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Le Matte Hit The Road For Pasquetta

  • April 13, 2009

It may be just another workday if you live in the U.S., but if you’re in Italy, it’s Pasquetta or Easter Monday and you’ve got the day off from work. Most people spend the day with family and friends enjoying a picnic lunch in a park or the countryside.

Le Matte, my Italian chit-chat group, is celebrating Pasquetta by taking a road trip to the beach. Clara, one of our members, invited us to share the day with her at her vacation home on the Jersey shore. We’re a large group of more than 25, but not everyone is available on every meeting. Today there are at least eight of us are heading out, toting all sorts of yummy foods that we will enjoy once we get to Clara’s beachhouse. I wish you could join us.
Here’s my contribution.

Deviled Eggs

one dozen eggs, hard boiled (click here for a post on how to make perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs.)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
white pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. white wine vinegar

Put the yolks and all the other ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until everything is blended and smooth. I then use a pastry bag to pipe it into the egg whites, but you can spoon it in. Sprinkle with paprika. Decorate with either edible flowers, pieces of pickle, red or green pepper, tomato strips or anything else you can dream up.

Happy Easter

  • April 12, 2009

When I was a young girl, my mother made a lamb cake for Easter, using a specially shaped aluminum cake pan. I inherited the pan decades ago, and carried on the tradition when my kids were little, but then forgot about it as they grew up. A few years ago, I resurrected it when my niece and her then two-year old son Hayden came for Easter. It was a big hit, even though it just didn’t seem right cutting into the cute little creature for dessert.

I don’t have my mother’s original recipe, but I found a pretty good one on Allrecipes.com a few years ago that I’ve included below. It’s a nice firm-textured white cake that holds up well as you stand the lamb upright to frost and serve. I once used this cake pan for my daughter’s birthday, repositioning the ears and frosting the cake to resemble our cat Rocky. At that time, I used a cake mix, but the softer texture didn’t hold up well. When I went to serve the cake, to my dismay, Rocky’s head had fallen off. A few wooden skewers later and a camouflaging ribbon around the neck and he was good as new. Lesson learned – don’t use a box cake mix for this specialty pan.

I like it with a buttercream icing, but you can use a cream cheese icing, or any kind you prefer.
The hard part is cutting the first slice. I hate to see that little lambie’s butt sliced off. It’s even harder to see it decapitated, but all that icing and coconut around the ears makes me come to my senses.

I know there are similar pans available for sale on various websites including Amazon.com. You may even be able to find one at a good kitchenware store where you live. If you don’t have a lamb form, it’s also delicious as a layer cake using two 9″ cake pans.

Lamb Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites

Directions

  1. First, prepare your mold. Coat with vegetable oil, let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel. Then grease and flour your mold, making sure to get all the little areas.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift the cake flour, then sift again with the baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Stir the batter until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla.
  4. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then quickly fold in the remaining whites.
  5. Fill the face side of the mold with batter. Move a wooden spoon through the batter GENTLY, to remove any air pockets. Make sure not to disturb the greased and floured surface of the mold. Put the lid on the mold, making sure it locks or ties together securely so that the steam and rising batter do not force the two sections apart.
  6. Put the mold on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven for about 1 hour. Test for doneness by inserting a skewer or wooden toothpick through a steam vent. Put the cake, still in the mold, on a rack for about 15 minutes. CAREFULLY, remove the top of the mold. Before you separate the cake from the bottom let it cool for about 5 more minutes so that all the steam can escape and the cake can firm up some more. After removing the rest of the mold, let the cake cool on the rack completely. DO NOT sit the cake upright until completely cooled.
  7. I frosted my lamb with a buttercream frosting, then covered it in coconut and pressed in some small pieces of raisin for the eyes and nose. Give it a little ribbon collar and lay it on a bed of coconut dyed green with food coloring. Decorate with jelly beans and/or small chocolate eggs if desired.

Standing Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pudding

  • April 11, 2009

We don’t serve rib roast for Easter but I made one last weekend when our kids came home and we celebrated both of their birthdays. I thought I’d post the recipe for those of you who might be choosing rib roast for your Easter dinner over the more traditional lamb or ham.
While it can be expensive if you don’t buy it on sale, a standing rib roast is always impressive (when properly cooked) and it’s a snap to make too.

Yorkshire Pudding

This was my first attempt at making Yorkshire Pudding, the typical accompaniment to rib roast. It too was easy to prepare and a big hit with everyone. Long after we were sated with enough roast, we sat around sipping our wine and munching on these little popovers studded with herbs. Yorkshire pudding isn’t really a pudding as you can see, but more of a bread made with a thick batter that’s poured into muffin tins greased with beef drippings. You can use butter if you prefer. Either way, it’s not as fattening as it sounds since you use only a small amount of fat for each portion.
Once you get the meat into the oven, mix up the batter for the Yorkshire puddings and refrigerate. After the roast is cooked and resting, pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake.

For the rib roast, I used Ina Garten’s recipe with some modification. Her recipe calls for a 7 to 8 pound standing rib roast. Since I was cooking one that weighed only 3.5 pounds (more than enough for four people and we had leftovers too), I eliminated the last step where you kick up the temperature to 450 degrees. Just make sure to keep checking with a meat thermometer and roast it to the degree of doneness you like. When the meat reaches 125 degrees, for me that’s perfect and I take it out of the oven. The cooking continues even while it rests on the countertop. During the time it’s resting, I put the Yorkshire pudding into the oven. When they come out about 20 minutes later, the medium-rare roast is ready to slice and eat.

Standing Rib Roast

1 T. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Rub the meat all over with the salt and the pepper. Two hours before roasting, remove from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature (I let mine sit out for only one hour, but I had a smaller roast). Place the rib roast in a roasting pan in a 500 degree preheated oven. Roast it for 45 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and roast for another 30 minutes. Test with a meat thermometer for the required doneness. If you’re cooking a small roast, as I did, it may be done. I took mine out of the oven at about 125 degrees. For a larger roast, check the temperature. If it’s not done yet, boost the oven temperature back up to 450 degrees and roast for another 15 to 30 minutes. Take the meat out of the oven and let it sit, covered with aluminum foil, for at least 15 – 20 minutes before slicing.

Yorkshire Pudding

1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 – 4 T. butter or beef drippings from the roast
1 cup flour
snippets of fresh herbs (I used chives, sage and thyme)
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine flour, chives, thyme and salt.
Whisk milk and eggs. Add to the flour and herb mixture. Refrigerate while the roast cooks.
Spoon a little bit of melted butter or beef drippings into the bottom of each of about 12 muffin tins. Tip the tins to coat. Pour the batter into the individual cups, about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake in a 450 degree preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Good Friday in Taormina

  • April 10, 2009

Good Friday is the most solemn day of holy week for Catholics, and no where is it observed with as much pageantry as in Sicily. Many towns and villages across the island hold elaborate processions commemorating the suffering, or passion of Christ as he was led to his crucifixion.

Each town has a different custom, but the processions almost always end with bands playing lugubrious music as worshippers carry a statue of Jesus Christ through the streets.
Several years ago we were Taormina during holy week. Taormina is a jewel of a town on the eastern coast of Sicily overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Mt. Etna and the Calabrian peninsula. Tourists stream into the town because of its scenic location, abundant flowers, quaint architecture and ancient Greek amphitheater.
But all that pales in contrast to the spectacle that is Good Friday in Taormina.
The event starts in the late afternoon just before dusk, as hundreds of women clad in black, carrying orange-colored lanterns, descend the narrow steps linking the main streets, and begin the procession.
Young girls wearing white dresses and white cotton head coverings follow the women.
A local priest and altar boys come next. Then comes another group of women who are supporting on their shoulders a statue of the blessed mother engulfed by flowers. A band playing somber music processes behind them, while the men of the village begin their march, bearing the statue of Jesus on their shoulders. The entire group slowly walks to the duomo and back.

After dark, the procession is repeated in silence, except for a lone drummer tapping out a haunting beat. At this point, shopkeepers turn off their lights, a hush comes over the town and the faithful make their final homage to Christ, illuminated only by the glow of candlelight. Whether you’re Catholic or not, you can’t help but get caught up in the beauty, the history and the solemnity of the occasion.

Click on the video below and you’ll see what I mean.

Like a kid in a candy store

  • April 9, 2009

It wasn’t the typical weekly meeting for my chit-chat group of Italian friends called “Le Matte.”
This week we met at a chocolate factory. And it was bliss.

The above photo is of some marshmallow “peeps” after a dip in milk chocolate.

Here is a photo of the dipping machines – white, dark and milk chocolate.


This magical place is the David Bradley Chocolatier factory, in Windsor, New Jersey. We were lucky enough to be given a tour by Christine O’Brien, daughter of the owners Robert and Marcy Hicks, who founded the company in 1978 under the name “Sophisticated Chocolates.”

First, she let us choose some fruit and dip it into those chocolate tanks. Some of us chose big luscious strawberries. Some of us chose big fat orange segments. Some of us chose big luscious strawberries and then went back for big fat orange segments. Dipped in dark chocolate.
Yum. Excuse me while I savor the moment.

But that’s not all. We kept touring the place and tasting as we went along. Solid chocolate, potato chips dipped in chocolate, oreos dipped in chocolate, you name it. You like milk or white chocolate rather than dark? Chris was very accommodating and gave us samples of whatever flavor we liked. Of course, we all shopped and shopped later on in the outlet store next to the factory.


In addition to their three retail outlets, in Windsor, N.J., Cherry Hill, N.J. and Manalapan, N.J., the company sells to lots of stores across the country, including upscale places like Barneys in New York. Many of their products are also sold under private labels. Their busiest time is Christmas, when lots of corporate clients place orders. But they’re pretty busy right now too, with bunnies and eggs and other Easter items taking priority. Chris said that they go through about 2500 pounds of chocolate a week.
Everything is made to order and made fresh daily. “We are working a little harder, but it’s going to taste better,” Chris said. Their stuff doesn’t go to the big box stores where you don’t know how long ago it was made. If you’re buying candy for Easter from their shelves, you know it was made within a day or two.

Here’s one of the workers filling the molds by hand.

And here are some of the bunnies that are ready for packaging:

dark
or milk:

They also make novelty items like chocolate lollipops in the shapes of stars. They’ll also make specially-designed items for events like baby showers, weddings or other occasions. You can check them out on their website: http://www.dbchocolate.com


And here’s a photo of some of “le matte” getting ready to checkout –
Milena, Eleanor, Paola, Shirley, Dede, Rena and Linda

Earthquake in Abruzzo

  • April 7, 2009

By now, you’ve all read or heard the news about the devastating earthquake in Abruzzo, the mountainous region in Central Italy. At last count, more than 200 people are reported as dead, and thousands more are homeless. Though the epicenter is the city of L’Aquila, many smaller villages are also affected. The small village of Onna, with only about 400 inhabitants, was flattened. Strong aftershocks are still being felt throughout the region, and as far away as Rome.

The Fontana Luminosa at the entrance to L’Aquila

Heartbreaking stories abound – entire families being lost under the rubble; people being evacuated from hospitals, including the very sick and mothers with their newly born babies; tent cities being erected; precious art works destroyed.

The massive fortress built in the 1500s, and overlooking the Maiella mountains, and which now houses a museum with many precious treasures. It was badly damaged in the earthquake.

My husband’s family lives in Abruzzo, but fortunately far enough from L’Aquila that they were not injured. Some of his cousins responded immediately and rushed to L’Aquila to help in the rescue effort. Another friend of ours (and perhaps very distant relative) was scheduled to be in his L’Aquila apartment on the night of the earthquake, but had to postpone his trip at the last minute due to a business conflict. Talk about fate!

In case you’ve never been there, or heard about the city until now, I’m posting a few photos of the once beautiful city of L’Aquila from my trip there last fall.

The main piazza in L’Aquila – piazza duomo – with the church of Anime Sante on the left. The cupola on top is barely visible in this picture from last year, but now it has collapsed. The main cathedral, on the right, was not damaged.

The bell tower (not visible in this photo) toppled on the basilica of San Bernardino, built during the Renaissance and housing the tomb of Saint Bernard and many art treasures.interior of San Bernardo

If you want to help out with a donation, there are reputable places to send money. One of them is NIAF, the National Italian American Foundation, who set up a relief fund for this; and the other of course, is the Red Cross. The Italian Red Cross has a site for accepting donations here. If you want to contribute through the American Red Cross, click here. A lot of needy people will be grateful.

Stuffed shells and a prayer

  • April 6, 2009

I sent this post earlier this morning, but I’m resending it now to ask for prayers and help for the people in Abruzzo affected by the terrible earthquake which has already killed about 100 people and left thousands more homeless.

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You know how some recipes stir memories of an event or a person? This one reminds me of my mom, who frequently cooked up large casseroles of these for an impromptu family dinner. She added ground meat to the ricotta stuffing, but I’ve added spinach instead. If you choose to make the sauce meatless, you’ve got a great vegetarian meal.

I hadn’t made these in years, but since I had some leftover ricotta in the fridge and some jars of tomato sauce with ground beef that my brother Frank had made, I thought, why not make up a batch of stuffed shells and have an impromptu dinner with friends?

We frequently spend holidays with our friends Jan and Dave but this Easter we each have different plans. So who better to invite for a casual meal than friends we’ve known for more than three decades and haven’t seen in a while? Fortunately, they were available on a last minute whim and came over Saturday night for an informal dinner. No fussing involved – no appetizers, no good china, no fancy silver. Just a simple meal of stuffed shells and salad and a bottle of good wine to share with friends who are like family. Oh, we also ate a deeeelicious apple and pear galette that Jan brought over. I’ll be posting the recipe for that as soon as she gets it to me.

The food was great, but more important was the chance to be with long-time friends and our kids too, who were home for the weekend. Why not give it a try? Call some friends you haven’t seen in a long time and invite them to come share a meal with you – maybe even these stuffed shells. If you’ve got some tomato sauce stored in the freezer, so much the better. The recipe goes together pretty quickly in that case.

Here’s what it looks like before it goes in the oven. This recipe makes even more than is shown in the photo, but I kept about a dozen or so and froze them for another meal.
Here’s what it looks like when it comes out of the oven:Stuffed Shells

17.6 ounce package shells (There were 53 shells in the package, but a few of them broke while cooking)

2 eggs
2 lbs. ricotta
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 box chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
2 T. minced parsley
salt, pepper
a grating of fresh nutmeg

tomato sauce to cover
(here’s my recipe.)

I used a cellophane package of shells I bought at the supermarket weighing 17.6 ounces and this amount of filling was perfect for that size package. Most packaged shells come in a cardboard box and weigh less than this, so if you can’t find the larger size cellophane package, make less of the filling and use one of the cardboard boxes, or use 1 1/2 boxes of the shells and the full amount of the filling.

Cook the shells in boiling water, but under cook them slightly, since they’ll also bake in the oven. Drain the shells after boiling. Put them into a pot of cool water, since the ones you’re not working on are likely to stick together if they’re sitting in a colander.
Drain about a dozen at time in a colander and stuff, then repeat with the remaining shells.

Stuffing: Beat the eggs lightly. Add the cheeses and the remaining ingredients, except the tomato sauce. Stuff the shells gently with the mixture. Place some tomato sauce in a heat-proof casserole and lay stuffed shells into it. Pour more sauce on and around the shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Olive and Ham Bread

  • April 5, 2009

“Le Matte,” the group of Italian women I’ve told you about, who meet each week to chit-chat in Italian, met at my home last week. Over the years, these gatherings have morphed from a simple coffee and cake gathering to an event with an intimidating array of savory and sweet treats. Recently, we’ve tried to limit the foods to two savory and two sweet items. Otherwise, the hostess has to spend too much time in preparation, a deterrent for many who might otherwise offer their homes for the meetings. It seems to be working, along with another new twist started in the last few months. We now team up with a partner and share the work. That makes it much easier and more fun too.

Last week I teamed up with my friend Anna, who hails from the Trentino region, and who also happens to be a great cook. (Well, actually most of the women in this group are terrific cooks.) I made the sweet things -a pastiera and lemon tiramisu – recipes I’ve already posted. Anna offered to make the savory foods and chose two different breads including this olive and ham loaf. It has a really tender crumb and it’s packed chockful with flavorful ingredients. After the group had dispersed, she left me a couple of slices which we ate for dinner that night, alongside some sauteed vegetables and couscous. But it’s also great all by itself if you’re having friends over for dinner and want a little something to serve beforehand with drinks.

One of the ingredients Anna uses in the recipe is mimolette cheese, something I had never heard of before. It’s a cow’s milk cheese that has a greyish crust and an orange-colored interior, and sort of resembles a cantaloupe. Anna said if you can’t find it, you can substitute a good quality aged cheddar cheese instead.

Mimolette cheese

Olive and Ham Bread

For the ham, ask the person at the deli counter to cut you a thick slice of baked ham, then dice it into small bits.

5 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
3 T. mixture of fresh herbs, minced: Italian parsley, basil leaves and chives
3 T. strong French mustard
salt, pepper

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup rye flour
1 T. baking powder

1 1/4 sticks melted butter
1 cup grated mimolette cheese or sharp aged cheddar cheese
1 7-ounce piece of baked ham
1 cup pitted green olives

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
Butter a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan and coat lightly with flour.
Beat the eggs with a fork, then add the milk, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper to taste.

Sift the flour and the baking powder in a bowl; Add the melted butter, the grated cheese, the olives, the egg/milk mixture and the ham.

Blend the ingredients with a wooden spoon and transfer to the loaf pan. Bake for one hour. The cake is done when a sharp blade inserted in the center comes out dry. Wait 15 minutes before unmolding on a cake rack.

Fillet of Sole Stuffed With Shrimp

  • April 3, 2009

It’s Spring, it’s Spring. Finally, it’s Spring. OK, it’s drizzly and grey and ugly this morning here in central N.J., but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Daffodils, warmer weather and lighter dinner fare are a few of the things that come to mind when I think of Spring. Not to mention bathing suit season will be here before you know it. So with that horrid thought in mind, it’s time for me to start thinking lighter dinner fare, in particular seafood. While I was cruising the fish department at the supermarket the other day, the sole looked particularly fresh. I bought three pieces that weighed slightly less than 3/4 pound, more than enough for the two of us, especially considering they were stuffed with a shrimp and bread filling.

This would make a good recipe for company too, since it could easily be assembled ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator until ready to bake in the oven. Just adjust the amounts of ingredients according to the number of guests.

Fillet of Sole stuffed with shrimp

3 sole fillets – total weight about 3/4 pound
3 large shrimp
1 shallot
1 T. butter
3 T. roasted red, yellow or green pepper, chopped
a splash of dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
salt, pepper
2 T. chopped parsley

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 T. butter
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
paprika

Pat dry the sole fillets and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the butter in a pan and saute the shallot and celery until limp. Add the chopped pepper and shrimp and saute a few more minutes over medium heat. Add the splash of white wine and cook for another minute or so. Take the pan off the heat and add the bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix everything together. It should hold together loosely in a ball. To make the bread crumbs, I trimmed the crusts from three slices of stale Italian bread and put them in the food processor for a couple of minutes. You can use purchased bread crumbs if you prefer, but the texture will be different.
Place a handful of stuffing over the center of the fish fillet.


Roll up both ends over the stuffing.

Place the folded side down in a buttered casserole. Pour the 1/2 cup wine around the rolled-up fillets.
Melt the 1 T. butter in a saucepan and add the panko crumbs. Divide the panko mixture over the fish and sprinkle with paprika. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Thank you blogger friends

  • April 2, 2009

Since I started blogging, I’ve discovered so many wonderful food blogs, and also discovered a talented, supportive group of people out there in the blogosphere. Once in a while, I’ve noticed that some blogs have different little photos on the side, denoting an award that was presented from another fellow blogger.

Well, I was the recipient of my first award a few weeks ago, and then another one just this week. So, now you’ll see that I’ve got a couple of these little markers on the side of my blog too.

MaryAnn of Finding La Dolce Vita gave me my very first award a couple of weeks ago and until now, I haven’t had the chance or taken the time to post the requirements for accepting. MaryAnn’s blog is a must-read for all the really terrific Italian recipes and beautiful photographs that she posts. She’s going through a rough time right now, so be sure to visit her blog.

As part of this honest scrap award, I’m supposed to list 10 things about myself. I decided to make them all food related. So here goes:

1. I drink skim milk, but eat too many desserts.
2. It’s hard to choose, but if I had to pick my last meal on earth, it would probably be some kind of pasta with seafood as a first course, ossobuco with porcini mushrooms as a second and some kind of lemony dessert. Oh, and artichokes alla giudia – wonderfully crispy Roman Jewish style fried artichokes. And maybe a real Neapolitan pizza margherita for starters. And can I have some 36-month aged parmigiana and gorgonzola as a cheese course? Whoops, I forgot chocolate – I can’t leave out chocolate. Maybe some dark, dark chocolate and coconut gelato as the final dessert. It’s going to be a long, long, last meal I think.
3. My cat ate part of an Italian rum cake that I made for a friend’s birthday party and I had to redo the whole thing. Rocky is not allowed on the dining room chairs anymore.
The guilty one looking very innocent.

The second and final cake.

4. It really annoys me to see food being wasted. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed at Rocky. But I guess if he enjoyed it, it wasn’t wasted. Just gave me more work, though.
5. When I was in high school, as part of a project on the Philippines, I made a Philippine meat soup with a classmate and we spilled it in the hallway before we got to class. We scooped it up and served it anyway. Nobody got sick, and we got an “A.” on our report. I told you it annoys me to see food being wasted.
6. I avoid fast food at all possible costs, but once in a while, when I’m overseas, I’ll cave in and buy some fries at a McDonald’s.
7. There are at least 20 varieties of tea in my cupboard, but I always go back to plain old Lipton Tea – decaffinated. It’s my beverage version of comfort food – like my mother’s chicken soup and pastina when I was growing up.
8. Until I was a grown up, I never ate peanut butter. My typical school lunches were salami, provolone and roasted pepper sandwiches. They’re still the best, in my opinion.
9. I’ve eaten road kill. A deer hit my car (I didn’t hit it, it hit me) and my husband and son gutted it in the backyard, and took it to a butcher without my knowledge. I was appalled when I first found out, but later became a convert, and we ate a lot of venison that winter. I wasn’t kidding when I said it really annoys me to see food being wasted.
10. My favorite chef is Lidia Bastianich. I LOVE her restaurant Felidia, her show on PBS and how she uses it to impart her love of family, of Italy, and of Italian cooking.
Joe Bastianich, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and me at the Today Show during the Olympics in Torino, Feb. 2006
11. I am lucky to have a ton of loving friends and relatives who in addition, are fantastic cooks and who share their goodness with me. I guess that’s more than 10 comments, but I couldn’t leave out these wonderful friends and relatives.

Now, I’d like to pass this on to a few food bloggers whose work is also wonderful:

Chef’s Chuck Cucina
Closet Cooking
Italyville
My Bella Vita (her website seems to have been hijacked in the last couple of days and she’s trying to straighten it out.)
Rubber Slippers in Italy
Bell’Avventura

*************And Yet Another Award:***************


A special thanks to Cassie of Foodie With Little Thyme for sending me the Sisterhood Award. It’s one that’s meant to be shared with other female bloggers. So I am passing it on to some sister bloggers whose work I love to read:

Stacy Snacks

Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Cucina Panzano
Jersey Girl Cooks
Mangiare Bene
Proud Italian Cook
Casalba News
Elra’s Baking
NYC/Caribbean Ragazza
Over A Tuscan Stove