18 Reason’s Noodle Lab #2: Italy

Christian and I have been making our own pasta for about 2 years now...but the start of that coincided with the purchase of our Kitchen Aid pasta attachment, so needless to say we’ve stuck pretty closely to the lasagna noodles, spaghetti and fettucini varieties.  Which is great...I don’t know many people who can say that they haven't bought dried pasta in two years!  But we LOVE Italian food, so have been ready to branch out for a while...enter the opportunity to learn how to make hand-cut Italian noodles with a former pasta maker of Quince, Andrew Pimlott!
Menu: June 26-July 2 2011
  • Sunday: Frozen Chicken Leftovers with Cous Cous & Veggies
  • Tuesday: leftovers: Chicken leftovers
  • Thursday: leftovers: Quiche
  • Friday: Camping @ Sequoia Natl. Park! (Campfire Chicken Fajitas, Beans and Chips with Guacamole)
  • Saturday: Camping: Brats & Burgers with GriledCorn on the Cob
So we’ve had a significant amount of leftovers in our freezer from a past menu for quite some time.  And since I have an all day board meeting on Sunday and we have a visitor in town on Saturday it seemed the perfect time to pull them out and use them up.  Otherwise we’re keeping it pretty simple this week since we’re heading out camping at the end of the week...
Zero Zero

Continuing on my pizza theme this week, time to talk about Zero Zero!  Now I know Zero Zero has been open almost a year now, but somehow Christian and I just haven’t been able to get there until now. What was the occasion?  My best friend’s husband was in town for work and staying at the W so we wanted a good place nearby...enter Zero Zero, yippee!

The risk?  Our friend Jeff is a New Yorker, born and raised...so he knows his pizza.  Given all of the hype and positive reviews I was confident in our choice (although I did find myself wishing that we could take him to Una Pizza Napoletana where I 100% knew he would have been impressed! But we were just there and I have weird rules...I digress).
Una Pizza Napoletana

Pizza is a hot topic in this city...we’re always disparaging ourselves against the East Coast, but to be honest I’m racking up so many amazing pizza places these days that I’m considering hosting a “Margherita-Off” sometime soon to truly determine who my favorite is!  Una Pizza Napoletana has without a doubt joined my growing list of faves...

If you haven’t heard of this place give it a quick Google and you’ll quickly see that there is a lot of hype and back story...but the one key piece of information is that Anthony Mangieri, the owner and pizza maker, developed a cult-like following when he had his original pizza shop in NYC.  That’s right, folks, the New York pizza crowd loved his pizza...intriguing to say the least!    So Christian and I went and tried it out this past Friday and while we’ve only been once, here is what we found:
Menu: June 19-25 2011
Sunday: Lasagna w/ Asparagus, Leeks & Morels Monday: Fish in a Palace Way (SF Chronicle Cookbook Vol II)

Tuesday: leftovers: Lasagna

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Jamaican Chicken & Corn on the Cob

Thursday: Shrimp & Avocado Omelets (DIY)

Friday: leftovers: Chicken

Saturday: Eat Out

Unfortunately I couldn’t find the Monday or Wednesday exact recipes online to share.  For Monday, really just a simple broiled white fish with mango salsa a healthy grain and seasonal vegetable would be a perfect substitute for what we’re making.  
Bun Mee: New Eats in the Fillmore

How I love a good Vietnamese sandwich!  I’m embarrassed to say that until I moved to San Francisco a little over 4 years ago I had never even heard of a Vietnamese sandwich, but lucky for me I moved straight into the Tenderloin...right down the street from the famed Saigon Sandwiches (and the infamous Lee’s Sandwiches).  So boy do I know Vietnamese sandwiches now, yummmm-my!

So when Bun Mee  (a phonetic interpretation of the name of the sandwich banh mi) opened up a couple of months ago on Fillmore we were excited to have a Vietnamese sandwich shop relatively close again...but it took a little while for us to try it out, which isn’t always a bad thing with new places!  So upon entering I liked what I saw...cute, simple interior with a nice big menu up on the wall and a sassy poster making fun of the “no jalepeños” crowd behind the counter.  While there is limited seating I do like the counter seating near the back that allows you to be front and center watching the food being prepared right before your eyes (but that’s always my favorite seat in the house).
No More Crying Over Chopped Onions!

I'm sick of crying like a baby every time I chop onions, aren't you?  I mean, I have tried every trick in the book.  Partially freezing the onion first, keeping the root intact, holding a piece of bread in my mouth to absorb the gas that the onion's now broken cells are emitting, etc...  And to be perfectly honest, I am an efficient and effective onion chopper so I do it pretty quickly too!  But despite my knife skills I am extremely sensitive to the gas that onions emit so I am crying like a baby within a few cuts....like mascara running down my face crying.  And that just sets me up to chop a finger off since I can't see what I'm doing despite my good knife skills!

So I say, enough is enough!  And poor Christian shouldn't have to be the designated onion chopper in our family all the time. So despite how ridiculous it makes me look, I have been chopping onions happily for the past month wearing my swimming goggles.  Ridiculous? A bit.  Effective and time-saving?  Absolutely.    
Menu: June 12-18 2011
Sunday: Braised Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette & Sausage

Monday: Roasted Salmon Citrus Salad

Tuesday: Saigon Chicken Rice Soup

Wednesday: leftovers: Orichetti

Thursday: leftovers: Soup

Friday: Nectarine & Prosciutto Grilled Pizza

Saturday: Eat Out

I actually think I found all of the exact recipes that I am using from my cookbooks online this week...so everything linked is accurate.  This Sunday’s meal is one of our absolute favorites...it makes an appearance almost monthly while Rapini is in season, enjoy!  
Txoko: New Eats in North Beach


I lived in San Sebastián, Spain in the Basque Country for almost 6 months back in 2001 and while I was there I actually had the rare (as a woman) and amazing experience of being invited to take a 6-week cooking class at a traditional Txoko...or a sociedad gastronómica that is traditionally only open to male members.  I LOVED my time there.  A rare sneak peak into Basque history...eating an eel that we just saw killed in the kitchen, seeing a whole duck respectfully transformed from a feathery whole animal into an amazing feast, actually enjoying eggs scrambled with sheep’s blood and intestines, learning the simple beauty of Piperade, the gastronomical list goes on!

It really opened my eyes to having a true connection with your food and between that experience and the many hours I spent in Pintxos (Basque version of tapas) bars I quickly learned to love Basque food.   So needless to say, I was excited to try out Txoko, especially since my beloved Iluna Basque closed back in December.
Beef Tataki
This is one of our favorite summer beef dishes simply because it's light and Asian inspired. Often beef dishes come along with heavy seasonings and/or heavy sides but this is light and fresh...perfect for the heat. The recipe comes from our Eating Well in Season cookbook, but you can find it re-printed on line here. We often find the Beef Tataki on it's own to be a bit light for dinner, so we'll usually make some kind of DIY Asian-inspired noodles to serve on the side. To keep it even simpler you could just serve the noodles plain underneath the Beef Tataki...delicious and easy dinner, either way. Enjoy!