We Ate That - Recipes:
See the recipes we reccomend trying and how they turn out
We have always considered ourselves more carnivores than herbivores here at We Ate That. However, we have been making the adult change and started to incorporate more salads into our meals. We have never been big fans of traditional lettuce and for a time the only green leafs that we would eat was baby spinach.
After trying a few other greens we identified Arugula as our favorite salad leaf. It has a nice peppery flavor and works well with numerous vinaigrettes. We especially like how well it works with fruit. Our current salad trend as you may have noticed is eating salads that include fruit. We feel that it helps the greens go down and makes eating salad more enjoyable. As a result we have been looking for new salad recipes and found one that combine both Arugula and fruit, it is a cantaloupe, red onion and walnut salad.
- 1/4 cup orange juice, pref freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pref freshly squeezed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (3 lb) cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- To make the vinaigrette, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, and raspberry vinegar in a small bowl.
- Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- To make the salad, combine the cantaloupe, red onion, arugula, and 1/2 cup of the walnuts in a large salad bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
- Garnish with the remaining walnuts.
This salad has little bit of everything in it. The Arugula provides a nice strong pepper flavor, which is nice compared to tasteless traditional salad greens. The cantaloupe adds an intensely sweet flavor that works well inconjunction with the Arugula. The red onions provide a level a crunch to this dish as well as a bit of spice. Then the salad is finished off with toasted walnuts, that like the onions add a nice crunch. Everything comes together with the orange vinaigrette which is full of great citrus flavors thanks to the freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice. The vinegar also provides another depth of flavor to the vinaigrette. This salad is sophisticated enough to impress those with a refined palate and is still accessible to even the pickiest of eaters. You may even get your kids to eat some.
Should or Should Not Eat:
This salad is a Should Eat, it is a great salad for those people just dipping their toes in the salad arena. It is a light salad that would be the perfect start to any summer dinner on the porch. This salad should please all members of the family and is worth making, especially right now when cantaloupe is at its height of ripeness.
When you are little, Mother's Day is always spent making your mom something nice. It always seemed to be a hand drawn card, or an attempt at breakfast in bed. Then you get a bit older and have some money to spend and you try to find that perfect gift. After a few years of that you start to realize your mother has most of the things she wants, so what do you do then? Yup, things come full circle and you revert back to making things. For our mother we decided to do what we do best and make a nice meal. It is still hard however to choose the right menu. You want to cook something that is a bit more intricate to make than normal, something that takes some time and effort to complete. It also needs to taste good, so choosing a new recipe is always a risk because you are never quite sure how it will turn out. Forgoing our better judgment we decided to go with a new recipe.
The recipe we found was for a Eggplant Timbale. This recipe comes from the cookbook Giada's Kitchen by Food Network star Giada de Laurentiis. Giada is famous for making tons of classic Italian dishes as well as creating new inventive ones. We have made some of her recipes in the past so we were confident that it would turn out well, but we kept asking outselves what a Timbale was. It turns out Timbale refers to the type of pan used to cook the dish. The eggplant is layered in the bottom of the pan, then filled with pasta and meat and covered with eggplant to create this stuffed eggplant pie of Italian goodness. We figured this would be challenging and interesting to make, so we went for it.
- 2 medium to large eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound penne pasta
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
- 1/4 cup marsala wine
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 3/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- Use a: 9-inch springform pan
- Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill.
- Brush the eggplant slices with 1/3 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill the eggplant until tender and colored with grill marks, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
- Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
- Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the springform pan with the grilled eggplant. Be sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan.
- Fill the pan with the pasta mixture, pressing down to make sure the pan is filling up evenly.
- Fold the eggplant slices up over the top of the pasta and add a few more slices on top to completely enclose the timbale.
- Bake the timbale until warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes to set.
- To serve, invert the timbale onto a serving plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. Slice and serve.
We were a bit intimidated at first when we saw this recipe in the book. Turns out it is actually very simple, there are a bunch of components and steps but it all comes together to form an amazing meal. The grilled eggplant helps to entomb all of the meat, pasta, cheese and sauce in this beautiful pie shape.. The eggplant was fresh and after being grilled it helped add a smoky flavor to the dish. Once you cut into the timbale you are introduced to the gooey, pasta with meat sauce center. The sauce of course can come from a jar, but any self respecting Italian knows it is just as easy to whip some up from scratch. We always make our own, you can see our recipe here (Sauce Recipe). The sauce is mixed together with the onion, beef and sausage mixture which has been cooked down in Marsala wine. The meat and onions really soaked up the Marsala imparting this rich flavor. When mixed together with the sauce, peas and cheese you end up with this extremely flavorful filling. There are just layers upon layer of flavors hidden throughout this dish. Everything works so well together and provides a unique eating experience.
Should Or Should Not Eat:
This recipes is both a unique dish which will really surprise all of your guests. It is not often you serve what appears to be eggplant pie. It sounds much classier as an Eggplant Timbale and is a Should Eat. This dish offers up huge flavors combined with classic Italian ingredients. If you love Eggplant and pasta, this dish is for you.
We were first introduced to porchetta last year by our friend Erich. Every weekend in the summer there is an outdoor flea market/food vendor event known as Smorgasboard. At this event you will find numerous restaurants schilling their signature dishes right on the shores of the East River. One of the attending restaurants is in fact named Porchetta, and their signature dish is a Porchetta Sandwich. Normally located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan they make the trek each weekend to Williamsburg to feed the masses these delicious sandwiches. Porchetta is a traditional Italian dish which consists of layering a pork belly with herbs spices and pork loin which is then rolled up and roasted in the oven. Everyone makes theirs a bit differently but in the end you always end up with succulent pork. Porchetta takes their meat and places it on a small Italian roll with a piece of the crackling (crispy skin) on top. It is very simple but that its all that is needed. After our first bite we were in heaven. After our second bite we knew we had to make this. A few days went by and we never researched any recipes.
Then one day we stumbled onto what we consider one of the best food blogs around, www.iamafoodblog.com. On this site you can see awesome recipes with amazing photos laid out in a unique style. We have to admit we have a bit of food blog envy, but after we composed ourselves we noticed a Porchetta recipe. Not only that but it was also linked to a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives episode where Guy visited a place called Bread & Meat. In this restaurant they only have 4 items on the menu with one of them being a Porchetta Sandwich. From this video ad one other recipe iamafoodblog, was able to recreate this amazing dish. Thank to them we now had an amazing porchetta recipe and their pictures ensured that we had to give it a try.
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 teaspoons whole rosemary toasted
- 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed crushed
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 cup oil
- 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds ground
- 2 teaspoons toasted coriander ground
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 2 cloves garlic
- zest of 1 lemon
- lemon juice from 2 lemons
pork tenderloin, around 3 inches in diameter, 1-2 pounds
12 inch slab of pork belly, skin lightly scored
2 ciabatta rolls
2 cups porchetta, still warm, thinly sliced and chopped
bit of crackling, roughly chopped
Combine the ingredients for the salt rub in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the pork belly with the salt rub (you won’t need to use all of it). Sprinkle the herb rub and place the tenderloin in the centre of the belly. Tightly roll up the belly around the tenderloin and tie together with kitchen twine. Rub the skin generously with oil and a bit more of the salt rub. Place your porchetta in a dish, cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
Heat the oven to 275F. Place the porchetta on a rack in a deep roasting pan. Lots of fat will be rendered out of the porchetta, so make sure your roasting pan is deep enough. Roast on the centre rack of the oven for 4 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is 160F. Blast the heat up to 450 and continue to roast for 35 minutes, keeping an eye on the skin. You want the crackling golden brown and crispy, not burnt.
Remove from the oven, let rest for 15-20 minutes, slice and enjoy!
Puree the salsa verde ingredients until smooth. Assemble the sandwiches by slicing the rolls lengthwise and topping with porchetta. Add a bit of crackling and a drizzle of salsa verde. Serve with dijon mustard and enjoy.
When you try a new recipe there is always the concern that it could turn out bad. Other times you worry if the recipe will taste as good as you are hyping it up to be in your own mind. Then to make things worse if you have already eaten an amazing version of the dish previously will inevitably compare your meal to the original. We had all of these thoughts racing through our mind when we were making this recipe. Fortunately all of are worries were for naught, as the Porcetta was amazing. This roast was so juicy and flavorful thanks to all of the fat from the pork belly. The pork belly in essence basted the pork loin as it cooked. The fresh herbs added a great aroma to kitchen as they cooked and imparted the perfect flavor profile into the meat. The herbs and spices that were used were perfectly paired with natural flavor of the pork.
The outside of the porchetta was roasted pork skin which turned into a crisp crackling. Basically a fresh pork rind that just melts in your mouth. It added an needed amount of crunch to this dish. As we mentioned the pork belly added a ton of fat and natural juices to this dish. For those of you not aware pork belly is what bacon is made out of. Once a pork belly has been cured it is then considered bacon. Basically this porchetta was a pork loin wrapped up in bacon. Obviously there was a ton of flavor from that alone, but the spice rub and herbs all add to the insanely good flavor of the entire dish. Then the fresh salsa verde was the perfect compliment to finish off the dish.
The pork was a tad bit salty by itself, but the salsa is helped to cut the flavor of the salt. The salsa was e super fresh combination of parsley and lemon juice along with the same spice in the the rub. By using the same spices from the rub in the salsa it helps keep the same flavor profile throughout the entire dish. All of the ingredients piled high on the fresh roll was just picture perfect. Our first bite was filled with intense flavors and pure joy. We had managed to make the perfect dish, it tasted better than we imagined. We knew instantly that this dish will be a hit any where we make it or wherever we bring it. Summer BBQs, Jets Tailgates and impromptu gatherings beware the Porchetta is now lurking.
Should or Should Not Eat:
If you gotten this far then you have seen all of the pictures and read everything we had to say about the dish. You must then have already figured out that it is a Should Eat. If there was anything more like a Must Should Eat than this recipe would be it. We promise this recipe will be the hit everywhere, people will beg you for the recipe. Tell them We Ate That.com sent you.
We were craving a nice home cooked Italian meal. We have eaten all kinds of pasta and chicken parm lately, but we were in the mood for something a little bit different. Then we remembered we had an old recipe hidden some where in our files. The recipe is actually just notes that were taken while watching our grandmother cook. Unfortunately the notes were taken by another member of the family and were written in what could only be considered free form, so they took a bit of decoding and guessing to understand. After a bit of studying we were able to figure out the recipe and our meal set. We decide to plate the chicken marsala over pasta.
- 4 chicken breasts about an inch thick (will be cut in half to create 8 pieces) add more if needed
- 1/4 cup of flour for gravy (extra for dredging)
- 1/4 cup Marsala Wine
- 3 cubes of chicken bullion
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- Cut chicken breasts in half creating pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick
- Pound chicken breasts lightly to make them uniform in size
- Pre-heat a pan with olive oil over medium heat, oil should be 1/8 inch deep
- Create a dredge for the chicken by adding flour to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper
- Evenly coat chicken in flour and shake off the excess
- Add chicken to the pan and turn the heat up so that the chicken is frying
- Cook for about 5 minutes till golden brown, flip over and brown the other side
- Place cooked chicken on a plate with a paper towel to drain and cool
- Reserve cooking oil for gravy
- Take 1/4 cup of flour and add into a 1/2 cup of water
- Mix thoroughly until it resembles milk
- Add in 1/4 cup of Marsala wine
- Pour mixture into the leftover cooking oil used to cook the chicken
- Turn the heat on the pan to medium
- Mix together and add 1/2 cup of water, mix until there are no lumps
- Add 3 cubes of chicken bullion, mix until dissolved
- If mixture is too thick add water until you reach desired consistency
- Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, whisking once or twice
- On the side heat up 3 tablespoons of butter
- Add 1/2 tsp of onion powder to the hot butter then add butter into the gravy
- In a new pan, heat a bit of butter on medium heat
- Fill pan with chicken and add enough gravy to cover chicken
- Add a splash of Marsala wine & parsley
- Cook until chicken is warm and then serve either as is or over a side of pasta
No need to order out anymore for good chicken marsala with this recipe in hand. If you are looking for home cooked chicken marsala like your grandmother used to make, look no further. The chicken was lightly breaded and had a perfect crispy outside. Pounding out the chicken allowed us to get cutlets that cooked quickly and evenly. The chicken was moist and retained all of its juices. The sauce was exactly what you would get at a good Italian restaurant. We were split on if the sauce was too think our not, but it is all personal preference and can be adjusted according. If you prefer a thicker sauce this recipe should work just fine for you. If you want a thinner sauce just add small amounts of water to the sauce until you get the consistency you desire. That is the beauty of this recipe, there is so much flavor in the sauce that even when you add water it does not dilute any of the flavor.
This was the perfect dish served over a bed of pasta. We used some penne and topped it off with a bit of pecorino romano cheese. This was the read deal dish and was very good. In the future we may consider adding in mushroom to the sauce to give it some additional flavor. This chicken could also be served sandwich style. Get a nice fresh roll top it with the chicken cutlets and marsala sauce and finish it off with a slice of fresh mozzarella.
Should Or Should Not Eat:
If you are craving homemade chicken marsala then you should try this recipe because it is a Should Eat. This recipe comes from our grandmothers secret stash and you know those recipes are always good. It even seems to retain some of the love she puts into it as well. This has become one of our new favorite recipes and it may just become one of yours.
Today we are highlighting our first semi-guest post. This recipe comes from our occasional photographer extraordinaire/food taster Kevin (check out his web site here). You may remember seeing his contributions to the blog in our review of Battery Place Market where he took all of our photos. He has submitted to us a delicious looking Swedish meatball which uses the Venison (deer meat) left over from hunting season. We really enjoy the idea of using non traditional meats in our recipes and we plan to do more of this going forward. If your a hunter also, here is a new recipe to try.
- 4 slices of stale bread, crusts removed
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2-3 pounds venison (or beef, lamb, elk, moose, etc)
- 1 pound pork fat or ground pork
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 grated yellow onion
- 1 quart beef stock or venison stock
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup highbush cranberry or lingonberry jelly
- Butter or oil for frying
- Pour the milk into a pot and set it on low heat.
- Cut the crusts off the stale bread and break it into pieces. Add it to the pot. It will begin to absorb the milk. When it does, turn off the heat and mash everything into a paste. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Mix the meat into a bowl, add the salt and spices. Crack the eggs into the bowl, then pour the bread-milk mixture in.
- Gently mix everything together gently.
- When it is mostly combined take the mixture and roll in balls using your palms
- Gently roll the meatballs in the flour; you’ll probably need about a cup.
- When the meatballs are all made, get a large pan ready. Fill it with a little less than 1/4 inch of oil. I use canola oil with a little butter tossed in for flavor. Bring it up to temperature over medium-high heat. When a drop of water splashed in the oil immediately sizzles away, drop the heat to medium and add the meatballs. Do not crowd them.
- You want the oil to come up halfway on the meatballs. Add a little oil if need be; don’t worry, you can reuse the oil. Fry on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. You are looking for golden brown.
- Turn only once. The other side will need 2-4 minutes.
- When cooked, set the meatballs on a paper towel or wire rack to drain. They can be used right away or cooled and then refrigerated for a week, or frozen for several months.
- Once the meatballs are cooked, drain all but about 3-4 tablespoons of butter/oil from the pan. Over medium heat, add an equal amount of the flour left over from dusting the meatballs.
- Stir to make a roux and cook slowly until it turns a nice golden brown. Think coffee with cream.
- Add the stock gradually and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir well to combine and add more stock or some water if need be — you want this thicker than water, thinner than Thanksgiving gravy.
- Taste for salt and add if needed.
- Put the meatballs in the pan, cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Add the lingonberry or highbush cranberry jelly to the pan. Let it melt and then mix it in gently. Coat all the meatballs with the sauce.
- Cover and cook another 10 minutes over very low heat. Add the cream and just warm through, maybe 3-4 minutes.
- Serve over mashed potatoes or with German egg noodles.
After this past fall, we ended up with many different forms of Venison. Steaks, Sausages, Roasts, and of course ground venison. The problem with Venison is that it's such a lean meat, so it has very little fat to help bind the meat together. To help keep it all together and add a bit of flavor you have to add a fattier meat into the mix. That is where the pork comes in. Since I didn't have a meat grinder or food processor at the time, I was forced to chop up the two meats and hand mix everything together.
The only seasonings used were salt, pepper, Allspice (a Jamaican seasoning) and Caraway seeds. Once the meat was set, I needed to prepare the breading for the mixture. After heating up some milk, allow the chunks of stale bread to absorb it and create a soggy concoction. Once everything was set, the meat, spices, breading and two eggs are placed in a bowl and mixed well. Once finished, they are formed, rolled in flour, and placed into a pot to cook. After all the meat is cooked, you can then make the roux with some left over oil from the pot and left over flour from rolling. Beef Broth and whole cranberries were added to the sauce until it was a golden cream much like light and sweet coffee. The meatballs were then placed in the sauce and allowed to cook for a few more minutes until ready. Served with homemade mashed potatoes, the meatballs came out very good. They were tender, flavorful, and no trace of the gamey taste you can get from a wild meat.
Should Or Should Not Eat:
If you have any leftover venison taking up room in the freezer, this recipe is a great way to make use of it. This may be a hard recipe to try since venison is not readily available at your local super market but this recipe is a Should Eat.