I recently went to an event hosted by Verizon at the destination store in Santa Monica. It was a very interesting evening and I learned a great deal about tech devices and gadgets which I loved. However, I am first and foremost a cook and all I kept thinking about when confronted with all that red - red bags, red logo, red on the walls, red everywhere - were strawberries. I could almost smell them. I couldn't get them out of my mind and it is, in California, strawberry season after all.
Cabbage & Apple Slaw with Burrata
In Northern Italy, where I am from, cabbage makes its way into many a dish. Here, I've made my version of American coleslaw with a very Italian spin on it. Locally grown cabbage, green apples, fresh dill and topped with a beautiful burrata from Bel Gioso really uplifts the humble slaw and makes it elegant. Delicious, refreshing and healthy.
Coq au Vin, California Style
My little California twist on a favorite recipe. White wine and herbs d'Provence make this chicken dish perfect for a summer evening dinner with friends.
Pesce in saor
A very traditional Northern Italian dish. Fish picked in brine and spices.
The ricotta tart is almost cheesecake-like but a little more dense and filling, while still seeming light and refreshing. A perfect accompaniment to a sparkling dessert wine on a summer evening.
Turmeric Gelato & Floating Islands
I love the Indian spice turmeric and am always looking for ways to incorporate it into my cooking. I came across fresh turmeric root in a store along with fresh plums. It gave me the idea for a homemade gelato topped with the stone fruit. The result was beautiful. Ice cold sweetness, glorious color and the slight bitterness of the spice offset by the tanginess of the fruit. Perfectly wonderful!
The delicate and cool taste of cucumbers has always intrigued me. I tried my hand at incorporating that delicacy into a simple risotto made not with arborio rice, but regular white, long grain rice. I added some cotija cheese and a little onion.
Stemmari Cantodoro Risotto with Cherries & Gorgonzola
In Italy, wine is very much a part of the culture and I grew up being well acquainted with it.
In my region, the month of October means the weather is cooler after the humid summer, the grapes are just beginning to get that fullness that signifies readiness for winemaking. I remember the smells of the grapes, the way the skins appeared full to bursting with juice - the juice that would become wine.
Fagiolini in umido
A little steam, fresh green beans, tomatoes and cheese makes for a perfect vegetarian meal. Fast, fresh and healthy this is one of my favorite go-to dishes when I'm cooking at home for the family.
Purple Peppers Stuffed with Curried Okra
I was inspired by the purple peppers I found at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. I roasted them right over the open flame on my stove, filled them with curried okra and served. The okra was fresh, locally grown and also sourced from the Farmer's Market. They looked stunning and tasted delicious.