The appetizer section of menus has been taking a beating in the many Chicago restaurants I visit every day in my role as chief restaurant critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. I see customers moving away from expensive appetizers (and, believe me, the price of apps have gone through the roof) and moving directly to an entree … More »
Bruschetta and Crostini are essentially in the same family of Italian appetizers, yet each has its own distinct personality. Add one or the other to your antipasti menu (if you add both it might confuse your customer). Generally speaking, if you are more into Italian fine dining, crostini would be more appropriate. For Italian casual … More »
If you are of a certain age you will easily make the connection between spinach and Popeye, the comic book character. When he was in trouble and needed a jolt of extra power and strength, Popeye would open a can of spinach and toss it down in one fell swoop. Eating canned spinach? Hmmmm. It’s … More »
What’s it going to be for that meat lover’s pizza? Three meats? Four meats? Five meats? Be careful –– don’t turn that pizza into a meat casserole or a grease trap. Common sense must prevail when putting together a meat lover’s pizza. Balance is also a key issue, as more is not always better. What … More »
Choose fresh jalapeños with a glossy shine and deep colors. Avoid wrinkled or soft ones. Store them in a paper bag for one or two weeks in the walk-in. Once sliced, use within three days. Wear gloves when handling to avoid irritating the eyes from the oils found in the jalapeño’s skin.
Manchego and feta are two of the more interesting and important cheeses in the Mediterranean flavor. Manchego is Spain’s most famous cheese, and is made in the plain of La Mancha. Only the milk of La Manchega sheep can be used to make manchego. Feta is a Greek cheese. All real manchego is imported; all … More »
To keep you ahead of the curve, here is the way I see the sauce ladle being used in the year ahead for both pasta and pizza. However, as the song goes, you can’t have one without the other. For example, if the trend in pizza is toward a thinner, lighter crust (and it is … More »
One of the features of a menu in many Italian restaurants is the antipasto platter. In one form or another, and with any number of ingredients, it has a lot of appeal, and it is especially inviting for family dining when everybody gets to take part in the fun. Without too much trouble you can … More »
On some levels of taste and interest, you could call a ricotta pie the Italian version of American cheesecake. The good news is that a ricotta pie can be just as versatile as cheesecake when it comes to flavors and add-ins. And more good news is that a ricotta pie, to my way of baking, … More »
The amount of varieties really depends on how passionate you are or want to be about it, as well as the volume of your business. I would not sell them all by the glass unless you have a fairly small list. Otherwise, you’ll have some wines spoil after opening.