Sunday, January 25, 2009

Table for 2, please?

Last night, thanks to the generosity of JAM, hubby and I got the chance to actually go to a restaurant and sit at a table for 2 and get mushy with each other. We LOVE trying new restaurants, so upon recommendation from my very dear SGTSG, Deb, we headed to Carraba's. We gave it 3.8 out of 5 stars. The food was AMAZING good, but heavy on the salt. The only other con was the ambiance, or rather the lack of it. The place was loud and hopping and the booths were highly uncomfortable. Not quite Santaniellos, but a very suitable replacement. Let me see if I can show you what we tried..... here we go.

Carrabba's Bread Dipping Spice

This is a favorite with Italian style-grub. They serve the spices on a small plate and the waiter adds olive oil, now you are set to dip your bread. YUM YUM TIP: Chop all spices in small chopper then store them in a small container in the refrigerator, since a little goes a long way--then you can have it anytime.

SERVES 1 -4 , 1/4 cup



  1. Combine all of the ingredients, EXCEPT oil.
  2. Put in a small food processor or a small food chopper. Chop briefly until all ingredients are about the same.
  3. Stir in oil.
  4. TO SERVE: Combine about 1 1/2 teaspoons spice blend to 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil on a small Dish.
  5. Dip sliced bread in mixture.
  6. French bread is good.
  7. ENJOY.

Zucchini Fritte

Fresh zucchini lightly battered and fried, served with roasted garlic aioli


Olive oil, for frying
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.

When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.

Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.


1 head of garlic
olive oil
sprig of fresh thyme
ground black pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

to prepare the Roasted Garlic:
Remove top of garlic exposing just the top. Prick top with tines of a fork and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Top with fresh thyme and wrap in foil. Place over low heat or preheated BBQ. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until tender. Remove.

to prepare the Garlic Aioli:
In a medium bowl add some of roasted garlic without skin that has been smashed with a fork. Mix in all ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to develop.

From there we had the bruschette and the brick oven Quattro Formaggi. The pizza was good, although I think next time we'll opt for the Margherita instead. Probably more flavor and not quite so heavy. But of you're looking for comfort food, the Formaggi is the way to go. Definitely hit the spot for me :)

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