Product of the Week: Truffle Infused Olive Oil (Olio al Tartufi)

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Most people in the foodie world have heard of Truffles. No, not the deep chocolate ones, but the earthy fungi ones that cost a gazillion dollars and can only be harvested from fall to mid-winter in Italy and France. These truffles are harvested from the ground near certain trees and must be sniffed out by specially trained pigs or dogs. Now you can have the wonderful taste of these prized truffles for a fraction of the cost by getting Tartuflanghe’s Truffle Infused Olive Oil (Olio al Tartufi) 55 ml.
I promote this particular brand because Tartuflanghe is owned by Domenica Bertolusso, one of the few women in this male dominated business and despite this one of the regions most influential sellers. This oil is great to drizzle on risottos, pastas, stews, egg dishes and anything else you want to lend an earthy undertone too. Use sparingly!

Recipe: Portabella Pizzas (Mediterranean Medley)

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As promised each week I will be featuring my recipes for the Mediterranean Medley cooking class I will be teaching at the Culinaria Foods Arts Studio on June 21st. We will start off this week with the easiest – Portabella Mushroom Pizzas. This recipe is something that I love for its simplicity. The bold flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes really stands out against the creaminess of the mozzarella di bufala. For my class, since it is more Greek-slanted I will be using a tangy sheep’s milk feta instead. This livens up the dish even more. Because the mushroom is so meaty and delicious; it can stand up to the richness of the tangy cheese and the brightness of the sun-dried tomato. The earthiness of the white truffle oil brings balance to the entire thing, giving it a unique and special touch.
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Nana’s Potato Salad

You Can’t Have a Picnic Without Potato Salad…. and now you won’t be able to have one without Nana’s famous Potato Salad.

Nana’s Potato Salad – you can’t beat the original!

Nana's Potato Salad by The Leftover Queen

What is so wonderful about these old-school cooking methods and recipes is that they are so simple and you make as much as you need. If you are having a party, make more, if it is just family make less. It is all spiced according to your own taste. So you end up with something you really like. Although these recipes are not Italian per se, they are made with the same rustic principles you find in Italian Cooking. Happy Memorial Day to the Americans and Happy Summer to everyone else (unless you are in Australia, NZ or South America (or anywhere else I have forgotten)!).
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Recipe: Nana’s Baked Beans – 3 ways

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Nana’s Baked Beans - tweaked

These beans are a staple from my childhood. My Nana used to make these every time we had a picnic, cookout or summer family gathering outdoors. They are delicious. Once you have them you will never go back to canned baked beans again when you realize how good and how easy it is to make these!

The great thing about this recipe is that it has evolved several times in my lifetime, from her original recipe to a healthier but still quick version, to my signature slow cooked version. Over the years I have also begun to tweak the recipe a bit, using flavors that I feel really complements her original recipe and of course using ingredients that are better for you. But I give you first HER original recipe, then an easy “cheaters” recipe that can be used in a pinch and finally, how I have modified it over time and prepare it regularly these days.

A signature ingredient to these beans are the canned mushrooms. I am not usually a fan of canned veggies, but for some reason they go great in this dish. Sometimes I have sauteed fresh ‘shrooms and used those instead, but I prefer the canned – must be nostalgia. If you use canned mushrooms be sure to go organic.  Also part of the nostalgia is using one tin of  canned baked beans. I used to use Heinz. My grandfather and his family, when they came over from Sicily, grew tomatoes for Heinz, so we were always loyal to that company for their tomato products! However it now contains high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives…so that is the end of my loyalty to Heinz! These days I usually use Amy’s. But most times I forego the canned beans all together.
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Recipe: Jenn’s Lasagne

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I am pulling this out of the archives for Ruth’s Presto Pasta Night Foodie Event!

Here is a recipe you can make with the Versatile Pasta Sauce Recipe or any homemade pasta sauce you like. If you don’t have spinach, you can use any vegetables you want – eggplant is delicious as are roasted peppers, or you can skip that step, altogether. You can also experiment with the cheeses – use some feta or goat cheese to make it tangy.

Below is the classic recipe, but as always feel free to modify and make it yours!
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Mediterranean Medley!

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I am so excited, I could throw a party! – which is essentially what I will be doing!

My first cooking class at the Culinaria Food Arts Studio has been officially set up and people are already signing up for it. It is called Mediterranean Medley and this will be the menu:
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The Foodie Blogroll!

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I started the Foodie Blogroll less than a month ago, with the intention of helping foodies find each other on the web, and it has caught on like fire! I am so happy to report that it grows exponentially by the day and we have some top food blogs in our community! I have browsed all of them, and there is so much variety in the community, I am just loving all the sights and imagining all the smells wafting from all of these gourmet kitchens!

I just want to formally welcome everyone, thank everyone for participating and invite any other foddies out there to join!

BRING ON THE FOOD!!!

Product of the Week: Whole Raw Organic Hazelnuts

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If you are going to make a recipe of Gelato alla Nocciola, you are going to need this essential ingredient: Whole Raw Oregon Hazelnuts
Since hazelnuts are the cornerstone to this recipe and it is the essence of this nut that you are trying to achieve in a gelato flavor, it is important to get the best hazelnuts you can find. Organic nuts are the way to go – they are not processed using any kind of chemical and they taste most true to form. You do yourself and your mouth and your end product a dis-service not to get the best!