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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

Rum-Infused Chestnut Bonbons with Dark Chocolate-Crystallized Ginger Dust

“Make something for the Thanksgiving dessert table” … that was this month’s Creative Cooking Challenge.

Since I don’t keep a particularly sweet kitchen and I’m no baker, this one was a little difficult to conceptualize. But, I was determined (as I usually am for these challenges) to look around and go with ingredients I already had on hand. I came up with roasted chestnuts, chocolate-covered crystalized ginger (thank you Trader Joe’s), rum from Puerto Rico and a few pantry spices. Continue Reading

Trick or Treat: Meatballs + Spaghetti with Vodka Sauce for a Creative Culinary Crew Challenge

Nova_50October 01- 2014Halloween_spaghetti and meatballs-Edit

It’s October — and that means Halloween. And you know what Halloween means … nothing is quite like what it seems.

The Creative Cooking Crew’s challenge this month is to have some fun with the holiday. I decided to play a little virtual trick or treat. But it turned out more like a ‘trick and treat’. Continue Reading

Sicilian Style Pork Meatballs on a Cheesy Butternut Squash Mash

I’ve got Sicily on my mind. After many trips to Italy, I’m finally looking south and exploring  a 2015 trip to Sicily and southern Italy. Yeah, I know, I recently said almost the same thing about a trip to the Yucatan in 2015. I’m doing both.

So, what makes a meatball Sicilian? Continue Reading

Warm, Spicy and Savory Apple Pot Pie with Cool Apple Cream and Sweet Apple Slaw | A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

This month’s challenge allowed us to pick our own ingredient to star in a dish. Easy, right? Well, no … we had to showcase it both hot and cold!

I used the double definitions of ‘hot’ (temperature and spicy) and ‘cold’ (temperature and cooling-off spice effect) in 3 separate apple applications in this dish. Continue Reading

An Asian-Inspired Dinner Party or Anyone Can Cook Anything!

Yeah, that’s my take on cooking food outside your ethnicity. All it takes is knowing what you like, a few good seasoning agents*, a dash of confidence and access to google for recipes or to answer any last-minute questions. It may not be “authentic”, but it could (should) be tasty.

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Trios: Tacos, Salsas, Toppings and Music|A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

What do you think of when you hear “tacos”? The traditional street food from Mexico that was introduced to this country in the early 1900s? Your mother’s “ground beef-hard shell-jarred salsa” taco night? Taco Bell? Or, do you think of today’s tacos — those that have been diversified, fancified, and globalized as they make their way through every culture, cuisine and country?

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Family Day and Crab Boil Pictorial

Well, a pictorial and a few words of explanation.

“Family Day” means quality time with the ones you love most … enjoying the day, the activities and, of course, eating well. This is how Family Day went down yesterday at Jim and Julie’s. Continue Reading

Summer Vegetable Salad with Plantain Crusted Fish

This will have you shouting !Olé! or something like that. It’s light and breezy — with lots of punch and crunch. Continue Reading

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