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 :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Best Gadget Ever

My Grandma loved gadgets.  If I took her to Bed, Bath and Beyond, she would stand at the gadget wall looking for anything she didn't already have.  Truth be told, she pretty much had them all.  So it is in that spirit that I purchased the Vacu Vin Pineapple Slicer.  I can't remember where I first saw it, but it might have been on America's Test Kitchen.  With apologies to Alton Brown, it really is a uni-tasker.  At least I haven't found another use for it.  But it doesn't matter to me.  And oh, by the way, this is not a paid advertisement or a promo.  I just love this thing is all!

It work on the same principle as a corkscrew for wine.  You have the handle and then three different size slicer/corers for your pineapple.

Cut the top off the pineapple and chose the size slicer/corer you need.  Attach the handle.

Then line up the bottom hole of the slicer/corer over the core and press down hard so the slicer goes right into the pineapple.

Once it's in securely, all you have to is start turning it.  Hold it firmly in one hand and push down and turn. 

You may get some juice bubbling up while you're turning, just tip the pineapple over and dump it into the bowl you're going to put the cut pineapple into.  You don't want to lose that juice!  

Turn it until you get to the bottom of the pineapple.

Now comes the tricky part.  Turn the pineapple sideways and while holding it still, firmly grasp the handle of the slicer/corer and start pulling it out of the pineapple.  There is suction at work here, so it's not as simple as just pulling it right out.  It takes a little effort and at times, the handle will come off.  Just put it back and on resume.   With a little finesse, you'll be able to pull the whole pineapple right out of it's skin.

Take off the handle, flip it over and you have perfect slices of pineapple.

It then slides right off the corer part and you can either make slices (they are already sliced but all attached to each other) or chunk it, or whatever else you want to do with it!   It's the greatest gadget ever!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sugo Italian Bistro

On the occasion of the 18th wedding anniversary.... wait, 18 years?  Seriously?  I'm just going to gloss over that fact and pretend I'm not that old.  So anyway, on the occasion of the anniversary, we decided to give Sugo Italian Bistro in Cuyahoga Falls a try.  Having been to, and loving Chowder House, Chef Louis Prpich's other restaurant, we've been wanting to try Sugo.  This one is in the very able hands of Chef Michael Ferris.   And well, I'm just in love with the name.  Sugo, meaning sauce in Italian, is what my Grandma and my mom always call it when we're having a pasta dinner.  So the name has a special meaning for me.

We arrived at 7:00 pm.  I was surprised to find how small it was on the inside, but so beautiful.  It's all red and black and dim lights.  I loved the interior!

After putting in our appetizer order, we were brought a basket of delicious warm bread and a dipping oil.  The oil had some herbs and pepper in it.  Very nice.  Not too spicy.  Just right.
We started out with the calamari appetizer.  This was not like any calamari I'd had before.  It was so elegant.  A whole calamari stuffed with a sausage/mascarpone mixture.  It is then breaded and fried and served with an arugula salad and a marinara sauce.

It was so incredibly crispy on the outside and juicy and tender inside.   The arugula was a perfect compliment.

The crispy coating did fall off a bit when you cut into it, but who cares!  It was yummy.

Next came our salads.  We both got the house salad, which was a lovely blend of mixed greens, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and Gorgonzola (and I think) Parmesan cheeses in a house Italian dressing.  Very nice!

I was having a hard time deciding between the Chicken Roulade (a chicken breast stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and Boursin cheese, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and a Parmesan cream sauce) or the Roasted Crispy Half Duck (juicy half duck roasted crispy with a honey/thyme glaze and served with roasted vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes).  Something caught my attention on the menu though that steered me more towards the duck, it was the addition of "nom, nom, nom" under it's description!   Seriously, if you add a bunch of "nom's" to your menu, that is probably the favorite item.  And our waitress confirmed it for me when I told her I was hedging between the two.  The "nom's" and the waitresses gushing clinched it, Crispy Duck it is!

And nom nom it was!   Everything was perfect.  The duck was succulent and moist, with a delicious crispy skin.  It was both sweet and a little spicy.  The veggies were flavorful and the garlic mashed potatoes were silky and yummy.

Nick opted for the Veal Medallions.  Called the "Chef's Favorite" on the menu, the veal was tender and juicy and served with roasted vegetables and a pancetta/sage pepper cream sauce.  I don't generally eat veal, but I did have to have a taste and it was out of this world!  And really, I just love a purple spud!

I ended up boxing up half of my duck and didn't think I'd be able to have a dessert myself, but Nick was up for one.  I just had a few bites of his and after having them I wished I had ordered my own!   He ordered the pear, honey and ginger cheese cake.

That is a whole lot of yum!   Not too big, not too small.  Just yummy and perfect.   I think the crust was made of crushed ginger snaps, giving it a really nice ginger bite but otherwise the ginger was mild and not overpowering.  Very good stuff!

Sugo is moderately priced.  Not crazy expensive and very casual.  I'd definitely recommend it and I'd definitely go back!