12 days until we launch Italian by Night on King St.

by Michelle

In twelve days, we will serve Italian food at the Urban Deli.

Valentine’s Day – the annual highly anticipated evening of love and, if you are a foodie, of delicious food. Restauranteur and my boss, Liz Rowe, chose to introduce her Urban Deli as ‘deli by day – Italian by night’ on the most romantic night of the ‘hallmark’ year. It would not have mattered what day was chosen to launch. The same amount of thought, effort, decision-making and stressing would have happened. Valentine’s Day just amps it up.

I put the final touches on our menu one hour ago. Valentine’s Day and February’s menus are done. A year of writing, teaching, testing and rewriting recipes and here we are – twelve days away. I am pumped but nervous, at the same time.

After an intense week at the restaurant, I wanted a treat last night. Ralph and I cooked together. He made a braised zucchini salad. I made potato gnocchi in a creamy tomato and pancetta sauce.


serves 4 [however we ate all of it]

6 small zucchini, trimmed and sliced as thinly as possible

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons best quality white wine vinegar

dried red chili flakes, to taste

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet, over medium high heat.

When oil is hot add all the zucchini and cover with lid.

Shake the skillet from time to time, ensuring that the zucchini is not sticking.

Allow the zucchini to braise for 5 minutes then remove cover and toss the zucchini so that you bring the browned veg to the top and allow the raw zucchini to drop to the bottom of the skillet.

Place cover back on skillet and allow to continue braising until the zucchini is soft but not mushy.

Remove from heat and season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and dried chillies, to taste. Sprinkle with wine vinegar and toss gently.

Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Thanks for reading