Welcome to the new and improved Carano's Cucina. I make a lot of kick ass food and go out to some amazing restaurants. Take a look around and make yourself at home :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summertime is Corn Time

I recently delved into my very first grilled corn. Seems strange that I never have and I don't really have a reason. But I got a bee in my bonnet to do it, and do it I did dammit! So after making my corn purchase at Szalay's Farm Market in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio I was ready to do it. I got advice from several different people on how to do it several different ways, so as I always do, I took what I liked out of that advice and then winged it.  First, look at this gorgeous corn! Szalays' does it right!I've never once been disappointed. The yellow/white corn combo is winner.

I pulled off the outer layers of the husk and all the inner silks, leaving just the inner, lighter colored husks on the corn. Then soaked the ears in a big bowl of water with about 3/4 cup of sugar. So about a gallon or so of water to the sugar. I let them soak for half an hour.

While they soaked, with about 10 minutes or so left, I got the grilled heated up. The inner husks did not cover the corn completely but that was fine with me, I wanted some of the char marks on it. So on the grill they went!

The first (and well, maybe the only mistake) I made during this process was that at first, I did not close the lid of my grill. I rarely do this, so I didn't think to do it this time. But when I went out for the first turn, I could see that the husks were charring and the corn itself still looked very raw. The lid needs to be closed to seal in the heat and cook the corn more evenly. After I realized this, it was smooth sailing. I turned it several times in the cooking process. All totaled, it was probably about 15-20 minutes, with a turn every 5.

While the corn was cooking, I prepared a big salad with lettuce, herbs and scallions from my garden.  Tomatoes aren't quite ready yet.  With croutons and some nice Havarti cheese, with a similar balsamic vinaigrette, it was a refreshing yet hearty salad.

I also decided to make a Romano cheese and sage (from the garden again) butter.  I happen to really love the taste of sage on corn, but that may not be your thing.  So try chives, or thyme if you prefer.  Once the corn was done, I peeled off what was left of the husks.  They did get pretty burnt up, but the corn did not.

Then a slather of Romano sage butter, and it was time to sink our teeth in!  Delish!!!

If you've never tried grilling your corn, I highly recommend it!  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yummy Lamb Burgers

I got a hankering for a burger.  OK who am I kidding, I'd eat a burger any day of the week and twice on Sunday!  I love them.   I usually make turkey burgers, but while at the grocery store, the ground lamb caught my eye.  I went for it!  It's definitely more pricey than ground turkey but the occasional splurge doesn't hurt too bad.  As I was driving home, I started to plot out my burger.  I definitely had to use some of the fresh herbs from my garden.  I decided to go with thyme.  It's kind of an obvious choice, but not as obvious as mint.

To that I added salt and pepper, of course.   And then, a generous amount of crumbled feta cheese.  Oh yes... I went there.

And then, just to make sure the burgers held together, I added an egg white.  I then formed them into pretty big patties. 

And headed for the grill!  They cooked for about 8-10 minutes on each side. 

Now.... the dilemma of what to serve on them.  For me, the usual ketchup, mustard and pickles wasn't going to cut it.  Neither was the same old bun.   I didn't have any plain yogurt in the house to make a yogurt sauce either, so I opted to make a sauce from Dijon mustard and mayonnaise.  And as luck would have it, I just happen to have sandwich size Ciabatta rolls in my freezer.  And that was a tasty burger!

I'll be having more tasty burgers this weekend at the National Hamburger Festival!!  I hope I find some gems like I did last year!  I still dream of that Muffaletta burger.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lightlife Frozen Entrees Deliver the Goods!

Very recently, Lightlife Vegetarian Frozen Entrees have been showing up in Giant Eagle stores around where I live, in Akron, Ohio. 

Now generally, I stay away from processed foods but these caught my attention.  Why?  Because this is the list of ingredients in the Asian Teriyaki entree:  cooked whole grain brown rice, broccoli, edamame, fire roasted pineapple, carrots, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms.  Wait, where's the high fructose corn syrup?  Where's the 25 letter words that I can't pronounce?  They aren't in here.  And guess what, this stuff tastes good.  It tastes really good.   Now granted, the sauce packet has more ingredients but really, nothing offensive to me.

So here's what get when you purchase Asian Teriyaki.  A hearty tray of veggies and brown rice.  And I do mean hearty.  This is a nice portion.  And you get the sauce packet separately.  So you can put on as little or as much as you want, or none at all even.

All you have to do is remove the sauce packet and drop it in hot water to thaw it out.  And then vent the top wrapper on the rice and veggies.  Pop that in the microwave and then when half the time is up, you pour over however much of the sauce you want and then finish the cooking.  It's simple.

I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this was, as well as filling.  For anyone on Weight Watchers, Asian Teriyaki is 6 points.  Plus I think it is at least two vegetable servings as well as a whole grain.  Check them out.  I think, like me, you'll be pleasantly surprised!