Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday Night Menu, Al Forno's Roasted Sausages and Grapes, July 22, 2011

This week I knew I wouldn’t have all day to cook on Friday, so I tried to come up with a quick menu…but still new and different.  So the new August 2011 Bon Appetit came in the mail and one interesting thing was in the “RSVP section”, which is where readers write in and ask for a recipe from a restaurant that the ate at and they want to make the recipe at home.  Someone asked for the recipe for Eggplant Fries from The Art Institute of Chicago (OK, there is the appetizer).  For the main dish I happened to catch a Barefoot Contessa show where she had one of the owners of Al Forno’s restaurant in Providence RI on with her. They were talking about an item that’s been on their menu for over 30 years and they were going to show how they do it.  Tony and I have been to Al Forno’s maybe 10 times over the years; we actually went there for the first time when Tony proposed to me in 1995.  Dessert was as simple as it gets and something I never do…

Eggplant Fries with and Herb and Lemon Dip
You know how eggplant is like a sponge?  Well one of the reasons I wanted to try this recipe is because they claimed to have a way of frying eggplant without it soaking up too much oil.  The eggplant is cut into ½ inch fry shapes and soaked in ice water for 2 to 12 hours.  The eggplant soaks in the ice water and later when you dredge them in the flour mixture and fry them, the cold eggplant hits the hot oil and makes a nice crust, and there is nowhere for the oil to soak in because the cold water has already soaked in, BUT it’s not watery or soggy which you may think.  It’s sprinkled with sea salt and lemon juice when it comes out of the oil and served with a sauce.  Its yogurt mixed with fresh oregano, lemon zest and relish of all things.  I found the recipe for you on line.

Al Forno’s Roasted Sausages and Grapes

We love Al Forno’s, so when I saw the owner giving therecipe to one of their dishes, I was all ears.  They were the first ones to do grilled pizza, which was a great idea!  The other recipe that I love from Al Forno restaurant is the Penne with Five Cheese, which I make on occasion.  They also make a killer rustic fruit tart.  This one Tony said he ordered one time, I don’t remember that, but it really is good.  You may think “what’s the big deal sausages and grapes?” but what they do is boil the sausages first before roasting and that removes some of the excess fat.  The grapes are cooked in butter then the boiled sausages go in with the grapes and red wine.  Roast turning once for 25 minutes and balsamic vinegar and reducing the liquid to a syrupy consistency to finish it off.  The sausage and grape combination with the reduced juices and served with red bliss mashed potatoes is really a comfort dish.  And best of all on this busy day, it took about 35-40 minutes from start to finish.

Cherry Garcia Ice Cream atop a Sugar Ice Cream Cone

I saw these sugar cones at Whole Foods one day and I thought I should do an ice cream cone one day.  I thought of that idea for tonight.  I’d say Cherry Garcia is in the top 2 of favorite ice cream flavors.  It doesn’t get any easier and it’s different (for us anyway).

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