- 1 Tbl Olive Oil
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 4 cups veg or chicken stock
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 15oz can white kidney beans – rinsed
- 4 cups chopped escarole
In a soup pot saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add broth, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, orzo, black pepper and bring to a simmer until pasta is cooked (aprox. 5 minutes.) Add beans and escarole. Simmer additional five minutes until beans are warm. Serve.
Makes four servings.
Posted in Italian, Soup | No Comments »
Giardiniera is Italian meaning “pickled vegetables” (from Italian “giardino” which means “garden” in English.) Usually when one finds giariniera outside of greater Chicago it means a mix of pickled peppers, cauliflower, carrots and pimiento. Although that has a nice application the vinegar based pickling juice is too tart for other applications. Hence, for things like hot dogs and Italian Beef Sandwiches an oil cured mix is preferable. Here’s how I make mine.
- 1 lb fresh Serrano peppers – 1/8 inch slice
- 2 carrots – 1/4 inch dice
- 1 cup cauliflower – 1/4 inch dice
- 2 stalks celery – 1/8 inch slice
- 1 cup large green pitted olives – rough chop (Don’t be cheap – spring for the good ones.)
- 1 cup pickling salt.
- 2 tbs crushed oregano
- 1 tbs crushed chili flakes
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- enough extra virgin olive oil to cover
- Combine all of the vegetable – except the olives – in a large bowl. Add the whole cup of salt and mix completely so the salt covers the vegetable. Add enough water to just cover the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 12 hours.
- Drain the vegetable mixture and rinse very, very well to remove as much salt as possible.
- Add chopped olives and remaining spices. Mix well.
- Spoon mixture into jars (I use 1 qt canning jars and this usually makes 2 – 3 qts depending on the size of the veggies.) Pour olive oil into jars to cover (top off after 30 minutes when all the air has had a chance to escape from the veggies.)
- Put in fridge for at least 48 hours before serving.
This recipe is a rough guideline and you can change it to whatever your tastes are. Some people use green or red peppers and reduce the amount of Serrano peppers for a milder mix. I often will let the Serrano’s ripen to red before using to reduce the heat and keep the flavor.
This mix will keep well about 3 months in the refrigerator. Depending on the quality of the oil it may have a tendency to “gel” when it’s cold. Simply take it out a half hour before serving to restore its consistency.
This goes great on Italian sausages, eggs, spicy tuna salad as well as hot dogs and beef sandwiches.
And, if 2 to 3 quarts is too much for you remember that the holidays are on us soon and this makes an excellent gift for the “spicy” eaters in your life.
Posted in Condements, Italian, Recipes, Veggies | 4 Comments »
I have spent the last several years perfecting my Italian Beef Sandwich recipe – which I will not share. The ideal that I use is the sandwich that’s sold at a beef joint in Elmwood Park, IL. named Johnnie’s . Elmwood Park is an enclave of Italian Americans that is notorious for both great food and an infamous group of “citizens” that facilitate things like gambling and convenient personal loans. It really doesn’t get more Italian here in the states.
Anyhow, I usually make about 10 lbs of beef whenever I cook it. It’s kind of like an Italian version of the French Dip and I’ve never fed one to a beef loving Montanan who didn’t shower praises on it. Recently I fed a friend of mine and, afterwords, he asked me if I might do him the favor of making these for a tailgate party at a Griz game. Not thinking much about it I agreed. Thinking this food might have a commercial application I though it would be nice to see a reaction from people that might express raw opinions not fetter by friendship.
So, here we have it. In early November I’m supposed to feed the party which, I just found out, will be roughly 200 people. That means have have to roast (and slice paper thin) roughly 65 lbs beef, slice 200 rolls, make 5 – 6 gallons of “gravy” and a gallon of giardinera.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Posted in Beef, Cooking Anacdotes, Italian | 5 Comments »
We caught wind of a joint in Coeur d’ Alene that was rumored to have real Chicago style hot dogs. For those of you who don’t know, a Chicago dog is a set above most others for a couple of reasons. Primarily I think that the number of Germans that settled on the west side of Lake Michigan, from South Bend, IN up past Green Bay, WI, make the population pretty selective about their sausages. I’ll admit up front that I’m not all that familiar with street dogs from other major cites and perhaps I’m more than a bit provincial when I talk about Chicago dogs. But the difference I usually find in a Chicago dog is that they are all beef dogs in a natural casing. So the drek one finds at the grocery stores out west doesn’t even come close.
By far the biggest selling dogs in the greater Chicago area are the Vienna Beef Jumbo Franks. The casing gives the hot dog a distinctive “snap” when you bite into it. An even better dog, but less available due to it’s expense, is the David Berg Premium Beef Frank. This is the hot dog that is exclusively sold at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox.
The Real Deal
There is art in building a Chicago dog as well. The typical dog includes:
1. Yellow mustard
2. Bright green relish
3. Fresh chopped onion
4. Two tomato wedges
5. Kosher pickle spear
6. Two sport peppers – which I can’t find in stores here.
7. A dash of celery salt
Notice the poppy seed bun – a must.
It’s almost an act of heresy to put catsup on a hot dog in Chicago. And I’ll admit, dressed this way I think it’s better without it.
Anyway, we found our way to the joint mentioned above, named Giuseppe’s, now located about a mile north of I-90 on American Way in C d’A serving out of a mobile kitchen. As advertised they served up a true Chicago style dog. The rub? $3.75 for a fricken’ hot dog. But what got my attention was the fact that they also had Italian beef sandwiches.
Those who have read davebudge.com for a while know my penchant for an Italian beef sandwich. In fact, since I can’t get the stuff here in Montana I had to discover how to make the things myself and, after a couple hundred pounds of beef, I have the meat part down. The problem is that I can’t get the right bread here. The vast majority of beef stands use Gonnella Bread Company sub rolls. There is something about the crust that holds up to the soaking of spiced beef juice that I can’t seem to get here. But lo and behold, Giuseppe’s served a beef on Gonnella bread.
I talked a while with the owner and found out that he gets both his beef products and bread from a distributor out of Portland. The bread comes par baked frozen and he has to bake it off for five minutes before serving. I couldn’t resist of course and ordered me up a beef – for which I had to wait 5 minutes while he baked the bread. And he had all the accoutrements that would indicate a great sandwich – sweep green peppers, a good hot giardiniera, and sport peppers. When I got the sandwich, however, the bread was dead on but the beef was not what I was expecting.
Most good beef stands sell a product produced by Scala Packing Company or they make the roast the beef themselves. Compared to the Vienna beef product most other Italian beef is much spicier. Thus, I have to give Giuseppe’s a mediocre review. I asked him why he didn’t get Scala beef and he told me that Scala was not USDA inspected for inter-state shipping. I don’t think that’s right and it’s a shame that I spent $6 bucks on a sandwich that didn’t make the grade because, I think, the guy didn’t want to deal with another vendor. But maybe I’m wrong
The good news was that he did have that great olive oil based giardiniera that Vienna does a good job making. It made the sandwich at least edible.
But I tell ya, if you’re looking for a really great hot dog and you’re near Coeur d’Alene, head up American Way about 2 to 3 miles north of I-90. I don’t have an exact address but the trailer is painted red and yellow, is covered with the Vienna logo and parked at a Cenex station on the west side of the street. They may be a bit spendy, but they are definitely the real deal and the eating makes the price go down pretty well too.
Posted in Beef, Fast Food, Italian | 2 Comments »
A family favorite at the Budge house is fresh tomato and basil bruschetta.
- 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and juice and allow to drain.
- Dice the tomatoes in about a 1/2 inch dice.
- Combine, 1 Tbs olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt & pepper with tomatoes in a mixing bowl.
- Slice baguette in 1/2 inch sliced on the bias and brush ones side with olive oil.
- Place bread on a cookie sheet oil side down and put into a 450 degree oven until the tops turn golden brown.
- Arrange bread on a serving platter oil side up.
- Slice mozzarella as thin as possible (I use a wire cheese cutter) and cover each peice of toast with a layer of cheese.
- Spoon tomato mixture on each piece to cover with a single layer
- Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve.
Posted in Appetizers, Ethnic, Italian, Recipes | 3 Comments »