Corbo's Bakery in Little Italy

We get a lot of questions about where to eat in Little Italy. We haven't really gotten around to trying all the restaurants but, er, we can vouch for the quality of the baked goods! We go to Corbo's Bakery two or three times a week. It's on the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill and we buy nearly all our bread there. The crust is always happily between crisp and chewy, the insides are soft, and it's only $1.50 a loaf. These loaves could feed us for a week, though they usually don't last longer than a day in our apartment.

But Corbo's bakery isn't known for their great bread - it's a dolceria. They're famous for cannolis, make lemon Italian ice, and you can buy their cookies by the pound. It's mix and match, and should you be so overwhelmed by their massive selection that you are unable to make a choice, they have prepackaged boxes of assorted cookies. To make it easier on you, of course.

These are photos of a couple favorites - their almond cookie and their amaretti pine nut cookie. But if (hypothetically) I had left my wallet at home, was forced to dip into parking meter quarters and only had change for a single sweet, I would choose the lemon bar. This is a rock star of a cookie and I would have taken a photo for you, but it didn't quite make it to the photo shoot. Maybe next time.

Corbo's Bakery | 12200 Mayfield Road | Cleveland Ohio | 44106

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Shrimp and Grapefruit salad

This is a great salad to prepare for these hot, humid summer days. You only have to heat up one pot to boil the shrimp in (if you really wanted, you could use pre-cooked, although I wouldn't recommend it). The grapefruit really makes this salad something different!

A few notes about the recipe: since there are so few ingredients, and you don't really fuss with them a lot, make sure everything is fresh, fresh, fresh. You'll be able to taste it all, and it'll be painfully apparent when one of your ingredients is a little off. Fresh shrimp cooked at home would be a better choice than frozen, and make sure the avocado is ripe.

The segmenting of the grapefruit takes a little while, but there are two approaches you could take. The first is to peel off the grapefruit skin, and then peel off each individual segment (this is easier if you leave a little rind on the fruit). Alternatively, you could use this method, where a very sharp knife is used to remove the skin and peel of the grapefruit, and then the knife is used to cut the segments out.

Shrimp and Grapefruit Salad

3/4 lb large tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 large grapefruit or 1 large pomelo, peeled and segmented
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small ripe avocado, thinly sliced
4 tbsp Lemon & Fish Sauce
1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
Juice from one lime

When peeling the grapefruit, leave some pith on around the segments so that the skin is more easily removed. Alternatively, you could peel and section the grapefruit with a sharp knife. You will leave a little flesh on the skin, but it's much faster.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the shrimp, and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and drain. Soak the onion slices in lime juice for a few minutes to remove the bite.

Place the grapefruit segments, drained onion, and avocado in a serving dish. Arrange the shrimp on top and drizzle with the sauce. Toss to mix well.

Lemon & Fish Sauce

2 small red chilies, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
3 tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar
1/2 cup water

Mix together ingredients in a bowl (go easy on the fish sauce!). Transfer to a screw-top jar and store in the refrigerator, where this sauce will keep for a week.

Fresh Chinese by Wynnie Chan

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Simple Sugar Snap Peas

Last week at the market, lots of farmers were selling quarts of sugar snap peas and I couldn't resist their shiny pods and cute little crowns. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of losing things in the fridge, so these little guys sat a week in the crisper. I did remember them today, though.

Snap peas are very similar to the snow pea, but they have rounder pods and are much sweeter. They're better for you than regular peas, as they have a lower sugar and fat content. They also benefit from simple preparation, so it's a win-win!

Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Seeds

1 pound sugar snap peas, stringed
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Sesame seeds need to be toasted for their flavor to be released. Even if you bought pre-toasted sesame seeds, it's a good idea to toast them again before you throw them in with the snap peas. It's also important to buy toasted sesame oil, which is more fragrant than untoasted sesame oil. Toasting your own sesame seeds is very easy; heat up a small, dry saucepan on the stove and add your sesame seeds. When the seeds have begun to brown, you can remove them from the heat. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes at a medium-low heat.

To string the snap peas, pinch the crowned end of the bean (the part that attaches to the plant) and gently pull down the length of the bean. You want the tip to snap off, and to remove the fibrous section along the inner curve of the bean (the string).

Steam the snap peas for three minutes, until they are tender-crisp. Transfer to a bowl, and toss with sesame seeds and oil. Salt and pepper to taste (we like to add lots of freshly ground black pepper -- it gives the dish a nice kick).

Bon Appétit, April 2000

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Corn and Zucchini Fritters

Martha Stewart is kind of awesome. She's a smart cookie (let's ignore the whole imclone business), knows what she wants, and makes adorable baby bird cupcakes.

Also wonderful? The recipe compilations that her magazine releases annually. So far, my favorite has been the 2005 Edition; I found this recipe in it last year, and have been waiting for summer to arrive so that I can make it again.

Corn and Zucchini Fritters

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 8 oz)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 or 4 ears)
vegetable oil for frying

peeled and sliced avocado
lime wedges
bacon, cooked until crisp

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, eggs, and milk; add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Add zucchini and corn, stir until well blended.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat until hot.

Drop 2 tbsp of batter into the skillet for each fritter, pressing gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer onto paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper while still hot.

Serve with lime juice, crispy bacon, avocado slices and cilantro on top.

Makes 2 dozen fritters.

Martha Stewart Living, 2005

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Elise's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

We live in a four-story apartment building and the hallways here are unusually good at showcasing the smells of our floormates' dinners. It's a terrible thing to come home, starving, and be accosted by suggestions of pot roast or pie from a neighbor's kitchen. But trust me when I say, these cookies will make you the envy of your apartment building.

The recipe is from Elise at Simply Recipes. It is reprinted below, but you can read the original post here.

Elise's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes about 18 large chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats (We use Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper.

2 Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

3 Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats, raisins and optional walnuts.

4 Working with generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls. Place balls on parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each ball.

5 Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on cooling at least 30 minutes before peeling cookie from parchment.

If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown, but the rest of the cookie should be very light in color. The trick to making the cookies chewy is to make them large. Smaller cookies tend to get more dried out and crisp, and therefore not as chewy.

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One of our favorite restaurants is the Happy Greek in Columbus -- just ask any of our relatives who happened to visit us when we lived in the city. Their avgolemono soup (a lemony broth-based rice soup) is always amazing, as are their gyros. But our most-loved dish was their moussaka. Now that we live in Cleveland, we've been forced to get creative, and find our own recipe!

Moussaka is fairly similar to the Italian lasagna, only with vegetables replacing the lasagna noodles. There are countless variations on this dish, but we picked one that makes the most of a rampant summer vegetable -- zucchini. Moussaka is also usually topped with a creamy bechamel sauce that browns nicely in the oven. In this recipe, a lower-fat version of this sauce is used.

I have to confess that I don't really care for Parmesan cheese. I find the acidic taste it develops when it's aged too much (or has been sitting in the refrigerator too long) a little disgusting. Instead, we like to use Grana Padano cheese, which is prepared very similarly to Parmigiano Reggiano. We buy it at Whole Foods, but have found it at larger grocery stores before.

White Sauce:

2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
dash of ground nutmeg
2 tbsp grated grana padano cheese
1 egg yolk

Whisk flour in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the milk, whisking all the while, until the mixture is smooth. Add the nutmeg. Continue whisking the mixture until it thickens and comes to a boil (this will take about ten minutes). Take the pot off the heat, and add the nutmeg, cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside.


olive oil
1 large eggplant, trimmed, peeled and sliced lengthwise (1/2" thick)
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 large russet or red potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds

1 tsp olive oil
1 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 3/4 lb ground beef or lamb
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup plain dry white breadcrumbs
1 egg white
dash ground cinnamon
White Sauce
grated Grana Padano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or two small ones with parchment paper, brush with olive oil. Lay out eggplant, potato and zucchini slices on the baking sheets, allowing them to overlap slightly. Brush vegetables generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and brown, breaking up the beef with the back of a wooden spoon. When the meat is completely brown, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Add half the breadcrumbs, the cinnamon, and the egg white.

In a glass 8" x 8" x 2" dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs over the base of the pan. Arrange the potato slices in a layer over the bottom of the pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the tomato sauce over the potatoes. Arrange the eggplant in a layer on top of the tomato sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the eggplant. Finish off with a layer of zucchini. Pour the white sauce over the whole dish, and sprinkle with cheese.

Put the moussaka in the oven and bake for about half an hour, until the top is nicely browned. Let sit for 15 minutes after leaving the oven, then slice and serve.

Serves 3 or 4.

Bon Appétit, February 1998

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