Osso bucco ranks in top five

Once-scoffed-at peasant dish now has ‘very elegant reputation’

Chef Geoff M. Puccia holds a pot while posing in the kitchen at the Watertown Italian-American Club.

By Geoff Puccia
Club chef for the Italian American Civic Association

Everyone has a top-five list comprised of the best meals that they have ever eaten. This list changes over the course of one’s life, but like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron sitting comfortably in the top five of all-time home run leaders, there will always be one or two dishes that will endure the test of time on your list.

I have had osso bucco on many occasions both locally and during my travels, each having its own unique twist to the classic preparation, but it wasn’t until I encountered this dish in its native region that it had an enduring effect on me.

[Read more…]

Simple, elegant crab cakes

Jump lump cakes with shaved fennel slaw an all-occasion treat

Brian and Jenny Walker at their restaurant, the 1844 House, Potsdam. Photo by Jason Hunter.

By Brian and Jenny Walker
Chef / proprietors 1844 House, Potsdam

Everyone can appreciate a great crab cake. I am sure we have all had our fair share of good, bad and the ugly when it comes to sampling the many different versions that are available. From region to region the differences are vast. This dish dates back to America’s colonial days and is thought to have been introduced by English settlers.

To create a wonderful crab cake, you must start with the freshest and best quality ingredients. It is absolutely vital to get the main ingredient right. The quality of the crab meat will either make or break this dish. So, know your grades. Commercial crabmeat is generally separated into four grades. Jumbo lump, back fin or lump, special and claw. Jumbo lump crab meat is what you are looking for in this dish and can be found in most higher end supermarkets. [Read more…]

An Italian Christmas tradition

Panettone a treat for the holidays that will stir the senses, delight the taste buds

Brenda Cavallario is executive chef and owner of Cavallario's Cucina in Watertown.

Brenda Cavallario
Executive chef and owner, Cavallario’s Cucina

We all share the familiarity of different types of sweet yeast-leavened breads. Some are filled with dried fruits, such as the hot cross bun, served during the Easter season, and we are all too well aware of the sweet indulgence of yeast bread that is filled with the aromatic spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a delightful sugar glaze, better known as the classic cinnamon bun.

For the people of Italy, the Christmas bread known as the Panettone is a familiarity they share. This bread, which is also referred to as a cake, contains candied orange, citron, lemon zest and raisins and has a fluffy texture.

[Read more…]