Salmon Pokē

Salmon Poke is a great DIY dish. Full recipe on

A good $4 drink is powerful stuff. It gets the night started, is light on your wallet, and I think almost got my friend Cara, from the infamous Penne a la vodka, to move to Philly. Ok so she probably wasn't going to abandon her teaching job on Long Island for a four dollar vodka soda at a college magazine launch party but the non-New York price tag did give her pause. She could have so many more drinks if she moved to Philly and all the deconstructed sushi rolls my kitchen could turn out. And by deconstructed I mean fallen apart and now called salad. Somewhere I had seen this photo of shrimp and avocado wrapped in paper thin cucumber and knew this was the impressive dish I would make when Cara came to town. I have a cheap-ass mandoline that usually gets the job done but failed so hard when I needed sheer sheets of cucumber. What I ended up with were cut fingertips and nubs of cucumber noodles, not the same as sushi.  I gave up and chunked up all of the [Read more...]

Spring Shells with Shrimp and Ricotta

A dollop of ricotta tops of my Spring Shells with Shrimp. Full recipe on

If I made you dinner in 2010 there is a 70% chance you came over and ate ravioli. Not just any ravioli, homemade shrimp ravioli. Since I was barely employed and had a lot of free time on my hands, I'd spend the day wandering from Reading Terminal Market for shrimp and to the Italian Market for cheese and canned tomatoes. The long walk helped counteract the copious amount of wine I'd serve with dinner. After hunting for ingredients I'd cover every inch of the kitchen counter with flour to make fresh pasta and fold chopped cooked shrimp into fluffy ricotta for ravioli filling. It was amazing, and time consuming. But I didn't really have anything else going on, so why not. I'd usually follow this decadent dinner up with a boozy dessert drink. Dirty Girl Scouts are supposed to be taken in shot form but in college my roommates and I drank them in larger quantities. It took me a while to shake that habit. So not only were you coming over for a heavy homemade meal but you'd be [Read more...]

Bagna Cauda Bucatini

Bagna Cauda dip transformed into a weeknight pasta sauce via

I'm not sure how the subject of garlic bread came up over 'Build-your-own burgers' but it was quickly made clear that whatever garlic bread Marc's brother had been making was too offensive to his wife. Too strong! Too much garlic breath that lingered for hours! Oh, that's an easy fix, I thought. Just use roasted garlic, I proudly suggested.