29 June 2012

Frankfurter & Potato Skillet Dinner and the Town of Sterzing-Vipiteno, Italy


My carnivore side comes out when I am here.  Frankfurters of different shapes and sizes were staring at me from the other side of the glass window.  I chose the simplest one, perhaps the most "friendly" looking among the others too.  This frankfurter skillet meal is one of my favorite dinners to put together.  The kids love it and it's fairly easy to do.   I cook them both on the stove and in the oven to get the crunch I look for in the potatoes.  After a day out in the nature, this is one of the meals that I put on the table. 

28 June 2012

Apricot & Mascarpone Cake and San Vito di Cadore, Dolomites




Our apricot tree is right in front of one of our windows.  Every year, it is a spectacle for me watching the life cycle of the fruit.  I like seeing the first signs of life after winter when the tiny bumps in every branch give way to flower buds in the rich color of bordeaux.  Then they open  up to white flowers that completely cover the whole tree.  It's a marvelous sight!  I never get tired of taking pictures of them every single year. 

25 June 2012

Passito di Pantelleria Peaches & Cream with Pistachios in Phyllo Baskets and the Dolomites


When you have kids, it's almost impossible not to have pets of any kind at home.  We had an 11-year old dog who just died a few months ago and to make up for our loss, we adopted two kinds of pets for our kids who still suffer from our dog's death.  A couple of goldfish (one died a few days ago) and a couple of white winter dwarf hamsters. 

22 June 2012

Agretti Frittata with Prosciutto & Fig Nibbles


I noticed that I make frittate (omelettes) everytime we are leaving for a vacation.  Last year I made a spinach, sun-dried tomatoes & mint frittata.  I depend on frittate as dishes to throw together the last strugglers of the fridge.  This time, I had some agretti, prosciutto crudo and a couple of figs.  And quite a number of eggs.  Some I used in this frittata and the rest, I used to make some cakes. 

21 June 2012

Vignola Cherry Brown Butter Tart and the Ancient Village of Pitigliano


When I had some fresh cherries a while back that I didn't know what to do with, Laura of Tutti Dolci suggested that I make some Cherry Brown Butter Bars that she did last year.  I checked out her site and looking at the recipe and the pictures convinced me to put my cherries into these butter bars that were too inviting to resist.   

However, I did resist and skipped it for a more kid friendly recipe which was my nutella and cherry pizza.   The kids were ecstatic and that was what mattered.  Never mind what I wanted.  What was important was to see gleeful faces of my little ones smeared with Nutella everywhere!   

20 June 2012

Branzino & Fennel Carpaccio


As much as I love the Dolomites, there is one big drawback for me that makes me want run down to the sea and back again to the alps in the middle of my vacation.  Seafood has to find its way in my diet.   The first week still has the charm of being a carnivore.  There are goulash and stinco di maiale al forno (baked ham hock) that has me drumming my fingers for a whole year, waiting impatiently to have them again.  

18 June 2012

Traditional Spaghetti Lunghi with Shrimp, Saffron & Zucchini Flower Pesto and the Beautiful Cinque Terre


Over dinner, my family and I were speaking about which season we like best.  I love spring because after a long, cold winter, I see life again.  Everything starts growing and the colors start to paint nature with bright greens and all the colors of the rainbow.  There are also the spring vegetables & fruits that motivate me to be more creative in the kitchen.  I should also mention the perfection of the temperature.  It's not too hot nor too cold. 

17 June 2012

Farrotto with Asparagus & Sole


I'm starting to empty my fridge and my cupboards of neglected food.  It means only two things when I do that.   Either my husband did an ocular visit to our main source of nutrition or we are going on a long vacation.  I always hope it's the latter.  And so it is.  Summer has finally stepped in and we are bound again for the mountains.  I can already smell the freshness of the alpine air and I can already smell the stress I am going to go through this week in trying to use up all the fresh food and the ones close to expiring without buying anything new.  It sounds like those games they do at the television.  It's also fun because I learn to be more creative and inventive with my recipes working under pressure.

15 June 2012

Grilled Chicken Inasal and a Tribute to My Father


Until the 2nd of January, 1999 I had a father.  Let me tell you a little bit about him.  He was the greatest pilot in the world, at least to the eyes of his daughter.  He was fondly called "Golden Hands" by his former employer because he was the only pilot who can land a C-130 cargo plane without spilling his coffee while landing.  Heck, you don't even realize that you have already touched down when he is behind the captain's seat.    He was my hero, like all daughters would say too but he truly is because he is page 13 of the Philippines' Mga Bagong Bayani (The New Heroes of the Philippines). 

14 June 2012

Azuki Red Bean Ice Cream & Ice Pops


If you are wondering what kind of ice cream this is, it is made of sweetened red bean paste that is typical in Japan.  Between you and me, the only Japanese ice cream that I am familiar with is the green tea ice cream.  As much as I love Japanese food, I realized how much I don't know about this magnificent cuisine after I discovered Nami's blog called Just One Cookbook.   I have been eating in Japanese restaurants all my life and after I browsed her recipes, I admitted to myself that I know only an iota of this big culinary world.  If I need anything Japanese and if you do too, just jump right here to go to her blog and enter the world of Japanese home cooking.  You can find the recipes all documented with detailed photographs.   And there, I found this red bean ice cream recipe.

13 June 2012

Gelato al Cioccolato e Amarena


The ice cream maker is poised and ready in my kitchen, ready to churn some refreshing gelato (ice cream) and sorbetto (sorbet) this summer once again.  Spring already yielded some incredible ice cream and sorbet recipes at the internet that I couldn't wait to try on my own.  And some ideas of new flavors were also swimming around my mind.  

11 June 2012

Almond Cake, Ricotta & Cherry Trifle


We choose to share every important milestone we go through with our families.  The familiar faces staring at you with encouraging & proud eyes are enough to take away the heaviness of fear to take a step forward one after the other.   We are cocooned in the warm embraces of these people we have been sharing our whole lives with on every significant change we go through.  

I spent a splendid weekend sharing two milestones with my husband's family.   My family, I should say, for the past decade. 

08 June 2012

Mini Almond Cakes with Ricotta, Pears & Cherries


It all started with the neglected ricotta in the fridge.  I bought it for something I was planning to cook but I changed the recipe at the last minute and I didn't use it anymore.   Being fresh, it needed my attention fast or it goes straight to the dump.  I don't want that.  Something sweet and delicious my husband loves ordering at the restaurants jogged my memory.  The torta di ricotta & pere (ricotta & pear cake) lingered in our mouths & memories for so long that maybe, I can try to recreate it.

06 June 2012

Dark Chocolate, Strawberry & Mint Swiss Roll


No kid will ever refuse anything with chocolates.  That includes mine telling me continuously that it's good with their mouths outlined with chocolate mustaches.  They look so funny but they don't care as long as what they are eating is chocolate mixed with strawberries.  Big eyes, big bites and big appetites. 

04 June 2012

Antipasti di Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico & Prosciutto Crudo: A Tribute to Emilia-Romagna


The half-broken clock of the Torre dei Modenesi (Tower of Modenesi) in Finale Emilia continued to flash in my mind after learning about the earthquake that devastated the northern part of Italy.   That tower had survived over 800 years of wars, storms, earthquakes and other dangers.  Half the tower still stood up after the first major earthquake but now, it was reduced to a rubble after a strong tremor hit the area again. 

02 June 2012

Calamari Ripieni (Stuffed Calamari)



Red, white and green are my favorite colors in a plate.  They epitomize freshness and Mediterranean cooking which influence my cooking a lot.   

Red, white and green are also the colors of the Italian flag.  On a special occasion that commemorates the country, I would usually think of making a Green, White & Red Salad like what I did during the 150th Year of Italy last year.  For last year's Festa della Repubblica (Festival of the Republic), I did the Farfalle Italiane with Matcha Green Tea, Pistachios, Raisins & Zucchini .  

01 June 2012

Polpette di Tonno (Tuna Balls) and the Town of Bolsena


Thirteen years ago, when I moved here, no one could understand me when I ask where and how are the malls are.  Finally, my husband took me to the mall.  It was a small one (but already their biggest) with about 15 shops in all.  I was disappointed.