August 17th, 2008

Italian Night: Manicotti, Pizza, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Tiramisu

A recent episode on America’s Test Kitchen featured Italian classics looked so good it inspired me to do all Italian food for our game night on Saturday. The manicotti recipe has a clever twist; they use no-boil lasagna noodles. Manicotti tubes are often difficult to fill, especially when parboiled; spreading the filling out on the sheet of lasagna noodle and rolling it up like a wrap is easier, quicker and I think it created a better pasta to filling ratio. The recipe includes a homemade tomato sauce, but it would be even easier to use your favorite jar sauce. 


The garlic bread recipe is fussy and takes far longer than a garlic bread recipe should take. The one part I do like about the recipe is that it you cook the garlic with a tablespoon of butter over low heat for 5-7 minutes. This makes the garlic less pungent and sharp and more sweet and mellow. 

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The tiramisu is a simple and easy recipe from Epicurious. I’ve made it half a dozen times and it has yet to fail me.
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Lastly, it was after midnight and we were on our third game of Settlers of Catan (I won 2 out 3 games!) and what’s better than pizza? I had a batch of the basic dough I’ve blogged about before and I just tossed together a fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza and an olive pizza. I love the thin crackly crust this dough makes.


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Fuloon, Malden

Mj and I had lunch at Fuloon last week. We shared a pork pancake, tea smoked duck and white rice. After the food had been served, I noted that maybe we should have ordered something green for the meal, but we dismissed that thought quickly and dug in. I’ve had the duck before and it was still great, but the pork pancake was the star. It was huge, easily the size of a 12” dinner plate. It was like having a fried dumping in quesadilla form, which means a much higher crispy exterior to savory meat filling ratio. I will definitely order this again.

Peach and apple picking

There’s nothing as lovely as taking a bite in to a sun-ripen peach and licking the exploding juices that are running down your hand. We went to Lookout farm in Natick today and picked Saturn peaches. They are also known as flat or donut peaches for their funny, tire-like shape. Saturn peaches are sweet and have thin skins, so they do not harvest, or travel to the supermarket well. We picked 5 pounds, so I do plan on making a pie, but they are so good to eat out of hand there may not be enough left.


We also picked gingergold apples, my 3rd favorite kind of apple (behind Fujis and Jonagolds). The apples were sweet, with a hint of tartness, and nice and crisp. I’ll probably make an apple pie (especially when I realize I’ve eaten too many peaches to make a peach pie.)


Lookout Farm is a rip off; its $8 to get in to the orchards and the fruit is $2.50 a pound. I used to love it when it was owned by the Marino family, but it was sold in 2005 and it hasn’t been the same. I would have gone to another orchard, but they were the only ones with peaches this weekend (Mother Nature has not been cooperative, apparently). Maybe I’ll try to hit another orchard in a week or two when the yellow peaches are ripe.

Toraya, Arlington


R and I had a lovely meal at Toraya on Sunday. We’ve been before lunch before, but never dinner. We got there for an early dinner on Sunday and we had the squid tempura to start. It was tender with a nice light batter. It also came with some tempura veggies that were surprisingly good. Who knew I would like broccoli tempura so much?


We both got the sushi and sashimi deluxe combo. It came with 6 kinds of sashimi, with 3 pieces of each, 6 pieces of thin rolls, and 6 pieces of nigiri. It was an abundant selection of sushi, and the fish was sliced thick and luscious. The salmon was buttery and the eel was excellent. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of it all, for the reasonable price of $21 each. I think I’ve found a new to-go place for my sushi fix.


890 Massachusetts Avenue

Arlington, MA 02476
(781) 641-7477