On a recent trip to our local butcher, I inquired about the homemade merguez they always used to have on hand. He said they weren’t making any more of it because folks weren’t buying much of it, for some reason.
During my college years, I had a small patch of land in my back yard and would often make nice homemade meals for my younger cousin who lived in the dorms. Coming from Sicily just a few years earlier and craving a taste of home, she was so excited to see that there was an opportunity to have some freshly grown produce that was definitely not available in the cafeteria or grocery stores nearby. When she asked me to grow some arugula, I was intrigued by something I’d never grown before and so planted it for us to enjoy, and enjoy we did that year…
It really can’t be easier than simply putting everything in a bowl and mixing it together
Appetizer aren’t just for entertaining guests. I’ve come to learn that keeping homemade appetizers around my house is a great way to eat healthy by avoiding eating outside, eating junk food or not eating until one is ravished with hunger at the dinner table- not pretty. We definitely want to avoid that.
Last month I traveled to Cleveland to teach a cooking class for a group of young women, some of whom I met nearly ten years ago when I lived there. It was a nice blend of catching up with how everyone’s lives have evolved, as well as meeting some new friends who I hope to meet again.
I was asked to come and teach a class on Sicilian cooking, something the ladies had chosen collectively as a cuisine they wanted to learn more about. I set up the kitchen with some Sicilian pantry goods like candies and dried fruits and opened up our class with a short lesson on the geographic location of this Mediterranean island where my grandparents were born, raised and lived until they emigrated to America in the 1950s.
I didn’t intentionally set out to make pink pasta; it just happened as a result of my love affair with seasonal produce like swiss chard and beets, both of which were plentiful at the farmers market last weekend where I organized a Culinary Tour of the Green City Market here in Chicago.
And then it occured to me that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are all exposed to the pink ribbons that indicate a fight against this disease, so I found it fitting that my pasta turned out pink as a result of the beet leaf juices that smother the pasta once it’s cooked and added in. One person on our Facebook page even made reference to the fact that her girls would love it because it was girly.
Caprese Salad is a somewhat Italian-American dish since it has increased so much in popularity in recent years. More and more people know what fresh mozzarella looks like and even prefer the boccancini, or the small fresh mozzarella balls, to processed and tasteless shredded ‘mozzarella’ cheese.
I grew up on variations of Insalata Caprese. Caprese means of the isle of Capri, which is located off the western coast of Southern Italy. I’ve not been there yet, but I’ve been close by having traveled all along the Amalfi Coast through the towns of Positano, Sorrento and Amalfi. They are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I’ve ever been and it still feels like somewhat of a dream that I’ve ever been there at all. It truly is the stuff of magazines. In fact, I followed a magazine article all the way to the town square and found the exact same vendors from the snapshot right there in the town of Positano. They were so excited about the clip that they wanted pictures of themelves holding it up. Through my broken Italian and being la Americana, they mistook me for a news reporter from New York rather than the curious college student wanting to explore la bella vita in Italia that I was.
I need to find that photo.
Everyone is talking about this year’s daily fasts in Ramadan being so long because sunset (the time when the fast is broken) will come a little after 8pm here in Chicago. It’s also a hot summer season. Very hot.
Fasting isn’t meant to be perfectly easy or else how could we savor the reward of building self-discipline? It’s also not meant to harm us, either. We have to do it right so that we can experience it with enough energy to get through the day, do our work and take care of other responsibilities.
One Saturday morning last month I conducted a cooking class for the winners of an auction at the Stars for Hope event back in January of this year. The auction item they bid for and won was a basket of MHK products combined with an in-home cooking class that I would eventually teach in their home. … Read more
I love recipes that recycle and re-use foods that are beyond comfortable consumption but just need to be broken down a bit in order to be perfectly good again. I think that’s the case with blessed bread and all the blessings that come with extending food to serve more purpose than throwing it away as soon as we think we’ve run out of options for it.
Tomatoes may not be summer-ready here in the Midwest, but there’s no shortage of beautiful ones in the grocery store, perhaps coming in from California. I picked up some beautiful Roma variety, ripening them on the counter for several days before roasting. After roasting, I really wasn’t sure what exactly I waould even use them for, but … Read more