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31 October 2013

Peaches in Brandy Sauce with Vanilla Mascarpone

There are some desserts that just leave your mouth asking for more, however simple they are. From the name of the dessert, you can already take a virtual nibble and understand how good it is. When I was thinking about this combination, I was already excited to put the ingredients to action. I knew I won't be disappointed.

30 October 2013

Asian Adobo Calamari (Adobong Pusit)

I distrust black food because it's a color that masks the ingredients. And if I can be honest, it doesn't really make the food look appetizing, does it? When it has sauce and it is gleaming in its ebony shine, I have to know what's in it. I like seeing and tasting every single ingredient in my plate. And as much as I love this adobo dish, I find it very hard to make it look more appetizing than this.

29 October 2013

Stracciatella, Tomatoes & Basil Crostini

My husband and I had been feeling the need for a short break from our daily routines and finally, we were able to accomplish it this weekend. We found a castle from the 13th-century in Umbria to spend the night in and coincidentally, it was also the last day of the Eurochocolate Show in Perugia.

27 October 2013

Eggplant Parmigiana Bites

Parmigiana was, is and will always be THE ultimate aubergine/eggplant dish for me. But I am not agreeable to all parmigiana dishes that end up in front of me. Nope, I am far too choosy with what is good and it's even pretty hard to resist in not trying them in the country where parmigiana dishes are everywhere. It might seem that I am guilty of loving my own but really, it's just the way it is. Why? Because the only parmigiana that I love is my husband's mom's recipe. Period. 

24 October 2013

Espresso Panna Cotta With Reduced Amaretto Syrup

It was two Easter Sundays ago, in a restaurant in a town called Ardea, when my son discovered how much he liked mono portions of dessert in glasses like these. After a full-course lunch that lasted until late in the afternoon and so many dishes for every course, my son's long lost appetite and impatient demands to go home suddenly came to a halt when he saw the waiters carrying large trays of different kinds of desserts. He's not a dessert person so I wondered why his 2 glasses doubled, tripled then quadrupled, until the point when we arrived to an embarrassing amount of empty glasses on our table. I thought I saw worry in the waiters' eyes too. They did declare continuously to eat as much as we wanted, didn't they?

23 October 2013

Easy Spicy Beef Pho

I have a mission and I still haven't attained it to the perfection that I want. It's hard when you have 2 focused taste buds to please. I can imagine how unclear I must be to you. You see, both my kids are crazy about the Asian instant noodle soup and I try to stay clear from them. I have eaten my share when I was young but an episode of MSG overdose or allergic reaction (the doctors were unclear) with a trip to the hospital made me stop eating them.

22 October 2013

Simple Sunday Family Lunch: Ham & Cheese Pizza Sandwiches

Food takes shape in my mind, day in and day out. I can't help it. Once a passion turned into a main activity, recipe developing became a daily routine in my life so my mind is constantly in search of everything edible and photographable. And that gives my husband a big relief because for once, my frequent thoughts about which handbag looks great came to a sudden halt. But his relief did not live long because now my thoughts are also focused on which camera lens to buy next.

20 October 2013

Chicken Paprika With Potatoes

Chicken, potatoes and paprika are staple ingredients in my kitchen. I have smoked paprika fit for an army, the potato bin is always well-stocked and the chicken fillets are always the first ones that we buy for our supply of fresh food. I actually have a stronger preference for red meat but since I have two kids to feed, I give them what is healthier, the lean white meat.

18 October 2013

Sole With Lemon Butter Sauce and a Trip to the French Riviera, Menton & Mougins

A number of items in my possession have sentimental value more than their monetary value. I hang on to them because they have a story and feeling, each of them, whether it's a gnarled appetizer fork, a bandanna that I will never be caught dead walking around with or a very old shirt that for any other person, merits to be buried in the garbage. They make me feel human, in touch with my past.

16 October 2013

Spinach Crepe Pouches With Salmon & Lemon Ricotta Cream and KitchenAid Savor the Savings Event

Pouches hide something inside. A surprise, something nice, something worth waiting for, something that keeps us in suspense in unveiling what is being kept inside as we rip the string that binds it. What is inside the green pouch Mommy? My daughter asked as she eagerly stands beside me staring at the crepe pouches. She waits for me to tell her a word that I knew she was secretly hoping for. A little girl who's crazy about chocolates and candies, what else was she waiting for me to say? Definitely not salmon & ricotta! Poor little one had a crestfallen face. But she did give me an idea because next time, the pouches will contain something that she would really love!

12 October 2013

Sweet Egg Pancakes With Berries (Frittata Dolce Con Frutti di Bosco) & Sant' Andrea of Brixen/Bressanone

I call this the prim and proper version of kaiserschmarrn, that shredded pancake from South Tyrol (S├╝dtirol/Alto Adige) that I am so crazy about. But technically, you will encounter this in South Tyrol as frittata dolce or omelette in the menus in the dessert section right next to kaiserschmarrn. They're both sweet omelettes served with fruit compote. They're meant as dessert in the alps but being hefty servings, I usually get them as a mid-afternoon snack after a long walk in the mountains. It's a nice and comforting reward I give myself after tiring myself out walking. If I lost some calories along the mountain trails, I am entitled to collect them back from one delicious plate, right?

10 October 2013

Raspberry, Peach, Almond & Pine Nut Smoothie

On the topic of kittens, my kids were arguing about something that they didn't agree on at the backseat of the car. They are both big cat lovers and they have been on to the new kittens that the neighborhood stray cat gave birth to. My 8-year old son was describing the colors of the new kittens and and their genders. Black is female, spotted black is male and so on. My 3-year old daughter instead was contradicting him the whole time he was speaking, obviously disagreeable to everything that he was saying. When asked why, she obnoxiously declared that all female kittens are all white with pink bows on one ear.  So all of the kittens in the neighborhood are male! Oh dear, how do you tell a little girl that Hello Kitty doesn't exist?

Pineapple, Shrimp & Cucumber Salad

There are some moments when I get stuck with ingredients that I would like to put together, like this recipe. The idea is like a persistent child's commands. I want this! And that one! That too! I knew that sooner or later, I will be in front of my kitchen counter with the ingredients I had in mind. I finally made a trip to the supermarket and rounded up what had been hounding me for days. A refreshing and crunchy shrimp, fruit & vegetable salad sealed with a good sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and a dash of sesame oil and fish sauce (or the Italian colatura di alici in this case).

07 October 2013

Farfalle con Crema di Cavolo Nero (Kale Cream Sauce) & Healthy Recipes Magazine Giveaway

I couldn't resist them. The first few leaves I saw were too inviting to turn the other way and make my way to the other vegetables. I knew I should wait for another month at least to get the good ones before I buy the cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage/black cabbage/kale) that are out now but I really couldn't resist them. Would you be able to?

04 October 2013

5 Disaronno Autumn-Themed Cocktails

Disaronno, one of my important liqueur bottles in the cupboard, gets the spotlight in this post. I like using it in preparing desserts or mixing with cocktails. Remember the Chinotto and Disaronno Cocktail that I created after the food & wine press tour I went to? I came home with a fresh mind full of vibrant ideas in creating new flavors. I loved that drink! It's so refreshing. 

03 October 2013

Breakfast Skillet With Eggs, Vegetables & Parmesan

How does the beginning of my day look like? With the silence of the house, I position myself on the kitchen counter right in front of the TV, watching the news as I eat my breakfast. The kitchen TV only has the local channels so I switch to RAI News where I get more truthful news than biased-truth. After doing this ritual for a long time, I already know all the newscasters of the channel, what they handle, who's missing that morning, who's new and who has the loudest & squeakiest voice (My cue to turn down the volume as fast as I can!).

02 October 2013

Cabbage Rolls With Meat and Vegetables

Assignments, teachers' notes, school snacks, fevers, medicines, uniforms, missing pens, school supplies, karate classes, chaotic mornings (and nights!), birthday presents & birthday parties. That sums up my life pretty much these days. Two weeks since school started and we are in full gear to combat another school year. Welcome my junior kindergarten daughter and 3rd-grader son. We are moving on up with the educational ladder but we are also moving up with more things to accomplish. Sigh. I complain, I know.

01 October 2013

Lunchbox Tuna and Mayonnaise Sandwich Rolls

The kids are asking for panini (sandwiches) for their school snacks again. I am undecided whether to give heavy snacks or maintain the biscuits before lunch because I rationalize on one explanation. Snacks are supposed to get you through from one meal to the next one, not to fill you up. If they eat heavy snacks, they won't have the appetite for the next meal. But if the kids ask continuously, what happens? I succumbed to double kiddie power!