JANUARY 08 2012

You may be wondering... did I actually learn anything? And what were the best and worst dishes of the cookbook? Well, wonder no more!


  • I always underestimate the amount of herbs I have chopped, sometimes by as much as half.
  • Trust my instincts! If it seems like way too much salt, it probably is (recipes aren't perfect).
  • Serving vegetables were a revelation and probably the biggest thing I will take from this experience. If you make a long, slow braised meat dish, discard the old cooked veggies then simmer new veggies for 20 minutes or so in the strained braising liquid just before eating. Then they take on some of the flavors but retain their integrity. So smart!
  • Making fresh pasta isn't necessarily hard, but it is a pain in the ass and not usually worth it.
  • Mayonnaise has it's place... mostly in sandwiches with garden-fresh tomatoes.
  • A salad doesn't need 1,000 ingredients. Just fresh greens, grated cheese and a flashy dressing can be super satisfying.
  • Don't be scared of gnocchi... they aren't really that hard to make!
  • Olive oil and pecorino romano are delicious, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
  • Simple roasted vegetables can be incredibly good and work really well chilled or at room temperature. A scoop of tomato sauce doesn't hurt either.


Tomato Sauce
Wow! Every time I make this I am surprised by how damn good it really is. It kills on pasta but also makes a fabulous dip for bread or grilled veggies.

Avocado Crostini
So simple and yet fantastic! The little crunch of salt takes it over the top.

Mushroom & Truffle Oil Crostini
Rich and deliciously addicting. Of course, it does have truffle oil which elevates any dish. But I think it pairs especially well with mushrooms. Works great as a lettuce wrap too.

Escarole Salad with Red Onion & Walnuts
I had never used escarole before and this salad completely surprised me. The bitter green pairs perfectly with the rich, walnut dressing. Yum!

Radish Salad with Parsley, Capers & Anchovy
Peppery radish and salty anchovy are a match made in heaven!

Linguine Cacio e Pepe
So much pepper! I was worried while making it but it turned out to be good to the point of addiction.

 Braised Lamb Ragu
Totally worth the two day process. Rich, lightly sweet, fantastic! And, to my surprise, the tagliatelle were actually perfect with it.

Oh. My. God. So good. And they make a mean sandwich.

Braised Short Ribs
My first introduction to serving vegetables... and they blew my mind! Plus the meat was tender and perfect.

Grilled Squid
I wasn't convinced as they squirmed on the grill... but these were amazing. So smokey and just the right chew. Loved 'em.

Corn Salad
Sweet, smokey and complex with a great cheesy tang.

Spaghetti with Clams
Simple meal with amazing flavor. The finished dish looked really dry so I wasn't sure it had worked, until I took my first bite and fell in love.


Sweet Potato Ravioli in Cheese Broth
Worst. Recipe. Ever. Cheese broth is gross and the ravioli were crap.

Roasted Beet and Avocado Salad
Sorry beets, but you suck. I did like the dressing and would use it again.

Sweet Potato Crostini

Lentil Soup with Smoked Bacon
I make yummy lentil soup all the time and this was just sooooo boring. Will stick to my own improvised soup from now on.


Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Raw shaved sprouts just aren't that good. A quick saute would do wonders for this dish and I think would still go really well with the lemony dressing. Although the dressing, too, need some tweaks because it was overwhelmingly lemony and acidic.

Hazelnut Panna Cotta
Basically just chocolate pudding. Not bad pudding... but still kinda disappointing.


It's only been a few days and I'm already going through "cooking project" withdrawls. Am working on my next idea so stay tuned!

Also, I would be happy to share any recipes from Frankies if you wanted to try them yourselves. Just let me know in the comments.

Thanks for joining me in this adventure!


  1. Must. Have. Gnocci. Recipe. And wasn’t there a white bean + kale soup? I agree about the mayo – I never really liked it until I started eating hell of BLTs.

  2. Awesome wrap up!

    I fully support eating hell of BLT's

  3. Those gnocchi are so damn good! I wrote out the necessary recipes for making them yourself... see my most recent post.


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