Thursday, February 21, 2019


My good friend JoJo had our tennis group over for a festive cocktail party a couple weeks ago. Everyone brought hors d'oeuvres and we had the nicest time enjoying each other's company. JoJo's friend, Dorine, was visiting from New Hampshire, which was the inspiration for the party! This is a fabulous group of women who are passionate about both tennis and food!

The Shrimp Dip is in the center.
Doreen on the left and JoJo to the right.
I brought an old-fashioned Shrimp Dip that I found in my home-made Cookbook collection of recipes clipped over the years from magazines, newspapers, and old recipe files. I don't have a clue where it came from, but it sure was yummy!
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped (I used curly as that's what I have growing.)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 scallions, both white and green parts sliced
3/4 lb. cleaned, cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream (I used Greek style yogurt.)
2 Tbsp. bottled chili sauce, such as Heinz
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. drained bottled Horseradish
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
Couple dashes Tabasco sauce
Optional garnish: one whole shrimp and smoked paprika

Finely chop the onion and parsley. Thinly slice scallions. Coarsely chop the shrimp. In a medium bowl stir together cream cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), and mayo until smooth. Stir in parsley, onion, scallions, shrimp, and remaining ingredients until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with one whole shrimp if you like and smoked paprika. Cover and let the flavors marinate in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight. Dip keeps for up to a week.


Spaghetti Carbonara was my sister Cathy's "signature" dish. It was her go-to dish when she needed something fast, yet elegant.
Cathy's on the left and I'm on the right.
We used to spend hours together planning
menus and that is what we're doing here.
I saw Marc Murhpy make Carbonara on 'Chopped' the other night so decided to try his version. Did you know Marc Murphy was born in Milan Italy?

I happened to have a nice piece of guanciale from my friend Jay Bileti so used that instead of the bacon. Guanciale is cured pork from the pigs jowl or cheek. It is rich with a deep porky flavor. Pancetta works well, too, and is a bit more mild. Pancetta comes from the pigs belly. Both are fatty cuts and are great in Carbonara. Because bacon is both cured and smoked it provides a completely different flavor. Bacon was Cathy's choice of meat in Carbonara and it seems it is Marc Murphy's too! I LOVED the guanciale because it is such a rare and unique flavor.
Jay displaying his guanciale.
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 pound slab bacon, cut into small dice (or guanciale or pancetta)
1 pound spaghetti (I like to use Bucatini as it is thicker and holds up well to the sauce.)
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Guanciale rendering.

Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Add 2 Tbsp. salt. Add pasta and cook 10-12 minutes or until just al dente. Render the bacon or guanciale until crisp. Do not drain fat. Add 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Combine eggs, cheese and black pepper in a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add to the egg mixture. Add a couple Tbsp. of pasta water, which thickens the sauce. Add bacon/guanciale and fat. Stir until eggs are cooked and pasta is well coated and creamy.

That's it for today!
I'm going to pop a chicken in the oven
stuffed with lots of fresh herbs, lemon
and garlic. In about 1/2 hour the
house will smell great!
Keep Loving in your Kitchen!

Sunday, February 10, 2019


I've been on a Miso kick and have made Miso Soup twice in two weeks. Mine is not a classic recipe, but it's quite yummy. Miso is fermented soy bean paste, which sounds pretty disgusting, but is salty deliciousness! Traditionally Miso Soup is made from a Dashi broth.

Dashi is a Japanese stock. It's a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes. Dashi can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito/skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes), iriko or nibosh (anchovies/sardine), or a combination of all. I did have a can of both sardines and anchovies, but decided to try it with the chicken broth. It tasted surprisingly authentic!
I generally have a quart of chicken broth in the freezer so putting this soup together was fast and easy.

1 qt. chicken stock or Dashi broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1" knob of fresh ginger root, grated
1 large scallion, both white and green parts
1/2 cup firm tofu, cubed
3 Tbsp. White Miso paste*
1 sheet Nori seaweed, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 pieces Nori chips (optional, but if not using add more regular Nori)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Oyster (or fish) sauce

If you are using Dashi broth I don't think you will need the soy sauce or Oyster sauce. I added those ingredients to bring out the umami flavor.

* Miso comes in many different colors (red, brown, white, etc.) and flavors. Its uses vary regionally throughout Japan.
I bought these chips at my local Safeway.
They are not that good on their own,
but worked well in the Miso Soup.
Bring 4 cups of chicken (or Dashi) broth to a boil. Add minced garlic, the white portion of the scallion sliced thinly, grated ginger root, soy sauce, oyster or fish sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add miso and stir until completely dissolved. Taste. Add more miso if needed. Drop in tofu cubes, and seaweed. Gently simmer 5 more minutes. Serve topped with the sliced greens of the scallion.

Miso Soup is commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan, often served with rice, eggs, fish or pickles. When my husband, Jerry and I were in Hawaii we had it every day for breakfast. It's salty, but very satisfying and if you like a savory breakfast it's a great way to start the day.

Next, I am going to experiment with Miso Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Crispy Garlic Miso Glazed Salmon.

All for today!
Until next time, thanks for tuning in
for another episode of:

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Making your own pizza dough is easy. It just takes a little time. Last week I made pizza dough with my good friend Dorita Pina. She is a fabulous home chef, but had not made pizza so we did it together. Seems to be a trend of late, which I enjoy tremendously. Cooking with friends is fun, especially when they share the same passion for food as I do...and Dorita definitely does!

Dorita punching down the first rising.
This recipe is from Giada DeLaurentis. I've made it before. Find the recipe here:
One of the things I like about pizza dough is the simplicity of ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt, a little oil for drizzling. That's it!

This recipe makes 3 very thin pizza pies. This time I doubled the recipe, but still made only 3 pizza pies. The pizza was more like a thick-crust Chicago-style pizza. I prefer a thinner dough so next time would make 5 pizzas from the doubled recipe. Once cooked, they freeze well. The day before Dorita and her husband Rudy arrived I made a pizza sauce.
This was enough for 3 pizzas.

1 12-oz. can tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Sun-dried tomato paste (optional)
12 ounces warm water (110 degrees or warm to the touch, but not scalding)
6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (ditto)
Salt to taste. I used 2 tsp.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat until cheese starts to melt. Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Our appetizer was an antipasti platter featuring
the homemade Tuscan and Calabrese salami
I made with Jay Bileti and the homemade
pepperoni (top left).
Rudy and Jerry solving the world's problems.
Once your dough has risen a second time, using your hands spread it evenly over a pizza pan.
Dorita is a pro, instinctively
knowing just how to spread the dough.

I had also prepared a bunch of different toppings ahead of time so everyone could 'weigh in' on what they wanted.
Toppings included:
Pre-cooked Italian sausage
Pre-cooked Ground Beef
Green Pepper, cooked slightly
Mushrooms, cooked slightly
Roasted Red Peppers
Caramelized Onion
Raw Onion
Red Pizza sauce
Basil Pesto Sauce
Various grated cheeses: Mozzarella; Parmesan; Provolone


This is Brian Boitano's recipe. He served his
Tartufo with a caramel sauce and also cut
the Tartufo's in half exposing the cherry.
I left them whole so the cherry would be a surprise!
Tartufo is an Italian ice cream dessert originating from Calabria. It usually consists of 2 or more flavors of ice cream, fruit or fruit preserve all wrapped in a chocolate shell. The shell is either formed by molding melted chocolate or you can simply crush chocolate cookies, which is what I did. 
You could also make this dish with homemade ice cream, but I used Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean and for the fruit...these fabulous Amerena cherries.
For the chocolate crust I mixed a whole bag of Pepperidge Farm chocolate, chocolate chip crispy cookies with 1/2 of a Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate bar. Blend together in a mini-food processor until fine crumbs form.

Slightly soften the ice cream so it is easily scoopable. Fill the scoop and then carefully punch a hole into the scoop of ice cream using the handle of a wooden spoon and insert the cherry. Cover over with ice cream and gently roll in the chocolate crumbs. Refreeze until ready to serve.

What a fun dinner party we had! Jerry Vale was serenading us throughout the evening and we almost felt like we were in Italy.

Until next time...