Holidays are really about memories we create with our family. Not the hustle, bustle and whether or not you were able to score a Hatchimal before they sold out. One way my family takes a breather from the craziness is to make holiday cookies together. The kids LOVE making sugar cookie cut outs. We have old cookie cutters, passed down from my mom that we used when I was a child. I make a buffet of bowls filled with sprinkles, frosting, little candies and really anything that will stick to cookies and let them have at it.Read More
Before Passover ends, I wanted to feature another recipe from my husband’s wonderful grandmother Harriet. I asked her if she had a matzo brei recipe and she quickly responded with her beloved mother Jeanne’s recipe. Every Passover, this matzo brei was served to Harriet as a young girl. She and her sister considered it quite a treat. The best part? This matzo brei is slathered with apricot jam before you give it a quick broil in the oven.Read More
Tonight starts the beginning of Passover, so I asked JoAnn Elice (a previous Heirloom featured 'Nonna') to share one of her favorite Passover desserts. Always so generous, ‘Mimi’ Jo immediately obliged with her delicious Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread.
‘Mandelbrot’ known today as Mandel Bread, originates in Eastern European, and simply means almond bread because it included ground almond flour; an acceptable flour for Passover. Just like biscotti, it is cooked twice but is much softer due to the high fat content. They are perfect for dunking!Read More
My kids love to cook. Probably, because if they want to find me, I’m usually standing in front of the stove cooking, testing or occasionally, baking up some treats.
We recently started a nice Sunday tradition. The girls pick something they really like and I teach them how to make it.
Alessandra loves Chicken Francese, most likely because I try to convince her that one of my late ancestors created the dish. She is a big fan of FoodTV and all the kids cooking competitions so she really enjoys getting in the kitchen and trying her hand at making something good to eat.Read More
Just like the Irish have their soda bread for Saint Patrick’s Day, Italians have a special bread made once a year for Easter. Italian Easter bread is a slightly sweet, braided bread adorned with hard boiled eggs and sprinkles. Some Italians will even dye the eggs before placing them in the bread but we do not. My mom doesn’t use sprinkles either. Her bread looks similar to a challah, lightly scented with anise seed.
This year, my mom and I decided to make the bread together. I have never made my own before so I decided to make some additions like sprinkles, lemon zest, a bit of sugar and almond extract to my mom’s recipe for a sweeter, more colorful bread. Also, I made mine into a wreath like I have seen in Italian bakeries. She stuck to her tried and true Calabrese recipe. Both came out wonderfully and I’m so happy I finally learned to make it.Read More
It's Saint Patty’s Day but I can promise you, I’m not making corned beef and cabbage. As much as I love traditions, my kids don’t like it so after a few years of way too many leftovers, I stopped making the effort. I do however; make Irish Soda Bread. It’s a family favorite.
I found the recipe years ago in Baking with Julia, and it’s the traditional recipe. Very simple, four ingredients and an old stand by. I have added a few twists to it, lemon zest, turbinado sugar and golden raisins, which are not traditional, but that’s what you get when an Italian girl goes Irish. Scusi!Read More
I’m a big fan of Sunday Brunch. My kids love bagels and cream cheese on Saturday morning so on Sunday, I try to go big with a few main dishes, home fries, bacon and fresh fruit. Recently, on a rare trip out for brunch, we ordered a Dutch Baby - a huge pancake covered in fruit, jam, syrup, confectioners sugar, or really, anything you want to top it with. It’s a great brunch option because its one huge pancake that cooks in the oven, allowing you to forgo the multitasking of flipping while trying to juggle the bacon, toast and coffee brewing. So, join me on my journey to Germany this weekend and go Dutch!Read More
I’m going to keep this short and SWEET - My daughter wanted to make gingersnaps and I found this amazing recipe in one of my favorite baking cookbooks. Tastes just like Nabisco Gingersnaps, but these are so much better because, (1) They are homemade goodness and (2) They have lemon zest - my secret weapon in them. Thanks to my lil’ sister who wrangled all three kids into the kitchen and made these delish cookies with them. They had fun and I got a blog post out of it. Win, win.Read More
Ina Garten is my food idol and here is why. She is completely self taught and didn’t start her career in food. Early in her career, she realized that food made her happy, took a leap of faith, bought a little deli and the rest is history. Her food is approachable, easy and always tastes good. Most importantly, her recipes never fail.
I have made so many of her recipes and honestly can’t pick a favorite but there are some true stand outs. Now this recipe isn’t her's but she did pick it as a favorite and learned how to make it. This pasta dish comes from one of Ina’s favorite Hamptons restaurants, Nick and Toni’s. It might seem like penne alla vodka and technically it is. However, it is the best penne alla vodka you will ever have.Read More
When it was time to create a website for my Nonna project, I knew I needed a great photographer to help me make it look professional. I only made one call, to my dear friend Monika Satur-Szydlowski. Monika is not only an amazing person and friend; she is the best photographer I know.
Once my website was launched, I called on Monika for one more favor. As a Polish immigrant and a talented home cook, I knew she would be able to provide me with a recipe for the most delicious, authentic Polish pierogies I have ever tasted.Read More
Not to toot my own horn but I know how to throw a successful party. Phil and I share a love for entertaining, so we try to throw at least three to four parties annually.
Having an entertaining party isn’t difficult, but a little planning can make your party better and stress-free. After all you want to be able to mingle, laugh with friends and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right? Read on for a few tips on throwing an A+ affair along with a killer recipe for my mother's stuffed mushrooms - perfectly bite-sized and guaranteed to impress your guests!Read More
I must admit, before my Nonna project, Peruvian food was not on my radar. I had never been to a Peruvian restaurant and I hadn’t had the pleasure of making any Peruvian friends. So, when the opportunity arose to learn some traditional dishes from Perú, from Rocío Quispe-Agnoli, a friend of my father, I was excited to get on board.
Rocío came to North America as a young student and before leaving home, she had the foresight to copy her mother’s cherished recipe book. As she taught me the recipe for her mother’s delicious Pastel de alcachofas (artichoke tart or cake,) I was instantly transported to the warm comforts of her mother’s kitchen. Delicious and decadent, this dish is worthy of any formal occasion or, quite honestly, it’s perfect on a weeknight too.
One ‘American’ dish my mother made for us growing up was beef stew. I’m not even sure when she picked up the recipe for it or why it became a winter dish in our home, but I remember coming home from school and finding a large pot of it on the stove.
Once the cold weather rolls in, I always make beef stew served on top of some buttery noodles or even on its own. It's the ultimate stick to your ribs, warm you up kind of food and, best of all, it’s a ‘one pot wonder.’Read More
Kids love muffins. Why? Because let’s face it, muffins are just cupcakes without the frosting. After a recent 'eat this and stop bugging your brother' muffin impulse purchase, I decided this Friday needed to be dedicated to the glorious muffin. I developed a recipe that has all the bakery goodness and some dried cherries too just to make them interesting. I figure, if a muffin can keep your child well behaved and obedient on the weekly grocery store run, they might just be full of magic powers.Read More
Growing up in an Italian home, I didn’t eat a lot of rice. We preferred pasta and my mother served it regularly as our staple carbohydrate. Once and a while, however, my mom would whip up a risotto and I would pout through dinner, pushing it to the edges of my plate hoping my father would think I had some.
Truth be told, I hate risotto. It just doesn’t do it for me. If I am going to eat something creamy and full of carbs, hand me a dish of cheesy polenta and I’m a happy girl. The one positive to hating risotto though, is that my mother had plenty leftover to make rice balls with for us the next day. Golden brown and crispy on the outside and creamy, cheesy inside make for a killer combination.Read More