Archive for the ‘Main Courses’ Category

Herbed Tuna Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts

May 11, 2007

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There’s a weekly food blog event that I have been meaning to participate in for quite some time now. It’s called Weekend Herb Blogging and it’s a great way for people who enjoy using fresh herbs to share tips, ideas, information, and recipes with one another. The event, now on it’s 82nd week I believe, was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and is still hosted there the first weekend of each month. During the other three weeks, the event roams around the food blog community, hosted by different bloggers each week. If you wish to participate, simply write a little something about a fresh herb and/or post a recipe featuring fresh herbs. Put it on your blog sometime during the week (any week, every week) and then e-mail the link to the person who is hosting the event. All of the links are compiled and then posted together at the end of the week by the host. Like all food blog events, it’s a great way to learn something new, find recipes, and also discover new food blogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Nando’s Chicken Pizza

April 20, 2007

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How it is that I’ve gone this long without tasting any of Nando’s Peri-Peri sauces, I will never know. But now that this wrong has been righted, I’m definitely a Nando’s convert. I like spicy foods and I like hot sauces but I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur. I always have a supply of a couple different Tabasco sauces on hand (I’ve also tried Texas Pete’s and Louisiana brands but I’ve always been a Tabasco girl), but my pantry hot sauce collection doesn’t usually get much bigger than that other than maybe some Cholula and a mild tomatillo-based green sauce. And of course, there’s the occasional Asian chili paste and I am now always fully stocked with Italian chili paste (crema di peperoncino). But really, considering the variety of hot sauces available in this world, my tiny collection doesn’t even scratch the surface. Read the rest of this entry »

Easy Egg Salad for Easter Egg Overload

April 8, 2007

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It’s that time of year when many families with children find that their baskets and refrigerators runneth over with hard-boiled eggs. What to do with them all?! My favorite solution to the problem has always been deviled eggs, but today I am going to share with you my second favorite. Egg Salad Sandwiches! I love egg salad and as far as I’m concerned, the simpler the recipe, the better. Some things in life are not meant to be fooled around with and I believe that egg salad is one of those things. So, you will find nothing fancy in my egg salad and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it that way too! I learned to make it this way from my mother-in-law Sharon, who makes the most amazing egg salad but curiously, won’t eat it herself. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Carrot-Ginger Soup Day (a.k.a. Valentine’s Day)!

February 14, 2007

Carrot Ginger Soup

So, what does Carrot-Ginger Soup have to do with Valentine’s Day? Absolutely nothing. I had been planning on posting this soup recipe a week ago, along with some Whole Wheat Cheddar Onion Muffins that I have been working on. But, it just didn’t happen. I’m happy that the Naughty Ice Cream Sandwiches were such a hit because it makes me feel a little less guilty about my little two week break! Read the rest of this entry »

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Artichoke Soup

January 26, 2007

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Well, after all my talk about the warm, sunny days we’ve been having around here, the skies are now gloomy and overcast. It’s still not very cold but the dreary weather makes me crave something warm and comforting. And since my husband won’t be home for a while yet, I settled for some soup.

My original intention was to make the cream of artichoke soup featured on the Castroville Artichoke Festival Web site. I had a bunch of little artichokes in the fridge and I thought it would be an interesting way to use them since I had never tasted artichoke soup. But then I realized that I also had an entire head of cauliflower tucked away that I had been saving for soup.

Hmmmm. Guess what I did? Read the rest of this entry »

Farfalle with Pistachio Cream Sauce

December 27, 2006

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People keep asking me why, if I’m living in Sicily, I haven’t posted any Italian or Sicilian recipes on this site. Well, the answer is simple. I just don’t cook Italian food at home that often because I can go out and get really good pasta or pizza anytime I want. In fact, it’s very difficult to find restaurants in Sicily that serve anything besides Italian food. While I love the food here, we like to experiment with different things at home. Of course a lot of my recipes have been influenced by the foods that are readily available here and new cooking techniques that I have picked up over the last few years. So, even if my recipes aren’t considered to be Italian, many of them are definitely born from my culinary experiences in Sicily 🙂

But there are a few Sicilian dishes I like to make at home and I will definitely be sharing them with you over time. And hopefully the list will continue to grow! One of my favorites is Pasta con Pesto al Pistacchio or Pasta with Pistacchio Sauce. Variations of this dish can be found in most restaurants here but this recipe is definitely one of the tastiest I’ve had. The best part is that it’s really fast and simple to make!

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The pistachios grown here in Sicily are prized for their brilliant green color and are exported throughout the world. The majority of the nuts come from Bronte, an area situated on the base of Mount Etna. Unlike in the United States, where pistachios are often eaten out of hand, Sicilians use pistachios in a wide variety of both sweet and savory treats. Perhaps most famous is the pistachio gelato which I believe is the best gelato flavor in the world! But you will also find several types of pistachio cakes, cookies, candies and pastries. Of the savory dishes, my favorite is this one: Read the rest of this entry »

Cilantro Caesar Salad with Carne Asada

November 1, 2006

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I created this salad quite a while ago but haven’t posted it because I haven’t come up with an exact recipe. Each time I make the salad, I change the ingredients and amounts, trying to come up with the perfect combination. But it seems that it tastes just as good each time. So, I’m just going to give you a basic recipe and some general guidelines and you can either come up with your own “exact recipe” or you can keep changing it up like I’ve been doing.

I started experimenting with this salad because I was trying to replicate the mexican caesar salad from El Torito, a chain restaurant here on the west coast. I haven’t had it for years but I’ve never forgotten the cilantro dressing. Since I was in Italy when I started my experiment, I ended up using olive oil, pine nuts and parmigiano reggiano cheese. What I came up with is basically a thin cilantro pesto and it’s REALLY good on salad and meat! I think the only resemblance my recipe has to the El Torito salad is the main cilantro flavor and the tortilla strips. But it’s similar enough that I no longer crave the other one. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Fall Here Yet?

September 9, 2006

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Looking at this photo, I realize that I am ready for fall. When I ate this, it was probably about 90 degrees outside but looking at it now, I can almost feel a nice chill in the air. I love to eat soup any time of the year but thick hearty soups like this are always most satisfying when the days are shorter and the air turns cool enough to wear your favorite jeans and sweaters once again.

I needed to make more soup to use up the last of my chicken stock that I had recently defosted. And once again I also had some potatoes and carrots that had been hanging around for quite some time. I had no idea what I was making until it was finished. In fact I continued making changes into the following day. But this turned out to be one of my new favorites and I will definitely make it again once this long, hot Sicilian summer has finally gone.

My friends and family might be surprised that I am posting a potato soup recipe other than our favorite Potato Leek Soup that was my Mom’s specialty. Don’t worry, the Potato Leek Soup will make it’s way onto this blog soon enough. But for now, I suggest that everyone try this one…you won’t be disappointed! Read the rest of this entry »

Creamy Spinach Soup

September 5, 2006

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This was a soup that came about because I needed to use up some vegetables that had been hanging around my kitchen for a while. I had some chicken stock in the freezer so that’s what I used but using vegetable stock would make this a great vegetarian soup (leave out the cream and it becomes vegan-friendly too). I like everything a bit spicy these days so I added a couple hot Italian chilies (peperoncini). It wasn’t terribly spicy but I think the chili is what really made this soup special. I think any type of fresh chili would be fine but you could use some crushed red pepper instead. Or if you prefer no heat, add some bell pepper or leave the peppers out completely. Like most of my recipes, this soup is very flexible.

Creamy Spinach Soup

2 T. Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 hot peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 C. Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 10 oz. box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 C. chopped flat leaf parsely
1/2 T. fresh chopped thyme
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 C. cream

  1. Saute onion, carrots and pepper in olive oil until just starting to brown.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.
  3. Add broth and potatoes, bring to a boil. Turn heat down then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Add spinach, parsley and thyme; cook for another five minutes.
  5. Puree in blender or food processor (in batches if necessary) or put through a food mill.
  6. Return to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste then stir in cream and cook, stirring, over low heat until heated through.

This tastes even better the next day!

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Monster Meatball Sandwiches

August 20, 2006

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My favorite meatball sandwiches come from DiCiccos restaurant in my hometown. I don’t order them anywhere else because I’m always disappointed. I’ve never tried making them at home either. I just wait until I go home to visit and make sure to hit DiCiccos at least once while I’m there. But it’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to enjoy my favorite meatball sandwich and I decided that it’s time to take the matter into my own hands.

I think the key to a good meatball sandwich is the sauce. You’d think it would be the meatballs since that’s the main component of the sandwich but I think if you have a good sauce, decent bread, and right type of cheese, you can get away with a mediocre meatball. Not that I planned to make any mediocre meatballs!

I remembered a pizza sauce recipe that I had tried from one of my favorite cookbooks Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. The sauce was so simple but it was nice and tangy…perfect for the sandwich I had in mind. Yes, maybe it’s a little ironic that I found the perfect sauce for my MEATball sandwich in a VEGETARIAN cookbook but I really think that you could replace the meat on this sandwich with grilled eggplant or some grilled portabellos and you’d have something just as good!

For the bread, I just purchased the best looking sandwich rolls at the grocery store and for the cheese, I picked up some packaged pre-sliced mozzarella cheese. This is a sandwich that doesn’t need anything fancy. If I had the time, I would have bought bread from a bakery or made my own but the pre-sliced mozzarella was exactly what I wanted. Read the rest of this entry »