Carrot Mash with Orange and Mint

carrot mashIsn’t this color just gorgeous??  I was so thrilled with this recipe, I just had to share with all you lovelies!  Just like so many of you, I’m preparing my Thanksgiving menu.  I have this huge binder of tried and true recipes that I refer to in creating my menu using traditional favorites from my mom and those newer ones that I found.  I save each year’s menu, notes and comments, guests and table settings!  Continue reading “Carrot Mash with Orange and Mint”

Roasted Sweet and White Potato Medley

roasted potato2If I could pick my one favorite way to serve potatoes, it’s roasted.  Rosemary, oregano, garlicky olive oil infused.  Crispy salty edges and buttery soft inside.  Most recipes prepare roasted potatoes diced or cut in small wedges and I’ve made them in that way endless times.  It’s almost an automatic side when I think of any roasted meats….lamb, okay, roasted potatoes…roasted chicken, most definitely….roasted salmon, yep….roasted Italian sausages, of course who doesn’t love sausages with roasted potatoes and peppers, ….roasted Turkey, hmmm….Tday is coming up……and even with bbq ribs and as side for brunch! Continue reading “Roasted Sweet and White Potato Medley”

Gorgonzola Grape Salad

Gorgonzola Grape SaladHave you ever been to one of those Brazilian or Argentinian Steak Houses?  You know, when you have to prepare yourself days ahead eating light foods so that you can enjoy, or at least get a portion of your money’s worth, at these all-you-can eat Churrascaria restaurants!

Since my return to Florida, I’ve been invited several times out to dine till I die at Texas di Brazil, which is coincidentally located at The Villages of Gulfstream Park, so that once you’re filled up on food, you can stroll all the shops, boutiques and casino.  (Feel free to click on the Village link and listen to the music as you read this…just as I am while typing this out! Continue reading “Gorgonzola Grape Salad”

Forbidden Black Rice with Roasted Squash, Garlic and Kale

black rice plated3It may look a bit creepy, but isn’t that what Halloween is all about?  I don’t have little goblins running around anymore to make spooky treats, but I still love to play up Halloween in classy, tasteful decorating and in my meals, along with pumpkin in just about everything!

Black rice is also called Forbidden Rice, due to the fact that is was considered the finest grain and only served to the Emperor in ancient China for increased health and longevity and therefore, off limits to the general public.  Black rice is considered a super food having healthful antioxidants equal to blueberries.   The taste is slightly nutty, soft and sticky reminding me of risotto.  Continue reading “Forbidden Black Rice with Roasted Squash, Garlic and Kale”

Corn, Kale and Butternut Squash Saute

When I was growing up our Thanksgiving menu consisted of a big, gorgeous turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, salad, pasta, meatballs and sausage, pumpkin pie and birthday cake.  Later that evening, sheet trays of homemade Sicilian pizza would be brought out just in case anyone was still hungry.

Pasta was served not only on Sundays, but all holidays, along with the meatballs and sausage as my father was not that fond of turkey.    As for the birthday cake, well, that was for me.  Since my birthday falls close to Thanksgiving and all the relatives were gathered together anyway, my birthday was celebrated. Continue reading “Corn, Kale and Butternut Squash Saute”

Peachlove: Peach and Basil Gazpacho

It’s Peachlove month with the Love Bloghop!  I am happy to be back hosting again with this group of awesome bloggers.  Each month they select the “love” ingredient to be used as a main part in the recipe.

I was thrilled to see that August was dedicated to the Peach since I’ve moved from the “orange” state to the “peach” state!  While I’ve purchased some Georgia peaches at Trader Joes, I’ve been looking forward to finding some fresh markets to visit.   It’s been on my long to do list and with Gina’s visit, I made it a definite plan to search for a market. Continue reading “Peachlove: Peach and Basil Gazpacho”

Polenta Fries

I just had one of the best weekends since I’ve been here in Atlanta!  It didn’t have anything to do with where I went or what I ate, but simply because my baby girl came “home” to visit!

It’s been a few months since I saw Gina when she flew up for a weekend in May while Adam and I were staying in Buckhead.  This time it felt more “family” and real as she began to decorate her room and helped me in hanging some pictures around the house.  While we did get out exploring, shopping and dining, the moments spent smiling and laughing together were those I cherish most.  Even the banter between my kids, they are so different in so many ways, had in the past drove me crazy, now felt so comforting.  Either it’s that they are getting older or the relocation and distance has caused a change of attitude as I noticed a certain softening between them.  Just enough to make me very happy 🙂 Continue reading “Polenta Fries”

Italian Edamame

Edamame is one of those fun to eat appetizers.   Grabbing a pod and squeeze biting it to release the little bean in your mouth.  It becomes one of those mindless snacking foods; chatting and snacking away.   It’s also a great stress reliever which I for one can attest to right now as I eat a bowl of these for my dinner. Continue reading “Italian Edamame”

Lemon Foccacia

My father would share many of his memories and stories growing up in Sicily.  His parents had moved to America before he was born but soon realized they missed their home and lifestyle too much.  My grandmother was then pregnant with my father so they waited for his birth and when he was a few months old, returned to Sicily.  At the age of 17 and on his own, he left Sicily to come back to his birthplace.  My father was always proud to say his was born an American and never returned back to Sicily, not even to visit. 

There were many things he missed and spoke of; his family, brothers and sisters, the abundance of fresh seafood and freshly prepared dishes and the ocean he swam in almost every day.  And the lemon trees growing in his family’s orchard!  I could tell what was most precious to him by his raised interest and excitement, and well, from a child’s perspective, his repeating of the same stories over and over again! 

His meals included lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lemons were used quite frequently in his cooking.  He prepared simple food taking what he had and turning it into delicious meals.  Sitting around his table for a visit, you had better arrive hungry, as the food constantly appeared covering the table with quite an assortment.  There really was no excuse for being full or not tasting all that he offered!

I know he would love this lemon focaccia bread to dip in herbed oil or slice in half for a sandwich.  The recipe evolved from a mix of different recipes and notes.  There is no olive oil in this but is drizzled on at the end.  I like to use olive oil that I have gently heated in strips of lemon rinds and cooled.   It’s lightly lemon flavor is balanced with sharp pecorino cheese, thinly sliced red onion, Kalamata olives and fresh oregano.  A sprinkling of citrus sea salt and a drizzle of the lemon infused olive oil at the end finalizes the amazing flavor!   

And back to you Lisa, this focaccia bread would go fabulously with your Cannellini Bean Dip at Smart Food and Fit !! 

Lemon Focaccia

5 cups unbleached all purpose flour

¼ ounce (1 packet) instant yeast

2 cups water, room temperature

2 ½ teaspoons sea salt or Kosher salt

1 lemon, very thinly sliced

½ red onion, very thinly sliced

½ cup chopped Kalamata olives

2 – 3 tablespoons fresh oregano Or 1 tablespoon dried

½ cup pecorino cheese, shaved thinly

Freshly ground black pepper

Citrus sea salt, optional

Lemon infused olive oil or good quality olive oil

Using a KitchenAid mixer, combine the yeast, 2 ½ cups flour and water.  Whisk to combine well and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Add in the remaining 2 ½ cups flour and salt.  Knead with dough hook for about 8-10 minutes.  Dough will be quite soft and sticky, but not overly sticky that it sticks to the bottom of the bowl.  Add additional flour as needed.  Turn dough into a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 3 ½ – 4 hours until doubled in size.  (The dough can also be made up to 3 days ahead; refrigerate the dough after it is kneaded and on the baking day, remove from the refrigerator and allow to double in size on the counter, about 4 hours).  Remove the dough to a large baking sheet, about 17 x 22 and gently press dough into shape using your fingers to dimple the dough.  Allow to rest for another hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Lay the lemon slices on the dough, onion, olives, oregano and freshly ground black pepper.  Drizzle on some olive oil.  Reduce the oven to 450 degrees and place in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, remove and add the pecorino cheese, rotate the pan and return to the oven.  Continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until lemons and crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.  Sprinkle on citrus sea salt and a drizzle of lemon infused olive oil and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.