It’s a beautiful dessert that has made quite a comeback in recent years. Torta Della Nonna, (Grandmother’s Cake) Is a classic treat typical of the Tuscan region of Italy where it originated, and is now loved and appreciated all over the world. This rich cake is made of a sweet pastry dough cake on top and bottom, and filled with a lightly lemon-zested pastry cream in the middle. Pine nuts and a light shower of powdered sugar adds an elegant finish to this Italian favorite. Would you like to make it for your Nonna sometime soon?
It has been years since the incident, but it’s been burned in my memory, and to be perfectly honest, it still haunts me. I invited a couple from the Midwest to dinner, and watched as they sat there at the dinner table, not quite knowing what to do with the food I had prepared. They just looked at the platter with a blank stare. I had prepared a beautiful medley of grilled veggies, charred French bread slices and a big scoop of ricotta in the center. I had drizzled a lovely balsamic reduction over the entire array of vegetables and topped it with ribbons of fresh basil. Sound familiar? Who knew this type of dish would be a huge food trend years later? When I asked the couple if they would like something else, their reply was simply, “Um, we’ve never eaten like this. We usually have meat and potatoes for a meal.” But they eventually warmed up to the idea (the wine helped) and devoured the entire platter! Today, I still make the same dish with red peppers, zucchini and vegetables in season. But now, I love making the grilled medley with homemade ricotta and homemade balsamic reduction. For the reduction, I add two tablespoons of Port. If you have it on hand, it adds a wonderful complex flavor to the balsamic vinegar. For the homemade ricotta, if you can find raw milk, you’ll get a much better yield. (Sprouts is your best bet) It’s quite a bit pricier than the whole milk but well worth the money for the amount of ricotta it makes. Make these two recipes and you’ll be upping the ante on Antipasto!
I’ve never been a picky eater. But meatloaf was not one of my favorites, even though the dish has withstood the test of time as a favorite comfort food. Well, what a difference one recipe can make! I went from never giving meatloaf a second thought to maybe thinking about it a little too much. These days I can’t get enough of this special recipe that makes meatloaf so very flavorful and moist. What secrets does this variation hold? There are several. First, the two cups of whole milk that the breadcrumbs happily soak in. That alone gives the meatloaf a rich and ultra moist texture. Second, sautéing the sweet yellow onion adds to the moisture plus gives the loaf a slight natural sweetness. Then the sauce that gets brushed over the top before baking gives this meatloaf a hint of spice, a bit of heat from the dry mustard and sweetness from the brown sugar. All in all, this is a wonderful meal for the family, especially when paired with mashed potatoes, gnocchi, pasta or just some charred crusty French bread. This quote from Bon Appetite magazine summed up meatloaf the best: “Meatloaf in its many iterations and guises was often a sort of culinary scrap heap, a refuge for leftovers, in the spirit of many casseroles and of shepherd’s pie. It was a way to stretch protein. It was a way to use up excess vegetables. It was a ragtag orchestra of ingredients on the verge of expiration. And it made music more uplifting than anyone could have anticipated.” This recipe is definitely music to my ears and a brand new one woman fan favorite!
Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
If you think that bread pudding is just a dessert, I’m about to change your mind in a delicious and surprising way. Imagine a savory soufflé-like bread pudding with a good quality ham (smoked is delightful), the sweet and slightly salty flavor of Gruyère cheese, fresh sautéed spinach and roasted red peppers all baked to perfection. This dish is so appetizing and versatile it can be enjoyed as a main meal or sliced in wedges for the perfect holiday party appetizer. Where did I find this sumptuous selection? In the Sing For Your Supper Cookbook compiled by the Sounds of the Southwest Singers. This 85-plus member non-profit volunteer choir has been singing in the Valley since 2010, performing a variety of music in concerts throughout the year. Members have sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, and by the recipes in this cookbook, it’s apparent that this group can cook as well as they can sing! Make this dish and you’ll be singing for your supper too!
They’re as popular…maybe even more so, than their home furnishings!
Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs are Iconic! And, since the Euro furniture store posted the recipe on Twitter about a month ago, the internet has been obsessing over it.
Ikea released the recipe during the novel corona virus pandemic because, according to food a manager of IKEA U.K., “We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative.”
So now you can get your meatball fix anytime you like! The meatball recipe is pretty simple. It’s very similar to an Italian meatball. The cream sauce (or gravy) is a breeze, too, although I was surprised that it included two ingredients I would not have expected; Dijon mustard and soy sauce (which accounts for its silky golden brown color.) As the directions point out, you’ll want to chill the meatballs in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before browning them in a skillet so they won’t fall apart. Yes, they’re that delicate!
So while you’re waiting for your favorite flat pack furniture store to open back up again, you can have a little taste of IKEA for dinner tonight!
Watch my How to Video HERE!