All posts filed under: Italian Cooking

Food: Apricots and Chamomile Panna Cotta

Two separate recipes I found here, reminding me of my childhood indeed. The sad thing is I hardly remember much of my past, until I see something online and BAM! It all comes back, like how to preserve apricots and chamomile Panna Cotta with cherries –  that’s all I’m saying. Do you watch the Hallmark channel? If so, have you seen Rome in Love ? Let me know what you think? Have you read the book? And what you think of books turned to movies? 

Food: The Simplest of Pasta

When travelling through Italy, I always order Spaghetti Carbonara no matter what other options are available at a restaurant. I enjoy tasting different recipes used throughout the country – ones that are made from scratch and those that come in a box (yes in some parts of Italy they do serve ready-made or frozen meals in restaurants to be able to meet the demand, I was once told by a waiter, when my dish arrived in 3 minutes flat and tasted equally flat.  I make the dish at home and it’s pretty good but this very simple recipe, although not Carbonara, but similar, seems to be something worth trying once I visit my favorite Italian deli in North Beach to get the finely grated Pecorino cheese suggested in the ingredients. INGREDIENTS Kosher salt 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti) 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino  {more}   On another note – have …

Food: Dinner Tonight – Pesto Pasta Is All I’ve Been Craving

I have a weakness for pasta – so, here we are, with me thinking pasta for dinner tonight. I mean, I have a wonderful bottle of organic cab sitting in my kitchen, ready to be consumed. So, here we go – this is the recipe I am  going for – even the ricotta cheese, or maybe I’ll go for Halloumi  cheese, seared in a pan – yes I think I will Halloumi this pasta: INGREDIENTS 1 large head of broccoli, roughly chopped 1/2 cup fresh basil 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil kosher salt 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 3/4 pound of your favorite pasta 1 tablespoon salted butter 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced zest and juice of 1 lemon black pepper 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, whipped in the food processor, if desired {more} My go-to wine these days – 

Food: Marble Pound Cake

When I was a child, there was a tradition established where relatives – mostly the women – visit one another on a particular date each month. The date was determined based on a symbolic event for that certain family – such as a birthday or a wedding date.  The hostess would bake a cake or two or make brioche and other wonderful baked goods, fresh lemonade in the summer and cinnamon spiced tea in the winter and sometimes even ice cream or jello would be added – for the kids that behaved during the visit. I don’t recall behaving until the cake and ice cream was served and then I had to glance over to my mother to make sure I was entitled to getting my share. So in light of traditions, and hosting a tea party or Sunday brunch or even a simple get-together just because, I share with you this wonderful old-world, easy marble cake recipe, just like the ones my mother and aunts made – right  here: Ingredients 3 eggs about 210 g 210 g of cane …

Winding Down For The Week and a Few Interesting Reads

What are you up to this weekend? I’m looking forward to a game of tennis, a walk across the city, and a trip to Napa and maybe, just maybe, time to myself to cuddle with my dog on the sofa and read one of the many books I’ve stacked up next to the nightstand. I am having trouble accepting the fact, we are nearly 2 months away from Christmas and the discussions about Thanksgiving feast with family are now in full-planning. One goal I have set for myself for this weekend and that is to stay away from social media, minus Instagram of course for posting photos, I want to share a few interesting finds online to keep you entertained: There is a list of seven earth-friendly beauty products to consider using, if you are not a creature of habit like myself. I’ve started watching this show on Amazon Prime and so far, so interesting. I love the idea of a different story each episode, with a different location and a handful of actors. My …

Food: Dinner Tonight – Pasta with Artichoke is in order

Rain and more rain, which means I need comfort food paired with a good bottle of cabernet. I laugh because I never ask the family what they crave for dinner, I simply prep the meal and serve it.  Tonight we are having Pasta with artichoke and peas in a creamy sauce, something I haven’t made for a while, since watching my intake of heavy creams. But this one works just fine, especially when washed down with a glass of this cab. INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced or grated 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 1 (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained 1/4 cup green olives 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes 1 cup white wine kosher salt and black pepper 1 pound rigatoni or other short cut pasta 1 cup frozen peas 1 cup grated parmesan cheese zest and juice of 1 lemon 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped fresh peas and pea sprouts, for serving (optional) {more}

Food: Cheesy Zucchini Ravioli

I never say no to Italian food, but I know that since I need to watch what I eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I try to minimize eating Italian to once a month. Okay, maybe twice a month if I happen to be around pizza I cannot resist at a company lunch or a quick bite at a sports bar to watch a Giants game. Anyway. I was very glad to find this no-carb recipe for a 3-cheese zucchini ravioli bake which is not only easy to put together, but fun to eat for the entire family. Maybe consider adding ground turkey or chicken in my household if meat-protein is your thing.  But check it out: Ingredients 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1 cup cherry tomatoes 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar large handful fresh basil, roughly chopped 4 sprigs fresh thyme 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes kosher salt and pepper 3 medium zucchini or summer squash kosher salt and pepper 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Travel: Off the Beaten Paths – San Francisco Restaurants

This time of year we get together with friends, coworkers, and even family members for dinner – in a restaurant celebrating the holiday season over good food, wine and conversation. Over the course of this week I have selected the following five restaurants to try out for my get-togethers:

Lake Como – In Two Days

After my Rome-Florence-Venice portion of the perfect travel I think I have organized for my group is a stop in Como, Italy. We arrived mid-day on Saturday last, and checked into our hotel – only for a few minutes to freshen up and change into our walking shoes. We had to take the funicular up to the highest point in Como to see the spectacular views for only 5.50euro roundtrip. This can’t be missed no matter how long the lines. Dinner followed after that, along with a bottle of wine and the perfect conversations before we turned in. The next day we would spend on the lake, with an all-day pass to visit some of the small towns or villages perched along the heavenly lake. Since we were pressed for time I selected three stops. Menaggio, Varrena and Bellagio. I fell in love with Menagio and considered for the three hours I was there to live in the quant town. Varrena was a stop for lunch and a stroll through the cobblestone village and then a 15 …

Food: Embracing Gelato

I am sure many of you will chuckle when I say, every person that’s ever been to Italy has certainly stopped at a Gelato stand or a shop or boutique gelato bar and downed a few scoops of gelato – my favorite, in case you ask, being pistachio, or espresso. So, since I’m researching at this moment about all things Italy, this article popped up, explaining why it is that I LOVE 🙂 Gelato.  Here’s the important points, the rest of the article you can read here: “First, traditional gelato has way less butterfat. About 4 to 8 percent of gelato is butterfat, compared to 14 percent for ice cream in the United States. That means gelato freezes less solidly than ice cream (and it’s actually served about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than ice cream), so it melts in your mouth faster.” “Second, gelato has a much higher density. To make ice cream, producers mix cream, milk, sugar — and then add air, which increases volume, and water, which increases weight. But all that …