Friday, January 27, 2017


Panzanella roughly translates to bread (pane) small basket (zanella). This salad is especially wonderful when tomatoes are in season. If you want the salad to be a complete meal, add a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans to the salad for protein.

2 cups roughly chopped Italian bread

Place bread croutons on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree F oven. 
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside.

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
¼ cup drained capers
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
1 T chopped oregano leaves
1 T chopped basil leaves

In a large salad bowl, add the above salad ingredients and the bread croutons. 
Toss to combine.

1 clove garlic, minced
½ t Dijon mustard
¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a canning jar, add the above vinaigrette ingredients, screw on the top, and shake vigorously.

Pour as much as you want over the salad and gently toss to combine. You will have enough salad dressing for another salad.

Serves 4

Thursday, January 26, 2017


These are delicious crackers to serve with fruit. You can freeze the tightly wrapped log before baking. Remove from the freezer a couple of hours before baking.

½ cup walnut pieces
8 T unsalted butter softened
8 oz Gorgonzola cheese, softened
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
2 t minced fresh rosemary

1 egg beaten with 1 T water

Pour walnuts in a dry skillet and toast until lightly golden brown.
Place toasted walnuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped, but don't make walnut butter out of it.
Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together until smooth. 
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt, pepper, and rosemary. 
Mix for 1 minute.  
Alternatively, you can do this in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. 

Turn dough out onto a piece of wax paper. 
Roll into a 10-inch long log. 
Brush the log with the egg wash.
Spread the walnuts out and roll the log in the walnuts, pressing lightly. 

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least for 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the log into thin slices and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes, until lightly brown.  

Cool and serve at room temperature with grapes and figs.

Makes about 12 to 15 crackers


Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Chicken breasts and mushrooms in a wine sauce over spaghetti's dinner in 30 minutes.

8 oz spaghetti
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half, lengthwise
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
3 T unsalted butter, divided
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup white wine or dry white vermouth
½ cup chicken stock
Juice of ½ lemon
2 t capers, drained
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T chopped parsley, for garnish

Place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap on a plastic cutting board and gently pound with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness.
Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place flour in a shallow bowl and dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
Place dredged chicken back on the cutting board.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add half of the olive oil and butter.
Brown chicken on both sides for about 4 minutes on each side.
Place chicken on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven.

In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the rest of the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the wine, chicken stock, and lemon juice and cook another couple of minutes.
Add the capers, the rest of the butter, and the Parmigiano cheese.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, boil spaghetti in salted water for 7 to 8 minutes.

Add drained spaghetti to 2 warm plates.
Top with chicken cutlets and spoon on the sauce and mushrooms.
Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Serves 2

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


When I was a child I didn't particularly like Brussels sprouts. Roasting them and adding walnuts or pine nuts, and Parmigiano cheese makes them so delicious. Brussels sprouts are one of the cruciferous disease fighting vegetables. Collards, broccoli, kale, and cabbage are also among cruciferous vegetables. They have powerful immune-boosting serve more of these vegetables with your meals!

½ cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 shallots, chopped
2 T extra-light olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Zest and juice of one lemon
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Do not let them burn.
In a large bowl, combine sprouts, garlic, shallots, and olive oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove nuts from oven and place in a small bowl.

Spoon the sprouts mixture onto the same baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting time.

Remove from oven, add nuts, lemon zest, juice, and cheese.

Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Spoon into a warm serving bowl and sprinkle with a little more cheese.

Serves 6 to 8


Richmond, Virginia - early 1940s

Thursday, January 5, 2017


This is my version of an Italian Clam a skillet. You can cook the sausages and corn on the stove, but the grilling gives the dish a real outdoor clam bake taste. This recipe is done in stages, so you prepare part of the recipe, do something else, come back and finish the dish. In fact, you can cook the sausages, corn, and steam the clams in the morning and refrigerate. They will heat up in the final stage of the recipe. 
Removing the corn from the cob and slicing the sausages when they are cold, is much easier to do.

3 dozen littleneck or large manila clams
2 Italian sausages, grilled or cooked in a skillet
1 ear corn, grilled or boiled

½ lb spaghetti

1 cup dry white wine, divided
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ t red pepper flakes
2 T minced Italian parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T unsalted butter
16 to 18 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Scrub clams under cold running water.
Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 15. This will help the clams relax and open their shells.

Meanwhile, prepare a medium-hot charcoal or gas grill. 
Grill the Italian sausages for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning often.
Grill the corn for about 10 minutes, turning often.
You can also do this on your stove.

Set the sausages and corn aside to cool.
When cool, remove corn from the cob, and set aside.
Slice the sausages and set aside.

Remove clams from the refrigerator and immediately pour cold water into the bowl. 
Set aside for 10 minutes, then drain off the water.
This process should clean out any sand.

Remove 14 of the largest clams and set aside in a bowl.
Place the rest of the clams in a large skillet, add ½ cup of the wine and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and cover with a lid.
Steam until clams open, about 4 to 5 minutes. Discard any that failed to open.
Remove clams with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. 
When cool remove from shells and chop. Set aside in a bowl.
Pour juice into a cup or bowl.
Boil the spaghetti in salted water for about 5 minutes, firmer than al dente (“to the tooth”).
Turn off heat, cover and keep warm. The spaghetti will continue to cook.

In the same large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the shallot for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and parsley.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the rest of the larger clams, sausages, the rest of the wine, and reserved clam juice.
Cover and steam until clams are open, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove lid and add the chopped clams, corn, butter, and tomatoes.
Turn off heat and cover to keep warm for a couple of minutes.

Add a nest of pasta to each warm pasta bowl.
Evenly add the clam and sausage ingredients to each bowl.
Pour the broth and rest of skillet ingredients over each bowl.

Serve with crusty Italian bread.

Serves 2