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Old Traditions Die, a New Pasta Shape with Red Lentils and Walnuts

The first half of my life was very much influenced by my Italian-American surroundings … my paternal relatives, my Brooklyn and Staten Island neighborhoods, and my extended family and friends.

That meant I grew up eating all the traditional “Italian” foods of that era. Continue Reading

Two Food Bloggers in the Kitchen

I love when friends visit, especially friends who share a love of food, cooking, blogging and photography. Continue Reading

A Latin-Inspired Birthday Lunch Was the Answer to a Super Bowl Day Conflict

As you may know, in my family, we celebrate everyone’s birthday with a group dinner generally late Sunday afternoon of the birthday week. So, a couple of weeks ago I sent out a family text announcing I would host Gram’s (the family matriarch) and Julie’s (my d-in-l) birthdays on 2/2 at 5:00. Yikes … the push back was immediate. You think I said the world was coming to an end!

Not being a fan of football (or bad fried and cheesy food-fests), I didn’t realize there was something else scheduled for that day. We compromised and I moved the festivities up to lunch so ‘those who cared’ could be home or wherever for the big kick-off. Continue Reading

A meaty, greasy, tasty Frita (Cuban burger) goes Vegan. Será posible?

“Choose one of your favorite rich, heavy, fatty animal-protein-based meals and give it a healthy VEGAN spin.” That was the challenge.  Continue Reading

Braised Pork Belly with Creamy Cannellini Beans and Candied Tomatoes

One of the courses in Sunday’s Brunch, Booze + Bagpipes was pork belly, ‘stilo Italiano’. Continue Reading

Brunch, Booze and Bagpipes

My friend, Gail, said “Father Time is knocking on my door again“. She wanted to get together with the gals for a birthday brunch on Sunday. Here, in South FL, we have lots of brunch choices from waterfront casual to high-end hotels. We generally tend toward the high-end, like the Four Seasons, for these special celebrations. But, hey, they’re expensive, a little stiff, and you can’t hang out ALL day. Wouldn’t it be more fun to do a brunch at home?

I volunteered to host the brunch at “Casa Nova” and the gals readily agreed.

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The Cooks Get Cooking: Hurricane Issac

Although we’ve been lucky for a number of years now, living in FL you know the drill and you don’t take chances. A couple days before a storm’s forecasted arrival: fill the gas tank, stock up on water and fresh ingredients — fruits, veggies, cheeses, crusty bread. Things that are easy to eat without power. And … while you still have power, start cooking what’s in the freezer.

I was prepared but once it was reality and I was stuck in the house till it passed, my thoughts went to comfort foods. So, with the first rain band, I got cooking – literally!

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The Marriage of Broccoli Rabe and Beans

You know you’re Italian if you grew up eating broccoli rabe and beans. We ate it as a soupy dish and dunked bread in the bowl. Any liquid that was left, we slurped. Oh, yes we did. We also ate it as a side dish (usually with sausage) and, of course, we ate it with pasta!

Broccoli rabe and beans (cannellini or garbanzo a/k/a chick peas, ceci beans) are a perfect marriage. But, like any wedding party, they need some loving attendants to walk them up the aisle: garlic, chicken broth, olive oil, onion or leeks, carrot, tomato. Continue Reading

All-Red Skillet Pasta: Shrimp, Red Lentils, Spicy Tomatoes

I love lentils, especially red ones. They’re more delicate and visually better looking than their brown cousins – and they require less cooking time. I built this very delicious meal around a small container of leftover lentils. Continue Reading

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