Chow Ciao!


After all, what else could you say about it? Chef Fabio shows us his steak cooking method. It seems like everyone has their own steak secrets for the perfect grilling endeavor, and what is an essential step for one is anathema for another.  I like to marinate steaks to have the flavor permeate the meat while tenderizing it simultaneously.  It also is another way to take a cheaper cut and make it better.  What are your grilling secrets, if you care to share?

The recipe

Macaroni and Cheese (Italian Style)

Chow Ciao logo
Courtesy of Chef Fabio and Chow Ciao

I remember a time when (as a kid) I thought boxed mac and cheese was an excellent meal. Now that I’m older, I have seen the buttery, powdery truth: Real mac and cheese is so much better! Creating your own cheese and spice mix allows for some variation- don’t be afraid to try different combinations or flavorings. And everything’s better with bacon, right??

Super Bowl Pizza

I just saw a bit of the Travel Channel‘s programming for Super Bowl Sunday and all things fried food.  Besides making me hungry… well, it pretty much just made me hungry.  I have to admit I do have a bit of a weak spot for the occasional fried food, even it’s not the most healthy.

The Super Bowl is seemingly synonymous with pizza.  I’m sure the take-out pizza chains will have a fairly busy day today, so if you can’t get into the queue or want a likely healthier homemade option- try this one courtesy of @FoodieParadise on Twitter and Huffington Post:  (My wife is ruing the fact I’m posting a recipe that uses kale- not her most favorite vegetable!)

Southern Style BBQ and Shredded Kale Pizza by Danielle Saunders
Chef Danielle Saunders
Pizza Dough
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch of green kale
1 small red onion ( sliced thinly)
2 medium boneless skinless chicken breast simply grilled and shredded
1 lb of fresh mozzarella shredded
1 bottle of baby rays spicy BBQ sauce
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, will take about 15 minutes.

2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat together until smooth. Let rest for 15 minutes.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza stone, or baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. (This is one of the few pizza dough recipes that do not require tons of time to rise.)

4. Spread with desired BBQ sauce, then begin to build with thinly sliced kale first.

5. Next spread thinly sliced red onions, layer with shredded boneless chicken breast, then add shredded mozzarella and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

“I’ve got football fever.  Go teams go!” (semi-obscure Daria quotation)
Have a great Super Bowl everyone!

Rice is nice

Risotto Rice (Carnaroli)

For Meatless Monday, that is.  Or just about any other time.  I didn’t always know the specifics about risotto, let alone the difference between the rice types (thanks Appetite: A Hunger for Italy by Elena Bertozzi!)  Arborio (a good risotto rice) seems easy enough to find in most grocery stories, but I had to search a bit to find Carnaroli (the best risotto rice).

I tried a few different risotti and haven’t found a bad one yet.  Another favorite is a butternut squash risotto that was quite flavorful.  Last year, when we tried a portobello mushroom growing kit (with prolific results!) we needed to find recipes to use up all those portobellos.  The source recipe was ok, but it seemed as though the measurements were off. (Perhaps a bit too little rice and too much cheese?  It seemed to throw the consistency off.)  Regardless, I was bound to try again with some modifications of my own, and ended up with a much more flavorful result. I made this in a wok- perhaps not the most Italian method.  I also didn’t add any extra salt, since the stock is a main source of saltiness.  I also cut a bit of the fat by taking out the heavy cream and used skim instead of whole milk.  Don’t worry!  I left the butter!


2 tablespoons EVOO

2 tablespoons butter

1 large white onion

1 clove garlic, crushed

16 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped (I used small portobellos)

1 cup white wine

1 cup skim milk

2 cups Arborio (or Carnaroli, if you can find it) rice

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup grated fresh Parmesan

rosemary, thyme, pepper, salt, and parsley to taste

Warm the pan and add olive oil.  Cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is translucent and the garlic is slightly browned.  Add the butter.  Once it is melted, turn the heat down a bit, and add the mushrooms.  Add the white wine, rosemary, thyme, pepper, salt, and parsley.  Cook until the mushrooms soften, and add the milk and the rice.  Add the first cup of stock and stir until it is nearly absorbed completely.  Repeat until all six cups of stock have been used.  (The stirring each cup of stock into the rice is partly what adds to the creaminess of the dish- versus adding all the stock at once and cooking it down.)  When the rice is done, add the Parmesan and serve.



Hell's Kitchen Cast

I’ve been a fan of Hell’s Kitchen, but let me quantify that two ways.  I’ve been more a fan of Chef Ramsay because I enjoy seeing his kitchen standards for fine cuisine.  As of late, I’ve found the show more to be about the reality TV and drama and less about the cooking and the food.  I still enjoy watching it, but I know the shock value drama is what helps get the ratings.  I found a Chef Ramsay recipe (you’ll need to scroll down) for risotto and shimp.

All Things Bayless

Back during Season 1 of Top Chef Masters, I remember cheering for Rick Bayless to win it all.  He seemed like a nice guy, and I’ve always enjoyed the flavor of Mexican cooking.  The above video showcases his techniques for preparing a surely delicious poblanos rajas.  I’ve burned peppers before for a roasted red pepper and corn soup (it was tasty).  I love the not-too-hot flavor of poblano peppers.  They’d be wonderful prepared this way, and it wouldn’t take long using the basic ingredients Chef Rick mentions to create a quick and delicious dish.