11/26/09 12:47am

Hey all, it’s a foodie lover’s favorite time of year. Thanksgiving!! However, as many of you can probably relate to this, we don’t have enough room let alone a dining table, to host the holidays at our house. So we’re traveling to my sister’s house in New Jersey for a pot-luck sort of holiday. We’re all working women (and men) and the idea is that it’s much more manageable to make one fantastic dish instead of being responsible for the whole meal.

We got designated soup and we immediately decided on butternut squash. We found this incredible recipe on Epicurious that called for brandy and sour cream (hello, delish!). We followed the recipe but for a few exceptions – we used half the called for chicken stock because the consistency was just right without adding all of it. Also we didn’t use a strainer for the soup because once it was blended it was gorgeous and smooth all on it’s very own.

I can’t wait to serve this soup today – we’re feeding ten and I have no doubt that it will be a hit. So here’s to you, my readers, I hope you’re all going to be enjoying your families and eating a delicious and comforting Thanksgiving meal. I’ll see you guys at the table. Yours, BB.

For the complete recipe click here:

Brooklyn’s Belly, a column about the adventures of a foodie in Dumbo Brooklyn is written by Nicole Cummo Tereza of Mangia Vita. Nicole, a graphic designer, food lover, and food blogger, is a Dumbo resident.

11/06/09 3:55pm

I love that we’re getting all sorts of squashes and cruciferous with the recent CSA’s, but I have to say I’m running out of ideas on how to use them all up. So as the gourds sat on my counter, looking too pretty to eat, I decided to consult my fellow food bloggers to see who had any good ideas. Low and behold there are LOTS of squash recipes going ’round the ether so it wasn’t long before I stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin risotto with fried sage. Delicious, right? But I didn’t have fresh sage in the house, or pumpkin for that matter, so I thought I would just modify the idea.

I split the acorn squash in half, and after cleaning out all the seeds I drizzled olive oil, salt and pepper and put a little square of butter in it’s belly for good measure before popping into a preheated oven at 400°. While that cooked I got a basic risotto going, using a good bouillon instead of stock, a splash of red wine (we were out of white – so it did the trick) some shallots and garlic all sauteed to golden brown.

30-35 minutes later the squash was done, and it was scooped and folded into the cooked risotto. Right before serving I tossed in a handful of fresh arugula to wilt and not cook, and grated in some fresh Parmesan. The green in the veg added the perfect pop of color and a much needed peppery flavor. The rice was cheesy and savory, an ideal counterpoint to the naturally sweet and buttery squash. Dinner was SO filling and really tasty that I’d make it again in a heartbeat. However, if I don’t do something with all that broccoli I just got it’s going to be taking over the apartment. Anyone have any bright ideas?

P.S. in case you did want to try your hand at the Pumpkin Sage risotto, get the full recipe here: verysmallanna.com/2009/01/i-love-risotto/

Brooklyn’s Belly, a column about the adventures of a foodie in Dumbo Brooklyn is written by Nicole Cummo Tereza of Mangia Vita. Nicole, a graphic designer, food lover, and food blogger, is a Dumbo resident.

10/29/09 2:40pm


Poor Bryan got all four, count ’em four, wisdom teeth pulled on Monday. I stayed home with him to make sure he was okay, and planned a day full of slurpable meals. Vanilla milkshake for his first foray into food after the surgery. Banana, yogurt and frozen fruit smoothie for lunch. Homemade, healthy, and hearty pureed vegetable soup for dinner. The three H’s!

I followed a recipe in a Williams Sonoma cookbook for soups, and riffed off of it a bit. Here’s the loose version – and know you can add ANY vegetable to this soup. Use what you have at home. Use what’s on it’s way out. Use what you love best, and use as much of it as you want! This is just a guideline, and as in all homemade rustic soups, a base for you to have fun and experiment with.

Chop 3 leeks, small onions, or shallots (which ever you prefer) and sautee in olive oil. Once softened add 3 chopped zucchini, 3 peeled and chopped waxy potatoes, 3 peeled and chopped carrots. Cook until soft and add 6 cups chicken or veggie stock and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Simmer for 30-35 minutes and add 1 drained and rinsed can of chick peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend with a hand mixer or in batches in a blender. Before serving add chopped fresh parsley, and the zest and juice from 1 lemon. Also a healthy grating of fresh parmesan can’t hurt.

Like I said, there are infinite ways to play around. Use a can of stewed tomatoes, chopped spinach, or shredded cabbage. Have a can of cannelini beans lying around? Dump that in. Add rice or pasta! Go crazy, and please, report back. I’d LOVE to get some new ideas and see what you guys are up to.

Until next week, B.B.

Brooklyn’s Belly, a column about the adventures of a foodie in Dumbo Brooklyn is written by Nicole Cummo Tereza of Mangia Vita. Nicole, a graphic designer, food lover, and food blogger, is a Dumbo resident.

10/23/09 11:34am

Having some friends over for a little TV watching mid week? Want to make a yummy snack without spending too much time or money? Forget spending over 5 buckaroos at the bodega for store bought hummus. I’ll show you how easy it really is.

Lemons? Check. Can of chick peas? Check. Garlic? Check. Tahini? Well, I did have to make a run to the store for that, but honestly tahini never seems to go bad. So I’d say that was a good investment. Plus, it’ll give me an excuse to finally try my friend Barbara’s insanely delicious and hearty tahini cookie recipe.

Drain a 16 oz. can of chickpeas but keep 1/4 cup of the liquid from the can and set aside. In a blender (if you don’t have a Cuisinart you can use a regular blender) combine chickpeas, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1.5 tbsp tahini, juice from 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of good salt. Add the liquid you’ve saved from the can and blend until smooth. Or a little chunky, depending on how you like it.

We drizzled some olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper on some sliced up pitas and baked in the oven to crisp up. Accompanied with the hummus and some good olives this is a major hit.

The above recipe makes more hummus than you can eat, so be sure to bring some to work the next day for a little baby carrot dipping action. Oh, and some gum too – I can guarantee garlic breath with this one. Enjoy!

Brooklyn’s Belly, a column about the adventures of a foodie in Dumbo Brooklyn is written by Nicole Cummo Tereza of Mangia Vita. Nicole, a graphic designer, food lover, and food blogger, is a Dumbo resident.

10/16/09 11:55am

On the same day we picked up our CSA I saw that Saveur had Twittered a link to a what seemed like quite a delish broccoli recipe. Coincidence? I think not… Kitchenist, a fellow food blogger, was featuring a beautiful broccoli pesto puree, which gave me a pretty major ‘Aha’ moment. Now, I’ve made pesto with basil (the original) and I’ve made it with Spinach – I’ve even substituted pine nuts with chick peas, but I have never, ever entertained the thought of making pesto with broccoli. In a flash I forwarded the link to Bryan and asked him to pick up some feta on the way home, for this will be dinner tonight!

He got home before I did, and as he likes to do, he already started cooking. “No feta,” he said. “It’s extra saltiness you don’t need, we have plenty of Parmesan to do the trick.” So he followed the recipe all except for the feta. 1/4 cup each olive oil and parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 cup pine nuts (or chick peas), juice of one lemon and a pinch of good salt. Boil or steam one head of broccoli cut into florets for 3-4 minutes, immerse in cold water to stop cooking, and when cooled blend all the ingredients.

We cooked some Israeli couscous (our personal fave) in stock, sauteed up a handful of cremini mushrooms and chopped cauliflower (from the CSA) in garlic, olive oil, and chopped fennel. Added a touch of chopped fresh cilantro to the couscous and we were ready to go. Onto the plate went the couscous and veggie saute and on top we ladled very healthy portions of the broccoli pesto.

Now, let me tell you how freaking good this pesto is. It’s cheesy, and creamy with just the right amount of kick, layered on top of that distinct but subtle broccoli flavor. And with the cauliflower and fennel there was really great texture. A whole world of possibilities opened up! How delicious would this be over whole wheat pasta? On bruschetta? Or how about a cauliflower pesto instead?

For the full recipe click here: kitchenist.com/cooking/snacks-etc/broccoli-pesto-puree/1363.

And please, let me know how it turns out!!
Signing off, BB.

10/07/09 9:39am

Our first night home after a week in Florida with the fam and we had no food in the house. Nada. Not only that but we came home to an oven on the fritz, and next TUESDAY is the first day they can come and repair it! Basically, we’ll be out of an oven for a week, so it’s going to be saute city in my house for a while.

But for tonight, we had CSA veggies and whatever was in the freezer to work with. Out came a bag of ravioli, and onto the cutting board went the fresh goods. We sliced up the beets really thin and added it to a sauce pan with olive oil and crushed garlic, salt and pepper. A splash of red wine was added and it cooked down for about 10 minutes. Next, we added a few chopped fresh Roma tomatoes and sliced carrots, the juice and zest from half a lemon, red chili flakes and a bit of chopped rosemary. It cooked for another 10 minutes and then we pureed it, adding a little pasta water to thin out.

While the raviolis were cooking I chopped up a simple salad of the Boston lettuce, carrots, and heirloom tomatoes. The dressing was a combo of olive oil, fresh chopped thyme, lemon juice, a little Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

The raviolis were done and we topped them with fresh grated Parmesan and some thinly sliced white carrots. The sauce was sweet and complex with just the right hit of acidity, and the crunch and sweetness of the carrots on top went great with the creaminess of the raviolis.

Now, I have a bone to pick with you guys. As we were leaving the CSA I saw nothing but cabbage in the swap box. People, really? Do you even know how easy it is to cook with cabbage? Cole slaw… braised with apples and onions… I could go on and on! But today I followed a new recipe and made a bright and flavorful soup for lunches this week. Check out my blog mangiavita.com for the full report. Until next week, Brooklyn’s Belly signs out…

Brooklyn’s Belly, a column about the adventures of a foodie in Dumbo Brooklyn is written by Nicole Cummo Tereza of Mangia Vita. Nicole, a graphic designer, food lover, and food blogger, is a Dumbo resident.