Sunday, December 11, 2011

Braised Cabbage and Applewood Smoked Bacon

A winter, side-dish option full of flavor!

Cabbage is one of the most popular winter vegetables in Italy, and rightly so. Here is one of the most incredible tasting side dishes for your holiday meals, or great as the stuffing for dumplings. And, because whenever there are mashed potatoes on my plate, I have to mix everything else with them, so that's what I did with the cabbage. Old habits die hard... ;-)



1 head of cabbage (shredded, or sliced very thinly)
1 red onions (sliced very thinly, 
1 large carrot (sliced into thin ribbons with vegetable peeler)
1/4 lb. of smoked applewood bacon (cut into small lardons- 1/2-inch pieces)
2 cloves of garlic (pushed through garlic press)
1 tbsp.butter 
3-5 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of brown sugar
 sea salt, cracked pepper to taste.


1.) In a 12-inch saute pan, crisp the bacon on medium-high heat. 
2.) Add the onions and sweat down for about 5-7 minutes.
3.)  Add the shredded cabbage,carrot ribbons, garlic, butter, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and salt & pepper. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, turn heat down to low and cover. 
4.) Allow cabbage to braise in the liquid for about 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until cabbage and onions are very tender and translucent.  

*Serve hot, room temperature, or even cold. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alcupulco-Style Chili Verde

Organic tomatillos from our garden, 2011

My roots are Italian, so that's my culinary comfort zone, but my taste buds do wander...and this time, it's south of the border. We harvested hundreds, and I mean hundreds of tomatillos from the garden this fall. 

So, the challenge was to make something else besides, salsa verde. And, who doesn't love green chili? I, actually, think I like it more than red chili. It has chunks of fork-tender pork (shoulder), tomatillos, lots of garlic, onions, chicken stock, and don't forget all those roasted jalapenos and green chili peppers. Plus, a few serranos for some kick!

 It stews for about 3 hours, but it is SO worth the wait. I served it with a fried potato strata wedge. This is my second huge batch I made, and we have enough tomatillos for one more batch, which I think I'll freeze for later.

Recipe to follow soon!

Organic serrano peppers from our garden, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Garlic Roasted Calabaza

Calabaza with roasted garlic olive oil and white wine. So simple, but tastes divine! I like it chopped up and put into a chicken soup, too.  Perfetto!


3 pounds of calabaza (or butternut squash)
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter (melted)
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of dry white wine
3-4 sprigs of thyme


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.Lightly, smash garlic with the side of a chef's knife (just enough to crack garlic and release it's aroma) Combine the olive oil, butter, wine, thyme and a small bowl. Slice the calabaza in to two inch wedges.  Pour olive oil mixture over calabaza wedges and thoroughly coat. Arrange (with the olive oil mixture) on a large baking dish and bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes and until you see the calabaza start to caramelize.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Three to Tango! - Red Velvet Tres Leches Cake

Okay, I admittedly have a sentimental attachment to cannoli cake. After all, it shows up at every celebration, and sometimes for no reason at all.. But, after cannoli cake, tres leches is my second favorite, hands down!  This version combines the Southern classic, Red Velvet Cake with a Spanish classic, Tres Leches.  Top with a lightly sweetened  cinnamon whipped cream for a little extra decadence!  Aww, heck, why not?!

Peppers and Italian Sausage!

The historic Mediterranean struggle against hunger resulted in a vast repertoire of fresh, dried, and salted sausages and cured meats. Although the origin of sausages is to be found in the classical period, if not earlier, it was during the Middle Ages that sausage-making abounded. Salt meat often took the form of sausages, and the sausage peddler in Italian towns was a familiar character.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seared Chicken with a Sage&Walnut Gorgonzola Sauce

Grilled foods are one of the signatures of Tuscany!

On a bed of Italian Baby Zucchini. Topped with Grilled Pear/Walnut and Radish Sprouts Salad.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mulberry Street Meatballs

Nothing says Sunday like a fantastic meatball!


2 pounds of  ground beef (80/20)
2  pounds  of ground pork
1 loaf of day old bread  (torn into small pieces)
Organic tomatoes from my garden 2011
1 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, (grated)
2 eggs (beaten)
½  cup of milk ( or a little more, if needed to soak bread)
4-5 cloves of garlic, (minced finely, or pushed through a garlic press)
2 cups of plain breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon of sea salt
¼ cup  of fresh parsley, (chopped finely)
1 tablespoon of chili pepper flakes


1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.) In a very large mixing bowl, mix ground beef and ground pork together with your hands.  In a separate bowl, combine the bread pieces, milk, grated cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes and mash with a fork. Mixture will be like a mush.

3.) Add to meat mixture, then add beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.  Do not over mix or meatballs will be too dense.

4.) Heat a skillet pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Pour breadcrumbs into a wide, shallow bowl.

5.) Form the meat mixture into meatballs and then roll in the dry breadcrumbs.

6.)  Quickly fry until browned, turning often to ensure even cooking. This should take about 6-7 minutes.  You just want to brown the outsides, as they will finish off in the oven in a baking pan. Remove from pan and set on a paper towel -lined plate.

7.) Line a baking pan with as many meatballs as you can fit and bake for another 25-30 minutes.  Check for doneness, as oven vary.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

White Peach Clafoutis


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup of cherries, blueberries, peaches, etc...
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine in a bowl the flour, salt, eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Process for about 45 - 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the batter is completely smooth, dump in the fruit and give a couple stirs. Not too much. You can also drop some fruit right on top for a pretty presentation.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rustic Breakfast Flatbreads Trio

A great way to use up leftover greens!

1.) Egg & Greens (Joe Morelli Style) with fried egg 2.) Caramelized Onions & Zucchini 3.) Greens & Beans with Cherry Tomatoes. (egg not shown for last two pizzas.) Pizza della bianco with garlic and sharp provolone cheese.

Egg & Greens Pizza was made using leftover greens.  So delizioso!!!

Italian Greens ~ A leftover's best friend!

Utica Greens (Deluxe Version)

·        3 heads of escarole(rinsed)
·        2 tablespoons of olive oil
·        2 cloves of garlic (pushed through a garlic press)
·        5-8 Hot cherry peppers (roughly chopped; quantity depending on how much heat you like)
·        5 -7 slices of Prosciutto, torn into 2 inch pieces
·        1 cup of plain bread crumbs, (not Italian.)
·        1 cup of artichoke hearts (quartered)
·        2 cups of mini Portobello mushrooms, (quartered)
·        ¼ cup of grated cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano) optional, but who doesn’t love cheese??

1. Cut the bottom of each escarole head, and chop into large (4 square-inch sized) pieces.  Steam the escarole in a wire basket over a large pot of boiling water (2 inches of water) for about 7-8 minutes, or until limp and still a bit firm.  It will reduce greatly as it steams. (Do not boil the romaine, as it may get to mushy)
2. Meanwhile, in a 12 in skillet, crisp the prosciutto, first.  Next, add the hot cherry peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, and garlic on low heat in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3. Next, with tongs, remove the escarole from the wire basket and add it to the sauté and toss, turning quite a bit so the ingredients incorporate.
4. Sprinkle in the bread crumbs liberally and toss, thoroughly.  (The breadcrumbs give a nice, fuller- bodied texture you want.)
5. Sprinkle in the grated cheese and toss again.
6.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes, so the dish can blossom. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

West Village Beouf Bourguignon

French cuisine has definitely raised my standards in terms of technique, and the labor of love that goes into French food.

One of my favorite dishes that takes me right back to the South of France is Beef Bourguignon (Beouf). I used to make this in my little apartment in the West Village of Manhattan and share with the neighbors in my complex. Needless to say, I made fast friends! You must marinate the beef overnight in red wine (Burgundy), but trust me, this extra step pays off in flavor! This is not a beef stew; the gravy is rich and velvety, and the flavor is much more complex and caressed! Bon Appetit!!

Brings the South of France in your own home!


* 1 large onion, quartered
* 2 carrots, peeled and halved
* 2 ribs celery, halved
* 5 cloves garlic, smashed
* 1 (750 ml) bottle Burgundy Wine
* 3 fresh bay leaves

 * 4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
* Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat pan
* Kosher salt
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 8 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons
* 2 cups of pearl onions
 * 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 2 cups Burgundy Wine (reserved marinade)
* 3 to 4 cups beef stock, plus more as needed
* 3 bay leaves
* 1 bundle fresh thyme
* 1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
* 1 pound red bliss potatoes, halved
* 1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish


*For the marinade: Combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, and wine in a large bowl or container. Add the beef, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Cook's Note: This is a really important step, it makes a huge flavor difference.
For the stew: Remove the beef from the marinade. Strain the veggies and bay leaves from the wine and discard, but reserving the wine.


1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.) Coat a large, wide pan or Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Season the beef generously with salt and toss with flour. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan, but be sure not to crowd the pan, so you will need to work in batches. Cook's Note: Do not flour the beef until you're ready to brown it.

3.) Brown the meat well on all sides and remove from the pan to a sheet tray.

4.)Add the bacon and cook until it gets brown and crispy. Toss in the pearl onions, carrots, celery, and season with salt. 

5.) Cook the mixture for 8 to10 minutes or until the mixture starts to soften and become very aromatic. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

6.) Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

7.) Add 2 cups reserved wine and the beef. Stir to combine and cook until the wine has reduced by 1/2. 

8.) Add the beef stock to just cover the surface of the beef. 

9.) Toss in the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Season with salt, if needed. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pot and put in the preheated oven.

10.) Cook the beef 2 hours, checking occasionally to add more stock, if needed. During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, add the mushrooms, potatoes, and more stock, if needed.

11.) Remove the pan from the oven, and skim off any excess grease from the surface of the stew. Serve with crusty bread to sop up all the sauce and garnish with chopped fresh chives

Bon Appetit!!


Roasted Buttternut Squash & Italian Sausage Fettuccini

This ragu is rich and subtle at the same time, and the beauty of this dish is that it manages to be soul warming without being overly heavy. The coaxed sweetness from the roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, and caramelized onions is nicely contrasted by the savory richness of the Italian Sausage, which offers a hefty body to an otherwise smooth and creamy sauce. 

 It is rustic, yet full of nuances with an unexpected crunch from the toasted walnuts, and the aromatic,crispy fried sage that tops the dish.  A final drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are perfect finishing touches.  

This rustic, pasta dish pairs sweet and savory, and is purely flavored. Surely, a great pasta dish to have in your everyday arsenal! 

 Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomatillos in a basket (from our garden)

From just 4 tomatillo plants, he harvested HUNDREDS of tomatillos this year from the garden!  Amazing yield! Better buy some chips; looks like salsa verde is on the menu!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tomato & Gorgonzola Bruschetta

                                                                         Bruschetta Topping
                                                                    (pronounced- broos-ketta)

Ingredients from our garden: Cherry tomatoes, basil
Additional: EV olive Oil, garlic, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, ciabatta bread.

 Preheat oven to 350 degree. Slice baguette into 1/2 in slices. Toast lightly for a few minutes. Sliice the tip of a clove of garlic and rub each piece of toasted baguette with the garlic so it melts a bit into the bread. Halve the cherry tomatoes and toss with the pesto and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. this will loosen it up a bit. Top the baguette slices. Top with about a teaspoon of crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Return to oven and toast until the cheese starts to melt just a bit. That's it! This is my favorite bruschetta!! The gorgonzola has just enough strength to stand up to the pesto, with just a whisper of garlic on the chewy baguette bed. Perfection!

Buon Appetito! And, whatever you do, DO NOT pronounce it (brooshetta!) There is no such thing in Italian! Thank you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Arugula Walnut Pesto

Genoa, Italy is notably famous for its pesto. And, why not? It's the perfect, fresh condiment, and this arugula walnut pesto is an interesting alternative to its more famous sibling, the basil pesto. I like it on a steak sandwich, tossed with some linguine, or just a simple bruschetta, tossed with sliced cherry tomatoes and a mild cheese. Plus, you can freeze whatever you don't use!
Buon Appetito!

 Ingredients: 3 cups of fresh organic arugula, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup of walnuts, 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sea salt, cracked pepper.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lindsay Olive Branches- Love This Recipe Contest!

*2 packages of your favorite store-bought refrigerated breadstick dough
*1 jar (6oz) Lindsay Greek Kalamata Olives (drained)
*1 tablespoon of capers
*1 cloves of garlic (pushed through a garlic press)
*½ cup of shredded mozzarella
*1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
*½ teaspoon of sea salt
*¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper
*1 beaten egg ( for egg wash)
*2 tablespoon of flour to dust work surface
*2 tablespoons of semolina flour for dusting olive branches

Preheat oven (and pizza stone) to 400 degrees.  If you do not have a pizza stone, just use a cookie sheet.  In a food processor, combine the olives, capers, garlic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Pulse until mixture is finely chopped, but not a puree. It should look like a chunky tapenade.   Set aside.  On a lightly floured surface, rollout one of the cans of bread sticks. It should look like a large rectangle.  Do not separate the dough yet.  Spread the olive mixture onto the layer of bread dough, leaving a half inch border around all sides.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the olive  spread. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the olive spread. Open the other can of bread sticks and spread out the dough on top of the first olive-topped dough. Press down gently.  Gently pinch the perimeter of the dough to form a seal around the top and bottom dough.  With a pizza cutter, slice the stuffed dough half inch strips. You should get about twelve.  To twist each strip, hold one end and with your other hand, carefully turn a few times until the branch has a five or so twists in it.  Continue with the other branches.  Brush each branch with an egg wash, then lightly dust with semolina flour (you may substitute fine corn meal).  Place branches on pizza stone, or cookie sheet and bake for 10m minutes, or until you see them turning a nice golden color.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.    So simple and delicious, why not give someone an olive branch today!  Buon Appetito!

Olive Tapenade Rollatini - Love This Recipe Contest! with Lindsay Olives

Ingredients: Lindsay green Spanish Olives, garlic cloves, capers, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, pizza dough, grated provolone cheese, egg wash, semolina flour for dusting.

Anyone that knows me, knows of my love affair with olives. I could, actually, eat this olive tapenade just with a spoon, but I showed restraint and made this rollatini. Those that grew up in Upstate NY, like myself, are quite familiar with the sausage/antipasto/spinach loaves that invariable show up at every birthday/graduation/anything party. To us, these delicious loaves are as ubiquitous as pizza. So, the olive tapenade rollatini is my personal stamp on a hometown comfort classic. Buon appetito! xo

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Oven-Dried Tomatoes

One of my favorite snacks is sun-dried tomatoes. They are add so much depth to recipes, antipasti platters, or even on grilled cheese or deli sandwiches (sangwiches, as we call them where I grew up). Why pay $7-8 a pound at the salumeria when you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost? 

 I like to buy a boatload of Roma tomatoes when the go on sale and make a huge batch of these oven-dried tomatoes. Try it; it's such a cinch! you'll never go back to paying an arm and a leg for these babies again!


3-4pounds of Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup of Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of chopped fFresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
3-4  garlic cloves.(smashed)


 Slice tomatoes in half, toss in olive oil and sea salt, slow- roast on 200 degrees for 6-7 hours. 

When leathery and dehydrated, dump into a small bowl and add more olive oil and about 4-5 smashed garlic cloves and cover. Refrigerate. Allow to blossom overnight.) 

Amazing on a sandwich, in a pasta dish, salads, or just all on their own!  They are little flavor bombs that really pack a kapow punch!! 

 Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ensalata de Fagioli

My grandparents had the most respectable fruit and vegetable garden. And, the pole beans seems to shoot up for miles. We would sit in the back yard and eat them right off the vine; we didn't care about washing them, or anything. This is, absolutely,one of my favorite salads. The beans are blanched, so they are tender, with a little crunch, still. You could use dried basil if you do not have your own pesto, but I happen to have a bunch of it, so it's what I used. I have to say, the combination of the pesto with the balsamic vinegar is what really makes this dish. Be careful not to use too much balsamic (only a cap), as it is sweet. Summer is right around the corner, so you should really try this! Salute!


*1 pound of organic green string beans (trimmed)
*3 tablespoons of basil pesto
Organic pole beans from our garden, 2011
*2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
*2 tablespoons for balsamic vinegar
* ½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1.) In a large pot, bring water to a boil and salt water liberally.  Add the beans and blanch until they are limp but still have a little snap.
2.) Create an ice bath with a large bowl, a few cups of cold water and ice cubes, filling about 1/2 of bowl.
3.) When beans are blanched, strain water and add beans to the ice cubes.  This will shock the beans so they stop cooking.
4.) In a small bowl, add pesto, garlic powder, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Stir to incorporate.
5.) Transfer cooled beans to a clean, large bowl and toss thoroughly with pesto/basil vinaigrette.
6.)  Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes to blossom.
7.) Serve at room temperature, warm, or cold.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Some Like it Hot! - Giardiniera Deep Dish Pizzettes

Crunchy, crisp crust on the outside and gooey on the inside!

Perfect for entertaining, this recipe strikes just the right balance balance of heat & pungency, tempered by the richness of the creamy, vodka marinara sauce.

Simmering the Mezzetta Hot Mix and Spanish olives in the vodka marinara sauce first, creates an interesting and unique depth that blossoms as the pickling juices release into the sauce. Layering the pizzettes with mozzarella adds a playful, gooey-stringiness that everyone loves! A mini deep dish, (formed using ramekins,) is the perfect vehicle for these ingredients, as the crust is a thick and sturdy canvas, enough to stand up the heartiness of the Hot Mix Salad. 

These pizzettes are the perfect party-pleaser that serves elegantly, and will pique the curiosity of your guests, and the real measure of success is everyone will want a copy of the recipe!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roasted Carrot Gnocchi with Toasted Walnut & Sage Beurre Blanc

Carrots, whole wheat flour, 1 egg, garlic, walnuts, sage, butter, shallots, white wine, white wine vinegar, sea salt, pepper. Serve with grated Parmigiano or Asiago cheese.

Nothing beats the taste of freshly made pasta. I don't care how gourmet the box says it's brand is. Whatever... Fresh is best, and it's SO simple to make. And, everybody had a bag of carrots in their fridge. No? So, why not combine roasted carrots, puree them, and knead with flour and one egg? It's a nice change-up to traditional potato gnocchi.

 In fact, carrot gnocchi is very popular in Friuli, Northeastern Italy, just south of Venice. You can also try butternut squash or pumpkin gnocchi. I paired it with a beurre blanc, which traditionally does not have walnuts or sage, that was my little tasty twist. They're like fluffy pillows of goodness. Make them!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Warm Sicilian Potato Salad (Spiked with Horseradish and topped with Bean Sprouts)

This low-fat, flavorful recipe is an adaptation of my family's Warm Sicilian Potato Salad. This salad serves as a substantial bed for chicken, beef, pork, or fish, yet it's deserving enough to stand on its own with its complex texture and zesty personality. This Sicilian salad can be served warm, room temperature, or cold.
You can add a splash of white wine vinegar if you want it a little tangier. If you wish to add a little crunch, add some chopped water chestnuts and toasted pine nuts.  Chopped green olives are a perfect edition, as well.

I LOVE this salad way more than any potato salad with mayonnaise.You'll find that it has even blossomed the day after, that's if there are any leftovers!
 Buon Appetito!


5 Russett Potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic (pushed through a garlic press)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of chopped water chestnuts
1/4 cup capers
2 tablespoons horseradish
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt (fine)
1-2 splash white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2 cups bean sprouts (for topping)

  1. Peel and chop the Russett Potatoes into 2 inch pieces, and boil until tender.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the garlic, kosher sea salt, and anchovy paste in a mortar and grind with the pestle into a paste.
  3. Add the extra virgin olive oil, horseradish, and a splash of white wine vinegar. Stir to incorporate and set aside.
  4. When the potatoes are tender, drain in a colander and empty into a large bowl.
  5. Pour the olive oil emulsion over the potatoes and mix thoroughly, allowing some of the potatoes to smash a bit, and some to stay firm.
  6. Add the water chestnuts, pine nuts, capers, parsley and cracked pepper. Stir to incorporate.
  7. Serve in individual dishes and top with zesty bean sprouts.