Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Giveaway for National Pasta Day

October 17 is National Pasta Day and I'm a little late posting! Not to worry it's pasta week in North America. 
Leave me a comment and I will pick one winner on October 24. GOOD LUCK!! I hope you win. I know I would love to win this!!!   

In honor of this *delicious* day, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in New York City has offered me this giveaway.  One of my readers will receive two of Patsy’s famous pasta sauces and a copy of their latest cookbook. 

Fra Diavolo Sauce - Spicy! Plump fresh tomatoes simmered to a delicate fiery finish with fresh garlic, parsley, onions, crushed red
 pepper and a hint of fresh-picked basil.        

Vodka Sauce- A distinctive and elegant tomato sauce. It's made without garlic, and instead accented with vodka and imported spices. The addition of heavy cream gives it a velvety, smooth texture.   

Patsy’s Italian Family Cookbook- A big, warm, beautiful Italian cookbook with full color throughout, Patsy's Italian Family Cookbook is a great book for those who know the restaurant, and the nationally distributed sauce and pasta line, but also for those who love classic Italian. All recipes are passed down family recipes.

I'm also including a recipe for Spaghetti and Veal Meatballs (Frank Sinatra's favorite dish).  
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
I have often heard that Patsy’s has the best meatballs in New York. These tasty icons of Italian-American cuisine do have a secret ingredient: ground veal, which has more natural gelatin than ground beef or pork, and provides extra moisture.

1 ½ pounds ground veal
⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of dried oregano

2 cups olive oil, for frying
1 pound spaghetti
4 cups tomato sauce
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

1.  To make the meatballs: Combine the veal, bread crumbs, eggs, Pecorino Romano, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix them together thoroughly. Roll into 12 meatballs and transfer to a plate.

2.    Line a platter or baking sheet with paper towels and place near the stove. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet and heat over high heat until the oil is shimmering (350° F on a deep-frying thermometer). Working in batches, without crowding, carefully add the meatballs and fry, turning occasionally, until they are nicely browned, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper towels. Reheat the oil to shimmering before adding each batch.

3.    Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

4.   Bring the tomato sauce to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and reduced the heat to medium-low. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. 

5.   When the meatballs are added to the sauce, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return it to its cooking pot. Add about half of the tomato sauce and mix well. Divide the pasta and meatballs among pasta bowls and top with the remaining sauce. Serve hot with the Parmigiano-Reggiano passed on the side.
I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday. Happy Pasta Day! We should get the day off from work to make some homemade pasta. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

National Bundt Day 2016 - Zucchini Bundt Cake

I got a head start on National Bundt Day which is November 15 every year. I'm giving you advance notice so you can make your favorite bundt cake ;o) This summer, I was craving zucchini bread and have been making Kitty's Zucchini Bread (which I gave 5 stars) since 2013. 

This zucchini bread recipe came from Kitty's Kozy Kitchen, and it was given to her from a friend in Ohio years ago. She changed it up slightly by reducing the sugar and changing the spice measurements a bit. It is so good! 

I used three different zucchini bread recipes over the last few summers, and brought a loaf of each to my office for a taste test. Kitty's bread was voted #1. And five stars! They all mentioned how good the topping was. 

 3 cups flour
 1 t. salt 
1 t. baking powder 
 1 t. baking soda 
3 t. cinnamon 
1/4 t. ground cloves 
1/4 t. ground allspice
 Some freshly grated nutmeg 
 3 eggs 
1 cup vegetable oil
 1 1/2 cups sugar
 2 cups grated zucchini (if your zucchini is very large, scoop out the seeds and grate the rest)
 2 t. vanilla
 3/4 cup chopped nuts or golden raisins, optional (I used walnuts)


 2 T. white sugar 
2 T. brown sugar 
1/2 t. cinnamon 

Mix together the first eight ingredients with a whisk and set aside. Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Mix lightly but well. Add the dry ingredients and mix. Stir in the nuts or raisins, if using. Mix the topping ingredients together. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pans. Sprinkle on the topping, if using. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then turn out to finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Do you have a bundt pan collection, and do you have a favorite bundt cake that you make over and over? 

Thanks for stopping by and Be well. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Au revior, N'awlins! ....This and That

I should have titled this blog post -- "Where Did September (and summer) Go". 

Last weekend, we let the good times roll and eleven family members celebrated my sisterinlaw's 60th birthday at Irene's Cuisine in New Orleans. We arrived Friday afternoon for a long weekend and tried to squeeze in as much as possible including going on a swamp and bayou tour (I was pretty brave to hold a baby alligator - not so cute when it gets bigger), shopped on Magazine Street and the French Market, toured Mardi Gras World, listened to musicians at Jackson Square and celebrated Cheryl's birthday in a surprise birthday parade that my brotherinlaw snuck in on Bourbon Street. You may be familiar with the wedding parades that are popular in New Orleans, and it requires a lot of planning to get the permit, hire the jazz band and hire police officers for a birthday parade. Fun was had by all, including the "strangers" that joined us for the parade. We stayed in a house on Burgundy Street in the French Quarter that our family found on Airbnb. It worked well for 11 people. 

The dahlias are still putting on quite a show, and I am very slowly getting into fall decor. I bought some Jack Be Little pumpkins and wrapped them in ribbon. They are on display and will be eventually used at place settings. We attended a brunch for Xavier's baptism, and Joe made 120 cannoli. He's the man! My son Bryon is tall, and Alissa is so petite so I love the picture of Bryon trying to be shorter in the Baptism photo. 

We finally got the photos from Nick and Meshal's wedding. They were married at the end of July, and the photographers were very busy with summer weddings. 

Tomorrow we are going on a winery tour for my niece's bachelorette weekend, and Joe is making muffuletta for our trip. The muffuletta is so good in New Orleans!  I'll share photos  and reviews of this Muffuletta sandwich recipe next week. Can't wait to sink my teeth into it. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Farm to Table Dinner

On Friday, we attended a Farm to Table event at a winery. Cheese, crackers and grapes were set up under the pergola with local wines. There was a “Plan B” if the weather didn’t cooperate, but we were fortunate to enjoy one of the most beautiful evenings of summer and surrounded by the beauty of the expansive winery landscape.  

 A delicious local meal and memorable evening that we’ll never forget. We were a group of six, and our dining companions new and old shared family style platters of delicious, seasonal and local food. 

We sat at the long table with stunning vases of sunflowers down the center of the table, and there were several round tables of eight. The winery used the vases of sunflowers again last evening for a Hospital Gala. 

I was inspired with ways to prepare my fall harvest CSA local farm share. The garlic parmesan swiss chard, bourbon glazed carrots, buttery rosemary roasted potatoes and roasted butternut squash with apples will be on our fall dinner menu.  In the photo below, we enjoyed mixed greens with edible sunflowers, toasted sunflower seeds, apples and an autumn raspberry vinaigrette with honey cornbread muffins.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shortbread tart that is too good not to share

If you are looking for a simple and delicious dessert that will delight all, Scott and Chris at The Cafe Sucre Farine have mastered the buttery shortbread and fruit tart. I've made this tart twice, once with raspberry jam and a second time with lemon curd. Joe said the only other desserts he ever needs are chocolate chip cookies and cannoli! And as Chris says, don't be surprised if someone asks for a moment of silence. Here's the recipe, and do check out Scott and Chris' blog for their review of the recipe. The powdered sugar on top is a must.


  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup almond flour*
  • ¾ cup raspberry jam**
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat until creamy. Add vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Add the all-purpose and almond flours and mix on low speed, just until flour is incorporated and large crumbles start to form.
  3. Spray a 10-inch tart pan with baking spray or grease well and press one half of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and freeze while bottom crust is baking, (no longer than 15 minutes).
  4. Bake the bottom crust 10-12 minutes, until just beginning to firm and turn pale golden brown at the edges.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes, then spread the raspberry jam/preserves evenly over the crust, leaving a ¼ inch border around the edge without jam** (sees Notes for a pretty presentation tip).
  6. Remove the remaining dough from freezer and, with your fingers, sprinkle it in big crumbles over the jam to form a topping.
  7. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until topping is firm and crisp and lightly golden in color, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then dust lightly with powdered sugar, if desired.
  8. Use a sharp knife to cut bars into small wedges. Serve warm (I used the microwave for about 10 seconds for each wedge) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
  9. Dessert can be made 6-8 hours in advance. It can also be made and frozen after cooling. To serve after freezing, allow to thaw then warm for 10-12 minutes in a 300˚ oven.

I'm joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.