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27 June 2014

Nutella Cashew Milkshake

If you can sweat Nutella, then my daughter will, with all the miniscule sandwiches and bananas  smothered with the hazelnut cream that she loves to eat. She's a little (what am I saying? a mega one!) perfectionist that her food served with Nutella have to be under her commands that we have to follow accordingly or she walks out of the kitchen. Imagine that. A four-year old with a perfectionist's perception of how things should be done under militant methods.

25 June 2014

Snow Peas with Pecorino Cheese, Pine Nuts and Honey

I think summer is the period that my hoping-to-be vegetarian husband likes the best because I almost don't cook meat. If ever I do cook, it's seafood because they have less cooking time (less heat generated in the kitchen) or sometimes vegetables that need a little bit of tossing in the pan. In summer, my choice of diet changes too. My body calls for fresher food for easier digestion and just staying light to combat the heat. 

23 June 2014

Soba Salad with Honey Ginger Soy Sauce

Noodles are quite popular on my kitchen table. When I don't feel like staying in front of the stove (with this heat, how can I?) I go for easy routes (and much cooler!) dishes. If the house occupants are only me and my husband, we would be able to live with fresh salads all summer. But there are my kids too who need attention in what they consider nutritious. If I let them rule in the kitchen (which I did once because I was very late in cooking) they would create their own version of the food pyramid. And we all know what the dominating portion is.

20 June 2014

Raw Zucchini, Apple and Walnut Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

This month, I have been creating recipes that don't need cooking in preparation for the peak of summer. I usually close my kitchen in summer especially the peak in August and live on fresh foods. If ever I have to turn on the stove or worse, the oven, the food really needs to be that good to merit the heat that it will generate in the kitchen. Ok, that had been easy for me to say and do before the kids came because like most kids, they will scream if I serve them a plate of this salad each. I'm sure my daughter will not even come close to the kitchen by a meter. I do have hopes with my older son because he surprises me at times asking for dishes after dishes of salad for dinner. How many 8-year olds would actually request to eat solely lettuce, all five plates of them?

19 June 2014

Cantaloupe Granita

Granita is like a pot of gold waiting for me in Sicily. I dream of it, I can't wait to have it and when I already have it, I can't wait to eat more. There are the classic flavors of limone (lemon), caffè (coffee), gelsi bianchi (white mulberries), gelsi neri (black mulberries), mandorle (almonds), and pistacchi (pistachios). Whatever flavor it is, it will definitely win you over a hundred times over. I love the limone in the morning along with a brioche. With its strength, it's quite hard to eat it alone first thing in the morning but with that sweet bread, they all fit perfectly together. This Sicilian summer breakfast is the most unique I have ever had and it's something that pulls you back to the island for a taste of its granita.

Salmon and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata

Both my kids are officially on summer vacation. That means more quality time together with the washing machine and the ear plugs joining in. That also means I can kiss "silence" goodbye for the next two and a half months. That might also mean that our new puppy might consider packing up his suitcase and come back when school commences again in September. He considers himself as one of the kids but when the hugging, tugging and babying gets too much, he runs under the bed for cover or behind my legs for protection.

16 June 2014

Grilled Asparagus, Green Apple and Zucchini Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Weekends are little killers in our diets, aren't they? Lunch and dinner invitations, going out to have walks with the kids that usually end up with a trip to the gelateria (gelato), pizzeria (pizza), or worse, a fast food burger place. My cooking changes on weekends too. I prepare more main dishes than pasta, usually patterned according to the kids' whims. It's the only full quality time we have together so why not make the most of it? Potato chips and Cokes included while watching "must see" cartoon movies together.

15 June 2014

Asian-Style Fried Chicken with Garlic Fried Rice

When it comes to Asian meals, I find that my indispensable big bottle of soy sauce is always the protagonist of what I create. I think I pull it out of the cupboard almost as much as I lift the extra virgin olive oil dispenser on my kitchen counter. Since I try to balance meals between two continents at home, both ingredients are the main ones.

14 June 2014

Slow-Roasted Cherries with Brandy & Balsamic Vinegar

It's summer when the fruits & vegetables start to paint rainbows in the market stalls. The visual effect of vibrancy of hues creates excitement of the first peak of summer. I tend to be easily swept by the collective beauty of fresh harvests so most often, I end up getting more than what I need. When I say that I'm just going to buy a few lemons, don't trust me because I will go out of the market with more bags than I can handle.

13 June 2014

Vegetable Stir-Fry in Oyster Sauce with Shrimp, Quail Eggs & Cashew

If you want to know, I was that little kid who generously gave growth of more white hair to my parents for frustration. I didn't like eating my greens. But wasn't that normal? Or don't we always have one in every family? I was the one in my family because my siblings were all obedient in finishing what were on their plates. I, on the other hand, had to stay much, much longer than everyone else because I was not allowed to leave the table without finishing my vegetables. And my Mom made sure we had a vegetable dish to go with the meat or fish every single meal. Imagine how much white hairs I gave her.

11 June 2014

Fragoline con Gelato (Wild Strawberries with Ice Cream) and the Town of Nemi, Italy

The gelato is melting! Taking photos of gelato is my greatest predicament in food photography. Italian ice cream or gelato tend to melt fast so when I take photos involving my "favorite" protagonist, I panic. Or rather, my whole family panics because I run as fast as I can to the camera with the ice cream in hand while my kids step back (did I notice the dog stepping back too?) and my husband assists me as quickly as he can. So I hope that explains why my ice cream bowl is a bit on the "getting soft" side. But if you want to know, it was delicious as it should be.

10 June 2014

Natural Blood Orange Soda

When the cold meets heat, a winter fruit meets the beginning of summer. I can still find some late harvest blood oranges but they are beginning to get scarce. Making this natural blood orange soda gives me great satisfaction when my son drinks it continuously (still working on my daughter to drink it). He and his sister like the commercial bottled orange sodas but I try to control their drinking because of the high sugar content. You know how it goes, sugar + kids can become disastrous. Luckily, with one stroke of the kitchen wand, I came up with a winning alternative to their orange sodas. This all-natural drink  is very good that I also have a problem in stopping myself from finishing everything. I live with freshly-squeezed oranges in the mornings when it's orange season and to have a sparkling one to enjoy in he middle of the day is a big treat. 

07 June 2014

Vegan Avocado Spinach Smoothie

In Italy, avocados are imported and they cost more than the other fruits in the market. So I don't buy them as much as I buy the locally produced fruits but I always have a space for them in the fruit basket. In salads, they are marvelous, when mashed and frozen, they are incredible and as smoothie, they are delicious as well. Its versatility allows me to create as many concoctions as I can with this great fruit.

04 June 2014

Stir-Fried Bitter Melon

What in the world are these bumpy, lumpy & gnarled vegetables? Did I just avoid saying ugly? They are, aren't they? But wait, that's not the only characteristic of these vegetables. As the name suggests, bitter melons (or bitter gourds) are bitter. There are different varieties with different levels of bitterness. I have tried some and even if some are milder or stronger, the best way to control the flavor is to leave them in salt, soak, rinse and lightly squeeze the juice away.

03 June 2014

Salmon and Asparagus Fried Rice

My Mom made sure that my siblings and I have fish regularly in our diet when I was growing up and I loved it. Having my own kids now, I also make sure that I include fish in our regular diet. Fortunately, my kids eat seafoods especially if I serve their favorites which are salmon, sole and vongole. We are quite limited to these three but nonetheless eating well.