Sunday, July 21, 2013


My love affair with Scamorza is just starting to bloom. Actually it is smoked Scamorza that I love. In May I had dinner at Berreta in San Francisco. Great restaurant! We ordered Zucchini Parmigiana with Scamorza and Basil. There was a creamy, smoky flavor that haunted me. I had to learn more. Scamorza is an Italian cow's milk cheese similar to mozzarella. When smoked it adds an amazing dimension to your dish. It melts well and imparts an alluring smoky flavor. This pasta dish combines the saltiness of the proscuitto, the creamy smoky flavor of the cheese and the celebration of seasonal asparagus. This recipe just took top spot in my favorite pasta dinners.


2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound spaghetti
4 TBSP. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
6 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese (smoked scamorza), diced (about 1 cup)
6 TBSP. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling slated water until crisp tender, about 2-3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus from boiling water to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. When cool, strain, cut asparagus into 1" pieces and set aside.

Return the water in the pot to a boil, adding additional water if necessary. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add asparagus to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the pasta, and if needed, some of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat. Add the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, and toss to combine. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Recipe from Giada De Laurentis

Saturday, July 6, 2013



Photo courtesy of The Yummy Life.

There is a great blog I follow called The Yummy Life. Her recipes are always fantastic and she goes into great detail on how to prepare her dishes. I spotted this grilled chicken recipe on her blog recently and since I'm a Thai food nut I knew this would be good. It was way better than good. This was one of the best grilled chicken breasts that I have ever made. The coconut milk and salt work like magic making these breasts tender and juicy. Thai ingredients and herbs really pack in the flavor. You can marinate it for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. I recommend overnight for the best results.


6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves


1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
10-15 fresh Thai basil leaves
1 large jalapeno or 1 small Thai chili, stem, seeds, and membrane removed
3 garlic cloves
2 slices fresh ginger (approximately 1/8" thick)
1 1/2  TBSP. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. packed brown sugar

Lime wedges for garnish

Put all the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a glass dish and pour marinade over. Flip chicken to be sure marinade completely coats it. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. The longer the better.

Remove from marinade and grill. 

Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Yummy Life.

Monday, July 1, 2013


This gazpacho is summer in a bowl. Juicy watermelon is abundant at the Farmer's markets and with the heat wave we are having our tomatoes are ripe, red and waiting to be picked off the vines.

I served this as a light lunch but on the Fourth of July I will be serving this gazpacho in small tasting bowls. It will be the perfect pallet cleanser between chips and dips and food from the grill.


1 garlic clove
1 small watermelon, or a section of a larger one, about 3 pounds, flesh removed from the rind, seeded, and cut into wedges
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
2 TBSP. lemon juice or to taste
Salt and black pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or mint, for garnish

Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop it. Add the watermelon, tomatoes, and lemon juice, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. You have two choices here: chunky or smooth. It all depends on whether you turn the machine on and leave it on, or just pulse a few times. Add a few ice cubes, one at a time, just enough to keep the machine working, and blend or pulse until smooth or chunky. Put the gazpacho in the fridge to chill a bit if you like, up to several hours.

Just before serving, taste the gazpacho and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed (remember you'll be adding feta, which is usually salty). Pour the gazpacho into 4 bowls, top with feta, drizzle with a few drops of olive oil, garnish with the herb and serve.

Recipe by Mark Bittman