Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A bit of an experiment...

I was given a bag of fresh veggies from a friends garden yesterday and among the delectables were jalepeno peppers and banana peppers. Since I would be the only one to eat them in our house, I wanted to preserve them a bit, so I thought I would make a quick salsa verde. I tossed the peppers whole onto a sheet pan and roasted them for about 25-30 minutes @ 325°, let them cool a bit, pulled the stems off and threw them in a blender with about 2 t of capers. Yup, that is correct, capers. So, I guess it became a mexican/italian type salsa. The peppers tasted great (quite hot actually) but needed a bit of salt, so I threw the capers in to stretch it a bit and give it the salt. It turned out great, although it's a bit spicy so I'm guessing I'll have it for a while.

Buon Appetito!


More summertime fare...

This looked great and pretty easy.

Blueberry Cobbler

  • 5 cups fresh blueberries (from about 2 1/2 eleven-ounce containers)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream plus additional for serving
  • All purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450°F.
  • Combine blueberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons water, cornstarch, lemon juice, and coarse salt in large saucepan. Whisk over medium-high heat until cornstarch dissolves. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish.
  • Combine self-rising flour and coarse salt in medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche; stir until dough forms. Gather dough into ball in bowl. Sprinkle work surface with all purpose flour; turn dough out onto work surface. Using floured hands, shape dough into log. Cut log crosswise into 6 rounds. Pat each into 3/4-inch-thick 3-inch round. Arrange biscuits atop filling. Sprinkle each biscuit with 1/2 tablespoon sugar.
  • Place baking dish on rimmed baking sheet. Bake cobbler until bubbling and golden, about 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm with additional crème fraîche.

Originally from:

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From a friend...


And it's Healthy...So much better than fried!!!

1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup Greek yogurt -plain
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Spread mixture over chicken breasts, bake at 375 degrees for 45 mins--Absolutely Delish!"

Buon Appetito!

Q n E

I like quick and easy, even though I preach "everything homemade!" So, here's one...

"We found this recipe and it had no name...

I only know it should be illegal!!!

-2 cans Pillsbury butter crescent rolls
-2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
-1 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup butter (melted)
-Cinnamon & sugar (I used about 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbs cinnamon)

Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture. Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes."

Buon Appetito!

Monday, July 29, 2013

From my bro...151 Chocolates

Sorry, no pic...I have yet to try these, but my bro says they are all the rage. A friend makes them and is asked to bring them whenever invited anywhere. I will update when I get around to making them.

"151 Chocolates

What you need: 
Chocolate wafers, flavors of your choice. I used milk chocolate and white chocolate. 
Candy squeeze bottles
Candy molds
Bacardi 151
Measuring Cup
Powdered Sugar

Begin by putting the chocolate wafers into the candy squeeze bottles (fill bottles about half way) and melting them down in a pot of boiling water. Be careful not to let the bottles melt! 
Once your chocolate is melted coat the candy mold so that you cannot see any of the mold itself. Make sure to get the bottom as well as the sides completely coated. 

Once you have a good coating down place the candy mold in the freezer for about 5 minutes, this is just to harden the chocolate, don't leave it in too long or the chocolate will turn white and chalky looking.

While this is setting in the freezer, start your filling mixture. 
For this you will need your measuring cup. 
The amounts of the liquor you use is really up to you, I did equal part Bailey's and Kahlua, and two parts 151. 
Now add enough powdered sugar to turn your liquid into a syrup. This will prevent it from melting the chocolate once we're all done. 

Once you chocolate is set and you're content with the thickness of the shell, go ahead and fill your molds with the liquor syrup. Once filled place this back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. 

Remove from the freezer and use the remaining chocolate to coat the tops of the candy molds. Make sure that there are no holes or open spaces. Place back in the freezer for an additional 10 minutes,  remove from the mold carefully and break off any excess chocolate not a part of the mold. 


Thanks to Ashley Lytle, via Dan DiGloria.

Buon Appetito! 

Another from a friend

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Pound Cake...with any flavoring you want...

3 stick of butter(softened)
1 8 oz cream cheese(softened)
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs
3 cups of plain flour(sifted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of any flavorings you have...I have 10 different 
flavoring so I used all in this cake..but you can use 
whatever you like ..I love mixing them up to get a different 
taste with each

Mix butter and cream cheese..add sugar 1 cup at a time..mix..
add eggs 1 at a time mix well..add flour 1 cup at a time ...add salt and baking power..mix well and then add the flavorings of your choice...mix well...

Spray or grease your pound cake pan ..pour in batter 

Bake at 300 for 1 hr and 30 mins...

Buon Appetito!

Key Lemon???

The other day I was wondering what I could make with the abundance of lemon juice I had from making 2 batches of limoncello. I decided to experiment, and make a key lime pie only with fresh lemon juice. Well, it worked. So, I thought I might quickly share it here:

As with the key lime...

2 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C sugar
6 T melted butter

15 egg yolks
3 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 C fresh lemon juice
1 lemon for zesting

1 pint of whipping cream
1/4 sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 t pure lemon extract (I do not use imitation extracts)
Leftover zest

Mix the crust ingredients, press firmly into a 10" springform, and bake for 10 min @ 325°

 Mix the filling ingredients (I do it by hand, otherwise it gets too frothy) with about 1/2 the zest (the other half gets saved for decoration).

Once crust is cooled a bit, add filling and bake for 35-45 min @ 325° or until the center is set (I put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to add a bit of moisture while baking). Let cool. Whip cream, and once totally cooled, top pie with it and sprinkle on the remaining zest. Totally easy.

disregard the somewhat hurried and sloppy decorating 

Buon Appetito!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Looked great...

Photo by:

BBQ Meatball Sliders

Cooking Time: 40 Minutes
Recipes Makes: 12 Servings
Calories: 340
Carbs: 28 Grams
Fat: 14 Grams
Protein: 24 Grams


1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 egg
1/3 pound bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
3 slices cheddar cheese
12 Rolls


1 - Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a lipped baking sheet with parchment paper and non-stick spray or a Silpat baking mat.

2 - Combine the bread crumbs, shredded cheese, ground beef and egg until evenly distributed.

3- Roll the mixture into 1-1/2 to 2 inch meatballs and space evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

4-While the meatballs are baking, fry the bacon until crispy over medium-high heat. Remove bacon from skillet, leaving the grease in the skillet.

5-Add the onions to the skillet and reduce heat to medium, stirring often until tender.

6- Cut rolls in half and add one meatball to the bottom portion of each roll. Brush the tops with BBQ sauce.

7-On top of the meatballs add the cheese slices, bacon bits and grilled onions.

8-Place under the broiler next to the roll tops for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.

9-Top the meatballs with the rolls and serve

Originally from:

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our AK trip

As I mentioned in an earlier "disclaimer" post, we have just gotten back from a 10-day trip to AK for a family reunion. Since there are numerous pics flying around FB, I've tried to narrow it down a bit and pick a few that might be of interest. So, here we go.

First, I must say, that AK is very far from where we live here on the east coast. It takes 3 planes to get there and at least 12 hrs. On the way there, we had some unfortunate layovers so that portion was actually 16 hrs, joy. I have found that traveling will wear you out even though you're just sitting most of the time. Juneau is a small town by our standards, but decent by AK standards, with about 35,000 residents. Once we arrived we had to walk a couple of blocks to retrieve our rental car (and by we I mean me, I had to walk while the fam waited at the airport) as the rental company was already closed and they had a designated spot where they left their cars after hours. Even with that though, it was a nice evening and it felt good to stretch the legs a bit. We then proceeded to my wife's uncles house only to discover that the housekeeper had forgotten to leave a door open, and/or the uncle had forgotten to tell us where the key was. So, we looked and tried calling for about an hour and finally retrieved the key. By now, ill-tempered could best describe the 4 of us. Once inside, we noticed immediately that the cat dander was getting to all of us, so we quickly called the hotel where we had previously cancelled our reservation. Much to our relief they had a room, and somehow had not actually cancelled our reservation (which could have been an issue had we not decided to go there after all)...still confusing. We finally made it to bed 23 hours after leaving our house and thus began our AK adventure.

I won't be so detailed from now on, it was just one of those moments, so I thought I would share. We tooled around Juneau for a few days as other family arrived and managed to visit historic downtown, several hundred gift shops (it seemed like anyway), a salmon hatchery, and the Mendenhall glacier.
Proof, there's the glacier, and my son Anthony and his cousin James.

Early on Sunday morning (July 14th) we headed to the ferry terminal for our 3-hr trek to Hoonah, AK where my wife and her siblings grew up. It was a magnificently clear day, and the scenery was unbelievable.

My bro-in-law Greg and I, also born 1973 like the ship...

Some of the scenery from the ferry.

I'm trying to be somewhat general and not add too many pics, but AK is an amazing place, so it's a bit difficult. All 28 of us finally converged in the small village of Hoonah, AK, pop like 600 people. My wife had grown up on a homestead of sorts about 3 miles from town, but that 3 miles was quite a hike. You either went by boat or the long way around on gravel roads, and the last 100+ yards on foot. Luckily we had amazing weather. Needless to say, the kids had a great time. Our daughter Valerie was a big help with the smaller kids and my son Anthony was outdoors from dawn till dusk with cousins, fishing, hiking, shooting, etc. My wife's family is a very musical group, so we had some good times of sitting around jamming, too. All in all, it was good trip, some times relaxing, other times, not so much. Of course, when you're trying to mobilize a group of 28 men, women, and children (the majority children), it can be a bit nerve-wracking. The bulk of the remainder of the post will be pics, but I must first mention the fish and seafood since I major on food posts. The kids caught some Dolly Varden trout and salmon which were actually cooked for breakfast one morning. We also had other fresh salmon (3 times total plus leftovers), fresh halibut, and fresh crab. It was amazing.
I don't want to bore anyone with too much verbiage, so here come some pics.

dolly varden and salmon, pre breakfast

Some amazing scenery out at the homestead

The view of Ear Mtn from my in-laws living room

bro in law and sis in law with a mighty haul

Sunset Ear Mtn

My daughter Val helping cousin Caden

More stunning scenery form near homestead looking out to the bay

Oh, yeah. I made cheesecake while there...

Star of the show Chloe (see earlier post about our newest little member)

My son Anthony, feeding little cousin Chloe

Before heading back to Juneau, we hit the town of Hoonah and it's one tourist attraction, Icy Straights. There were some cool shops, but the highlight was the zipline. It's the longest zipline in N America at 5,330 ft and 1300 ft off the ground at it's highest. About half the family rode, including the 4 of us. The thought of it was a bit scary at first, but it was a blast. 



Then we headed back to Juneau via an amazing 30 minute flight.

Our view from Hoonah to Juneau

Then the lodge. Again, more food, music, and family time. 

Grandpa Jim, keeping up with the whole gang at 92

View from the lodge

More impromptu music

Anthony playing on the breaker

Cousin Dominic, avid fisherman, fished almost every waking moment

View from lodge, boys fishing in the bay

halibut and salmon grilling

Reunion medicine

Even overcast, the scenery was amazing

The lodge from the breaker

The whole gang

So, no recipes this time, just a few pics and a brief overview of our journey. And now, back to the grind, everyone's missing family, and kids missing running free in AK. It was all worth the money, inconvenience of travel, pain of mobilizing a large group, stress of logistics, etc, etc. Memories were made and a good time was had by all.

Yes, please

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries

makes approximately 8 servings
3 zucchini (1 lb.)
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 packet Shake & Bake Coating Mix
1 small egg


Heat oven to 450ºF.

Trim the zucchini -cut crosswise in half, then cut each piece into 1/4-inch sticks. Add cheese to coating mix in shaker bag; shake gently to combine.
Whisk egg in medium bowl. Add zucchini; toss to coat. Use tongs to place 1/4 of the zucchini in shaker bag; close bag and shake to evenly coat. Spread onto baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
Bake for 12 to 13 min. or until golden brown, turning the baking tray 180 degrees after 7 min to facilitate even baking.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another "from a friend" entries...

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

2 pound Pork Tenderloin
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 TBS Yellow Mustard
2-3 TBS maple syrup
2 TBS olive oil 
2 TBS Diced dried onions 
1 1/2 TSP Garlic Salt or Powder
Mix ingredients above. Pour over Tenderloin in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.

Buon Appetito!

And I'm back...

Just a quick note before I post a few things. I've been away in AK for 10 days with little to no internet/computer/phone access. So, I've been a bit delinquent. I am working on a rather lengthy post about our time there in AK, but will be posting a few things intermittently as I do so. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From a friend...


3 c. flour
1/4 tsp.salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

2 c. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Buon Appetito!

Baking Stone

So, the other night I was a bit late in getting dinner going, but I at least had the foresight to thaw a couple of pizza dough balls in case. Since the wife had to stay late, the kids and I threw together 4 pizza/flatbread type concoctions. I had some leftover stuffed pepper filling (cream cheese, ricotta, romano, italian bread crumbs, garlic, eggs, and a wee bit of crushed red pepper. Sometime I add pancetta which is awesome, too). Anyway, Like I said in an earlier post, more on that later when I have some pics. So, I used that filling as a base sauce, then added a little leftover pesto, a bit of romano, and mozzarella on 2 of them and the other 2 were the same except with bacon. They were awesome.

Proof that I am not making this up. 

I wanted to give a shout-out to the pizza/baking stone, too. I bought a Fibrament stone several months back and have been more than pleased. Several people have asked me about the stone, so here's a link:
It's been awesome for pizza and bread, and once it's "seasoned" can just live in the oven.

My baking stone is 15 x 20 and fits perfectly in the oven. I can make 2 pizzas at a time.

Some of these pics appeared in other posts, but I just added them as kudos to my stone. I would highly recommend the Fibrament.

Buon Appetito! 


Monday, July 8, 2013

Looks awesome...

Sausage Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers 

1 pound ground Italian sausage (or regular pork or a turkey version of either)
8 oz cream cheese, softened (used 1/3 less fat)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
1 pound jalapenos, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 green onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sausage in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease. In a bowl, mix the sausage, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and green onion. Spoon about 1 tablespoon sausage mixture into each jalapeno half. Arrange stuffed halves in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned. ***Tips on seeding the jalapenos. Wear gloves throughout the entire process. As you half and seed the jalapenos, you can put into a bowl of continuous running water. This helps soften to bake better and removes some heat.

I make a 4-cheese stuffed pepper myself, but unfortunately I have no pics...I will post when I do.

Buon Appetito!

And another...

So, I make mozzarella caprese often. We've made it with sliced tomatoes, diced tomatoes, whole cherry or grape tomatoes, etc. It's very easy and has very few ingredients, but it's great in lieu of a salad or a side. I had a little leftover pesto, so this time I made it with sliced tomatoes:

Ok, I apologize for the way the pesto "swirls" look...

All it takes is fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, a small drizzle of olive oil and some course sea salt. Bada bing bada boom! Amazing anytime, and now I recommend throwing some homemade pesto on top. If you're planning on having enough for leftovers, I would recommend using whole cherry/grape tomatoes, otherwise it will get too soggy. 
I think I talked about pesto before, but when I make it I don't measure. Typically pesto is simply fresh basil, some sharp Italian cheese, minced or fresh garlic, toasted pine nuts, and olive oil. I add salt at times depending on the saltiness of the cheese. I never add balsamic vinegar as some do, which is fine for them. I also substitute walnuts or pecans for pine nuts since I often have them on hand and pine nuts are a bit spendy. So, the base is a ton of basil, of course and it works best in a food processor. Toss everything in and slowly pour olive oil as it puree's just until moist enough. It will last for a couple of days in the fridge, and is good on anything. If I don't have basil, I usually buy a whole plant and use it all. I would say maybe a cup of roasted nuts, a cup and a half of cheese (romano or asiago), etc. Like I said, I never measure, but it always tastes good. 

Buon Appetito!

Quick summer fare

Cucumber Salad: Great side dish.


1 large cucumber 
2 tsp coarse sea salt (or to taste some think it is a little salty) 
1 Tbsp light sour cream 
1 tsp finely chopped onion 
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped 
1 tsp vinegar 
1 tsp sugar

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My wife told me I will be making this...

Photography: David Loftus

The best cherry & chocolate cheesecake

For The Cheesecake

150 g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
300 g dark chocolate digestives
100 g golden caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
900 g full-fat cream cheese
2 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
100 ml double cream
1 orange
50 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces

For The Cherries

300 g dried sour cherries
3 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
1 orange
1 stick cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
1 splash rum, brandy or grappa

For The Chocolate Sauce

100 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
200 ml single cream


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin with butter. 

Finely crumble the biscuits into a bowl then mix in the melted butter. When it's well combined, spoon it into the cake tin, spread it evenly so it covers the base, then press it down. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then let it cool. Turn the oven up to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. 

To prepare the cherries, add them to a pan with the sugar, the zest of the orange, the juice of half, and the cinnamon. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and put them to one side. Add a splash of rum and the vanilla pod to the pan, then put it on a low-to-medium heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and leave to cool. 

To make the cheesecake, combine the sugar and cornflour in a bowl, then add the cream cheese and beat well. Add the eggs and beat again until the mixture is smooth and light. Slowly beat in the cream, then add the reserved vanilla seeds and zest of the orange, and beat again. 

Using a slotted spoon, take half the cherries out of the pan and gently fold them into the cheesecake mix with the chocolate. Spoon this over the biscuit base, and gently shake the cake tin to level out the surface. Pop a few cherries on top and gently press them in. Scoop the remaining cherries and juices into a small bowl to serve with the cheesecake. 

Put the cheesecake in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is lightly brown and the edges have set. If it looks like it's browning too much, cover the top with some tin foil for the rest of the cooking time. When the time's up, take the cake out of the oven and either leave it to cool at room temperature, or, if you like your cheesecake really firm, pop it in the fridge until completely chilled. 

Just before serving, make the chocolate sauce. Pour the single cream into a small pan and place over a low heat. Cook until it just starts to bubble, then add the chocolate and whisk gently until it has all melted. 

Serve your gorgeous cheesecake with the bowl of reserved cherries and a jug of warm chocolate sauce on the side so people can drizzle over as much or as little as they like. 

                                   Buon Appetito!



Pollina (PA) - Foto di Blues Man Giuseppe

Riserva dello Zingaro - Foto di Christian Lucchini

Riserva dello Zingaro

San Vito Lo Capo - - Foto di Christian Lucchini

Scopello - Foto di Christian Lucchini