Category Archives: The Frying Pan and The Music Man

Balsamic Pineapple Salad – More acid than a 60’s flashback (video)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Now that Trip of Love has closed (sadly) and I am taking a tiny break, the weekend is for brunch. Hell, any time is for brunch. Who doesn’t get down with brunch fare?

Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits; number two behind cherry. Even though it is a huge pain in the ass to cut up and leaves little black things that resemble mouse shit on your cutting board, that sweet tart acidy flesh makes everything ok.

I didn’t want to serve a block of straight up pineapple today, so I set the wheels in motion.

Here’s what I ended up with.

What you’ll need:

pineapple1

  • one ripe pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup(ish) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar **see note at the end
  • at least 5 sprigs of fresh mint

Spread the blueberries on the bottom of a small saucepan; cover in honey. Add juuust enough water to cover (appx 1/3 cup). Crank up the heat. When a simmer is achieved, reduce heat and allow to cook.

pineapple2

Here come the knife skills: peel the pineapple, core it, try not to eat it. Good luck. I like my pieces cut into 1/4 inch slices with about an inch of width. Sprinkle the citric acid on the chopped pineapple. By the time you finish that, the blueberries should be cooked. Mash them with a fork. Allow them to continue to reduce. If it looks dry, add a splash more water. You do not want it to be watery. You want it to be syrupy. A good test is seeing if it just coats the back of a spoon.

Once achieved, take the blueberries off the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of balsamic.

Most likely there is some syrup residue on the sides of your sauce pan. We want that. Put the pineapple into the sauce pan and let it get all that syrupy syrup all over it.

Chop your mint pretty finely. Toss it in.

Put this all in a bowl or serving dish and allow it to cool before serving.

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Just a hint: if you aren’t serving cheesy eggs, grab some chèvre, put it down on your serving plate and put this all over the top. Heaven.

Can you believe this is good for you? Shhh, I never said that.

Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

**Balsamic vinegar comes in a multitude of varieties. This recipe doesn’t call for a tart screw top bottle variety. The bottle should be well aged and have a cork. It doesn’t need to be super expensive, but it should be corked.

Pairings: works beautifully with Italian Brunch Pudding.

 

 

The Italian Brunch Pudding, aka How to Make Your Sleepover Guest Think You Have All Your S*** Together

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I hesitate to give you this information because it is so powerful. If you want to go from engorged to engaged, this is the way to do it. Now is your chance to turn back, because once you have this information you can’t un-learn it.

It’s the sleepover strata, the Italian Brunch Pudding.

Sleeping over with someone is a thing. No toothbrushes. Did I sleep in my contacts? You know what I mean. If you have an inkling it might happen and you do a  little pre-production, you can FULLY entrap your prey with this little trick.

Take these steps a day or two before and have it set up in your fridge. Here we go.

What you’ll need:

strata

  • 8 eggs
  • 2 challah rolls / half an old french loaf / old bread (the diner by me gives away challah rolls and I never eat them)
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 5 stalks of rapini
  • 3/4 cup cheese (I used a pecorino with a  red chili pepper coating. Go with something nutty like a good parm; gruyere would be nice as well)**see note at the bottom
  • fresh chopped flat leaf parsley (couple of tablespoons)
  • fresh chopped marjoram (to taste, a couple of tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust if your cheese is really salty)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

strata2

Steam the rapini for 60-120 seconds depending on how thick the stalks are. Do not overcook it. During those two minutes cube your bread in 1 inch by 1 inch squares.

strata3

Grate the cheese. Chop the rapini.

strata4

Assemble in layers in a square baking dish. I used a disposable because, well, sometimes I am lazy and these are recyclable. Butter the pan, put a layer of bread, spread some rapini, parsley, marjoram around, add some cheese. Continue till the baking dish is full/level. This should work out pretty exactly.

Combine the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, onion powder and nutmeg and whisk to break up the eggs. Carefully pour the liquid evenly over the bread mixture. I say carefully because if you go too fast the eggs will slop out. I assure you this did NOT happen to me.

strata8

Here’s where the trickery begins: cover it with foil and stick it in the fridge. For as long as you want.

Now when you wake up in the morning to peewee, take it out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While your guest is showering, put it in the oven covered for 25 minutes. Take off the foil, and while you enjoy your coffee, bake it for another 25 minutes. Then BAM, present a fully cooked breakfast. Just like that, you tricky bitch.

strata9 strata10

KelKel helped me eat it on this particular morning.

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Trust me – you are getting afternoon delight.

strata12

If you don’t hurt yourself. Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

THE ITALIAN BRUNCH PUDDING, AKA HOW TO MAKE YOUR SLEEPOVER GUEST THINK YOU HAVE ALL YOUR S*** TOGETHER

Pairing: this pairs delightfully with Balsamic Pineapple Salad.

**I got my very special cheese – Red Pepper Coated Pecorino – at Calandra Cheese in the Bronx. 2314 Arthur Avenue. This store will exceed all your cheese dreams and the guys hand you samples like you’re at Costco on a Saturday. If you don’t use red pepper coated pecorino, add some chili flakes for a little heat.7909971862_7e3bd78274_z

The Gentleman Caller’s Patented Salsa

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I’ve said it once and I will say it again: before I go to the electric chair I am going to have chips and salsa. There are mornings when I wake up and have that craving and literally plan my day around getting good chips and salsa. And you know what? In New York City it takes some planning. That whole Pace picante sauce ad campaign had tremendous validity to it.

Several years ago I devised a homemade salsa recipe out of necessity and it’s damn good. I have tinkered with it, and I modify it from time to time, but right now I am presenting to you the basics.

I present to you The Gentleman Caller’s Patented Salsa!

Note: this recipe makes your hands stink and if you are careless about touching your eyes or your junk after handling jalapeños, wear some gloves.

Assemble your ingredients.

salsa

  • One 32 oz can of plum tomatoes
  • scant half of a large red onion
  • large jalapeño pepper
  • bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • whisper of lime zest
  • capful of cider vinegar
  • capful of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • a teaspoon of salt (that you will likely adjust)
  • 1/3 teaspoon of sugar

Get out your blender. Rough chop your onion, jalapeño, cilantro tops and add to blender carafe. Add the lime juice and microplane a touch of zest. While the microplane is out grate the garlic into the carafe. Add the vinegar, oil, salt and sugar. If you’d prefer, you can use a teaspoon of honey instead of the sugar.  Pour the tomatoes on last.

Put the lid on your blender. Pulse on low patiently to desired consistency. I like it pretty chunky but it’s delicious smooth as well.

When you reach the desired consistency, stick a spoon pretty deep in there and taste it. You will probably need to add some more salt and possibly some more sweetness, but you really can’t know till you taste. Tomatoes vary tremendously in sweetness, and sometimes the acidity of the limes and things differ. Just be patient and go a little at time.

This salsa is pretty piquant, but if you don’t like super hot food, remove the ribs and seeds from the pepper. Also, cilantro is very polarizing. If you don’t like cilantro, google another recipe. I’m kidding. You can leave it out. It won’t taste as good, but you can totally leave it out.

Careful if you take this to a party. Once your friends taste it, you will be asked to bring it constantly.

This is The Gentleman Caller signing out!

xoxo

salsa1

Tubin’ in the Creek

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Summers in Texas were spent, in my family at least, at our family ranch in the sleepy one-stoplight town of Johnson City, Texas at our family ranch. ranch

One of the best things about the ranch was a spring fed creek, Miller Creek, which ran behind one of the more rustic dwellings on the property. It was heaven for a kid: vast acreage, wild animals, phenomenal food; and, if you were good, Poppa would take you to the Dairy Queen after naps. Mind you one time I didn’t have shoes on and the girl behind the counter asked us to leave the Dairy Queen.

My dad and Poppa would collect assorted inner tubes off of big trucks and such. They’d fill those big black tubes with air and down to the creek we’d start. We’d drop our tubes in the frigid spring water on one end of the fence line and let the current carry us to the other. Me and my little sisters, who are all little shits, would try to flip people off their tubes or drag my Granny into the “snake bank” – areas with high grass that no doubt (in Granny’s mind) were maternity wards for water moccasin.

Johnson City, Texas is famous for Freestone Peaches and we’d always get bushels of succulent peaches in the heat of summer. That memory inspired me to concoct this sweet summery cocktail topped with a brightly colored “tube” – a delicious peach ring candy. Yeah, it ain’t classy, but it’s delicious.

I present to you the Tubin’ in the Creek.

tubin2

tubin

What you need:

Put your shaker and a pint mason jar in the freezer. When the shaker is cold, put some ice in it.

Add to the ice:

  • 2 oz. peach whiskey (I am using Bird Dog)
  • 1 oz. peach nectar (this is easy to find in ethnic food sections – I am using a Greek variety)
  • 1/2 oz. Aperol
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. San Pellegrino lemonata
  • 2 oz. club soda

Shake it shake it shake it!

Fill your mason jar with ice cubes. I like square ice. Square ice is the most visually appealing. They make silicon molds to get perfectly square ice.

Strain the shaken liquid into the jar. Top with a candy peach ring. If you can keep from eating more than one peach ring, I’ll send you a prize.

You’re going to love this. It’s summer in a glass.

This is The Gentleman Caller signing off!

xoxo

TUBIN’ IN THE CREEK

Kampei! The Lychee-tini

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ahhh, the delicious lychee fruit. So many Americans have probably never encountered it. It’s like a sweet eyeball that you just can’t help but roll around your mouth.

At Trip of Love we have a trio of sisters who have seen our show a combined total of 85 times. The Gentleman Caller and company have affectionately monikered them “The Trip-lets of Love”. One of the sisters, Christine, apparently thinks we’re wasting away and brings us delicious snacks. A few weeks ago she handed me a can of lychee fruit. They are of Asian heritage, so it makes perfect sense.

I got home with that can and said to myself,”What can I do with this?” I popped open that can, and it was perfectly clear.

I present to you the PERFECT Lychee-tini, Gentleman Caller Style.

lychee

What you need:

Put a martini glass in the freezer. Not one of those big boys. You want to be able to stand later. Also put your martini shaker in there.

After things are cooled off, into the shaker with some big ice cubes measure:

  • 1/2 oz lemon juice (from a lemon, not reconstituted.)
  • 1 oz lychee syrup (you should get the can that says lychees in heavy syrup.)
  • 1 oz “enhanced” triple sec (see below.)
  • 2 oz Hendricks gin
  • dash of bitters
  • lemon peel (use your carrot peeler on the lemon to cut a thin peel.)
  • Shake it shake it shake it!

Into your chilled glass put a single lychee fruit and the lemon peel. Pour. Live your life. xoxo

KAMPEI! THE LYCHEE-TINI

**Enhanced triple sec: get a reasonably priced bottle of triple sec and peel an orange like I instructed you to peel the lemon: with a vegetable peeler. Pour out at least an ounce of triple sec and use it in a margarita or something. Insert all the peels. Let stand for a few weeks. It will rock your world.