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Baccala alla Vicentina - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is probably going to be reduced by a couple courses to maybe 5 or even just 3. The important part of the Feast is that it’s an odd number of courses. The most traditional of my courses is the baccala alla vicentina, which is one of my favorites. After a long soak in water, the rock-hard dried cod is magically transformed back into fish and then gets cooked with potatoes and blended into an amazing spread. It’s not pretty while it’s cooking and the whole process is pretty smelly, but it turns into an amazing dish.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Next up, bay scallop crudo with tangerine and sea salt and a bowl of shrimp bisque. The sweet bay scallops are slurped down with a tangerine juice reduction and some fruity extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt over the top. The bisque gets it’s flavor from sherry or marsala and if possible, homemade shrimp or seafood stock.

Spicy Crab Pasta - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I will most likely round out my Feast of the Seven (or Five) Fishes with some baked clams and a spicy crab pasta that has become a favorite. I’m hoping to get some really delicious dungeness or some other special crab to really take this one over the top for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even experiment with some lobster. Happy holidays!

For more Feast of the Seven Fishes ideas, check out last year’s menu.

And just to let you know, I’ve started a new Facebook page for Meatballs&Milkshakes, so you can follow the blog there! “Like” Meatballs&Milkshakes to keep up to date with recipes in your feed!

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I suppose the most memorable recipe I’ve posted in the first year of Meatballs & Milkshakes has to be my Shaved Asparagus Salad because it won Best Spring Vegetable recipe on Food52 at this time last year. They have been nice enough to spotlight me here and I can’t say enough good things about their wonderful site.

For Christmas, the Feast of the Seven Fishes was definitely another memorable moment– I made seven fish dishes in one night! And we had delicious chocolate pudding to end the night, it doesn’t get much better.

Some of the recipes that really stick out in my mind over the year are obviously pastas. This linguine bolognese that I made for Valentine’s day was unbelievable and it still makes my mouth water.

This tagliatelle with shrimp and cabbage was a recreation from one of my favorite restaurants, and it got some press over on Serious Eats, another of my favorite blogs.

Of course, it all started with my homemade pappardelle with duck ragu. You can see that hopefully my pictures have improved a bit…the recipes were yummy even then though!

And of course, I made my first pork shoulder, slow roasting it and shredding it for tacos which were a big hit. Who knew pork could be so good!

While we’re talking meat, I can’t forget this beef stew that I made…it was by far the tastiest beef stew ever with amazingly delicious carrots. They soaked up the beef juices are were almost better than the beef itself. Almost.

And of course we can’t forget my obsession with the Flour cookbook this year. I made all sorts of cookies from it, including these yummy oatmeal raisin cookies

and chewy chocolate cookies. I’ve almost baked my way through all the Flour cookies, and they’ve all been amazing. Definitely a go-to cookbook that I recommend buying.

As far as other desserts go, there were a lot of pies but the ones I’m looking forward to again most are these: the mini strawberry rhubarb pies that were great for individual servings straight from the freezer, and the quick berry pie. Both are great for summer and I’m hoping it will be another good one!

I’m off to Italy for a week, but I’ve left a couple posts for you while I’m away….and hopefully I’ll bring back some new Italian inspiration! Bring on the broccoli rabe and orecchiette!

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Spring is definitively here, and maybe we’re already into summer with temperatures hitting close to 90 degrees today. It’s time for some no-cook or quick cooking recipes so that I don’t overheat the apartment with the stove. One of my favorites from the cleanse earlier this year was this salmon with pepita pesto. The pesto is really quick and just requires a food processor, and the salmon cooks in less than 10 minutes. It’s delicious and very healthy…perfect for a day like today!

This wonderful fava bean and pecorino salad with mint would pair nicely with the salmon, and it’s a light and refreshing salad for warm days.

A quick and simple pasta is also a good bet when I want dinner in 10 minutes. This spaghetti with cherry tomatoes tastes like spring, with the first good tomatoes of the season. Cherry tomatoes usually have more flavor early in the season than other tomatoes, and when you can get delicious ones, the simplest recipes will show them off the best.

A spring menu would not be complete without a fruit dessert, and this berry pie is so quick and easy.  No need to have the oven on as long as you would for a crisp or regular fruit pie, this flavorful pie is one of my summer night favorites!

And if you absolutely need some chocolate, these broiler s’mores are done in 2-3 minutes and you’ll wish you made more!

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It was a great first year for my latest project, Meatballs and Milkshakes. I had a chance to make both namesakes for my blog, spaghetti and meatballs and affogato milkshakes.

My recipe for shaved asparagus salad won on Food52 and I got all sorts of prizes. (And my recipe will be in print in October 2012!)

I had a great guest blog from Gareth with some music to go along with it, a favorite song around the apartment which reminds me that I still have not blogged about the trip to Ravello and Positano. Well, at least I’ve still got things to do in 2012.

There were a lot of favorites that came out of the kitchen this year, including prosciutto and goat cheese stuffed dates, scallop crudo, burrata and tomato crostini, seared scallops with spinach and pine nuts, chicken with porcini mushrooms, veal saltimbocca, and beef stew.

Of course, I can’t forget all the great pasta– linguine with bacon, peas and mint, pappardelle with duck ragurisotto with spinach, lemon and bay scallops, gorgonzola and mushroom tajarin, linguine carbonara, pesto, spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, gnocchi, and carrot and butternut squash lasagna.

I learned that I loved burrata, Di Palo, and Eataly, and surprisingly, I don’t actually hate all ricotta. I made a surprising amount of pasta by hand and got a ricer for gnocchi.

It wasn’t all Italian all the time, however. There were a lot of cookies, including nutella chocolate chip, chewy chocolate chip, double chocolate, chocolate chip hazelnut, jam thumbprints, and spice cookies.

We celebrated Gareth’s birthday with a delicious chocolate layer cake. We had peach and raspberry crisps and crostatas. I brought zucchini bread on vacation and we had a beautiful and delicious berry pie.

The fall meant apple picking and with it, the bounty of apple-inspired recipes such as apple oat muffins, pork chops with apple chutney, apple pie, butternut squash soup, and apple butter.

Thanksgiving was quickly followed by Christmas and then the whirlwind into New Years.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes was a great success, and my favorites were the marinated sardines, shrimp bisque, and baccala alla vicentina. The chocolate pudding will also be made regularly.

A lot of great friends came over for some really delicious meals and I’m looking forward to more in 2012. Up on the docket are braciole, lasagna, and maybe some healthy dinners like salmon and brown rice in the next couple of weeks….have to balance out the pasta somehow…

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