Saturday, December 29, 2012

Italian Sesame Cookies

These is a family favorite. I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit in that I like to use the mixed sesame seeds that you can find in Arab and specialty markets. I also changed the flavorings a bit. Here is my version.

2 sticks of butter room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 Egg room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of anise extract
2 and 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of milk or so for dipping Sesame seeds.. at least a half cup or more.

Cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add the vanilla and anise extract ( some anise seeds may be good in these as well)
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together and add to the wet mixture.
Mix with beater till moistened and together. Then pat dough together.
Form pieces the size of a walnut into a ball and then shape into ovals. Put on baking pan.

You should get 48 nice sized cookies from this recipe. You will need 2 cookie sheets. Put 4 or so of the cookies into a small bowl of milk and then dip and roll into the seeds. Work quickly and shake excess milk off dough as much as possible before dipping. Make sure you have enough seeds to coat well. This is what gives them the great flavor. 2 dozen per cookie sheet. Bake in PREHEATED 350 degree oven. 20 minutes or more if you like them darker like I do. Let cool and then store in a sealed container but these are so good.. I had to stop my nephew from eating them all so I could have some for my cousins when they came over. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Healthy Veggie Pizza Inspired by a photo from Italy

Someone posted this beautiful Pizza with fresh tomato and arugula on Facebook that looked so good, I was inspired to do this whole wheat with home grown tomato, white onion and asparagus.I used a little quattro formaggio cheese from Trader Joes on this one. Maybe a half cup or so. Drizzle with olive oil.. bake and then add your hot pepper seeds, and some romano cheese and fresh basil leaves. Definitely a new summer favorite!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pasta with Peas

Another super easy summer pasta. Saute some onions in a frying pan with good olive oil while boiling your favorite pasta. Add the frozen or fresh peas and add some of the pasta water. Add salt, pepper and hot pepper seeds to taste. When pasta is nearly al dente, drain and add to the skillet to finish cooking. Toss with your favorite grated cheese. If you have some mint or basil in the garden, add that for an extra special flavor.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Made My Grams Pizza Today!

My Gram made the best pizza ever. It is a thick , spongy pizza with chunks of tomato and onions and drizzled with olive oil. Her trick was to add an egg to the basic dough and I think it makes it more fluffy and delicious. This pizza is not suppposed to be crunchy and crisp like a thin pizza. Here are a couple of photos..and a video!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pasta with Broccoli

Pasta with Broccoli is so simple to make. Wash and cut the broccoli to the size you like. Boil a big pot of water and add salt. Add your Rigatoni ( or whatever pasta you prefer) Cook Rigatoni for a few minutes, then drop the broccoli in the same water and cook till pasta is al dente. Don't overcook! While the pasta is cooking, fry a few chopped cloves of garlic ( or more if you like) in about 1/3 cup of olive oil with some red pepper flakes to taste, salt and papper. Do not brown the garlic. Whent the pasta is al dente, drain and toss in a large bowl with the garlic and oil. Season to taste and top with some of your favorite grated Italian cheese. My mom likes to fry little pieces of bread to add to this and it's delicious but must be eaten right away to get the crunchy flavor. My version can be eaten cold as a pasta salad with a little drizzle of olive oil.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hot Peppers with Bread Crumbs, Garlic and Cheese

This is one of my favorite things to make and super easy. I love them just on their own, or with some good bread or even cut up and tossed with some pasta and olive oil. They can be super hot or mild depending on the peppers. We use Pasilla Peppers and split them in half. Wash well. I leave the seeds in because I want the extra heat. If you like them more mild, then clean out the seees completely. Put them in a baking pan with a little water in the bottom. This will provide steam later. Then add some bread crumbs ( plain or seasoned) 1 or 2 Tablespoons per pepper. Fresh garlic or good garlic powder, drizzle each pepper with some good olive oil and then add a nice spoonful of romano or your favorite grated cheese. Sprinkle with sea salt. That's it! Cover the pan with foil and cook in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Then uncover and cook another 10 to have them brown up on top. Here are the ingredients listed. Pasilla Peppers Bread Crumbs Garlic or Garlic Powder Olive Oil Grated Romano Cheese You will need an oblong baking Pan. Oven at 400 degrees Foil to cover the pan. Enjoy these.. they are so easy and so delicious! Again, I leave the seeds in because I love hot food! I sometimes add hot pepper seeds if my Pasilla's are not spicy enough.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Green Minestrone ( Minestra Verde)

I love green vegetables. I learned to make this soup from a guy I dated who was from Genoa. It's super easy and comes together very quickly.

4 to 6 Zucchini
1 package of frozen chopped spinach or fresh spinach chopped fine.
2 med onions or 1 large or 2 leeks ( chopped fine in processor)
1 large or 2 medium potatoes ( chopped fine in processor)
Celrey 2 to 3 stalks and leaves
2 cloves of garlic
Chicken broth or substitute
1 can of white beans
2 to 3 bay leaves
Olive oil and a little butter
Variation.. you can add some leftover shredded chicken breast or little homemade meatballs
Pecorino Cheese

Super easy to make. Add olive oil to bottom of your soup pot.
Add the onions, zucchini, celrey, garlic and potato ( all should be cut or processed to fine or course)
Then add chicken broth to fill the pot.
Salt and pepper to taste, bay leafs
Simmer till cooked about 40 minutes or so, add the beans and a dab of butter.

Serve with bread, or add some cooked pasta, or chicken or meatballs.

A very healthy delicous soup.. and add a generous amount of your pecorino romano or your favorite cheese to taste.

Enjoy! You can make it ahead of time.. it tastes better as it stays in the fridge!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Making Calamari the right way is not that difficult. You need to clean them and remove the ink and any of those transparant bones, then separate the body from the tenacles. My mom says soaking in salt water is the best way to prepare them and I think she is right.

Drain well.

Then simply toss in flour and fry in hot oil till golden brown. Best to have a frying shield as sometimes they spit a lot of oil at you. Depending on how dry they are when you fry them. Once done, drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Remember that the soaking in salt water already has them seasoned somewhat so use salt according to your taste! We serve them with lemon wedges and they are a part of our traditional Christmas eve dinner.

ps. Drew has been trying to edit a video of our mom doing this over a year ago, but so much editing necessary, I thought i'd post the photos of the ones we did this year at his house.