Step by Step Fresh Pasta @ Oven&Fig!

As some of you may already know, I have quite a love for a local restaurant in my town, Alfredo BYO

Last month the owners and I came together to create a blog- which we decided to call the Oven and Fig. Adorable!

I am writing and photographing each piece we do together. Right now we are working on one post per month- in the restaurant business, time is oh so precious. It is such a blast!

For our Christmas edition we decided handmade pasta would be our recipe of choice…. You thought my hand rolled gnocchi were fun and delicious?

These little guys are quite a contender. 

Check out the new post HERE … and let me know what you think!

A New Location for Di Bruno Brothers: The Ardmore Preview Party.

I never thought I would be this excited about a few hundred square feet! I am proud to announce, congratulate, and most of all welcome one of the premiere Philadelphia Italian markets, Di Bruno Brothers, into the Ardmore Farmer’s Market. If you remember from a few weeks ago, I chronicled my experience at the Rittenhouse location… teasing the introduction of this amazingly necessary mecca to the Main Line. Well, it is officially close enough to taste…. and that is what I had the pleasure of doing for several hours last night at their Grand Opening preview party. Taste, sample, smell, see, and toast to what should be quite the influential addition to the Philadelphia suburbs.

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When in life you achieve a goal, you celebrate with pasta.

Yesterday was cause to finally cook the pasta I splurged on last month while perusing the aisles of DiBruno Brothers. I never buy speciality pasta for that exact reason… there always has to be some sort of occasion or reason to let these handcrafted, fancifully packaged pastas see their best friend, boiling water. You spend an arm and a leg on some varieties and then they just sit there, like the prince of the pasta shelf waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Well, my Farro Fettucine finally had its 15 minutes of fame as yesterday I really had something to celebrate.
Recently I have fallen in love with the spin bike, something you would not have caught me saying a year ago. It intimated me, it hurt my booty, and truthfully, I was always convinced I was going about it incorrectly. As with everything else in my life, practice makes perfect, and yesterday I finally accomplished the goal I set for myself …. 26.2 miles in under 60 minutes.

My legs were like a blur in the reflection from the window next to me and once I knew I had the finish line in sight, it was one of the best feelings in the world. A marathon plus close to 300 flights of stairs, I clearly earned my R&R for the rest of the night, and for some reason I was also craving a giant bowl of good job pasta.

Eat Local: DiBruno Bros.

Welcome to the final day in February! I’m not counting down or anything (wink wink!) but there are a lot of exciting spring time happenings that become all that much closer with the arrival of the month of March. One of those things?

The debut of DiBruno Bros in the Ardmore Farmer’s Market.

 

Photo from lefthandbrewing.blogspot.com

 

If you haven’t caught on yet, I get really excited when a part of Philadelphia moves into my hood. I know the city is just a 20 minute drive away, but very rarely is it ever that easy to make a quick trip in and out, except maybe for a cheesesteak run at 2 am!

DiBruno Brothers will certainly be welcomed with open arms when they turn on their cash registers next month. There is no doubt that their new Ardmore location will not hold the same market style ambiance that the original Chestnut Street location is known for, but still what a great addition to the area, bringing along cooking demonstrations, specialty items, and of course, the cheese! It will be all right there,  just a hop skip and a jump down Lancaster Avenue. Speaking of the cheese which they are wildly famous for, I can’t forget to mention, hand pulled mozzarella on site at Ardmore Fridays and Saturdays?? You know there will be a Caprese salad on my table at least one weekend a month!

So, Main Line Mamas, prepare your cheese boards.

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Hello, Hand Rolled Gnocchi!

I am blessed to be able to say that there have been a few times in my life where I have felt like I was in paradise. Santorini was one of those places. It is probably one of the only cities in the world where you actually feel like you are walking in a dreamland. I captured some of my greatest photographs there, but Santorini was also the place where I found the best gnocchi dish I have ever had. Seated inches from the pebble strewn beach and the crashing clear water, this little bistro blew my mind! It was simple, gnocchi with a tomato sauce and lots of basil, and you know simple is always my thing.

A few experiences have come along since then that could have tried to challenge that night’s dinner. A close competitor was the gnocchi dish I ordered at this little bistro in New York City.  But, I am not always in paradise and I am certainly not always traveling. So, when my feet are firmly planted on the Main Line, some of the best can be found  at Teresa’s Cafe in Wayne, PA where I would recommend their Gnocchi Sorrentino, or even try asking for Gnocchi alla Bolognese.

 

Teresa's gnocchi ... Photo from the blog http://www.dammitletseat.com

What is it about gnocchi that makes it so unforgettable? This post is dedicated to a man in my life that reminded me of just how memorable homemade gnocchi can be…. thanks kid.

Gnocchi is the Mr. Independent of pastas. It’s consistency, size, weight, flavor, and sheer decadence are unmatched by any other type of pasta. If someone wants Gnocchi Sorrentino, it’s not like you can just throw some angel hair into the dish and it will taste the same. Whether the gnocchi are made from potato or from a dough combination, they are like little pillows of perfection in any dish you put them in. All it takes is one bite into one of the little nibs and you will be their biggest fan just like me.

That being said, one of the greatest qualities about gnocchi is that it is a specialty. It is not like you can grab a box of Barilla brand gnocchi when it is on sale for a dollar at your local grocery store. If that doesn’t make them one of a kind and unforgettable, I am not sure what will!

In the March 2011 Food and Wine Magazine I found a recipe for dough based gnocchi that I have been dying to make for the last few weeks…


 

Well, last night I finally got a chance to do it!

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Eat Local: Carangi Baking Company, Main Line.

Part of my mission for this website, if you have been following, has been to support local eats. In an effort to get the word out about local businesses I have been tasting here and there as often as I can. One of the biggest and best surprises I came across this month was a bakery I have driven by at least a dozen times. Well, I sped by it, and I must admit that it is never good when the speed limit is close to 50 mph outside an business. With only ever catching a quick glance of this establishment, I never got a chance to make much of a note about the name of the place, let alone anything besides the fact that it was a bakery… Well like I said, I was in for such a wonderful surprise.

Main Line residents, a piece of Philadelphia has moved in, and it is worth slowing down on Rt. 30 for!!

 

Photo taken from the Carangi Facebook page

Carangi Baking Company. Main Line.

1556 E. Lancaster Avenue

Paoli, PA.

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The Best Homemade Pizza…. Ever.

Print the Recipe.

Pizza never discriminates. It can be the best friend to every college student, working woman, bachelor, or disgruntled babysitter alike. But even if it is your BFF forever and ever, it never fails to play hard to get. “Alright see you in 45 minutes”, “It will be ready for pick-up in 20 minutes”  … why go through all of that hassle when in the same amount of time you can churn out your own hand tossed pizza, no box needed?

no more silly cardboard boxes here.

A simple recipe, and just a bit of preparation, the dough can serve as a base for an endless number of creations, for an endless number of sleepless nights or family dinners! Whether you use it for a pizza, or even a seasoned flatbread, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or frozen in individual Ziploc bags. T he magnetic holding the pizza menu up in the kitchen is just going to have to find itself another use, I think.

So, if you want to eat the best pizza ever, you need to start with the best pizza dough ever.

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