Monthly Archives: November 2020

Keto Buffalo Chicken

I rarely follow a recipe verbatim – but this one was out of my comfort zone. A recipe I can only prepare in the absence of the cheese hater (who shall remain nameless). I highly recommend this one, it’s keto friendly comfort food and very delish! If you need me to send a better picture of the recipe, inbox me and I will send. This is a great dish!

Potata Frittata

That’s not a typo, I wanted it to rhyme!

This simple breakfast/brunch dish is a hit in my house (IMO it begs for cheese, which my husband despises, so this recipe is sans formaggio, which makes me a little sad, but it’s still supper yummy).

Ingredients:
1/2 cup diced up, cooked bacon
EVOO
Butter
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 potatoes, cubed
8 whole eggs
1/4 cup cream
Salt, pepper
Fresh basil

Making it happen:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixer add eggs and cream, mix very well (I use my Kitchen Aid and blend on high so the mix has some air incorporated, which makes the eggs nice and fluffy). Now, in cast iron skillet add a little EVOO, and a pat of butter. When butter has melted add onion and potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes until both have softened, but not browned. Add another tablespoon of EVOO to skillet, add cooked bacon to potato and onion. Pour in egg mixture leave on stove for about 3 minutes on low heat. I top mine with a little fresh basil (you can use any fresh herb you have on hand). Move skillet to preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes. You’ll know the eggs are cooked when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Just a few ingredients!

Looks elegant, but it’s so simple!

Pro-tip – My new favorite brand of eggs – they’re super fresh and looks orangey when you crack them open, they’re gorgeous!

Sunday Sauce

I grew up having Sunday Sauce in the basement of my Italian grandparent’s house in Queens, N.Y. The house smelled amazing, it was frenetic and loud and there was always either a football or baseball game blasting from the TV at the end of the long farm table. By the time we sat down to eat dinner, many meatballs would already have gone missing from the pot and for sure each end (“heel”) of the many loaves of Italian bread would be gone too. Continuing the tradition, we make Sunday sauce a lot. When the kids were little it was every Sunday and my parents, my sister and her kids would come over too – it was always a houseful. We’d start with antipasto, followed by calamari, shrimp some sort of veggie (stuffed artichokes are veggies, right?), roasted fennel then the pasta topped with the deep red meat sauce (not gravy!) packed with pork, meatballs and sausage. The sauce would be started on Saturday and cook all the way through to Sunday afternoon when we’d sit down to eat. Sunday Sauce is delicious, but it’s about so much more than the food. Buon appetito!

Ingredients:
1 medium sized onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
A handful of fresh parsley
Tablespoon of oregano
Sale & pepe
4 cans crushed tomatoes (I prefer Redpack)
Meatballs
Fresh Pork (neckbones)
Sausage

How to:
Sautee onion till almost soft, add garlic, parsley, oregano, salt & pepper, saut√© for about 2 minutes. Do not let garlic get brown (it will taste bitter and ruin the sauce). Add crushed tomatoes and two cans of water and stir. Add some more salt, pepper and parsley (I like to season at every level when cooking). You should brown the pork (dust in flour first) & sausage in pan with a little EVOO. Add these to sauce when done. Cook meatballs (nearly all the way through) and add to sauce also. All the meat will continue to cook in the sauce, so you don’t need to fully cook before putting in the sauce. Since you KNOW there’s a bottle of nice red sitting next to you while cooking, add about 1/2 cup to the sauce after it’s warmed through. I cook this for many, many hours stirring often and seasoning as needed – the result is a dark red, thick, meaty sauce. I put it over rigatoni (Barilla is my fave) but you can use any pasta you like.

Pro-tip: Never add a wine to sauce that you would not like to drink.

Winging it

I like wings, turkey wings, chicken wings…yum. I like a dry rub though, not a wet sauce (too messy for me!) I also bake them in my oven rather than frying them (I don’t have an airfryer, but I bet that would work too). Makes for a great snack, appetizer or a light dinner. When I make this dry rub I make enough for a few batches, tripling or quadrupling the recipe – it keeps well in a bell jar for quite a while.

Ingredients:
1/2 Tablespoon of each:
Chile Pepper, paprika, onion powder, kosher salt
3/4 Tablespoon of each:
Light brown sugar, chili powder, cumin
1/2 Teaspoon of each:
Garlic powder, cayenne pepper, dried mustard powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme

Mix all ingredients (I put it all in a bell jar and just shake it up)

1 package of wings (either turkey or chicken) cut at the joint

Put wings in a zip lock bag, add about 1/4 cup of EVOO and enough of the dry rub to cover wings. Zip bag and shake to coat wings. Place in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, bake wings for about 35-40 minutes. Serve with either ranch or blue cheese dressing. Easy peasy!



Starting the day off right

This simple breakfast only feels decadent, it’s really simple and so delish. I love the layered textures between the toasted bread, chunky guac, creaminess of the feta then the pop of the cherry tomatoes. I like to used a multi grain bread, toasted and cooled off before I top it with all the goodies. Basically, this is the recipe (I encourage you to tweak it to your taste!) My daughter sometimes tops hers with a poached egg, for that little extra.

Ingredients:
2 slices grain bread
1 ripe avocado, scooped out
1/4 cup sweet onion
1 tablespoon diced jalapeno
Sale & Pepe
1/4 cup good quality Greek cheese (from sheep milk best, IMO)
4 cherry tomatoes

How to make the magic happen:
Toast bread and cool
In a bowl, mash up avocado with a fork (I like it chunky, but I know some folks like it creamy)
Add onion, jalapeno, salt & pepper (now you’ve got guac!)
Put half the mixture on each slice of toast
Top each slice with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, Viola!

Pro-tip – to scoop out the avocado, first cut in half, remove pit. With a knife score the flesh in a crisscross pattern getting as close to the skin as possible without cutting the skin or your hand. Using a tablespoon you can now easily scoop out the avocado!

Caveman Cravings

Sometimes you just need a steak. Simply grilled, with a rich porcini sauce on the side – to make it just a little fancy. My hubby won the on going battle of filet mignon vs. ribeye tonight, so this tender little beauty was prepared by him with the porcini recipe from a great chef we know. Pro-tip – bring steak (and any other meat you’re preparing) to room temperature before cooking. This will result in more even cooking and a juicier end product, I promise!

Ingredients for Porcini Sauce:
1/2 tablespoon of rehydrated porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon of truffle oil (liquid gold!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Sale & pepe!

In food processor pulse rehydrated mushrooms (dried porcini soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes then removed from water) until you have a mushy consistency. Add porcini and other ingredients to saucepan and heat through on low flame, careful to not burn. You can add/subtract ingredients to your liking (I love to “tweak” a recipe!)

It’s always summer in Florida…

One good thing to come from spending the pandemic in Clearwater has been a resurgence in my affinity for gardening. As life changed for me over the last two decades, I went from a big house to a smaller house to a big apartment to a pied-√†-terre in Queens. Appropriately my garden shrunk to accommodate these spaces. Our cozy beach condo allows for a patio garden and tons of indoor plants (according to some people, I may be morphing into the “crazy plant lady”). Regardless, I have daily access to fresh herbs steps away from the kitchen and I love it. I encourage you to have at least one herb plant, maybe on a windowsill – I promise it will spark some creativity and maybe even nudge you towards cooking something unplanned and delicious. Pesto? Sage Butter? Mint Jelly?

Remembering Italy

My favorite trip of all time was visiting Rome. It had been my “bucket list” trip and it exceeded unrealistically high expectations by leaps and bounds. Only better than the food, scenery and people was getting engaged to the love of my life a few doors from the Spanish Steps. To say we ate our way through Italy would be a gross understatement. The pasta, the roman artichokes, the gelato…For now all we can do is sit and wait for 2020 to be over and hopefully we can start exploring again. In the meantime, I dream of the food in Italy and try to recreate some of it. Presenting you with homemade sundried tomatoes alla Sacco.

Il mondo e un libro, e lui chi non viaggia legge solo una pagina.

The world is a book, and he who does not travel reads only one page…

Ingredients:
1 pound ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut in half. Then slice each half into 3 slices.
2 whole, crushed cloves of garlic (just because)
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Good quality EVOO (enough to cover all the goodies once in a jar)

How To:
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Put prepared tomatoes onto a wire rack and place rack on baking sheet. Sprinkle salt & pepper over tomatoes. Bake tomatoes for about 4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. Put tomatoes and garlic in jar, top off with EVOO. Let sit for about a week and then mangia!

Pickling my way through a pandemic

With everything slowing down there’s tons of time for recipes that need tons of time. And what better example than pickling! I received this recipe from a colleague and have tweaked it along the way. I’ve tried pickling a few different things based on what I can find fresh at the local farmer’s market. The most popular are the pickled cucumbers, super crunchy and tasty. You can up the amounts of garlic, onion and dill to taste – you’ll figure it out along the way. The peppers make a great addition to a charcuterie alongside some cheese and prosciutto. I use the largest bell jar I can find, the seal keeps the pickles from getting mushy.

Ingredients for Brine:
4 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
A huge bunch of dill coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar or sugar substitute
Put all ingredients in pan, stir together, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let brine cool to room temperature.

Goodness for the Jar:
Mini cucumbers – I like to slice in half, but you can quarter or make discs
A bunch of garlic (to taste) skins removed and crushed (like 2020)
1 white onion sliced
A handful of black peppercorns

Fill jar with brine after all ingredients are packed in there. Let it sit in fridge for 10-14 days before eating every single one!

Cooking my way through a Pandemic

The battery on my watch died on March 8, 2020, the day before I was heading to Chicago for our first conference of what was supposed to be a jam packed, busy, great year. It was that evening that my phone rang (setting the stage: it’s a Sunday night, it’s already dark, bags are packed and I’m ready to go) it was senior management, calling everyone on my team, informing us that our conference which was to kick off on Wednesday would be cancelled due to COVID fears. What would follow would be the cancellation of all of our events, travel, gatherings (like everyone else in the world). So, with much more time on my hands, and no travel for the foreseeable future, I took to the kitchen.

I’ll use this blog, which has been dormant for quite a while to share some recipes, pictures and cooking advise.

Let’s start with my abundant bounty of basil. Apparently basil does not love the super hot temperatures of Florida. So my spoiled little plants come in and live in my bright, air conditioned kitchen. Now, before I share my “recipe” know that I never measure, always use whatever good, fresh ingredients I have on hand. That said, here’s how you can make a great pesto.

Ingredients:

4 cups of Fresh Basil (to see how to properly harvest your basil, I recommend this link: https://youtu.be/Kn0Y4xoMApU)
1 cup Shredded Parmigiana Cheese
2 cups High quality EVVO
1 Cup Nuts (Pine nuts are preferred if you can find them, but you can use walnuts or pistachios)
Garlic (use as much or as little as you like)
Salt & Pepper to taste

How to pull this together:

  1. In a food processor blend up garlic and nuts – pulse until very fine
  2. Add basil, cheese, EVOO, salt, pepper – Pulse until consistency is loose, add oil as needed
  3. Taste final product and season with additional salt, pepper or garlic as needed. If mixture is too thick add additional EVOO
  4. I like to use small (4 ounce) mason jars that I freeze. I can pull out just the right amount or you can freeze even smaller portions in ice cube trays and freeze (just pop out what you need)