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Category: Antipasto

Casaculinarian.com Simple Arugula Salad



Casaculinarian.com “Simple Arugula Salad”

Our Spring Salad for the week is a simple Arugula Salad, with seasoned Plum Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinaigrette with Lemon & Honey. Quick and easy and great as a side at the Dinner table.

baby arugula 4 cups

plum tomatoes 6 sliced and tossed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

homemade balsamic vinaigrette, link below: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the recipe.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Make Vinaigrette and add to a squeeze bottle. Place Arugula in a Salad bowl. Add your seasoned tomatoes around the outer rim like the picture above. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top of salad and tomatoes. Enjoy! Jason.

Classic Plum Tomato, Red Onions, and Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Salad



Classic Plum Tomato, Red Onions, and Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Salad

This is the perfect time of year for this great classic salad. It can be an appetizer, a salad, or a side dish with your dinner.

plum tomatoes 5 cut in six wedges then in half

red onion 1/2 sliced

fresh garlic cloves 2 chopped

olive oil 1/8 cup

fresh mozzarella cheese two 4 oz. balls cubed

balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons

Italian seasonings 1/2 teaspoon

Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon

black pepper 1/4 teaspoon

granulated garlic 1/4 teaspoon

onion powder 1/4 teaspoon

fresh parsley chopped 1 tablespoon

fresh basil chiffonade 1 tablespoon

grated Parmesan 1 tablespoon

In a mixing bowl chop all your vegetables, add seasonings, all cheese, olive oil, and vinegar. Mix well. Let sit 30 minutes to marinate. Mix again before serving. Enjoy, Jason.

Rosemary, Onion, and Garlic Focaccia


foc cooked

Last night I said I was going to make Homemade Dinner Rolls with our Soup and Salad for Dinner… I couldn’t sleep well- I think the menu didn’t sit well with me. So at 4:00 AM tossing and turning in bed I decided some Homemade Focaccia will compliment the Veal Milanese over Salad and Manhattan Clam Chowder better… I finally got to bed, so here it is.

Casaculinarian.com pizza dough recipe. Link below. I suggest using High Gluten Flour if possible.

Pizza Dough for Home

olive oil 1/2 cup

fresh rosemary sprigs 2 tablespoons

salt and pepper taste

grated parmesan cheese 1/8 cup

onion 1/2 julienned

garlic 3 bulbs sliced

Italian seasonings 1 tablespoons

parsley 1 tablespoon

granulated garlic salt 1 teaspoon

 On a Sicilian pan or cookie sheet add olive oil and spread out evenly  on pan. Place dough after it is ready on the pan. Spread out like a round thick pizza, so its still 1 inch thick. With a pastry brush add olive oil to top of dough. Use a fork and poke holes all over top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in you oven for 3-4 hours. Do not turn oven on. The dough will proof and double in side.

Take dough out of oven and turn oven on 400 degrees. In a sauté pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions and garlic. Brown the onions and garlic but do not burn. Season Focaccia with all seasonings and herbs. Add onions and garlic to top. Example below.

raw foc

Cook on 400 degrees and before it browns add more olive oil with a pastry brush. Finish in the oven till golden brown. (olive oil may not be completely used.) Enjoy! You can use this for sandwiches or as a side.

Making Fresh Mozzarella at Home


Fresh Mozzarella Ball

Homemade Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Home… Unfortunately I did not get taught how to make cheese from my Sicilian Mother or Grandmother. I was working for Executive Chef Joe Felice at his Gourmet Cafe in Parsippany NJ. I was his Executive Chef. We did a huge lunch business with all the Corporate Buildings in the area. This is back 16-17 years ago. The Gourmet Cafe is still in Parsippany, operated by a new owner. Joe sold it to move on to bigger and better things. Anyway we sold great Italian Sandwiches, Paninis, and Salads at lunch time. We were buying the fresh mozzarella from a Pork Store in West Patterson. Joe’s mom Martha would stop there every morning and pick up beautiful fresh cheese just made. Well one day Joe said I have to stop spending $6.99 a pound for this stuff. Joe called a rep from Polly-o Cheese Company and he came to Parsippany one morning and taught us how to make the cheese starting with whole milk curd… The rest is history. I was a natural at it. It looks easy but is very similar to working with dough- you either have it or you don’t. I’m gonna dedicate this page to my Aunt Francis up in Heaven. She always wanted me to teach her how to make it and we ran out of time… Hope your watching Aunt Francis.


Ok first you have to purchase whole milk curd. I don’t know of a place in the Pocono’s (12 years here) that sells it so I took a road trip with my little Lula last week to Corrado’s in Patterson, NJ. Great Market. Best place to buy Cheese. I purchase 5 pounds for $18.00. If I were to purchase by the case its under $2.00 a pound. It retails at $8.99 per pound. I will cut this in half and freeze one half. 2.5 pounds will make 5 small balls. It doesn’t last long in the fridge. You will never taste cheese like this, directly after it comes out of the brine.

whole milk curd 2.5 pounds

salt 15 oz.

cold water 1 gallon

hot water 160 degrees 2 gallons

Ok so fill a pot up with 2 gallons of water (you wont use it all) on medium heat to temperature of 160 degrees. Not boiling. You will need 2 large bowls, whisk, stainless steel long spoon, knife, and cutting board. Cut your Whole Milk Curd into even thin slices. You want it to cook evenly so it must be cut consistently. Example below.

curd sliced

Add it to empty tempered bowl. (we will be adding very hot water not something that will crack)  Now fill your other bowl with 1 gallon of cold water and whisk in all your salt. (I make my Cheese salty, the salt taste fades in the fridge. You can season your cheese as you feel) You do not want salt sitting on the bottom of the bowl so whisk it long and hard. This is your brine, it will shock, set, and season cheese. Add 160 degree water to curd. Let sit for 5 minutes without touching. Make sure all curd is completely covered. Example below.

first part cooking fresh mozzarella

After five minutes empty water out and add 160 degree water one more time. Now its time to make your cheese. Please watch the video below. I hope you give this a try. Enjoy! Jason

Click video link:IMG_0854

Italian Mushroom Salad


Mushroom Salad

This is another great salad to add to your Antipasto Table. You can find other great Antipasto Salads using the search tool on Casaculinarian.com, just type Antipasto.

white mushrooms medium size 32 oz.

Shiitake mushrooms 16 oz.

Portobello mushrooms 6 whole

olive oil 1/2 cup

extra virgin olive oil 3/4 cup

parmesan cheese 1/8 cup

Italian bread crumbs 1/8 cup

fresh sliced garlic 2 tablespoons

shallots 2 whole chopped fine

bell pepper red 1 julienned

bell pepper yellow 1 julienned

fresh parsley 1 bunch chopped

fresh basil chiffonade 2 tablespoons

salt and pepper taste

granulated garlic 1 teaspoon

onion powder 1 teaspoon

oregano 1 teaspoon

white wine 1/2 cup

First we will put white mushrooms whole and Portobello mushrooms (remove stem) on a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper for taste. Roast on 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and take out. When mushrooms cool slice the Portobello into strips. In a large sauté pan on medium heat add olive oil, garlic, shallots, both peppers, and Shiitake mushrooms. (just clip the stem off small ones and julienne large ones with no stem.) Sauté allowing the garlic and shallots to brown lightly. Add your cooked mushrooms. Add seasonings and herbs, save some parsley for garnish.


When all mushrooms are tender, deglaze with white wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off stove and add to a mixing bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes and add extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly and serve warm to room temperature. Garnish with some fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Homemade Italian Bread

Italian Bread

Homemade Italian Bread from your kitchen. Remember I never claimed to be a Baker. I hate to measure ingredients!!! Hate it, but since I’ve started this Blog I have had to break down all my recipes one by one, because I’m used to cooking in High Volume Kitchens. My wife’s ready to try it… My wife is dipping it in Olive Oil with Red Pepper Flakes and keeps saying Yum!

high gluten flour 5 1/2 cups to 6 cups

fast active yeast 5 teaspoons

salt 2 teaspoons

sugar 1 tablespoon

butter 1 tablespoons melted

water 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups warm (varies with humidity)

olive oil 1 tablespoon

For after the bread is cooked:

1 egg white whipped

In a Kitchen Aide add 5 1/2 cups of High Gluten Flour. Add salt, sugar, melted butter, and olive oil. In a small bowl measure yeast and add enough warm water to cover yeast. Stir yeast and let activate, about 5 minutes. Add Yeast to mixture and add 1 cup of warm water. Using the Dough Hook put on slow to medium. While its mixing add the rest of the water. Mix until dough is formed and add more flour if needed. Dough should not be sticky and should come off the walls of the bowl. Example below.

italian bread dough

Knead the dough on a floured surface to make a ball. Add back to the bowl and cover soaked warm paper towel for 1 hour.

covers dough for Italian bread

Dough will double in size. On a floured surface add proofed dough.

proofed italian bread

Proofed Dough.

italian bread proofed on board

Proofed dough on a floured surface.

cut italian bread

Cut directly in half and shape a bit.

italian bread ready for the oven

With a knife make a thin slice down the middle. Brush with Egg White and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. When out of the oven add butter to the slits for added flavor. (optional) Enjoy!

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Seafood Salad

Seafood Antipasto.png

This is another salad I add to my

Antipasto Table.

shrimp 16-20 cooked, deveined, tail on- 1 pound

fresh sea scallops dry 1 pound

frozen IQF little neck clams 1 package (cooked)

frozen IQF mussels 1 package (cooked)

fresh squid- 3/4 of a pound cleaned and cut into tubes. (your preference on tentacles)

celery 4 sticks diced

black olives sliced 1/8 cup

red bell pepper 1 diced

red onion 1/2 diced

sazon seasoning 1/2 pack

salt and pepper taste (more pepper and less salt)

fresh parsley chopped 2 tablespoons

fresh basil sliced (chiffonade) 6-8 leaves

olive oil 1/2 cup

lemon juice 1/4 cup

garlic sliced and sautéed golden to light brown 1 tablespoon

white wine 1 oz.

onion powder 1/2 teaspoon

Lets start by steaming our seafood. Cook scallops and Squid tender do not over cook. Shock with ice water and let cool. The mussels and clams come cleaned and cooked already. These are great products for salads. Just steam them quickly until shells open and cool and set aside. Defrost shrimp if frozen.

The dressing: lets add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small sauté pan and brown the sliced garlic. We want to get a little smoky flavor in this dish. Add to mixing bowl. Add the rest of the olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, spices, and herbs. Whisk together. Now add all your vegetables and seafood and thoroughly coat all seafood. Let this marinate in the fridge for two hours before serving. When ready to serve mix salad thoroughly again and present on a serving platter or bowl. Enjoy!

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Mediterranean Olive Salad

olive salad

Simple Olive Salad to add to your

Antipasto Table:

Mediterranean olive mix 1 quart at your deli section or salad area in gourmet market

sun dried tomatoes sliced (julienne) 1/8 cup

olive oil 1/8 cup

parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons

fresh basil sliced (chiffonade) 8-10 leaves

fresh parsley chopped 2 tablespoons

garlic chopped 1/2 teaspoon

red onion sliced (julienne) 1/2

salt and pepper taste

lemon juice 1 teaspoon

Drain olives leaving an ounce or two of the brine. Add to mixing bowl. Blanch your sun dried tomatoes so they are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Simple, enjoy!

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Eggplant Coponata


This dish is great Vegan treat. Typically I would serve it with Antipasto and have some crostini to spread it on. Enjoy it your way. I do not use pine nuts because my youngest daughter has peanut and tree nut allergies. Our home is nut free.

eggplant 2 large and diced (look at picture above for size)

onion 1 diced

celery 4 sticks chopped

olives black sliced 1/2 cup

Spanish olives whole 1/2 cup

diced tomatoes canned 27 oz.

capers 2 tablespoons (rinse)

salt and pepper taste

red vinegar 1/4 cup

olive oil 4 tablespoons

garlic chopped 1 tablespoon

sugar 2 tablespoons

fresh basil chopped 2 tablespoons

fresh parsley chopped 2 tablespoons

granulated garlic 1/2 teaspoon

onion powder 1 teaspoon

Butter 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan or large sauté pan add olive oil over medium heat. When hot add eggplant, celery, onion, garlic, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Brown off all vegetables. Add butter. Let butter cook down and add red wine vinegar to deglaze. Simmer vinegar down 10 minutes. Stirring the vegetables. Add can of diced tomatoes, olives, and capers. Add sugar. Turn heat to low and simmer 35 minutes. Shut heat off and stir in basil and parsley. Enjoy!

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Arugula Salad with Ricotta Salata


arugula 4-5 heads trimmed and washed

vine ripe tomatoes

(drizzles with olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano and roasted for 20 minutes @ 350)

olive oil 4 tablespoons

salt and pepper to taste

red onion half sliced

ricotta salata 1 small wedge from specialty store

lemon juice 1 table spoon

In a salad bowl add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix. Add cleaned arugula and toss lightly with fingers. Top with sliced red onion, roasted tomatoes, and sliced broken pieces of ricotta salata. Quick and simple. Enjoy!

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