Monday, March 21, 2011

La Mamma said there'd be days like this: Lazy Day Bolognese Sauce

So as all Italians and many enlightened Americans know, a true Bolognese sauce is a matter of love. You gotta love it, because for a real honest to goodness sauce, you are talking hours of simmering. And while I do love me some authentic Bolognese (and my recipe is pretty excellent if I don't mind sayin so myself - but we will save it for another post) sometimes I'm just ...what's the word...well, lazy. Sometimes I really just don't have 4 hours to sit around to watch a pot boil. This casalinga* sometimes has got some DOLLA DOLLA BILZ to make.  
*Casalinga = Italian for housewife
Or in my case Euros ... which is techically way cooler considering the exchange rate blows.... but still Euros doesn't sound nearly as cool as DOLLA DOLLA BILLZ. And those Euros, they slip out of your fingers. My theory is that they are so colorful and pretty it makes it feel like Monopoly money. And how are you supposed to "Make It Rain" with the Euro coin anyways? You gotta take out some bigger denominations (sucks) or risk taking the stripper's eye out/invoke a biblical stoning to punish her for her slutacious ways...

Cooler than
 Anyways....... clearly got waaaay sidetracked here. What was I talking about? Oh yes, Bolognese sauce. So, sometimes you don't have the time or patience for an authenthic sauce. So I developed a little "highlights reel" recipe for ya. Got the basic flavors, but ready in 1/4 the time. So without further ado, my recipe for ... 


6 ounces (150 g) ground beef - not too lean or the sugo will be too dry
4 ounces (100 g) ground Italian sausage - if you can only find it in a casing make sure to squeeze out and mash up yourself
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 of a medium sized onion, minced or 2 shallots, minced
half a carrot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup dry red wine, preferably Chianti
2 small or 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes- San Marzano variety preferably if you can find them
1/2 a cup of milk (preferably whole, at least 2%, leave the skim for your cereal please)
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt

1. Mince you onion/shallots, carrot, and garlic. In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion and carrot and heat until onion starts to caramelize (about 5-7 minutes). Then add in the beef and sausage and heat until all the meat is browned. Add the pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to the meat. Finally after the meat is browned add in the garlic, and simmer for an additional 3 minutes until the garlic looks browned but not burned.

2. Add the 1/2 cup of red wine to the meat and reduce liquid by half.
3. Now add your can/cans of tomatoes, crushing the whole tomatoes by hand and dropping them into the sauce, as well as adding the tomato liquid from the rest of the jar.
4. On medium heat, let sauce simmer for about 30-45 minutes or longer if you have the time. The sauce should look thick and meaty as the tomato liquid has boiled down significantly, this is key.

5. Add in the 1/2 cup of milk and 2 Tablespoons butter, stir, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

And there ya have it! A quick (relatively) Bolognese ready to pair with your favorite pasta. A personal favorite of mine is Bucatini (It's like spaghetti with a hole in the middle), as I paired it with here in the photo.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lights, Camera, Fashion: Spring alla Milanese

Welcome to the real Dolce Vita kids. That's right, as many of you know, Kendallina has temporarily relocated to one of the biggest fashion capitals of the world.... MILANO, ITALIA. 
Things here move at a ... different (and by different I mean sometimes excruciatingly slower) pace, and therefore it's taken me a little longer than I expected to get situated... hence the lack of blogging. But, I am here finally, with apartment, with job, with music, with life intact .... and I finally have a moment to share with you lovelies the ups, downs, fashion, food, and 'special' euro moments that encompass my personal "Dolce Vita"

So to kick it all off let's talk about what this town does best .... zie fashion!

A few weeks ago was Milan Fashion Week and the Fashionistas and Glamazons were out in full force. Unfortunately I have an embarrassing lack of photos from the extravagant event due to the fact it was a terribly busy week for me, but I did manage to get into one fashion show that showcased many young and upcoming designers. 

Kind of cool eh? I love couture in a way because it's more like art than 'wearable fashion'. But with Spring at our heels, many of us ladies are wondering what to pick up on our next splurge to update our wardrobes.... Well there is def some cute stuff out there, but there are too many trends for one post ... so stay tuned for more in-depth fashiony goodness via Italia. But I can't let you go without a few pointers now can I?

Well first off your basic color palates are polar opposties:
Pastels and Neutrals (via Boho Chic)
Two of the bold palates that are really catching my eye this season as "bold" but still classy are both 
Here's some looks to get your palate juices flowin
(click on the images for price and brand)
Nicole Miller, The Row, Lanvin, Topshop, Twenty8Twelve
Miss Blumarine, Topshop, Topshop, Armand Diradourian
Free spirits rejoice and bust back out those tunic tops and flowy dresses cause the BOHO CHIC look is back full force for spring:
Forever 21, Lucky Brand, House Of Harlow, Free People

Alright kids, Mamma's gotta head to bed. 7 hours ahead of you here in Italia .. but fear not, I hath not abandoned you dear readers. More Fashion, Food, and various Shenanigans with a side of Vino Rosso to come.

A presto! Baci! ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside!: BRASATO AL BAROLO (Red Wine Braised Short Ribs)

Still pretty cold out there folks.... times like these you crave one of those stick to your bone type meals. Well I've got the recipe for you, a revamped Italian staple: 

(Short Ribs braised in Red Wine and herbs)
It looks complicated and plates gorgeous .... but it is surprisingly easy to make! Just assemble and pop in the oven. While you are waiting you can run some errands .... or watch a few episodes of The Real Housewives of (Insert Obnoxious City Here) Marathon that runs on neverending loop on Bravo. 

Now traditionally this recipe calls for beef chuck roast, which you can use of course, but I find short ribs a much tastier cut of meat when braised. Also adding a bit of Horseradish to the Gremolata topping... while not exactly 'Italian' adds a bit of kick to the beef. Enjoy!

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 16-ounce beef short ribs (or mix of bigger an smaller ribs equal to 16 oz each person)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 16-ounce can of peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand with their juices (Italian San Marzano highly preferred) 
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
½ bunch thyme
½ bunch rosemary
½ bunch oregano
2 cups Barolo, or other full-bodied dry red wine such as Ripasso Valpolicella, Gigondas, Côtes du Rhône, or Zinfandel  
* A HIGH QUALITY red wine is KEY to this dish. If you plan on using some 5 buck chuck from the supermarket you might as well scrap the whole recipe because it will taste beyond mediocre. The wine is the star of the dish. So step up and shell out for some good stuff ... but hey it's only 2 cups. You can drink and enjoy the rest!  

For Horseradish Gremolata:
Leaves from 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley 
Zest of two large lemons
¼ pound fresh horseradish, grated

For Polenta:
3/4 cup Quick Cooking Polenta
1/2 cup Marscapone Cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (grated or shreded)
1/2 stick of butter 
2 1/4 cup water 
Salt/Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Season the ribs with salt and pepper.

 2. Cook them over high heat until deep brown all on sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove the short ribs to a plate and set aside.

3. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, oregano, and rosemary and sauté, stirring, untilgarlic begins to soften and turn golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes.

4. Add broth and bring to a simmer, then return meat along with any juices accumulated on plate to pot. (Making sure the ribs are covered in liquid). Cover pot with lid or heavy duty foil and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is very tender, 2 to 3 hours.

5. Meanwhile, while you are waiting grate the lemon zest and horseradish. 

6. Chop parsley and mix together with lemon zest and horseradish and set aside until plating. 

7. When ribs are done, take out of the oven and uncover. Transfer meat to cutting board/plate. Skim fat from the surface of the sauce. Then return pot to stovetop and boil sauce until reduced until about 1/3, about 5-10 minutes. Return meat to sauce to coat. 

8. About 10 minutes before the ribs/sauce are ready. Boil the water for the polenta. When water comes to a rolling boil, lower heat and add polenta in a slow steady stream stirring constantly with wooden spoon until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Then add in cheeses and butter, and continue to stir. 
Note: If Polenta is made too early before plating it will thicken significantly as it cools. 

9. Plate by dividing polenta into 4 plates. Top with 1-3 ribs (depending on size) and a scoop a ladelful of sauce. Top by sprinkling the Gremolata and drink with a glass of the same wine (preferably, or if not available an equally heavy bodied red). Voila! 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Duck... Duck... BOOTS!!

January.... kind of a downer of a month. Christmas is over, New Year's is over, back to work. It's cold, it's grey, and there is just nothing to start off the work/school day like a solid trudging through 10 inches of snow and brown slush! Now for the fashionable ladies out there, this time of year proposes a bit of a problem. Clearly your cute stilettos and flats are not warm enough, and you don't wanna ruin your expensive suede boots with brown sludge. How do you keep your tootises warm without looking like an Eskimo gone retarded.....
Mariah ... you sooo are not on fi-yah

Granted there is the obvious go-to Ugg Boot .... and don't get me wrong, they are comfortable as hell .... but they are pretty UGG-LY. (ha... yeah... bad joke ... sue me).

So the question remains.... what to wear to keep warm, yet look a little more 'put together'. Here are some more streamlined yet functional options:
(Click any of the pics/links for sizes and prices)

For those of you a little further south, snow isn't normally the winter issue. It's cold, yucky, rain. A good pair of rain slickers is key. And you Yankees can get a leg up on your "April Showers" spring slickers wear with these cuties!
Could these BE any cuter? Channel your inner Blair Waldorf with these Kate Spades.
Here in Brown (for $10 cheaper too!)

And for heaven's sake ladies... don't commit the carnal winter sin. Don't be an
I don't care what the weather is like most of the year. Right now it's cold outside. Cover up. And I'm not just talking about your feet. Or worse, wearing your cute winter boots with hooker clothes.

If you really insist on looking like a cheap prostitute in the dead of winter, try crotchless leggings or something. Your nude limbs make me cold just looking at you.

And remember ... no matter how angsty this weather is making you ... you probably are still better off than this wonderfully special lady in Atlanta, Georgia