Monday, October 31, 2016


The sweetness of the pears, the creaminess of the Brie, the saltiness and robust flavor of the Gorgonzola, and finally the earthiness of the wild mushrooms, make this a fabulous appetizer to serve. It is a symphony for your taste buds. I used cremini and oyster mushrooms, but use whatever your favorites are.

1 baguette
1 T (15 ml)extra-light olive oil
2 T (30 ml) unsalted butter
A couple handfuls of cremini & wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T (15 ml) Italian parsley, chopped
2 pears, thinly sliced
Brie, cut up
Gorganzola, cut up

Cut baguette into 12 to 14 slices.
Place on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for just a few minutes to toast.
Set aside on the baking sheet.

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet, over medium-high heat.
Add the mushrooms and cook the for 10 minutes, to a golden brown.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Stir in the parsley and set aside.

Place a couple slices of pear on each slice of bread.
Top with some brie and then some of the gorgonzola.
Place under the broiler, just until the cheese is melted.

Reheat mushroom mixture for a couple of minutes.
Top each bruschetta with a spoonful of mushrooms and serve.

Monday, October 24, 2016

STEAK FLORENTINE - Bistecca alla Fiorentina

This meal can serve 2 or even 4, depending upon the thickness of the steaks. This was very much like the lunch my husband, daughter, and I had in Siena, Italy.

2 Porterhouse steaks
1 clove garlic, pushed through a garlic press or mashed and minced
2 T (30 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
2 t (10 ml) oregano leaves
2 T (30 ml) Chianti or other dry Italian red wine
2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula, for serving
White or red balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Lemon wedges, for serving
Rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Place steaks in a large zippered plastic bag.
Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, wine, and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Squeeze out air, seal, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Prepare a charcoal grill with coals and hickory wood chips.

Prepare a platter or 2 individual plates with arugula.
Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and a little extra-virgin olive oil.

When coals are white and glowing, add steaks and cook 5 to 8 minutes, on each side.
When finished to your liking, remove from grill and place on a arugula lined platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges and rosemary, for garnish.

Serves 2


Sunday, October 23, 2016

CANNELLINI BEANS WITH BLACK KALE - Fagioli Cannellini con Cavolo Nero

There is a Tuscan kale that has become very popular in the last few years. It has many names, such as; Lacinato Kale, Black Kale, Dinosaur Kale, and Cavolo Nero. It is a very tender kale and can be cooked in only 10 minutes or eaten raw in salads. This is a bean dish to serve with any main course. It can also be the main course!

2 cups (500 ml) dried cannellini beans
2 T (30 ml) extra-light olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (1 litre) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme, tied with kitchen twine or ½ t (2 ml) dried thyme
2 t (10 ml) sea salt
1 t (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes

1 bunch black kale, torn from ribs into several pieces
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup (125 ml) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil

In the early afternoon, place beans in a Dutch oven with enough water to cover by 3 inches.
Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat, cover and let stand for 3 to 4 hours.
Drain beans and set aside.
In the same Dutch oven add the olive oil and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

Return drained beans to the Dutch oven and add the broth, water, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover with a lid and cook for 1 ½ hours; stirring occasionally. The beans should be tender when mashed with a spoon, to the side of the pot.
Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs, if using.

Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice and grated cheese.
Transfer to a warm serving bowl.
Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Serves 6

Friday, October 21, 2016


If you love mushrooms, you will love this pizza with plenty of mushrooms and no tomato sauce.

1 recipe for pizza dough (divided into 3 balls)
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 cups (500 ml) cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 to 6 oz (125 to 185 g) fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
½ cup (125 ml) freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 leaves basil, torn

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C) degrees with a pizza stone on top shelf.

Spread a ball of pizza dough into a circle of about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm).
Place on a lightly oiled pizza pan.

In a skillet cook the onion over medium heat until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Stirring  often.
Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown. Stirring often.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

Spoon onions and then mushrooms onto pizza dough.
Add some mozzarella pieces and grated Romano cheese.
Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and bake pizza on bottom shelf of oven for 7 minutes.

Slide off of the pizza pan onto the pizza stone and bake another 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and crispy on the bottom and cheese is melted and lightly brown.

Serves 1 to 2