Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Cannoli Be Happy With You

My Valentine is known for a few signature food items amongst family, friends and students. Whenever there is a large crowd, he makes cannolis o it was fitting that I give him a cannoli for our anniversary. The cannoli filling is already made, and comes in large pastry bags so all he has to do is pipe the filling into the shells. The photo below is from Xavier's baptism. 
Sharing some history about cannoli - With the Arab introduction of sugar into Sicily in the 9th century, the cooking style of this three sided island changed forever. Ricotta had long been an essential part of the Sicilian cuisine as well as pine nuts and currants. Resourceful Sicilians added the neutral sweetness of sugar to these sample foods, wrapped them in a fried but delicate pastry "tube" and hence the birth of cannoli.

Originally enjoyed by Sicilians only at Carnival time, word spread quickly of their goodness. The wonderful legacy of this Sicilian invention now enjoys worldwide popularity.

There are many, many recipes for cannoli. Some sweet, some not so sweet. For the filling, the traditional ingredients are ricotta cheese, confectioner's sugar, ground cinnamon, finely chopped candied orange or lemon, and finely chopped chocolate. I usually omit the candied citrus and the chocolate. You can top ends of filled cannoli with your choice of decorations if you like. I have used chopped pistachio nuts. If you prefer, you can use Mascarpone instead of ricotta for the filling. When I serve cannoli to children, I use colored sprinkles on the ends. 

I am fortunate enough to live near Italian specialty stores and they stock the shells and filling. I do have the forms, and they work very well but I am usually short on time. Some prefer to use a pasta maker so the cannoli dough is the correct thickness.

I've used Sicilian style hand rolled cannoli shells, and they are excellent. When we were in New York City recently, I sampled cannoli, and these hand rolled shells taste very similar.

For a recent dinner party, I dipped the tips of the cannoli into melted dark chocolate and piped the filling. 

Thank you for your visit! I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Joe's Game Day Stromboli

Planning your menu for the big game? Gear up with Joe's Stromboli that is a big hit here in town. This stromboli goes to every event:-)  Three of these are going to Xavier's first birthday party in March.   


One package of refrigerated pizza dough (Multi-grain pizza dough from Hannaford's is the best if you can get it)

6 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese (5 large slices)

6 ounces thinly sliced hard salami (15 slices)
6 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni (completely cover the salami)
1 large roasted red pepper cut lengthwise into six pieces  (we use the roasted red peppers in the jar)

Directions Preheat oven to 375°. On a greased baking sheet (we use olive oil), pat dough into a 16x13-in. rectangle. Layer the cheese, salami, pepperoni and roasted pepper over entire dough, leaving a 1/2-in. border at each end. Fold up long sides of crust over filling, pinching seam and ends to seal. Flip over so seam is on the bottom. Cut slits in top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until nice and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Yield: 1 large stromboli

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Introducing My Hubby - Such a Good Sport

 Hello! I hope you're ready for some silliness. This is what we blog about in the winter :-)  If you would like to read about how the Traveling Tote series began, read about it HERE, and HERE is the first post. And if you want to travel along with us, you can grab yourself a tote HERE! Our next traveling tote post is on March 1st and we have a great giveaway to offer so mark your calendar. 

Behind the scenes with my traveling tote, my hubby is great sport. Joe and I were in New Orleans in September and went on a tour of Mardi Gras World where they create the floats for Mardi Gras. Speaking of which, have you been to Mardi Gras? I would love to know if you have been. 
I found this picture on my camera!  Joe sneaks and takes pictures of my tote bags and it makes me chuckle when I see what he's been up to. 
Here we are in our favorite city.....New York City. 
In December, we visited MacKenzie-Childs in New York City. 
Enjoying a glass of wine at the Irvington (Union Square) in New York City, I asked Joe if he would write a bio when we got home so I could share it on my blog. This is what he wrote to me:

"My mother told me that I was born during a snowstorm on January 26, and they had a difficult time getting to the hospital. We lived in the Bronx until I was three years old and then we moved to Manhattan. I started college to become an environmental engineer but lost interest in the program shortly after starting it. I took an aptitude test which showed a strong interest in becoming a shop teacher. After I completed college, I decided to join the Peace Corps and found myself overseas with my job changing several times. I decided to return to the states and worked at cabinet shops. It wasn't long before I landed a job to utilize my degree in industrial arts education (shop teacher) or what's known as technology education today. My mother said I was her only child (out of seven) that used their degree for employment."

Having breakfast at BITE, our favorite breakfast place in our home town. What a good sport, he will stop and pose anywhere. I don't have to beg him :-) 
Here's Joe with his Stormy Kromer cap on. If you're not familiar with the hat, George Kromer wanted a piece of outdoor gear that worked as hard as he did. Mr. Kromer had his wife stitch together the first cap by hand, and they are still making them today. The cap has a pull-down earband to keep your ears warm if you should need it. I love those hats, they have serial numbers that you register and they even make them in Xavier's size whose first birthday is coming up in March. 

Take a peek and meet a few of the "other men behind the totes".

Jenna with Miss Coquille @ The Painted Apron

Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ "Pandora's Box"

Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Giada's Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing....& GIVEAWAY WINNER

Each winter, we have a summer meal on a "warm" day and it was 50 degrees last week so we grilled.  I love lemons, and have been making Giada's lemon basil chicken since 2011 when I found the recipe. This grilled chicken is very moist, and the basil dressing is fresh and citrusy. The longer you marinate the chicken, the better!

 The grilled chicken is like summer on a plate. We froze corn on the cob from our favorite farm in August, and it was tasty with the chicken. 
And just in case you aren't quite sure whether you'd enjoy this wonderful summer chicken dish, you can read reviews about the recipe by clicking here. Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

There is also a video of adorable Giada making this dish if you are interested. 

Here is the recipe:

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2009
(Serves 6 )


2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves

1 large garlic clove

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel


Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a resalable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.

Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plates, drizzle with the basil sauce and serve.

The winner of the Serious Chocolate Lovers giveaway from Honduras Chocolate is:

Karen @ Back Road Journal

Congratulations Karen! Enjoy your flight of chocolate. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Calling Serious Chocolate Lovers - A Giveaway

Are you a serious chocolate lover like me? I know not everyone is, including my son who doesn't understand how I can eat dark chocolate. I prefer pure, organically grown with cane sugar and no additives. I have a chocolate square after my dinner and call it dessert. 

 Imagine my surprise when a representative of Honduras Chocolate Company from Denver, CO contacted me to see if I wanted to receive a box of chocolate made from organically-grown, single-origin cacao, grown and manufactured in the rainforests of Honduras. All their chocolate products are gluten-free (several friends and family members will appreciate this), dairy-free and non GMO. 

The cacao is grown by an exclusive network of Honduran farmers, and the company invests in the farmers, their families and pay higher-than-fair-trade prices. They are passionate about chocolate as well as Honduras, and the company was founded to provide a sustainable economic solution, ensuring a brighter future and stronger economic chocolate bar at a time.

Just leave me a comment telling me how you use dark chocolate in your baking (it's great in brownies), and I will pick a winner on January 14. The winner will receive a flight of bars so you can taste the different cacao percentages (just in time to make your Valentine's Day dessert). Thank you to for this wonderful giveaway!
I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.