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30 April 2016

Ristorante Svevia in Termoli (Molise), Italy


When a restaurant has been around from 1977 until present with uninterrupted service, what does it convey to you? That the thirty four years it has been around feeding so many people has left an important imprint in its diners. The people go back, its name spreads around and it gets a solid foundation. I discovered Ristorante Svevia just a month ago when I was passing through the town of Termoli with my family to go to the town of Mattinata in Puglia. We wanted to cut our car trip in half to see a new town and to give ourselves a break from the traveling. After checking around the internet, Ristorante Svevia was our unanimous choice.

29 April 2016

Skillet Red Beans, Turkey Meatballs and Rice


When you want to eat healthy food, the flavors don't have to be curtailed to the point of eating something that tastes like a cardboard box. That's what I have always thought when I was growing up watching my Mom "suffer" with the tastes of her food as she endured her endless slimming diets from one nutritionist to another. She was always determined in losing her extra pounds, to almost no avail unfortunately because as soon as she loses them, she gains them back immediately. Her food was always bland and unexciting.

27 April 2016

Quick-Prep Parmesan Crusted Chicken


You can't go wrong with chicken when you coat it with Greek yogurt, cover with Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (or Parmesan if you can't find it) then pop it in the oven until it turns golden brown. The result is a delicious, tender, juicy chicken that has a distinctive touch of Parmigiano. You will love it after making it for the first time because flavor wise, it's a winner and preparation wise, it's a keeper because it's so easy to prepare and you just stash it in the oven to cook. Easy isn't it?

26 April 2016

Pasta alla Norma


Inspector Montalbano season has ended again after so much waiting. You should know the feeling when you are waiting for a TV series that only shows once a week. Being occupied with too many things at night time, I never get to sit down in front of the TV every Monday night to watch it. Our decoder records it for later viewing when the kids are sleeping. Inspector Montalbano is an Italian TV series based on the detective novels written by Andrea Camilleri. Its setting is in a fictional town called Vigata in Sicily. It's not your usual heavy crime stories laden with violence like what they show nowadays. The stories are always intertwined with Sicilian culture, the way of life, the amazing scenery and the food. Yes, it is possible to put them together because believe me, when Montalbano eats and describes what he is eating (especially in the books), you would wish all the fairies to transport you to where he is and eat what he is eating.

25 April 2016

Ristorante Trabocco Cungarelle in Vasto Marina (Abruzzo), Italy


Trabocco Cungarelle is the very first trabocco (or trabucco) that I have ever dined in. The first one that I've seen as a matter of fact. It was more or less like the pictures I've seen in Google when I searched it last year, only better when I was standing there in the beach staring at it in front of me. It was something that I was not expecting to find in Italy. How panoramic it was that the trabocco was right on the emerald water supported by stilts and the sun was out shining on everything it touched with the beautiful backdrop of the blue sky.

23 April 2016

Ristorante Al Trabucco da Mimi in Peschici (Puglia), Italy


When I go to the Adriatic side of Italy with my family, we make sure that we get to eat at least once in a trabucco (or trabocco). What is a trabucco? It is an old fishing construction typical in a specific area called Costa dei Trabucchi or Coast of Trabucchi which lies along the Chieti area along the coast of the Abruzzo. The trabucchi (plural of trabucco) can also be found along the coast of Gargano, between the towns of Vieste and Peschici, in the Apulia region. They are large wooden structures that jut out into the sea and anchored to the rocks by big wooden columns made of Aleppo pine wood, a local pine that grows in the Gargano area. They have two wooden antennae that support a giant fishing net in the middle. 

16 April 2016

Slow Cooker Lasagna with Ragù and Bechamel Sauce


Dear lasagna, as much as I would love to have you every single day, I simply cannot because I can't afford to gain more pounds that I am desperately already trying to shed off before summer arrives. How many times have I hesitated over the idea of making Lasagne al Ragù? A hundred times and then more. It's one of my favorite pasta dishes and to be really specific, my very own version of it because after more than a decade of trials and errors, I finally got the taste that I really wanted. It is a classic case of loving your own.

15 April 2016

Radicchio: 3 of the Best Ways to Enjoy Them


Bitter and spicy with red and white leaves. That's what radicchio (or Italian chicory) is to us. It is not everyone's favorite choice of vegetable because of its particular flavor but it lends a great flavor to a lot of dishes. It can be eaten raw and added to salads, cooked and mixed with vegetable side dishes, risotto, frittata, pasta or my favorite and perhaps the best - grilled then drizzled with a good kind of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

13 April 2016

Musei del Cibo (Parma Food Museums) in Parma, Italy


If you want to spark a heated discussion among Italians, just ask one question and the topic will never end. It has been going for years and it is something that sees no light in ending. What is the Italian region with the best food? True, every region in Italy has something great to contribute to the national gastronomy. True, in every region, there really is something edible to die for. And true, it is the hardest question to answer. Perhaps. Unless. Maybe, there is one region that can top the rest and most will agree without so much debate (even if you will still hear some grumblings from the old-timers). Emilia-Romagna.

07 April 2016

Ristorante La Ciucculella in Vasto (Abruzzo), Italy


A genuinely good restaurant has good service that begins as soon as you call to book your table. I was traveling with my family of 4-1/2 with two kids and a medium-sized dog. I know, it's the family composition that can make anyone on the receiving end of the phone call twitch but what impressed me is that we were greeted warmly at the door and we were immediately ushered to the beach patio where we can leave our dog (if we wanted to of course) so we can stay close enough to him but be able to eat peacefully inside.

06 April 2016

Baked Pistachio-Crusted Sole Fillet with Vitelotte Potatoes and Asparagus Salad


When I am able to cook a meal with really simple procedures, quickest time possible and ingredients that are readily available, then I call it a success. Oh yes, of course, the important part is that it should be delicious and nutritious. The Baked Pistachio-Crusted Fish is just seasoned with salt and pepper, covered with crushed pistachios then sprayed with extra virgin olive oil before I baked it. The Vitelotte Potatoes and Asparagus Salad instead are just boiled and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt. The whole meal is really that simple and I was able to use as little ingredients as I could.