Wednesday, October 21, 2015


If you love eggplant parmigiana, you will love this pizza. If you don't want to fry the thin slices of eggplant, you can bake them in a 400-degree F oven until crisp, but the frying of the eggplant is very quick and easy.

Pizza Dough
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 t active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 t fine sea salt
1 t extra-light olive oil

Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Sprinkle in yeast and let proof for 10 minutes, until the yeast is creamy and foaming.

With the mixer running, slowly add the flour alternating with the rest of the water, salt, and olive oil. Continue to mix until a ball forms, about 10 minutes.
You can also do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until dough is soft and no longer sticky.
Place dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Spread a little oil on top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove from refrigerator and let bowl with dough come to room temperature before removing and shaping.

Place dough on a floured surface and stretch and form with hand to an oblong shape.

Place on a lightly oiled rectangular baking sheet.

Pizza Sauce
You can make my cooked pizza sauce (in my cookbook) or use a store bought pizza sauce.

Spread a light coating of sauce onto the pizza dough.
Add about 8 whole basil leaves.
Layer on the eggplant slices (recipe follows)
Add a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle on some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Bake in a preheated 450-degree F oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with a little more Parmigiana cheese and let cool a few minutes before cutting into squares.

Peanut oil, extra-light olive oil, or avocado oil, for frying
1 large egg, whisked with 1 T water
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 medium eggplant, unpeeled or peeled 

In a large skillet, add about ½-inch of oil and heat over medium-high heat.
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the eggplant. You can also use a very sharp knife to thinly slice.
Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then dip in the bread crumbs.
Using tongs, gently place slices in the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet while frying the rest of the eggplant.

* Any eggplant that does not fit on the pizza is the chef's treat to eat!

Monday, October 19, 2015


Honorable Mention
Big Mamma's Italian-American Cookbook, Lee Casazza, Lee Casazza Cooking - When Italian immigrants come to America, they bring with them their treasured family recipes from the regions of Italy where they have lived. As these immigrants become immersed into American culture, their cuisine begins to change naturally to reflect the inspiration of their new way of life. Lee Casazza has compiled a cookbook lovingly filled with mouthwatering family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. The book includes family photos and untouched recipe photographs. Notable dishes include Roasted Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon, Big Mammas Sunday Braciole with Gravy, and Mussels with Tomatoes, Fennel & Wine. Helpful hints shorten the time on some dishes, and there are recipes that can be made in thirty minutes or less.

Friday, October 9, 2015



I live in the Pacific Northwest and Manilla clams are very common. They are the sweetest, small hard-shell clams, and are favorites of professional chefs. I was lucky to find Komo Gway Clams produced by the K'ómoks First Nation. This recipe makes enough chowder for 4 cups or 2 large bowls.

5 dozen Manilla, Littleneck, or Butter Clams
4 strips bacon or pancetta, diced                                      
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 large yellow onion, diced                                        
3 stalks celery, cut into strips and finely diced                                        
2 medium carrots, cut into strips and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                   
1 t freeze-dried or chopped fresh oregano 
1 t freeze-dried or chopped fresh basil
½ t red pepper flakes                                      
1 t dried or fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 8-oz bottle clam juice
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 28-oz can whole peeled Italian tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup water
1 cup dry white wine

¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

Scrub clams with a brush under cold running water.
Place them in a bowl of cold water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot or Dutch oven, fry bacon until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside for garnish.
Pour out most of the bacon fat and discard.
Add the oil and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot for 10 minutes. 
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Stir in oregano, basil, pepper flakes, thyme, and bay leaves.
Add the clam juice and potatoes.

Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and hand-crush them, removing any hard center cores.
Alternatively, use an immersion blender to chop the tomatoes.  
Pour tomatoes into the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, pour the water and wine in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Drain the clams and add to the saucepan.
Partially cover and let clams simmer for 5 minutes or until they open.
Remove clams with a slotted spoon to a bowl and pour liquid from saucepan through a fine mesh strainer into the pot with the soup.

Discard any unopened clams
Remove clams from their shells and coarsely chop.
Add the clams to the soup pot and simmer another 2 to 3 minutes, until hot.
Add parsley and ladle into warm soup bowls. 
Garnish with bacon and serve.

Serves 2 to 4

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


50th wedding anniversary in Portsmouth, Virginia, 1947. They were married in Italy in 1897.