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30 April 2014

Pasta with Pea, Sage & Pecorino Pesto


Notice how very green it is? It's beautiful, isn't it? Just by looking at its fresh green color, you almost feel rejuvenated. I just wish I can make my kids see it the same way as I do. Green repels the little beings at home, especially my 4-year old daughter who literally cries and leaves the kitchen when she sees anything green on the table. A single pea can take an hour to be eaten with a lot of tears. Sigh.

29 April 2014

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan Shavings


Clean eating, that's what this salad is all about. It's perfect for the warm months ahead using fresh ingredients and highlighted with balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan). Paired with a glass of good white wine, then your meal is set to a healthy and nutritious one. Not to mention its simplicity.

28 April 2014

French Fry & Hotdog Pizza


I don't need to ask my kids what they want when we are seated in a pizzeria. Pizza with French Fries and Hotdogs is always the choice. Well, they do sometimes switch to Pizza Margherita when I insist for a little bit of change or Pizza with Sausage and Potatoes or Broccoli but the top choice is always the one with the interesting toppings. After all they are kids. Maybe I would have ordered the same pizza if I was their age too so I let them be.

26 April 2014

Easy Individual Ice Cream Cakes


These ice cream cupcakes were inspired by the clay molding toys of my daughter. A few months ago, she was totally immersed in molding clays to cakes, sandwiches, pasta, pizza and other edible things in miniscule scale. Her work reminds me of the Japanese chef, Hironori Ikeno who specializes in making tiny sushi.  She works in sheer concentration in the playroom every afternoon and after each little masterpiece, she comes running to me asking me if I want some. She serves her clay food on trays complete with table napkins and cutlery like a perfect little lady.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Arugula Salad with Anchovy Dressing


Is tomato a fruit or a vegetable? 

I asked my third question as my kids and I played their game of questions. They both shouted "vegetable" and when I said that it's actually a fruit, they looked at me as if I was crazy. Then I explained to them that botanically, it is really a fruit but in culinary uses, it's a vegetable. I got more questioning looks. My husband told me not to confuse the kids. Ok, maybe it was too soon to divulge that little piece of information. Now you know too if you don't know yet. I remember how surprised I was when I read about it. I've always thought that it's a vegetable.

23 April 2014

Mini Mac and Cheese Pies with an Italian Twist


Lately, I have been thinking about the word respect. Its meaning, how important it is and how it affects our relationships. I was brought up making sure that respect is deeply sewn in my mind and heart because it is fundamental in everything that we do. I am making two children grow making sure that they understand all facets of the word respect. With them, my lessons are not confined to relationships with other people but also with insects, animals, plants, toys and space. Because if not, they would start stepping on every grasshopper they see, suffocate all the butterflies they catch, rip apart the leaves of my plants, break every toy they have or go through all the drawers that they see. Imagine that.

18 April 2014

Crispy Pork Belly with Miso - Sesame Sauce


It's always a struggle to find a butcher who sells thick pork belly in Rome. Because pork belly is the fresh pancetta (not the cured one), they are only more than willing to go to a maximum of 1/2 centimeter to slice them because not only is it pork but it's also full of fat. Sigh. When I ask for a slice thicker than 1/2 centimeter, they reluctantly obey and slice, some even asking if I am sure. Once, the butcher even didn't obey my husband's request and she went on slicing 1/2 centimeter pieces while saying that pancetta can't be thicker than that! Needless to say, that ended of our meat shop-client relationship.

17 April 2014

A Family Weekend in Robur Marsorum Albergo Diffuso, Rovere in Abruzzo, Italy


As soon as I entered the house and dropped my bags, I looked around and re-absorbed as much detail as I could. I had been gone for 10 days and it felt like a month. I had been so busy in my press trip to Georgia that I didn't really have the time to think about what I had been missing back home. Right at that moment, as I was standing in the middle of my kids' room looking at their beds, toys and sweaters hanging on the rack, I suddenly realized how much I missed them and my husband. My family. They had been really great in taking care of each other while I was away. I couldn't ask for anything more. Well maybe one - a weekend getaway with the three of them. We deserved it.

15 April 2014

Fully Loaded Bacon Easter Breakfast Basket


Another year has passed and I find myself unprepared again for the Easter holiday. I did remember to buy small Easter chocolate eggs for the kids about a month ago after my daughter prodded me to buy some for herself and her brother. Looking at packs of chocolate eggs jolted me back to reality. Can Easter be just around the corner? Now, we are just five days away and I have yet to rush to the chocolate shop and get them their proper big chocolate Easter eggs with gifts inside. It's like a mini-Christmas for them, excitedly guessing what can be inside their eggs.

13 April 2014

Georgia on My Mind: A Tour of Georgia's Capital, Tbilisi (Part 1)


I have to be honest with you. Almost a year ago, when I first encountered the word Georgia, my first thought was the U.S. state then when I Googled it, I remembered that yes, there is a country named Georgia. I'm not really proud of my lack of knowledge but ask me now and I can tell you proudly where and how Georgia is. And I can also tell you how this country and its people touched my heart.  It's also the place where I learned what real hospitality means, to be treated well and to feel connected to life, food and wine.

09 April 2014

Chocolaty Nutella & Pistachio Pastries


Social networks make our worlds smaller and accessible. If not for these networks, how much friendships could have been lost and just remembered as being part of our lives once? Once in our life. But this doesn't happen anymore especially with Facebook keeping us all connected to our past and present. I have reconnected with so many people from my past and it's a wonderful feeling to pick up the pieces of what we have left off, even from 25 years ago.

06 April 2014

Fried Caramelized Plantain Skewers with Dark Chocolate Nutella Sauce


Care to have a few more calories in one bite? I promise you, it's all worth it. Think plantains - fried then coated with melted sugar THEN dipped in dark chocolate and Nutella sauce. It's magic! I already love the caramelized plantains but when dipped in the super chocolaty sauce, well, that's another story.

04 April 2014

Pancit Bihon


I am home! When my feet touched the Italian ground with the resonating noisy chatter of conversations around me with the familiar language, I suddenly realized how I missed Italy. It had been exactly 10 days that I had been away. My husband picked me up at the crowded airport and instinct told me where to look because I immediately spotted him amidst the flow of people. Slowly, during the day, as my family was completed, picking the kids up from school, I felt the completeness of having a home to feel settled into. Home is not just a place, it can also be important people or food that make you feel rightly in place.