Monday, November 30, 2009


WOW! What a a great weekend.  What a wonderful Thanksgiving.  God is good!  It was so great having so many of the family here for a few days.  Now on to the next Holiday.  Cookies, cookies, cookies.  But before we get into that today I want to give you a recipe from my sister.  It was one of my Mother's favorites.  I don't know the origin, I just know it is amazing.  Here then in direct quote from Linda:

I have tried many recipes for this dish because it was something Mom craved.  We used to order the veal shanks from the butcher and as soon as they came in I could make this dish.  We would love it, eat it and start dreaming of the next time I would make it again.  It is a winner in our book.

4 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup flour
4 veal shanks
2 cup chopped onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 tbls chopped fresh thyme
1 tbls chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 quart beef stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lb orzo
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan for serving.

Dredge: 1/4 tsp each of paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Heat a large heavy pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and heat until very hot.  In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and the dredging spices.  Dredge the shanks in the seasoned flour mixture.  Shake to remove any excess flour, then transfer shanks to the pot and saute until well browned on all sides.  Remove the shanks and set aside.  Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot and saute until softened and lightly browned around the edges.  Add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper.  Cook all for one minute.  Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned particles.  Add the stock and return the shanks to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Cook until the shanks are very tender for about 2 and one half hours.

Remove from the oven and add the parsley and orzo to the pot and stir to distribute evenly.  Replace the cover and return the pot to the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove the pot from the oven and stir gently.  Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Serve immediately.  One shank per person on top of a bed of orzo.  Garnish with some of the cheese.

Oh boy, let's eat!  Mangia!

Ciao for now

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


To all of my followers.  I am cooking, cooking, cooking for Thanksgiving.  I will return on Monday, next.

HAVE A MOST WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING wherever you may be going.  Be safe.



Counting down to two more days until Thanksgiving.  Today I am making my fresh cranberry sauce.  It is best made a day or two ahead.  Picking up the Turkey and Turkey breast.  Getting the wine and other drinks.  Shopping done.  Then 3 days of eating.  Here is a recipe you could make a day or so after Thanksgiving when everyone is just plain old tired of Turkey.  We always had a lot of Polenta.  It is an Italian staple.  Especially in Northern Italy.  I told you about our garden of plenty in some of my first posts. One of the things that we had that were abundant were peppers.  All kinds of peppers.  My grandmother used to get the big green ones and stuff them with Polenta.  She picked them when they were green, green with red and red.  She cut them in half, stuffed them with Polenta, covered them with tomatoes and cheese and baked them.  They were wonderful.  This is how I make them today.  I don't cut them in half, I like to leave them whole.


1 cup polenta, (get the instant kind it is easier)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan
3 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper
4 red or yellow peppers (they are sweeter than the green) or 2 of each for color
5 pr 6 Roma Tomatoes cut into quarters
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh Basil
olive oil

Cook the Polenta according to directions, when the Polenta thickens, add the butter and Romano cheese.  Slowly add the cream.  You want the Polenta thick but so you can still pour it.  Cut the tops off of the Peppers and remove the seeds, fill them with the Polenta.  Put them in a casserole dish.  Cut the tomatoes into 1/4 's and put into a bowl.  Finely chop the garlic and chiffonade the Basil.  Mix the tomatoes with the garlic, basil, salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Pour around the sides of the peppers.
Bake for 25 minutes  (or until the peppers are tender) in a 375 degree oven.
Serve hot .  You can cut the peppers in half and spoon the tomato mixture over them.  Or leave them whole and spoon over the top.  Delicious.

Tomorrow will be the last post until Monday after the Holiday.

Thanks for stopping in

Monday, November 23, 2009


Only 3 more days until Thanksgiving.  I am doing all my grocery shopping today.  Pick up my fresh Turkey from Henry's tomorrow.  I love turkey day.  Plus I get to have most of my family here for a couple of days.  That is the best part.  Today I have a recipe that comes from my sister Linda (I only have one sister and no brothers).  She makes it all the time and it was one of my Dad's favorites.  As I said before in earlier blogs, both of my parents were great cooks.  If you like things spicy you will love this one.  The good thing is you can put as much or as little of the red pepper as you like.  So you can serve it to the whole family.  I know you all will love this recipe.


3 chicken legs and 3 thighs
1 can of S&W or any good Italian stewed tomatoes
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can chicken stock
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 yellow onions finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp dried chili peppers
salt and pepper
olive oil and butter

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet until hot.  Brown the chicken on all sides, remove from pan and add the onions.  Cook until translucent, add the garlic, saute.  Season with salt and pepper as you go.  When the onions are done, add the chicken back into the pan.  Let the mixture simmer.  While it is on simmer, puree the stewed tomatoes to a sauce.  Add the stewed tomato puree and the can of diced tomatoes.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the hot pepper to taste (you can add Chinese hot garlic sauce instead of the hot pepper).

Serve with a crisp green salad and hot crusty bread because you will want to dip into the sauce. If you don't like things really hot and spicy, cut down on the chili peppers.  It will still be a wonderful dish.

Thanks for stopping in.
Ciao for now

Friday, November 20, 2009


AHHHH Friday.  I love that day!  Today I will be going to Los Angeles to take Kate and some friends to see NEW MOON.  We can hardly wait.  We have all read all four books and really look forward to the films.
My Sister Linda asked me to put this recipe up for her today and on Monday I have one of her specialties that I will be sharing with you.  I don't have this written down anywhere.  I just have been making them for years.  I got this recipe from my friend Ramona when I lived in Rochester, New York.  She gave me the recipe and the forms to make them. I was just in my early 20's at the time, with such a passion for cooking that I soaked up every recipe I could, like the proverbial sponge.  I have been making them ever since.  You can fill them with custard, which some of the family likes or the standard Ricotta filling which is awesome.  Last Wednesday, as I may have mentioned before, I made 40 of them to take to my class for the Teachers Birthday.  They were so good.  So here is the recipe.  Quite simple.

1 15 oz container of Ricotta (not the skim milk )
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tabls powdered sugar
1 tbls orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
12 Cannoli Shells

Put the Ricotta in a strainer and let the water drain for about 1/2 hour.  Place in a mixer and beat on medium for about 6 to 8 minutes.  In another bowl whip the cream till very thick, add the powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla and blend.  Gently fold this mixture into the Ricotta.
You can buy plastic, disposable pastry bags at the market.  Or use a large zip loc bag.  Cut the tip, then fill the bag with the Ricotta mixture.  Fill the Cannoli first on one side then on the other. Fill them just before serving.  They will last after being fill for no more than an hour in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle with Powdered sugar.  For variation, you can dip the ends of the Cannoli in chocolate and then into ground nuts, or dip the ends after filling into mini chocolate chips.

I have not put the recipe for the Cannoli shells, because unless you have the forms you cannot make them.  You can purchase them ready made at your local Italian store.  If anyone has the forms and would like the recipe, just let me know and I will post it for you.

Have a Great Weekend
Ciao for now

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Good Morning everyone.  Since it is almost Thanksgiving I want to share with you one of my very favorite recipes for that day.  After we moved from living with my Grandparents, we moved into a flat.  My Mom's Sister and her husband lived upstairs and we lived down.  Aunt Grayce always did Thanksgiving and my Mom and Dad had Christmas, because Daddy made the home made Ravioli, (which I make even today). One of the best side dishes of the day is the Cranberry Relish.  I still make it.  The great thing about it is that you can make it on Sunday before turkey day and it will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. You need a grinder, hand or electric.  It is so simple.  What I like the best is it is great on leftover turkey sandwiches.  I guarantee that if you try it, it will always be on your table.


2 bags Ocean Spray Cranberries
2 whole Oranges
2 whole Apples
2 cups chopped Walnuts
Sugar to taste

Cut the Apples and Oranges into quarters.  Grind the Cranberries, Apples and Oranges (skins on).  Add the walnuts and sugar to taste.  That's it!

Everyone in my family loves this.  You can just sit and eat it and eat it.  And like I said it is amazing on your Turkey sandwiches.   The longer it sets the better.  Make it at least a day ahead so the sugar can meld with the fruit.  It is truly wonderful!  I hope you will try it this year.  If you have a small group you can use 1 bag, 1 apple and 1 orange and 1 cup of chopped walnuts.  You just need to have a grinder.  Most Stand Mixers have an attachment for this.

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now

Cut the Oranges and

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Good morning everyone.  I have talked about my childhood and how we lived the first 6 or 7 years with my Grandparents.  Also that we ate things that were raised in the garden, chickens that they raised etc.  My Grandparents also made their own sausage, some hot and some sweet.  I can remember that it was the best sausage I have ever tasted.  Even as I got older my parents made most of the sausage that we ate.  If they didn't make it, someone else in the family did.  Either my Grandparents or one of my many uncles.  So we always had a variety of dishes made with sausage.  One of the favorites was made with fresh green beans out of the garden.  If we didn't have those they used Great Northern White beans, or even Red Kidney beans, to make this dish.  So here is the recipe.  Comfort food at it's best and tasty as well.


1 lb of sweet or hot Italian Sausage or a combo of both
2 tbls of olive oil
1/2 can (small) Contadina Tomato Paste
salt and pepper, a pinch of each
4 to 5 cups of Fresh Green beans cut in half
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup bean juice or water

Put the sausage in a skillet with enough water to cover.  Cook until the water evaporates and then cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are nice and brown all over.  Take them out and put them on a plate and cover with a piece of foil wrap to keep warm.  Add 2 to 3 tbls of olive oil to the pan, the tomato paste, and the salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the beans and liquid, and cook for 6 minutes or so.  Add the sausages and cook on low for about 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
Let the sauce thicken a little as it cooks.  Serve hot with plenty of hot crispy bread for dipping.

Although as I mentioned, you can use other beans, and most people use White or Kidney, we always liked it best with Green String Beans since that is what we had the most of fresh out of the garden.

Try it soon.  It is really delicious!

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Hi everyone.  Today I have another family recipe for you.  I'm sure that at one time or another you have all had Stuffed Shells.  Well this recipe is how my Grandmother and my Mother used to make them and how my Sister Linda and I make them today.  One way is the traditional way stuffed with Ricotta filling.  The other is stuffed with a meat filling.  I have turned it into an interesting dish by combining the two.  Filling half the shells with the cheese mixture and half with the meat mixture.  That way everyone gets a little of both.  I think that you will like this combination.  I told my friend Daniela yesterday that my Grandmother always used to say.  "Chi mangia bene sta molto vicino a Dio."  Which means, Who eats well is very close to God.  My family must be very close to Him because they have always eaten well.  Through hard times and good times, the food was and is always amazing.  So eat well my friends.



1 package of Jumbo Shells
1 15 oz container of Ricotta
Parmesan Cheese 1/4 cup
1 egg
salt, pepper
Italian flat leaf Parsley chopped very fine 1 tbls
1/2 tsp Nutmeg


1/2 lb ground Beef
1 egg
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 pkg frozen Spinach well drained
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
2 tbls finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 small pkg Shredded Mozzarella

Your favorite marinara sauce

Cooked the shells as directed being careful not to break them up  (about 4 or 5 minutes) You want them Al Dente as they will cook in the oven the rest of the way.

In the meantime, Blend all the cheese ingredients to make a smooth mixture.  Set aside.  In a skillet, brown the ground beef until it is quite crumbly.  Let cool.  Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan and the spinach that you have squeezed all the water out of.  Add the egg.   Add the garlic and salt and pepper the parsley and mix all of this together with the ground beef.

Stuff half of the shells with the cheese mixture and half with the meat mixture.  Brush the sides of your baking dish with a little olive oil.  Then ladle some of your favorite sauce on the bottom.  Set your shells in the dish alternating, one cheese and one meat filled shell.  Top with your sauce and sprinkle with more parmesan and two or three handfuls of mozzarella.  Bake at 350 degrees for about  45 minutes or until bubbly and cooked through.

Serve with a nice tossed salad and hot crusty bread.  Don't forget a glass of Red Wine for the adults.


See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hi, and Good Morning.  I am a little rushed this morning but I just had to tell you that I made my Squash Ravioli again yesterday and they were soooo good I had to put the recipe up for you today.  And how about that game last night, for all you football fans!!!  What a nail biter.  I'm not a fan of either team but I picked the Colts in my football pool.  Plus I really do not like the Patriots, ever!  I could not believe the last minute of that game.  I'm sure Brady and the Pats can't either.  I'll give it to Manning and the Colts, they never gave up.  Kudos to the whole team and the coaches.  A Stunning Victory.  Anyway back to what is really important.  Good food.  As with the Pumpkin Ravioli, you can buy your pasta or make your own.  I tried pasta from the specialty shop and it is good, but not as good as mine.  Also more expensive and a lot of waste.  I encourage you to make your own.


1 large butternut squash
1 8oz container Ricottta
Parmesan or Romano cheese

Cut the squash, remove the seeds and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 mins to an hour until well done.  Remove from the oven scrape out of the shell and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put back into the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.  Put into a Cuisinart and blend till smooth. Put into a bowl and add 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 to 3/4 of the Ricotta depending on how much squash you have.  You want a very stiff mixture.  It will be soft but firm.  Add the Romano or Parmesan and mix well.
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Make a well in the flour, add eggs, salt and a little water, 1/2 cup.  Begin to mix together, adding water as needed.  Knead until the dough is elastic and shiny, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.  Cut off pieces, about 1/4 of the ball of dough and roll out.  Moisten the edges so it will seal tightly.  Put a heaping tsp full for each Ravioli.  Cover with another sheet of dough.  Press gently around each mound of filling to get all the air out, cut and put on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  When done, you can cook right away, or put in the freezer.  When frozen put into a plastic bag and cook when you want.  Makes about 24 large Ravioli.  When you are ready to cook them, melt 1 stick of butter in a large skillet.  Add 5 or 6 sage leaves (fresh).  Brown the butter. Drain the Ravioli and add to butter and sage.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Serve with the butter sauce.  The Ravioli will take about 7 or 8 minutes to cook in the boiling water.
You can also do the dough in the Cuisinart.  Just add the water till a ball forms, then remove and knead a little.

Well that is it.  They are so yummy, make them soon!
Have a wonderful day and a great week coming up.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Hi everyone.  Well here it is Friday already.  I almost did not make it this morning.  I had a Wisdom tooth extracted yesterday and I'm only feeling so, so this morning.  You know the routine, a million shots of horrible stuff to numb your mouth, 30 seconds to get the tooth out, and then a face swollen up like a jelly fish.  That's me today folks.  Plus can hardly eat anything.  Wah Wah!  Anyway enough of my whinning.  I was at Claro's Italian store in Tustin last week and I saw something that really flooded my mind with wonderful memories.  Cristoli!  My Grandmother used to make both the the Cristoli and what she called Crispelle.  My gosh, what memories.  The Cristoli are thin crisp fried cookies, but the Crispelle are somewhat like a do-nut, fried dough, but a million times better.  It seems like we always had them available.  She must have made them 2 or 3 times a week.  What a treat!  So today, two of my all time favorites.  I will be making the Crispelle this weekend.  The Cristoli I make at Christmastime.


3 eggs lightly beaten
 about 5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
about 1 cup milk
1 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients to make a smooth dough.  Cut into four pieces, and roll each like you would for Ravioli.  Cut into squares, and fry in a large pot of Wesson oil.  They cook very quick.  Turn and let cook on the other side just till light brown. Let them drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle them with powdered sugar.  They are a crispy, sweet treat.


These are just flour, water, salt, yeast.
 3 to four cups of flour
1 pkg of dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
warm water
1 egg

 Dissolve the yeast in a 1/4 cup of warm water.  Make a well in the flour and add the yeast mixture and one egg.  Add the salt.  Bring the flour up into the wet ingredients and mix until it forms a dough.  Knead the dough until smooth and shiny.  Let it rise until doubled.  Punch down the dough.  Cut into 4 sections.  Roll out to about 1/2 thick.  Form into twists.  Let rise for about 1/2 hour.  Fry in light olive oil till brown and cooked through.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or my favorite, drizzled with honey.  They are amazing.

Well that is for me today.  Going to just take it easy and try to think what I can eat for the next day or so.
Have a great weekend.
Ciao for now


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hi.  Today it is Pasta Beans as my Mom always called it.  This is a dish that we had a lot when I was very small.  If you read my first few blogs I gave you a little history about my childhood.  This dish is very simple, but probably one of the most satisfying comfort foods ever.  I made it for my kids and their kids and everyone loves it.  As a matter of fact I made it tonight.  My sister asked me why I had not put it on my blog, and so here it is today.  As I said, this is what we always called it.  There are other names for it also.  But this is ours.


1 can of Progresso Cannellini Beans
elbow macaroni or thick spaghetti
olive oil
Broccolini, mustard greens, or rapini

Par cook the greens in a small amount of water in the microwave, drain well.  Saute in olive oil with the garlic.  Add about 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (hot).  Add the beans and stir till warmed through.  Add the pasta that has been drained. (do not rinse)  Drizzle with more olive oil, serve piping hot , sprinkled with a good amount of Parmesan or Romano cheese.

It is one of those dishes that you just can't seem to get enough of.  Sometimes, it is just the beans and pasta, but I really like it with the greens.  Kids love it.  I have seen it in Italian Restaurants on the menu for $12 and up.  I hope you will try it.  Not only is it a rib sticking meal, it is so tasty, and so economical. Not to mention, ready in 10 minutes or so.

Thanks for stopping in today.  Mangia!
Ciao for now


Hi everyone.  I have been asked to give you the recipe for the Salad that I served on Sunday.  I don't know if you have a "Henry's" Market near you, but it is a great place to shop.  Last summer that were sampling this salad.  It was so good, I got the recipe, and now make it all the time.  When I was growing up, we never had a meal without a salad.  Even if it was lunch, there was some sort of a salad to go with the meal. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, oil and vinegar.  It is the same at my table, every meal has a salad.  Tossed, Caesar, Spinach, whatever.  It is an important part of the meal.  I hope you will try this one soon.  You can make as much or as little as you like.  Just make the dressing in a glass jar and use it as needed.

3/4 cup almonds (skinless, slivered)
2 tbls olive oil
1 lb spinach (baby leaves)
1 pint strawberries
Pomegranate seeds (optional) You can buy them already taken out and in a container


1/2 cup sugar
1 tblsp poppy seeds
2 tblsp sesame seeds (toasted)
1 1/2 tsp minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a container with a cover.  In the 2 tblsp of olive oil saute the almonds just till they are light brown and toasty.  Slice the strawberries.  Put the spinach in a bowl, top with the strawberries, pomegranate and almonds.  Pour on dressing and toss.  It is SPECTACULAR!

There you have it.  I guarantee that if you make this one time, you will make it often.  Not only are the flavors amazing, it is really pretty to look at too.  Remember, the visual part of any food is as important as the taste!

Thanks for stopping in today.  I hope you stop in everyday for some new ideas and maybe some old ones that you have forgotten.  Sign up to be a follower and please leave your comments.

Ciao for now

Monday, November 9, 2009


Hi again.  Welcome in today.  I don't know about you but one of my very favorite comfort foods that my Mom used to make was Chicken a la King.  Just thinking about it, I can almost taste it.  I have not had it for a long time and thinking about what recipe I should give you today, it popped up in my mind.  I can remember her in the kitchen, making the sauce, cutting up the chicken, adding all the rest and baking those wonderful flaky biscuits to go with it.  Everything smelled so good, and I loved how it tasted and how good we felt eating this wonderful dish.  I know that if you have ever had this you know what I am talking about.  And if you have never had it, make it soon and create some wonderful memories for your family.


1 small can of mushrooms
1 green pepper chopped fine
1 small jar of pimentos
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (broth)
2 whole chicken breasts or 1 cooked chicken from the market
salt and pepper to taste

Make a roux of the butter and flour, slowly add the milk and the chicken stock.  Let it come to a boil, lower the heat and add the chicken which has been cut into cubes. In a small skillet melt 1 tbls of butter and add the chopped pepper, saute for two or three minutes.  Add to the Chicken mixture.  Add the mushrooms and the pimentos.  Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.  In the meantime make your favorite biscuits.  When they are hot out of the over, split them in half and ladle the Chicken over the top. Absolutely wonderful!  Serve with a salad.

Your family will love this dish.  It is just one of those time favorite comfort foods.  Nothing fancy, just good old down home cooking.  Also, quick and easy.  Under 45 minutes to make.  (You can also use Pepperidge Farm Pastry Shells)

Try it soon.  Thanks for stopping in today.
Ciao for now


Hi Everyone.  What a weekend.  We celebrated Nick's 18th Birthday yesterday.  What a big day.  It seems like he was just born yesterday.  Time flies by so quickly.  Unbelievable.  It was an absolutely gorgeous California day.  We were able to eat outside, not too hot.  Just perfect in every way.  What a menu.  Guacamole and Chips, Sauteed Shrimp in garlic and olive oil, Squash Ravioli in brown butter and sage, those were the appetizers.  Tri Tip, Roasted Vegetables, Roman Salad, Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Almonds, Pomegranate Seeds, Chocolate Beet Cake and Ice Cream.  It was a feast for sure.  So after all that food, today I give you a simple, but wonderful one pot dish.  My whole family loves this.  The neighbor who used to live across the street from us (Patty) made this dish, (and called it Patty's Surprise).  It is so simple and I'm sure that everyone has some form of this recipe.  Everyone loves it.  Talk about easy, you can have this on the table in less than an hour.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 15 oz (or it may be 15 1/2) oz tomato sauce
green pepper
chili powder
Grated cheddar cheese
3/4 box elbow macaroni

Chop the onion and the green pepper and saute in a little olive oil until tender.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned, add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and 1 1/2 tbls of chili powder.  Lower heat to simmer and cook until it thickens up, (about 45 minutes).  In the meantime, cook the elbow macaroni.  When done, drain well and mix into the meat mixture.  In the bottom of the dish put the (small) Fritos, put the mixture on top.  Sprinkle with a handful of cheddar cheese, pop in the microwave for just a minute.  Serve.

I absolutely guarantee that if you make this once your whole family will ask you to make it again and again.  It is just one of those wonderful tasting things.   Try it soon.

That's it for now

Friday, November 6, 2009


Hi there everyone.  Trying to get everything done this morning early so I can watch the Parade from New York for the Yankees at eight o'clock.  Then it's clean the house, and get ready for a big Birthday Party on Sunday for Nick who will turn the "big" 18 on Saturday.  A lot of food to get ready.  What a weekend!  I get to do some real cooking.  Today I have a recipe that would be really fun for you to try with your children.  I have this little book of bread recipes, and it is falling apart, so I don't have the cover and some of the pages.  It was just called Bread Baking.  Anyway, I used to make this for the kids and it was just fun to bake in coffee cans, not to mention being the best bread ever.  Try it on a weekend with your kids.


3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
 1 1/2 tsp salt
2 pkg active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (125 degrees)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

In a large mixing bowl stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, salt,yeast and brown sugar.  Stir in water.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in butter and remaining whole wheat flour.  Beat 5 minutes longer.  Gradually add enough of the remaining all purpose flour to make a stiff dough.  Turn out on floured board.  Knead 5 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and no longer sticky.  Place in a greased bowl.  Butter top of dough lightly.  Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  About 1 1/2 hrs.  Punch down and turn out  on a lightly floured board.  Knead a minute or two to remove air bubbles.  Divide in half and shape into 2 round loaves.  Place in two greased 2 pound size coffee cans or two greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.  Cover with kitchen towel.  Let rise until doubled, about 35 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when thumped.  Makes 2 loaves.

There is nothing in the world that smells quite so wonderful as fresh baked bread.  Especially when the weather turns cool.  Sliced, and slathered with butter, absolutely heavenly.  I hope you will find time to make this.  It is truly worth the effort.  Have a most wonderful weekend.

Ciao for now

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Good morning and I do mean GOOD MORNING!  The Yankees are Champions again.  I am so happy, but I am also so excited I can hardly think.  My neighbor is a New Yorker and he is going back for the Parade on Friday.  Lucky devil, I wish I could do that.  Anyway, again, I am so excited it is hard to think of a recipe to give you today, or to talk too long.  One of the girls in my Illustrator class who reads my blog asked me for a recipe for Artichokes.  The way she described the ones she likes sound just like the way I make them so I told her I would post it for her today.  They are how my Grandma and my Mother made them.  So, one more time, YEA YANKEES and here is the recipe.

2 big Artichokes, nice and round and heavy with tight leaves
1 1/2 cups of Progresso or Contadina seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 big cloves of garlic
olive oil

Rinse the Artichokes and clip the top of the leaves.  Shake out as much water as possible and layer by layer spread the leaves outward.  Combine the breadcrumbs and cheese and starting at the bottom of the artichoke bend each leaf and fill with the mixture.  Put into a dutch oven or pot with a cover.  Add about an inch or inch and a half of water.  Drizzle the artichokes liberally with the olive oil.  Drop the garlic into the pot, cover, put over high heat until the water boils then turn down to simmer.  Keep a watch as you will have to add more water from time to time.  Steam until the leaves are very tender.

I could eat these and never stop.  Try them soon, the Artichokes in the stores right now are looking pretty good.

Thanks for stopping in today.
Ciao for now.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Oh Yummy. CINNAMON ROLLS.  I wish I had one of these right now with a nice, hot cup of coffee.  Remember awhile back I told you that I make everything from scratch?  One of the family's favorite things were my Cinnamon Rolls.  I made them often.  I know most of you probably don't have a lot of time, but do take some time on a weekend or a day that is not so hectic and try these.  The thing about making anything you cook from "scratch", isn't just how wonderful it tastes or how good having fresh ingredients without those "unknowns" in your food, or the wonderful smells that are created, for me at least it is a kind of therapy.  It is the great feeling of satisfaction that I get.  I don't know how to explain it exactly, but you sort of become one with the dish you are making or the goodies you are baking.  You just get into a whole, neat world of your own and your creation.  And then there is the satisfaction of seeing everyone enjoying your delicious efforts.  The thing about these or any bread recipe, is that while the dough rises, you can be getting other things done in the mean time.


2 pkg dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet cream butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
5 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
 Sprinkle yeast into the warm water and let it set until it is dissolved.  Heat milk and the butter in a small pan until the butter melts.  Pour into a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar, salt and the vanilla.  Cool until it is just lukewarm.  Add the yeast mixture.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.  Gradually mix in enough flour to make a soft dough.  Turn out onto a floured board.  Knead until smooth and shiny.  Place in a greased bowl.  Brush the top of the dough lightly with melted butter.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Keep in a warm place until it is doubled in size, about an hour and a half.  Divide the dough in half and knead just a little.  Roll each piece into a 10x12 " rectangle.  Brush liberally with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon, half of the brown sugar.  Roll up and cut in 3/4 inch slices.  Use 8 " or 9" rounds  or 11"x12" cake pans.  Into each pan put 4 tablespoons of butter and 2/3 cup of brown sugar,  put into the oven just to melt the butter, remove, stir and spread evenly over the bottom of the pans, then top with the cinnamon slices.  Cover and let these rise til double.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top.  Bake at 350 degrees.

Once your family gets a whiff of these, and a taste of these, there will be no turning back.  They will beg you to make them again.

Thanks for stopping in today.
Ciao for now

Monday, November 2, 2009


Well here it is November 3rd and yesterday it was 90 degrees.  We may never get any cold weather.  The forecast for next week is mid to high 70's.  Ah, that is why we live here.  Some people are actually complaining about the heat.  But not me, I like it just fine.  I turn on the TV and see the Mid-West buried under snow, and other parts of the country having Wind, Rain and freezing temperatures, and I am real satisfied with 90 degrees :).  So just in case it is hot again tomorrow, how about something stove-top in stead of in the oven.  This is a family recipe and a very favorite one of mine.  Pretty straight forward and probably made the same by most everyone.


to serve 4 persons
8 thin pieces of veal (scallopine)
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of Marsala wine

Beat the egg, dip the veal (that has been salted and peppered) into the egg, then into the flour.  In a frying pan heat 1/2 butter and half olive oil.  Quickly saute the veal on both sides until done.  Transfer to a warming plate.  Into the drippings, add a 1/2 stick unsalted butter, saute the mushrooms until done, add the Marsala wine and cook over low heat until it begins to thicken a little.  Add the veal back into the pan to heat through.  Serve with buttered Fettucine.

Quick and easy but so delicious.  Try it soon.  Serve with a small green salad and a crisp White Wine.

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now


Welcome in for another day.  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  What a whirlwind!  Between Halloween, the Swim meet, Football games, and of course MY Yankees winning game three, I slept like the proverbial log.  I spent the weekend with my Daughter and her Hubby and kids.  What a great time!  Halloween party at Nancy's on Saturday, then up early Sunday to the swim meet.  Kate won her Freestyle heat by a mile and Christina was the overall point leader in her age group for the year.  Linda and Jody are happy the meets are over for the year and they can relax on Sunday for awhile with Football games.

I don't know about what happened at your house on Halloween night, but Kate and Christina and their friends garnered more candy than you can imagine.  The house looked like a candy store.  (Just a hint, if that happened at your house there are places that you can donate the candy to which is what my daughter and the girls do every year).  Anyway after all the sugar rush, here is a wonderful dinner for tonight (or any night) to get things back on track.  My Mom used to make these stuffed cabbage rolls and I always loved them.  I make them a lot even now.  They are always one of the wonderful comfort foods.


1 quart of tomato sauce
1 clove of garlic minced
2 tbls of vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper
Put this over low heat and cook until it begins to thicken, about 10 minutes

1 lb ground beef , 1/2 lb ground pork
1/ 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1 onion chopped very fine (small onion)
1 clove of garlic chopped fine
mix all together well, add
salt and pepper and set aside

2 heads of cabbage (pick ones with really large leaves.)

In a large pot bring salted water to boil.  Remove any leaves of the cabbage that are not good.  Cut the core out of the cabbage and gently remove the large outer leaves being careful not to tear them.  Blanch the large leaves in the hot water for about 4 or 5 minutes or until they bend easily.  Remove them and put them in a bowl of cold water just for a minute.  Cut a little of the core so you can fold the leaves. Put about 1/2 cup of the filling mixture in the leaves, fold over sides and roll up, secure with a toothpick and put toothpick side down.  When all rolls are made set aside.  Cut remaining cabbage into pieces, in your deep fry pan saute the cabbage with garlic and olive oil until just tender.  Make a bed of this cabbage, put your cabbage rolls on top, pour the tomato sauce over the rolls, drizzle with a little olive oil.
Cover the pan or casserole and bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and 1/2.  Until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked through.

Just writing this makes me hungry.  I think I will make them soon myself.  Try this recipe.  I know you will like it a lot as will your family.

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now