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focaccia di Recco (stuffed Italian flatbread)

focaccia di recco (Italian flatbread)Most people have eaten focaccia famous around the world from Liguria, Italy but I’ll bet a pound to a penny few have tried the version from Recco (a town near Genoa).  Yours truly is one of those who most defintely haven’t sampled and what a tragedy!  I was checking my Instagram feed and saw a photo of someone eating focaccia di recco.  At first, I thought it was a pizza.  After searching the web I found a few recipes.  I wasn’t pleased with the first attempt as I felt the extra-virgin olive oil amount was too much.  Continue Reading →

hummus (with a surprising ingredient)

hummus - with a suprising ingredientMost of us have, at some point, enjoyed hummus either as a dip with pita bread and veggies or as a condiment slathered over a falafel.  The recipe is simple;  grab a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), garlic, tahini, lemon or lime juice, coriander and process in a blender.  Hummus is a healthy substitute for mayonnaise or butter.  That said, I went off it for a period of time as I found it boring until I decided to add anchovies…blame it on the anchovy butter I made a couple of weeks ago.  Sure, you can jazz it up by adding sumac or cumin but nothing quite took hold of my taste buds the way anchovies did. Continue Reading →

avocado and shrimp wonton baskets

When entertaining, I like to make appetisers that err on the side of healthy.  I also make sure there’s a mix of food while being cognizant of the dietary restrictions our guests might have.  Last month I made wonton noodle soup but only used half the wonton wrappers; the rest I froze.  There’s always a bag or two of shrimp in the freezer and I usually have an avocado on hand.  This recipe is easy to make and in roughly 10 minutes you can have the filling completed by the time the wonton baskets are cooked and cooled.   Continue Reading →

homemade quince paste

quince pasteQuince is a yellow fruit that looks like a cross between an apple and a pear.  It is high in pectin and was typically used in jam and jelly making.  It’s too tart and hard to eat on its own but cooked it turns sweet with a slight floral taste.  My mom used to have a quince bush in our back yard which she used when it came time to make her jellies. Continue Reading →

orange jelly slices

orange jelly slicesAccording to What’s Cooking America, gelatin was once considered a sign of wealth, before the commercial version appeared, only members of the elite classes could afford it. It took hours to render gelatin, clarify it, and turn it into fancy aspics, molded salads, desserts. etc. The use of gelatin was a sign that the host or hostess had the means to support a kitchen staff with the skill and time to create such a dish. When gelatin became available commercially it still was a symbol of culinary sophistication.  Continue Reading →

bbq cauliflower wings

barbecue cauliflower wingsWe’re all familiar with buffalo chicken wings but cauliflower wings?  It was through a snapchat from my niece, Sara, that I discovered the vegetarian version.  She sent me the photo and I was intrigued; it’s a guilt-free snack.  The meat version happened quite by accident, as most ingenious recipes do.  The original Buffalo chicken wing was born in 1964 out of necessity.  Continue Reading →

prosciutto rolls – an easy snack to make

prosciutto rollsEasy to make; my three favorite words.  In my culinary world, nothing pleases me more than to whip up an elegant-looking appetizer using only 3 ingredients.  Our friends, Ralph and Michelle, stayed with us last weekend and Thursday was the only night we were eating at home.  My head was spinning with food ideas I wanted to share with them and one evening meant I had to be realistic and pare down my menu list.  These prosciutto rolls didn’t make the list.  I enjoy cooking for people who share the same enthusiasm for food as we do.  My senses begin to tingle and my heart pumps a bit faster as each dish is prepared.  You cannot imagine the joy this brings to me…I love cooking for other people.  So when another foodie steps into the kitchen, I am full steam ahead, jitters and all. Continue Reading →

maple glazed nuts – an edible gift

maple glazed nutsAnother edible gift from yours truly! Maple glazed nuts are super easy to make and a delectable hostess gift.  They’re perfect for casual entertaining or tossed in a salad.  Homemade edible gifts are always well received especially for those who are hard to buy for (i.e. teachers, employers).  Continue Reading →

savory palmiers

savory palmiersThese delicate, but easy-to-make French pastries can be sweet or savory.  Palmiers, named so because they look like palm trees or the shape of an elephant’s ear, uses puff pastry for its base.  Traditionally, simple ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled over the pastry then folded, rolled, sliced and baked in the oven.  The festive season is just around the corner and these delicious morsels will take center stage when you present them at your next party. Continue Reading →

homemade apple chips

apple chipsApples are in abundance this time of the year.  I love autumn for all the delicious fruit and vegetables that leave the farmers’ fields and are readily available in food shops and markets.  One fruit I eagerly await their arrival is the humble apple.  It’s hard to imagine there are over 7,000 varieties! With so much choice, however, I am a creature of habit and really only use about 6 or so different types of apples.  Continue Reading →