The Real Italian Deli in Palm Springs

On our way to the airport on Friday, after a lovely week in Palm Springs at the always special and relaxing Triangle Inn, where hosts Micheal and Steven make our stay bright and sunny, no matter the weather, we grabbed sandwiches at The Real Italian Deli. What a treat, I am a big sandwich fan and when I can find good italian style meat and toppings I can generally be made happy. I think it brings me back to my growing up in New Haven when we would stop at a few of our favorites for sandwiches back then. This re-imaged deli, has all the right “nods” toward its italian culture with our being stuck in a faux theme. The food is great from its line of sandwiches to the prepared meals, they offer a big selection of imported treats for those living in PS and missing theme. Its definitely going on the “not to miss” list from here on. then to top it off; they carry Brioschi (see here for take on it).

The Real Italian Deli – 

100 South Sunrise Way. Suite B, Palm Springs. Ca. 92262, 760-325-3800

44795 San Pablo – Palm Desert, CA 92260 – Tel: (760) 836-1493

and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/therealitaliandeli

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The Big “B” is back on the market; Brioche is back

Bring on the holidays. The big “B” is back and available again, and yes I purchased two bottles.

Old school italians would remember this as the best remedy for upset stomach, occassional indigestion etc. not to mention its fun to watch fizz. Growing up we always had it around and even as an adult I generally had a bottle somewhere until a few years ago when it seemed to vanish. When Walgreens stopped selling it a few years ago I did some searching and its back with new labels that don’t promote it in a way to get it in trouble but still has the same recipe of sugar, baking soda, malic acid, glucose syrup, natural lemon flavor (dehydrated lemon juice), FD&C Blue No. 2 to combat that indigestion and heartburn.  More info can be found in its site: https://www.brioschi.com but it appears it has a new owner. You know I will be asking Walgreens to stock it again. The bottles run about $9 but last. The market I found it in Palm Springs also has a import alternative, but for now – I am back to my roots and picked up two bottles…

 

Italian Spice Fruit & Nut Cookies

This is a repost for someone who asked about the recipe. . 

My attempt at holiday banking; italian spice cookies. All that is needed is to dip the suckers in suger glaze. 

Did I mention I hate baking. I would much rather cook then bake. So much better to leave the baking to the people who know how to do it like Paul Burke, Will Armstrong, etc

These ugly little suckers are based on an old Italian recipe full of cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, candied fruit and cocoa powder. This year I tossed in some chocolate chips because everything is better with chocolate. 

Recipe

  
Note: cooking times will vary based on pans used.  Eggs for my mom usually means XL. 

    
    
  

Note: for my batch I omitted the nuts and replaced them with chocolate chips
 

Note: she isn’t kidding when she says “mix with your hands” the dough was really heavy and messy imitially. You will know when to stop because it starts to feel like it’s coming together. But expect to be mixing it for a good five to seven minutes
   

Note: they do expand after they are l baked some. I used a small scoop and even that made these larger than I expected so you might want to scale your first batch a bit

  

Thanksgiving at Trio Resturant Palm Springs

After cooking an early thanksgiving dinner for ourselves, knowing we were planing to travel on Thanksgiving itself – we opted to make reservation for dinner that night. Trio Resturant Palm Springs came up on our lists to try and they had a seating so we went for it. The holiday prix fixe menu was your standard Thanksgiving theme with the option of soup or salad, beef or turkey and assorted sides and choice of apple or pumpkin pie.

While the place was pretty crowded, I was first of all impressed that it didn’t have that “frenzied” feel some resturant get when they run a holiday menu. The volume was manageable without being stuffy. Of course the orange theme running through it didn’t hurt me visually as its a signature color I love.

We were seated quick and our waiter, Terrence couldn’t have been more welcoming. He bridged that perfect place between friendly and genuine with calm efficiency. If fact towards the end of our meal – he checked in and we enjoyed talking with him more. This is the kind of service that brings the human touch to travelers and generally often what keeps me coming back to a resturant.img_4649-2

The meal it self was good. I had the butternut squash soup with fried sage leaves. It was nice, not as rich as they tend to be (which I happen to lean towards) but fit nicely for a big meal. We also added in the Charcuterie & Artisan Cheese Plate which was a win. Since we had been eating turkey and leftovers for several days – we opted for the beef. Both cuts, my “end cut” and his regular cut were perfect to order medium, hot and tender. fullsizerender-2Not sure I could have cooked it any better myself. The sides of mashed potato and string beans were good, nicely prepared with out trying to be more than they are supposed to be. The only minor disappointment was the dessert. Both pies were somewhat lackluster. The under-crust on the pies were soft and had that “undercooked” taste that sometimes come with pre-made pies and the fillings were not especially well flavored. Over all – a good solid meal and a place I will go back too for a regular dinner or lunch.

From a geek perspective – I love the interactive way they have embraced social media and the dining experience. They put it out there for people to share and I post. Something I greatly appreciate! They even gave it front and center attention;

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TRIO Restaurant
707 N Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262
t: 760.864.8746
e: info@triopalmsprings.com

OPENING HOURS
Monday – Thursday 11am – 10pm
Friday 11am – 11pm
Saturday 10am – 11pm
Sunday 10am – 10pm

$19.95 3-Course Prix Fixe Menu 11am – 6pm, Daily
Happy Hour 11am – 7pm, Daily
Brunch a Go-Go from 10am, Sat & Sun

Bookclub weekend; so worked out a new recipe for Pickled Shrimp

Since our bookclub was reading the Elementals and I wanted somethings with a water-based, southern flair, I remembered that I had a copy of  Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking,  which a friend had given me last xmas. So while reviewing it, I saw the Pickled Shrimp one and thought perfect! You can his actual recipe here

For my version – I followed it pretty true with a few adaptions

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt (I used kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of good quality infused oil
  • 1/4 cup of good quality infused lemon oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (his recipe used less.. but I wanted the bite)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon of celery salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds shrimp (Since this was a small group – I went with the medium-large pre-cooked which yielded about 40 ( his recipe recommends small to medium (45 to 50 per pound), cooked and peeled). I purchased mine cooked, but you could get fresh, boil then peel. But leave the tails on.
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)img_4436
  • 25 to 30 bay leaves (fresh not dried)

Had I a few more days to think about it – I would have addd some fresh fennel tips  to it as well.

  • img_4442Making it
    Cut the online into thin slices
  • Mix the wet ingredients, add the seeds and powdered ones, then the garlic, whisk in a small bowl
  • Essentially – its pretty easy to assemble, most recipes use a glass jar – which looks great and perfect as a gift, ju
    st make sure it is sterilized if you plan to keep it for more than a few days. Otherwise my trusty lock-n-lock did the job just fine.   Layer the shrimp, bay leaves and thin sliced onions, then repeat until you have it all in. Then cover with the mixture and refrigerate for 18-24 hours (but I checked mine at 12 hours and they were pretty good too). They should keep for several days and just get more pickled.  As long as they are covered oil, they should keep for week over a week. img_4440

To fancy up the serving of it; I used some shells I picked up in Provincetown and to carry over the “sand” theme from the book; I used plain old Progresso bread crumbs.

Healdsburg’s hidden gems

I have written about the Northern CA region in the past and Healdsburg has its mix of higher end food and beverage, but plenty of less costly options as well. Also the trip up and back often allows for discovering all sorts of hidden finds.

A few weeks back a pal took me up to DaVero Farm & Winery, which can I say took my by surprise. Not only is the variation and stories on the wines great – the people that work there are pretty special as well. Check out the website for more details  on its preference for italian wines, the eco-friendly approach and recipes ! Check out the farm and see the pigs and chickens too

FYI – the wines run $30-  $70 but well worth the price and I know I picked up several for gifts. They also have a line of jams and vinegars. Club members get extra social time on the lovely grounds.

On that same trip; I got a chance to eat at the Parish Cafe

Parish is a great date place- but even more it’s a great place to go with friends. The staff is friendly and have a sense of humor that they often need based on the crowds and lines. But it was well worth the wait. From some killer french toast, to hash and eggs to even a good solid cup of coffee.. so those of you who dream of New Orleans; Parish does beignets that will make you start the planning for that trip.

“Harvest Chili” for that t-day feeling in a one pot meal 

Worth reposting from a 2014 entry,  as I was talking about it with a pal recently and think I will be remaking it myself soon. A

Every so often I want a hearty meal reminiscent of all the traditional flavors of thanksgiving — but a) don’t want to make all the parts or b) its the middle of the summer. So what to do? Figure out how to get all the flavors in a simpler delivery process.  After thinking on this for a few days – I came up with this simple recipe for a “Harvest” chili. Its easy to swap out flavors that suit your tastes was well. This is a “working” recipe. Which means it is in progress-so open to hearing suggestions from folks as well. I’m working on a slow cooker varation as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of real butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped, small dice
  • 3-4 Ribs of celery, chopped, small dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2  lb of ground sausage (maple or Italian will work too) bulk style Jimmie Dean style breakfast sausage is my preference here. (You can use the precooked as well – just add in later)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons commercial poultry seasoning
  • 1 – 1-1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (or ½ cup fresh chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons corn starch (or flour)
  • 2 cans, rinsed  and drained red kidney beans
  • 1 -2 pealed & cubed sweet potatoes (raw with skin on- cube them around the same size as the beans)
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, (or spinach or other greens) stems removed, leaves chopped rough
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (worked with frozen ok – and I used the whole bag  large kernels)
  • Chicken base to equal 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (even better if you have turkey stock)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  •  1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (as garnish)
  • Cranberry sauce or chutney (as garnish)
  • Breadcrumbs or crutons (as garnish)

Directions
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, add oil and butter.
Turn on and heat the oil/butter over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add chopped celery stir until soft.
Stir in  fennel seeds, stir well to allow the fennel seeds to get warm and mix with vegetables.
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add poultry seasoning, salt, dried parsley, and red pepper flakes.
Cook until its well incorporated and hot (2- 5 minutes).

Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add oil to the same pan, heat and add the ground turkey and sausage to the pan, cook, stirring frequently, until the turkey is cooked through, about 8 minutes. You want a but if a brown sear. (You can also cook these in two steps)

Drain the oil and return the turkey and sausage to the pot. 

Hint: Add some additonal fennel seeds to the meat while its cooking.

Bring all the meat to heat, add the set aside vegatable mixture together in the larger of the pans. Stir the cornstarch (or flour) into the vegetable/meat mixture (I just add the flour and coat the mixture – but you can also make a slurry with the flour and warm water – then add it with the stock.)

Add chicken stock, kidney beans, chopped sweet potatoes, mix to incorporate – you may need to add more water so it just covers the mixture by an inch.

Bring it up to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom & sides of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 35 minutes and while you still have some moisture add the greens and corn. Cook another 10 – 15 minutes until the chili has thickens.

Turn off the heat or turn down to low,  toss in ¼ – ½ cup of cut (in half) sweet grape or cherry tomatoes, and fresh chopped parsley. I find that adding it at the end and letting the heat of the chili itself “cooks” the tomato and parsley just enough and the seetness of the tomatoes balance the cooked flavors. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste

Note – At this point it’s a personal preference how loose or thick you want the chili – you can add more broth or water – or to add a another layer – pour in a good quality low sodium  turkey gravy .

Alternatives to the recipe included adding Worchester sauce (about 2 tspn) when adding the stock and it gave a nice undertone – worked well with the all turkey version.

You can go for a more traditional touch, chopped Granny Smith apples or peeled chestnuts, raisins or currents and heating  them in it just long enough to get them warm – but still pop when you bite them.  

You can also add cooked rice or fresh tortellini or mini raviolis (cooked) if you want to make it more hardy. 

To serve, place in a bowl, top with croutons and a spoonfull of cranberry sauce or chutney or smoked nuts.

Note: Alternatively, you can toss in some dried “bread cubes” or cubed italian style bread crumbs to give you that “stuffing” feel earlier when you add the tomatoes as well. .