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Porchetta’s Sara Jenkins Debuts Rustic-Italian Cooking App

Pork-2Credit: Douglas Singleton Porchetta

For the last year, when chef-owner of Porchetta, Porsena and Extra Bar Sara Jenkins wasn’t in the kitchen creating swine-centric plates and cozy pasta dishes for her East Village storefronts, she was working on a cooking app for iPad users.

“I want to encourage and enable people to pick up a zucchini or an eggplant at the farmer’s market on their way home from work and cook it,” said Ms. Jenkins, who launched the New Italian Pantry app this week.

As for encouraging home cooking, she’s not worried it will diminish her business. We’re not worried either — the roasted pork, slow cooked with spices, garlic, rosemary and wild fennel, still seems to run out regularly at Porchetta’s tiny Seventh Street storefront.

“I believe in home cooking. I don’t think I’m in any danger of going out of business if I encourage home cooking,” Ms. Jenkins said, laughing.

Ms. Jenkins partnered with Lazy Susan Media, a company created by Tasting Table’s founding editor Nick Fauchald and app-development company Mizaplas, to create the clever app advising home cooks which pastas and peppers to keep in the cabinet.

As the Italian chef sees it, it’s a “whole-new world” for cookbooks and recipe sharing. The app gave her the opportunity to show home cooks how to prepare delicious food step by step.

“There were some things we thought in particular would be really, really helpful like the shots of what does brown garlic look like and what does it look like when this happens,” Jenkins said.

recipeCredit: Lazy Susan Media Home-Style Porchetta recipe in app

The photo-heavy app is a guide to traditional Italian cooking. The experience entails filling your pantry with 16 staple ingredients — including dried pasta, extra virgin oil, wine vinegar, garlic, onions, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and salt-dried capers. All home cooks have to do is pick up some fresh produce, meat or fish when it comes time to prepare a meal.

There are 75 recipes available, a few of which will be recognizable to regulars to Jenkins’ sandwich and pasta shops. On the app, there’s a recipe for a “home-version” of porchetta, boned pork shoulder slathered with white wine and rubbed with herbs. On the tablet app, there are also recipes for Jenkins’ pastas and sauces.

Sara Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry app is $3.99 on iTunes.

Porsena’s Extra Bar Opens Tomorrow; Pylos and Porchetta.Hog Temporarily Closed

IMG_0164Stephen Rex Brown Porsena’s bar back in July.

Porsena’s next-door bar will open tomorrow for lunch and dinner. The Local spotted chef-owner Sara Jenkins prepping Extra Bar this evening, and a Tumblr page lists the small plates (e.g. lemon potatoes with caviar and Surryano ham with spicy greens) that will comprise the “fleeting and changing menu, reflecting inspirations from the Mediterranean, random travels by Sara, and found ingredients.” Ms. Jenkins said the narrow space, which is made up mostly of a bar and boasts a map of Rome on one wall, won’t be ready for photos until Friday; in the meantime the chef has been posting images of dishes such as yellowfin tuna puttanesca, gulf shrimp and black spaghetti, and a salad of yellow zucchini, tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette, pecorino Romano, herbs. See Porsena’s Twitter feed for more.

When we last updated you on Porsena’s annex in July, Ms. Jenkins had a few words for Porchetta.Hog, the relative newcomer that she said was “so pathetically copying” her other joint on Seventh Street, Porchetta. Well, guess what? A sign on the door of that fine establishment indicates, without explanation, that the place is “temporarily closed.” A call to the restaurant went unanswered.

Further down Seventh Street, Greek favorite Pylos is also temporarily closed – “for renovation,” according to a sign on the door. Work was being done at the restaurant this evening and an outgoing phone message indicated it would reopen Sept. 8.

Update | 11:00 p.m. Porsena has sent over its lunch and dinner menus, below.

Opening Lunch Menu

Opening Evening Menu