28 January 2011

From the Chef ~ Notes from the Riviera: Penne alla Polpa di Granchio

Like learning a language, the best way to grasp a foreign kitchen is to just go there and eat.  And that is what I do wherever I go—whether it’s pomegranate juice and tahini in the streets of Cairo or grilled chorizo in a Oaxacan market or pizza, pasta, and focaccia anywhere in Italy.  Whatever the risk (and, yes, I have paid dearly for my adventuresome ways!), the reward is always greater when indulging in and comprehending the palette of another nation.  I eat and drink—and when it’s particularly memorable, I shoot a photo and even take notes.  Here’s one of those memorable meals from my diaries… Pasta with a Rosé Crab Sauce.  I had this plate of pasta circa July, 1998, in Corniglia, the middle and smallest—and my favorite—town of the famous Cinque Terre along the Italian Riviera.  I’ve recreated this one a few times and it pleasurably evokes that dish before me long ago.  Here are the notes that draw me back to that pranzo  humid high-80s day, damp swim trunks and a backpack, a rustic Mediterranean hamlet atop vine-covered hills that plummet instantly to the sea, a great plate of pasta.  An afternoon at Cecio’s, a ma-and-pa trattoria with pasta al pesto, wine from the hills, and fresh, grilled, whole branzino smiling at you.  Here are my notes, here’s my educated guess for you...

1. Heat water and prepare 1 lb. of pasta, preferably fresh.
2. Meanwhile, sauté a bit of minced onion or shallot (1/2 cup?) in some olive oil until translucent but not browned.
3. Add some pureed tomato (one 28 oz. can?) and simmer on medium for a bit to release some of the liquid (5 min.).
4. Add some cream (1/2 cup?  if we were in Italia, it’d be panna) and cook a bit to release some of the liquid.  Now add some crab meat (1/3 lb.?) and heat until just warm.
5. Add some fresh thyme and parsley—basil and a splash of cream sherry would be truly a decadent alternative.  Add al dente pasta and cook together briefly.  Serve and enjoy!

27 January 2011

Casa Fiore #57: Published and in the Mail!

This month's offerings include:
  • From the Chef:  Notes from the Riviera - Penne al Polpo di Granchio
  • Real Estate Need-2-Know 2011:  Seattle residential median prices for 2010
  • Referral Thank Yous
Stay tuned to CasaFioreOnline.com for the web release of selected articles.  Care to join the hundreds who receive their own old fashioned, snail-mail version at your doorstep?  Send along your address and let me know!

17 January 2011

You Are Invited to Casa Fiore's Cucina!

Casa Fiore’s Cucina was a hit, so why not do it all over again?  Back by popular demand and with a new menu...
Casa Fiore’s Cucina 
Saturday, Jan. 29, 6pm

Spaghetti alla Frutta di Mare (Sept.,’03)
Grilled Prawns (Mar., ‘04)
Killer Super Fudge Brownies (Oct.-Nov., ‘07)
 Please join me as we prepare together some of my favorite recipes while having a fun and tasty meal. You will leave with three new and easy “hit” dishes, a full stomach, and a happy smile!

Class maximum:  12 guests
Cost:  $50
Register with me at:

11 January 2011

Seattle Times Article Reports Increase in Sales

Check out this recent Seattle Times article.  Not only did year-over-year sales volume (that is, sales volume in 2010 as compared to the same time in 2009) increase in December, but by and large sales volume has been up all fall.  While condo prices have suffered, the single-family real estate market within Seattle city limits, which includes detached homes and town homes, appreciated small amounts in 10 of 12 months in 2010.