Sfoglini’s Zucchini Radiatore Pasta and a visit to Wedge Brooklyn

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For all you Brooklynites or vistors to the area, I have found a nice little gem in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  It’s a new little cheese shop called Wedge and it’s a great new store to the area.

There are many little items to browse through in the store, but their big ticket item is the cheese. There are all sorts of other products to buy like jam, condiments and different beverages. They even have picnic baskets to buy to take to the park!

Now, I should be writing about all the cheeses I’ve tried, but, well… I haven’t tried them yet. I’m really quite disappointed in myself. Please don’t stop reading. There is more to this blog.

Even though it is in many ways not as exciting as cheese,  I have been trying a pasta they sell called Sfoglini!  It’s a great organic pasta that is made with semolina flour.  I know that “it’s just pasta.” So, why not get the cheaper kind at the grocery store? But I have to say I’m hooked. I’m not sure what exactly makes it taste so good (probably the semolina flour), but the pastas has a very hearty taste to them and they taste far more filling than normal pasta I have cooked in the past.

When I went to their website at sfoglini.com, I also read they use bronze dies which adds to the texture of the pasta. Also, they air dry the pasta which adds to the flavor. Clearly, I’m not making pasta at home so I think for 10 dollars this is a great find.

The nice thing is they make a variety of pastas that I think are fairly unique. They have a great pasta called Mint Radiator. It’s made with pureed fresh mint and it’s divine. I’ve also bought a pasta that is called “trumpets” which basically are shaped like a “flower or horn.”

Mint Radiators

I’ve made two pasta dishes so far but my favorite of the two is “Mint Radiators with Yellow Zucchini”

This dish can be made on any weeknight. It’s very filling and the zucchini makes me feel like I don’t have to made a side salad or cook another vegetable. (I’m a big fan of the one dish dinner).

Mint Radiators with Yellow Zucchini
Recipe Type: Vegetarian/Main Dish
Author: Sfoglini.com
Ingredients
  • 6 oz Sfoglini Mint Radiators
  • 2 1/2 oz yellow zucchini (cut in moons)
  • 1 oz diced red onion
  • 1 oz chopped kalamata olives
  • 6 chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat 3 quarts of salted water in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add pasta and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  3. While pasta is cooking, saute the zucchini and onions in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium to high heat.
  4. After about 1 minute, add the olives and a pinch of salt and 1-2 tbsp of the pasta water so the onions don’t caramelize.
  5. Cook for another 2 minutes making sure the zucchini stays firm.
  6. Add the pasta, 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of cheese and a splash of pasta water to saute pan and stir together.
  7. Toss in mint leaves and a pinch of red chili flakes.
  8. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste and top off with grated cheese.

If you are interested in going to Wedge yourself click below for hours and address.

Wedge

7288 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

https://www.facebook.com/wedgeonfranklin

http://www.yelp.com/biz/wedge-brooklyn

To learn more about Sfolgini, here’s the link below:

http://sfoglini.com

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Seattle Eats: The Original Bakery in West Seattle

The main attraction of the West Seattle Fauntleroy district may be Lincoln Park along the shore of Puget Sound, but it’s also a busy hub for commuters whose cars line up during the day to board the eponymous ferry out to Vashon Island.  Otherwise, it’s a quiet area, with small businesses nestled in among residential areas.  One such corner just a short walk up from the park is shared by Endolyne Joe’s (“Endolyne” referring to the fact that this was once the “end of the line” for the now defunct tram system) and The Original Bakery.

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One of those “neighborhood businesses”–and in this case just as friendly and neighborly as you’d imagine such a shop should be–is The Original Bakery, open since 1936 and run by a father-daughter team, Bernie and Anna Alonzo.  Light and open, charmingly decorated with Delftware-inspired tiles, and drawing in plenty of foot traffic and lots of folks who are clearly “regulars.”

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Now admittedly my father has a fondness for bear claws (by which I mean, he is most certainly a regular) but I was still a bit surprised when we visited and we were greeted by Alex, the guy behind the counter, with a  “Hi Jim!  These must be your daughter and grandsons from Boston!”  My dad then told me that Alex was studying economics, which led to what would have been a discussion about law school excepting that my sons, looking in the display case and getting more and more excited, couldn’t wait any longer before placing their order.

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Frosted donuts with sprinkles (including patriotic red white and blue, as this was just before the 4th of July) were their order of the day (as anything with frosting is always a hit with my boys who then get to lick it off their fingers), but there’s plenty of other flaky pastries, cookies, muffins, and of course bear claws.  And plenty of varieties of bread, from sourdough to rye to french to challah.

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At little bakeries like this, I am usually prepared to pay a bit of a premium for something that is not mass-produced or shipped from some far-off industrial oven.  But I was surprised at the reasonableness of the prices–on our way out we took home a loaf of glazed cinnamon swirl bread for $2.99 (pre-sliced at our request!)–something the fancier bakeries in Boston (and just as likely Seattle!) might be charging $6 dollars for.

Per the owner, “We like to try to keep our prices low where we can.”

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The Original Bakery

9253 45th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98136
(206) 938-5088

http://www.theoriginalbakery.com/

The Original Bakery and Endolyne Joe's

Other “Seattle Eats” posts on Three Clever Sisters

Bakery Nouveau

Marination Ma Kai

Salumi

Original Bakery on Urbanspoon

Seattle Eats: Marination ma kai

One of the fun parts of planning our annual trip to Seattle is that my uncle always knows the newest places in the Seattle food scene.  Last year he took me to Salumi, this year we all went down on a remarkably sunny Seattle Saturday to Marination ma kai–originally a food truck, now a bricks and mortar restaurant.

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Marination ma kai has an enviable location on Seattle’s Alki beach in West Seattle–“ma kai” means “by the sea.”

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And you couldn’t pick a more appropriate spot for a Hawaiian-inspired restaurant to be located.

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Hawaiian is only part of it though:  This is actually a Hawaiian-Korean place, as the generous application of kimchi will make immediately apparent.  But there’s plenty of surprising items on the menu as well:  an unapologetic use of SPAM, so-called “sexy tofu,” sliders and tacos, and Marination’s signature secret recipe Nunya sauce (what Food and Wine calls “the next Sriracha”).  If you aren’t going to be in Seattle, you can still get a taste of Marination by having Nunya shipped to you.

Between all of us, we sampled a good portion of the menu–I had kimchi rice bowl with a fried egg, Karen got the sexy tofu, and there were orders of pork sliders, fried fish, and lots of crispy fries with Nunya sauce.

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While parking is not always easy at Alki, there’s no better place to enjoy the meal.  We claimed some picnic tables near the restaurant (funnily enough, next to the showering-off station for scuba divers, whose bulky amphibious get-ups were quite entertaining for my sons) and looked across Elliott Bay to downtown Seattle.  There’s plenty of indoor seating for those more than common overcast days as well.

But on a sunny day, no nicer way to finish off a meal than by dipping your toes in Puget Sound.

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(Aunt Karen and Little H, with the Space Needle in the background).

Marination ma kai

Alki Beach – Seacrest Park – West Seattle Water Taxi Loading Dock
1660 Harbor Ave SW, West Seattle

http://marinationmobile.com/locations

Marination Ma Kai on Urbanspoon

Updated to add:  I haven’t tried this recipe, but it’s what Flourishing Foodie reports to be a successful go at recreating the Korean Tofu Tacos at home.  I’ll be giving it a try myself!

A new type of Cocktail Column (at least short term)

So it’s been a while since I’ve written a cocktail column. Now, honestly, this means close to nothing for me because I’m not as dutiful or as culinary as my older sister Sara, but if you have guessed that I can’t  have alcohol you are also correct. Babies and hard liquor don’t really go. So, after February maybe I’ll be able to slowly get back to where I was!  Until then, this column will be have more fruit, more spritzer and 0.0% alcohol content. I’m sad about it too. However, I’ve been asking at many different restaurants for the “virgin cocktails, the mocktails” or whatever other name they have for the alcohol free cocktail. I’ve also started looking up many recipes, but have yet to find really good alcohol-free versions. There is really no replacing a mimosa, a St Germain cocktail or a fabulous bottle of red. The best replacement I have seen has been the mojito.

Typically the mojito is sugar, rum, some version of seltzer and mint. The bubbliness of the mojito makes it the only drink that is ok without the rum. (Note: I will never say better in any of these blogs. I just can’t. Wont. Ever.) It makes sense when you think about the mojito, a drink ordered for relaxation, a drink ordered for the fact that it’s refreshing.

While I continue to search for the best mojito, I will tell you a couple of non-alcoholic drinks that should not be tried.

#1. Non alcoholic beer

I don’t care what the brand. It’s awful. Yes, I tried it. I was trying to fit in. Fitting in is important and even though I’m not in high school anymore sometimes that feeling wants to creep back in. The taste? Well, it tastes how kitty litter smells. Foul. It’s also a complete waste of calories.

#2  Virgin Margaritas

Now these aren’t the worst, but they aren’t the best. I just had one last at night at our favorite tex mex restaurants that serve the best margaritas. You eat your chips. You have the greasy queso. You are relaxed and feeling, well not pregnant and then you take a sip. Unsatisfying. It’s like having a great sprite. There’s nothing wrong with sprite. In fact I really like it from time to time, but we know it’s not like a margarita with salt on the rim. Nothing is.

So for anyone on a diet, a restriction or in the midst of a rough hangover, try the mojito. It’s the only sensible way to go. I will continue to keep everyone updated on my search for great mocktails.

Cobies in Cape Cod

As mentioned by my sisters, we took a family trip to Cape Cod a few weeks back.  Between our trips to the beach, outings to Hyannis or just lounging around we also made a couple walks down to Cobies.  Cobies was just a nice little ‘walk thru’ restaurant with outside seating. Instead of a drive thru, you walk up to the window and order fried clams, grilled cheese, baked potatoes–you get the picture. It’s your standard comfort food, but I think my husband voted it his favorite fried clam restaurant on the Cape. My father in law would agree as he never turned down an offer to go–and often went down to Cobies while we were choosing to cook in!

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I will also add that it’s not only accessible by car or on foot.  I had a second trip to the Cape last week with my husband’s family, and we rode along the same bike path my sisters, father and nephews had biked a few weeks earlier,  even though we started out at a separate town.  After biking nine miles, I was ecstatic to see the Cobies sign off the bike path. I turned right around and biked on down. The grilled cheese and baked potato was the energy I needed to bike the nine miles back home.

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While we went to the restaurant a lot,  there was one more memorable experience with my nephews. Now these two little boys are fans of the chocolate ice cream. At Cobies, you can get food, but you can also get a variety of ice cream and milkshakes. For my father, and my two nephews there was really no choice. “What type of ice cream do you want?” we asked. Their reply, “chocolate.” End of discussion.  Elliot and Henry make my sisters and I laugh constantly at their crazy antics (making smoothies, knowing Maroon 5 and Katy Perry by name on the radio just to name a few), but watching the two boys attack the ice cream is a whole other ball game. The hour it took to get everyone out of the house in clean clothes was totally ruined with one lick or attempt to lick the cone.

Scroll below for the joy of Cobies…

 

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You can imagine the clean up after this trip. The person that was most shocked was our father. I think he forgot how messy children can be. My sisters and our mother weren’t surprised. After all, the boys love food. They are half Clevering. We sometimes lack control when it comes to our love of sweets.

If you are in the Cape later on this summer or maybe next year and want fried clams or just your own big scoop of chocolate ice cream, here is the information below.

Cobies Restaurant
3260 Main Street
Brewster, MA 02631
(508) 896-7021

Web:  http://www.cobies.com

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Seattle Eats: Salumi Artisan Cured Meats

If you have read Bill Buford‘s Heat, a few passages are certain to be impressed in your memory.   Some, perhaps, if only for their sheer lunacy–Buford somehow lugging an entire pig, head and tail included, to his NYC apartment to butcher at home.  (I seem to recall he didn’t attract too much attention, further proof that New Yorkers really have seen it all).  Others, for the eccentricity of the personalities Buford meets along the way, such as the Tuscan butcher, Dario Cecchini, who declaims Dante while expertly breaking down beef carcasses.  But of course the whole thing started with Buford’s profile of Mario Batali for the New Yorker which led him down his food-crazed road.

Salumi sign

Part of that Batali profile includes Armandino, Mario’s father, whose own father ran an Italian grocery that was eventually shuttered when Armandino became a Boeing engineer.  I suppose when your son is Mario Batali, however, you might be more than wistful about revisiting your family legacy, and so with surely a not insignificant amount of son-father advice, Salumi was opened in Seattle.  Now Armandino runs it with his daughter, Gina and her husband, and funnily enough Mario’s name is nowhere to been in the store’s bio.

In line at Seattle's Salumi

I filed this bit of information away as I read, with vague plans for a future trip to Seattle.  But it only coalesced into more than a passing thought thanks to an email from my Uncle John  (who introduced me to the concept of pesto in the early 90s and 8-hour bolognese sauce, so we’re trusting him):  “hey Sara, I just found this great salami place when I was on jury duty–ate there every day–we should go!  By the way it’s got something to do with that famous TV chef!”  That’s one way to make the best of jury duty.

Obviously, a new stop was cemented into the itinerary for our next trip to Seattle.  My uncle (who is, incidentally from Boston) took the day off from work and we trekked from West Seattle to what my other aunt called “the bowels of Seattle”–or more specifically, just between Pioneer Square and the International District.  Though Salumi opens at noon, we left planning to arrive closer to 11:30–for, true to my uncle’s prediction, a line was already forming.  And yes, it was drizzling a bit, which deterred no one.

Fortunately for all of us porcine-obsessed, Salumi does a brisk business, moving the line quickly.  It’s such an efficient operation, special orders have to be phoned in:  while you can get a whole sausage “to go,” you need to call ahead if you want them to slice it–they simply don’t have the extra capacity during business hours.  (And if you remember, you should:  the paper-thin cuts enhance intense tastes that  might otherwise overwhelm–just as thinly sliced prosciutto is almost heavenly,  you’d never want a thick cut of the stuff.  But if you forget, you can just cut it yourself).  Nor is there much room for leisurely loitering once you’ve had your sandwich made–the shop is deep but narrow, with a few tables protected by red-checked cloth.  A side room can be reserved for larger parties, but we’re definitely in a fast food sort of place.  Except, I wouldn’t be writing about this, nor would my uncle have taken a day off from work to take me here, if it were anything like what we normally think of as fast food.

At Salumi you can try classic and more unusual twists on cured meats.  I of course went for agrumi, a citrus-cardamom sausage, but you could also try the dario (which I suspect is named after that Tuscan butcher profiled by Buford, but which in any case is spiced with heady nutmeg and mace), the finocchiona,with fennel, curry, and black pepper, or more unusual cured meats such as coppa, culatello.  Or, if you’re tired of hearing about all this pork, even lamb “prosciutto.”  Something for everyone, except vegetarians.

The sausages are so fresh as to be meltingly tender–a welcome change from most jerky-like cured meats, where I often feel like a cavewoman trying to chew my way through a piece.  Save your jaw muscles for the good crusty Italian bread, and enjoy your sandwich with pickled onions or other toppings.  Salumi is fast paced, but you’ll have no trouble downing your meal quickly.

For those of you who don’t expect to be in Seattle anytime soon, you’ll be pleased to know you can order via email.  For those of you do, here’s their address.

Salumi Artisan Cured Meats

309 Third Ave South Seattle, WA 98104

http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/

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