Tag Archives: arugula

The G20 Series: Italy

8 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

In Toronto, we have so many Italian restaurants that I could review one a week and never have to do one twice.

We are also fortunate enough to have our very own Little Italy, located on College Street from Euclid Avenue to Shaw Street.  This area of the city that became a hub for Italians back in the 50’s,  used to house many of the city’s best and most authentic restaurants, which has now become more gentrified, and as a result, offers almost every cuisine you can think of.

But each year, the Taste of Little Italy (happening  June 18-20 2010) festival celebrates foods that Italians make like no one else.

This year, you’ll be able to eat with abandon from one end of the village to the other, with tomato sauce dripping veal sandwiches, prosciutto and arugula-wrapped bread sticks, sausage and peppers on a bun, arancini (rice balls) stuffed with veal and peas, stuffed eggplant paninis, and because it will mostly likely be incredibly hot out, you’ll want to finish it all off an espresso granita.

That is, if you can find the room.

And while there will be plenty of pasta on hand to indulge, there is much more to Italian cuisine than spaghetti and ravioli.

Next time you’re out for an Italian dinner, try:

Grilled Boneless Sardines, Seared Veal Shank, Beet Risotto, Mediterranean Sea Bass, Buratta Mozerlla, Assorted Salumi Tray andRapini with Garlic and Pepperoncino, instead of your usual bowl of ziti.

Monday Review: Appetizers

20 Oct

Appetizers: Recipes for First Course or Main Event by Shane Osborn (Photography by David Loftus)

Review by Stephanie Dickison

We have had 3 get-togethers in the last couple of weeks and I have to say that the hardest part for me is always the appetizers.  I can make 12 different mains and sides, but coming up with sexy and exciting appetizers just gets me every time.  I swear, if I make Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms one more time…

So I sought out this book to shake it up a little and also to take appetizers into the realm of mains.

The idea of  making them into mains stemmed from the fact that recently at restaurants, I’ve been finding myself ordering two appetizers instead of a main, as there are often so many exciting choices and combinations to be had.  So why not bring that excitement home?

The photos in this book are incredible inspiring.  I mean, if you can make your food look that tantalizing, you’ve done an amazing thing.  Some of them make me want to reach through the pages and just scoop up a little minestrone or crab croquettes with tomato dipping sauce.

And while the first section, Nibbles & Snacks, is fine with its Leek & Red Onion Tartlets and Roasted New Potatoes Wrapped in Prosciutto, I am thrilled by the possibilities in the next section, Quick & Easy. It’s here that I find Cepe, Artichoke & Fava Bean Salad and Roasted Skate Wing with Crispy Capers.

After perusing the Simple & Satisfying section though, I am wondering how I’ll be able to execute Tea-Smoked Salmon with Herb Mayonnaise and Sauteed Rabbit with Arugula Salad and Carrot jus.  They seem to be awfully fancy for this girls repertoire. But you’ll be pleased to find out, as I was, that the ingredient lists and directions are easy enough for someone like me to follow.


My favourite section is Food for Groups.  This is where I tend to shine – cooking in large amounts, not scared of a lot of chopping and simmering.  And how good does Gazpacho Consomme with Scallop Ravioli and Oxtail & Lentil Ragout with Root Vegetables sound?  My mouth is watering already.

I have a feeling that Chris’ favourite though, will be the Posh section, with it’s Asparagus Tagliatelle with Morel Cream & Chevril and Breast of Squab with Beet Vinaigrette.

In other words, there’s something here for everyone.

Which is good, because next I’m planning some birthday dinner parties for friends and I’m going to have a heckuva lot of mouths to feed.