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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black Venus in My Kitchen

The idea of playing with lesser common ingredients has always intrigued me. Not that I'd consider going totally bizarre on you, but certainly working with products and flavors that are harder to find I am seeing as culinary fun.

Today I decided on experimenting a bit with Falasco Black Venus (Venere) Rice and using it as a base for saffron scallop dish.

Cooking the rice was something different due to its low starch content.  The process was a cross of risotto making, and paella. Cooking time, extended well into an hour for the rice alone , and the entire dish did  take an additional 30 minutes.

End result -  a great new dish .  The Queen was super happy , and so was I


Falasco Venus Black Rice

Black Venus Rice and Saffron Scallops

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Seafood Bliss: This Fall's Kitchen Journey

Yesterday I decided on little journey where delicate seafood reigned supreme 

Black Tagliatelle with Black Squid Ink , Yellow Squash , Shrimp, Scallops, Red Snapper , Roasted Yellow Beets , and Meyer Lemon Zest. 

Tagliatelle al nero di seppie ai frutti di Mare

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Close Paella Encounters of the Third Kind

I have been experimenting with Paella making these days, playing with ideas influenced by my Italian cooking.  So I asked myself, what if  a partially cooked pan of risotto rice decided to jump in bed with a Peruvian Seafood Medley of Octopus, Scrimp Scallop, Hake,  a few Clams and Heart of Palm. What if , they found themselves incompatible. and the rice decided to stay on top ?

Well , it happened and it turned out to be culinary love at first sight . I present to you : UpSide Down Peruvian Inspired Paella.

Taking Orders of the phone your next stop by my Island.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pappardelle - Just Can't Get Enough

There are times when I want to make it a point for my guests, even longer term ones, to not cook the same dish more than once.

Here's a wonderful seafood dish - Pappardelle with Lagostine, light saffron broth,

Let a crisp white wine flow!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Swordfish AgroDolce : Sweetness in disguise

The first time I came across  sun-dried sweet red peppers at #ArthurAvenue,  I immediately new tht I had a special ingredient

Today I tried my hand at a sweet red onion sauce with sundried peppers, a hint of , a sort of agro-dolce approach to sauce formation that I used with some  tasty swordfish steaks

The result : Boom , a super delicious dish , that tastes even better the day after.

Pair with a Medium Body Red of you choice or if you are courageous , a semi-sweet red like a Khvanchkara

Salute !

Friday, July 10, 2015

Breaking Paella and Orecchiette Traditions - Forgiveness not Sought

Great little lesson in lesson in Pasta Recycling.  What do you do when  you have less than 1/2 lb of Farfalle and less than 1/2 lb of Orecchiette ? Well just cook them together .

Next question. And what do you do with fresh broccoli di rape that yould would like to sweeten up  abit . Well. Add some sugary baby sweet peas. Simple as that. And there you go, a very different twist on Orecchiette , vegetarian friendly.

Mixed Pasta with Peas and Broccoli di Rape 

For the fun of it . Another variation on a very tasty , tender seafood risotto like dish.  Two tricks here. Let the seafood cook very slowly. Then pack , a 3/4 of the way cooked arborio rice on top of the seafood - yes  I said on top - and let it absorb any of the remaining liquids. See , with risotto the rice and seafood are mixed. With dish, the rice and seafood are stratified.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Seafood Bulgar . A Risotto Alternative

Every wonder about Bulgur Wheat ?  Well, I do . and sometimes come up with some great tasty dishes. Here is Bulgur wheat prepared with seafood : shrimp and scallops..

Salute !

LINKS:  Bulgar on Wikipedia -

Friday, May 29, 2015

Pasta Favorites - Pici Toscani

I love Pici.It has got great texture,  it's got flavor. And yes, reminds of of spaghetti. So if you are a Spaghetti lover, then you  definitely need to try this pasta type when you come across.

Here is a simple recipe idea-  Pici with Sauteed Brocolli (actually slightly stewed) along with some yellow pepper flavor,topped with some fresh goat ricotta cheese. Perfect combo

Go for a crisp white wine.

Pici Toscani with Brocolli , Yellow Peppers and Goat Ricotta 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Caribbean Contributions: A Tale of Caldrons and Authenic Dominican Delights

Who doesn’t love a vacation? Especially in the Caribbean in the middle of the winter.  I recently had the privilege of visiting my beautiful Country, the Dominican Republic during the holidays.  Between the perfect 80 degrees weather, beautiful beaches and festive atmosphere every day of the week, the only complaint that I have are the 4 pounds that I gained from eating everything that I came across.

I can’t speak for other nationalities, but I feel like everything on my island tastes better than back home in the United States. I mean something as simple as a ham and cheese sandwich will leave you nibbling on the crumbs.  It might the fact that things are grown naturally, or the fresh air, or maybe even the fact that you can sit down at noon with your family and enjoy lunch stress free. Whatever the case might be, they have some really good food in the Dominican Republic.
Fried Fish :sunbaths near the beach

Here are some of the delicious dishes that I enjoyed while on my trip:

1. Sancocho: This is one of the most popular dishes of the Dominican culture. It is a thick stew, with different types of meats. Typically the perfect sancocho is called “7 carnes” or 7 meats, It has chicken, beef and pork and even hen (gallina). No worries the rest of the meats fall under that category, (sausage, pork ribs, etc.)  The thickness of the soup is gained from the multiple root vegetables that are included.  You can pretty much add anything from yucca, plantain, and potatoes.

Marileidy : The Social Butterfly

Sancocho is our go to plate for almost everything.  It is our comfort food in a cold day, the perfect cure to a hang over, and a great dish for a get together that will guarantee a lot of guests will be showing up.  Sancocho is yummy anyway that you have it, but it is best served with a side of white rice and a slice of avocado.

2. Mangu: Ever heard the term, “ I am more Dominican than mangu?” that is because Mangu is literally the most Dominican food in existence. Sure we share other dishes such as sancocho and rice and beans with other Latin American countries. But the mangu is an authentic dish of the beautiful Dominican Republic. The plantain is a tropical fruit that is very abundant and affordable in our land. People in the country grow it in their back yards and Dominicans eat it in every way possible.

Mangu Platter

During some point in Dominican history, someone had the bright idea of smashing the plantains, frying some onions and throwing it over it.  There are many things that you can eat mangu with; but there only 3 sides that makes it a great dish, which are called “ Los Tres Golpes” The Three Hits. The sides which are by the way all fried, are eggs, cheese and salami.  The peculiar thing about this dish is that the sides are not really sides; but displayed gracefully on top.

3. Fried Fish: Okay, so I won’t sit here and claim that fried fish is a Dominican invented dish.  It’s something that you can pretty much have anywhere. However, you can’t just go to any beach in the world and have fresh fish that was just caught friend on front of you. That is the beauty of my land, we pride ourselves in freshness and flavor. A Dominican “sazon” or seasoning is unmistakable.  It takes some special hands to marinate a good fish just right.

Fried Fish

You can enjoy your fried fish are some fried plantains,  fried sweet potatoes and some breath taking views of the Caribbean sea.

Contributed by : By: Marileidy Morel

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pork Lovers, Wake Up . Dinner is served !

Continuing with my them of playing with contrasts, for all you meat lovers out there, here is a dish that my guests and fan club loved. Can you count the ingredients here ?

Braised Pork Chop , Sweet Corn Fennel Medley , Spanish Membrillo Cubes


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cute Caramelized Cipollini Anyone ?

I love playing with bold flavors, combining them so that they play off of each other  I came up with the side dish idea of juxtaposing the sweetness of sweet potatoes, mild taste of cipollini , wrapped in a veil carmelized goodness and dashes of aleppo pepper. Oh yes, the flounder filets too, were excellent. 

Flounder in Lemon Butter, Side of  Carmelized  Sweet Potatoes and Cipollini, Aleppo Pepper 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Expressions of Love , Squared - Part I

Two Back to Back Events - Both Connected with :Love , Expressed with Food made with Love

Anniversary Appetizer 

Lite ‪bay‬ ‪scallop‬ ‪chowder‬ 

Anniversary Main Dish

Garden vegetable Spelt freekeh topped with lump lobster and Japanese mushroom in white wine butter reduction.

Anniversary Salad

Baby spinach sumo mandarin salad cranberry orange vinaigrette , black cheeries and pistachios

Cin Cin My Friends


Monday, January 19, 2015

Finding Roots: Spaniards, Ancient Greeks and My Own Kind

Sometimes I get very excited about my roots. I suspect that a part of me radicated from some noble clan from old Spain; I suspect too that, going in back even further to some earlier time , that another part of me, can claim blood from ancient colonial Greeks, who occupied the South of Italy; and of course, I know, not that much suspect, that the most recent part of me, is as Italian as you can get, off the boat, stuck in a cultural purgatory, with roots in two continents,  stuck in a time warp of traditions, old and new.

All this contrast, friction and excitement pushed me around,  a set of forces that just told me: "cook it away , dancing Chef , cook it away ". And so I did .The result, a set a creations that thanks all in equal parts, well almost: I do recognize that some pork is missing: that's a different topic all together.

So here you are my friends, here are  two interesting dishes, elaborate in their own way , elaborate in their emotional and mental genesis, tasty , bold, and yet authentic with a touch of modern.

Papparde with Black Chickpeas, Calamari Rings, Topped with Sauteed Frisee

Braised Octupus with Purple Dandelions in Lemon Wine Sauce 

Braised Octopus Lemon Wine Sauce

Do you know where your roots are ?

Salute !

Monday, January 12, 2015

When in Stress, COOK !

This is what happens when I feel like de-stressing: Spaghettoni in a zesty tomato scallop sauce

Spaghettoni Zesty Scallops

Happy to report that I was able to fall  back to my normal self after fan club applauded.

Salute !

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Warming Up The Coldest of Nights

What better way to warm up an entire family on the coldest of nights, than with a bowl of vegetarian pastina, a broth-based delight, a lite and fast soup, born in a time and a place very different than the fast and fancy world we live in today, a pauper's broth that only soothes and enriches the soul, one slow spoonful at a time ?

Here's a dish born out of love , so worth passing on from aunts to nephews.

Pastina alla Zia Vittoria 

Warm night of peace, my wish to all of you .


1 small yellow squash , diced
2 small potatoes , diced
1 cup of  anici di pepe  pastina
1/2 cup  grape tomotoes
Italian Parsely
1/2 cup of cooked white beans , the small kind

EVOO  and Salt

Serve warn, topped with fresh , raw EVOO, and small cubes of Crotonese cheese cubes.

Preparation Tips 
Bring your 1 1/2 quarts of water to a boil , add veggies, cook for 3 minutes, add pastina, EVOO , salt.  Add pastina, cook until potatoes tender and pastina is al dente.