Annie’s Antipasti


I realize two posts this week are coming from Annie’s kitchen. What can I say? We spent a week with her and great stuff comes out of her kitchen.

Plus, she can feed a lot of people with very little ingredients and very simple preparation that’s somehow always insanely delicious. And that’s what you need when you have an itty bitty city kitchen. Something that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, because who has the fridge space?; something that’s easy, because who has time to prepare a souffle after working all day?; and something that’s yummy, because, well, when there is such potential for amazing food, why eat something that’s just okay?

One night last week at the beach she texted me and said they were having wine and antipasti on the porch. Well, we had dinner plans, but, hey, I’m not saying no to antipasti. Plus there’s always second dinner. It’s fine. It was vacation. And vacation is about eating all the things (This was the mentality that led to the purchase of 7 pounds of chocolate and to a very panicked bride to be who may not be able to fit into her wedding dress come fitting time).

So, back home in the city, after an exhausting work day, I asked the hubs what he wanted for dinner. He said he could go for the thing Annie made.


This is so simple and so amazing. You can make this for 2, like I did, or you can make a big tray of it for a crowd.

Also, this is great when it’s a thousand degrees out and you don’t want to turn on the oven because the kitchen already feels like on.

OKay, ready?



Some sweet and some spicy sopresseta (you can use just one or the other depending on your preferences, but I like the mix)



Some chunks of fresh mozzarella and some slices of roasted red peppers


black olives


A drizzle of olive oil, a splash of balsamic and some black pepper.



Antipasti for two.

It’s a no cooking night



We all have days where we come home and just want to be able to whip something up quickly and with minimal effort. Maybe just boiling some water for pasta or light sauteing veggies to throw over leftover rice.

Light amount of cooking required kind of dishes.

Then, there are those nights when the last thing you want to do is cook. Boiling water, preheating the oven, heck even microwaving something is just too much.

But don’t you go reaching for those takeout menus and cell phone!

No siree.

Not wanting to cook doesn’t mean you can’t make dinner.

And anyway, a recent article in Chatelaine says that cooking at home makes you happy! For real, check it out.

So I’m not crazy when I say the kitchen is my happy place.

So what to do though when you don’t actually want to cook but want to make something for dinner? Well, you can reach for the box of cereal – don’t lie! you’ve all done it!- or you can take a page from Jeff Mauro The Sandwich King’s book and have a sandwich night!

Or, more specifically, a sub night.

I’m Italian, so I grew up with salami sandwiches in my lunchbox. Heck, sometimes there was even last night’s salami bread in my lunch box.

And my boyfriend, after many a salami sandwich at my parents’ house, is now an Italian cold cut lover too.

So why not have a make your own sub night?

It’s quick, it’s easy, it lets everyone make their dinner their own way, and it means making a meal without turning on a single appliance.

And there’s pretty much no clean up.

And, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

You’ll just need some good bread- we used a loaf of Calandra’s Italian bread (duh)- cold cuts of your choice – salami, provolone, pepperoni and pr0sciutto for us – and any extra topping you want – mustard, mayo, oil, vinegar, tomato, lettuce.

For a well balanced sub, I suggest some kind of cheese, paired with at least two meats with different textures or flavor profiles. Think turkey paired with capicola or, like we did, the sharp provolone against the spicy salami, salty prosciutto and fatty salami.  Roast beef and spicy monterey jack cheese.

The sky really is the limit here.

So, bread, cold cuts, toppings.

Set up an assembly line.

Slice your bread.


Lay out the cold cuts so everyone can see everything there is.


Slice up some juicy Jersey tomatoes. I think tomatoes are necessary on an Italian sub. They cut through all the rich, fatty flavors of the meats and give the sandwich some brightness. I also think you need some crunch factor in the form of lettuce. Romaine or iceberg are always good choices. We used shredded cabbage because we had a bag on hand.


Then, build your sandwich. I went cabbage first, then pepperoni, then provolone, then salami and prosciutto, then some tomato. I finished with a drizzle of balsamic.


He went tomato first, provolone, then salami, pepperoni, prosciutto and cabbage. He drizzled his with some olive oil and balsamic. I think he went mustard and mayo too.


Like I said, this is a great dinner because everyone can have it their way.

Rip open a bag of chips and enjoy.

Cucumber, Avocado, Shrimp Salad

I had so much fun bumming around at my parents’ house, eating mom’s cooking, watching TV with dad, shopping with mom.

But I was stoked to get back to my own kitchen and whip up a yummy dinner.

Except for the heat.

I love summer, but oh my goodness is it hot in the city! I had zero desire to turn on my oven today.

So a no-cook dinner it had to be.

I remembered something in Alex Guarnaschelli’s cookbook, Old School Comfort Food, that I had been waiting for the right night to try out. Tonight, fellow city dwellers melting in the heat, was the perfect night for Alex’s shrimp, avocado and cucumber salad. I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit the ingredients I had on hand.

I also bought pre-cooked shrimp and just defrosted them, because, like I said, it’s way too hot to cook. Anything.

So here’s a no-cook, one bowl dinner, to help you beat the heat in your itty bitty city kitchen.

You will need

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cucumber
  • shrimp (I got like 3/4 pound for the two of us)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • black pepper

Chop up the cucumber and the avocado and toss them into the bowl. Remove the tails from the shrimp and either toss in the bowl whole or chop in half. I chopped mine so everything would be relatively the same size.


Add the olive oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lime juice and black pepper and toss the shrimp and vegetable to coat. You can adjust the amounts depending in which flavors you want to come through more.

Cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge for an hour.

A delicious, refreshing, cooling dinner. You can serve over brown rice if you like.


We grabbed some from the Chinese restaurant again.

I went light on the rice because I had overindulged a little this weekend. This salad is great to help get you back on track. It’s also great for a Sunday night because it’s so easy and takes so little time that you can make the most of the last hours before the work week starts again.

And it means you can watch Michael Symon battle Jose Garces on Iron Chef!