Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Garlic and Cheese

Finger foods aren’t just for parties. When it’s really hot outside, I don’t like to get too complicated in the kitchen. When it’s cold outside, I like comfort food. Bread and cheese fit in both of these categories, so here comes my recipe for simple Bruschetta, or Italian toasts. They can be made on the grill … Read more

Arugula and White Cheddar Frittata

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

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Spicy Olive Tapenade

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.

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oh sicily

A Sicilian Cooking Class: Comfort Food For Everyone

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.

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Penne Pasta with Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves | My Halal Kitchen

Pink Pasta: Penne with Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves

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.

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Chorizo and Eggs

It’s been more than ten years since I’ve eaten chorizo, a type of Spanish sausage spiced with flavors like paprika which gives it an orange color. The reason I haven’t had it in so many years is because it’s mostly made with pork. The only time I remember having it was on some tacos in Mexico during my time in the Yucatán. It’s quite popular in all Latin American countries, actually.

Chorizo and Eggs, not quite finished here

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Caprese Salad with Parsley

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.

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