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fresh mozzarella, sweet cherry peppers and arugula pie

pizza made with no-knead doughFlatbreads have been consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.  The humble pizza/pie (an expanded version of a flatbread), became popular in the USA in the mid-1900s when the Neapolitans came over for factory jobs.  According to history.com, the first documented pizzeria was Lombardi’s in Manhattan, licensed to sell pizza in 1905 and is still in operation.  Loads of people love pizza but making your own can be tricky.  The dough is key and can make it a wonderful or just so-so eating experience. Continue Reading →

cioppino and a San Francisco mini trip

Italian American fish stew - cioppinoDuring the first week in March, Mr. S and I were in San Francisco; he was attending GDC while I was a tourist for 5 days.  I had never been before and was eager to explore as much as possible and I did!  Each day was packed with something new.  We stayed in the Mission District (so glad we did) and would walk to the Moscone Center every day.  Breakfast was in a different place each morning usually eating at establishments that promoted locally grown food.  Some of the memorable ones were Blue Bottle Coffee (the softest poached eggs on toast with avocado), Chow Food Bar (buttermilk pancakes to die for), and Tartine Bakery & Cafe (ham and swiss croissants that melted in your mouth).  I would have breakfast with Mr. S and then bid him farewell as he went on to the GDC. Continue Reading →

grilled radicchio with bagna càuda

grilled radicchio with bagna caudo sauceSometimes less is more and in cooking terms it’s spot on.  Simple ingredients can make any dish shine. Bagna càuda is an Italian sauce made with butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies.  The Italians eat it with fennel, peppers, carrots, cauliflower.  Fresh bread dipped in this sauce is simply scrumptious!  Or, give your taste buds a real treat by grilling radicchio wedges and slather with bagna càuda.  I’ve grilled radicchio before as well as romaine but never served it with bagna càuda.  The oil and butter help to round out the garlic while softening the salty flavour of anchovies.  It’s a sauce that is super easy to make, has minimal ingredients and loaded with flavour. Continue Reading →

fried olives stuffed with cheese

fried olives stuffed with cheeseWhat is your favorite snack? Do you go back to the same one time after time or do you like to venture out and try new ones? If you have not tried fried olives, you must! They are a crunchy flavor bomb!  I’ve made these a few times now and each time it’s with a different stuffing.  I first stuffed the olives with blue cheese and while they were yummy, I felt the saltiness from the cheese was too much for my palate.  So, next I stuffed with sausage meat combined with cheese curds…whoa!  That was one amazing combo! Continue Reading →

antipasto salad – a cinch to make

antipasto saladAntipasto (Italian – before the meal) simply refers to the dish that precedes all the others to come. It should be colorful allowing the senses to awaken and gets the palate ready for the meal that follows. It is there to whet the appetite and not be too filling. A typical antipasto dish consists of cured meats such as prosciutto, salami, coppa, speck, mortadellaContinue Reading →

linguine with clams (linguine alle vongole)

linguine with clamsThis is a busy time of the year with most of us running around doing last minute errands in preparation for the holidays.  When I’m short for time, pasta is my savior and the time it takes to cook it I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes!  Toss in some clams and you’re experiencing a Venetian staple that started off as peasant food.  Clams have roughly the same protein and fat content as chicken but contain more vitamins and minerals.  Serve this delicious and light dinner with a side of salad, sit back, and relax. Continue Reading →

broccoli affogato crostini

broccoli affogatoAffogato in Italian means drowned.  Most are familiar with the dessert version using a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with a shot of hot espresso; simple and really quite scrumptious.  Broccoli affagato is a simple Sicilian recipe that can be used on toast (crostini), in pasta or on its own as a side.  It’s a forgiving dish as you really can’t mess it up.  It can be prepared a few hours before serving…just reheat.  In this Sicilian recipe, the drowning bit is where a glass of red wine is poured over the steamed broccoli. Continue Reading →

pork scaloppine sandwich

pork scaloppine sandwichBefore I chat about this insanely delicious pork scaloppine sandwich, I want to give a high five to the farm-to-table experience in Nova Scotia that’s been brewing here for years.  Farm-to-table movement isn’t new nor is it unique to this corner of the world.  But what I will say is this; it’s the reason I started this blog.  We were still living overseas and were deciding where in Canada we’d like to move to.  Our first visit to Nova Scotia was the summer of 2005.  We explored, ate, drank and went away feeling like we had stumbled onto something good.  We decided to take another closer look at Halifax the following year just to make sure our vacation euphoria didn’t cloud reality.  The food scene, local hospitality and a general sense of fitting in welcomed us and we were smitten.  Continue Reading →

pasta with haddock

pasta with haddockI am the first to admit that we don’t enough fish (mea culpa).  The Mayo Clinic recommends two servings a week.  Some weeks we eat that and some weeks we don’t…especially when we’re on a vegetarian kick or the carnivore in me takes over.  The fish balance is a thin line for me.  I need a craving for fish otherwise it just isn’t going to make it to the table.  We have been watching a mini series, Italy Unpacked, with art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.  The series focuses on different regions of Italy where they both share their knowledge of Italy’s culture and cuisine.  The episode featuring Sicily caught my attention.  Continue Reading →

Pasta e Patate (pasta and potato)

Pasta e Patate - a quick midweek mealPasta e Patate is a recipe from a dear friend of mine.  I met Francesca in Singapore back in 2001.  I had heard glowing accounts of her Italian cooking classes and was eager to meet this culinary wizard.  Francesca did not disappoint.  Her kitchen was light and airy and her cheery disposition made all who attended her class very welcome.  Continue Reading →