June 2011

NO VAMPIRES. That’s right. There were no vampires anywhere near my neighborhood when I roasted grape tomatoes not once, but twice, last week. Even when it’s hot outside, you can pull this off with just 20 minutes in the oven.

How delicious roasted tomatoes taste over your favorite ravioli! A trip to Franklin Avenue netted me some nice meat ravs from Di Fiore and freshly-filled cannoli from Mozzicato DePasquale. But let’s get going on dinner first–it’s quick ‘n easy and oh-so good!

adapted from Food & Wine

2 pints grape tomatoes
3 large (or 6 small) garlic cloves
olive oil to coat the bottom of your baking dish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil to coat 9 x 13″ glass baking dish. Roll the tomatoes around in the olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Gently smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife and add to baking dish. Make sure all the tomatoes are in an even layer.

Let ’em roast for 10 minutes, turn ’em over, then 10 more minutes of roasting and you’re done with the oven!

I used a potato masher to give the tomatoes a squeeze. Be careful–they’re hot little devils and have a tendency to squirt where you don’t want them to go: walls and windows and clothes, oh my! Got fresh basil? I snipped some lemon basil with scissors.

Spoon over your ravioli, or pasta, or you can just eat them plain, so I’m told. I’d definitely find some good bread if I had no ravs, that’s for sure. Buon appetito from Hartford’s Little Italy and Katty’s Kitchen!

“Sometimes you feel like a nut–sometimes you don’t!”
Well, in real life, oftentimes, I do feel like a nut…but NOT when it comes to baked goodies! 😛

We’ve been down the brownie path a time or four in Katty’s Kitchen–“Supernatural” key lime cheesecake swirl, strawberry cheesecake swirl, lavender, browned butter. So what would make a brownie fresh ‘n different?

Rather than bake a candy bar into a brownie, I was drawn to the idea of creating a layer in the brownie like a candy bar. Yes, a coconutty layer, a la the inside of a Mounds, surrounded by brownie batter. This super-easy riff on my go-to Ghirardelli recipe was just what this kat had in mind. See what you think!

adapted from my all-time favorite brownie recipe from Ghirardelli

For the brownies
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks (I chopped up Valrhona feves)

For the Mounds layer
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

Stir 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk into 1 cup of coconut in a small bowl.

Combine thoroughly; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter.

“Chop-chop with the chocolate!”

Now here’s my crazy kat trick: I save an empty Ghirardelli can to shake all the dry ingredients together ’cause I find sifting to be a chore. So shake or sift–however you roll!

Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Spread half the batter in a buttered 8″ square pan.

As evenly as you can, spoon the coconut mixture over the bottom brownie batter layer. You can probably do a neater job of it than I did.

Smooth the coconut layer out as evenly as possible.
Another development opportunity for me, I know–I know!

Now, cover the coconut layer completely with the remaining brownie batter.

Take your time!

Slow ‘n steady wins the race!

Bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting and enjoying!

So much for seven days in sunny June earlier this week, but it sure was great weather for baking–and eating–brownies! AHM NOM NOM NOM! Thankfully, today’s blue skies and sunshine will be perfect for biking them off! WHEW!

A few months back, a local grinder chain set up shop in my hometown. As the granddaughter of a great grinder maker, I figured I’d be a tough customer. But I quickly became hooked on Nardelli’s and their  “classic mix”–chopped olives, onions, peppers. I’m really not sure what else is in the mix, but much as I usually loathe raw onions on a sandwich, it really works! So much so, I had to play at home and put my own spin on it.

First, allow me to introduce one of my favorite sammich-worthy ingredients–hot pepper relish!

If you’re a heat seeker, you’ll want to find some shelf space in the fridge for the Sclafani! Spread it across one piece of bread.

So thin, thin, thin it’s almost transparent–slices of hot soppressata from Public Market and some nice Canadian prosciutto, too. I usually look for prosciuttini (peppered ham), but “prozhutt” is even better! Canadian prosciutto is half the price of Parma, too.

Remember that classic mix I mentioned? Here’s my simplified version: chopped onions, olives and red bell pepper. Tomatoes on the flip side complete the picture. Oh, and since we’re grilling, how can we forget the provolone? It’s hiding under the meat, but you’ll see it later.

This is no small sandwich. See the flecks of rosemary in the olive oil bread, too?

Now, a toast! To lovers of great sandwiches everywhere–CENT’ANNI! And let us toast this panino. But how to do it?

Space prohibits me from having all the toys my heart desires in the kitchen. Luckily, a very clever cat showed me how to make panini without a press.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Got two pans? Look how easy! Give it a gentle squeeze.

That’ll get you this!

But wait–slicing in half shows you just how good it gets!

It’s the good life! May you enjoy it, too–every last bite!