Monday, January 19, 2009

Bistecca a la Florentina

In Florence, the best place to get bistecca florentina is Cipolla Rossa. We walked into the small cozy restaurant with dark wood tables and italian wines lining the shelves of the walls. The dinner started off with appetizers of sopressata and ricotta topped parmesean crepes, and anchovy crostini. We then ordered the house Chianti, the best wine of the Tuscany region made from Chianini grapes. After we ordered, the waitress brought out the slab of steak on a plate before it was cooked. We approved the cut of meat, and it was sent back to the kitchen for it's florentine searing. This bistecca is no joke, here they don't ask you how you want your meat cooked. You can only get it done one way, and it's some of the most flavorful meat I've ever tasted. Here is a little peek at what we were working with.

As a sidenote, the cappuccinos in Florence were amazing and let's just say the sweets were delectible. The gelato creamy, rich, and plentiful. The winter sweet panforte was by far my favorite dessert. This Christmas treat is a combination of dried fruits and nuts with some fabulous spices.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chicken Parmesean

The roomies and I decided to make dinner together. One of Rene's specialties is chicken parmesean, an I must say, it tasted pretty special. The mozarrella was amazingly soft, the tomato sauce, courtesy of 101 cookbooks, it one of the simplest recipes, with garlic, onions, salt, pepper, and crushed tomatoes. The flavors are so great that you don't need to dress up the tomato sauce with fancy spices. I would suggest some oregano if you have it.

We breaded the chicken in egg wash and bread crumbs. Then we baked it for 35 minutes. We put the tomato sauce on top and mozorella and let it bake for 10-15 more minutes. When the chicken was fully cooked, we transferred the chicken with sauce over pasta. Serve with a green salad. The green salad has a tomato, garlic, and lemon juice dressing.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This was inspired by Tartine, one of the best bakeries in San Francisco. This place is always so packed you can barely walk to get a table, but it's location in the mission is the perfect place for this not-so-secret culinary gem.

I had some extra baguette bread and roasted pumpkin so I thought this combo was too good to pass up. I mixed and egg with some milk, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and a little sugar to taste. Then I poured the mixture over cubes of bread and mixed in the shredded roasted pumpkin. I don't have measurements because I eyeballed most of it, but make sure the bread gets its fair share of the wet ingredients. Then bake the bread for about 20 minutes. I topped it off with some yogurt and honey right after taking it out of the oven.....It was sooo delicious still warm from the oven. I highly recommend this breakfast, especially if you have leftover stale bread.