Saturday, March 17, 2012

They're Magically Delicious!

Sandy, our resident cupcake cutie, went all out and cooked off two batches of delicious St. Patrick's Day cupcakes:

  • Vanilla cupcakes w/ toasted marshmallow frosting and Lucky Charms to the left.  
  • Chocolate cupcakes w/ mint frosting and sour patch rainbows to the right.  

I can't wait to not remember eating these later!  Try not to get into too much trouble, people...

© 2012 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Delectable Dago Delights

The team at Gian Piero has perfected the old school Italian bakery in a way you have to experience to understand.  Their techniques far surpass even the finest Manhattan has to offer (I'm looking at you, Veniero's), and at half the price!

Gian Piero Bakery
44-17 30th Ave
Astoria, NY 11103

They carry the same assortment as any other Italian bake-shop -- from cannolis & cookies to cheesecake & lobster tails -- but they just do it better.  In fact, they've honed their craft so well that they make the competition look like amateurs.  You have one bite of their triple layer cookies and think, "Oh, so THAT'S what they're supposed to taste like!"

Gian Piero is located a bit off the beaten path at the far end of Astoria.  Odds are, if you don't live in the area, you aren't going to visit, but that's a shame.  I've been eating Italian pastries since before I could walk, and I have the chins to prove it -- this place is the best, bar none.  I should also add that my girlfriend, Sandy, swears they make the best latte ever and she fancies herself a connoisseur.

© 2012 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Master of Marinades

A marinade is a savory liquid in which proteins & vegetables are immersed or submerged for flavor and tenderization.  A good marinade has four basic components: acid, salt, flavor & fat.
  • The acid -- typically citrus juice or vinegar -- helps to tenderize the meat, as does the salt. 
  • Flavor is best imparted by combining herbs, spices, and/or aromatics.  
  • The fat stabilizes the entire concoction and protects the flavors while the meat marinates.
Adding strained yogurt is common practice in the Middle East, and does wonders to lock in moisture when cooking lean meats such as fish or learn poultry.

This particular marinade works well with chicken breast or white-fleshed fish, like cod.  Grilling over an open  flame is the best option, but a stove-top griddle also does the trick.  Serve over some rice-a-roni w/ a side of  veg and you are all set.

Yellow Yogurt Marinade

3-4 # chicken tenders
16 oz Greek yogurt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground garam masala
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 juice of lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
cold water, as necessary
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. combine all ingredients except for water and cilantro in a mixing bowl.  
  2. thin with small amounts of water until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.  
  3. add cilantro.  reserve one cup of yogurt mixture for dipping sauce and smother chicken w/ the rest.
  4. marinate overnight, up to 24 hours.

© 2012 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -