Author: Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome

Born and raised in the beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State, moved to DC for a job, stayed way longer than I thought, got married and moved to Chicago for her job. It's an awesome city!

Braised Pork Belly with Apple and Fennel

Braised pork belly with apple and fennelOne thing I really like about cooking pork dishes is that pork does fantastically well absorbing the flavors you surround it with. Yet another reason why the pig is such a magical animal. Think about it, from sausages to bacon to tenderloin and chops, a lot of the flavor comes from the herbs and spices used in the preparation and cooking. Pork is a wonderful blank canvas for any cook and pork belly is very good choice because it has layers of delicious fat to keep it moist. Reasons enough for me to make braising a perfect technique for preparing pork belly. Especially as we head into cooler Fall weather. (more…)

Pane al’Formaggio – A Great Bread for Autumn

Pane al formaggioHard to believe we’re a third of the way through September already. I know I’ve said this before but I get excited when September hits because it means I can start weaning myself off of the grill and getting back into cooking and baking in the kitchen, especially fresh bread. As usual, when it comes to bread I pick Carol Field’s The Italian Baker off of the shelf to find a good loaf I haven’t tried. This week I found her recipe for the bread equivalent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, two great tastes which taste great together. Pane al’formaggio, cheese bread! (more…)

Grilled Jimmy Nardello Italian Peppers

Jimmy Nardello Italian Peppers GrilledThat’s right, it’s another post about the wonderful produce we’ve been getting in our CSA this summer. I think I’ve featured vegetables more during the past few months than any other time during the life of this website. This week’s interesting pick was Jimmy Nardello Italian Peppers, an heirloom pepper named after…Jimmy Nardello. Who’s he and how did he get a pepper named after him? Jimmy just happened to be the son of the Italian immigrants who came to the USA in 1887. The Nardello’s (originally Nardiello) used to grow these peppers back home and liked them so much they brought the seeds over with them and continued to grow them where they settled in Connecticut. Despite their fiery red color Jimmy Nardello Italian Peppers don’t have much heat at all, in fact they are very sweet and are the right kind for quick grilling or frying for a late summer antipasto. (more…)

Dutch Beets in Our CSA Box – What are Those?

Dutch beets with greens2My wife posted a picture last week with the caption: ‘Living with Peter means you walk into your kitchen and think what is that and how the hell do you eat it? Dutch beets apparently. Not some weird radish/carrot/potato hybrid thing like I thought.’ Ha! Working with new vegetables like Dutch beets is just one of the many reasons I really like our decision to get a custom CSA this year from Montalbano Farms in order to supplement our backyard plantings. I’d never seen this variety before so I eagerly added them to our weekly box! (more…)

Elevated Elote: Sweet Summer Corn Salad

elotes summer corn saladFor me, August means sweet corn. Back home where I grew up, in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York, this is the part of summer when sweet corn is coming into peak harvest and ‘fresh corn’ stands sprout up on rural roads like…well…corn stalks. I love to eat corn on the cob but variety is the spice of life so this week I’m taking elote, the grilled Mexican corn treat, and turning it into an even more savory summer corn salad. (more…)

Caponatina – Another Summer Garden Dish

Caponatina

After I took this photo I ate the entire bowl.

I can always tell if a recipe in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition is decent to look at and maybe try because Cheryl will usually make a yea or nay comment like, “hey look at this” or “there’s nothing good this week.” A couple of weeks ago there was a featured a recipe on caponata, Cheryl saw it, and a not-so-subtle request for the Sicilian antipasta dish was made. (more…)

Zucchini Tomato Basil Tart

Zucchini Tomato Basil TartMy tomatoes are ripening, my basil plant is a bush, and zucchini are abundant. I think this zucchini tomato basil tart really captures the vegetables we’re starting to see come to markets now. It’s also a perfect summertime dish as a light accompaniment to any grilled meal or part of a lunchtime salad. (more…)