Monday, June 27, 2011


Here I am again with my easy to prepare meals. During most of my cooking life I've prepared numereous dishes from different cultures and traditions. I've concluded that no matter what type of food one prepares the common denominator is its taste. Obviously, taste varies from culture to culture and person to person. My other observation is that the people who consume the food are usually unaware of the preparation and efforts that goes into creating a complex delectable dish. They are only concerned with its taste and presentation (unless they're chefs themselves). So with that, I embraced the short and sweet way of cooking using the ingredients that are already in my pantry, refrigerator or freezer. It is important to me not to sacrifice the taste, quality and appearance of the food I prepare. No, I didn't give up my efforts to create new and complicated dishes;  I save them for holidays and special occasions.    

Ingredients (for two):
5-6 Beef  Weiners, cut into rounds
1 Small onion thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Green pepper cut into cubes
1 Large tomato cut into cubes
1 Tbsp. each  tomato paste & tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tsp. each, thyme, oregano, basil
* salt & pepper and hot sauce to taste.
Parmasan cheese to sprinkle on top

1/2  lb small shell pasta,  boiled 

Sautee onions and pepper in oil, add tomato paste, sauce and herbs. Stir until sauce is thickened. Add meat and tomatoes and cover. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Once pasta is boiled, drain and plate the pasta and add the sauce over it. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Ahhh.. the easy living of summer!.  Who wants to cook indoors in a summer day??? Not me!!!.  Best way to beat the heat is to prepare everything a night before then do the cooking outdoors later in the day. I marinated my cubed lamb, vegetables in olive oil and herbs (oregano, thyme & cumin) with a splash of  vinegar overnight in a covered dish.  I placed yellow zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, green peppers and meat alternately on the skewer. Vinegar is a natural meat tenderizer and it eliminates the "Lamby" smell.  It takes 10-15 minutes to have a medium to well done kebabs.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Don't you just love the smell of barbecue??  Whenever I get a chance I like throw my marinated and seasoned meats, vegetables, bread and even fruits on the grill. Last night's easy menu was steak, yellow zucchini, colorful peppers,  eggplant and dessert on the grill. I usually sprinkle it with garlic powder and a concoction of  barbecue sauce with some herbs. This time I used the packets of seasonings that   Mr. Saverio LoPresti from    www.ariosto.it/SEASONING.htm   seasoning company send me from Italy. Thank you,  Mr. LoPresti. The right blend of  different herbs gave a delicious aroma and taste to the vegetables and left a very pleasant taste on our palates with each bite. Our dessert was... what else but barbecued FIGS...! Divine...!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My idea of having a meal is simple. It should never be too complicated or have too many steps.
When I arrived home from work after a long and hot day I opened my refrigerator and saw I had "Portabello Mushrooms". I immediately thought of this medley I could whip up. Then I asked my husband "How hungry are you"? He said he wasn't very hungry.  So this was perfect for a light but nourishing meal. Ingredients were simple:

1 chopped red onion
5-6 Sliced "Portabello Mushrooms"
1/2 each Sweet red pepper, green pepper and yellow pepper diced
2 eggs beaten
2 Tbsp of  olive oil
Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

Saute all the vegetables in a frying pan until tender, add eggs and cheese cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until eggs are set and
the  cheese is  melted.  I topped it with the tomato sauce I had prepared and stored. Went well with hard crusted bread and beer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I have not baked cookies or cakes since Easter. The last thing I baked was bread. Taking advantage of some spare time I had last night,  I decided to give it a try again. Although baking is not my forte I still like to try. I was going to make the old stand by oatmeal and raisin cookies but I realized I had no raisins (somebody ate them...) and it was too late to go to the store. I looked around and I found a box of dried cranberries in my cupboard I decided to use them instead of raisins. Due to the tart nature of this fruit it is not a snack for some people in my house ..... thus I always have it handy (ha... ha). I really like the tartness of it especially in cookies  or salads.  Using the traditional recipe I had saved over the years I made this truly delicious oatmeal cookies.  They turned out to be slightly tart, yet sweet, chewy and crunchy little delights. They disappeared very fast.  Give it a try.


1/2 Cup (1 stick) + 6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Eggs                                                                                              
1 Tsp vanilla
1-1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 Tsp salt (optional)
3 Cups regular or quick oats, uncooked
1 Cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon, mix well. Add oats and cranberries and mix until everything is well incorporated.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls unto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and enjoy.  Store tightly covered.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Whether he'll admit to it or not,  my husband is a hopeless romantic. When I came down for  breakfast I saw these flowers  on the table with a note from him thanking me for the nice meal I served him last night. He picked the flowers fresh from our back yard, just for me.


 Last night my husband wanted to help me in the kitchen. "What shall I do to help you" he asked? I gave him the peeler and asked him to peel the potatoes. He said it was a cinch. He had done it so many times in the Navy. " Good"  I said, "you've got a head start". As he peeled the potatoes,  I told him that I'll get the mandolin. The look on his face was priceless. "Since when do you have a mandolin?" he asked. When I showed him my kitchen mandolin we both laughed. Then I told him that he had to learn how to use it. Well, needless to say he had more fun with it then I thought he would. So we came up with our potato pie.

4-5 medium sized potatoes washed and peeled                      
2 Cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2-3 pods of ground cardamom
1/4 Tsp of nutmeg
1 whole egg
2 Cups of shredded mozzarella (divided)
2 Tbsp of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
*salt and pepper to taste

Using the mandolin carefully slice the potatoes very thin and place them in a large bowl filled with water. Let stand.

For the white sauce:

In a medium pan, brown the flour with butter and slowly add milk stirring constantly. It should be in pudding consistency. Add  cream cheese, cardamom, nutmeg and stir until cheese is melted. Let it stand. In a separate bowl beat the egg and add to the sauce, mixing well.

Rinse and pat dry the potatoes in a separate bowl and toss them with sauce and half of the grated cheese, mixing it well.  Place them in an oiled oven proof dish and top it with the remainder of the cheese. Bake in 350 degrees oven for one hour and half or until done.

I served it with roasted pork loin, mint glazed carrots a hardy salad and of course nice bottle of semi-sweet sparkling wine.

Bon Appetite...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Wondering what to chill with in this heat I came up with this concoction. I don't know what to call it yet but my husband and I  found it to be delicious and refreshing. Try it..

Juice of  one  lemon
2 Jiggers of  dry Vermouth
Simple syrup,  about 1 cup
1 cup ginger ale
3-4 cubes of ice

Put everything in a drink mixer, shake well and pour through the strainer in to glasses. Add maraschino cherries and slice of lemon. Cheers....

I finally made "Lemoncello" .   Apparently with this drink there are variety of recipes of  how its made. It's taste  is mainly an individual preference. I offered it to my neighbors. While one neighbor said he enjoyed it  his wife was not so thrilled about it and the another neighbor said he wouldn't mind drinking it all night....  I love lemon in everything therefore this is just my kind of drink. Although my husband is not a fan of lemon flavor, he is getting used to it..