Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Here is another amazing way to serve mussels. Serve with a green salad and crusty Italian bread for soaking up the delicious broth. Wild mussels have beards and farm-raised mussels usually do not.

2 lbs mussels, wild or farm raised
1 t saffron powder or threads (optional)
¼ cup boiling water
1 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
2 oz diced pancetta
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red chile pepper, thinly sliced or a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup dry vermouth
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped oregano leaves
2 T chopped Italian parsley

If you are using wild mussels, scrub them first with a brush under cold running water.
 Leave beards attached.
Place mussels in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate until ready to cook.

In a small bowl, add the saffron, cover with the boiling water and set aside.

Add oil to a large deep skillet or Dutch oven and over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta, for about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat, add the shallots and sauté a couple of minutes. 
Add the garlic and chile pepper and sauté another minute.
Turn off heat and remove mussels from the refrigerator.

Remove any beards with a pair of “kitchen only” needle-nose pliers.
Turn on the heat in a skillet or Dutch oven to medium-high.
Add the mussels along with vermouth, tomatoes, and saffron with water.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently stir.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer until shells open, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Mix in the oregano and parsley.

Divide mussels and broth between two warm bowls.
Discard any mussels that did not open.

Serves 2

Friday, August 11, 2017


Summer is the perfect time for cool pasta salads. This salad transports perfectly for a picnic or just a nice barbecue in your own backyard. You can make this a Greek pasta salad by substituting the mozzarella for feta cheese and the Italian olives for Kalamata olives.

2 cups dried orzo pasta
½ cup Italian olives or other black olives pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup deli pepper rings or mild banana pepper rings, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 oz fresh cherry bocconcini, drained or fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T champagne or white wine vinegar
1 t dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup chopped basil
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Cook orzo in salted water until al dente (about 9 minutes).
Drain in a colander and run cold water over pasta. Let drain again.
Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl.

Add the olives, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
Lightly toss to combine.

In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, vinegar, and oregano.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour over the pasta and add the parsley, basil, and Parmigiano cheese.
Toss again to combine and let sit covered for at least 15 minutes, for flavors to develop.

Serves 6

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Saltimbocca translates to "jump in your mouth" in Italian. Most people are familiar with this dish made with veal. I try to stay away from veal as much as I can, although it is delicious.
My husband thinks substituting chicken is equally as good as veal and doesn't miss it at all. You only need to buy about 2 ounces of Prosciutto for this recipe. 

2 boneless chicken breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh sage leaves
8 long slices Prosciutto di Parma
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil

½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
2 T unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon

On a clean work surface, cut each breast in half, lengthwise, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Lay 3 sage leaves on top of each breast.
Wrap 2 slices Prosciutto around each breast.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Place chicken breasts, sage side down, in skillet and cook until Prosciutto is lightly crisp about 3 minutes.
Carefully flip the breasts over, lower heat to medium, and cook another 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet and place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while making the sauce.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine. 
Add the chicken broth and reduce by half.
Add the butter and simmer another 2 minutes.
Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir to combine.

Place chicken breast on a platter or individual plates.
Pour the sauce over and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Serves 2 to 4

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


There has always been the debate over the type of cheese used on a Philly Cheese Steak. The three popular cheeses are Provolone, Swiss, White American, and the one I would never use - Cheez Whiz. Cheez Whiz was introduced because of convenience. I would say that the Provolone is my favorite cheese to use. I put slices on the bottom of the toasted roll and on top of the steak and caramelized onions. 

1 lb Strip Loin, T-Bone, or Rib Eye Steak
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
2 t extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Place steak in the freezer for about 2 hours. 
Slice the steak as thin as you possibly can with a sharp knife and then chop the meat.
Place in a bowl with the above ingredients, toss to combine, and refrigerate for one hour, while caramelizing the onions.

2 large yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
12 thin slices Provolone cheese
2 Hoagie Rolls 

In a medium skillet sauté onions in oil and butter over medium-low heat for about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring often.
Spoon onions into a bowl set aside and cover to keep warm. 
In the same skillet cook steak on high heat for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Open rolls and place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown. 
Add 3 slices of Provolone to the bottom of each roll.

Divide the steak between the 2 rolls, then add the sautéed onions and top with the rest of the cheese slices.  
Heat under broiler for about one minute, or until cheese is melted but not burned.

Serves 2