The Classic Martini

Recently ran into another young bartender who had never made a martini with gin and vermouth although that is the very definition of a Martini.

ME:  I’d like a Tanqueray Martini up.
BT:   Gin? Do you still want olive juice
ME:   No, I’d like vermouth.
BT:   (Slowly) Okay, you want me to put it in the glass then pour it out?
ME:   No, I’d like you to put the vermouth in and leave it.
BT:   You mean like an ingredient?
ME:   Exactly. I’d like it up and served with an olive

Look if you want to drink chilled vodka with olive juice, knock yourself out, just don’t call it a martini.  In this video I made last year you’ll see how to make a classic gin martini.

Two weeks later at a different bar I ordered a Tanqueray martini and the bartender asked me what part vermouth? I like this guy already. I tell him I like it 5 to 1 and stirred. He said, “Naturally.” Big tip!!

Posted by Funny Motivational Speaker Vinny Verelli


The Mezzetta Muffuletta Pizza

Today we’re going to talk about Muffuletta.  Not the nickname they gave to my cousin in 10th grade. This is the sandwich that originated at the Central Grocery in New Orleans. If you like history you can find additional information about this sandwich on Wikkipedia.

The Muffuletta gets its name from the round loaf of bread on which the sandwich is made. It is huge and is often sold as 1/2 or 1/4 size. Here’s a photo of a 1/4 Muffuletta that I got at the The Beignet Connection in Atlanta.

Funny Speaker Vinny talks muffuletta.

1/4 of a Muffuletta

But we’re not going to make a sandwich, we’re going to make a pizza. Like the the sandwich the pizza can be made with many different types of cold cuts or cheeses but in order be be called a Muffuletta it must contain some variety of chopped olive salad or spread.  For my Muffuletta Pizza I used a Mezzetta Olive spread as it contained sun dried tomatoes. I love sun dried tomatoes and the tomatoes helped to make this pie more pizza-like.

The Finished Product Was Delicious – Bread Stick Video to Follow

A Fabulous Dinner in Plano

I was waiting for some photos and forgot that I had started this post on February 2. Here it is.

I’ve been preparing for the 2012 NSA Winter Conference in Dallas (actually Plano, TX)  and have been remiss in my posting. Although I haven’t been doing much cooking I have been doing some eating.

Had a great meal tonight at Nicola’s Restorante Italiano with two great pals; John Bledsoe and Patrick Donadio.  It was Patrick’s birthday and wanted to do a shout out to a really good friend.

It was a Thursday night so there was no wait and although the restaurant considers it’s design “opulent,” we didn’t feel underdressed. The menu included the traditional fare that you would see at an Italian restaurant, but with a fresher approach and taste. All pasta is hand made on-premise and groceries are delivered twice a day to insure only market-fresh ingredients are prepared.

Potato dumplings, prosciutto cotto, Fontina & Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses baked in our wood burning oven $14. I love gnocchi event when it’s hard but this was light and tender and the flavor was immense. The bite site dumplings were lightly coated, not drenched in the cheese sauce.

Their signature slow-roasted pork shank with gorgonzola polenta & rosemary reduction $24. Now I’m a big eater, and yes we had two appetizers, but that usually doesn’t stop me from eating my entire entree and then splitting a desert. I could not finish the Porco Buco. When it arrived I could only stare at it in amazement, sitting there looking like the sculpture of the Devils Tower made by Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters. The pepper mill hovering over the plate like the mother ship.

Patrick had the Pan-seared veal medallions in mushroom & Marsala wine sauce, $25. The sauce was delicate and the veal scrumptious, melting in your mouth. Patrick had no problem finishing his veal.

We were a little upset that they didn’t bring a cannoli with a cancel for Patrick’s birthday  but we got over it and Patrick went back to the restaurant for their lunch special. On Friday you got a bowl of squash soup, caesar salad, roast chicken on a bed of greens with a lemon caper sauce and a cannoli, still no candle. All for $12.95

The $12.95 Lunch Special

A Money Saving Idea

Maybe you’ve noticed that prices at the super market have been rising faster than our incomes.

Here in the mountains you’ll pay $3.38 for a 6 ounce bag of spinach. That is just over $9 a pound. Take a walk over to the salad bar and there’s a bin of spinach that is $4.99 per pound. Even taking into account the plastic salad container is heavier than the bag the spinach comes in, you’re saving over $3.75 a pound. That’s enough to buy a cup of coffee at the Starbucks that they have in an Ingles.  Tell me that ain’t class?

Cooking With Vinny Shopping Tip

Cooking With Vinny

Pasta Recipe From Ariel Cohn

I was sent a recipe from my good friend Ariel Cohn. The complete recipe can be found by clicking on the “Share Your Recipes” link to the right or in the menu bar and scrolling down.

I thought my tortellini recipe was a heart stopper but Ariel topped me by adding an egg yolk. One egg yolk is about 2/3 of the recommended limit of cholesterol intake for a person without heart issues. But who’s counting?

Thanks Ariel.