This Caponata eggplant appetizer originates from Sicily and is very popular. Serve it with bread or crackers as your holiday guests arrive.
Easy to make and if you follow my jam recipes for canning you can enjoy Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer all year long. Just keep the jars in the pantry, once opened refrigerate them.
4 cups cubed fresh eggplant, with the skin on
4 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
2 med onions, chopped
3-4 ribs of celery, cubed
1/4 cup capers, drained
2/3 cup pitted olives, green Sicilian are preferred
1 TBLS red wine vinegar
3-4 leaves sliced fresh basil
1 cup plum tomatoes, canned and rough chopped with their juice
Heat the oil in a pan large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Saute the celery and onion until nearly soft but not brown. Add the eggplant a saute a few minutes more. Add all the other ingredients and simmer on low uncovered for about 45 minutes until the excess juices are nearly gone. Serve at room temperature. It can be store in the refrigerator for about 4 days. You can also can at this point with the mixture hot and going into hot boiled mason jars.
Serve with a crusty Italian or French bread.
This Italian sandwich was typical growing up in an Italian household.
So many different ways to make it, but I’m giving you this Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread as my favorite.
One 10″ – 12″ fresh Ciabatta bread (found in the better markets)
2 TBLS Pesto (jarred or grind garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, 1 TBLS grated Parmesan and a few pine nuts to make your own)
One medium jar red/yellow roasted peppers, rinsed
8oz fresh Mozzarella, sliced
1/4-1/2 LB Sicilian salami, sliced very thin
Cut the bread in half long ways. Brush both pieces with the pesto. Layer the balance of the ingredients to your desired thickness. Cover with the other half of bread and slice into 4 pieces.
Enjoy with a good glass of wine or an Italian soda.
This Perfect Pie Crust recipe is easy and flaky tender.
Just be sure to not over work the dough.
It can be used for savory or sweet pies.
12 TBLS (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP kosher salt
1 TBLS sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening,like Crisco
6 to 8 TBLS (about 1/2 cup) ice water
Sugar sprinkled on the top crust makes a nice shine
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Empty out on a floured surface and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured surface into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust. Makes two 10″ pie crusts.
Here is a different take on the traditional s’moores…
Use ginger snap cookies and jarred lemon curd with the toasted marshmallow.
use graham crackers and peanut butter cups sliced with the toasted marshmallows !!!
I made this Vegetable Appetizer Platter to pick on before a family meal or its great to serve while guests arrive for a holiday get together.
It contains; Stuffed Zucchini, Stuffed Mushrooms and fried Yellow Squash. The zucchini and mushroom recipes are listed in the pantry. Below is the fried squash recipe.
1/2 cup or so combination vegetable oil and olive oil
2 yellow squash, sliced 1/4″ slices
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 TBLS grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
dash of garlic powder, not salt
In a large non stick frying pan heat the oil to med/hot.
Combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder and cheese in a 1 gallon bag. Egg wash the squash and place it in the bag. Shake the bag until the squash is coated. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm. Serve as is or dip in your fav dressing.
This pasta dish is Tagliatelle with Zucchini and Broccoli Di Rapi.
That is the Italian broccoli known as di rape, rapi, or rapini.
This vegetarian dish is so delicious and nutritious.
Quick to make and serves a crowd or take along as I did today to a party.
6 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 ” slices
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli di rapi, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 LB tagliatelle (white or green or mixed) cooked according to the pkg directions
6-8 fresh basil leaves, sliced
salt & crushed red pepper flakes
Broccoli; I like to use only the small stems, leaves and flowered part. Chop and steam the broccoli di rapi until tender. If frozen just steam 1 cup, set aside.
Begin cooking the pasta.
In a large skillet heat the oil and add the zucchini and broccoli di rapi and saute for about 5 minutes until soft but not mushy. Add the garlic and saute for about 1-2 minutes. Drain the pasta keeping one cup of the water and combine with the zucchini/broccoli mixture and half of the basil and toss. Add the reserved pasta water if it appears to be dry. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining basil, Parmesan and serve.
Wow, talk about a flavor explosion!! The cherry, creamy cheesecake and rich chocolate flavors unite and explode in these cherry cheesecake brownies. So easy since part of the recipe is from a premixed box brownie. The 9×13 tray easily serves a crowd and freezes well.
One 18oz-20oz boxed brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1 TSP instant espresso powder
1 TSP vanilla extract, I prefer vanilla paste
Mix the above together and beat for 2 minutes.
Spread the batter in a 9×13 greased baking pan and set aside.
One 8oz cream cheese, at room temp
5 TBLS unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBLS flour
1 TSP vanilla extract
One 21oz can of cherry pie filling
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the above except cherry filling, until fluffy. Drop tablespoons full into the pan of brownies and use a knife to gently cut through the batter to pull the cream cheese into a marbled pattern.
Spoon tablespoons of cherry filling on top of the cream cheese/brownie pan about 1 inch apart.
Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for an hour before cutting into squares.
This Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala recipe is a great side dish.
I love it with steak, but it goes well with poultry too.
16oz pkg of fresh mushrooms, button or any type you like
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2 TBLS butter **
Dash of pepper
Clean the mushrooms. I say that because I like to rinse them and brush with a soft mushroom brush. I just can’t get over the grown in substance and not wash them. Some people like to just dust them off.
Slice them or leave them whole. Place the butter in a saute pan large enough to loosely fit the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms on a fairly high heat until the juices come out and then absorb again. Add the Marsala wine and saute for a minute or two as the wine sizzles and deglazes the pan. Add pepper to taste and serve warm.
** replace the butter with olive oil to make this more heath friendly.
A good cut of veal is very light pink. It doesn’t matter if you buy the rib or loin cut. Whichever you prefer. Pictured is rib cut Grilled Veal chops.
Grill/broil on high to searing the outside, keeping it pink inside. Please do not over cook it or you will find it dry and tough.
2 to 4 veal chops, about 1″-1.5″ thick, loin or rib cut
2 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
1 TSP Bell’s Seasoning (the yellow box with the turkey on it)
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and mashed
I have an herb garden so if you have any, a few leaves of each; sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary
Place all the ingredients in a freezer bag and let marinate for 2-24 hours refrigerated.
Place on a hot grill and sear the meat on both sides. Baste once with the marinade. Cook until the center is pink about 155-160 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Serve with your favorite side dishes.
In a small frying pan, saute onion and celery in butter until tender. Remove from the heat; add the bread cubes, apples, sage, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well.
Cut a pocket in each chop by making a horizontal cut through the meat almost to the bone. Sprinkle inside and outside with pepper and remaining salt. Spoon stuffing loosely into pockets.
In a large frying pan, brown the chops on both sides in oil. Place in an ungreased large baking dish, I use my corning ware covered dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 30 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 145°. Let meat stand for 5 minutes before serving.
My Mom would make these broccoli patties with leftover broccoli. It’s a great nutritious and easy side dish. Something different to do with broccoli and so tasty. Be creative and change the cheese to cheddar, change the bread crumbs to plain and add your own spice selection if you like.
1 large head fresh broccoli or 1LB bag frozen chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBLS butter
1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 TSP garlic powder (not salt)
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Wash and cut up the broccoli into small pieces. Steam, do not boil in water until very soft.
In a large bowl mix together the broccoli, butter and cheese. Then add all the other ingredients, except the oil. Mix thoroughly and form into 4 inch or so patties. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the patties on each side until very lightly brown. Serve warm.
Spaghetti squash is nutritious and can be a good substitute for pasta. By itself roasted spaghetti squash does not have much flavor so its important to use a sauce with it that has an abundance of flavor.
I like to make something similar to a Puttanesca sauce.
Rich with olives, capers, tomatoes and herbs.
1 whole spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
3 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
1/2 med onion, chopped fine
2 TSP anchovy paste
1/2 TSP hot red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in juice or 6 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup pitted mixed Kalamata & Italian green ( not Spanish)olives, sliced in half
2 TBLS drained capers
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375.
Drizzle a little of the olive oil on the cut side of the squash.
Bake the squash in a roasting pan cut side down for about 45-55 minutes, unit a knife inserts easily. Set aside.
In a heavy fry pan place the oil and cook the onion, garlic, anchovy paste and red pepper for 2-3 minutes while stirring. Pulse chop the tomatoes and their juice in a food processor or blender. Add to the frying pan and stir. Add the balance of ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Scrap the squash out of its skin and add it to the frying pan tomato mixture. Toss to mix.
Lightly grate Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.
Bloody Mary is a great brunch beverage with or without alcohol. Tasty and many variations. Make it as spicy as you like.
Here is my favorite recipe.
4 cups tomato juice (I prefer Sacramento)
2 celery stalks with leaves and extra for garnish
4-5 dashes of Tabasco sauce, adjust to your taste
1 TSP prepared horseradish, adjust to your taste
1/2 TSP celery salt
1 TBLS grated onion, Vidalia if it’s available
1 TBLS Worcester sauce
1 cup vodka (optional)
the juice of one whole lemon, extra for garnish
Spanish stuffed olives for garnish
Rub the rim of the glass with lemon and dip into a spicy dry seasoning such as Prudhommes Magic or Emerils spices, optional
Place all ingredients, except the garnish, into a blender and puree.
Pour into a tall glass with ice and garnish as desired.
This Broccoli Cranberry Slaw is a great summertime side dish. It easily compliments many dishes. Many supermarkets have the slaw mix already shredded and bagged, ready to go.
2 cups shredded broccoli stems
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 TSP celery seeds
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1-2 TBLS milk
Combine the ingredients together with one tablespoon of milk. Mix thoroughly.
Add the second tablespoon of milk if you like it a little less creamy.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
This Classic Chicken Salad recipe has minimal ingredients allowing the chicken flavor to be the focus. Serve it over salad greens, on bread or stuffed in an avocado or a hollowed tomato!
If you like you can add sliced almonds, walnuts, grapes or anything else.
2 cups cooked chicken, skin removed, cubed or shredded, any mix of white or dark meat (for quick and easy buy a roasted chicken)
1/2 cup celery, rough or finely chopped
1 TBLS onion or scallion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup mayo, use depends on your preference
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix the chicken with all other ingredients.
Chill and serve.
Having a party or need a take along to a party. Try my Sausage, Peppers, Onions w/Potatoes recipe. A party dish of sausage and peppers feeds a crowd and there is never any left overs so that’s proof it’s tasty!!
Italians consider food family! We serve it to please and gather. It’s a sense of pride born within us. Serving the best we can and putting our hearts into the meal. That’s the warmth people feel when they eat in our homes. It’s unique and special..
This stuffed zucchini recipe can be made with many different ingredients.
I used mushrooms, onion, tomato and bread crumbs. Just about anything can be used; peppers of any kind, sausage, ham, beef, olives, capers etc…..
4 long thin zucchini
2 TBLS butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a small onion, chopped
4 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 plum tomato, chopped
dash of garlic powder, not salt
Salt & pepper to taste
1 TBLS grated Romano cheese
2 TBLS bread crumbs, any kind you like
Preheat oven to 350.
Wash the zucchini thoroughly. Leaving the stem in tact make a “V” shaped cut in them and remove the cut zucchini. Use a small melon baller to make a canal in the zucchini.
Chop the removed zucchini and add it to the stuffing. In a frying pan add the butter/oil and the onion. Saute for a few minutes and then add all the other ingredients, except the bread crumbs. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes or so. If you use salty ingredients you might not want to add salt. Add the bread crumbs, this will tighten up the stuffing from being too watery. Stuff the cooked mixture into the zucchini canal as pictured. Place in a covered baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until the zucchini are soft but not falling over and mushy.
If you have extra mushrooms and stuffing make stuffed mushrooms with it…
An assortment of tomatoes are in abundance in the summer months.
This Heirloom tomato recipe mixes all types of tomatoes.
I bought these from the local farmers market picked at their peak of flavor.
Fresh mozzarella is key also. It’s from my local market but the store brand BelGioioso is good too.
ingredients for Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Salad
1 LB fresh mozzarella
1 LB Heirloom tomatoes, mixed types
2 TBLS extra virgin oil oil
4-6 fresh basil leaves, sliced
A bottle of Balsamic glaze, check the label to be sure it doesn’t have corn syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Mix and assemble in a dish. Pour the olive oil over them and add the salt and pepper. Decorate with the Balsamic glaze and the basil. Serve just slightly chilled with a good crusty slice of Italian bread.
Add a glass of wine and opera music and you could drift off into Italy!!
It seems like all the garden tomatoes come out at one time. This Tomato Tart recipe is a great way to use many of them. I served it as an appetizer.
Be sure to use Roma or plum type tomatoes. Regular slicing tomatoes have too much water in them.
One 16oz pkg frozen Phyllo dough (use one of the two rolls in the pkg) defrosted according to the box directions
6-8 Ripe plum tomatoes, sliced thin
6-8 Basil leaves, sliced thin
1 TSP Dried Oregano
1 TSP Garlic powder (not salt)
1 TBLS Dried or fresh Parsley, minced
2/3 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBLS Butter, melted
3 TBLS Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400. Place the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Mix the butter and oil together. Unroll the phyllo dough and one sheet at a time brush the first 4 sheets with the butter/oil mixture stacking them on top of each other on the parchment paper lined pan. Keep a damp paper towel over the unused phyllo dough while you are putting together the sheets. Sprinkle the 5th sheet with about one third of the oregano, basil, garlic powder, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Repeat brushing each layer of dough and repeat the sprinkle of spices when about 2 sheets remain. On the top/last sheet repeat the butter/oil and place the tomatoes over the entire dough area. Sprinkle with the remaining spices and cheese.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until the dough is lightly brown and the middle of the underside of the tart is a little firm. Cool slightly before cutting into squares to serve.
This Zucchini bread or muffin recipe is so moist and flavorful. This time of year we have an abundance of squash and this is a perfect way to use them. This bread freezes well too.
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil, can be part olive oil
2 cups grated raw zucchini, with skin
3 TSP vanilla
3 cups unbleached flour
1 TSP salt
1 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP baking powder
3 TSP ground cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350.
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla, mix for 1 minute. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add the nuts.
Pour mixture into two greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
This is a green bean with tomato and potato one pan wonder.
Quick and fresh vegetables all together. Great for a family meal.
1 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 LB fresh green beans, tips cut off
5 Plum tomatoes, rough diced
4 small red potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
2-3 fresh basil leaves, rough cut
Salt & pepper
In a saute pan large enough to cover and hold all the ingredients. Saute the garlic in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover and cook 4 minutes. Add the green beans and potatoes, stir and cover on a low simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and add salt & pepper to taste.
A fresh stuffed artichoke is intimidating to some, not only how to eat them but also how to cook them. Hopefully I will explain and picture the basics so you will try both. There are a few ways to cook artichokes. This one is stuffed.
Another is Roman style which steams them whole with lemon and oil, not stuffed.
They are truly a gourmet delight when prepared properly.
You can also use a crock pot for this recipe.
2 large fresh artichokes(the leaves will be tightly closed when fresh)
1 1/2 cups of Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 TBLS parsley, minced
2 TSP garlic powder, not salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic powder and cheese together, set aside.
Wash the artichokes and cut off the stem at the base of the leaves (peel the stem and add it to the pot for cooking)and enough of the top to cut off the pointed ends of the first row of top leaves. Then with kitchen scissors trim just the tops of all the leaves. Rinse the inside leaves pulling them open while running them under water. Set the artichoke upright and sprinkle inside all the leaves and top with the bread crumb mixture. I use a grapefruit spoon as pictured, but any type will do.
Place the artichokes in a pot and pour some of the olive oil over each one. Fill the pot about 1/4 up the sides of the artichokes with water. Cover and simmer on low for 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the size of the artichoke. At this point you could use a crock pot.
They are done when the middle leaves pull out easily. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a lemon wedge if you like.
You eat them by pulling the leaves off and placing them in your mouth and scrapping the leave with your teeth as you pull them out of your mouth. Once all the leaves are off there is a center with a fuzzy top. Peel away the fuzz and what is left is called the heart. It is and well as the stem completely eatable and so tasty.
This Strawberry blueberry trifle can be made so many ways and flavors. I did this one with a July 4th theme in mind. You can use pudding, sweet cream cheese filling or heavy whipped cream for the filling layers. You can make my sour cream pound cake to use or get store bought pound cake or angel food cake. Decorate the trifle for your specific occasion.
If you buy a trifle bowl it does have other uses. I use it for green tossed salads, fruit salad or any other kind of layered dessert.
If you don’t have a trifle bowl use a parfait glass or dessert cups.
So many possibilities.
2 loaves of sour cream pound cake or any pound cake or an angel food cake ring
One pint heavy cream, whipped with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and 1 TSP vanilla
** Choose one of the below**
**3 cups of vanilla pudding, cooked according to the 4.6oz box directions
**2 x 8oz cream cheese blended with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 2TBLS milk and 1 TSP vanilla
2 LBS fresh strawberries
2 pints fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 TSP rum flavoring
OR 1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 trifle bowl or 12 nine ounce clear cups, plastic or glass
5 mint leaves for decoration, optional
Whip the cream and refrigerate. Make your chosen filling. If you decide to use cooked pudding make it a few hours before so it can chill. If you use the water syrup boil the water and add the sugar stirring until the water is clear then add the rum flavoring, set aside. Cube the pound cake or angel food cake, set aside. Wash the berries and slice the strawberries into thick slices.
In the trifle bowl or cups place a layer of cake. Brush it with the rum sugar syrup or liqueur. Place a layer of blueberries. Place a layer of filling. Place a layer of strawberries placing some flat against the glass sides. Place another layer of cake brushed with liqueur or syrup. Repeat until the bowl/glass is nearly full, Top with a layer of whipped cream and an assortment of fruit, decorate with the mint leaves. Chill for a few hours before serving.
This refreshing Lemonade Iced Tea is similar to an Arnold Palmer but has more flavors and the adult version has a special kick!
A great pitcher beverage for a cookout crowd.
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup sugar or use an equal measure of Splenda/Stevia
2 large family size tea bags or 5 reg size (I like Tetleys Iced Tea Blend)
6 mint leaves
3 cups cold water
6oz can of frozen lemonade
4 slices of each; orange, lemon and lime
6 maraschino cherries
***adult version add 1 cup of bourbon or spiced dark rum
Boil the 3 cups of water and remove from the heat. Add the sugar and stir until melted. Add the tea bags and mint and set aside for 30 minutes.
Remove the bags and add the lemonade, stir until melted. Pour into a large pitcher, add the fruit and chill.
Serve over ice in a tall glass.
This fresh guacamole dip is easy and so nutritious. Great for company or a snack for the kids. Adjust the spiciness to your liking. You can use my short cut salsa or chop your own plum tomatoes, garlic, onion and cilantro.
4 x avocados, firm but giving when pressed
1 fresh lime
1/2 cup fresh store made salsa, any style/flavor you like
Tortillas, any variety of corn; white, yellow or blue
Slice the avocados in half lengthwise using the knife up against the pit from one side to the other . Holding each side twist and the avocado will come part easily. Do a chop motion with the knife into the pit and turn the knife and the pit will come out. Spoon or slice out the avocado flesh into a bowl. You can leave the flesh chunky or mashed, its your choice. Cut the lime in half and squeeze all the juice over the avocado. Add the salsa and mix. Use as much or as little of the Tabasco as you like. Serve immediately. Guacamole even with the lime juice in it will brown if left out too long. So make it just before you want to use it. Serve with fresh tortillas if you can get them or lightly salted super market type.