You are in for a treat today!
First I am going to show you how easy it is to make your own fresh ricotta cheese at home. Then, demonstrate how you can take that ricotta and use it in a simple and authentic cannoli. Finally, in the Italian spirit of not letting anything go to waste, I am even going to show you a fun trick for leftover vanilla bean pods.
Is your mouth watering yet?!
Keep reading for the recipes…
Around the World, How-To, Sweet Tooth, Tasty Travel | Tags: Christmas Dessert Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Easy Dessert Recipes, Italian Dessert Recipes, Italian Recipes, No-Bake Desserts
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It’s hard to believe that only a month ago I was whisked away to the island of Sicily, half a world away from my life in Los Angeles. I had no idea what to expect, but I quickly found Sicily to be overflowing with old-world charm, warmth, and a genuine feeling of family.
Keep reading for a trip back in time to old-world Sicilia…
Around the World, Dinner Tonight, Fresh and Healthy, Tasty Travel | Tags: Fish, Grilled Fish Recipes, Healthy Fish Recipes, Italian Dinner Recipes, Italian Recipes
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For me there is no better dessert than berries. I love just about any berry. From a plump, red strawberry picked in Ventura county just north of my home in Los Angeles, to a tart, bright orange cloudberry from a bog in the Arctic Circle.
Berries are perfect for making quick and flavorful desserts. This rustic tart is assembled in minutes without the fuss of a typical pie.
Keep reading for the recipe!
On a recent trip to San Francisco, I stopped by one of my favorite restaurants, the Boudin Bakery on Fisherman’s Wharf. I was there early in the day when they were still serving breakfast and I simply had to try one of their Sourdough Scramble Bowls. If you love soup in a bread bowl, why not try scrambled eggs in a bread bowl for breakfast!
Keep reading to learn how I made a copycat version of the Boudin Bakery Sourdough Scramble!
Do you love to go out to a Japanese restaurant for sushi and wonder if it is possible to recreate that experience in your own kitchen? You are in luck! Today I am going to show you, step-by-step, how to make sushi at home.
Keep reading to learn how to make this “Rock and Roll” Sushi Roll from Qsine Restaurant!
Last week I had the extraordinary pleasure of boarding the Celebrity Cruise Line for a 7-day “Excite The Senses” culinary themed adventure to Alaska! This was my first cruise and it was amazing to share the experience with my mom. There were so many stories, recipes and photos to share from our time onboard as well as on land, I don’t even know where to start! So, I decided to put together a “top 10″ list of yummy excerpts from the trip. If this serene and spectacular snapshot from our balcony isn’t enough to convince you to book your cruise right now, this mouth-watering list will have you ready to hop on board as soon as possible!
Keep reading if you have ever dreamed of going on a food lover’s cruise!
If you consider yourself a foodie, it’s hard not to fall in love with Seattle. The seafood, the produce, and the wines of the Northwest are all top notch. The hub of fresh Seattle fare is, of course, the legendary Pike Place Market.
Keep reading to see what was on the menu.
You know what I love about Walt Disney World? It is a destination, unlike any other, where you can make a vacation anything you want it to be. Disney World can take you behind the scenes of a movie studio or transport you to an African Safari. It can whisk you away to a magical land where princesses and fairies come to life before your eyes. A vacation to Orlando can mean hours of relaxing by the pool or fine dining and nightlife out on the town.
What I recently discovered, is that Disney World is not only the ultimate family vacation destination, it can also be the perfect location for a girl’s getaway weekend! My sister and I live on opposite coasts, so we have to find the time and a place to meet up every once in a while to catch up and spend some quality time together.
Take a look at this video we shot documenting our weekend excursion to EPCOT in Orlando. Time and budgets may not allow for a trip around the world, but we sure had fun with our whirlwind tour of the World Showcase. Check it out!
One of the highlights was meeting Hilda Castillo, the Tequila Ambassador for La Cava del Tequila, the restaurant and bar inside the Mexico pavilion featured in the video.
She shared her expertise on how to properly taste and enjoy the three different kinds of tequila and well as a few tips on making the perfect margarita! Follow our “flight” to Mexico featuring Partida Blanco, Don Julio Reposado, and Gran Centenario Añejo.
Tequila Blanco is crystal clear, light and fresh. These types of Tequilas are a finished product after a second distillation. Many connoisseurs prefer it because of its pure flavor. It is bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in oak barrels.
To be classified as Reposado, a Tequila must be aged for a minimum of 2 months but less than a year. Tequila Reposado is a perfect balance of wood, fruity notes, vanilla, and spices that transport you to a magical place of timeless beauty.
Añejo is a delicate blend of uniquely aged Tequilas. Añejos are aged in small, white oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months. This Tequila has several aromas, like chocolate, almonds, and wood; it is soft and sweet. As in many premium red wines, blends must be adjusted to each vintage; a lot of care and attention is paid when blending Añejo, making it smooth, distinctive, and extraordinary.
The outstanding margaritas featured in the video were created by Mexican Mixologist, Junior Merino. They were hands down the most flavorful, intriguing and creative margaritas I had ever tasted. He is a liquid chef…literally! Check out this website: http://theliquidchefinc.com/ Here are the descriptions of a few of my favorites:
Wild Passion Fruit
100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, passion fruit, mango nectar and fresh lime juice, topped with mango foam, served on the rocks
El Mayor premium silver Tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado, agave nectar and fresh lime juice, served frozen with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim
El Mayor premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, sweet-tart mix of blood orange juice and hibiscus syrup, topped with wild berry foam served on the rocks
El Mayor premium silver Tequila, muddled jalapeños, fresh lime juice, cucumber and agave nectar, served on the rocks with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim
In the end, vacation travel is about making memories that last a lifetime. My sister and I have such vivid memories of Disney magic as children, and now we have rekindled that magic as adults. No matter the age, you can’t help but laugh, smile and be filled with joy during your time in the resort!
One of my favorite places on earth is the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Back in college I saved up every penny of my work-study jobs for a backpackers trip through this magical coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. (It was a bit easier back then when the dollar was strong and Italy was still on the lire!)
When I remember Amalfi, two images come to mind – the sea and the lemons. The turquoise blue waters were like nothing I had ever seen before. And the lemons…oh, those lemons! The air was filled with their aroma, and everywhere I looked a bright yellow color caught my eye. Then, of course, how can I forget the limoncello!
Back here at home, as I recall this majestic place halfway across the world, I wanted to try and recreate the experience with what I could find at my local grocery store. I may not have access to the open air markets of Sorrento, but maybe I could find a way to give these available ingredients a new and creative twist.
I started with shell pasta. The shape alone reminds me of the sea! I like to choose a whole wheat and whole grain variety (like this one from Hodgson Mill) because they are packed with heart-healthy fiber and the taste and texture work so well in pasta salads like this one.
Next I had to use one of my new obsessions: fresh mozzarella balls. They come in a variety of sizes and the “Pearline” size was exactly the same and the shell pasta. A match made in food heaven!
Then I had to give this pasta salad color and texture. Fresh green parsley and basil, red sun-dried tomatoes and white mozzarella balls are like the Italian flag waving on the plate.
Finally, that limoncello I remember so well. Of course, I would serve it along side this summertime pasta salad, but I wondered if it could be incorporated into the dish? That’s when I decided on a Basil-Limoncello Vinaigrette to tie this pasta salad together. I love how the shell shaped pasta scooped up the bright and flavorful vinaigrette in every bite!
If you can’t swing a flight to Amalfi this summer, just take a short trip to your local grocery store instead. Share this pasta salad (and a glass of limoncello!) with your friends and family and “mangia bene!”
2 cups cooked Whole Wheat Medium Shells Pasta (such as Hodgson Mill Whole Grain)
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls (pearl size)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup julienne cut moist-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
3/4 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons limoncello
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Garnish: Sprigs of flat leaf parsley or fresh basil
1. Prepare pasta shells according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, place all remaining salad ingredients except dressing in a medium serving bowl. After pasta is cooked, drain and rise with cool water. Add pasta to serving bowl with other ingredients and stir to blend.
3. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor.
4. Add dressing and stir to coat all ingredients. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Did you know that in just a few short weeks, our friends over at Better Homes and Gardens Magazine will be hosting the second annual “Chill and Grill” festival? This event is the ultimate summer block party. Take a look at my top five reasons why you should go, and then check out five of my favorite grilled recipes for summer. Enjoy!
Top 5 Reasons to go to the Better Homes and Gardens “Chill and Grill” Festival:
My hometown! I have to tell you, this city simply sparkles in the summertime. The crystal blue waters of Lake Michigan and the legendary architecture make this skyline a sight be behold.
An outdoor festival just isn’t complete without some rockin’ tunes! Chicago is famous for it’s blues scene and there will be several local bands on hand to get the party started!
Guy is so much fun and I love it when we get a chance to sit down and chat. He is a fantastic addition to an outstanding lineup of chefs and presenters at the festival.
Click on the image or the link above and enter today!
5) Simply put, it’s delicious!
What are you waiting for…buy your tickets today!
Now that you have grilling on the mind, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite grilled recipes. Whether you are a meat eater or a vegetarian, there’s something for everyone on the grill…even dessert!
My Top 5 Favorite Recipes on the Grill: