Pecorino and Radicchio Toast, Crostini di Pecorino e Radicchio Rosso

I love how specific the Italian translation of this recipe is. Rosso means red in Italian. The ingredients list does not specify that one should buy red radicchio, so thank god I can read Italian right?

I’ve only seen red radicchio actually. A white version does exist, but it is only available in the winter, in Italy.  I doubt you’ll have any issues in purchasing the wrong type.

Anyway, this recipe is from The Italian Mama’s Kitchen and you’ll need the list below to make it.

  • 12 inch long baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 5 ounces of radicchio, finely chopped
  • 3 ounces of grated Pecorino cheese
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley

The first few steps are simple and easy, pre-heat your broiler and stick the baguette in like a distinguished gentleman would. Don’t do it like a teenage boy because boys don’t know what they are doing, grown men don’t either in fact. Men suck. I’m bitter like a radicchio, but it’s true.

Stick the baguette in gently and toast it until the bun is golden brown. This should take about two minutes, which I’m sure you’re thinking is kind of boyish, but we are going to toast the other side as well, so it’s ok.

While all this toasting of the buns is happening, you’re going to mix the radicchio and the Pecorino in a medium bowl. Add pepper to your liking as well.

When the buns are nice and golden, you will spoon this mixture onto the toast and broil for 2-3 minutes. Take them out as soon as they are done. Then drizzle with oil and sprinkle some parsley on top. Your golden baguette buns should now  be ready for consumption.

The end result is interesting. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bitter little toast spread. The radicchio is bitter, the cheese is kind of bitter, I’m bitter, but the olive oil and parsley isn’t. These two items compliment the bitterness and sweeten it up just enough so that’s it’s charming and not a complete buzzkill.

That does remind of myself. I have now found my food alias. I am a radicchio and Pecorino toast. I wish I was as Italian as this dish was though. Oh well.


Bitter Rachel toast! 


Hummus, A Healthy Snack Made Even Healthier Part III The Roasting of Red Pepper

The same drill applies to  Hummus, A Healthy Snack Made Even Healthier but this time with roasted red peppers.

Like the last two times, straight tahini sauce seems to evade me. I swore I saw some somewhere though. I thought it was Trader Joe’s. I thought maybe they made it a seasonal thing or maybe they read my blog and felt bad. I don’t know, but I swear I saw it somewhere.

I’m probably just hallucinating. That happens to crazy people.

As I said, follow the recipe link above and add 1/4 cup of jarred roasted red peppers. These peppers will be chopped up in the food processor, along with everything else.

So far, this is my favorite hummus I’ve made. The red peppers give the hummus a nice small kick that is barley noticeable for me, but I have a high threshold for spice. I enjoy the pain. I would not be impressed with Mr. Grey’s playroom. I’d be like, “What no ghost pepper?!”


Let the massive redness entrance you!


Shrimp and Beans aka the Rich Man’s Pork and Beans

I never would have thought that shrimp and beans would be a good combo.  I like shrimp. I like beans, but together?! Get out of here!

Thankfully Classic Pasta at Home has pulled me out of the pork and bean gutter, dusted me off and taught me fancy phrases like the rain in Spain grows mainly on the plain.


In case you didn’t get it

Speaking of fancy, Classic Pasta at Home is kind of a fancy little cookbook. You’re not going to find pasta emerging from hot dog links here, which we all know is a classic American pasta dish.

I’m being sarcastic here, please don’t send me hate mail about this. It’s a joke. Lighten up Francis. Oh great, now you’re mad because I called you Francis.


Moving on to serious business, I do think the actual pasta in this cookbook is classic, but the sides dishes are not what I would find in my Italian-American small town. I’ve never seen a side dish of shrimp and beans or breasola with asparagus. Both of which are incredibly delicious by the way!

So, dear readers, this is an exciting time. Get pumped up for this recipe, because un-like myself, it is a winner.

What you’ll need

  • 1 1/8 cups of dried white beans (I used canned beans, you can too. Look for 8oz worth)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 18 large shrimp prawns, peeled
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup of parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

The first step is to rinse your beans, if you bought dried ones. If you did, you will rinse and then soak for up to 8 hours. When those hours are up, you then simmer the beans with the yellow onion and rosemary over medium heat. You will do this if you use canned beans as well. The book says to simmer in 6 cups of water. I used canned beans and was concerned about them getting soggy, so I just added a little bit of water. It was just enough to keep the beans from sticking and to allow the onion and rosemary to soak with the beans.

If you used dry beans, you will simmer for an hour. If not, I’d say 20-30. As I said earlier, I wanted to get the flavor of the rosemary and onion without causing the beans to become soggy. I ended up succeeding, but you do have to be careful to not overcook.

With both types, once the beans are cooked, you remove the onion and rosemary, drain the water, add salt and pepper, and then place it somewhere where it will keep warm.

The next step is to prepare your shrimp. I took my usual shortcut of using precooked shrimp. If you decide to be more classy and cook your own shrimp you will need to peel the shrimp and slit the back so it will open up like a butterfly while it cooks.

That’s not the only reason you need to cut them though. You also have to remove their shrimp veins. This is why I buy precooked shrimp. I could do that, but I don’t want to. Why should I force myself to do something like that when I don’t have to?

To cook the uncooked shrimp, you boil them in salted water for 45 seconds. When the seconds are up, you drain and transfer to a bowl for some tossing.

If you were not classy like I was, you should re-heat your precooked shrimp. I heated mine up in pan real quick with just a touch of olive oil but feel free to do whatever you like.

The final steps to making this classy meal is to combine the beans with the shrimp along with olive oil, red onion, parsley, garlic, and vinegar. Toss it to your little hearts content and then do a spice taste test. Adjust accordingly and then have someone who lives downstairs from you serve it to you because this is a classy dish and you are too classy to serve yourself.

In fact, just have someone downstairs cook it for you. If you happen to live on the ground floor and can’t do so. Well, I’m sorry to say that you just aren’t classy enough to eat this dish.


Chicken Satay Up Yours, Another Meal Involving Sticks Up Things

I haven’t been following up on the Chinese New Year folks. What is it the year of again? Oh yeah, it’s the year of the Monkey.

Well for my American New Year, so far, it has been the year of the kebab.

If you read my last entry, than you’re probably obsessed with me or hate me, which isn’t mutually exclusive. There’s a fine line between love and hate. There is also a fine fine line between a lover and a friend. Most of Los Angeles struggles with this.

What was the point I was I trying to make before I had to make another point? Oh yeah! If you read my last post, I made a shrimp skewer dish. Well this time, I’m making a Chicken skewer dish with peanut sauce from I Love Spice.

What you’ll need.

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch/2cm cubes (I just got a package that was probably a pound and cut them into some sort of cubes. I mean are you going to measure your meat? No you are not.)
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Cucumber cubes, for serving and eating
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • 4-5 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

The first step in this recipe is to take the chicken that you probably didn’t measure into 3/4 inch cubes and place it in a shallow dish. Seriously, who measures the cubes of their food? I need Italian grandmother measurements for this! My mind does not work that way. Tell me, one thumbs length or something. That makes sense to me.

Anyway, in a small bowl you will mix the soy sauce, cornstarch, 2 cloves of garlic, and ginger. When this is properly mixed, you will pour it over the chicken, cover, and marinate for at least two hours. Marinate in a fridge too because no one wants e coli unless they are under a voodoo spell.

This next step was not necessary for me, because I have metal skewers. If you have wooden ones, though, then you want to soak them in cold water for a half hour.

When you think you’re about ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 375 and place your chicken cubes on your skewers. Heat a ridged grill pan until hot. (I do not have a ridged grill pan, so I just put some aluminum foil on my oven rack.) Add the skewers to whatever heated surface you use on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn them every once in awhile while cooking until they turn brown as well. Once the chicken has browned, put the skewers on a pan and cook in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

While all of this is happening, you can make the peanut sauce. The first step for that is to heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and the remaining garlic clove over medium heat. Once the onion has softened you will add he peanut butter, water, and chili powder. Simmer this for 2-3 minutes.

When you have completed all of these steps, you are ready to arrange your skewers with the cucumber and sauce!

I was pleased with this recipe. It’s not difficult and you can get away with not having any kind of grill pan.

The marinating is what sells this recipe. I’m not a huge fan of soy sauce, but when it comes to marinating meat in it, I’m all in. Soy sauce makes the chicken juicy and tender, as well as adding a bit of a salty taste. Pair that in garlic and you are in instant heaven!

The peanut sauce was tasty as well, but I didn’t love it enough to need it.

If I were to make it again, I think I’d just add some rice and make a feta cucumber salad. Basically I would turn this dish into a Thai Greek child. I just want to make Greece great again and free Thailand. Two birds, one stone people.


Chicken, cucumber, and peanut sauce