Daniela.: An Italian casual newcomer features pinsa Romano

Capricciosa pinsa Romana features tomato sauce, artichoke, olive, ham, mushroom, and mozzarella.

PHOTOS BY ERIC FRICK

 

Daniela.
387 Forest Avenue, Buffalo
235-8598, Visit the Facebook/daniela.catering.caffe/

Daniela. (yes, the period is intentional) is a welcome addition to the Elmwood Village neighborhood. Nestled on a corner of Forest near the Richardson Olmsted campus, it’s slightly offset from other city restaurants, but the location perfectly fits its cozy vibe. A warm greeting from behind the counter, welcoming bartenders, and delicious aromas are early indications that the visit will be worth it. An established caterer, Daniela Antonella Cosmano Kayser, opened Daniela. in the recently renovated space earlier this year.

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Citrus marinated raw scallops from The Grange

Wild-caught scallops benefit from a grapefruit and lemon marinade.

PHOTO BY STEPHEN GABRIS

 

The Grange

22 Main St., Hamburg

grangecommunitykitchen.com, 648-0022

Seared scallops show up on many restaurant menus, but few non-sushi venues present raw scallops. Prepared crudo style, or raw with a citrus marinade, scallops are both delicate and strong. This small plate is an undeniably addictive contrast of textures and flavors.

Chef Brad Rowell says this dish was initially inspired by Mexican tostados. “We decided to take it in more of an Italian direction by using the carte di musica cracker and the Calabrian chili aioli,” he says. If you aren’t familiar with the carte di musica, it’s like a flatbread meets a cracker with an impressive amount of crisp for such a thin vehicle. The tender texture of the scallop is perfectly balanced by the crunch of the charred cracker with a border of dark, burnt edges. Read the rest of this entry »

A round-up of grilling wisdom from four Spree food writers

ILLUSTRATION BY JOSH FLANIGAN

 

Here’s a round-up of grilling wisdom from four Spree food writers who also happen to be serious cooks and year-round grillers.

What’s your favorite outdoor cooking method (charcoal grill, gas grill, smoker, fireplace, etc.) and why?

Nick Guy: I tend to prefer propane just because it’s so much faster to get going, and I’m usually only cooking for one or two people. I love the flavor that charcoal gives, and will pull the charcoal grill out for projects when I’ve planned in advance.

Lizz Schumer: I love cooking over a campfire while traveling, just like my family did at least a few weeks each summer when I was a kid. There’s just nothing like cozying up to a crackling fire pit and really getting back to my roots. I use some of the same camping methods on our charcoal grill and in our home fire pit as well, to get that same outdoorsy experience in the comfort of our own backyard.

Jeff Biesinger: I have all kinds of various charcoal and gas grills and smokers (last count was ten), but, given the chance, I’ll choose to cook over an open campfire any chance I get. It’s completely caveman, yet takes a lot of fire-management skill and provides an unrivaled sense of satisfaction when you pull off an amazing meal.

Nina Barone: I love the occasional smoker-cooked meat, but I’m not adept at using anything beyond a charcoal or gas grill. We use a gas grill for our daily grilling needs. My father-in-law was a wonderful grill master, so we took some cues from him, including which Weber gas grill is best.

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Brunch / 100 Acres: When brunch is also a cultural destination

PHOTOS BY STEPHEN GABRIS

​444 Forest Avenue; 955-1511 or 100acresbflo.com

When you want a brunch experience that extends beyond the meal itself, opt for a trip to Hotel Henry’s 100 Acres. Before or after your meal, stroll the art gallery spaces; check out the stunning architecture, inside and out; and plan to explore the grounds or hang out on the balcony in nice weather. Make no mistake: the menu offerings are as worthy of your time as the beautiful ambiance.

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Q&A with Fabio Viviani: A top chef with a national portfolio falls in love with the Finger Lakes

It’s easy to remember why Chef Fabio Viviani earned the “Fan Favorite” title on Bravo’s Top Chef. His charismatic, unaffected manner draws people to him. That quality, matched with his culinary talents, has propelled him to celebrity chefdom. He owns and is in the process of opening more than fifteen restaurants in the United States. His diverse portfolio includes a Maine-based seafood delivery service and a winery in Sonoma, as well as many investments outside of the food industry. Given his passion for locally sourced ingredients, Viviani had an exciting adventure exploring the Finger Lakes region for the opening of a recent venture, Portico at del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo. He urges Buffalonians to visit the area and take advantage of all it has to offer: the lakes, fishing, hiking, over 100 wineries, farmers and growers, cheesemongers, and more. He compares it to living a short drive away from Sonoma, California, but with all the seasons. Viviani makes a compelling argument with the menu and concept of Portico.

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Nothing ho-hum about it: Hummingbird Cake recipe

Since the Hummingbird Cake recipe originally ran in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine, it has become the most requested recipe in the magazine’s history. Originally submitted by Mrs. L. H. Wiggins of Greensboro, NC, it is famous for winning numerous blue ribbons at county fairs and acting as a dessert staple on the table of traditional potluck dinners across the South. Since this recipe boasts one of the few non-Italian flavor combinations my grandmother made regularly when I was a kid (and likely, when my mom and uncle were kids), I have to believe that any woman in the know who enjoyed baking in the 1970s knew how to make a Hummingbird Cake or one of its offshoots. It was, perhaps, a breath of fresh air from carrot cake’s dominance of the era.
This recipe is simple and fairly foolproof for those who are intimidated by the thought of baking a multi-layer cake. Think banana bread in three pans instead of one, plus frosting. Its straightforward ingredients and easy-to-assemble steps make it a great bet for novices, but its flavorful taste has earned it a spot in the rotation of many experienced bakers nonetheless. This cake’s aroma alone evokes one of a quintessential Southern dessert profile: banana, pineapple, cinnamon, and pecan, with cream cheese frosting for good measure. Savor the decadent layers as you stick your fork through this hearty cake and relish its undeniably pleasant sweetness. Here’s the recipe as I make it. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday sauce and meatballs recipe

This recipe started with my grandmother, Concetta Capuano, my mother’s mother, who made sauce regularly for family meals with her husband and two children. She would typically make it on Sunday and then serve it a second time on Thursday. My mother, Deborahann Cimino, then tweaked the recipe slightly to suit her taste and that of her husband, Gennaro Cimino, who is from a different region of Italy. My grandma’s sauce features tomato puree and paste, whereas my mom’s includes crushed tomatoes, which is akin to how my father’s region prepares it. Each area of the country prepares its sauce differently, and not all native Italians even make red sauce as we know it in America.

This sauce recipe is known for being the kind that slowly cooks on the stovetop for hours. Some tomato sauce can be made in a matter of minutes, especially when fresh tomatoes are available, but this type develops different layers of flavor and thickens thanks to the low, slow cooking.

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