Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Well we were supposed to have cool weather and rain yesterday but it turned out to be a beautiful day.  It was so nice that in the afternoon I was able to take the girls down to the Lake and get a boat for a ride around the Lake.  It was sunny and warm and just a great way to end the day.  Today we are going to see the Miley Cyrus movie and then tomorrow morning I have to take them back home.  It sure will be quiet around here when they leave.

Tonight I am making a Pork Chop Casserole for dinner.  It is something I put together one time when I was going to get some unexpected guests for dinner and did not have much time to get something ready.  It was so good that now I make it just for us.


3 Apples
4 center cut Pork Chops
3 cooked Sweet Potatoes
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Cranberry sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Mustard (Grey Poupon)
Brown sugar and Butter
Salt and Pepper

Core the apples leaving them whole, then slice into thick slices.  Put them into a baking dish and sprinkle with a little brown sugar and dot with butter.  Slice the sweet potatoes into thick slices and lay on top of the apples.  Sprinkle with some brown sugar and dot with butter.  Salt and pepper the chops.  Place the Pork chops on top of the apples.  Make a mixture of the cranberry sauce, the 1/2 cup brown sugar, the cranberries and the Grey Poupon.  Mix it well and pour over the chops.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the pork chops are done.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Wow!  What a change in the weather.  From almost 90 degrees to 69 today and drizzling.  My two Grand daughters are here this week and yesterday we went to the pool, swimming and laying in the sun.  And now today, YUK!  But then, the rest of the country is really in a pickle so I guess we still are the lucky ones.

This morning I making one of my kid's favorites for the girls.  French toast surprise.  It is my take on the English Toad in the Hole breakfast.  They love it as did my children.  Try it for your family.  Good and good for you.


4 slices of thick sliced bread
4 eggs
2 more eggs
Nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon

Just in time for Easter you can use a bunny cookie cutter.  Take any shape cookie cutter and cut out in the center of the bread.  Beat two eggs with 1/8 cup of milk and the nutmeg.  In a skillet melt about 2 or 3 tbls of butter.  Dip the bread into the egg and cook on one side (also the cut out piece).  When nicely browned turn over, crack an egg into the cutout part of the bread, cover with a lid and cook until the egg is done.  Serve with the cutout part, side by side.  Serve with some fresh cut strawberries or any fruit that you like.  A little warm syrup on the French Toast.

Try this soon, I know everyone will love it.

Thanks for stopping in today.

Just for the record.  Christina loved having this dish this morning and all she kept saying was "Amazing Nonni, Amazing"  She loved it.

Monday, March 29, 2010


What a great weekend.  Our family get together for the 3 Birthday's was a huge success.  Weather was perfect.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  It is so nice to all get together and enjoy the day.

Today I am going to share a recipe that my Mom used to make.  Butter lettuce with bacon dressing.  I'm not sure what kind of lettuce she used but when I make it I use the Butter Lettuce because it seems to be the best. If you love bacon you will like this salad. Also it is a good change from everyday salads.


6 strips of bacon
1 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tsp salt
Black pepper (I like to give the grinder 3 to 4 good twists)
about 6 or 7 cups of Butter Lettuce (I use the bagged one)

Cook the bacon in a skillet until nice and crispy.  Add the vinegar and sugar and bring to a quick boil.  Remove from the stove.  Put the lettuce and tomatoes into a bowl, pour the bacon dressing over the top and toss.  Serve immediately.  This is great with just about any meat or chicken.  Be sure to have hot, crispy bread.  (it is almost like a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich).  I think your whole family will love this salad.

Have a great day

Friday, March 26, 2010


Hi everyone.  Well I am up to my elbows today so I am writing this early.  Today I am giving you a recipe for City Chicken, which isn't Chicken at all.  Most of you young un's probably never even heard of this dish.  I only know of it because my Mom and My Aunt used to make it all the time.  I never see it anywhere, nor have I heard of anyone making it.  I have not made it for a long time myself.  But while thinking about what recipe I could give you today I remembered this wonderful treat.  I'm sure there are a lot of recipes for this dish but this is the way my family always made it for us.  I hope you will try it.  It will be something really different for your family.


Serves 4

Have your butcher cut the Pork and the Veal into 1" cubes.  You will need 3 Pork and 2 Veal for each serving.  So 12 Pork cubes and 8 Veal cubes.  You will need 4 thick wooden skewers (your butcher may have those).  Put one Pork cube, one Veal, one Pork, one Veal and one Pork on each skewer.  Salt and pepper them.  Dip them into beaten eggs (2 should do it), then into flour coating them very well.  Let them set in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.  Remove from the refrigerator and wait 5 minutes.  In a large skillet put about 1/4 cup olive oil.  When hot turn the heat to medium and brown the "City Chicken" until nicely browned on all sides.  Place in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.  Bake in the oven covered at 350 degrees until done.  About an hour. (about 15 minutes before being done remove cover and finish baking). Serve with buttered noodles or rice, and a nice green vegetable.  Wonderful!

This is how the Sister's made it (my Mom and my Aunt).  I think everyone will like it.  If you don't like Veal you can use all Pork.  But the two together are really great.

Have a wonderful weekend.
See you on Monday

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Good morning.  What a day yesterday, house cleaned for hours, getting ready for the Party on Saturday.  Shopping today for food and beverages, baking the cakes on Friday, making food on Saturday.  Hopefully our beautiful weather will still be around.  I love doing all this prep and cooking.  I'm in heaven. We are having a real feast.  Celebrating three Birthdays means making 3 separate requests for food.  Each Birthday person gets their choice.  So we are having a real variety on Saturday.  Today however, I have new recipe for you that I made for myself for dinner last night.  It was great.  Give it a try I think your whole family will love it.


4 Chicken cutlets
8 green beans julienned
1 carrot julienned
1/2 red pepper julienned
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup fresh pineapple cut into small chunks
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cups cooked brown rice
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey

Blanch the beans, carrots, red pepper in boiling water for 2 minutes.  Remove and plunge into ice water. Remove and set aside.  Cook the rice.  When it is done melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.  Add the rice and all the veggies and cranberries.  Saute just for a few minutes.  Add the Pineapple and the Pine Nuts and stir.  In a small saucepan combine the pineapple juice and the honey.  Bring to a boil.  Add to the rice mixture and set aside with a cover on the pan.

Brush the cutlets with olive oil on both sides.  Salt and pepper each one.  Grill on your stovetop grill.  They take about 6 or 7 minutes.  Let set for a few minutes, then cut on a diagonal.  On a large platter, put the rice mixture.  Place the chicken on top.  When serving put a slice of fresh pineapple on each plate.

I hope you try this dish, it was really great and a different way to serve Chicken.

Thanks for stopping in today

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Hi everyone.  I can't believe it!  I posted on Facebook yesterday to remind everyone to get a FREE Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, then I forgot to get one myself.  Waw!  And yesterday was an Ice Cream kind of day.  Sunny and warm.  Too much going on I guess.

Today we are going the Chicken route once again.  This is one of my favorites.  I love the sauce and I am a big fan of any kind of mushrooms.  So this is something I made often for my family.  You can have it with mashed Potatoes, with Fettucini (which is how I like it).  The trick is to cook the Chicken quickly so it is very tender.  It looks like an elegant dish but is so easy and quick to make.


4 Boneless skinless chicken cutlets. (these are chicken breasts that are already pounded into nice round cutlets (in your Grocer's case made by Foster Farms) or you can pound your own
1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
Olive Oil
White Wine
Salt and Pepper

In a saucepan melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour to make a roux.  When smooth slowly add 3/4 cups warm cream, stir until smooth then add 1/4 cup of White Wine.  Cook until it thickens slightly.  Set aside.
Salt and pepper the cutlets.  Put 5 or 6 tbls of olive oil in a skillet.  When hot turn down the heat and cook the cutlets until browned on both sides.  Cook just until done. Remove from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.  Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and saute the mushrooms until tender.  Add the mushrooms to the Bechamel sauce and stir.  Plate the cutlets and pour some sauce with mushrooms over all.
I serve this with Fettucini.  Put the Fettucini on a large platter (3/4 lb cooked, add 1 tablespoon butter and 2 of olive oil to the pasta and toss)arrange the cutlets on top and spoon the mushrooms and sauce over all.  Top with a little chopped Italian parsley.  Mangia!  Bene!

A glass of White Wine.  What more could you ask for?  This is really a great dish.  Try it soon.

Thanks for stopping in today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Good morning.  Another beautiful day in Southern California.  What a great place to live.  It really is time to start cooking outside.  You can really do that all year here, but now it's time to get serious about grilling. When you think of grilling and cooking outside you probably think meat, chicken, even fish.  But don't overlook all the other things you cook on the grill.  All the vegetables, and even your bread.

So today just some tips on what to cook on the grill.

Make a mixture of olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper .  Mash the garlic.  Mix well.  Baste Peppers, Zucchini, Mushrooms with this mixture.

Red, Green, Yellow peppers.  Cut them into 1/4's removing the white and seeds.  Grill for about 5 minutes.

Corn on the cob, Remove the silk, close up with the husks.  Soak in water for about 10 minutes.  Put on the grill, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, turning to cook all sides.  Slather with a mixture of butter and crushed garlic, salt and pepper.  Or just plain butter.

Radicchio, Cut into 1/4's, brush with olive oil.  Grill for 5 or 6 minutes.  Salt and pepper.

Zucchini.  If they are large, cut into 1/4's or in half.  Use the garlic olive oil to baste.  Cook about 4 or 5 minutes.

Potatoes.  Wash thoroughly, cut into thick wedges about 1/4".  Cut an onion into the same thickness in slices.  Using a metal skewer put one slice of potato, one onion, until you have 3 potatoes and 2 onions.  Use a double folded piece of foil wrap, lay the skewer on the foil, add butter and salt and pepper.  Wrap up tightly and grill until potatoes are done about 10-15 minutes.  Make one per person.

You can grill mushrooms on a skewer.  Be sure to brush them with one of the olive oil mixtures.  Another great one is olive oil, juice of a lemon and salt and pepper.

You can do tomatoes, but be gentle and don't grill them very long.

Cut thick slices of Ciabatta, French Bread, Italian Bread.  Brown on both sides on the grill.  Remove and  rub with a clove of garlic and brush with olive oil.  Yummy!

Mix and match your veggies.  Grill several different ones, mix them together into a "salad".  Good way to get your kids to eat a lot of good vegetables.

Have a great day.  Get out on that grill.  Time for some new flavors.

Ciao for now

Monday, March 22, 2010


Hi everyone
Just made the Green Beans and Radicchio.  Don't they look yummy!



Good Morning everyone.  Today I am getting ready for a big Birthday Celebration this weekend.  We are having three Birthdays in one.  I am busy planning the menu and getting my shopping list ready.  My grand son Christopher asked me what we will have.  He is sixteen and always wants to know how I make things, what I am making, and loves to watch.  He loves to cook.  I keep telling him he should go to culinary school but he just wants to work on cars.  Maybe he will be the cook in his family.  His brother is a little interested in what I am cooking but only because he loves to eat.  He is more interested in getting ready to apply to the Railroad.  He graduates in June.

While I was planning the Saturday menu.  I thought about a recipe that my family always asked me to make.  I am not making it for the party but I thought it would be a good one to share with you today.  On second thought maybe I will make it for the party.


I used to make this with Yellow String Beans and Mustard Greens.  Years ago when I finally discovered Radicchio and it began being plentiful in the markets I started to use Green Beans.  I can't even remember how long ago that was.  Yikes!

Serves four as a side dish

About 8 to 10 oz of Green string beans
1 head of Radicchio
1/3 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
3 cloves of Garlic
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Snip the ends of the beans and leave them whole.  Blanch them in the water for 1 minute.  Remove immediately and plunge into ice water.  Drain on a paper towel.  In a large skillet, put 3 or 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil.  When hot put in the beans and saute just for about 2 minutes.  Add the sliced Garlic Cloves.  Cut the Radicchio into 1/4's and then 1/8's.  Add to the pan.  Add salt and pepper.  Add a little more Olive Oil to coat everything.  Saute until the Radicchio is nicely done and everything has a "crisp to it".  Don't overcook.

Great as a side dish with Chicken, Pork, Beef, even Fish.  I make it sometimes just as a meal for myself.

Thanks for stopping in today


I am so sorry. I am making this for dinner right now and I realized I left out an ingredient.  In a small saucepan heat until reduced by half 1/3 cup of Balsamic vinegar.  When veggies are done and plated drizzle the Balsamic vinegar over the top.


Welcome to Susan and Robb.  I hope you will enjoy my recipes.


What a whirlwind weekend.  Thanks heavens the weather was so beautiful.  My Grand daughter Christina won an award for the best essay.  Her sister Kate pitched another incredible softball game.  Christina was a star in her musical at school.  And she also had her last basketball game.  Talk about running around, you could get tired just thinking about that weekend.  But what a fun time.  My grand daughters have two amazing parents.

Today I have a great recipe for Pork Chops.  Quick and easy but oh so good.


4 - 3/4" Pork Chops
Italian Bread Crumbs
3 Eggs
Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
White Wine

Have 3 pie plates ready.  Put flour in one, the beaten eggs in another.  Mince up the Rosemary and add it to the bread crumbs and put it into the other plate.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Salt and pepper the pork chops on both sides.  Dip them into the flour on both sides, then into the egg, then into the bread crumbs. Set them aside for about 5 minutes.  (this keeps the coating from coming off when you fry them).  In a skillet, add about 3 or 4 tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  When hot quickly brown the chops on both sides.  Remove to a baking dish, and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour.  When they are done, remove from the oven and cover lightly with a piece of foil.  Add 1 cup of white wine to the skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and cook for about 3 minutes getting all the bits up from the pan.  Put the chops on a platter and pour the juice over them.  Top with a couple of sprigs of Rosemary.  Serve with roasted new potatoes and sauteed spinach.

Remember, Pork is the other White Meat!  And these chops are yummy.

Thanks for stopping in today

Friday, March 19, 2010


Good Morning California!  What beautiful weather you have in store for us this weekend. I'm lovin' it!
How lucky are we?  Some parts of the country are still battling storms, with snow and rain.  It was only 59 degrees in Florida yesterday at the Yankee game.  I will personally take California any day.

Today I have a great recipe that you can put together in about 10 minutes, pop into the oven and be ready to eat in about an hour and a half.  My Mom used to make this all the time.  I made it a lot especially on days that I took the kids to the beach all day.  We would get home about 4:00 PM.  I could get this in the oven and we would have a great dinner by six.  Life was good.


Serves 4

4 large 1/2 Chicken Breasts w/skin on
4 med Yukon Gold potatoes
Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Cut the potatoes in half. Put them into a bowl.  Add 3 cloves of minced garlic.  Take 3 or 4 Rosemary stems and take the Rosemary off the stems.  Salt and pepper.  Add about 4 or 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix until potatoes are well coated.  Cut 4 thick slices of Lemon and put one under the skin of each Chicken Breast.  Add one stem of Rosemary and 2 thin slices of Garlic.  Salt and pepper them all around.  Put the chicken in a dutch oven or a chicken fryer.  Put the Potatoes all around the Chicken.  Drizzle the Chicken with a little Olive Oil.  Put into a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour.  Remove the cover, stir the potatoes and continue cooking for another 1/2 hour uncovered or until everything is done.  Don't overcook the Chicken.  Yukon Gold potatoes cook fairly fast so both should be done at the same time.  Some fresh Green Beans are nice with dish.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I know it is still this week but I am going to give you a recipe that I am making next weekend.  We are celebrating 3 Birthdays here next Saturday.  Amy and George want my Chocolate Beet Cake (recipe on my blog), and Kate wants Angel Food Cake.  Now that may sound like (eh, plain old cake) to you, but you have not had MY version of Angel Food Cake. I have been making this cake for years because everyone really loves it.  It is fresh and so delicious.  I make it two different ways.  Both are included in my recipe today.

I used to make this for my daughter Linda's Birthday Parties when she was little, and now I am making it for her daughter.  God is good!


1 Angel Food Cake (boxed or home made)
1 pint of Whipping Cream )Yum!)
1 pint of sliced Strawberries
Chocolate Ganache, (You will need 9 oz bittersweet chocolate squares and 1 cup of heavy cream)

Bake the cake according to directions.  Let it cool.  Carefully slice off about 1" of the top, lay aside.  With a sharp  knife gently cut about 1/2" from the outside of the cake all around and the same on the inside by the hole in the cake.  Gently remove about 2 inches of the cake all around leaving a shell to fill.
Whip one pint of cream with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until very stiff.  Add one cup of sliced berries.  Gently fill the cavity of the cake to the top.  Replace the top of the cake.  Frost the top with Chocolate Ganache, letting it run down the sides.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE:  9 ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate and 1 cup of heavy cream.  Break the chocolate up into pieces, put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil being careful not to burn it.  Pour it over the chocolate and with a whisk, whisk it until it is shiny and smooth.  Add 1 tsp of vanilla and whisk again to mix.  Set aside to cool for a few minutes then pour a little to frost the top.  Spread evenly.  Add more and let it run down the sides.  Soo good!

Sometimes, instead of the Ganache, I frost the whole cake with Whipped Cream.  Can I say how really great it is that way also.

Whichever way you frost the cake put strawberries with stems all around the bottom of the cake on the platter.


Thanks for stopping in today

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Ahhhhh.  86 degrees in Mission Viejo yesterday.  All I can say is I'm in heaven.  And this morning looks just as beautiful.  In fact it is so nice I am fixing a wonderful breakfast to eat out on the Patio.  My very favorite thing to do.  So I am going to share my wonderful breakfast with you all.  Stuffed French Toast, one of my favorite things.  Also one of Linda's (my daughter) favorite things.  But then who doesn't like it.?  You can buy thick sliced bread at the market, but when I can, I go to a bakery, usually Panera, to get fresh French bread sliced thick.  Try this recipe at your house soon.  Perhaps this weekend.


serve 4

Thick slices of Bread (your choice) 8 slices
3 eggs
1/3 cup of milk
Mascarpone, Ricotta, or Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1/4 cup of cream
1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
Zest of one Orange
Orange Marmalade (1 heaping tablespoon for each)

Beat the eggs and the milk together, add the zest from the orange (reserve 1 tsp). In a small bowl add the cheese.  Cheese should be at room temp.  Cream the cheese until very soft, add the cream and one tablespoon of powdered sugar, the tsp of orange zest and beat by hand or with your mixer until smooth.  Pick out a little of the bread from each slice to make a small pocket to put the filling into. Divide the filling into 1/4's and fill 4 of the slices of bread.  Add a heaping tablespoon of Orange Marmalade ( I make my own) to each of the four slices.  Cheese and marmalade should be about 1/8" from the edges.  Cover with the other slice of bread.  In a skillet melt 4 or 5 tablespoons of butter.  Gently dip the bread into the egg mixture on both sides.  Cook on one side until nicely browned, then turn and cook on the other side.  Remove from the pan and put one on each plate.  Cut in half and dust with powdered sugar.  Serve with a slice of orange and warm syrup.

 You can also use fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, or blackberries.  Make one of each, cut in fourths and try them all.

If you are really hungry, you can add some bacon strips.  Make sure you have a hot cup of coffee or tea. It is so Yummy!  What a treat!

Thanks for stopping in today

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Good morning.  It was actually 86 here yesterday.  Hot!  Just the way I love it.  Please let it stay like this.  Warm California sunshine, nothing like it.

Today I have a dish that I served up on the spur of the moment on Friday, last.  It turned out to be quite tasty.  So I am adding it to my collection of tasty meals.  A lot of my recipes come just that way, thinking about what I can make for dinner, checking the refrigerator and the pantry and putting something together.  So here is today's recipe.  Hope you will try it and like as much as we did.


Serves 4

1 lb of Penne
2 tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese
Marinara sauce, about 2 cups
20 Shrimp raw, peeled and deveined
Chopped fresh Basil

Cook the pasta just until al dente (always). In a skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add the shrimp and saute just until done.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  Heat the Marinara sauce, add the Mascarpone cheese (that is at room temperature). Drain the pasta and quickly add the marinara sauce and the shrimp and toss to coat all.  Top with chopped fresh basil.

As always, serve with a salad, crispy hot bread and a glass of chilled White Wine.

This dish is light on the sauce and won't leave you feeling too full.  Easy and quick.  Good enough for company!

Thanks for stopping in today

Monday, March 15, 2010


Hi everyone.  What a weekend!  It was a whirlwind for sure, but one of the best kind.  Spent with family, doing crafts with Christina, and watching Kate's softball game.  Can that girl pitch!  She is amazing.

Today I have another family recipe, but this one started with me.  We love Beef Ribs and Polenta and Figs.  So one day while trying to think of a new way to cook the ribs I put the three things together and it turned out to be a favorite.  Some day maybe one or more of my Grandchildren will write about recipes from Nonni.  This is great comfort food.  I know you will like it.


Serves 4
8 good meaty Beef Ribs
3 cloves of Garlic
a small Onion chopped
Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Figs (4 Figs cut them half)
Good Red Wine

In a Dutch oven, put 4 to 5 tablespoons of Olive Oil.  Let it get hot.  Salt and pepper the Ribs and add to the Dutch oven.  Saute them until nicely browned all over.  Add 1/2 cup Wine, 1/2 cup water, the Garlic and one small Onion chopped.  Cover and put in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 45 minutes.  Check to see if the meat is very tender, if not turn the oven down to 325 and cook for another 40 to 45 minutes.  You want the meat to be really tender.  When the meat is done remove Dutch oven from the oven and set aside.  Make the quick Polenta according to directions adding 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and 2 tabls of butter.  Remove the Ribs to a plate and cover with foil.  To the juices in the pan add 1/4 cup red wine and 1 tsp sugar (you want to have at least 1 1/2 cups of liquid).   Cook for about 2 minutes.  Strain the liquid into a bowl to remove any pieces of onion etc.  Put back into the pan and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the Figs, cook for about three minutes over low heat.  Put about 1 cup of the Polenta on each plate, add two Ribs on top, put two halves of the Figs to the side and spoon some of the juice over all.  Plate the remaining three plates the same.

Serve with a green salad and a glass of good Red Wine.  Molte Bene!

Thanks for stopping in today

Friday, March 12, 2010


Thank heavens it's Friday.  I'm sure you all are looking forward to a beautiful weekend with no rain and temps in the 70's.  What could be better?  Today I have one of those great fish recipes of mine that will be perfect tonight or during our great, sunny weekend.  I said before I am not a great fan of fish so I am always trying to think of ways to make it more interesting.  This recipe today is great for summer grilling.  Salmon with a tangy sauce that has a little kick to it.  If you don't make it tonight or this weekend, be sure to try it on a beautiful, sunny day soon.  Get our there on your grills folks, Summer's on the way!


4 good sized pieces of Salmon or one large whole piece
Heinz Chili Sauce 1 cup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cloves of crushed garlic
about a scant tsp of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
juice and zest of one lemon

Use Reynolds heavy duty foil wrap and cut a piece large enough to double. Place the wrap in a baking dish.  Add the Salmon filets or the whole piece.  Mix all the ingredients together.  In a saucepan heat long enough just to melt the sugar.  Let it cool for about 5 minutes.  Pour over the Salmon.  Wrap the Salmon tightly in the foil making sure it is sealed all around.  Put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the refrigerator and let set while the grill is heating up.  Do not unwrap.  Place the package of Salmon on the grill and cook.  Grill on one side for about 15 minutes, turn over and grill for about 6 or 7 minutes more.  Turn back over and carefully open the package.  Check for doneness.  Leave foil wrap open.  When done, remove from the grill and serve.  I serve this with a spear of grilled Pineapple and a salad with lemon and olive oil dressing.  A glass of White Wine goes well also.

Have a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping in today

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Good morning.  I don't want to say too much but I think it may really be getting to be our beautiful Spring weather.  Another glorious day in Southern California today!

My Grandmother grew a lot of eggplant in the garden and she had a million different ways to prepare the beautiful purple globes.  Dipped in a batter and fried (one of my personal favorites), stuffed, caponata, and on and on.  I loved the stuffed ones that she made.  And she stuffed with many different things at different times.  One of my favorites is the recipe I have for you today.


1 very large eggplant
3 or 4 Italian sausages
1 small Onion chopped
3 cloves of Garlic chopped fine
4 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
Italian Parsley chopped
Basil chopped
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Cut the very end off of the eggplant.  Cut the eggplant in 1/2.  With a small paring knife cut around the eggplant close to the skin but leaving about 1/8" of the meat so it will keep it's shape when cooking.  Cut the flesh of the eggplant into small cubes.  In a skillet, heat about 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the eggplant and saute for about 10 minutes or until very tender.  Take out the eggplant and set aside.  Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the garlic and onions and saute until soft.  Remove the sausage from the casings and crumble up and add to the pan.  Saute until fully cooked.  Breaking it up into small pieces as you cook.  Add the tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped, the parsley and basil.  Cook for about 3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.  Put all of this into a bowl, add the eggplant, the bread crumbs and the cheese.  Mix well.  Put into the eggplant shells.  Put into a baking dish.  Add 1/4 cup of wine mixed with 1/4 cup of water to the dish.  Cover and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  Remove cover and continue baking for about 10 more minutes until the eggplant is done.

Serve with a Salad and a glass of crisp White Wine. Also some hot Garlic Bread wouldn't hurt :)

Thanks for stopping in today

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Good morning America!  Another beautiful day in store for us today.  Talking about my Grandmother and her cooking yesterday brought to mind more of her recipes.  The thing is, I don't think she ever thought of them as recipes, I think they were just meals that she made.  There were no recipe books, no cooking shows on TV.  Just "recipes" that had been handed down for generations.  Orzo was used a lot, especially in soups, and in salads.  It was also, along with Pastina, one of the first pasta's I had as a baby.  When I was a baby and when my children were babies, Pastina was one of the first foods.  The same with Orzo.  For those not familiar with Orzo, it is a sort of long diamond shaped pasta, very small, kind of like a large piece of rice.  It is so versatile.  I use it in my home made Chicken Soup instead of noodles or rice.  Also in a variety of salads.  One of those salads is today's recipe.  We used to have it a lot in the summer when all the vegetables were at their peak.  I make it a lot in the summer too.


3 1/2 cups of Orzo
4 Roma Tomatoes seeded and diced
1 bunch of Asparagus blanched just to tender crisp (cut into 1" pieces)
Salt and pepper
1/2 bunch of parsley chopped very fine about 1/4 cup
1 container of the small fresh Mozzarella balls (they are about the size of a penny )
Chopped Basil about 1/2 cup
3/4 cup chopped, toasted Walnuts or Pine Nuts or a mixture of both (we used to love to help crack the Walnuts when we were kids)
10 to 12 Kalamata olives cut in 1/4

Cook the Orzo in boiling water just until al dente about 5 or 6 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Remove from the water, drain and put into a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Stir to mix and set aside to cool.  Make a dressing of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 3/4 cup of olive oil.  When the Orzo is completely cooled, add the Tomatoes, Asparagus, Parsley, Basil, Walnuts, Olives, Cheese.  Pour the dressing over all and mix.
Salt and pepper to taste.  You can refrigerate the cooled Orzo for about 20 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.  On a large platter arrange a bed of Spring Greens mix.  Put the cooled Orzo Salad on top and serve.

A great Salad anytime.  Also when you have a crowd.  Something different for your Buffet.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Good morning everyone.  Looks like a sunny day in Southern California today.  Yippee!  If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, you know about my childhood and living in the big house with my Grandparents etc.  Breakfast was always a huge meal before my Dad and everyone went out selling the vegetables.  They had a long day ahead of them and they needed a good start.  So my Nona would be at the stove bright and early in the morning, way before I was up.  But the smells of what what she was cooking was all I usually needed to wake me up and get downstairs.  One of the most wonderful Breakfast's that she made is the recipe that I bring you today.  I don't know if she just made up these things or probably had them growing up herself.  She would make up a quick batch of simple sauce with tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil from the garden, some salt and pepper and cook it for about an hour while she got the potatoes ready.


Thick slices of Italian bread toasted
Fresh Basil
Potatoes, onions, garlic, salt and pepper

She cut the potatoes in thick slices and fried them in a big skillet with the onions and garlic.  While the sauce and the potatoes were cooking she toasted the thick slices of bread in the oven.  You can use your own Marinara sauce or the recipe I have posted previously.

When the sauce and the potatoes were done, she lined up the toast, put some sauce on it and topped it with a fried egg, over easy.  She topped it with parmesan and some chopped basil.  Served with a side of the potatoes and hot coffee.  Then sent them out to sell the vegetables.

That my friends is a Breakfast!  Make it for your family some Saturday or Sunday morning.  Molte Bene!

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Monday, March 8, 2010


Good morning everyone.  Well we got a break for Oscar night.  Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day.  Must have rained last night because the ground is wet, but it is actually warm out this morning.  It means Spring is truly here.  Warm weather will come flooding into California and all will be right with Mother Nature.

I have told you before about my Grandmother's big Garden and how we literally lived off of the land.  This is almost the time of year when the Asparagus was really plentiful.  And when our first crop was ready to pick, today's recipe is the dish we would have to celebrate.  The "Asparago" are ready.  Time to enjoy!  So this is one of the first dishes with Asparagus that she would make.  Cheesy Rigatoni, (my personal favorite), cream and Asparagus.  When I was little, I called the Rigatoni, "Stovepipes", I thought that is what they looked like to me.  Anyway try it soon, it is truly delicious.  And again, so easy.


8 to 10 stalks of trimmed Asparagus cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
3/4 cup heavy Cream
1 pound Rigatoni
Salt and pepper

Blanch the Asparagus in boiling water just for a minute or two until tender, crisp.  Quickly drain and put into ice water.  Drain.  In just about 1/2 tablespoon of butter, saute the Aspargus just to heat.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Cook pasta just until al dente.  Heat the cream until warm.  Drain the pasta, put into a large bowl, add the cream the cheese and asparagus and toss to make a creamy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.  Serve with a salad and hot bread.  Molte bene!

I think I will make this tonight.  It is truly one of my favorites and brings back so many warm, wonderful memories.  Make a Memory of your own with this dish for your family.

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Friday, March 5, 2010


Hi everyone.  I guess I am not going to get my wish for a dry weekend.  If it does rain today at least I am going to be in the house making Strawberry jelly today.  Yummy!  It is the best.  I make about 100 jars every season starting now.  Also Blackberry, Red Raspberry, and Peach Marmalade.  I love making jelly.  And you can't buy jelly that tastes this good anywhere.  Yum!

  I am getting a lot of requests for fish so today, as yesterday I have another fish recipe.  It is my own recipe.  Really good even if you are not a big fan of fish.  There are only certain kinds of fish that I really like.  I love marinated swordfish on the grill (tastes like steak), filet of sole, of course fish and chips (if they are not greasy).  Halibut is mild so that is why I came up with this recipe.  Done on the grill with this "topping" makes a wonderful dish.


Serves 4

4 pieces of fresh Halibut
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 garlic clove minced fine
chopped basil
chopped parsley
olive oil
White wine 1/4 cup

In a large skillet saute 1 onion finely chopped in about 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the garlic and cook until soft.  Add the canned tomatoes, wine, and cook over low heat until it starts to thicken slightly.  In the meantime on your stovetop grill, outside grill or in another pan cook the halibut (that has been salted and peppered) until it is done.  Add the chopped parsley and basil to the tomato mixture.  Cook for a few minutes.  Remove Halibut to a serving platter and spoon the tomato mixture over the fish.  Serve with your favorite rice.

Fresh and delicious.  And as always, good for you.  Try it tonight.  Even your kids will love this dish.

Thanks for stopping in today.  Have a great weekend.  Keep dry.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Hi everyone.  What a great day yesterday turned out to be.  Again a good day to take the puppies to the dog park in Irvine, but it is closed on Wednesday.  Hopefully today will be a nice day.  Looks like rain for the weekend.  Ugh!  I am over the rain bit.  A sunny weekend would be really nice.  But again, compared to other parts of the country and the world, stop your crying, Grayce :D

Today I have a quick, delicious recipe for Swordfish.  So quick, so easy, so tasty.  I hope you try it soon.


Serves Four

4 Pieces of Swordfish
YaSoy Marinade (all the markets have this)
Brown Rice or Wild Rice

Put the marinade and the swordfish in a plastic bag and let marinate for at least one half hour.  On your stovetop grill or outdoor grill, grill the fish.  Top with the Mango salsa from one of my previous blogs.
Serve with brown rice.  Some fresh grilled asparagus.  Crispy bread and a glass of chilled white wine.  What a great meal in less than a half hour. Tasty and good for you.

That's what I am having Friday night.  Delicious!

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Well yesterday turned out to be a really nice sunny day in Ca.  We are so lucky here (so far) compared to other parts of the country, not to mention other parts of the World.  The latest disaster in Chile is very scary, especially since that horrible earthquake has tilted the earth on it's axis.  Can that really happen?  Good heavens.  The disasters are happening way too often to suit me.  All our prayers go out to the victims of the quake in Chile.  My daughter-in-law, Lorena is from Chile and her whole family is there.  Fortunately they were all spared any damage.

Well today I have another recipe for Filet of Sole.  It is quick and easy and really tasty.


6 pieces of Filet of Sole
18 washed and trimmed Asparagus spears
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 Lemon
3 tbls butter
3 tbls flour
Parmesan cheese

Make a roux of 3 tabls butter and 3 tbls flour. Slowly add 1 cup hot chicken broth.   Season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Trim 18 stalks of Asparagus saute in butter for just about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the Filets with salt and pepper.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the Filets. Take 3 stalks of Asparagus and place on a filet.  Roll up and place into a buttered baking dish. Repeat with remaining 5 filets.  Pour the sauce over all and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees or until fish is done and flakes easily.

I think everyone in your family will love this dish.  Serve it with your favorite rice.  Spoon some of the sauce over the rice.  Serve with a nice salad.  A great dinner for this Friday night for those of us not eating meat during Lent (on Fridays).

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Hi everyone.  Do you ever get tired of making a big dinner and would like to just make something simple? But then you think, that won't be enough of a dinner for my family.  Well today I have a recipe of mine for a really well balanced meal that is both filling and satisfying, not to mention really delicious.  Great for a Sunday brunch, a late afternoon or anytime really.


Serves four

1 loaf of good Ciabatta
2 whole Chicken Breasts cut in half
Roasted red Peppers cut into strips
2 large ripe Plums
2 large ripe Nectarines
Fresh Pineapple

Prepare the fruit for grilling.  Cut the Nectarines and Plums in half.  Cut thick slices of Pineapple.

Flatten the Chicken just a little, salt and pepper the chicken.  Grill it on your stove top grill or outside.  Set aside.  Cut the Ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise.  Brush with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove from the oven and spread with mixture of half Pesto and half Mayo on both sides.  Put slices together and cut in half and then cut each half in half again to make 4 sandwiches.  Open bread and on one half put the chicken breast,  then 3 or 4 slices of Brie, then the roasted Red Peppers, then about a handful of Arugula.  Top with the other half of the Ciabatta.

Place the Plums and Nectarines face down on the grill.  Put the Pineapple slices on the grill.  Grill until nicely browned with grill marks.

On each plate place the Chicken sandwich, 1/2 plum, 1/2 of nectarine and slice of pineapple.  Drizzle the fruit with honey.

If you want to make the fruit your dessert.  Drizzle with honey and top with whipped cream.  YUMMY and good for you.

Thanks for stopping in today.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Hi everyone. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.  After the rain on Saturday, Sunday turned out to be the perfect Spring day.  Summer is coming.  I promise.

I am always trying to find ways to perk up vegetables and serve them in some other way.  A long time ago when all my children were home, I experimented with this dish and it turned out to be a great way to fix veggies.  It makes a great side dish or you could serve it for lunch with a salad and some toasty bread.  I think you will like this a lot.


1 quart casserole buttered
About 3 oz of Mascarpone cheese (room temp)
1 1/4 cups of Ricotta (room temp)
2 eggs beaten
Juice of one lemon
3/4 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/4 of an onion minced very fine
1tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 cups of cooked vegetables.  Get the packaged mixed veggies of your choice.  Cook and drain. (cook just until al dente.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Blend the Mascarpone, Ricotta until smooth.  Mix in the eggs, lemon juice, Herbes de Provence, onion salt and pepper.  Add the cooked vegetables (well drained) and mix in gently.
Pour into the buttered casserole.  Cover casserole with a mixture of bread crumbs and melted butter.
Bake for about 25  to 30 minutes until bubbly.

A great way to serve vegetables.  And quick and easy.  Great with Chicken, Pork Chops even Fish.  Try it soon.

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