Saturday, November 24, 2018

Torta Caprese

 
Proverbio Italiano of the day
"Meglio da solo, che male accompagnato." 
 
Meaning: Better alone, than with bad company. Growing up my mom would always tell us this when choosing friends. 

When the holidays come around, one of my favorite things to do is cook and bake new recipes. This particular dessert seemed too delicious to pass up, and so I looked up various recipes and then made it my own. 

It's moist, fudgy, and pretty with the crackles on the top layer. It also is gluten-free since the ground up almonds is used as a substitute for flour. 

You might have to make more than one... mine was finished in one night! ;) Buon Appetito!


 Ingredients  
 
  12 on unblanched whole almonds
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter
6 large eggs
confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
2 tbsp rum (optional)


let's make it 

1. Preheat oven to 325
°. 

2. Butter a cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. 

3. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl and melt in a microwave. You can also place them onto a pan on the stove and melt that way.  

4. In grinder or food processor, place the almonds and grind them up until the consistency is like flour. Set aside.

5. In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks. Gradually beat in 10 tbsp of sugar. Add the chocolate and butter mixture, and mix well. 

6. Add the ground up almonds into the mixture. Finally, add the rum and mix well. 

7. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until firm peaks are formed. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture and mix well. 

8. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 55 minutes. It will begin to form cracks on the top. You can stick a toothpick in the center to check if it is baked on the inside. When the toothpick is dry and not sticky, the cake is done.  

9. Once the cake is cooled, sprinkle on confectioner's sugar.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Classic Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Proverbio Italiano of the day
"Pensa u buono... e vene u buone."


Meaning: Think of the good, and the good will come.

Sometimes dinner needs to be quick. But that doesn't mean taste and quality needs to be sacrificed. 

On nights when we just don't know what to make (because we've exhausted every idea throughout the week) these easy, and super quick cheesesteak sandwiches save the night. 

Be sure to make plenty... they will be gone by the time you turn around to make some more ;). Buon Appetito!

 Ingredients  
 
3-4 italian sub rolls
1/2 lb shaved beef meat
1 white onion
1-2 green bell peppers
2 teaspoons garlic
slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper


let's make it 

1. Heat up large saute pan over medium heat. 

2. Drizzle olive oil in pan. 

3. Chop up onion and peppers in thin strips and add to the pan. 

4. Cook and stir the onions and peppers until they begin to caramelize.

5. Mince the garlic and sprinkle it in the pan, stir with rest of ingredients. 

6. Push over the peppers and onions and add the shaved meat into the pan. Have it cook for a few minutes and then mix it together with the peppers and onions. 

7. Cook all together, constantly turning over the meat and breaking it apart into smaller pieces. It should cook for about 3 minutes, turning the meat a brownish color. 

8. Take bread rolls and slice in half. Once the meat mixture is cooked, fill the bread rolls with a portion. 

9. Place provolone or mozzarella cheese over the filled sandwiches and place into oven to bake for a few minutes. Once the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy, you can take them out of the oven.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Pomodori | Tomato Season 2018


Every year around my birthday, it is tomato jar making time. It is a tradition yes, but more of a necessity in every Italian household. 

When I was a little girl, I remember being so excited to join the older women-- my Nonna, Mom, and Aunts in the process of slicing, chopping, filling, and squishing the numerous jars with petals of basil already lining the bottom. 

It is a long and tedious process, of this I must admit. After all the jars have been filled, they then must cook in a pot large enough to be considered a pool for children. 

And then the sauce must be cooked again with seasoning once you are ready to use a single jar. 

But it is all worth it. The tomato jars can be used for everything and anything you cook. Not just reserved for pasta, but soups and rice and lasagna, and pizza... the list goes on and on. 

I love to document this special part of my life every year, because it is a part of my family and culture. One that I hope to carry with me to my future family for years to come. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Penne with Zucchini al Crema


Sometimes you just don't know what to cook anymore for dinner. We don't like to have meat too many times in a week, and I'll be honest tomato sauce with pasta also bores me if I have it more than once. Enter the creativity of incorporating vegetables into your dinner. 

We chopped up thin slices of zucchini the other night and added some spices and a splash of half and half...  voilĂ  a new addition to the menu. It's simple, you don't need too many ingredients, and simply delicious. Buon Appetito!


 Ingredients  
 

olive oil
1 clove garlic (minced) 
2 large zucchini
2-3 tablespoons of half and half cream or heavy cream
penne pasta (or whichever you prefer)
salt and pepper (to taste)
let's make it

1. In a pot add water and bring water to boil, cook penne pasta according to box directions. 
2. Thinly slice the 2 zucchini and set on the side. 
3. Place a skillet on low heat and begin to heat up olive oil. Add the minced garlic, stirring as you then place the zucchini slices. 
4. Cook the zucchini slices on low heat, be sure to turn and cook both sides.
5. Once the zucchini have been cooking for a few minutes, pour in the half and half, salt, and pepper. Stirring all of the ingredients together.
6. Once the penne pasta is cooked al dente, drain the water and mix the penne with the zucchini and cream sauce.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Salmon and Bass with Tomatoes & Peppers


This is seriously one of the easiest dishes you'll ever make that seems way more complicated than it really is. This is perfect for the summer, when you don't want to be in kitchen for too long. Buon Appetito!

 
 Ingredients  

 

salmon steak
bass steak
chopped fresh garlic
diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
red and yellow peppers 
black pepper
olive oil
salt
fresh parsley
water (replenish while cooking so fish does not dry)


 

let's make it

1. Clean/ Rinse salmon and bass steaks before beginning to cook. 


2. Place a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron pot (or medium sized pan) over medium heat. 

3. Mince cloves of garlic, dice the tomatoes and chop up peppers and fresh parsley.  

4. Place the garlic, peppers, and tomatoes in a pot and begin to cook before placing in the fish steaks. 

5. Sprinkle on salt as desired, black pepper, and pour 1/2 cup of water over the ingredients. 

6. Place cover over the pot and cook for about 25 minutes. 

7. Before serving, sprinkle on fresh parsley over the fish.



Friday, May 25, 2018

Chicken Francese


Whenever I don't have a clue what to make... chicken is my go to, just like potatoes. Because in my opinion, chicken is so versatile and tastes great in any recipe. You can bake it, fry it, make a soup with it, slice it for a sandwich, mix it in pasta or salad... the possibilities are endless. 

You will find this popular dish in many parties, events, and catering. It's simple and quick to make and truly delicious. My Dad gave me his recipe, and I've grown over time to make it my own. Perfect when you are hosting and want a fancy dish that will be ready in no time. ;) Buon Appetito!
 
 Ingredients  
 
  4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio is great)
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper for taste
 
 
let's make it

1. Place the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board, and use a mallet to pound it until they are thin. 


2. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

3. In another wide bowl, beat the three eggs until mixed well. 

4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and over medium heat. 

5. Dredge both sides of chicken in flour first and then the egg. 

6.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken cutlets and fry them one side at a time, until golden. 

7. Remove the cutlets and place them on a side platter. 

8. In the same skillet, place the 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice. chicken broth, and white wine. Add some flour for thickness and simmer for 5 minutes.  

9. Return the chicken cutlets to the skillet and mix well with the sauce. 

10. Cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce begins to boil. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and lemon slices.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Papa's Home Fries


My Dad owns an Italian restaurant and has loved cooking ever since he was a kid. Whenever he's home he likes to whip up something new alongside my Mamma. 

He's always teaching me new tricks and tips and these homemade fries were absolutely delicious. They can be baked or fried, same great taste. Perfect as a side dish. Buon Appetito!


 Ingredients  
 
2 lb small red potatoes
olive oil for sautéing and frying
rosemary
oregano
salt
parmiggiano cheese
paprika
black pepper
 
 
let's make it

1. Wash the potatoes and place them in a pot filled with water. Boil for about 13-15 minutes, until soft.


2. Once soft, rinse the water and let potatoes cool. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. 

3. Cut the potatoes in halves or wedges and begin to fry them, the white part down first. Once it is cooked and browned, turn over and cook the skin. 

4. Once all of the potatoes are cooked, place them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil and season them with all of the ingredients. Mix well.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Sweet Potato Fries


I've been really enjoying reading books about cooking. It's something about the way that food is described that excites me. Carrots being cubed, onions sizzled with drips of olive oil, the pizza's crust flaking as you tear it apart. So descriptive to the point where you can hear and see the food in your mind. 

I'm reading a book by Shauna Niequist called Bread & Wine and it is wonderful. It combines all of my favorite things into one book: faith, food, and family. It also has recipes. 

I made these sweet potato fries the other night, and they were a hit. Except I used yams, and to my surprise tasted amazing. They're simple to make and look great as a side dish.  Buon Appetito!

 Ingredients  

Serves 4  

4 sweet potatoes or yams
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling the pans
salt
for the dipping sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon hot sauce of your choice 

 
let's make it


1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Place two rimmed baking sheets in the oven to warm up.  

2. Peel and slice (or you can leave the peel for the yams) into long, thin batons, the thinner the better.

3. Pull the hot pans out of the oven and oil them, being careful not to burn yourself. 

4. Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, then line them up on the baking sheets so they're not touching or overlapping.

5. Put both pans into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, switch the pans and give them a shake, turning the sweet potatoes.

6. Bake them for another 6 to 10 minutes, depending on how crispy you would like them.

7. Remove them when they begin to golden.

8. Sprinkle them with salt.

9. Mix the dipping sauce ingredients into a side bowl as the sweet potato fries are cooking.