Geek Chef

I cook, I talk, I geek

Black as my soul May 2, 2010

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 6:58 pm
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Another candidate for the “scary food” potluck at work was Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia, or pasta with squid in it’s own ink. Shocking, isn’t it? Really tasty too.

For this photo shoot I also used pasta with ink in the dough, which really added to the effect. It is not for the faint of heart but totally worth trying. I got the pasta and ink on, you can also find it at most specialty food stores.

My recipe calls for whole squid, however cleaning whole squid can be scary on it’s own, feel free to buy calamari rings instead. You can get them frozen at most markets.

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia

1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 packets of squid ink
4 medium sized calamari (squids), cleaned cut into pieces
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Sautee onions in olive oil on a medium setting until soft, add garlic and sautee for a few more minutes. Add calamari, pepper flakes (more or less to liking) and herbs, then wine. Let wine cook down for 5 to 10 minutes, then add tomatoes and ink. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve over pasta with fresh parmesan, asiago or pecorino cheese.


The eyes have it November 5, 2009

Filed under: Food,Geek — geekchef @ 1:05 pm
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This post is a little late, but still fun I hope.

We had a “scary food” potluck at the office for Halloween and instead of making another oddly colored food item, I made Monster Caprese Salad. I got the idea from a blog I like, Evil Mad Scientist. The idea is simple, but a little tedious.

monster caprese

Monster Caprese Salad

fresh mozzarella
tomato about the same diameter as the cheese
fresh/firm green olives, whole or pitted
firm black olives, pitted
olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice the tomato and mozzarella into rounds, about the same thickness and place in a stack on top of a few basil leaves. You can leave them whole or shred.

Now the tricky part. With a sharp paring knife, cut the bottoms off of the green olives. Cut about a half an inch down. Then, turn the olive piece upside down and punch a hole out of the middle using a drinking straw. You can get a pretty good guideline where to poke the hole from the indentation where the pit was. You now have the outside part of the eye!

For the inside part of the eye. Repeat the process with the black olive, but this time use the bit from inside the straw. You can poke several holes in the black olives and I recommend using a bamboo skewer to get the bits out of the straw.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper and you are set! Enjoy your ‘spooky’ snack.



Lunch July 28, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 3:12 pm
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Even though I love everything that goes into sandwiches, I’m not really a sandwich person. I like things that are a little less conventional. I also prefer to go with something light for lunch, unless I have the luxury of an afternoon nap.

Here are a couple of my favorite sandwich alternatives.

Salad Wrap

1 tortilla
handful of veggies
slice of cheese
protein of your choice
salad dressing

Throw everything into the tortilla and wrap it up, easy! This is a great way to eat something light but have it ‘feel’ a bit heavier. I imagine this would be a good kid meal as well.

Italian BLT

tomatoes (fresh and/or sundried)
fresh mozzarella
pesto mayo

I use thin slices of focaccia, usually cut one piece down the middle. Then pile on the pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes. Also adding a little oil and balsamic – basically making a caprese sandwich. Very nummy.

Unless I have pesto on hand, I make large batches a couple times a year and freeze it, I buy a small jar of premade pesto and mix in a little mayo. Not much, just a little to add a creamy tangy flavor. If the word mayo turns you off, then call it aioli.


My favorite cookie August 8, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 9:42 am
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I went to Dianda’s Italian bakery the other day and loaded up on cookies. Usually I go straight for the cakes – rum and custard, so good. But that day I kept it ‘lite’. Among the mixed bag o’ yummy was one of my favorites – Amaretti, after having Dianda’s version it IS my favorite. It was perfect, light and sweet but not too sweet, delicate crispy outside and chewy in the center. MAN, I’m in love.

Don’t ask me why I haven’t tried baking Amaretti myself, I couldn’t tell you. But it’s so easy! Here is the recipe , make some and send me a sample or 5. 🙂

Amaretti Cookies

2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups (8 ounces) finely ground, blanched almonds
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Beat egg whites until foamy, gradually beat in sugar and almond extract. Continue beating for several minutes until whites form very stiff, shiny peaks.
Stir in almonds and cornstarch until well combined.

Drop generous tablespoon of batter into small mounds about 2″ apart on parchment-lined, baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 17-22 minutes until firm and lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes 30 cookies.

Chewy Variation:

Beat egg whites with a fork until broken up and slightly frothy. Stir in sugar until combined; then mix in remaining ingredients (and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon optional cardamom if desired) to make very stiff paste.

With moistened hands, form scant tablespoons of paste into 11/4″ balls. Arrange 2″ apart on baking sheets. Use moistened fingertips to flatten each ball slightly. Bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes or until firm and very lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. These are like traditional macaroons.