Sunday, August 30, 2015


Braciole is a traditional Sunday Italian-American dinner. It’s made even better by adding a little pasta or polenta on the side. It simmers slowly on the stove for four hours. While the amazing aroma of this cooking fills the house, listen to a couple of Puccini operas, Luciano Pavarotti or Enrico Caruso. You can prepare the steak the day before and refrigerate. For added flavor add a few Italian sausages to the gravy. Brown them before you brown the steaks and simmer together. Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

The recipe is in my cookbook available on or a signed copy from my website.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


We had a lovely dinner at a nearby inn for our 48th wedding anniversary. For dessert, we had a mix of different sorbets. One was a divine chocolate sorbet. I decided to experiment and make an Italian chocolate-espresso sorbetto. This will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving.

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 t espresso powder
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 t pure vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso.
Bring to a boil while whisking for one minute.
Turn off heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted.

Let cool for 20 minutes and then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof
glass pitcher.
Cover and chill thoroughly.

When cool, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Spoon into a covered container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Many countries have their own version of an apple cake. Mamaw used to make this for family gatherings. The only extra ingredients I have added are the apple brandy and lemon zest, but you don’t have to use them. Either way, it is amazingly moist and delicious...even great for breakfast. Torta di Mele.

Softened butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp apples
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 
¾ cup pastry or all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder
½ t fine sea salt
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 T apple-flavored brandy, such as Calvados (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 t finely grated lemon zest
Confectioners’ sugar, for topping

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Peel, core, and cut apples into ¼-inch thick slices.

In a large skillet over very low heat, melt the butter.
Pour most of the melted butter into a large bowl and set aside.
Add the apple slices to the remaining butter in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the large bowl with the melted butter, whisk in the eggs until well blended.
Add the vanilla, brandy, sugar, and lemon zest.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour apples into the springform pan and spoon the batter on top of the apples, smoothing the top.

Place springform pan on a baking sheet and bake until cake is lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and let the cake cool in the pan to set.
When cool, remove rim and place the cake on a serving plate.

Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar and add a scoop of vanilla gelato or vanilla ice cream to each portion, if desired.

Serves 6 to 8

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Sicilian gelato typically does not use eggs or cream and therefore contains less butterfat than ice cream. It is stabilized by adding cornstarch in place of the eggs. For a creamy texture, use whole milk.

4 cups whole milk
2 T cornstarch
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 T coffee liqueur (Kahlua or Tia Maria)
¼ cup instant espresso powder, or more to taste

In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing ¼ cup of the milk with the cornstarch. Whisk until smooth.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and the cornstarch mixture and stir. Return to a simmer for about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the coffee liqueur and espresso powder. Stir to combine.

Let cool and then pour into a covered container and refrigerate until completely chilled.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer to a covered container and place in your freezer, until firm.

Serves 4


Zabaglione is an Italian unset custard, pronounced “zah bahl YOH nay.” In French cooking, it is called sabayon.
Using a hand-held electric mixer, it takes just a few minutes to thicken. Spoon some fruit into crème brûlée dishes, drizzle on some zabaglione and put under the broiler for just a few seconds. Traditionally zabaglione it is made with Marsala wine, but I prefer it with Limoncello, which is mainly produced in Southern Italy from Naples to Salerno. Use any fruit of your choice. I used blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

3 cups mixed fresh berries
3 T granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of sea salt
2 t grated lemon zest
¼ cup Limoncello (a sweet Italian lemon liqueur)

In a bowl, toss the berries with the 3 tablespoons of sugar and spoon into 4 ramekins or crème brûlée dishes. 
Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, sea salt, lemon zest, and limoncello in a large metal or glass bowl. 
Using an electric hand mixer, mix vigorously until slightly thickened and the color is pale yellow. 
Set the bowl of a saucepan of simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. 
On high speed, mix again until it has tripled in volume and is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Spoon some of the zabaglione over the fruit.
Place under the broiler for 30 to 45 seconds. Don’t walk away as it burns very quickly.

Serves 4