Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Pie

Mmmmm, look at that creamy, crusty deliciousness!  This is the epitome of comfort food!  When you eat this, you expect to have a fire going in the fireplace, loved ones cuddled up in blankets, and watching your favorite shows on tv as you warm your soul with this winter gloriousness...and that's exactly just what I did!  I had some butternut squash in my fridge and wanted to do something different with it.  As the day went on, and the air got cooler, all of a sudden I had visions of bacon and pie crust dancing in my head, OH MY, and this Winter Pie was created!  There are a few steps to this recipe admittedly, but they are absolutely worth it!  Did I mention this has bacon in it?  Enough said.  Let's move on...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fig, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Caramelized Onion Naan

If you love savory side dishes that provide a taste EXPLOSION in your mouth, then this one is for you!!  This is the perfect accompaniment to a salad for a light dinner, next to a bowl of soup (which is what we're doing tonight), or as a side dish with grilled chicken...man, the possibilities are endless!  I brought this to a BBQ this past summer and everyone enjoyed it from my kids to fellow foodies who claimed not to like caramelized onions!  Maybe the balsamic addition helped them get through the onions!  This is a must try....read on for the recipe...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Italian Sprinkle Cookies

Looking for a classic delicious cookie recipe to make for the holidays?  This is my Go To recipe!  This came to me a few years ago from my good friend Karen Tran.  She is a an avid Foodie like me (I said avid, not rabid...well, she's avid, I'm probably rabid!)!  One day we were talking about our favorite cookies to make and devour at the holidays.  I was telling her one of my favorites were these Italian domes coated in icing and covered with sprinkles.  I was introduced to them in my teens and got them every year when I lived in Boston.  Since moving to California I had not seen them and did not have a recipe for them.  A few days later, I received a few recipes in the mail, including my favorite for these Italian Sprinkle Cookies she had retrieved from the Epicurious website many moons ago!  Thank you Karen!!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Robert's Famous Carrot Cake

Just look at it for a moment.  Isn't it beautiful?!  Do you hear the angels singing in the background?  This cake is incredible, if I do say so myself!  I mean it has carrots in it for goodness sake so it has to be healthy, right?!  I have made this cake dozens of times and people go crazy for it, including my family.  It is my all time favorite carrot cake I have ever had and I hope it will be yours too!  Ok, let me walk you through it...try not to drool like I do....

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yumosagna!

This is one of my family's favorites!
This started as a recipe with pasta so if you want you can substitute pasta for the squash...but the squash is healthier for you and if you go with the squash you can have two helpings and not feel guilty!  This is pure gluten free comfort food!  Ohhhh yeah!!!!

Quick Meat Sauce

Who doesn't love a great Italian sauce?  I know I do!  I NEVER buy jarred sauce any more.  Why would I when a delicious healthy sauce is only minutes away!!!  I could eat this just as it is a with a glass of red wine!  This sauce is quick and versatile.  You can make as a meat sauce as I often do or skip the meat and add chopped basil for a delicious marinara.  Read further for the recipe.  This is basically David Rocco's (LOVE him!) 5 minute sauce with meat added...

Best (Easiest!) way to prepare/cook spaghetti squash!

We know Spaghetti Squash is tasty and good for you...AND a great substitute for pasta for those on a gluten free diet...but it can be a pain to prepare....until now!  That's right, no more steaming, no more sitting in a pan of broth...in fact, if you call in the next 30 minutes, we'll throw in a free set of Ginsu knives....Oh, wait!  I forgot where I was for a second.  All kidding aside, this is the best and easiest way to prepare and cook spaghetti squash...read on...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Panzanella Salad

I call this my cheerleader salad because whenever I make it my family cheers..."Panzanella!"..."Panzanella!"..."P-A-N-Z-E-L-L-A-FOR-ME, Panzanella!!!"
 
This is not only a great Italian salad because it is delicious but also because it is a great way to use up any bread you have left over from the day before!  I know, leftover bread is almost as funny and unheard of as leftover wine!
 
Ok, let's begin...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Broccoli Casserole

I know, I know, everyone is stuffed from Thanksgiving but I MUST give this recipe as it is delicious for any meal, not just a Thanksgiving side but great as a side with steak, chicken, pork, or as a light summer meal with a small salad.  While I usually like to make everything from scratch, one of the key ingredients in this dish is Cheese Whiz...pure processed goodness!  I've tried other substitutes but nothing compares, sooooo, everything in moderation right?  For this dish, give into the Whiz!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles

OMG! Is your mouth watering yet looking at this photo??  Mine is and I just finished eating these!!!  I am loving this Fall weather so I'm still all about all things pumpkin!  I've been playing around with this recipe in my mind for a while now and this morning just tried them out.  They came out yummmmmy!  Even my youngest son Benjamin, who declared he does not like pumpkin, devoured his!  Why do all my sentences have exclamations in them??!!!! While these are not gluten free, you could easily make them such by substituting gluten free flour. I love separating my eggs and beating the whites so they can be folded in.  This creates a lighter tasting waffle and lighter means it has no calories right?  Well, that's my story at least and I'm sticking to it!  Ok, let me show you how I did this...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pumpkin Biscotti with white chocolate, crystalized ginger and walnuts!




This is what the final product looks like!  Not sure why all my pics of the process did not post!  I'm still learning this blogging process!  I will retake pics and post again the next time I make.  In the meantime, enjoy this deliciousness and imagine breathing in the aroma of all this ginger/cinammony/pumpkin goodness!
Biscotti...if you were playing word association, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  For me, it's crispy, tasty bites of incredible yumminess!  Equally delicious with coffee, wine, milk, or my favorite treat to serve alongside homemade hot chocolate for my boys Nicolas and Benjamin.  These biscotti in particular are pure Fall heaven!   Equal parts delicious, equal parts fabulous house aromatic!  Make these once and they will instantly become a staple in your baking repertoire!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Welcome to my new blog page!!!  Grazie for joining me!  I am passionate about all things food, family, wine, travel and arts related and now I have a site to express those thoughts and feelings!  Thank you for following me on this journey!

Let's start from the beginning!  I am an only child who was raised by a wonderful woman, Coleene Frances, who while a great Mom, was not the best cook.  In fact, great cooking was not something I learned from my family but rather from cookbooks, tv, friends and a lot of trial and error!  My Mom worked a lot of hours to support us so I grew up on macaroni and cheese (yes, from that blue box!) and frozen tv dinners, which is why I detest them now and why that is the last thing you would ever see me making for my family!  I love expressing my love in many forms but I have to admit that one of my favorite ways is through food.  While born a male of Irish, English, and Scottish descent, I swear there is a 70 year old Italian woman inside me because family is the most important thing for me and, although I am married with two kids, I often cook as though I am feeding a family of 8!  And a smile instantly creeps upon my face when my family or guests asks for more!  While, I am not of Italian descent, I believe I must have been Italian in another life because I have always been drawn to the Italian lifestyle, food, fashion, and art!  I had the pleasure of celebrating my 20 year anniversary in Paris and Italy with my lovely wife of 20 years, Samantha last month, and felt like I had come home!  While I am drawn to all things Italian, cooking for me all began with the one and only Julia Child!