Linguine with Clams and Lemon

While all of you are either at work or school I figured why not give you a great dish to make for dinner tonight. All im saying is give it a try! Put away the ramen noodles and frozen pizzas and take a trip to the grocery store for an inexpensive and easy dish.

Clams are a funny ingredient because not everybody likes the consistency or taste of them. However I have found that many people are simply just to stubborn to try clams in the first place. Saying you don’t like something before trying it must be one of my biggest pet peeves. I had a roommate in college that lived on popcorn and frozen pizzas. The one day I made him a plate of my linguine and clams and he flipped his lid. The only bad part was that he kept hounding me to make it for him again. Enjoy!

Linguine con vongole e limone (Linguine with Clams and Lemon)

Cook time: ~ 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic(finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley (chopped)
  • 2 lb little neck or baby clams (washed and scrubbed)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup clam or fish stock
  • 1 lb Linguine
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

First you want to clean and scrub your clams under cold water. Discard any clams that are not closed and will not close at your touch.

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In a large sautee pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add your garlic till it becomes aromatic (about 30 seconds)

Add clams, stock and white wine and saute in pan. cover and cook until the wine has been reduced and the clams have steamed open (about 6 minutes) discard any clams that did not open. (add a little butter in there if you would like, just dont tell mom)

While clams are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it to taste. Add the linguine and cook (about 8-10 minutes) drain in a strainer and transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and add the clams and stock. lightly dust the lemon zest, red pepper flakes and fresh ground pepper and mix in with the pasta. Lightly sprinkle your parsley for nice flavor and presentation….Its that easy!

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and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

HOMEMADE PASTA!

HOMEMADE PASTA!!!

Alright everyone, this is a very creative and unfamiliar post for most of you. Anyone who knows me understands that generally I love eating anything. I enjoy anything as long as its well prepared, steak, tacos, sushi but nothing compares to a great pasta dish! Any real italian will tell you how the whole family gets together on sunday for the homemade sauce, im not impressed…give me a call when you make your own pasta! Talk about impressing family, friends or a loved one…the secret is homemade pasta. I am too excited to keep talking so let’s get right into it shale we!

Pasta Fatta in Casa:(Fresh Homemade Pasta)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (keep flour close, may need extra)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

*technique is a key factor in making homemade pasta!

First, sift the flour onto your surface so it is shaped like a miniature volcano and press a hollow in the center.

Make sure the hole you have hollowed out only goes about a quarter of the way down into the flour.

In a mixing bowl stir together 7 tablespoons of water with the salt, egg and olive oil and pour the mixture into the hollow. With a wooden spoon stir in part of the flour from the edge toward the center and continue stirring together until the mixture forms a smooth supple dough.

Shape and knead the dough with your hands and form it into a ball and let it rest under a damp cloth for about 40 minutes. (letting the dough rest is very important and should not be skipped)

After letting the dough rest dust the working area and a rolling-pin with flour and begin rolling out the dough to the thinnest possible rectangular you can. After acquiring a nice thin sheet fold dough over multiple times and continue to roll again (repeat process 1 or 2 more times)

 Dust the sheet of dough with flour and loosely roll it up lengthwise. Cut it into thin strips with a large, sharp knife! last set aside a place to dry them and lightly dust with flour. Then roll the pasta strands into loose looking nests and place them on the bed of flour you made for yourself. let noodles dry a bit before cooking!

There you have it some nice fresh homemade pasta that could make even the largest Italian man blush!

“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.” ~ Christopher Morley

as always,

Buon Appetito America

JCL

Restaurant Review #3

Restaurant: The Left Bank

http://leftbankrestaurant.com/

Location: 511 Rhode Island Street Buffalo, NY 14213

Telephone: (716) 882-3509

Category: American/European                                              Noise Level: Average

Rating: 4.5 /5                                                                          Ambiance: Romantic, Casual,

Price Range: $$$                                                                   Good for: Dinner

Caters to: Adults                                                                    Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Takes reservations: Yes                                                      Wine List: Average

Review:

Left Bank would not be considered a hidden Jem. Although its location is somewhat off the beaten path, most of buffalo is very familiar with this restaurant for its consistent high quality service and even more superior food. On the handful of occasions that I have dined at the left bank I have never had a bad experience whether I went for simple cocktails or a full three course meal.

The Atmosphere: As you turn down gloomy Rhoad Island street in buffalo your attention is not drawn to the brink vine-covered Left Bank restaurant but the fire station and Prime 490 Steakhouse that sits on the opposite side of the street. When pulling past the restaurant there is ample parking for even the busiest of nights. As you enter through the front doors you get a hint of what your experience will be like almost instantaneously. The all brick walls and hardwood floors add to an ambiance of dim lighting and classy chatter. The fully stocked bar is your first encounter when entering the restaurant. It extends the entire side wall which gives room for ample bar seating. Two or three bartenders are very attentive as to not keep you waiting. There skills are extensive so don’t be afraid of getting a tough muddled old fashion or dirty martini. If you’re looking for a kamkatcha soaked red bull then you may be in the wrong atmosphere. The hostess stand separates the blusterous sounds from the bar and the very eloquent dining room. The dining room is spacious, seating about 60 people at a time. The brick exposed walls showcase a variety of different works of art which add to the ambience. The chairs are enjoyably cozy and the tables are spread far enough apart as to not intrude on the playful banter of the people around you.

The Service: The service is very attentive and knowledgable. Being in the profession myself, I would always recommend asking your server for recommendations since they know the menu better than anyone. It sometimes means being directed to the most expensive dishes; however, it never hurts to ask. Our server was delightful and seemed very pleased to have us. She directed me to the 2009 Le Sughere di Frassinelo super Tuscan which my date and myself thoroughly enjoyed (shown in the entry below). Not only was the server very attentive but there are a team of bussers that assist in running, packaging and filling our glasses and plates. The entire staff was very pleasant, inviting and made us feel very comfortable. It always feels good to have great service, so don’t forget to reward your server with a generous tip if you feel they deserved it. (trust me they will remember you and go above and beyond for you whenever you return)!

The Food: The ambience and service were only a precursor to what was a spectacular and delectable meal. I always love to try new things so I end up over ordering. the menu has a great range of cuisine with many palatable small plates, appetizers and entree’s. From seafood dished like the Ahi tuna tartare ($14) to the hot banana peppers ($9), there is truly something to fit any palate. They also have a special bruschetta and ravioli that is prepared different by the chef each day. We started with the Tuna Tartare (sushi, grade A raw tuna) and the bruschetta of the day, followed by the grilled tiger shrimp which came served atop artichoke bottoms and baked goat cheese ($9)…We then ordered two entee’s to share between the two of us (Pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes($22) and linguine with chicken chorizo and roasted red peppers($18)). The portions are large so we had a lot to take home but there is nothing better than next day left overs!

the entire menu can be found here: http://leftbankrestaurant.com/menu.html

* their wine list offered about 30 varieties of red wine by the bottle and about 15 whites… there were many labels that are familiar such as Mark West, Stags leap, and Mondovi. However there were plenty that were new to me (such as the super Tuscan we had). If you are looking to treat yourself they also offer a reserve list with ten bottles averaging $130+ a piece

The wine list can be found here: http://leftbankrestaurant.com/wine.html

Left bank is a great dining experience and I highly recommend a trip there as soon as you can. When you do dine out, do me a favor, change it up, order something you have never had or something you can’t make at home! it will be worth every penny!

And remember,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Restaurant Review #2

RestaurantSaigon Restaurant & Bar

http://saigoncleveland.com/

 Location: 2061 E. 4th Cleveland Ohio, 44115.

Telephone: (216) 344-2020    Category: Vietnamese                                               Noise Level: Low

Rating: 3/5                                                                 Ambiance: Contemporary, Casual

Price Range: $$                                                        Good for:  Dinner

Caters to: Adults, Kids and groups                           Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Takes reservations: Yes                                         Wine List: Poor

Review:

          As you walk down the buzzing street of E. 4th in Cleveland Ohio you walk past a lot of great wonders such as the House of Blues, Lola Restaurant (Iron Chef Michael Simon owned and operated) and Pitwick and Frolick. Saigon is a quaint little Vietnamese restaurant that sits next to some of Cleveland’s greatest titans!

The Atmosphere: As you enter the restaurant it is relatively small in size but can cater still to a nice crowd. the bar is tucked away in the corner and did not seem very inviting. The alcohol selection was not very extensive with just a couple top shelf liquors. Its one large rectangular room with about 10-15 tables in the center which can cause an irritating crowded feeling on a busy night. The booth tables are semi circular along the walls and seat 4+ people in each. I would make a reservation and request a booth to avoid the hustle and bustle of sitting in the middle of the restaurant.

The Service: As my company and I entered the restaurant we felt very comfortable as if we had walked into a Vietnamese style home. The exotic plants and dim lighting was very inviting along with the eagerness of the hostess to seat us. Most of the staff is of Vietnamese or asian decent which added to the experience. Our server was very attentive and kind, however she did not engage in much conversation besides taking our order. Many of the people in our party were dining with this cuisine for the first time and therefore did not understand many of the dishes available to them. Our Server could have gone over a few house specialties and highlighted items we may be interested in as first timers. One of the diners meal was too spicy for her and she almost could not enjoy it. Service was alright over all but it could have used a friendlier more personal touch!

The Food: This section is what really gives the restaurant all the hype. I must say that their flavors and spices are unmatched by any typical european and american flavors. Saigon’s Menu was extensive and stayed true to their Vietnamese roots. It was also very reasonably priced with appetizers stemming from $5-$10 and your average entrée in the range of $15. They had a lot of great selections for appetizers and entrée’s which could appeal to any palate. Whether you wanted a fresh summer roll or beef skewer they had many fresh and deep-fried app’s to share. There entree’s where sectioned into the type of meal you wanted ex..(Noodle bowls, salads, chicken, beef and seafood). Each dish was different in its entirety. They offered many great preparations of each with many unique sauces. A couple of sauces to be on the look out for in any Vietnamese/ Thai restaurants are:

  • Lemon grass sauce
  • Curry preparations
  • Sweet and sour
  • Thia basil

Not only was the food delicious in flavor but it was also healthy in its make-up…Vietnames style cuisine caters very well to the vegans and vegetarians of the world. Saigon like many other restaurants of its nature offer wide variety of tofu and rice dishes to satisfy. Any vegetarian could find themselves in heaven with a number of stir fried vegetables and an extensive array of sauces!

          Earlier in my blog i posted an article that was titled “Joseph Hates you all, im just here for the food” and that is exactly how I feel about Saigon restaurant. The atmosphere, service, wine selection and bar may have needed help but the food and flavors left you wanting more and that’s why we are here after all..Great Food! The next time you are in Cleveland and looking to be a little adventurous, stop by Saigon for a very relaxed and delicious meal.

and remember,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL