Tuesday, December 29, 2009


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  BUON ANNO!  FELIZ ANO NUEVO!  Off to snowy Ohio.  Will return on Monday 4 January 2010.


Monday, December 28, 2009


Wow!  What a wonderful Christmas.  Family for the whole weekend and Family and Friends for the day.  Company was great, Food was delicious, Weather was perfect.  Who could ask for anything more?  I am truly the most fortunate human being on the planet.  I will be leaving tomorrow for a trip to Ohio for my Nieces wedding.  So of course all weekend all there was on the news and in the papers was Terrorist talk.  Good Grief people, don't you know I am going to be on a plane?  STOP!  All that talk sure is not very comforting.  But maybe in a way it is actually a good thing because security will be much tighter (I hope).  Then there is the weather.  Not very nice, snow and freezing temps.  Well, in spite of all of that I am looking forward to this very special event.  Chelsea is a very special girl and I know it will be a really beautiful Wedding.

I'm not sure if I will be able to post any recipes until I get back on the 4th of January but I have a good one for today.  This was given to me when I was in High School from the Mother of one of my friends.  She was from Greece and a great cook.  We have the traditional Beef Stew and this is the Greek version.  Really delicious and a nice change in flavors.  I made it a lot and my family all loved it as much as I did when I first tasted it at Kay's house.  So here it is: Beef Stifato.

Serves 6

about 4 lbs of Beef (chuck or round cut into cubes as for Stew 1")
about 1/2 cup of olive oil
2 Onions
1 6 ounce can of Contadina Tomato Paste
1 3/4 cups of a good Red Wine
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp of Peppercorns
a little over 1 tablespoon of Allspice
6 Cloves
3 Cloves of Garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the meat into pieces and saute in the hot olive oil until nicely browned.  Add all the other ingredients except the onions and cook on simmer, covered, for about an hour and a half or until the meat becomes tender.  Add the onions and cook for another 45 minutes. (should be thick, but if it becomes too thick add a little more Wine)  Pick our the cloves and discard.  The stew should be thick.  Serve with hot french bread, a salad and a nice Red Wine.  Soooooo Good!  I hope you will try this on a cold day.  The flavors are amazing!

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Due to the Holiday I am taking a break until Monday 28 December.  I wish you all Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays.  If you are traveling, drive carefully.  Enjoy your Families and Friends where ever you may be.  Keep the less fortunate in your prayers and help however you can.

Buon Natale!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Well I officially finished baking the last Biscotti and Pizzelles today. (Tuesday)  I am writing this in the evening because tomorrow I am baking two of my famous Cheescakes and starting on the Trifle for Christmas Day.  I also have to get my Puppies groomed so they will be Christmas ready and deliver the last of the goodies I have baked.  Whew! Today I give you English Trifle as taught to me by my lovely English neighbor, Dorothy.  Who just happens to be the sweetest woman on earth!


Large glass bowl with straight sides not rounded
Lady Fingers
Vanilla Pudding
Fruit Cocktail
Cherry pie filling
Whipping cream

Line your bowl on the bottom and up the sides with the Lady Fingers.  Make one large package of Cherry Jello and pour into bowl for first layer.  Refrigerate.  When completely set, make one large package of Vanilla Pudding (not instant) let cool completely, gently pour over set Jello, Slice Bananas on top, refrigerate.  When set make another package of Jello, let it cool for about 15 minutes, drain a can of Fruit Cocktail and mix in, let set in refrigerator till just set, then pour on top of Pudding layer.  Refrigerate.  When completely set, make the last box of Pudding.  When completely cool, pour over Jello layer.  Refrigerate.  When completely cooled and set, gently pour 1 or 2 cans of Cherry Pie filling to cover the top, refrigerate.  Serve with whipped cream. Awesome presentation and yummy to eat!

We always have Trifle and my Cheesecake every Christmas.

Ciao for now


Ok, I know that does not sound like much of a name for a recipe, but I have not come up with a catchy name as yet so it is what it is.  Anyway, it's just another way to serve Spinach that is a little different and that everyone, even kids will love.  I always make my Spinach sauteed in olive and garlic.  Either that, or raw in a salad.  So one day I thought, what could be good with Spinach and give it some crunch?  I love a little crunch in my salads so why not in the sauteed Spinach?  I like Pine Nuts, Almonds and Raisins so let me try some of those today.  And so I did.  Hence today's recipe.  Quick, easy and tasty.  Give it a try.


To serve four                      
2 lbs of Spinach washed and patted dry (I just use the big bags already done)
3 cloves of Garlic sliced thin
1/4 cup Pine Nuts or Almonds
about 1/2 cup Golden Raisins
Pinch of nutmeg
Olive Oil

Soak the raisins in hot water for about 10 minutes until they plump up and are soft.  In a heavy skillet put a 1/4 cup of Olive Oil and let it get hot.  Slice the Garlic very thin and saute just until starting to brown, quickly add the nuts and turn down the heat.  Saute them for a minute or so and then add the Spinach.  Add it a little at a time so as it wilts you can keep adding until it is all in the pan.  Saute quickly (don't overcook), add the Raisins and a pinch of Nutmeg.  Turn out into a bowl and serve hot!  Bene!

I could eat this all day long.  Your kids will love it and they won't even know they are eating something good for them  :) .  Try it soon.

thanks for stopping in today.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Oh my gosh!  Just a few days before Christmas.  Today I will be out delivering some of the cookies that I baked on Saturday.  I made eight different kinds.  Baked all day.  Listening to my favorite tunes and just baking away.  Delivered some that night and then my dearest friend Bonnie came over (we have been friends since 1972).  We exchanged gifts and then she took me out to dinner. (she almost always does that since I don't eat while I bake and am starving when she gets here).  I packed up cookies for her and some for her daughter Stacy in San Francisco, as she will be going there for the Holiday.  Also some of the Almond Roca.  This recipe is to die for.  Once you take a bite you cannot stop eating.  So melt in your mouth Yummy.  Please try it this year.  It is truly a Winner.

 4 sticks butter
2 cups packed brown sugar (measure accurately)
9 Hershey bars (the regular thin size)
Chopped Almonds

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan.  Stir just to mix.  When candy thermometer reaches 200 degrees THEN start stirring and don't stop (even for a second to scratch your nose :) ) until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees.  Immediately place thermometer in water or mixture will stick.
Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place Hershey bars on top and let melt.  Gently spread out over the mixture.  Top with the nuts.  When cool and chocolate is hardened, break into pieces.  It will make at least 5 or 6 six gift packages (or all for you).  Wrap 6 pieces in parchment and then put into cellophane gift bags.  Tie tightly with ribbon.  What a great treat for your friends.  Or if you made it for your family, line a tin with parchment and cover tightly.  It will keep.  That is if you all don't eat it immediately.  BEWARE!  Once you take a bite of this candy, you cannot stop eating.  It is truly amazing.

I hope you will make this Almond Roca.  Your family and friends will love it as much as mine do.

Thanks for stopping in today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Ok I know it is not summer but it was almost 78 degrees here today.  Also I bought a deliciously sweet Pineapple.  Hence today's recipe.  This is one of my own concoctions and even though I usually make it in the summertime, I had it for dinner because as I said, it was warm and beautiful and I had a sweet Pineapple.  Things just strike me like that and since I am free to do as I please, and eat what I like, when I like, I decided I shall have my Pineapple Salad.  You are the beneficiary of all of this :)  I know I am rambling.  I am writing this blog at night because I have a huge day tomorrow.  Shopping for cookie ingredients and making some batters for the big cookie baking day on Saturday.  So bear with me.  Here it is then.


1 Pineapple
2 cups diced Chicken
1 container Knudsen sour cream or Vanilla Yoghurt
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup seedless Grapes
1/2 cup of Raisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Cut the Pineapple in half and cut out each half and dice the Pineapple into bite sized pieces.  Mix with the Chicken, Walnuts, Grapes, Raisins and coconut.  Add enough Sour Cream to mix.  Put back into the Pineapple halves,  and serve.  Great with Banana Bread.

There you have it.  A great warm weather salad.

Thanks for stopping in, have a great weekend


Good morning everyone.  Had a really great day yesterday.  Went to see Christina's Winter Sing at Sherman Oaks Elementary yesterday morning.  There is nothing quite so delightful as watching children perform all the Holiday songs.  And they really have the most incredible music teacher.  She has those children singing as good as some big High School Choir.  And even the wee ones were awesome and so adorable.  Of course I thought the 2nd grade was the best, Christina, :).  Then I spent the day with my beautiful daughter doing some Christmas shopping and having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Then picked up Kate at school, stopped for a coffee at Starbucks, then on the road home.  What a wonderful day.  How lucky am I!

Today I have a delicious and easy way to make potatoes.  Who doesn't love potatoes?  And you can do so much with them.   I love this dish because the potatoes are tender inside and brown and crispy on the outside.  Your family will love them.


1 pyrex pie dish 9"
2 large Russet Potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2 large stems of Rosemary
salt and pepper

Oven at 375 degrees
Peel the Potatoes and cut rounds thin as for scalloped Potatoes.  Remove Rosemary from the stems and rough chop.  Slice the Garlic paper thin.  Lightly butter your baking dish, arrange one layer of Potatoes
overlapping them on the bottom.  Put a few slices of Garlic, sprinkle with Rosemary, dot with butter, salt and pepper.  Put a second layer of Potatoes, Garlic, Rosemary, butter, salt and pepper.  Finish with a third layer and just salt and pepper and dot with butter.  Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.  Remove foil for the las 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip out onto a serving platter.  The Potatoes will be browned on the bottom and tender inside.  Cut into pie shaped slices and serve hot.  Really good with any meat but especially Chicken or Pork.

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Hi everyone.  Today's recipe is my version of a Holiday staple that my Mother's Mother always made.  Christmas just was not Christmas without Caponata.  I have told you before that everyone in my family were great cooks.  I started writing recipes down when I was about 12 years old.  Mostly just the ingredients because no one used a recipe, everyone just knew how to make everything.  Which is pretty much how I do it today.  Most of the family recipes that I give you are from memory.  And sometimes I have to think to be sure of the amounts.  Today's recipe is how I remember it.  I made it several times adjusting here and there until it tasted just perfect and then I wrote it down to pass on to family and friends and now all of you.  After all I can't just say well, put in this much eggplant and just this much vinegar etc. etc.  Now it is refined and turns out perfect every time.  If you make this one time, I will guarantee that you will make it again and again.  It is that good.


1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggplants diced
1 large onion diced
6 small portabello mushrooms sliced thin
1 green bell pepper diced
1/2 jar roasted red peppers cut into pieces
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 small jar green olives with piemento chopped
1/2 small jar capers
1 small can Contadina tomato paste
1 can (tomato paste can) of water
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over med heat.  Add eggplant, onions, mushrooms, peppers and garlic and cook stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.  Stir in rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for at least another 1/2 hour.  Put into 1/2 quart jars that have been washed, and dried.  When cool, refrigerate.  Will keep for a couple of weeks.

Serve at ROOM TEMP. with slices of french baguette.  What an appetizer!  Also great on sandwiches.  I hope you will try this.  It is really amazing.

Thanks for stopping in today


Good morning everyone.  Another beautiful day in sunny California.  Forcast: getting warmer.  That's what I like to hear.  Warmer days and colder nights.  Perfect December weather.  I just read an article yesterday online about the calorie count of some of the appetizers that are served at certain Restaurants in the area.  Well let me tell you, I almost fell off of my chair.  Some of those things have more calories in one serving than a body should have in two days.  Good grief.  It makes one never want to eat in a Restaurant again.  Anyway, one of my very favorite things are fried Zucchini with Ranch Dressing.  Yummy.  I was thinking about those when I read the article.  Then I wondered how many calories they must have.  Which in turn brought me to remember how my grandmother used to sometimes make the Zucchini from our garden.  Yep, you guessed it, here comes today's recipe.  She used to make it and then have a big salad with crusty bread and that was a great Friday meal.  (Remember when as Catholics you could not eat meat on Friday?)

So today my offering to you:


1 large onion
3 or med sized Zucchini
4 Roma tomatoes
3/4 cup bread crumbs (Progresso seasoned are great)
1 tbls of fresh Rosemary roughly chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced very fine
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano Cheese
Olive oil

Cut the ends off of the Zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half lengthwise again.  Set aside.  In a skillet with a little olive oil saute the onion that has been thinly sliced.  When just tender remove to a baking dish and spread out over the bottom.  Arrange the Zucchini so they are resting against each other in the baking dish in one layer. Slice the tomatoes into rounds and fit them in between the Zucchini slices.  Mix the Bread Crumbs, Cheese, Garlic and Rosemary together.  Sprinkle this mixture over the Zucchini and the Tomatoes.  Drizzle generously over all with Olive Oil.  Bake uncovered in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the Zucchini are just tender and the Bread Crumb mixture is nicely browned.

This is a really wonderful way to fix Zucchini.  Try it soon.

See you tomorrow

Monday, December 14, 2009


What a great weekend.  The rain stopped and the sun was shining.  a great day in California.  Well I got most of my shopping done.  Have packages to mail and I will be all set.  Also made the sauce for the Ravioli for Christmas dinner.  That is in the freezer.  This morning I am making the Ravioli and will get those in the freezer.  I'm just cranking here.  I just wish the Day itself could be stretched out a little longer.  All the preparation, anticipation, and then in a blur it is over.  But it seems like that is how it is with everything that you wait for.  Christmas, Birthday, Summer Vacation.  It's the anticipation and then when it happens, it seems to be over in a flash.  So I always try to enjoy the anticipatin" time, it lasts the longest.

Today I have a recipe that is an original one, developed by my sister.  She just calls it "Pork Loin in Puff Pastry".  It is delicious and on the table in 30 minutes.


Will serve 6 persons

2 little Pork Loins (look for the ones in the market that come 2 in a package and are no larger than 2" around.
1 Package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
1 1/2 cups of Apricots Diced
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons Sweet whole grain Mustard (you can get it at Honey Baked or Hickory Farms)
6 thin slices of Fontina Cheese
Thinly sliced Garlic

Mix the Mustards and the Apricots to make a thick sauce.
Make little slits in the pork loin and put a thin slice of garlic in each.  About 4 or 5 in each Loin.  Salt and pepper each piece.  Cut each loin into 3 pieces.  In a large skillet put 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When hot, saute the loins until they are browned on all sides.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Cut each Pastry piece into three pieces.  On each piece lay the cheese, then the Pork Loin and then top with the Mustard mixture.  Fold the Pastry over the Pork and place folded side down (the cheese is then on top) on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Let set for about 5 minutes and serve.  Delicious!
Thanks Linda for the wonderful recipe!

That is it for today

Friday, December 11, 2009


Ready to bake
Cut and baked again


It's raining this morning and outside of having to take the puppies out , I don't mind because I will be baking Pizzelles and Biscotti all day.  So it is a good day to do all that.

When I was a little girl we always had these two cookies for Christmas, and when I was very little, my biggest treat was being able to dip the end of the Biscotti into my Mother's coffee.  And sometimes into the glass of Red Wine.  Yum!  Dessert during the Holidays with all the family, and there were plenty of us, was always fruit and a huge bowl of all kinds of nuts, and a glass of wine.  That went on for hours after the meal, everyone just sitting around and talking. I would eventually get tired and just go play with my sister and my cousins, but the adults spent the evening at the table.  What great times those were and I miss them.  I am lucky though, because most of my family will be here for Christmas.  In fact I will have 16 family and friends for Christmas dinner.  How lucky for me!

 I have had this recipe for a long time.  It is simple.  You can add all kinds of nuts, flavorings, fruit, whatever that you like.


2 eggs
1 stick of room temp butter (not margarine)
about 2/3 cup sugar
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a couple pinches of salt
3/4 cup Almond slivers
1/2 tsp Almond  extract

In a bowl put the flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix.  In another bowl beat the sugar and the butter.  Add the eggs and beat. Add the Almond extract.  Add the flour mixture a little at a time.  Beat just until it is mixed.  With a spoon mix in the almonds.
Now some variations.  I love orange and chocolate, for these add 3/4 cup of mini Chocolate chips, zest of one whole orange and 1 tsp of the juice. (or 1 tsp of Grand Marnier which is what I use).
Another favorite, 2/3 cup Orange flavored Cranberries (dried) with 1/2 cup slivered Almonds.
Another favorite, 1 1/2 tsp of finely chopped Anise seeds and 3/4 cups slivered Almonds.
Another favorite, 3/4 cup chopped Hazelnuts and 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips.

Be creative and make your own combinations.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
I use a Silpat on my cookie sheets, or line them with Parchment Paper. On a floured surface, form the dough into a 15 to 16 inch log (does not have to be exact).  Pat it out be about 3 - 3 1/4 inches wide.  Like a big flat log.  Gently place it on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until it is lightly browned on top.  Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.  At least 25 to 30 minutes.  Put the log on your cutting surface and gently cut into 1/2" thick cookies.  (I cut them slightly on a diagonal).  Put them back on the cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and put on a cooling rack.  Pack in a tight container between sheets of Parchment paper and they will keep for a very long time.  Put 6 to 8 into a Christmas cellophane bag, tie with a ribbon and give as gifts.  For very special friends you can put the cookies with a pound of their favorite coffee.  Who wouldn't love that!

That's it for today, have to brave the rain and get the puppies outside.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Just an extra note to today's blog.  Here are photos just taken as I made the Pizzelles.   Also dough should be like cookie dough. ( soft but not real stiff)  If you need to add a little more flour, do so.


Hi everyone.  Well today I am on a "Pizzelle" making marathon.  For those of you who have never had one of these amazing cookies, they are made on an iron and are thin , crispy waffle type cookies.  I have had them every Christmas since the day I was born.  My Grandmother made them, both my parents made them, all my aunts and uncles made them and my sister and I make them today.  Not only are they a family tradition, but they keep for weeks and I challenge anybody to eat just one.  It just would not be Christmas without them.  When my parents were making them when I was little, they had an iron that made just one.  You held it over the flame on the stove and cooked it on one side and then the other.  They called them "Hail Mary" cookies because you said a Hail Mary while one side cooked and another for the other side and then they were done.  Fortunately, when I was just married, there came on the market Electric Pizzele irons that make two at a time.  Now it takes just one Hail Mary and they are done.  So to make these buy a good electric Pizzelle iron.  They are not very expensive.  They will last forever and you will begin baking a tradition at your house.


3 eggs
2 or 3 tsp Anise extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 to 2 cups of flour
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup of sugar

Beat the eggs and sugar.  Add the cooled melted butter and anise extract.  Combine the flour and baking powder and add that to the mixture.  The batter should be stiff enough to be dropped by a spoon.  When your iron is hot drop  a tsp of the batter in the center of the iron.  One Hail Mary or 15 seconds, open and gently lift off the iron with the end of a fork.  They are pliable at this point.  Put on a cooling rack and in just seconds they will become crispy.  Pack between sheets of Parchment Paper in a tightly covered container.  They will literally keep for weeks.  One batch will make 28 to 30 cookies.  They are "Christmas" at our house.  A great cookie for coffee or a glass of Red Wine.

Thanks for stopping in today

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Baking has started.  As I said yesterday, I start baking the cookies that keep for weeks.  Pizzelles, Biscotti, Lena's cookies.  And they are the ones that are so good when you just want to take a moment, sit down, relax, have a cookie and coffee break for yourself.  And believe me, this is the time of the year when you need to take a minute and do just that.  I am going to be giving you cookie recipes that I make for Christmas, pretty much every other day for the next couple of weeks.  Some you may already have.  And maybe you will find a new one here.  So today, here is one that my Grandmother made, my Mom made and my Sister and I make.  It is a great one to dip in your coffee.  Also so easy.


5 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup Crisco
4 large eggs
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup water
1 tsp of your favorite flavoring: Anise, Almond, Lemon or Orange.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut in shortening until it is like large pea texture.  Add eggs and flavoring and water.  Mix well.  (best to use your hands)

Pick off pieces and shape into an "S".  Let stand for a few minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.  YUMMMMM dip in coffee and dream of being in Italy.  (that's what I do)

These are really wonderful and will keep well.  Try them this Christmas for your family and friends.

Ciao for now

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Good morning.  Wow it is cold here today.  Rain and cold.  Wah!  I don't like this one bit.  Ok, winter can be over now.  I'm ready for summer again.  But I do have to say this kind of weather really puts me in overdrive to cook and bake.  I am starting on the cookies that keep and it does smell good in the house and makes you happy all over.
Some time ago I told you about my Uncle who was the Pastry Chef.  He was from Piedmont, Italy.  One of the recipes I remember my Aunt making was Chicken Breasts, Piedmont style.  They are quick, easy and a little different than regular old style chicken.  I don't know about you but I am always looking for another way to cook chicken.  Try this soon.


2 whole Boneless Chicken Breasts cut in half (or 4 boneless halves)
1/4 cup of flour
12 very large mushrooms sliced thick and sauteed in butter.  When cooked add 1 tbls of Marsala Wine and stir
4 thin slices of Swiss Cheese
salt and pepper

Put the Chicken breasts between wax pepper and pound them until they are thin.  Season with salt and pepper and coat them with flour.  In a large skillet, heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter and three or four tablespoons of olive oil.  When hot, lower the heat to medium and fry the Chicken until tender, about 5 minutes on each side.  Remove the Chicken to a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan.  Arrange the mushrooms on top of each and cover with a slice of cheese.  Put under the broiler long enough to melt the cheese.  Serve immediately.  Serve with Broccoli cooked al dente and sprinkled with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  There you have it.  Another tasty, different way to do Chicken.  Mangia!

Thanks for stopping in today.  Keep warm!

Monday, December 7, 2009


UGH!  It is raining outside.  I know we need the rain but I am not a big fan of Rain!  It can rain all night but during the day, NO!  Of course it probably is okay today and anytime this month because it is a really good time to get baking some of the Christmas Cookies that I then give to friends.  I can bake all the Biscotti ahead of time because they keep forever and are so yummy.  I will be giving you those recipes in a little while.  Today I have a recipe that my Grandmother used to make a lot.  It was a mainstay when there really wasn't a lot of meat.  Or she would make it with Chicken, or Pork chops or Sausage on the side.  It is one of those wonderful comfort foods that can be a meal with a glass of Wine and some hot Italian bread and some good Cheese.  I can eat it anytime.  Try it as a side dish for your Family soon.


4 large Russet Potatoes
1 medium Onion chopped
2 or 3 Roma tomatoes
1 lb fresh Italian Green Beans (they are the wide flat green beans)
(we always had them from the garden)

Boil the potatoes until just tender, remove from the water and set aside to cool.  Cook the green beans until tender (if you can't find them fresh they are available canned).  Drain and let them cool.  When all the veggies are cool, cut the potatoes into large chunks, put into a bowl with the cooled beans and the onions (that have been thinly sliced) and the tomatoes that have have been cut into quarters.  Make a dressing of 3 to one olive oil and vinegar (3 olive oil, 1 vinegar).  Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently.  Let this marinate in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour to an hour.  Toss gently before serving.
This will serve 6 people.

Try it soon.  It will give you a different spin on Potatoes and Green Beans.

That's it for today, thanks for stopping in

Friday, December 4, 2009


 Hi there.  Good morning!  I don't know about you but I am all about getting my house decorated for Christmas and then watching football all day Sunday while I sit surrounded by the sights and smells of the Holidays.  So that is going to be my weekend.  Hopefully it won't rain on Saturday when I go to get my tree.
Today I have a little treat you can make for football Sunday.  Or anytime you crave a hot, delicious snack.  Your kids will love this one too.  It is simple and just melts in your mouth.

1 French bread baguette
1 large ball of Mozzarella (not the fresh one packed in water for this)
2 cups of your Marinara sauce

Cut the bread and the cheese into 1/3" slices.  On a large skewer, put a slice of bread, then a slice of cheese.  Use 3 slices of cheese and beginning and ending with a bread slice. (so 3 cheese and 4 breads).  Lightly brush the bread with olive oil.  Place the skewers on a rimmed cookie sheet or in a baking dish (that have been heated in the oven) and bake in a pre-heated oven (450 degrees) just until the cheese melts and the bread is toasty.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top of each with minced fresh Basil.  Serve hot with the Marinara sauce.
This is sooo good.  Be sure to use the skinny Baguette and cut the cheese to fit.

Have a great weekend.  See you all on Monday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Good Morning everyone.  I sure did not want to get up this morning.  But when you have 2 puppies that have to go out, you have to get up. Today I want to share a recipe that my Grandmother and Mother used to make.  And I make for my family too.  It is perfect for Fall like weather and is a change from Chicken and Beef.  Also Pork is "the other White meat" and when cooked properly has so much flavor.  I can remember so many wonderful dishes that my family made using Pork.  This recipe will bring new flavors to just plain old Pork Chops.  I hope you will try it soon.  Using different spices in your cooking, really enhances the flavors of what you are making.


Serves 4

4 thick Pork Chops (bone in or out)
3 or 4 cloves of Garlic thinly sliced
Dried Oregano
2 large Russet Potatoes (boiled with skins on just until tender)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Gently boil the potatoes just until they are almost tender.  Remove from the pot and set aside.  In a large skillet, put 5 or 6 tablespoons of olive oil, when it is hot, turn heat to medium and add the garlic.  Cook just until it begins to turn light brown.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Salt and pepper the chops on both sides and sprinkle with dried oregano.  Sear the pork chops on both sides in the hot skillet, lower the heat and cook until done.  Remove from the pan to a platter and cover with foil.  Slice the potatoes into thick pieces, salt and pepper them and finish cooking them in the skillet.  (Add a couple more tbls of olive oil if needed).  Just before they are finished add the reserved garlic and stir.  Arrange the pork chops in a row, overlapping just a bit, on the platter.  Spoon the potatoes alongside the chops on either side.  Top with a couple sprigs of fresh oregano.
Make a mixed green salad with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

A meal that is satisfying and oh so flavorful.  A glass of chilled White Wine will be perfect!  Enjoy!

See you tomorrow

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Hi and good morning!  One of my very favorite dishes that I grew up with is Linguini with Clams.  There are many different versions of this dish, some with a white sauce, some with a red sauce.  But the way my parents and grandparents made it is the only way that I like it.  Or I should say, it is the way I like it the best.  It is also the most simple to make.  Since a lot of these recipes have not been written down, my sister and I still make them from memory.  I could eat this dish everyday.  Sometimes when I have company for dinner, I will make this as my first plate of a 5 course meal.  I hope you will try it soon. It is hearty and satisfying.  Have lots of hot garlic bread to go with it.  And a glass of chilled, crisp white wine.

Serves 4

1 lb Barilla Linguini
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 shallots sliced very thin (my Dad used Cippolini onions or some good onion sliced very thin if there were no shallots)
8 cloves of chopped garlic
40 to 50 Manila clams (you want at least 10 per person) scrub them so that there is no sand left
3/4 to 1 cup of a good Dry White Wine
unsalted butter salt and pepper
chopped Italian Parsley

Put a pot on to cook your Pasta.  When the water boils add the Linguini and cook as directed, JUST UNTIL AL DENTE.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  When it is very hot add the shallots and the garlic and saute, but don't burn, just until tender. Add the wine and the clams and cover.  Cook until the clams have all opened up (about 7 minutes.  If there are any unopened throw them out.  Add two to three tablespoon of unsalted butter to the clams along with the chopped parsley.  Drain the Linguini (never rinse your pasta) and quickly add to the clams.  Pour it all out into your large platter or serving bowl.  Garnish with a little more chopped parsley and serve immediately.  MANGIA!

Tip:  Always use the same Wine to cook with that you drink.  Good cooking, good wine.

Thanks for stopping in today
Ciao for now

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Well our cool weather is officially here.  Last night I made Beef Stew for Nick and I. (my grandson)  Had some hot crusty sourdough bread and a salad.  Yummy.  Nick said, "Nonni this is perfect for the cool weather".  And he was right.  What you make for dinner seems to be dictated a lot by what the weather is outside.  Today I have an easy but hearty Pasta dish for you to try.  I''m sure you all have made it at sometime or another with Pesto from the market.  But try making your own tonight.  It is so much fresher tasting and so easy to make.  Not to mention the wonderful aroma of the fresh Basil and Cheese. Yum!

Serves 4

3 cups packed fresh Basil
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
2/3 cups Grated Romano cheese or Parmesan
3 to 4 cloves of chopped garlic
about 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 lb Barilla Thick Spaghetti
3 or 4 seeded and chopped Roma Tomatoes

Put the Basil, Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Cheese in a blender or Cuisinart.  Begin blending and slowly add the Olive Oil until it is smooth but not runny.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside and cook the Pasta just till al dente.  While the Pasta cooks, seed the tomatoes and chop.  Remove Pasta and drain, quickly add the Pesto.  Toss well.  Top each plate of Pasta with some chopped tomatoes, a few pine nuts and a sprinkle of Romano cheese.  Add a salad, hot crusty bread, a glass of wine and Mangia!  It dosesn't get much better than that!

Thanks for stopping in today.
Ciao for now