RECIPE: Giada’s rigatoni with creamy mushroom sauce


  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, (such as cremini, shiitake and button), cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking:

slicing up mushrooms

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes.

garlic and shallots

Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes until all the liquid evaporates.

after the wine has cooked off

Add the stock and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until creamy.

nice and creamy

Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

we only had bowtie pasta in the house

Toss well to coat pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the chopped chives. Serve immediately.

so yummy

RECIPE: Julia Child’s Stuffed Eggplant

Julia Child’s Stuffed Eggplant
3 eggplants
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely minced onion
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound finely minced fresh mushrooms (I used white button mushrooms)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 1/2 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons parsley, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Stem the eggplants and halve them lengthwise.
  2. Cut striations 1″ apart in the flesh, going down to about 1/4″ above the skin.  Try very hard not to go through the skin.

    cutting up eggplant

  3. Preheat your broiler.
  4. Sprinkle the flesh with salt and lay the eggplants flesh-side down on the towel for half an hour.  This will help remove any bitterness in the eggplant.
  5. Gently squeeze the eggplant to remove any excess liquid.  Pat dry.
  6. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer in the roasting dish.  Put about 1/8″ of water in the bottom of the dish and drizzle the eggplants with olive oil.
  7. Broil 10 – 15 minutes, until the flesh is moderately browned and tender.

    broiled eggplant

  8. Remove all but 1/4″ of the eggplant meat with a spoon and chop.  Place it in the mixing bowl.
  9. Heat the first 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet.
  10. Slowly cook the onions in the oil until tender but not browned.
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add to the mixing bowl with the eggplant.
  12. Heat the 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet and add the mushrooms.  Saute until lightly browned and tender, 5 – 6 minutes.  Season to taste and add to the mixing bowl.
  13. Mash the cream cheese in the second bowl with the parsley.
  14. Add the basil, taste for seasoning and add to the bowl with the vegetables.
  15. All of these steps can be performed in advance.
  16. About 40 minutes before you are ready to serve the eggplants, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  17. Fill the eggplant shells with the mixture from the mixing bowl.

    filling the eggplants

  18. Combine the bread crumbs and Jarlsberg and top the eggplants with the mixture.
  19. Roast 25 – 30 minutes to thoroughly heat and to brown the topping.
  20. Cut each half into two pieces and serve.


RECIPE: Salmon Cakes


  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

salmon pieces


Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

mix everything

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.

salmon cakes

 Some other seafood recipes:
Bruschetta with shrimp
Honey ginger grilled salmon
Salmon in Chipotle sauce
Spicy Korean fried shrimp

Slice Pizzeria in New Orleans

Slice Pizzeria
1513 Saint Charles Ave,
New Orleans

This isn’t really a eat in place. We got there and the majority of orders were to go which we thought was a good thing but as we went to sit down, I saw that all the leather seats looked ragged and torn as if a dog had had its way w them.

I was surprised w how long the pizza slices took to come out but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised w how slow service was the entire meal. Now I’ve had some of the more famous pizza slices in ny and Philadelphia so I tried not to get my hopes up but I was still disappointed.

I had the prosciutto gorgonzola and arugula slice of pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and a drizzle of garlic infused extra virgin olive oil. I loved the virgin olive oil but was wondering why the prosciutto and gorgonzola flavors were missing.
I also had the shrimp and andouille pizza with caramelized onions, yellow corn, diced tomato and green onion. It sounded like an amazing combination but was bland unfortunately. The pizza was thin but hardly crispy.

My friend had the special slice of the day which has salmon, goat cheese and capers. The caramelized onions and goat cheese worked well w the salmon but the salmon wouldve been nicer if it had been smoked. The amount of salmon was quite generous.

Slice Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Maximo's Italian Grill in New Orleans

Maximo’s Italian Grill
1117 Decatur Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

The ambiance is striving for classy, I was a little surprised to see a woman come in in an outfit that left little to the imagination and an elborate head dress and a boombox (entertainment for someone’s bachelor party? nope! more like for someone’s 50th birthday party in the back of the restaurant). I was a little bitter that this huge birthday party took up the entire back area because I missed out on the open kitchen experience. The waiter was very nice about the bread and butter, but I love olive oil and parmesan cheese on my bread. The fire roasted shrimp had a fiery kick to it, and the lamb chop lollipop was extremely rich and flavorful and juicy.  The lamb chops also came with this garnish that was doused in some sort of tangy vinagrette, a very different kick than the shrimp but much more tasty. The louisiana crawfish diablo was great, the crawfish was a little overcooked but the pasta was amazing and the sauce was delicious! The osso bucco was so tender that at the touch of my fork, it would fall apart into the perfect bite size portion. The osso bucco had an intense rich and sweet flavor to it, with the rich texture of the meat made this an exciting palette experience. We ended our fun night with tartufo and cappuccinos, the tartufo was light which was perfect for this epic meal. The tartufo had italian gelato inside with a hard frozen chocolate shell.


sesame seed toasted bread

pinot grigio

lamb chop lollipop Grilled & Served with red & green apple mint jelly)

fire roasted shrimp w/habanero spice, baby beans, julienne carrots, spinach & arugula

Louisiana crawfish diablo: Penne with Spicy Garlic Green Onion Cream Sauce

Osso Bucco: Braised Veal Shank in a Garlic, Thyme & White Wine Demi

chocolate tartufo: vanilla gelato with frozen chocolate shell


Maximo's Italian Grill on Urbanspoon