage. I brought it for lunch to work the next few days after I made it. It is great to make one day and eat another day because you eat it cold, but you could heat it up if you like as well. I used hot Italian sausage and red grapes in my version. You can use any type of Italian sausage that you prefer and you can also use green grapes as well.

Ingredients:

1 pound of Italian sausage

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1/2 fennel bulb, cut into tiny pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 an onion, chopped

3-4 cups of grapes

2 cups of white rice (such as basmati or arborio)

Handful of lettuce leaves, cut/torn into small pieces

Directions:

Cook the rice per the directions on the box. While the rice is cooking cut the sausage into pieces. Heat a saucepan with half of the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil has heated up, about 4 minutes, add the sausage, fennel, onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Cook in the pan over medium heat until the sausage has cooked through and the onions, fennel and garlic are slightly brown. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

Once the rice has finished cooking drain and place in a bowl. Next add the cooked sausage and vegetables to the rice. Mix all the ingredients together. Once you have done that add the lemon juice, grapes and lettuce leaves. Mix the ingredients again and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or let the salad cool down and then serve.

 

Tokyo Restaurant Review

Filed under: Restaurant Review — ProvReviewsandRecipes @ 9:27 PM
Tags: , , ,

My fiancee and I had decided to try Tokyo Restaurant again. This is a sushi restaurant located at 388 Wickendon St in Providence, RI. We had gone to this restaurant before and the service had been a little bit slow but we were willing to try the restaurant again. Tokyo Restaurant has two things going for it and those are that it is BYOB and the sushi is decent.

We arrived aroung 8:50pm this past Friday evening. It was fairly busy but we were seated right away. After that it was all downhill from there. It took our waiter 20 minutes to come over and open the bottle of wine we had brought to enjoy with the sushi and glasses of water. After that it took another 10 minutes before he came back to take our order. We order four sushi rolls. Those rolls were the Kaki roll, the King Crab Tempura roll, Sakura roll, and the Dragon roll.

It took over an hour for the food to arrive after we ordered it. The waiter only came over once right before the sushi came out to tell us that the sushi was coming out right then. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I cannot stand when a waiter ignores a table and doesn’t come over to either let the table know it will be a little bit longer for the food or to see if we needed anything. The first two rolls that arrived were the Kaki roll and the Sakura roll. The Sakura roll had tuna on the inside and there was a yellowtail on the outside. This roll was good and had a nice fresh, light taste to it. The Kaki roll was okay. This roll had fried oysters and also had mango it in. The oyster taste was lost in the flavor of the tempura batter and neither of us could taste the mango. After we were halfway through these two roll the King Crab Tempura roll arrived. This roll was not good. The crab taste was completely lost in the tempura batter and frying.

At this point you may be wondering what happened to the Dragon roll we had also ordered. So were we. We finished the other three rolls and we sitting at the table waiting. We tried to get the attention of our waiter as well as another waiter to ask about the Dragon roll but it was to no avail. At this point we were completely finished with our meal and could not get the attention of the waiter so we went down to the host/take-out area to get our bill and pay it. When we viewed the bill we saw that the waiter had not even put in the order for the Dragon roll.

Due to the extremely poor service we had received I asked the employee at the host/take-out area if I could speak with a manager to voice my concerns. The employee looked at me extremely confused and then told me that she couldn’t direct me to speak with anyone. She then suggested I call back to speak with a manager during non-busy hours. This just went along with the extremely poor service we had received. We then paid the bill and left.

Due to the extremely poor service and the sushi not being that great I would not go back to this restaurant. I would also recommend that anyone else avoid this restaurant. There are many other sushi restaurants in and around Providence that have better service and better sushi.

Tokyo on Urbanspoon