Friday, April 29, 2011

Teresa's Zucchini Quiche, and More!

Now that Teresa and Domenico (my daughter's in-laws) departed for Italy, it's been real quiet at my daughter's household...not that they were noisy, but a lot of cooking and baking going on, a lot of "hustle and bustle"...only Italian language heard.

I went there yesterday, to help organize all the many frozen and canned items she made to last for several months. We all miss them, and our Italian language has improved a lot...LOL

Since I attempted to make my last dish, which was the Cayman Fish, I must say I have not cooked anything, because every day my son comes over to the beach to go surfing at lunch time, before he goes to his classes at the local University, working for his Masters degree.

He brings me so much food, all ready to be re-heated, that's all I have to do...literally.
My ankle is improving tremendously, I don't even have to use the walker any more...it's folded up, and will be donated to Goodwill. My diagnosis is all good...no blood clots, no vascular problems...just had to see my chiropractor, because my back, my shoulders, my neck was all "out of line"...a few cracks of the ribs, and everything is back to normal...but I'm still just "tippy toeing" on that foot, yet...in time, all will heal!

Getting back to the Quiche, which is part of the Easter tradition, whether it's in a pie form, filled with meats, or just vegetarian, and most of the time, filled with generous amount of grated cheese of your choice. Different regions of Italy, have different traditions, but they all agree that the use of the eggs are the real purpose, for the use of the Easter Pie...Pastiera...or Quiche, even pizza is considered as part of the tradition, especially, in Naples. Teresa made this beautiful Zucchini Quiche, also 2 kinds of pastas, one vegetarian, and a mostaccioli with little meat balls, mozzarella cheese, chopped hard boiled eggs, and with her homemade tomato sauce...amazing.
I want to share my recipe to the quiche which was quite similar to this quiche...the only difference is that this quiche was made with puff pastry dough, but my recipe which I use...and "tried and true" every time, is a Mark Bittman's recipe, for both the Quiche, and the crust!





Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cayman Fish...and a Collage of Awards


I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. Spring is hear, and so is Passover, and Easter. Actually, Passover ends tomorrow at sundown. We had a very nice and relaxing Easter Sunday at my daughter's with her in-laws who will be going back to Italy, but before they go back, on Wednesday, Teresa was cooking up a storm for Easter...but before I get into that, there's something even more exciting that I want to share with you, is this amazing fish dish, from the Grand Cayman Island, by a recently befriended blogger, by the name of Parsley Sage...sorry, I never did ask for her real first name, I figure if they want to let you know what their real name is, they would have told you so it's all right, after all it's such a cute name...maybe I should have picked Rosemary Thyme for my name on my blog,

I also like that name. Parsley Sage has such a cool and refreshing blog called The Deep Dish and she actually lives on Grand Cayman Island...and here I thought in the beginning that she is just visiting the island. When I saw her making this delicious fish with peppers, and onions, and island spices, I immediately fell in love with this colorful and yummy fish...knowing that I did have everything on hand, including fresh Salmon, but not the fish that she recommended. Also, I used scotch bonnet, and sweet peppers, shallots, and sweet onions, and I'll tell you, those scotch bonnets will set your mouth on "fire" no matter how you are trying to tone it down. Now for the recipe, you will just have to click over toThe Deep Dish blog, to find it!
Just think, you don't even have to travel to the Cayman Island, or even to West Palm Beach...on the beach, where I live, to get this authentic island recipe...I did a few minor adaptations to the dish, but over all, it was superb, over a bed of rice.

I'm linking the Cayman Fish to the gracious hosts @ Hearth and Soul #45
Thanking all of them for hosting this fun, event, to share, every Tuesday...so link up with them!

                                   The Hearth and Soul Hop Team!
The Hearth and Soul Hop Hub

...also, I have an exciting announcement to make re: my 300th follower on my
food blog (not to mention on the other 54)
Shelby, from Yum de la Yum  isn't that such an adorable, name for a blog?
You just have to check out her blog and try not to get hypnotized by her amazing decadent chocolate cake, before you bookmark, and copy her recipe!

I'm linking my Cayman Fish to Full Plate Thursday, 4-28-2011 
@ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No Bake Raspberry, Cheesecake...and Hungarian Game Plan


I've been blogging for ten months now, and I came a long way, just like all the other food bloggers did. I made a lot of friends along the way, and I truly value everyone's friendship. The best part about blogging is, that every blog is unique, every post, food, desserts, are different...but we all contribute and have something beautiful and interesting to offer. As for me, I have never done a guest post...nor did I have someone guest posting for me.

As a matter of fact, it has not even crossed my mind, probably because...I never offered, although I was asked from a couple bloggers, but since I have not guest posted, it seemed awkward to start. I have not asked either for someone to guest post for me. So, how do you even get started on guest posting for someone?...and what is the purpose of it?

Is it to promote their blog?...or are you promoting yours! As for certain bloggers, it seems to work fine. When you guest post for a popular blogger, it benefits you, to get you on your "feet" if you just started blogging, to get more followers... but then...have all these bloggers been asked?...or do they ask the popular blogger if they can guest post for them?...Well, that gets me off the "hook" because I have never asked if I could guest post...and if I did...I could not say: "I've been asked, when that's not the case!

I'm linking this to: Bianca-Foodie Friday@ Little Brick Ranch

I made this cheesecake, and originally posted it on August, 25, 2010


I decided to cut this recipe out from the back of the Nabisco Grahams, but did not use the 8x8 square pan, instead I used my  8x8 removable sides Wilton cheesecake pan. Used less raspberries and my own marshmallow creme, from scratch.


No Bake Raspberry Marshmallow Cream Cheesecake

1 pkg. (6oz.) raspberries
8 Graham crackers (1/2 box) crushed in food processor
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 pkg. (8oz). light Philadelphia creme cheese at room temp.
1 jar  (7 oz) JET PUFFED Marshmallow cream, or
1 cup of home made marshmallow frosting/cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of the same lemon, after grating
2 Tablespoons of seedless organic raspberry spread


Mix graham crackers sugar and melted butter. Press firmly with a back of a large spoon onto the bottom and up the sides, 1 inches in an 8x8 spring form pan. Chill, in refrigerator, until cream is assembled. In a large bowl, make marshmallow frosting, according to recipe. Take out 1 cup to use, and save the rest for frosting cup cakes, or cake, or divide recipe in half to use. Beat creme cheese and marshmallow frosting, adding zest of lemon, and juice. Beat until light and fluffy. Fold in half the raspberries, and gently swirl in the raspberry spread, Spread evenly over crust, and decorate with the remaining raspberries. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Makes about 8 servings.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grilled Striped Sea Bass... and Online Bake Sale

I have to confess, I did not make the delicious and so flaky Striped Sea Bass...not even the hand chopped side veggies. It was delivered to me yesterday by my daughter Lora, and her mother-in-law Teresa. Such a sweet gesture. They stopped by just in time for lunch, bringing so much food, from my son-in-law's restaurant, and also my son Joe, and wife Cara brought more goodies, and cat food supplies...and why? you may ask.

Clumsy me, I sprained my ankle Friday afternoon, picking up my granddaughter from her elementary school, as I have been doing for the last two weeks, and running errands for Lora, until she recuperates and can drive. Well, that was cut short...thanks to me!

Sometimes, taking a short-cut walking,  after you have parked your car three blocks away because there wasn't any parking available near by is not the answer...especially with shoes that are not the most comfortable. I missed stepping off a curb, and literally "wiped out"...sigh...so embarrassing...and to top it off, it was in the school yard. Luckily, a friend gave her a ride home whose daughter is in the same class. In the meantime, my daughter called me on my cell phone and wanted to know why I was late...there I am on the ground...can't get up, people around me, and so much excitement...plus my phone went dead, so I could not explain what happened.

Long story...short, this is how I look now, badly sprained ankle...went to the walk in clinic with my daughter-in-law Cara. She left work early to take me...did not want to go to the ER and wait for hours. Tomorrow I have to go to the orthopedic, and probably be fitted for one of those cute orthopedic boots. In the meantime, Lora found a "walker" for me at a local thrift shop (takes after mom with thrifting) brand new, it cost $8.00. What a bargain! I cannot stand on the left foot now, at all...just hobbling around.

Linking this to: Swathi @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen  Hearth and Soul Hop #44  
                                   Home Sweet Farm , Delectable Tuesday Blog Hop

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pudin de Arroz Torta=Rice Pudding Cake, and Awards!

We live in a large Hispanic community here, in West Palm Beach Florida. We have all kinds of Hispanic cultures right here in our local area...in fact, it's advisable to speak the Spanish language, because every store you go into, especially our local Publix supermarket, you feel like you are in "little Havana"...seriously! In that particular supermarket, they have the most variety of Hispanic items, also as you check out you can just order a fabulous cup of "cafe con leche" for a lot less than in any coffee places you go to, along with the Cuban pastries with guava, and all the other amazing sweets can be found in their bakery section. As far as for the Pudin de Arroz Torta...the Rice Pudding Cake, that's my creation, derived right from the authentic Cuban Rice Pudding.

I learned how to make the authentic Cuban rice pudding from my younger sister's former Cuban m-in-law from Miami, that should have opened up a little "rice pudding"  stand, because her pudding is out of this world. They have this little secret of boiling the rice with large strips of lemon and/or lime strips, cinnamon sticks, and for more flavor, anise seeds. Also a must, is the sweetened condensed milk, and more cinnamon sprinkled on the top. The raisins are optional.


My recipe is versatile, as a cake, and I promise you so moist, and delicious, whether you choose to eat it warm, or cold, which I prefer. It is smooth, and melt in your mouth yummy! You don't really have to get fancy serving this heavenly cake because it is so, very rich. I actually made this cake for my daughter Lora, to have some nutrition since she needs to eat soft foods, and not necessary puddings. So why not a pudding cake?...just use more rice to the recipe, and less milk. No flour is needed in the recipe, but for sure, you need eggs. Four, to be exact. Again...I was preparing to guest post for Lora, but after all, she has more cakes, and sweets in her house, that she and Teresa are packing up for their friends, and neighbors to take home. As for me...I can only have a small piece, and even the rare desserts that I make, goes directly over to them. Surprisingly enough, I have a "skinny" family...LOL...go figure!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spaghetti Con Aglio e Olio=Spaghetti With Garlic and Oil

Exactly one week ago, I was in such a daze, and so helpless seeing my sweet daughter Lora in so much pain and going through a major surgery like that was not something any of us were expecting, but fortunately she had all the love and support from family, and friends, and all her and my friends through both of our food blogs, as well.

Thank you so much to all of you dear friends for your kind words of caring, and support throughout this past week!

I should be cooking up a "storm" and baking something fabulous, but she has her amazing mother in-law Teresa from Como, Italy there, to cook and bake every day. They have not had store bought bread in the two weeks because Teresa has her trusty cup of "starter" in the fridge to make fresh homemade breads and rolls every day. As I mentioned before, I always have the basic herbs, and spices on hand, and I'm virtually never without fresh parsley, basil, and of course fresh garlic. A nice quality of spaghetti, and a good chunk of imported Parmigiana Reggiano freshly shaved, will make a gourmet dish that does not require anything else...perhaps a side salad, and a nice piece of crunchy bread.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

As you can see, this is a well decorated platter with just an 8x8 inches of simple cheesecake bars...a total of 4 large pieces, with the ends trimmed off, but every thing is in the "decoration"...the "presentation"...otherwise, it would be just a simple Cheesecake Bars, if not for the above mentioned...and of course, most important, the "platter"...Originally, I was going to do the next guest post for Lora's blog, with this easy dessert, but she is home now, from her huge surgery, and is getting her strength back little by little. I was at her house making this dessert, and both Teresa, and her husband Domenico kept asking me..."che fai?" What are you doing? ...because I was trying to uplift my photography skills, by enhancing the shots, at every different angle. It certainly helps when you have a nice camera, and a pint of gorgeous fresh, and perfectly ripened strawberries.
Instead of having the glaze on top of the overturned strawberry slices, I added the jam glaze directly on the cooled cheesecake bars, and sprinkled powdered sugar over the top of the strawberries, overlapping on the cheesecake, and on the platter...within a few minutes, the strawberries get their own natural glaze, just from the sugar...the rest is "trick photography!"...my theory...you aim, shoot, and hope for the best!


Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
my own recipe

For the Crust:
2 cups of vanilla wafers ground
1/4 cup butter (1 stick) melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grind the wafers in a food processor to make 2 cups. Add sugar, and grated orange, stir in the melted butter, just to moisten evenly, and press into a large non-stick tart pan, with a removable bottom.
Use a large soup spoon to press down, and not with your fingers, or hand, (so butter does not get too pressed into the crust) Also, do the same on the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for no longer than 15 minutes, and follow the topping, and filling process.

Filling:

8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
(at room temperature)
1 cup of sour cream (at room temperature)
7 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and let it overhang about two inches. Spray the bottom with cooking spray. Mix the cookie mix with the butter and sugar, and pat down into the baking pan with about an inch around the sides. Mix the filling ingredients in a food processor, or blender for about a minute or two till blended and creamy, and pour the filling right over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and lower the temperature to 325degrees and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes till it gets a little color on the top. Cool, and glaze with melted strawberry jam. Just heat about 1/4 cup of strawberry, or other seedless berry jam, adding the juice of 1 lemon. Spread on cooled bars. Let it chill, and lift out from pan for easy cutting. Garnish with fresh berries. Such an easy, and delicious cheesecake bars, with or without berry topping. It is more dense, than actual cheesecake, but the same taste, especially with the glaze, and topping. Enjoy!

I'm linking this to: Swathi-Hearth and Soul Hop #43

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Egg Salad in Pita Pocket.... and a Winner!

With all the activities and preparations for my daughter Lora's upcoming surgery on Thursday, I've been in a "daze" and have not been able to concentrate on making anything that would be worthwhile to post about. Although, I did make a huge pot of simple fresh vegetable soup yesterday, and literally cleaning out my refrigerator of all the veggies I have, that included cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, celery onions and garlic cloves, parsley, and I just chopped up everything and sauteed it, and added vegetable broth in the pot, seasoned it brought it to a boil and just simmered till it was a gorgeous vegetable soup. Oh, I even added a can of corn I had in my cupboard. Also added home made spaetzle to the soup. Took the entire pot, wrapped the pot up in a large towel, placed it in a small laundry basket and took it over to my daughter's.

Nothing like a nice, light, comforting soup. (No photo of it)...didn't think of it. In the meantime, while the soup was cooking, I made myself a simple egg salad. What do you do when you have extra eggs left over? Well, you can make a nice frittata, or a batch of eggs salad, which I did with 8 leftover eggs. The best part is, if you have one of those cute little plastic "egg slicer" gadgets, that slices and chops eggs perfectly. You just place the hard boiled eggs in the slicer, slice it, then turn it around making sure not to mess up the slice, and press the blades down again and it will dice your egg.

Egg Salad
my recipe

8 hard boiled eggs chopped coarsely
1 Tbsp. Hellman's mayonnaise
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste


Cook eggs for approximately 13 minutes for perfect hard boiled eggs. (the best way to cook is to place the eggs in water, bring it to a boil, shut the heat off, cover than pot, and leave it on the stove. Time it for 13 min. and take it off the stove, run cold water and keep running water, while you are peeling the eggs. Will not stick, comes out clean
every time.)
In a medium bowl, chop the eggs coarse, lightly mix mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. You can add chopped onions, chopped celery, and chopped pickles if you like, but simple is the best. Serve all those additions on the side.
I personally like mini dill gherkins, sliced jalapeno, tomatoes, and lettuce, and of course chopped onions, that I mix in the salad just for my own serving. Serves 4. Yumm

I'm linking this to: Full Plate Thursday, @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mushrooms in Adobo Sauce-Cookbook Sundays

Today is Sunday, April 3rd. and I've been counting the days when I could proudly feature my Cookbook Sundays,
now, being hosted by Melynda @Mom's Sunday Cafe.
I am happy to stay in this group, especially knowing that Melynda is an expert hostess and will do so well. We had such a busy week with celebrating birthdays for a week now, and I cannot look at another piece of cake for a while...well, maybe for a (few days.)
I've been craving for more vegetarian foods, since last weeks feast at the Darbster's Vegan Bistro, so I decided to do my own little version of vegetarian feast, but will only post one recipe, which is for this amazing Spanish Mushrooms in Adobo Sauce, which requires very little time, and effort.
This book has all your tapas-which are appetizers, in English. I can just have tapas, when I go to a restaurant, and a nice chilled glass of white wine, and I'm happy.
This can be served as a side dish, or eaten just like this with a nice crust piece of bread. If you like mushrooms, then this is the ultimate way  to prepare this. All I can say is, you will want second serving, or you will gobble this whole serving up just by yourself!

Tapas (Revised): The Little Dishes of Spain
Rather than marinating, these mushroom are in adobo, which means, that they, are cooked, in sauce instead of marinating.


Chapinones en Adobo (Mushrooms in adobo sauce)
by Penelope Casas
recipe adapted

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of sweet, or regular yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic sliced
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves
1.2 teaspoon saffron
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint (2 cups) fresh button mushrooms, stems removed,
cut in half

Heat the oil in a medium heavy skillet. Saute onions, and garlic till onion is wilted and golden.Stir in the wine, and the spices, the salt and pepper,  and cook down the wine till slightly reduced. Add the tomato sauce, and the 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered. Add the mushrooms, and stir to incorporate with the sauce, and cook for an additional 10 more minutes, and serve. 4 side servings, or 2 large servings.

I'm linking this post to Kristen @Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
 Chaya @My Sweet and Savory and Swathi-Hearth and Soul Hop #42

You can always have another side dish to go with the mushrooms in adobo. This really great potato salad, I made a batch to have a nice side dish, either pairing it with grilled meat, or just by itself. I packed up all these goodies to take them over to my daughter's to share with her in-laws for lunch. Very light homemade vinaigrette dressing, with a little kick from the stone ground mustard, with mustard seeds. Yumm!
You can tell spring is here...although spring has been here in South Florida since January, and by May we will be going full swing into summer, until about October, November is when we have our fall...without leaves turning their gorgeous hues of color...couldn't quite picture our palm trees turning shades of yellows, reds, and orange color. Enjoy a refreshing new small potato,( red, or white ) salad with chopped sweet onions, sliced celery, chopped dill pickles, and can't forget the sliced hard boiled eggs, and a mild vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and about a teaspoon of stone ground mustard. Just add freshly ground pepper, and some sea salt, and dry herbs if you like. Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chunky Tomato Sauce... and a Book Giveaway!

As I mentioned in my last post, that my son Joe has finally published his first novel, self-published through Amazon.com I'm proud to offer a copy of his book, as a giveaway. Yesterday, he stopped over for a last minute lunch, and wanted to check out the waves on the beach, since we've been having such windy and rainy days in the last few days. He is also an avid surfer, since the age of eleven, and has won several awards, over the years. By profession he is an "Equity Trader" and these last couple years he's been working out of home, so he could finish his novel. Also, he decided to go back to college to get his masters degree in creative writing, after 14 years, graduating from college. He is a fabulous artist, as well, doing totally different designs...as for instance, surf board art designs, and creative designs on canvas. He also designed his book cover. Now, the latest project is his "political cartoon, daily art" which I myself don't quite understand, which has a lot to do with the "stock market."

Anyway, the emphasis now, is on my quick pasta sauce, served with fettucine that I made within 30 minutes, tops.
I always have fresh, dry, and frozen herbs on hand, for which is a "must" in my kitchen. Canned, or fresh tomatoes, is always a "must"...of course, onions, and garlic, and olives...so there you have it, a vegetarian meal to enjoy, even if you are not vegetarian. Joe and his wife Cara have decided to take that route now after and on-again, off-again route, for the last few years. Actually, they do eat seafood, and dairy...so they are "pescatarians?"...is there such a thing?

In a large skillet, all you do is saute, one sliced onion, 3 cloves of garlic sliced, 2 stalks of celery sliced, in 2 Tbsp.vegetable oil till  soft, and slightly golden. Add a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon tomato paste, mixed in 1/2 cup of water, 1 Tbsp.extra virgin olive oil... salt and pepper, dry, or fresh basil, and let the tomato sauce cook for about 20 minutes, on medium heat, open. Stir from time to time, and after the 20 minutes, add pitted olives (I used Nicoise pitted olives) you can slice the olives, or cut them in half. (I left mine whole)...Serve over pasta of your choice, and add chopped fresh Italian parsley, or fresh basil for flavor and for a nice appearance. You can drizzle more extra virgin olive oil on the top, and serve.

note: I sauteed the vegetable in vegetable oil, because it absorbs the flavor of the vegetables better, since it's cooked on medium-high, and it prevents burning of the oil. Adding the extra virgin olive oil, when you add the tomatoes, gives it a nicer and more flavorful texture. Also, instead of adding the tomato paste directly into the 1/2 cup of water will give it an even texture, and prevents lumpy and too thick of a  texture. 
Now, for the book giveaway:

Lamb's Bread: A Marijuana Fueled American Revolutionary 

[Paperback]

About the book, and Joe's art and Cartoon

Adrian Amato is a pot-smoking, marijuana-dealing, equity trader with a plan to set a trap and imprison the president of the United States on Palm Beach Island. His revolutionary intentions seize the imagination of his brother-in-law, Jeff Silver, who assists Adrian and serves as his biographer, believing that it is an unprecedented, inside opportunity to document the rise of a radical aimed at reshaping the world. Loosely based on the recent collapse of the nation’s economy, Joseph Pregadio’s subversive allegory about a new 

American age is as captivating as it is thought provoking. A suspense-thriller full of unexpected twists and surprising turns, Lamb’s Bread captures the anarchical soul of American discontent and channels it into a fictional tale far more plausible than anyone should feel comfortable with.

Attacking the hubris of the ultra-wealthy and the indiscriminate profiteering of corporate America, Pregadio dares to lay bare the very schemes by which many investment practitioners got rich and then watched the economic system cave in—and funnels that outrage into a broadside indictment through the eyes and actions of Adrian Amato, a modern-day pirate whose goal is to attack the establishment at every possible turn. Bracing in its honesty and entertaining in its method, Lamb’s Bread is a modern parable everyone should put at the top of their reading list. 

As for the giveaway, all you have to do is to comment, so you will be on the list. If you don't follow either on my blog, or Twitter, you will not be eligible. I will ship this signed copy of the book anywhere in the United States, Canada, anywhere else, in the world. YES!... for the first time! I will announce the winner Monday morning. Giveaway ends on Sunday, April 3rd, at 11:00PM, EST.