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all-dressed fiddleheads

all-dressed fiddleheadsMost people associate Spring vegetables with asparagus, leeks, rhubarb, ramps, and peas.  But for a very brief time, fiddleheads are sold at markets and grocery stores.  They are the unfurled fronds of a young ostrich fern and are collected in the wild before the frond has opened. They are aptly named because they resemble the curled ornamentation (scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a fiddle.  North American Indians were eating fiddleheads long before the arrival of the first Europeans. The Australian and New Zealand aborigines and the Japanese are also very fond of fiddleheads. Continue Reading →

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easy-to-make homemade ricotta

easy to make, homemade ricotta cheeseIt all began with a bag of shelled green peas.  I was thinking sautéed spring vegetables with pasta; the Italians call it primavera.  But, I did not want to use traditional pasta such as linguine, penne, or tagliatelle.  And, I had a yearning for some sort of fresh sauce, too, in lieu of a creamy one.  The bag of peas held the answer to my quest.  Continue Reading →

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fugazza (Argentinian pizza)

fugazza - Argentinian pizzaLast month Mr S and I were in Buenos Aires.  I knew Argentina was originally a Spanish colony but never realized how Italian immigrants influenced the makeup of food until we visited.  For sure, regional dishes can be found (parrilla) but surprisingly, day-to-day eating is dominated by la dolce vita.  I read that 40% of the population are descendants of Italy and estimates at 1.4 million speak Italian.  Who knew?  So, here we were in a Spanish-speaking country where you’re just as likely to hear Italian.  Oh, and the Argentines LOVE their pizza!  Continue Reading →

green apple sorbet with roasted pecans

green apple sorbet - vegan & dairy freeFrozen desserts such as a sorbet are easy to make and a delight to eat!  Traditionally used as a palate cleanser, sorbet is made up of fruit and sugar; perfect for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.  Sorbet (pronounced sor-bay) is rumored to have started back in the first century A.D. when Roman Emperor, Nero, positioned runners along the Appian Way. They passed buckets of snow from the mountains to his banquet hall where it was then mixed with honey and wine. Continue Reading →

zucchini noodles with creamy avocado sauce – a vegan delight!

zucchini noodles with avocado cream sauceIt’s good to shake up our eating habits now and then.  For us that means meat takes a back seat and the veggies reign. When the word vegan is mentioned, the carnivores in my life shiver.  And I get why.  Those who were brought up eating meat and vegetables could easily cut back on the veggies.  For me it’s not a difficult transition as I was raised with more vegetables on my plate than meat.  It’s been well documented that eating more veggies than meat is essential for a healthy body and mind. Continue Reading →

prosciutto-wrapped monkfish

prosciutto-wrapped monkfishOver the last decade I have made a conscious effort to support farm-to-table and know your farmer or fisherman, but sometimes not knowing what your food looks like before it lands on the table is good thing!  Let me explain. Take monkfish, for example, it’s one helluva an ugly fish!  Its body is composed mainly of a huge gaping mouth with razor sharp teeth that slant inward and eyes that sit on top of its flat head, all attached to a muscular tail; doesn’t that sound delectable?  Continue Reading →

prosciutto and cabbage frittata

prosciutto cabbage frittata - foolproof mealIf you mention the word cabbage to your carnivore friends, the most likely response will come in the form of a scrunched up nose as they take a step backwards.  But, tell them it’s encased in a prosciutto base with Parmesan cheese and suddenly you’re all buddy-buddy with them.  This dish I am about to share with you is going to shine at your next Super Bowl get-together.  It’s super easy to make and can be enjoyed any time of the day. Continue Reading →

cuban sandwich (a cheater’s version)

Cuban sandwichThe Cuban sandwich makes use of leftover Cuban roast pork – for the uninitiated, it’s basically a delicious pork and cheese sandwich.  Having recently returned from a trip to Havana, the Cuban sandwich was high on our radar.  However, Mr. S and I only saw it once on a menu but never tried as it was too early in the morning.  Perhaps we should have ordered it even if it was ten o’clock!  Every eatery we went to we would ask about the sandwich and most said the best place to try one is in Miami!  Huh?  So I did a bit of sleuthing and found out this was attributed to the Cuban tobacco industry that began in Florida in the mid-1800’s.  Continue Reading →

baked brie with onion jam – make it tonight!

baked brie with onion jamI am not mathematically inclined, but I do like to figure out how things work and have always had an inquisitive mind.  If a shortcut works, well, I’ll take that route.  It stems from childhood.  When a problem arose, I would try to sort it out on my own before approaching my parents. I would come up with a solution and present it to them.  They may not have always liked what I came up with but at least it was there for them to say yea or nay.  Continue Reading →

chicken noodle salad cups – entertain with ease

salad cupsSalad cups are one of my favourite ways to serve as an appetizer.  You can take pretty much any salad recipe and instead of serving it on a plate, shrink the portion to fit onto lettuce, endive spears, Tostitos scoops, mini fillo shells, wonton cups and so on; you get the picture.  December is a party month and that usually means at some point you’ll be entertaining in your home.  It’s a time when entertaining can be a drain on one’s pocketbook and free time or both.  But it doesn’t have to be if one makes a plan and eliminates any last minute running around (wasting time and money).  Continue Reading →