Pico de Gallo…another version

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I always bypass Pico de Gallo in Mexican restaurants; way too much raw onion for me, just can't do it. Which doesn't mean I can't make it at home - with some heat, more crunch, and lots of flavor. I use it as a condiment and not just a salsa. I enjoy it with tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and chips, scrambled eggs etc! Fresh tomatoes are a must, and scallions tone down, replacing white or red onion. There's cucumber, yellow bell pepper and cilantro, in addition to traditional lime zest and juice, ...

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Loaded Salad

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  Loaded and layered makes this salad more interesting than the standard everyday dinner salad. It's like a meal-in-one - from raiding the fridge and pantry, and sometimes the freezer, and using leftovers such as ham and chicken. The vinaigrette dressing is a staple I keep on hand, to compliment this overloaded salad and keep things light, refreshing and flavorful. Make it as small or large as you like, and get chopping, dicing and slicing! Romaine, spring mix and cabbage are the foun...

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Pork Loin Roast – With Potatoes, Peppers and Onions

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That other white meat by itself is neutral and plain. You got to perk it up! I insert garlic and swab with olive oil and herbs for flavor. Then I go with one of my favorite rustic Italian veggie accompaniments - caramelized peppers, onions and potatoes. A meat thermometer is a must here, because pork cooks fast and begs to remain moist; dry is no good. The veggies are precooked and then the roast is added - when the roast reaches the correct temp., I remove it, cover and let rest -  while the v...

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Irish Cream Gelato

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I'm a little late with my St. Paddy's Day recipe, but as I always say, gelato is great anytime, no special occasion needed. We loved this one. It's a bit different than other gelatos I've made, in that I used 1/2-cup of Irish cream, which meant it would be difficult to freeze. Alcohol doesn't freeze well at all, so I used a mere 1/4 teaspoon of powdered guar gum to help it along. You must have a home ice cream maker machine to make gelato. This is a pictorial (step by step) to explain the gelat...

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Swiss Steak…Italian Style

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This was one of my mom’s wintertime dishes. A large pot of braised round steak, flavored with garlic, onions, oregano and crushed tomatoes - served with steamed greens and mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles. By the way, the title Swiss (in Swiss Steak) is derived from the term "swissing", which means to pound/tenderize (the round steak in this recipe). I skipped that step because I used grass fed beef, which is adequately tender. I'm also using a slow cooker to make things easier, cooking...

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Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

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Only 5 simple ingredients needed to make this tart-like cake - for Valentine's Day or any day for that matter! This recipe started from a magazine clipping last year. I tweaked the ingredients, measurements and size. The results = a lovely (not overly) rich dark chocolate flavor, married with a divine airy light texture achieved by folding in meringue. It's also gluten free, thanks to a mere 2 tablespoons almond meal/flour. As you can see, each ingredient serves a distinct purpose, so be sure to...

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Braciole In Tomato Sauce

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Braciole (aka involtini in Italy), is a delicious rustic meat and sauce dish. This is one (of two versions) I grew up on, with a Southern Italian and Sicilian influence. Both sides of my grandparents grew up in those two regions. There are other regional versions throughout Italy; my mom's other version were prepared the same way, only made of veal and then grilled (no sauce). Pieces of round steak are pounded thin, and stuffed in the center with Romano cheese and bread crumbs, garlic and parsl...

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Einkorn Bread

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If you have a the desire to cook and eat healthier in general...especially carbs such as bread, then this is for you. I've been studying and experimenting with Einkorn flour, finding ways to incorporate it into our diet. Einkorn organic wheat is raised the ancient method, naturally and unaltered, with the vital nutrients preserved. It isn't genetically modified and hybridized like commercially grown modern wheat - sacrificing valuable nutrients for the sake of large scale agriculture, to resist ...

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New York Cheesecake…old school

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  The holidays have come and gone, but N.Y cheesecake is a hit anytime of the year. I attribute my affinity to it to being born in the Bronx. That said, I only make for the holidays, parties or  crowds; a small piece is quite filling! This Christmas I was on the road, multitasking and using an older oven with no light and a temperamental temperature dial - while baking gingerbread cookies at the same time - followed by sauce and meatballs for Lasagna. An all-day cooking frenzy, equipp...

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Chocolate Peppermint Bark

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This is a fun 2-3 ingredient holiday candy you can make rather easily - not to mention changing it up to suit your fancy; almost anything goes...combinations of dried fruit bits, a variety of nuts...you name it! The hardest part of this break-apart slab of melted chocolate, is chopping the chocolate and (later) waiting for the temp. to come down (when tempering). But anyone can do it. I'm using a pound of dark chocolate plus 6 ounces of white chocolate, and a good sized candy cane. That's it. It...

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