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Seared Tuna with Ginger Shiitake Sauce

Seared Tuna with Mushroom Packets I’m still sick today but definitely on the mend but since I still not up to snuff I’m posting about another dish that I cooked last week before I came down with the flu. Tuna with mushrooms: to me that sounds like a weird combination but I’ve come across fish and mushroom dishes on several menus lately so I’m sure all those chefs can’t be wrong.Grilled AsparagusGrilled Artichoke

So when I saw Grilled Tuna with Mushroom Packets at the Pelican Grill I thought it was time to man up and try this combo. I’ve been told its good to try new foods when your hungry and after a long day of traveling, starting with a 7:00 am flight to sunny California, I was starving.  We proceeded to order way too much food.

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Bruschetta Three Ways

Bruschetta three waysI’ve been sick. Hence the lack of posts recently. I went out Newport Beach with Reed for a lovely weekend away but on the way back  I picked up the flu. Yesterday I couldn’t even get out of bed but luckily I had an interesting book that I have to finish for my book club this weekend. Dinner at Pelican Hill Resort

Sunset from the porch at the Pelican Grill In the past when I haven’t been felling well my cat, Bounce, has looked at me with eyes that said, ‘Why are you being such a loser mom? Let’s play!’. But this time she curled up next to me in bed for most of the day. I think she’s maturing. Continue reading

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Eggs Modenese with Tomato Hollandaise & Spinach

Ouvo ModeneseThis past Sunday Reed and I went back to our favorite brunch spot Locanda Verde. I hate what I do there now. I always order the same thing. Its such a boring habit but their Ouvo Modenese (poached eggs over cotechino hash, spinach with tomato hollandaise) is just so tasty I can’t help it.

Locanda Verde's Spring Flowers

Locanda Verde's Spring Flowers

Locanda Verde

Reed was just as bad as me, he ordered the pancakes with lemon curd and fresh blueberries which he’s probably had at least ten times.  We shared the delicious fresh sheep’s milk ricotta with burnt orange toast that I already posted about. Such a good brunch!

To make it even better we scored an outside table. Here’s to getting there early and by early I mean 10:00am (I’m not a morning person).  Brunch doesn’t really get going there until 11:00am but then you have to wait forever for a table.

Ricotta with Burnt Orange Toast

Fresh Ricotta with Burnt Orange Toast

Brunch at Locanda VerdeAll this week I’ve been trying to find this very particular sausage, called cotechino sausage that Locanda Verde uses in their Ouvo Modenese with Tomato Hollandaise and Spinach. Cotechino sausage originally came from Modena, Italy and is a fresh pork sausage seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It might sound like odd seasonings for a sausage but the spices are just background flavor creating a creamy mild pork deliciousness.

I didn’t have any luck finding the sausage so instead I opted to make my own- well sort of I’m not that DIY – I purchased  a mild plain Jane pork sausage and added the spices too it which was much better than running all over the city in search of cotechino sausage.

Ingredients for Eggs Modenese

Messy Tomato Hollandise Blender & Sausage with Spices

A messy blender after making tomato hollandaise & sausage with spices before blending

I made the hollandaise sauce the easy way, in a blender. I wrote the recipe for two servings but I was making it just for me so please note that the quantities in the pictures are for one serving (granted a big serving) except for the hollandaise sauce. I don’t think you can make hollandaise for one.

Anyway, you can make this as an indulgent low carb breakfast if you skip the bread.

Spiced sausage & spinach keeping warm while I poached the eggs

Spiced sausage & spinach keeping warm while I poached the eggs

Eggs Modenese with Tomato Hollandasie Sauce

Eggs Modena with Tomato Hollandaise & Spinach makes a great breakfast and it’s a welcome change from Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine which you can find everywhere.

Eggs Modena with Tomato Hollandaise & Spinach (serves 2)

(Total Time:  30 minutes)

Quick Tomato Hollandaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 stick of melted sweet butter, heated until bubbling but not browning
  • juice of half a lemon

Sausage, Spinach and Eggs

  • 1/3 lb mild pork sausage
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 6-8 toasted slices of a baguette
  • 4 eggs poached

For the Tomato Hollandaise: Place egg yolks, salt, cayenne pepper, and tomato paste in a blender, blend for a few seconds at high speed until you have a smooth frothy mixture. Still at high speed, start adding hot butter in a thin, steady stream. The sauce should start to thicken. When half the butter has been added, add the lemon juice. Continue blending until all butter is in. Set aside.

For the Sausage & Spinach: Remove the sausage from the casing. Discard the casing.  In a bowl mix sausage, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves until well blended.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Add spiced sausage mixture. Cook the sausage, breaking it up into little bits with a spatula, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sausage starts to brown and the onion is translucent but not brown. Remove the sausage mixture, set aside.

Add the spinach into the same skillet still over medium heat. Add a couple teaspoons of water and stir the spinach, scrapping the bottom to deglaze the pan. Cook 2 -3 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.

Divide the sausage mixture onto 2 plates. Top with the wilted spinach and 2 poached egg per plate. Pour hollandaise sauce over everything and serve with toasted bread.

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Roast Asparagus Milanese

Asparagus Milanese from the Greenwich Grill

Bread with Tuna Infused Cream Cheese from the Greenwich Grill

Bread with Tuna Infused Cream Cheese from the Greenwich Grill

Up in Connecticut my mother’s asparagus is already coming up. It’s almost a month early but with such a mild winter and a warm spring everything’s off schedule. At the Greenwich Grill where I had the chicken with bacon and pine nuts from the last post, Reed had asparagus milanese, a.k.a. roast asparagus with a fried egg. It was delicious and since I have wonderful fresh asparagus on hand I thought it would be a great time to give it a try.Ingredients for Roast AsparagusAsparagus prepped for roasting

Sadly a few years ago voles decimated my parents’ asparagus beds but they put in new ones surrounded by wire cages to protect the roots. The wire cages seem to be doing the job because the new plants are flourishing.Asparagus ready to roastFrying an Egg
Generally, when I roast asparagus I go with olive oil, sesame seeds, and garlic salt but the Greenwich Grill’s version was delicious and substantial enough to be a light lunch. The Greenwich Grill is an interesting place. It specializes in Italian food with a Japanese touches. For instance our bread was served with tuna infused cream cheese (I’m not a fan) instead of the usual olive oil.  I preferred their Italian focused dishes like asparagus or the chicken with bacon.Roast Asparagus Milanese

Roast Asparagus Milanese (serves 2)

(Active time: 10 minutes    Total time: 25 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10-15 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • a couple grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Toss the asparagus on a baking sheet with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and browned in spots, about 15 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the oven group into two equal groups. Sprinkle cheese over the groups and roast until the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes. Plate the asparagus and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and melt the butter. Once the foam subsides, fry the eggs.  Gently transfer an egg on top of each group of asparagus. Season with salt and pepper; serve.

*Roast Asparagus Milanese would be great for breakfast or as a side dish along side ham or roast chicken.

 

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Chicken with Bacon & Pine Nut Sauce

chicken with garlic and lemon, served with bacon sauce and roasted potatoesReed and I recently went to the Greenwich Grill in Tribeca which is an unusual mix of Japanese and Italian cooking. When you enter its set up a sushi bar but in the back room there’s a lovely Italian restaurant. I ordered the tasting menu which was hit and miss but my main course the chicken with bacon sauce which was spiked with garlic, lemon, and rosemary had a great combination of flavors. The bacon sauce also incorporated pine nuts and pine nuts always remind me of my first encounter with pine nuts in nature: Four years ago I met up with my friend Jenna in Moscow where we hopped on the Trans-Siberian Railroad bound for Beijing.  During our stop over in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, we were excited to do some hiking after being cooped up in a small train compartment for four days .

Lonely Planet recommended an outfitter for hiking trips around the capital. They weren’t running any trips while we were in town but the expat who ran the place was happy to sell us a map and recommend some short hikes that would be suited for our fitness level, moderate to solid, and hiking experience, novice. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Ulaanbaatar’s markets looking for cashmere accessories and hiking supplies: gloves (its still pretty chilly in Mongolia in June), nuts, dried fruit, and bottled water but it was only a 3-4 hour hike so we weren’t worried but its always better to be prepared.

Setting off on an extremely long hike back to Ulaanbaater

Setting off on an extremely long hike back to Ulaanbaater

Early the next morning the driver we hired took us to an outlying area from which we were going hike back to Ulaanbaatar. As we drove out, I got a concerned at how long the drive was taking but I told myself it was slow going because the road was rough and winding. We planned to take a trail through the hills and forest to lead us to a nice hotel in the Ulaanbaatar suburbs where we’d have lunch before continuing on to the capital.

Semi-lost in the Mongolian wilderness but still having a good time

Semi-lost in the Mongolian wilderness but still having a good time

After we’d been hiking for two hours and were still far away from the hills that marked the half way point, I could tell that we were on a much longer hike than we’d planned. That’s when I realized we really should have held out for a map milage scale. We started to ration our water and really picked up our pace. Through the plains, forests and scrambling over rocky hill tops we kept up our pace. A month ago Jenna and I had hiked in and out of the Grand Canyon in an afternoon so we were in reasonably good shape but we didn’t want to be out in the Mongolian wilderness overnight. Continue reading

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Arugula Salad with Pear & Prosciutto

Press 195I love it when my friends live close to good restaurants, especially when they’re inexpensive ones. Then you always have a convenient place to meet up. My friend Paul used to live above Press 195 which is a panini shop in Park Slope that has great sandwiches, inexpensive beers and wine and a lovely patio during the summer. Basically a great place for hanging out.

Even though they have over 40 different paninis to choose from I’d always order my favorite the Prosciutto Di Parma with sliced pears, fontina, baby arugula and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Pear, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad Ingredients

The prosciutto and pear slices mingle with the melted fontina while the peppery arugula cuts through the luscious greasy goodness. Yum. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of it.

Cooking the ProsciuttoWhisking the salad dressing

I wanted to make something light to go with my deviled eggs and on my way back from the gym this morning I passed by Press 195 which got me thinking about their panini. I’m trying to eat low carb these days to fight back against my Easter chocolate gluttony and that panini had solid potential as an arugula salad with a couple adjustments.

Instead of the fontina I decided to switch to Romano cheese, half because I already had some in the house and half because, as a hard cheese, its lower in fat than fontina. I’m ditching the bread and bringing in a little sweetness by adding honey (I know honey’s not low carb but teaspoon doesn’t hurt) to the dressing for the arugula salad. Ingredients prepped and ready to go

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