Life has gotten particularly hotter these days and truly more quiet. With my recent life overhaul, my foodie ventures are verging on dangerous. And undeniably, this unchartered territory is more than welcome! Using tamed jalapenos in lighter deviled eggs brought a little zing to an overdue and well-deserved celebration. Using greek yogurt, rice vinegar, tamed jalapenos, and smoky paprika really played tricks on everyone’s tongue. I hope my addition to the party showed everyone the fiery side of me. After all, when food is your passion, all you really want is your flavors to be appreciated and remembered.
Us Italians know how to warm things up for the holidays. In looking at my traditional gluttonous Christmas Day gorge of meat laden pasta, me and mini lighten things up. ( Christmas Eve is meat free. Christmas Day, not so much).
Here is our winter tagliatelle, perfection in its imperfection, due to a pasta roller mishap!
Is the saying that Spring is itself eternal or is it hope? When neither seems definite, me and my girl wait out the changing seasons in the kitchen. I like when new beginnings are on the cusp, so to me, the Spring tease and cold days are very welcome. The cool evenings of March and sporadic tulips are a welcome contrast to the monotony of a full-blown season. Everything is more exciting when it is ABOUT to happen.
Food cravings in these in-between moments are even more adventurous. Depending on where you live, the greens, golds, reds, and yellows of spring are slowly emerging. When it comes to culinary fare, Spring tends to lighten itself up. But, I find myself still clinging to darker fall flavors. I am fickle, choosing is painful for me.
Me and mini me have had some unique menus this month. Pear risottos, deep carrot souffles, rice salads and artichokes are abound in every way possible. March invites kale greens, but steeped in fall’s comfort foods. Pictured is mini me making our lightened carrot soufflé. We used about 2 lbs of organic carrots; cut them, steamed them, and pureed them with half a stick of melted butter. Then we mixed in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, fresh cinnamon, a touch of nutmeg, 2 cage free eggs, half and half, 2 tb of coconut flour, 1 tp of baking powder, vanilla and 1 tp of kosher salt. We Mixed everything together very well, and baked it at 350 for 40 minutes in a well buttered casserole dish. The result is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, without the calories. You can add additional sugar, but I think the maple syrup is plenty. A good tablespoon of raw honey would be a nice touch. We paired our soufflé with a simple chicken piccata and kale salad.
In another month, menus will delve deep into light Spring fare, but for now, relish in enjoying two simultaneous seasons at once!
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Midweek, me and mini me try something out of our comfort zone to break up the monotony of our staple recipes. Routine bores me. The chill factor climbed for us this month and heavy comfort foods are not comforting for my thighs! Sacrificing flavor for tight jeans is not my style either, so I found a way to take my Italian cravings to the far east.
With some organic pork and ginger, our love for meatballs met my love for Vietnamese Pho. While this traditional noodle soup is filled with mixed meats and seafood, portions can be heavy and the flavors can sometimes overwhelm each other.
Often lasagna is like a beautiful Italian woman in a tight red dress. She may look like a siren, but she may be good for you too. Italians are known for overdoing it. We are impulsive, impetuous, extreme, but passionate. In the kitchen our personality is in full force all the time. Nothing is off-limits.
The new year is about shedding many things. In an attempt to embrace a new life.. ..I also let go of the calories and fat in my traditional Christmas Eve lasagna. Basically anything that does not add to your lasagna, needs to be left out. Sounds simple but it does wonders.
As mini me gets older, I find our closest times are almost always in the kitchen, or at the kitchen table. As a young girl I dreamed of that mother-child connection, especially over a family meal. Having my girl gave me that long awaited opportunity.
I take every chance to spend time in the kitchen with her, teaching her a new culinary skill. Nothing makes me feel more like a woman than preparing a meal and passing along tradition.
Tomatoes, in all forms are one of our favorite summer treats. Roma, yellow, green, tomatillos, beef, cherry; you name it, we love them all. When I am not stewing and pressing tomatoes for our homemade sauce I use them as little baskets to hold a gluttonous treat. What better way to push the envelope than to nest a creamy risotto inside their walls.
Simple ingredients often fuse together and create a rare foodie surprise. The basics bring out unmatched flavor and passion. What better place to sharpen your minimalist skills than in the kitchen!
Going flour-less ( when possible) is one way to do it– my flour-less banana chocolate chip muffins sans the carbs is heaven for the hips and heart. Nothing beats when gluttony meets healthy. These petite muffins are full of fiber, potassium, healthier glucose, and powerful antioxidants. So, have another.. and another ! Then, go outside and jump in a pile of leaves:)
This oat-hearty treat can fix a sweet tooth, but also pair as a brunch favorite. Anyone who knows me, knows I love BRUNCH. I am always looking for ways that me and mini me can satisfy late morning cravings. We found it. After much tweaking, we perfected this little morsel, and it is now a fall staple!
Using steel oats might seem grainy, but the texture is unmatched. If you want something less filling, you can blend simple oats until they are smooth.
Being in the kitchen is heaven to me. If I have one regret it is that I did not go to culinary school and share my passion for food with the world. But, for now, it is a family affair!
Me and mini have wrestled with time lately, but one area we never let slip away is our meals! This week I showed her how I make one of many different variations of our Sicilian meatballs. Our sauce was our own, and made with crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil leaves, half a cup of wine and a roasted red pepper puree. I make a lot and freeze it so it is ready to go.
These meatballs are a little different, and I adore anything out of the norm. I use veal , pork, chicken and beef. Then we dipped three pieces of bread in milk, wrung them out, tore them up and added the to the meat. We needed two eggs. Then, about a cup of romano cheese, a tablespoon of brown sugar, crushed red pepper, and chopped currants or raisins. Yes, raisins! ( No one will know they are there..you need to chop them very fine). We minced 4 cloves of garlic and grated half of a red onion into the mix. I always use a coarse sea salt, fresh pepper and dried basil.
Me and mini me have been enjoying every sprouting food market within a 60 mile radius this season and I love it. To me, nothing heals the mind better than love and food. Seeing the pride of growers, cultivators, creators and area cooks inspires me. My life recently has been full of a lot of new colors, flavors and aromas. All of this has reawakened stalled dreams and brought new life even into my kitchen. What better way to celebrate this heightened sense of awareness and passion than with a simple, bright meal.
Who hasn’t had a tough morning after? Nothing cleans the soul after a bad choice like a good brunch. It is my favorite meal of any day. Lazy enough to sleep in, early enough to leave the day wide open. With some simple ingredients you can wow that bad choice on its way out, or keep it coming back for another round.
My smokey sweet potato hash is also a colorful way to keep your body on the right track.
This antioxidant and vitamin rich dish is easy on the eyes and waste. It is the subtle smokey cumin that adds to the antioxidant rich cancer fighting power:)
The mixture of beta carotene in sweet potatoes (go for organic, the skin is truly your body’s best friend) with Vitamins A, K, E, C, B in the spinach keeps your body in stasis, fighting disease like batman.
Even better, it is simpler than last night’s regret. Brown 2 medium thickly sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil and a small tab of butter. Make sure to let each side brown. Lower the heat and add two cloves of garlic, sea salt and two tablespoons of cumin. Throw in some bright red onion and some fresh spinach. Tear up four basil leaves and throw them in. Brown the mixture, gently turning once. Add some tomatoes, I prefer Roma. Then top it off with three organic eggs. On covered low heat, let the egg cook on top of the potatoes sunny side up. Yum!!