Thursday, December 27, 2012


Fontina Arancini

Often when making risotto there will be leftovers and what to do with them becomes a question.
A good idea is to make Arancini, which are little balls of rice filled with either meat or cheese, dusted in breadcrumbs and fried till golden. It has origins in Sicily and that's where the name derives from. The shape and color of the cooked rice ball looks like a little orange -and that's what Arancina means. These little bites are perfect for a snack or served as a hot appetizer at parties.

Cooked and cooled Arborio rice (risotto)
Small half inch diced cheese or meat (Fontina is really nice)
Good quality bread crumbs or Panko
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Form small bite size balls of the cooked rice, a small ice cream scoop works well.
2. Push a piece of cheese into the center of the ball and close up the opening.
3. Roll in the bread crumbs to evenly coat.
4. Carefully heat the vegetable oil to about 300-325F, a deep fryer thermometer helps
5. Gently place the balls into the hot oil and fry till golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
6. Keep warm in low temperature oven till ready to serve.

Note: These can be made ahead of time and even frozen till ready to fry. In the photo I used Fontina cheese and saffron risotto which gives the rice the deep yellow color.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Romanesco Broccoli

There's an unusual looking vegetable called Romanesco Broccoli; it's a cross between common broccoli and cauliflower with little spiny florets. It's origins are Italian from where it gets the Roman name. It has a beautiful light green color with a mild broccoli flavor and it's an easy vegetable to cook. In the photo I cut it up into smaller bite size pieces and sauteed with tomato, garlic and lots of olive oil. It's in season right now- go and get get some to serve along side your favorite foods.

Chick Pea Soup with Bacon and Kale

Chick Pea and Kale Soup

It's rainy and cold so a warm bowl of soup sounds good. I made nice soup tonight with chick peas that I really liked and I think I will make often. This soup is a different take on the classic bean and bacon using lots of vegetables that are blended to make the soup silky-smooth. Bacon can be easily left out for a vegetarian version, but I think the smoky meat flavor is a great addition.

Chick Pea, Kale and Bacon

2 cups Chick peas, Cooked
2 Carrots, Peeled and Diced
2 Celery stalks, Diced
1/4 Yellow Onion, Diced
1/2 bunch Kale (sliced thin)
3 cloves Garlic, Sliced
3 cups Water or Chicken Stock
1 T Fresh Thyme, Fine chopped
1 T Fresh Sage, Fine chopped
3 Strips Smoky Bacon, Thick diced and crispy cooked
Dash Olive Oil
Kosher Salt/Pepper

1. Saute the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in the olive oil till translucent.
2. Next add half of the chick peas and the stock, bring to a simmer and cook till the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the fresh herbs and blend the soup till it's smooth; add more water if it's too thick.
4. Bring back to the pan and simmer. Add the rest of the chick peas, bacon and the kale.
5. Cook till kale is wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Yield = 6 servings
Note: A drizzle of Extra virgin olive oil in the serving bowls is a nice flavorful touch.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peanut Brittle

Sweet and Crunchy Peanut Brittle

One of the easiest sweets to make is a nut brittle with only a few ingredients needed. This recipe uses peanuts, but any kind of nuts can be used.

Peanut Brittle
1 quart sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 quart peanuts 
1/3 cup butter

1. In a heavy pan or pot add the sugar, corn syrup and a dash of water, stir well.
2. Slowly bring to a simmer and using a candy thermometer bring the temperature up to 300F.
3. Add the nuts and butter, stir well till they are evenly coated.
4. Have a flat sheet pan greased with oil and on a surface where the hot candy will not damage it.
5. Carefully pour out the hot mixture and using a heatproof spatula spread it out evenly.
6. Allow to cool completely, then break into smaller bite size pieces.

Note: Corn syrup does not have to be used in the recipe, but will help prevent the sugar mixture from crystallizing during the cooking process.

Cooking sugar to the right temperature 

There are many stages in cooking sugar depending on what recipe you are making; brittle being hard and crunchy needs to be cooked to 300 degrees, which is called the Hard Crack Stage.

Peanuts in the hot cooked sugar

When the liquid sugar reaches 300F it's ready and the nuts can be carefully added using a heat proof spatula. Caution -it's very hot.

Poured into a lightly greased sheet pan

After the brittle is poured and allowed to cool, it can be broken into any size or shape.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Week Night Dinner- Pork Chops

Grilled Pork Chop with Black Cherry Onion Jam
I had a energy-filled free night so I spent some time cooking dinner; a nice thick pork chop. The first thing to make was the red onion "jam" using thin sliced red onions and black cherry juice which I slowly cooked down till soft and syrupy and I added a splash of apple cider vinegar to balance the sweetness of the cherry juice. Next I made risotto cakes using fine diced onions and sweet potatoes. After it was allowed to cool, I formed little round cakes using a ring mold which will later go into a pan to reheat and crisp the outside. Green Swiss Chard was washed and cut into ribbons ready for a hot pan. The star of the show is the pork chop, which I seasoned and put in a smoking hot grill pan that was put in a 400F oven to finish cooking. About eight minutes later it all comes together on a plate ready to serve. Pass the wine please.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Restaurant, Lincoln Park

Pork Belly with Pear Sauce and Cheese Grits

Seared Rock Cod with Spinach and Chick peas

It's been close to 20 years since I worked with my friend, Chef Steve Simmons. In the beginning we both opened One Market Restaurant in San Francisco and since then our paths have crossed many times as we have both worked in different Bay Area restaurants. Steve's newest project is his restaurant and wine bar, Lincoln Park in San Anselmo, California. In the short time it has been open, the reviews have been really good, and the public loves it. Steve has embraced sourcing and using local ingredients cooked simply, and the menu reflects that. The mostly Northern California wine list also fetches a good selection available in a variety of serving sizes. The food is served on medium-sized plates, perfect for ordering a selection and sharing,. There is also a daily chalkboard menu with specials too.

Lincoln Park
198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
San Anselmo, CA 94960
415 453 9898
Open every evening 4:30-10:00 (12am on Friday-Saturday)

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Not Your Average Dorm Meal

Pan Seared Chicken Thigh, Sweet Potato Oven Fries, Wilted Kale

My daughter came home from college last night for her Christmas break. She had lots of complaints about the poor quality of food that is available at school and, "...can you cook me dinner?" After a quick trip to the local store, I had some of her favorite ingredients to make her dinner. In a large saute pan I browned chicken thighs and breasts, then I put sweet potato spears in the same pan to go into the oven to cook. After about 20-30 minutes it was all done. I removed the chicken and sweet potatoes to serving plates and into the same pan and wilted fine-sliced kale seasoned with just a touch of kosher salt. Quick and easy with only one pan to wash. My daughter was happy and she knows she will eat good during the breaks.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Sausalito Breakfast at Fred's Coffee Shop

Florentine Eggs Benedict
I think most people will agree that some of the best places for breakfast are little "Mom and Pop" restaurants. Sausalito, California has a few popular ones, and the one I visit on a regular basis is Fred's. It just might be the oldest restaurant there with 40 years and counting. Located on Bridgeway St., which is just down the road from the town's tourist area. The interior of the restaurant is a just a big open room with kitchen and counter seating on one side, small and community tables on the other side. Local vintage photos and art hang on the walls with copies of the morning paper passed from table to table. The menu is a straight forward breakfast and basic lunch menu including lots of egg dishes prepared in a variety of ways. I normally go with a spicy meat omelet or a form of potato hash. One of the culinary tricks they use is to blend eggs until frothy in a old style milkshake blender before they cook with them, resulting in light and airy eggs that are never hard and rubbery. It's a popular restaurant with the locals and the few stray tourists that wonder by; go check it out. Open every day 7am to 230pm.

Fred's Coffee Shop
1917 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA
415 332 4575

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crispy Pork Belly Rice Bowl

Pork Belly, Shiitake and Kimchee Rice Bowl

Slow Braise Pork Belly Crisping in pan
Pork Belly, a old meat cut enjoyed in a new way. For most people, strips of bacon have been the only way they have eaten or even heard of pork belly. It has now become trendy with food lovers and chefs everywhere. By cooking a big cut of this meat you have more options on how to serve it, but having these large cuts will change the way you have to cook it. I like to braise it in a flavorful liquid using my pressure cooker; what would take hours in a conventional pot takes a third of the time. After it's cooked to a falling- apart tenderness, it can be cut and put in a pan to crisp it. In this recipe I used a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sake for the braising liquid. After cooking and crisping it in a pan, I added sauteed Shiitake mushrooms which I spooned over steamed jasmine rice and a big scoop of spicy kimchee finished the dish. I enjoyed, and recommend a cold Asian beer to go with it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Potato Cakes

A favorite side dish for me are potato cakes. They are a easy to make ahead and serve when you are ready for them. The basic idea is to cook any kind of potato till just done, but still with some firmness. When cooled, you break them up into small chunks. At this point any seasoning or filling can be mixed in; try using chopped fresh herbs, chopped bacon, ham or maybe caramelized onions? I like to add diced and cooked sweet potatoes for flavor and a nice color. Once all the ingredients are mixed in, you may scoop into ring molds or some kind of container to form a round and flat shape. Now formed, it's easy to freeze them or just store in the fridge until ready to use. A non-stick or cast iron pan is great for reheating and gives them a nice golden brown color. These in the photo had a filling of sweet potatoes, cooked bacon, caramelized onions and fresh sage and were cooked in butter with more fresh sage. Give them a try -I promise you will like them.

Crispy Potato Cakes cooked in butter with sage

Monday, November 26, 2012

Locally Caught Fresh Squid with Pasta

Fresh Squid Pasta with Tomatoes and Chili Flakes

Today while driving through San Francisco on my way home from work, I had the idea of visiting one of my favorite Asian markets The New May Wah on Clement Street. Great for all things Asian and with excellent seafood too. I had in mind fresh squid caught locally just South of here in the very deep Monterey Bay.
At only $1.99 a pound it was no problem buying a few pounds to take home. After cleaning the squid the question is "How long to cook it?" There are only two ways to cook squid-very quickly, or slowly for a long time because anything in between will be just too tough and chewy. I went with a long, slow braise with white wine, fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil that was all tossed in freshly cooked spaghetti. It turned out great and was perfect for a quiet Monday night.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stuffed Pork Loin with Beet Greens and Sweet Potatoes

Getting ready for Winter with a pork loin chop stuffed with caramelized onions, served with sweet potato mash and braised beet greens. Yes- the tops of beets should never be thrown away, but cooked with maybe a splash of vinegar and a touch of bacon- delicious. The pork is easy to make with a slit cut in the side and stuffed with a few tablespoons of slow cooked caramelized onions then into a hot pan and into a 400F oven to finish cooking. In the same hot oven go the sweet potatoes to cook in their skins till soft, then the potato is scooped out and mixed with cream and a touch of butter.

An Almost Vegetarian Meal

I made a dish tonight using almost all vegetables and grains, but with my weakness for smoked bacon or Italian pancetta I had to add a little. Bacon gives a lot of flavor, and a little bit will go a long way. I started by making a Faro pilaf with sliced yellow onions, garlic, fresh thyme and faro. I sauteed the onion and garlic then added the herbs and faro with water to cover. While this was simmering, I peeled baby carrots, shaved the Brussel sprouts and diced pancetta. This all went into a saute pan to slowly cook till all the vegetables were tender and had a slight char to them. By this time the faro was done and it all goes onto a plate. Good stuff and feeling good about eating my veggies.

Sauted Vegetables and Faro Pilaf

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Just Chicken, Kale and Pancetta

Sometimes less is more. In the case of a quick week night dinner, it's very true. I wanted to cook something using only a few ingredients and I came up with oven-roasted chicken thighs cooked in diced pancetta.
The best part about using chicken thighs, is the richer flavor that I prefer over milder chicken breasts, and they stay moist when cooked. Using pancetta, which is a form of cured bacon that is not smoked, provides lots of flavor, but you have to be careful with it because it can be salty. I suggest either blanching it to remove some of its saltiness, or use it as the only salty ingredient in the dish. After it has cooked in the oven the pan juices become the cooking liquid for the kale, and they absorb all that flavor too. It's a great colorful winter dish that does not require a lot of fuss.

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs with Kale

Chicken Thighs with Pancetta and Kale

4 organic chicken thighs
1 ounce pancetta, diced
1 bunch Kale, cleaned (I used "Dino")
dash olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a hot pan place a dash of olive oil in and arrange the chicken skin side down.
3. Cook on top of stove for a minute then place in oven for 30 minutes.
4. Add the diced Pancetta to pan, continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and keep chicken warm, add kale to pan.
6. Cook kale with the pancetta on stove top till wilted and tender.
7. Arrange the kale on platter or plates, add chicken.

Note: A starch like roast or mashed potatoes works great with it and I hope you are drinking a glass of good wine while it cooks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

California Little Neck Clams

Northern California Little Neck Clams

I love eating these tender little neck clams whenever I get a chance and I had the chance this last weekend. It was a quick local road trip to Tomales Bay, California where our group visited the popular Tomales Bay Oyster Company. This company is more of a blue-collar company then the expensive Hog Island Oyster Company down the road. It is a fully self-contained area with picnic tables, BBQ grills, ice and lots of oysters. A good find on this trip were little neck clams which are ready to harvest and available now. I bought a dozen to eat raw and some more to take home to cook. These clams when eaten raw have a nice firm texture with a sweet, briny flavor. The ones I took home were simply cooked with diced smoky bacon, sliced garlic, thyme, green beans and white wine. They quickly steamed open and were served with crusty bread for sopping up all the good juices; delicious.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

San Francisco Fall Fest 2012

San Francisco Style Crab Cakes 

Beets and Goat Cheese

"The crowd favorite" BBQ Pork Belly

Smoked Trout with Plantain

San Francisco Skyline

On a recent Saturday I attended San Francisco Magazine's Fall Fest at Justin Herman Plaza. This was a perfect spot for it with the historic Ferry Building just across the street. Its a nice event and a way to enjoy some of the best local restaurant foods and wines while benefiting its charity Meals on Wheels, this great organization delivers food to people in need. It seemed like the crowd favorites this year were no surprise all the seafood dishes and the two booths serving crispy seared pork bellies. They were my favorites too.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Just a Simple Weeknight Salmon Dish

Salmon with Vegetables

I like when my refrigerator is fully stocked with food; it makes fixing a meal really easy with a wide range of ingredients available. Last night it was Seared Salmon with a sauté of spinach, artichokes, potatoes and bacon. It can all be cooked in the same pan to make cleaning up just as easy.

Weeknight Salmon

2 4oz Salmon Fillet
1 small russet potato, diced
2 strips Smoky Bacon, diced
3-4 small cooked Artichokes, quartered
1 handful Spinach
1 dash olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. In a large oven proof pan, sauté the bacon and Potatoes till crisp.
3. Add the artichokes and spinach, move mixture to one side.
4. Season the Fish and place in pan.
5. Put pan in oven till fish is cooked, about eight minutes.
6. Remove pan and place a mound of vegetables in center of plates, add fish on top.
7. Drizzle with Olive oil.

Yield = 2

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicken Ballotine with a Spicy Twist

Just this past weekend at my local market, I was eyeing the whole chickens and came up with an idea for my dinner. The famous old-school recipe of chicken Ballotine which is close to a Galantine, but not poached and served cold. A ballontine is a whole bird or leg with all the bones carefully removed leaving the skin intact with the meat; it's then stuffed, roasted and served hot or cold. Many years ago when I last did this recipe for my mom, she was shocked when I was able to slice the cooked chicken and there were not any bones!
For this recipe I decided on a Spanish theme by using rice, chorizo sausage and smoked paprika for the filling. The hardest part was carefully cutting the bones out with removing the meat or cutting the skin, known in the industry as "tunnel boning" because it's like a tunnel going through the bird. Next I cooked the stuffing with garlic, onions, rice, paprika, chorizo, parsley and chicken stock made with the bones. The filling is placed inside and the bird is trussed up and slowly roasted till fully cooked. It's ready to serve and will make a dramatic presentation at the dinner table.

Chorizo and Rice Stuffing

Fully Cooked and Ready to Slice

Completely Deboned and Stuffed

Thursday, October 04, 2012

More Food Trucks Giving More Dining Choices

Off the Grid Presents Food Trucks

Trucks lined up at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur

The Chairman's Pork Belly Steamed Bun with Pickled Radish

The Taco Guys doing what they do best
Food trucks are defiantly not a fad anymore and seem to be here to stay. This is a good option when you need a quick bite of food and do not want to sit down in a restaurant or even lower yourself to eating in a fast-food place. The San Francisco Bay area has a organization called Off the Grid; it's almost like a co-op for food trunks and groups them together in high traffic areas or near a sponsored event like farmers markets. Locally here in Marin County on Sunday is a gathering of these food trucks at the Larkspur Country Mart which is directly across the street from the Golden Gate Ferry Terminal. It is a good spot because of easy parking and great views of the Bay and Marin's famous Mt. Tam. This last week we went right to The Taco Guys truck for fish tacos and The Chairman for pork belly steamed buns- the perfect amount of good food on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Business Dining, Not Your Average Cafeteria Food Anymore

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area it's not new anymore for big companies to have onsite dining for their employees that could rival some of the best restaurants in town. Gone are the days when a company calls all the shots; now to attract and keep talent, a company needs to have good perks for the employee such as top-notch food. Food service companies catering to the needs of these corporations will feature elaborate restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine such as sushi and noodle bars to real Texas style BBQ, which one bay area company uses on a regular basis. On today's menu is dry rubbed and smoked whole organic chicken, pork baby back ribs and beef brisket. First, a special "secret" blend of spices is rubbed all over the meats and allowed to marinate and cure for 24 hours. Then it's time to spend a specified period in the semi-cool almond smoke to give flavor before going into the oven to finish cooking at a low temperature till fully cooked. We served these meats with a house made BBQ sauce and classic sides of corn on the cob, coleslaw and potato salad. It was a huge hit and the last taste of Summer for most of the employees.

Whole Chickens Smoking

Smoked Chickens and Ribs ready for the oven

Beef Brisket with Sauce ready to serve

Monday, September 17, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes, a healthy upgrade

It was a classic 'what to make for dinner"moment the other night, I searched all of my ingredients on hand and came up with these baked and stuffed potatoes. These are close to the common ones you will find in restaurants but are not greasy and fatty with lots of cheap cheese. My version used only a little bacon and a touch of Parmesan cheese for flavor. To start I used russet potatoes wrapped in foil and baked at 400F for about a hour till soft and tender, next when they were cool to the touch they are cut in half and the inside potato pulp is scooped out and reserved, while the potatoes were cooking I shaved brussel sprouts and cooked them with olive oil, diced onions, garlic, chopped herbs and smoked bacon. The reserved potato pulp is mashed into the brussel sprout mixture with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The hollow potato skins go back into the oven for about 15 minutes to brown and crisp up before being removed to be filled with the mashed potato, then back into the oven to brown on top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. They are now ready to eat and served with a salad for a delicious and healthy meal.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Mini Scallop Tostadas

Bite Size Scallop Tostadas
Mini Crispy Fried Corn Tortillas

Scallop and Corn Saute

Going to my local market is always a mystery because I never really know what I will buy; on a recent trip it was small bay scallops that caught my eye. Their small size gave me two ideas, one idea was a pasta tossed with them using Summer's best heirloom tomatoes and some of that home made basil pesto in my fridge. My second idea was Mexican seafood ceviche with plenty of jalapeno and cilantro. In the end I used that idea to make a cooked version. I started by making a sauté of the small scallops, fresh yellow corn, lime juice and cilantro. Next I cut small rounds out of corn tortillas and fried them till crisp, and then topped with mashed black beans and the scallop mixture. They turned out great, and a sprinkle of hot sauce hit the spot. I think they would be a hit at a party.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pop Up Restaurants, The New Trend

Chef's Jonathan Sutton and Tony Ferari

Local Halibut with Orzo Pasta

I recently visited a Chef friends pop up restaurant, the Hillside Supper Club in San Francisco. What makes this restaurant different is that it shares the space with a full-time restaurant; it's a very clever idea of opening a restaurant without the stress of buying or leasing a property, and all the problems that can come from owning a place full time. "Pop ups" take over a restaurant on the days the place would normally be closed, so it's win-win for everyone. The guest chef gets to cook his food in a public setting, the restaurant owner gets a small fee for the nights he's closed and the public gets to eat in both restaurants. My Chef friend Jonathan Sutton who is one of the Chef/owners is a veteran of many well known eateries, and now after doing the pop up is ready to take over and buy the restaurant in a few weeks. It has been a lot of hard work but has paid off with a loyal following that has grown over the year. Give this place a try and support the restaurant dream for these young chefs.

Hillside Supper Club
Open Evenings, Monday and Tuesday
300 Precita Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94110
1 513 910 8896

Monday, August 27, 2012

A favorite Side Dish

Often when I cook a piece of fish or chicken I will do a one pan side to go along with it; it's much easier to cook and clean that way. Tonight I cooked Coho Salmon and I chose to do a side dish with a combination of sliced Yukon gold potatoes, shaved brussel sprouts, yellow onion and smoked bacon. It all cooks together and is done when the bacon is crispy and the potatoes are tender. Any combination of potatoes and vegetables will work, so give it a try.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oca Potatoes

New Zealand Oca Potatoes

While visiting the city of Berkeley, California today I just had to stop by my favorite market, Berkeley Bowl. It's an amazing place with one of the biggest well-stocked produce departments in the country. Today I bought lots of summer foods, but what really caught my eye this trip was a colorful variety of potato called Oca. It's native to the Andes in South America but fairly common in New Zealand where it is simply known as a yam. The potato is really not much different then a regular waxy potato but the colors are unreal. To cook them I simply roasted with herbs in olive oil and served them along side a piece of salmon.
Oca Ready to Roast

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Breakfast Tart Treat

Homemade Breakfast tart
There is a well known pastry tart that's eaten by kids during breakfast; I am sure it's made with a lot of ingredients that aren't great for you. I decided to made my own using local picked black berries and a homemade short dough crust. To assemble, it's very simple- a square layer of pastry covered with a slightly sweetened layer of cooked blackberries that is again topped with another layer of pastry. Edges are crimped and a egg wash is brushed on top. It bakes at 350F till golden and then into the waiting hands of your kids. Its like eating pie with your hands without the mess.

Beer Can Roasted Chicken

Beer Can Chicken
They say that roasting a perfect chicken is the true test of a accomplished cook, creating a perfectly browned chicken with crisp skin on the outside and moist meat on the inside. There is a method that might seem odd and that is to put a open can of beer inside the chicken while it cooks. It works because it holds the chicken upright so the heat will evenly cook the chicken from all sides and make the skin crisp. The beer inside the can will simmer creating steam that will help cook the chicken on the inside while giving good flavor too. Surprisingly it really works. Imagine maybe a group of guys standing around a barbecue cooking and drinking beer and someone says, "Hey let's prop the chicken up with one of these beers." It all has to start somewhere and maybe that was it? For this chicken I used a dry rub of achiote paste along with salt, pepper and a can of Mexican Modelo beer. When it was done I served it with corn tortillas and cumin-scented black beans.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nonna's Stuffed Zucchini

Fresh Tomato Sauce
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Last weekend I was driving back home from visiting with my mom, she is known as "Nonna" to my kids which means Grandmother in Italian. I always stop at a my favorite roadside produce market and on this day I bought lots of fresh vegetables including some beautiful green zucchini. At first I thought of making a form of ratatouille but instead decided to stuff them like my moms use to do when I was a kid. I of course made some changes to be able to use some of the ingredients I had on hand. They in the end turned out great and helped keep my moms cooking memories alive.

Nonna's Stuffed Zucchini

4 Medium zucchini
2 Italian Sausage links or the same weight in bulk sausage
1 Egg
2 T Bread Crumbs or Panko
1 T Parsley, chopped
1 Corn, kernels removed
1 T Pine nuts (Optional)

1. Cut Zucchini in half length wise and hollow out the center with a Mellon baller, reserve pulp.
2. Put all the rest of the ingredients including the zucchini pulp into a electric mixer with paddle attachment, slowly mix till well blended but without becoming gummy.
3. Spoon the filling into the hallowed out cavity of the zucchini, Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over them.
4. At this point they can be cooked by themselves on a baking sheet or in a saute pan on a bed of fresh tomato sauce.
5. Cook at 375F for about 20 minutes or till the stuffing becomes golden brown.

Serve hot with the tomato sauce or at room temperature.

Fresh Cranberry Bean Salad

Beautiful Bean Pods

Shelled Beans

Tossed and Ready to Eat

On a recent day at my local Farmers Market these white and purple Cranberry Beans caught my eye and started my thought process of "What can I do with them?" A light Summer salad was my first choice and that's what I did. Cooking these beans were simple, shelled and simmered in salted water till tender; I was a little disappointed when the purple speckled beans turned a grayish color when cooked, but they still tasted great. 

Cranberry Bean & Bacon Salad

1 cup shelled cranberry beans
1 Handful washed and dried Arugula
2 Strips Smoked Bacon, cut in thin strips
1T Fine diced red onion
1 T Sherry wine vinegar
3 T Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Simmer the beans in salted water till tender, drain and cool.
2. Cook the bacon till crisp, Blot on paper towels.
3. Whisk the vinegar, oil, onion, salt and pepper together.
4. Toss all ingredients together and arrange on a serving plate.

Yield= 2