Thursday, September 29, 2016


The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that your whole family will enjoy. Serve the chicken with wild rice or roasted sweet potatoes and a green salad. This is a perfect autumn dinner.

If you don't have balsamic vinegar in your pantry, mix together, 2 tablespoons molasses or brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

4 bone-in chicken breasts, cut in half
4 small chicken legs with thighs
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 whole lemon, cut into 8 wedges
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh rosemary
2 t fresh or freeze-dried oregano
2 t fresh or freeze-dried basil
½ t red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 cup dry white wine

½ cup stuffed Manzanilla olives
½ cup Italian black olives, pitted
¼ cup capers, drained
2 medium onions, cut into small wedges
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried plums (prunes)
Lemon slices, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken in a large heavy baking pan. Do not crowd the chicken.
Brush the chicken with balsamic vinegar.

Squeeze the juice from 3 lemon wedges over the chicken.
Tuck in the rest of the wedges around the chicken.

Place the garlic, rosemary, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix together and evenly sprinkle over the chicken.

Drizzle the chicken with oil, pour wine around chicken, and bake for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle the olives, capers, onions, apricots, and prunes around the chicken.
Baste with pan juices and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, until chicken is a deep golden brown.

Transfer all of the ingredients to a warm baking pan or dish to take to the table.
Pour the pan juices over and tuck in a few lemon slices.

Serves 6

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Syllabub is a mousse-like dessert popular in Europe in the 17th through the 19th centuries.  One of the earliest written recipes for syllabub dates back to 1655 in the book "The Compleat Cook" by a British author.  The dessert is made with wine, cider, or brandy.  I added espresso to give it an Italian flavor and chocolate. . .because it made it even more delicious!

½ cup hot espresso
¼ cup dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips  
½ cup granulated or light brown sugar
½ cup brandy  
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Orange zest strips, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the hot espresso, chocolate, sugar, orange zest, and brandy.
Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter until cool.

When espresso mixture is cool, pour heavy cream into a large bowl and whip until medium-firm peaks form.
Spoon out about ½ cup of the whipped cream into another bowl, to use for garnish.
Slowly mix the coffee mixture into the large bowl of whipped cream.
Spoon into glasses and refrigerate until well chilled.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream and orange zest strips.

Serves 4 to 6 (depending upon the size of your serving glasses)

Friday, September 16, 2016


In my cookbook, I have two recipes for Sicilian Gelato. Sicilians use cornstarch as a stabilizer instead of egg yolks. This gelato reminds me of the lemony flavors of the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
Turn off or stop churning your ice cream maker before it gets to the thickness of ice cream. Scoop into a container and freeze until ready to serve. Before serving, take the container of gelato out of the freezer and let sit on your counter for 15 minutes. This softens the gelato to the consistency of gelato in Italy. Gelato is ideally served with a gelato spatula instead of an ice cream scoop.

3 cups whole milk
1 small vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
Peel from 2 organic lemons or carefully washed lemons
4 egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the milk, lemon peel, and vanilla bean to a simmer. 
Turn off heat and let sit.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks along with the remaining 1 cup of milk and sugar.
A little at a time, stir into the hot milk mixture.  
Return the pan to heat and slowly simmer, whisking until mixture thickens slightly about 3 to 5 minutes.
Let cool for 30 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a covered container and refrigerate until completely chilled.

When cold, pour into a gelato or ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Another Serving Idea:
To serve as affogato "drowned in coffee".
Put a scoop of gelato in a cup or small glass. Add one or two shots of espresso and enjoy!


Thursday, September 8, 2016


Here is another way to serve all of those end of summer tomatoes from your garden or local farm stand. Try this End of Summer Tomato Salad with Olives. Use any color of tomatoes and any olives you long as they are Italian. Buon appetito!

6 ripe multi-colored tomatoes, sliced
10 various colors of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
A few slices of red onion
2 T green Sicilian Castelvetrano olives, sliced off of the pit
2 T black Italian Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
2 T white or red balsamic vinegar
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T chopped Italian parsley
1 T chopped basil

Arrange sliced tomatoes on a platter and add the cherry tomatoes in the center.
Scatter on the sliced red onion and olives.
Drizzle on the vinegar and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with parsley and basil.

Serves 4 to 6


This salad is similar to a Caesar salad with a few additions. I added a coddled egg instead of a raw egg, and it gives the salad dressing a smoother creamier texture. You can use bacon in place of the pancetta, but this is, after all, an Italian-American salad.

4 slices pancetta, chopped
1 cup chopped Italian crusty bread
Enough mixed lettuce or Romaine for 4 salad plates, chopped or torn
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
2 T chopped oregano leaves
2 T chopped red onion

1 large egg, room temperature

In a non-stick skillet, cook pancetta until crispy.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Pour out most of the grease from the skillet and add the chopped bread.
Cook over medium heat until golden on all sides.
Place toasted croutons in a bowl and set aside.

Rinse and spin-dry the lettuce and place in a large salad bowl.
Slice the tomatoes in half and set aside.

Add the mint, oregano, and red onion to the salad bowl.

Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil.
Place the egg into a coffee mug and pour hot water to cover the egg.
Set a timer and let the egg sit in hot water for one minute, to coddle.
Remove egg to a bowl with ice water to chill for a couple of minutes.

2 T lemon juice
2 T champagne or white wine vinegar
1 coddled egg
1 clove garlic, push through a garlic press or finely minced
2 t Dijon mustard
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, add the lemon juice and vinegar.
Crack the coddled egg into the bowl and whisk briskly.
Whisk in the garlic, mustard, olive oil, and a little of the Romano cheese. 
Whisk until the mixture thickens.

Pour dressing over the salad, add the tomatoes and the croutons, and toss to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide between 4 salad plates and sprinkle with the rest of the Romano cheese.

Serves 4