Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene Part II

Off in the distance is a sight I've never seen - the GW Bridge without a single car or truck crossing. All the bridges and tunnels were closed and the NYC Subway shut down for the first time in history

For the lucky residents of the Upper West Side, Hurricane Irene only amounted to a heavy rain storm.  The New Jersey Shore and Long Island didn't get off as easily.  There was massive flooding, trees down and many residents lost their power - some are still in the dark. 

A little hurricane humor from a Salumeria di Rosi with windows taped to guard against the winds (86 in restaurants means "off the menu". )  Despite the lame joke - Salumeria di Rosi is exquisite.  They have only the finest products to take home or to enjoy there - they have wonderful small plates

Weekend lunch

On Sunday day two of making the most of my haul from the West Side Market was underway.  I had purchased some hero brioche rolls and made tuna sandwiches.  I used low fat mayonaisse, extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar and I spiced things up with banana peppers (from a jar) and some fresh basil that I found in my vegetable crisper in the fridge - I bought it the previous weekend at the Farmers Market but I salvaged a few leaves.  I got the Bumble Bee tuna packed in water.  I'd rather control the amount of oil going in and, besides, it tastes much better fresh.

Whitecaps on the Hudson

After lunch Hubbell and I were getting a bit stir crazy so we took a walk along Riverside Park.  The picture above really doesn't capture the scene.  It's rare that there are white caps in the Hudson River.  The tug boat and ferry boat in the picture were being tossed about as if they were toys.

Hubbell was a trooper even though walking in the wind was an uphill battle!

Normally on a Sunday afternoon in August the Boat Basin Café would be packed

Hubbell and I weren't the only ones out for a walk - the Basin is one of the few restaurants in NYC that allows dogs

This plant at the Basin emerged unscathed

A ghost town on what would normally be an insanely busy day at the Basin

Pasta dinner on Monday

For dinner I grabbed the bottle of Lydia Bastianch's marinara.  I dressed it up a bit by chopping fresh garlic and grilling it in a touch of extra virgin olive oil.  First I grilled cherry tomatoes and after they started to carmelize, I added the garlic  and after a minute or two tossed in fresh squeezed lemon juice, a bit of Tabasco sauce and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes to give it a kick. Next, I emptied the bottle of marinara into the pan.  Lydia's marinara is good straight out of the bottle but it's fun to add touches to make the sauce your own.  There are turkey meatballs as well - I'll post that recipes for the meatballs and my own marinara in the near future.

I tried Giada De Laurentis's Fusilli - this is one of the best pasta to come from a box that I've ever tried.  Giada is not only beautiful - her recipes and products are the best

Sunday at dusk on the Upper West Side as the last of Irene blows out of town

For the Tuna Sandwich


1 can Albacore tuna in water (I use Bumble Bee but for a real treat try imported tuna in a jar - which only comes in oil)
2 tablespoons low fat mayonaisse (though use the real stuff if you prefer)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 - 4 fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons banana peppers (or jalepenos if you like it really spicey)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cole slaw
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Drain water from can of tuna - open can and press down firmly with the can upside down.  Remove lid and discard.
Put tuna in a bowl and add all of the ingredients except the basil and banana peppers; mix well being careful not to break or mash the tuna.  Place the basil leaves one on top of the other and roll up like a cigar.  Julienne using kitchen shears.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. (I put the can of tuna in the fridge when I get home from the store rather than storing in the cupboard.)
I had some left over cole slaw that I lined the bottom of the brioche hero role.  Next add the tuna mixture and garnish with the peppers and basil.  Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top and squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top

For the Marinara

1 jar marinara sauce - I used Lydia Bastianich's but Mario Batalli's is also very good
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 - 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat non-stick frying pan (I use my trusty Le Creuset).
Carefully add oil and allow to heat for a minute or so.
Add sliced cherry tomatoes and cook stirring frequently until they start to carmelize.
Add sliced garlic cloves.
As garlic starts to brown, add lemon juice, red pepper flakes, Tabasco, salt and pepper - stir the mixture for approximately 30 seconds.
Add the jar of marinara and salt and pepper.  Mix well and heat until marinara starts to bubble.
Turn off heat, cover and allow to sit.  Ideally you will prepare this earlier in the day and let it sit on the stovetop until you're ready to boil the fussilli - or your pasta of choice.  Add the prepared turkey meatballs so all the flavors can marry throughout the afternoon.
As pasta is boiling I re-heat the marinara.
If you make a large amount, reserve some in a separate bowl.  Using a spider drain the fussilli and add right into the pay with remaining marinara - mix well and serve.
I grate parmasan at the last minute and give it another stir.  You may want to add more parmasan after you transfer mixture to bowl.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

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