Wednesday, December 16, 2009

perfeckt cold weather dish

Short ribs stroganoff, winter root vegetables, poppy seed ricotta gnocchi, and mustard creme fraiche.
When I was growing up every week mom would make..salsbury steak, hot borsht and beef stroganoff ...sometimes goulash..perfect dishes to feed family all week long and easy to re-heat. A home all my braising I do in a pressure takes only and hour and 20 min or so.....preassure cooker is an amazing tool that every household should have.
At restaurant to make short ribs is 3 day process. We cut the meat , we salt and rub with goulash spices ( paprika, marjoram and caraway ) for 24 hours, then we braise in 160 degree oven for another 24 hours, then we chill and de fat...and then is only ready for service. We serve with local ricotta gnocchi, which we make with poppy seeds and winter root vegetables.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ketchup confusion

At Americano we make our own ketchup. Why ?? Well...people say its me it is not ! When we opened , I figured ..I just do not want Heins ketchup on a tables .. I know , that classic ketchup has no substitutes ...Ive seen people making it from peach and mango ketchups to ketchups where calls for tomato concase, requires peeling dicing tomatoes..even worked at a restaurant where Chef was doing that, end results, some goopie mess ...where last thing you want to do is to dip your fries in. So I knew, that last thing I need to make " fancy ketchup ". So one day, I bought bottle of Heinz ketchup, read back of the label just to see what ingredients are in it. I needed consistence, and you can not get that with fresh tomatoes, only fresh tomatoes I use through the whole year is cherry or grape new that fresh tomatoes its not an option to me. I have three favorite brands of caned tomatoes which I use all year around with good results. 6 in 1 from California, crushed tomatoes alway gives me the best pasta sauce I aso use that to make my house steak bourbon steak sauce. San Marzano to make my pizza, I like the ones labeled D.O.P. ( quality controlled by italian government ) and tomato paste to make my ketchup, I like Stanislaus brand.
I was reading some where , that secret ingredient in Heinz ketchup is clove oil, my goal was to re create close version to original, just little more tangy, less salty and fresher tasting...after many experiments I succeed , once in while I still find on emty burger plate ketchup packets...but I must say , that my ketchup at Americano, right now has more fans, than Heinz. Some body even bought gallon of it...when Bratenahl employees ask us to make lunch , they specialy ask for my ketchup...and yeas I do put cloves and all spice in mine...I also tried with curry or chineese 5 spice.
The other day...I open my mind and bought Heinz stuff for those unhappy whiners, just to make them happy, that gave me an opurtunity taste taste mine brand vs Heins...people who taste it .." Face to Face ketchup" ...selected clear winner...Ameiraco brand...little fresher, less salty and higher in spices content....but next time , when you come to Americano, if you prefer Big brand vs mine.....just ask ...
love to cook and cook a lot through the busy Holliday season..familly, friends and Americano costumers .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Lets talk turkey...since I'm cooking thanksgiving this year at my house for my family ...I figure
I've got to share some tips . Like with most of cooking its not about recipe ...its about know and some luck...well ...right timing. People ask me for recipes all the time...but I can give same recipe to 10 people ...and the output will be different ...ten ways ! So I'm just going to share some of my T G plans.... 1rst.. Shopping for fresh...and if you do have a frozen one had to start defrosting process in refrigerator last night...not a counter ...never ever...and whatever you do choose to get free range bird or better organic ( yeas its worth it ) about 12-14 pounds a lucky number....whatever you do stay away from those 25 -30 pound beasts...
Brine it. Yes, brining is a key... It takes a many years of experience to learn how much salt and pepper to use on a food ...if you don't use enough ...will be bland...too much..salty...bad...thats way in my cooking I use many different kinds of salts....from deferent regions from all over the world. I was playing with brines for many years....and best formula for me is and always simple...1 cup of kosher salt and 1 cup of reg granulated sugar per gallon of water...some times I see these chefs on tv or restaurants putting all kinds of things in they brines..and some times I wonder that , cost of what you put in a brine is bigger that the product which is going to be submerged in a brine. Since I own the restaurant and food cost
is important to me , I just stick with salt water, sugar...some times I put some chile or bay leafe..But I really, do think that anything else is just a waist of money and product...and I ve tried in a past sauce..even coffee and tea..what brining does is seasons it your meat properly and prevents from drying out..and thats what you thing you have to remember about kosher salt that ..Diamond Crystal Salt is less harsh then Mortons. I use both , but most chefs likes it D C better. And you have to stick with this formula and cant use less or more this and that...Salt have to do is magic and for a turkey it takes about 12 hours in a refrigerator. I normally like to brine pork roast , chicken breasts, chickens....even sea foods fish or makes produckt moist....and most important seasons it properly and even. Sometime to find a vessel this big and submerge 12-14 pound bird could be problematic you have to find some space in a refrigerator too.. as alternative can salt and pepper turkey a cavity and under the skin as even as possible.In this case you can aply dufferents kinds of flavorings such a fresh herbs like sage, thyme, rosemery , garlic..just remember has to go under the skin..on top it will burn. After turkey come out out the brine, give it quick rinse all over it and dry it with paper towels.. If you have a roasting pan with a rack is fine...but I like to create my own "Rack " a culinary world is called "Miripoix" ..onions , carrots and celery ( cut up roughly..) thats my roasting rack...some garlic and some fresh herbs with couple bay leaves can go in there ... now the most important part...look at your turkey if it has open spot in braest part with no have to cover that with bacon or some access turkey skin...just cut some loose peace.. Now take some soften butter and put some under the skin and ...LUBRICATE YOUR TURKEY WITH FAT...yes...melted butter, olive oil , veg oil ..does not matter ... important that turkey would be well coat it with fat ...or if not it will not cook as quickly and brown properly... also toss some olive in you vegetable rack as well.. or and I never ever stuff turkey with stuffing...only one thing which I like to put inside of the cavity is ether lemon or orange pierced with steams inside and make it cook faster...why not to stuff it...well because i don't want dry out meat..Turkey meat and breast particularly has to reach 165 DEGREES internal temperature..since cooking process draws the juices in that case in to a stuffing ..outside will be done before your stuffing why me ...just make your stuffing a a side ina different pan ...or gratin dish..or like you people in this country like to call TURKEY AND DRESSING. I like to start roast my turkey breast side down for an hour or a 325-350 degree oven..than turn it ..and rotate that couple time for a even cooking...whatever do do not baste....and do not open too much oven door to peak just do not want to realease all that steam from the oven...of you will notice that outside of turkey start to get dark too fast torts the end of the cooking ...cover breast with peace of foil. Remember the magic number is 165 in breast part and about 170-175 in thigh part..You all have good digital thermometer right ? If you dont ...better go get right one of the most important tool in you kichen...or and pul out ..that build in turkey thermometer...and throw out all these old ones ..the ones came with your grill or roasting pan 10 years ago..where is no number just sais...poultry...pork...beef...GO DIGITAL ! And after is done let it rest for at least 30 minutes with parchment paper or aluminum foil on. During that time I make gravy and reheat all the sides in a oven. For a gravy use all the juices with a vegetables ..yeas that a reason why they are there...just add some white wine or vermouth..some chick stock ...mix it ..strain in a sauce pan fat it as much as you can... add some fresh herbs...sage ...thyme...dash of vinegar... adjust salt and pepper...and thicken with a slurry mix ( just simple mix Starch and I like arrow root for this , but corn starch or potato starch would work too) with some wine or water and add to a gravy until desired consistency reaches .
Cranberries..I use fresh and boil with some red wine and sugar..simple is that..becauce i just look for a clean fruity cranberry flavor..sometimes i toss little dried cranberries for a extra flavor and consistency..
Green bean casserole, mushroom soup in my house ...simply roasted mushrooms ...tossed with blanched french green beans...and topped with caramelized onions.
Sweet potatoes...never marshmallows or brown sugar...peel..cut in peaces...melt butter...add maple syrup...juice of one orange and zest...nutmeg, cinnamon...toss it to goat ...gratin dish...cook until tender and candied ...mix it couple times for a even baking and browning...Im also going to do pork roast with cranberries and apples...pork shoulder...brine it...the day before slow roasted in a 250 degree oven for about 6 hours with cranberries , apples and it...slice it...reheat the next day...apps...cheese plate...olives...fruit...nuts...dessert...chocolate-pumkin cheesecake or choc pumkin cupcakes for kids with ginger frosting..and ..I'm hungry already...HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE
Love to cook !

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall beauties are here

Childhood memories.....Every late summer -fall Lithuanian family tradition use to be go mushrooming. Go Mushroom picking was a family trip about 80 miles away from my city where I was living, to a forest , where mother nature was growing under thepine and oak trees " fall beauties " - mushrooms.... chanterels , cepes ( porciny ) and many others ...I don't even know all there names in English. Smell of the fall forest is still got left in me until now days , best way to capture that spirit is to cook something what my mother was making every time after the trip. Basicly every Lithuanian familly use to cook mushroom only few simple ways...clean it...then boil it in salted water...then saute galric, onions and home made bacon...and finish it with creme fraiche and serve with fresh boiled potatoes from the of the mushrooms use to be preserved for the winter...some of them got salted in a clay pots...and some pickled in a jars..cepes were usualy dried in a low oven a chef right now... I have tried many fancy variations .... enriched with truffle oil etc..warm salads with medeira dressing...bla bla bla...but until now best recipe is still with bacon ...potatoes, onions and creme fraiche Why ?? because thats whats is in my mind and memory !!!
Thats why overcooked mamas turkey on a Thanksgiving with **** brand cranberry mold is the best tasting meal of the year for you...because thats what mama use to do for years ..... and that smell and taste will stay in you till the rest of your life ! So right now we have mission give theese good memories for our kids...please do not make them remember ...chef Boyerdee or Rammen noodles.. or progresso soups.... personally... I never had those and I hope never will... and I hope my kids too...
Love to cook ! And you should too ! Because thats part of the life !

Friday, October 2, 2009

ICASI scholarship fund

I was helping Loretta Paganini last night at ICASI ( international cullinary arts and science institute) with nice big well planed event for a culinary students , to raise scholarship fund . What a event, Cleveland should be proud that we have place like this for people with passion for culinary arts . Everyone should check it out if you considering building your carrier in this field.
This even brought me back memories from culinary school. Truth is I love to cook and being surrounded with culinary professionals also passionable about food just like I'm . Bravo Loretta. We are all love you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


We are carefully selecting our wines for Americano wine lists. As I mature, I learn more and more new things about a wine and food paring. And I'm proudly can say , that my pallet for wine gets more and more mature..I feel it -))....even the rule of thumb is ...You should drink what you like and can afford . Wine, like food....taste ... opinions ... Sometimes I'm exited to taste high profile wines and see what are they like..sometimes I like them a lot...Sometimes just ok...Sometimes... Are you kidding ...! Why this bottle is 80$...just because they made only #### cases last year..Why would I care How many cases they made... Just because I would fit in that group who taste it ?? I do not care how many cases they made...I care abou the TASTE ! and PRICE ! Anyways...last night we taste it some really nice Italian wines...they were delicious ...special Amarone ! Of course! Remember ..drink what you like...taste...and have your own opinion..try develop your pallet....all these revews and "experts" in's just ......OPINION !

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Duck Duck Duck

I must say , I don't go out to eat to often right know as a use to. But 90% of the time if I do, my choice of meat always is is ether duck or lamb. I don't think I ever ordered chicken or steak... unless there is something very special wit that chicken or steak Americano we don't sell that much duck, but every person who gets it really likes it... Few people said that this Duck dish is even better that Lolas version ...and other guy said or no better that at Emerils too.. .and he was not kidding. Well , thats all I can say, his is duck dish, which I certainly would enjoy at any restaurant if I would go out to eat and ordered it. Long Island Duck braest , orange- five spice scented crepe, sweet parsnips, sour cherry compote and confit croquette . A lot going on, but everything blends well together. Flavors ...ypu can't go wrong with Duck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pizza for brakfast

I must say...and you will not believe..PIZZA is one the top 3 most difficult foods to with any other classic simple foods. Technique, ingridiance and know how matters . That explants, why there are so many bad Pizzas out there many ! I'm so scared to see one the Emails on my Iphone..PAPAJOHNSSERVICE@blablabla ....that means I have one of those coming to my house. My wife is "making dinner ".......
Pizza is about simplicity,'s not about saparated greese from cheese and sausage and fluffy crust enriched with shortening and bromate bleached flour. I have been tryng to perfeckt my pizza since I was 16 years old ..was trying to impress my girlfriend by putting ketchup, dutch cheese and sliced hot dogs..:-) Acktualy back then I new that I like to cook and after talking to my friend who was in a cullinary school and gave me pizza crust recipe, I new that I can do better then that in a future ! wow ! Things got changed since...and I'm still trying to perfect my pizza 20 years later . This morning I made couple of pies for my wife and kids...and even tested couple of peaces for breakfast ...just to make sure things are made right. What can I say...! Yamm! Nam !
Love to cook !

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My new favorite waleye dish

Lake Erie Walleye with Ohio Summer Vegetable Succotash ! Oh...fresh lima beans too !

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

some food pix from americano

Australian Lamb Chops with port fig glaze, chick pea fries, Spanish kethup,Orange- Habanero Aioli, baby Fennel. Americano Pork n wine plum glaze...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall is coming pandowdy

September 1st will always reminds me first day of school.....and of course all fall goods...from apples and pears squash and potatoes..etc. I was in a mood for something fall" " Lazy apple Pie "..there crisps...cobblers..pies and there is Pandowdy. I call it lazy pie...because is so easy, you start everything in a pan and just put pie dough sheet and finish it in a oven for 20 minutes.


Once you taste the real know it that, thats how real fresh wasabi should taste...formany years you are been eating ...bad...bad...from wasabi peas bad...bad bad wasabi mashed potatoes..sushi....made from colored powder...from now on..thats the one and the only of wasabi form... for me... fresh or even frozen. Do you know that you can even buy a plants and grow it at home...???

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kobe with fresh wasabi root Butter!

Look at that marbling. This was one the best steaks I ever tasted ..very very good ! Somebody at the restaurant ordered this steak rare... ( Why people eat rare...they think they cool ?? or healthy ?? or like the texture ) was that is too chewy and fatty :)))) Lady...Pleeeaaas...beuty about this type of meat is marbling in a inside...which you have to melted to make it juicy, tender succulent and delicious . Medium to med rare is an answer. ive seen people serving carpachio of kobe..mmmmm... dumb idea...YOU HAVE TO MELT THAT FAT INSIDE .. by the way waguy breed is way helthiear than any other, because of the combination of omega 3 and 6..yes my friends omega 3 in steak ! Yam ! Americano Wagyu Kobe strip with fresh Wasabi root butter.. This is the best seller at the moment at Americano and lots of people gave compliments that that was the best peace of meat that they ever taste it !
Love to COOK !

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I was never a big fan of meaty ...steak like lean fish ...but this dish is preatty Americano we call it " Spanish Swordfish "..Temparnillo Pearl couscous...snap tomatoes and Romesco ! Some peaple siad it's " little dry " ..hey it's swordfish for good as it gets...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mozzarella Stretching

We pull our own mozzarella at Americano for our signature tomato peach and mozz salad. ! Also this hand stretched mozzarella is very good on pizza , because it would not leak any water during baking process !

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuna noodle casserole

Within past 8 years in my cooking I have seen multiple variations of this dish..... seared tuna and chilled noodles...the best one hands down was at New york city chefs Dante Boccuzzis variation at Auriole Restaurant in 2002, when I was doing my culinary internship . Since then I was tryung to come up with my own version of " Tuna Noodle Cassarole" One of the Popular Version at Americano is ...Seared tuna with " Black Spice " , Sesame Peanut Noodle, soy - lime glaze, summer slaw and Fresh Wasabi. Yes , My friends ..fresh wasabi wasabi root...not a colored horseradish with mustard, typical cheap powder from a plastic bag. More on that later on this week. becose i'm making fresh wsabi butter for my kobe steak special this week.
Love to Cook

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


 I have to admit....Burger and pizza is my favorite food.....but stop......not every burger and pizza is the have to agree on that one...there is something what can be true enjoyment...or true disaster ... this video realy inspared me to have one of those last night... I used brisket which I freshly ground my self ....I even added some whole grain mustard... which normally I don't do...and stuffted with cabralles blue cheese of my favorite..
This little video by Hubart Keller Inspired me to do that...after you see this video you will know what I mean...I even ordered Hubbart Kellers Burger Bar book from Amazon for more Burger adventure...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Simply market fresh !

Sometimes you don't need any recipes. Market the answer. One of the Vacations dinners. Market fresh vegetables, waguy strip w/ lime garlic butter, lemon olive  oil smashed potatoes and simply dressed greens.

Friday, July 24, 2009

vacation in South Haven

Familly vacation in south haven, was not only beach ...water and relaxation...we went to pick some of the best michigan cherries...which turned out into a best cherry onion and chery compote for steak ...even cherry vodka son is just like me ...loooooves cherrys...even sour ones..and also just like me ...hates peanut butter..!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

is that time of the year again..

My favorite...


Well, I have been sharing my Iphone story a lot latly...I'm adickted to that thing....Lesson is lerned if you ever had an I phone, you can not go back to any other phone...on my trip fishing in a lake Erie....i droped My Iphone( my wifes christmas present ) ....yes I did droped it in a bottom of lake some  Walleye or Perch... ...I have tried go back to some other phone ( it's just a phone right ..??? with no luck...I neded My i Phone bac!...and finnaly I'm happy man again....taking picktures...texting..e-mailing...browsing internet...and listening my I pod in a car again...thanks to a I phone 3GS....I'm addicted my Iphone ...everyone should have one of those...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First year and staff

Well, it has been a year for us like Americano first opened the door to a public. Happy anniversary to us...:-) 
I was thinking the other day....that I was blessed to have a good staff at a restaurants....I have been in a few kitchens in past, and must say we are lucky to have all those guys at americano working hard and trying to make better dining experience to all our gusts. Thank you ! There are some good ...ok...excellent ...and bad's's work we spend so much time...we see each other more than our family members and it means a lot when you work with good people who cares what they do. I has been a good first year and i hope for better in a future...