Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pimento Cheese Spread

Pimento Cheese Spread
makes about 2 cups
Pimento cheese can best be described as southern comfort  food, it makes a great spread on crackers, apples, or pears  and is one heck of a grilled cheese sandwich!  The taste of this recipe is also much better than that of the commercial product in the little bottle.


1 pound sharp  yellow Cheddar cheese, grated
1 small jar of pimentos, drained and roughly chopped
½  cup mayonnaise
½  teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Kosher or sea salt, to taste


1.  Place all  cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and cayenne pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender and processes until smooth.

2.  Place the cheddar cheese/mayonnaise mixture in a bowl and stir in the chopped pimentos until they are evenly distributed.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

3.  Transfer to a  serving dish to serve immediately or to storage a storage contained to use later.  Makes a great grilled cheese sandwich!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala
4 servings

Veal has become very expensive and, at times, difficult to  get so we developed this recipe as veal alternatives using skinless chicken breasts.    Using butter to sauté the meat will give the dish richness while the addition of oil will retard burning of the butter.


olive oil for frying
1 cup Marsala wine
4 tablespoons of butter
1 pound of mushroom sliced
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to about 1/4- inch thick)
All-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging the chicken
3/4 cup chicken broth


1.   Heat the 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium and sauté the mushrooms until tender and nicely coloured.  Set aside.

2.   Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
3.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan and sauté the chicken or pork for 1 minute per side. Remove to a platter and keep warm in a low oven.

4.  Add Marsala to the pan. Deglaze, then add chicken stock to the pan and let reduce and thicken.  If the sauce does not thicken add a mixture of cornstarch and water, stirring until it thickens. 

5.   When the sauce has begun to thicken, add the mushrooms and stir to mix in.

6.   Arrange the chicken or pork on a serving platter and pour the sauce and mushrooms over.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pesto di basilico

Pesto di basilico
(Basil Pesto)
makes 1 ½ cups

If you love garlic and basil you're gonna' love this spicy Italian sauce/dip!


2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
3 or 4 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup)

Minestra Maritata
(Italian Wedding Soup)
Serves 8
Though it may be romantic to think so, Italians really do not serve  this soup at weddings,   Minestra Maritata literally translates as “Married Soup”, its American name  “Italian Wedding Soup” came from someone who was not familiar with Italian dialects who decided to translate "maritata" (married) as "wedding".  Italians call this soup, which is  made by combining together flavourful tiny meatballs with  broth and vegetables, maritata because all  the ingredients  blend or “marry” well together (
 “si sposano” in Italian).  In spite of its real history, please feel free to serve this delicious soup at your wedding if you'd like.



8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1 small onion, micro-planed
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves  garlic, peeled and micro-planed 
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for frying


12 cups chicken broth
 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 pound of escarole, trimmed and cut into 1/2 strips*
1 1/4  cups  dried pastina or acini di pepe pasta
 2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
 Kosher or sea salt, to taste
 freshly ground black pepper, taste


1.  In a large mixing bowl combine the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Shape the meat mixture into ¾ to 1-inch diameter meatballs.  Bring the oil to the ripple stage in a frying and fry meatballs in batches (don't crowd the cooking meatballs) to a rich brown, 3 to 5 minutes (they may still be pink on the inside but that's ok, they'll finish cooking in the soup), add additional olive oil as necessary.  As the meatballs cook set them on aside on a paper towel lined dish, you should end up with about 30 meatballs.

2.  In a large pot over medium heat bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Add the carrots, escarole, the oregano, salt and black pepper to taste. 

3.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs.  Cook the meatballs  and carrots until  the carrots are softened. 

4.  Add the pasta and  cook until they are al dente, about 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. 

5.   Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls or into a large bowl for family service and serve accompanied by freshly grated  parmesan cheese and crusty Italian  or French bread.

* if you have trouble finding escarole you can substitute spinach or arugula (rocket) 

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