Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Add Color to Your Life

I personally garden for two reasons - to be creative and to bring color in my life. 



Color is personal.  I am very conservative when I choose my clothes but very bold when it comes to my garden.  I believe the colors of my garden are a reflection of who I am.

I am happy sitting on one of many benches in the midst of a mass of colorful blooming companions.  I use plants like paints to create a work of art.

Here is how I do it.

  • I only use color as a focal point by perfectly placing a striking plant in the middle of muted greens .





  • I love bold colors to create excitement and vitality to the garden.



  • I love warm yellows and oranges mixed with blue and purple.



  • Use the color of foliage to enhance the garden and give color when plants are not blooming.


Different colors of hostas

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

GELATI CON CREMA PASTICCERA (Cones with cream filling)

There are desserts that recall childhood.  You know those cakes that taste of pampering and goodness.  Well, these pastry cones filled with delicious cream bring me back to my childhood in Italy.  The cream that goes into them is flavored only with lemon rind and cinnamon sticks, just the way my mother used to make it.





While many use puff pastry to make the cones, I use this recipe:

Ingredients:


3 eggs
3 cups of flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons of oil
3 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar, add oil, white wine, vanilla and flour.  Mix well until the dough is smooth and soft.  Toss the dough which at this point maybe sticky, on a floured surface until it can be handled.  Roll out the dough into a square.  Cut into strips.   





 Oil each metal cone and wrap one strip of dough around it.




Over medium-high heat, fry few cones at a time until golden.




Remove cones from frying pan and place over paper towels.  



Fill the cones with crema pasticcera.  Dust with confectionery sugar.


Cream filling (crema pasticcera)








Monday, April 27, 2015

AMAZING POTATOES


We LOVE potatoes, and why not?  They are a great source of vitamins and minerals.  We fry them, boil them, and bake them, but rarely celebrate them.  While many Americans load them with cream and butter, here are many ways that I let their earthy goodness shine through.


white, gold yukon, yams and red potatoes




Mix all types of potatoes with skins on, add chopped red onions, sprinkle with rosemary, add salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 400 until crisp.







Potato Pizza:  Potato pizza has a special place in my heart. This simple rustic pizza made with just a few basic ingredients (no tomato sauce) is pretty impossible to find in restaurants. It’s thin, crispy, crunchy and addictive.





Mixed with vegetables (Swisschard and potatoes)



Potato salad


























Tuesday, April 14, 2015

PASSION FOR STYLISH KITCHEN TOWELS


I have a passion for strong and stylish kitchen towels. When one cooks a great deal like me, it is very important to have absorbent towels. For absorbency, I use dish towels consisting of a waffle or basket weave. Apart from their obvious use, dish towels can also enhance the decor of any kitchen or express a theme. I create my own designs.


As with any theme decor, if not properly done, it can make a kitchen look garish.  

Do not overdue.


Beach Theme Decor





     

Whether you are looking to decorate a summer cottage or a year round home with the beach theme, the kitchen is a perfect place to start. Use nautical colors – such as tan, yellow, navy, and white color scheme. A tiny splash of red and orange can also be added for a pop of color. Display a set of nautical themed dishes, seashells in a jar and kitchen towels.







Food and Drink
The kitchen is where the food is made, so favorite foods and drinks are often good subjects for kitchen decor.


Due to the increasing popularity of wine appreciation, homeowners are adding wine theme decor to their kitchens.  
Natural rustic materials such as stone and Tuscan paint colors like oatmeal, terra cotta, warm yellow compliment a wine theme kitchen decor. 


When choosing wine theme kitchen accessories, keep it simple – few ceramics, a decorative bottle and some kitchen towels. You want your kitchen to look classy and chic and not over the top. If done well, the kitchen should resemble a rural country home rather than a wine store.






These martini kitchen towels are great hanging in the kitchen or by the pool bar.






A coffee lover might paint the kitchen walls in an appealing shade of caffe' latte, display wall decor that features vintage coffee ads, and hang kitchen towels embroidered with  coffee cups. 


Favorite foods are another good source of inspiration. Citrus fruits in their fresh colors, cheery red and green apples, ripe tomatoes and red and green peppers are great choices.








Friday, April 3, 2015

RISOTTO WITH SPINACH AND SHRIMPS

As mentioned in previous postings, Easter is all about lamb in our home except for Good Friday, a day of strict fasting and abstinence from all meat.  Sometimes the simplest recipes are the very best.  Like this one, which has become a favorite of ours.  Trust me, this dish is brilliant, speedy, and ideal when the day calls for a meatless dish.






Ingredients:


1 1/2 uncooked large shrimps, peeled and deveined
5 cups of vegetable broth or water
6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup of Arborio or Carnaroli Brown rice
1 lb. fresh spinach leaves ot 1 (10 oz. package)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and black pepper



Preparation:

In large pan, over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Sauté shallots until softened. Add the rice and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of broth, stirring often until broth is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender. 

In another skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté garlic until aromatic and softened. Add shrimp and cook until just done. Do not overcook. Remove shrimps to a plate. In the same skillet, add spinach tossing until spinach is wilted.  Adjust for salt and pepper.  Toss all ingredients until heated through and creamy.   Serve immediately.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Then, Comes PASQUETTA or LUNEDI' di PASQUA (Easter Monday)

While in America everybody is back to work on Monday following Easter Sunday. in Italy they have another holiday called Lunedi' di Pasqua or Pasquetta.



On this day, many Italians head for the fields to picnic and celebrate the arrival of spring. Many families together with friends and relatives feast on frittata (egg omelets) made with wild asparagus, 


Asparagus frittata


various pizzas,


Pizza with roasted peppers


and other Easter delicacies like Fiadoni e Pastoni and yes, red wine.






Perhaps stuffed but Che bel divertimento!








Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino: a classic that never wanes

I know, it may not be original but it is one of those absolute pasta dishes of the Italian cuisine that pleases everyone and not everyone can do.




Ingredients (for 3 persons)
1/2 lb. spaghetti
2 red peperoncini (dry or fresh as preferable)
3 cloves of garlic (or fresh garlic)
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper













Preparation:
Bring a good amount of water to boil.
Pour olive oil in a frying pan.  Add chopped garlic and fry over medium heat avoiding it to burn. 
Add the chopped peperoncini, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of water.  
Simmer gently while spaghetti are cooking.
Drain pasta when ready and toss in pan and mix well.
Serve with a generous amount of Parmigiano Reggiano (if you like).