Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wine and Food Pairing at La Ciccia with Nirvino

Thanks to Nirvino - a site for all your wine and cocktail needs! - for having me in one of their wine and food pairing videos, I got to know and love La Ciccia and its lovely owners, Massimiliano and Lorella. La Ciccia is a truly special Sardinian restaurant in outer Noe Valley and if you haven't been you are really missing out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Cozy Fall Side Dish - Brussels Sprouts, with Gnocchi, Pine Nuts and a Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I’ll tell you what - the memories I have of Brussels sprouts from growing up are so awful that I’m surprised I ever ventured to try them again. My mom is a wonderful cook, so why she would have made me eat those hard, bland, bitter things is beyond me. When cooked properly, these mini cabbages are crisp, interestingly textured and begging to be paired with cozy fall accompaniments, which is just what I did recently when I was inspired to create this rustic dish. I cut the Brussels sprouts in half, boiled them for just 6 minutes then finished them in a warm brown butter and sage sauce, with gnocchi and pine nuts. The end result had me tooting my own horn and wishing I had made more so I could enjoy the leftovers today. Trust me, this is ridiculously easy to make and sure to gets lots of oohs and ahs, though you might love it so much that you end up keeping the dish all to yourself!

Active time – so short it doesn’t bear mentioning!
Feeds: 3 people when served as a side, though I easily could have gobbled this all up myself or eaten it as an entrée if I were feeling a little bit vegetal
Note: Feel free to double or triple the recipe depending on how many mouths you are feeding and how ravenous you are

1 lb of Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons of salted butter
A hearty handful of fresh sage, about ¼ cup, roughly chopped
1 cup potato gnocchi (though butter nut squash gnocchi would also be lovely) – feel free to use a bit more if the fall air has got you craving a heavier dish
¼ cup of pine nuts (toasted)
Salt and pepper to taste

Simple Steps:
Wash, cut off the stems of the Brussels sprouts, then cut in half. Bring salted water to a boil and place sprouts in boiling water for 6 minutes. Sprouts should be bright green when done. Remove pot from water and drain sprouts. Set them aside.

Boil gnocchi per the instructions on the package, though shave off a minute as they will continue cooking in the sauce afterward. Drain and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat (be careful not to burn the butter). Once the butter is melted and just begins to brown, add the chopped sage to the saucepan letting it get a bit crispy. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan, and stir until well coated with the brown butter and sage, then add the cooked gnocchi. Gently mix everything together, adding a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper. Take the saucepan off the heat and serve hot.

If you’re feeling rather decadent go ahead and add crispy bacon or pancetta and a bit of shaved parmesan on top then send me the pictures so I can swoon over your perfect fall side. You may want to pair it with a vegetable friendly wine like the Austrian Grüner Veltliner, but you’ll find that Brussels sprouts are robust enough to handle a rustic red like Syrah, which is a perfect companion for a chilly fall night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

At Home Gourmet - Ricotta Meatballs

Check out these ricotta filled meatballs for a dish that will impress your friends, make great leftovers (trust me and my meatball hero filled self!) and is super easy. With the help of the right ingredients, some savvy tricks and your local specialty food shops, making meals with a gourmet twist at home isn't hard to do.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wine Time TV Interview

Despite the fact that I look like crap in the videocam, check out this fun interview Wine Time TV did with me. Jamie Lauren, Thomas Keller, Gary Danko, Gavin Newsom and others who I have filmed with are featured.

Wine Time TV Webisode 6 feat. Tanya Melillo from Wine Time TV on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hot Soup, Chilly Night

I just love white bean soup. One of my favorites is served at 'Ino in NYC's the West Village. Since I can't go there whenever I feel like it, I made my own version, adding sausages to make it a bit heartier. Check it out!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finishing the Fig Tart

I've been working on my pastry dough skills and savoring all that is fall, so it was the perfect time to make a fig tart. Check out this video of a lovely one I made. I actually made it again this weekend and decided to mix the figs with the honey, lemon and thyme before filling the pastry. It makes for a sweeter, slightly gooier filling, which some people prefer, though I think I preferred it straight up as I did it here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fig Tart Crust!

I think I was suffering from delusions caused by lack of carbs when I was making this fig tart yesterday. They caused me to make and film it with a post-shower towel on my head. The crust came out awesome though. Very proud of it. More of the tart to come!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My First Interview

I'll admit that when this whole "business on my own thing" gets a little hairy, I day dream about the day when I'll be past the ups and downs of getting a business off the ground and instead cooking on Oprah. This wasn't that, but I did feel a little bit special to do an interview for Wine Time TV. The whole thing cracked me up and I hope it makes you chuckle also...here's part 1, with shout outs to Wente Vineyards, Rocco DiSpirito, Tom Colicchio, eatdrinkordie.com and Murphy Goode's Hardy Wallace!

Wine Time TV Webisode 5 feat. Tanya Melillo from Wine Time TV on Vimeo.