Sunday, August 25, 2013

Istarska Fritaja OR Istrian Frittata

A small handful of wild or regular asparagus
a little water
4 eggs
2 thick slices prosciutto, cut into pieces

To prepare the shoots of wild asparagus, gently bend the shoot and then
break it where it's hard, and unbending. This part is very woody, and
difficult to eat, but can be used to make asparagus stock. Cut the shoots
into about 3 - 5 cm pieces.

Warm the oil in a wide pan, and then add asparagus pieces to it. Cook on a
low heat, until softened. Add a little water. This will evaporate quickly,
and steam the asparagus slightly.

When the asparagus is al dente, add the prosciutto pieces to it, and cook
until the prosciutto is cooked, and it changes colour. Then add the eggs,
and cook, stirring, until the eggs have set.

Arrosto - Veal Roast

2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried sage leaves
1 Tbsp dried rosemary (if you have fresh, tuck branches and leaves under
  the string ties)
1 boneless veal shoulder roast, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, trimmed of fat, rolled
  and tied
3 cups Chicken stock or broth [note: original recipe called for 2 cups
  stock plus 1 cup dry white wine]

Preheat oven to 350F. In small bowl mix sage, rosemary, garlic, oil, and
pepper. Rub surface of veal with this seasoned oil. Place roast in a large
roaster pan with a lid. Pour 2 cups stock around veal. Roast partially
covered for 1 hour, turning 2 or 3 times, until barely tender. Uncover and
roast until lightly browned, about 15 minutes longer. Remove meat from pan,
and tent with foil to keep warm. Put pan juices in a pan over medium heat,
and bring juices to a boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Add
remaining stock to pan. Season with additional pepper to taste. Slice veal
roast and serve with pan juices.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Homemade Nutella

The first version of what would become the revolutionary invention of the century and what is now one of the most famous food specialities in the world – NUTELLA– was founded in a backroom of the pastry shop founded in Alba, Italy in 1944 by Pietro Ferrero. At that time there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to War War II rationing. So Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy, to extend the chocolate supply. Now Nutella is sold almost worldwide.


  • 2.5 oz (about 2/3 cups) roasted unsalted hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 oz (about 1/2 cup) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp honey, agave nectar, or other liquid sweetener
  • a food processor
 The first step is to toast the hazelnuts. If you use the roasted unsalted hazelnuts from Oh Nuts, they technically don’t need to be toasted, but I think toasting nuts, even pre-roasted ones, adds a depth of flavor that’s important to the finished product.
So place your nuts in a preheated 350 degree oven, and toast them until they’re brown and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Be sure to stir them every 3-4 minutes to keep them from burning. Once they’re toasted, set them aside until they’re no longer hot.

The food processor is going to do most of the work in this recipe, so prepare yourself for a lot of food processor pictures. Start by adding the cooled, toasted hazelnutsto the processor bowl. Turn the food processor on, and after a minute or two you’ll be left with very finely ground hazelnuts. Wonderful for sprinkling on pastries, but that’s not what we’re going for, so keep processing.
After another minute, the nuts will start to clump together around the blade, and you’ll find you have a smooth paste.
After about 5 minutes, your hazelnuts should be processed into a liquid. Scrape down the sides and the blade and process until there are no lumps remaining. Set the hazelnuts aside while you prepare the chocolate portion of the recipe.
The chocolate will need to be melted, so you can either use a microwave-safe bowl, or use the double boiler method on the stovetop. Whichever you choose, combine the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, and honey in a bowl.
If you’re using a double boiler, put the bowl on a pan of simmering water on the stovetop, and heat it, stirring frequently, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. If you’re using the microwave, be sure to stir the mix after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating, and stop once everything is melted together.
Now look, you’ve barely done any work and the Nutella’s almost finished. It’s magic! The final step is to add the warm chocolate mix to the bowl of the food processor that contains the liquefied hazelnuts.
Process the mix for 1-2 minutes more, until it smooths out, loses a little graininess, and gets shiny and smooth. The more you mix the stiffer the Nutella gets, so be sure to stop while it is still nice and spreadable.
If you’d like, you can taste it and add a pinch of salt or an extra squirt of honey to suit your taste. I’m usually too busy licking it off the spatula to make any final tweaks, though. Store your homemade Nutella in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
I would list all the ways you can eat homemade Nutella, but that list would go on for hours. Here’s just a sampling: on apples, bananas, or strawberries, with pretzels, spread on toast, with or without peanut butter, folded into a warm crepe, smeared on a cupcake as a quick frosting, stirred into warm milk to make hot chocolate, spooned over ice cream, swirled into brownie batter, or spread on croissants for the best wake-up you can imagine.

Insalata di Riso - Italian Rice Salad

A wonderful seasonal salad, perfect for picnics or for a fast meal on a hot Summer day.


2 cups of Arborio rice
2 cans of Tuna in Oil
1 can of Corn, drained

1 can of Peas, drained
1 cup of chopped ham
1 cup of cubed or shredded cheese (Fontina, Asiago or Mozzarella)
1/4 cup of Italian Green Olives, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup Black Olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 Capers (optional)
 3 Tbsp of Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
6 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Hard Boiled Eggs, peeled and roughly chopped

Cook the rice according to packaged instructions, drain and add to a big bowl.
Add in all of your ingredients and toss everything together well.
Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


On a hot Italian Summer night you will find groups of friends chatting a laughing in a "Gelateria" sitting infront of a gourmet gelato.
Simply put, gelato is ice cream that contains less fat. Many varieties are made with milk and some don’t contain egg yolks. Also, gelato counters are kept a little warmer than their ice cream counterparts. It allows it to remain softer, so “your mouth doesn’t get ‘frozen’ and you can taste the flavors better.”

How to make gelato

The simplest gelato is made with an egg custard and light cream or milk. All the flavors combinations in the world can be added to this simple base but it’s also very good on its own (or simply infused with a fresh vanilla pod).
You can make this recipe with lactose-free milk or cream, soy milk (choose one with the mildest aftertaste), almond or rice milk. Just make sure that the milk or cream you choose can withstand heat (some will become grainy if cooked). Test it if the package doesn’t tell you (by boiling a small quantity and tasting it afterwards). If the texture is spoiled, at least you won’t have to throw away your whole gelato recipe.
A little tip for service: because gelato contains less fat, it tends to freeze a lot harder.
Take your gelato out of the freezer approximately 15 minutes before serving to soften it.

Gelato di Crema – The base

2 ½ cups 5% fat cooking cream or any kind of milk you like
5 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar

Heat the cream (or milk) until it is beginning to bubble, then cool slightly. Watch it closely if you don’t want to make a big mess because cream and milk reach their boiling point very suddenly.
In a large heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy (about 2 minutes at medium speed). Beat the cooling cream very slowly into the eggs to warm the mixture gradually (if you add it too quickly, you may end up with scrambled eggs!).

Put the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir with a
wooden spoon until the custard just coats the back of the spoon.

Remove the bowl from the pan and let it cool. My trick is to place it
in the sink filled with 2-3 inches of cold water and stirring it gently
one in a while: this method cools the custard in about 10 minutes
(you can also add ice to the water to make it even quicker).
If you have time on your hands you can put it in the refrigerator.
The important thing is that your custard is completely cooled when
you put it in the ice cream maker.

Prepare your fruits: Raspberry and Cherry Ripple Gelato
This gelato contains cherry and raspberry puree, as well as diced
fruits for texture. You could substitute pretty much any berry and
I’m sure it would be equally good.

Cherry puree
2 cups pitted cherries, chopped
½ cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice (from approximately 1 lemon)

Put everything in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10
 minutes. Let cool. Puree using a blender or a food processor.
Save 1/3 cup of the cherry puree for the ripple.

Raspberry puree
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Puree all the ingredients together in a blender or a food processor.
Strain the puree with a fine mesh to remove the raspberry seeds.
Set aside.

Other ingredients for the ripple
¼ cup pitted and finely diced cherries
¼ cup lightly crushed raspberries
1/3 cup cherry puree (reserved from the recipe above)

Freeze the gelato:

Blend your cooled custard base with the cherry and raspberry purees
(except 1/3 cup cherry puree reserved for the ripple).
At this point, you can add 2 tablespoons of any alcohol you think
would taste good with your flavors (I added Absolut Raspberry Vodka).
It’ll help keep your gelato more scoopable.
Pour your fruit custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according
to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is
almost firm.

To get a rippled gelato:
Pour 1/4 of the gelato custard in a airtight container big enough to store
the whole gelato recipe. On the gelato, pour 1/3 of the chopped fruits and
1/3 of the reserved cherry puree. Repeat twice and end with a layer of
gelato custard. Layering fruits and custard this way will create the
beautiful rippled look when you scoop your gelato in serving cups.
Put your assembled gelato in the freezer for an additional 30 minutes
or until required. It will keep for a month.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

2 bags (1 lb. each) fresh spinach

1/8 lb. butter − not margarine

1 tsp. minced fresh garlic

2 tbls. minced onions

1/4 cup flour

1 pint heavy cream (whipping cream)

2 teas. fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (to taste)

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

artichoke hearts, coarsely diced

Steam spinach − strain and squeeze through cheesecloth. Must be

very dry. Chop finely and set aside. In heavy saucepan, melt butter.

Add garlic and onions and saute about 3−5 minutes. Add flour to make

a roux. Stir and cook about 1 minute. Slowly add heavy cream, stirring

with a whisk to prevent lumping. Mixture will thicken at the boiling

point. When it thickens, add lemon jiuce, Tabasco, salt and

Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in

sour cream. Fold in dry, chopped spinach, coarse diced artichoke

hearts and Jack cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve

immediately, or portion and microwave to order.

Buffalo Wild Wings - An American Classic

2 lbs. chicken wings (disjointed − discard the tips)

1/4 Lb. Margarine (do not use butter!)

8 Oz. Hot Sauce

Oil for frying

1. Melt margarine in sauce pan until barely liquid.

Add hot sauce, mix, and put aside.

2. Deep fry wings until brown and crispy. Remove

and drain on paper towels.

3. Put wings in a large bowl that has a cover. Pour

sauce over all, cover, and shake to coat the wings.

Serve with celery sticks and Ranch Dressing (see link below

for homemade dressing)

Adjust the amount of hot sauce to your desire. 

Ranch Dressing from Scratch

This is a base recipe, then you can freely add other ingredients here and there
to achieve the flavor you like. The flavor of the from-scratch recipe is incredible.


Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip), Sour Cream, Buttermilk or Regular Milk,
Garlic, Italian (Flat Leaf) Parsley, Chives, and Salt.

Other optional ingredients: Fresh Dill, Worcestershire Sauce, Cayenne Pepper,
Paprika, Fresh Oregano, Tabasco.

First, start with 1 to 2 cloves of garlic. Chop up the garlic pretty finely.
Then, sprinkle about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (or a healthy pinch) kosher salt on top.
Regular salt would also work fine in a pinch.
By the way, Morton’s makes kosher salt and it can be found in most supermarkets.
Kosher salt is NOT kosher. Kosher salt is used in the preparation of kosher meats,
and it’s characterized by flat flakes that easily adhere to the surface of foods.
In this case, though, it will act as an abrasive.


Now, with the back of the knife or a fork, begin mashing the garlic into a fine


This starts out a little slow, but before too long it’ll start mashing up and changing
 in consistency. The coarse salt helps the process along.


Now chop up some fresh chives. I am mildly obsessed with fresh chives lately.
They’re easy to grow, too! And they make the prettiest purple flowers…
but we’ll talk about that later.
Chop up around 2 tablespoons of chives to start with.

And now for the parsley! You can be a little more generous here, as it doesn’t
have quite the bite as the garlic and the chives.


Fresh parsley IS strong beyond a certain point, though. So start with about
1/4 cup and you can add more from there.


Now! Before I proceed, let me point out the base ingredients for the creamy
part of the dressing: Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, and Buttermilk (though
regular milk will work, too.) I’ll show you the quantities I use, but I want
to emphasize that YOU can find the precise mixture that works for you.
But here’s how I approach it: the mayonnaise gives the dressing the solid, creamy,
tangy base.
I use more of it. The sour cream brings a thickness and a body to the dressing…
but it’s light and mild in flavor. And the buttermilk, or the regular milk, acts as
a thinning agent, bringing your ranch dressing to the proper consistency.
Buttermilk will be thicker and tangier; milk will almost be a non-flavor…
but will thin it quite a bit more. So if you like a highly pourable dressing,
regular milk would be best.


I use a cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 cup sour cream. And the cool thing is,
you can substitute the low-fat or fat-free stuff if you’re feeling particularly
health conscious.


Add garlic


Throw in the parsley…


And throw in the chives.


Now give it a stir so you can evaluate the flavor and consistency…

DSC_0008Then add in buttermilk or milk as needed. If you find the flavor overwhelming or too salty, regular milk would cut/dillute that a bit.


Now, I think fresh dill is REALLY delicious, so I add in about 1 to 2 teaspoons
at least.


MPORTANT! Keep tasting as you go. And don’t just stick in the tip of your
pinkie and taste a little dab

DSC_0015That’ll always give you a more accurate gauge.


Keep tasting as you go, adding more salt, if needed…


Or more chives.... Or more parsley, or more dill…or you could go out on a limb
and add any or all of the following: white vinegar, black pepper, cayenne
pepper, a dash of worcestershire, paprika, fresh oregano, or Tabasco.
Just know this: If you make it the way YOU like it, you absolutely can’t mess it up!
I just made that up. But it sort of rings true, doesn’t it?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Salad


Baby Spinach
Arugola (Rucola I'm Italian)
Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cucumber sliced and peeled
Cherry Mozzarella Cheese
Pinto or Kidney Beans
1 Small Onion sliced 
Some Strawberries cut in 4 pieces
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Mix all together, add oil vinegar salt and pepper. Mix again and enjoy a great healthy summer salad.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Watermelon Slush

Ingredients3 cups diced watermelon
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup crushed ice
1/2 cup water

Blend watermelon, lime juice, sugar, ice and water in a blender until smooth.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Regina's Hamburger & Cabbage Soup

Thanks to my friend Regina for sharing this great recipe. Sorry no picture available, I guess I was too hungry when she made the soup and I forgot to take a picture.


1 Head of Cabbage
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
4 Cans of Kidney Beans (do not drain)
2 Large Cans of Crushed Tomatoes
6 Lbs Fried Hamburger Meat
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

Cook cabbage, bell pepper and onion in a stock pot. When almost ready add the beans and the tomatoes, stir. Add the fried hamburger meat and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Very simple but very yummy.