SILVIA’S TRAYS

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SILVIA’S TRAYS is a blog for women about fresh, modern, power-loaded but delicious recipes from a mother, chef, wife and an activist.


Here you’ll find recipes for women at war with every day battles; kids, husbands, a tyrant boss, a march on Washington, puberty, sex ,menopause, an-ever budding waist and the constant attack of nowadays relentless twazis.

Silvia’s tray is a combination of my favorite recipes, ideas, stories and foods that I like to eat, cook and share. In the end, Silvia’s Trays it’s about my true passions.  Eating, cooking, family, friends, the people I cook for and I eat with and the relentless pursuit for balance,  peace and equality.

Go on, Share Food.

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Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

A Ratatouille is a beautiful summer excuse to transform humble ingredients like onions, garlic and herbs in to a glorious and delicious  dish. This recipe is very healthy but packed with big flavors. I use zucchini but you could add eggplant, peppers and thin slices of potatoes for a more powerful version.

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Summer Survival Tips

It has been a long month. News and astonishing tweets kept coming fast and furious and I just couldn’t keep up with all of it. Potus, Flotus and annex circus went on their fist big boys and girls trip. There was a hand swat, an unhappy-unlucky Pope photo op, a Covfefe frenzy, followed by awkward tweets about the British Mayor; lets not forget the mocking video from a former Mexican president, the inflated non conclusive FBI hearing and the oncoming Sessions’s Russia testimony.

Luckily I had the opportunity to take a break from all the frenzy and enjoy a visit at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck.  I was very honored to be invited to cook on the main kitchen stage. We prepared a Power Lunch and we ended the demonstration by tasting my recipe for Slow Baked Rhubarb, one of my Spring obsession. At the Country Living Fair I had the chance to clear my head and I was happy to meet many talented artists and friends. I did some great shopping, I ate yummy food and I attended many inspiring craft demonstrations. Including three fabulous workshops by my dear friend Jana Platina, the famous Trim Queen. 


Right after the Country Living Fair I got swept away to the beautiful Culinary Institute of America  for the annual Chef Challenge sponsored by Barilla and organized by  NY Moves Magazine I was paired with super talented  Anthony DiLorenzo, Pixx 11 News  reporter.

We cooked our hearts out. We had 30 minutes to prepare a 3 courses meal with a basket of secret ingredients. The judges got to taste our creations. We had a surprise visit from stunning  Jessica Pimentel who plays Maria Ruiz on the girl-power cast of Netflix Original Series Orange Is The New Black. Loved her! We then headed to a star studded red carpet event at Barilla Restaurant where I got to hang out with the delicious editors of NYMoves Magazine.


Meanwhile, and this I’m excited for, we are testing my recipes for RealEats. If you sign up now you will get three free meals!  RealEats is like having your very own personal chef at home. We use our own version of a helpful cooking method called sous-vide. We craft the recipes, prep and cook the meals, then vacuum-pack them to seal in the freshness, flavors, and nutrients. All you need to do is put the vacuum-packed pouch in a pot of boiling water, and in under 10 minutes, voila, you have a fresh, delicious and nutritious meal. We are getting ready to start shipping my recipes in July. I hope you are hungry.



Finally, I’m sure we are all painfully aware school is coming to an end. Translation — all kids are expected to be home for three months. As a loving mom I’m looking forward to the cozy, lazy afternoons in the sunshine and lots of cuddles in the hummock but as an older and wiser woman I’m preparing for two bored and always hungry children with waaaay too much time to waste and not enough WIFI privilege.

These are few of my summer tips:

  • Put the kids at work. The little one are expensive and often smelly. Force them to earn their living and wash often; example of acceptable chores are : car washing, patio furniture cleaning, garden weeding. Give them water , sponges and soap; then promise, after inspection, a couple of dollars. Please don’t kill it for all of us by throwing ungodly amounts of money at them.

  • Play bank: dump all your coins, lose change and pennies on the table and ask them to organize them and count them. Tell them you will, after they complete the task, give them the loot and perhaps even throw in their own personal bank account, your local bank will let them open a free of charges account with a minimum of $25

  • Start a “Bored Jar”: fill a big jar with written tasks – the grosser the better –  that range from cleaning their room or the toilette after they use it, or baking to doing laundry and cleaning the basement. If they say they are bored send them to the jar. No pity please.

  • Send them to the neighbor (sorry Amy)

  • Make them run up and down the garden at least 25 times. Time them. The kid with the fastest time at the end of the races wins an ice-cream. No mercy win. This will keep the game competitive and you will be able to milk it for a couple of days.

  • Organize a tag sale. Give them a label machine and tell them to price all the items. Negotiate how much they will be able to keep from the sale before hand.

  • Give them water soakers and put them in charge of chipmunk control in the garden. They can take pictures and start a youtube channel. Tell them the best pictures will be uploaded  at the end of the day. This will give them a break on their mounting online addiction and some sort of computer time relief.

  • Last but not least cook together. This is my favorite under 20 minutes summer pasta. It is a bowl of fresh chopped tomatoes, diced mozzarella, basil and garlic oil tossed with a short cooked noodle, then sprinkled with parmesan. It’s very easy to prepare and it taste better at room temperature or cold.  Make sure your tomatoes are ripe and local and choose good quality mozzarella. This is a simple and humble dish but it’s packed with flavor and the whole process is ridiculously easy. It will keep the little one occupied and well fed. #RESIST

Photo By Silvia Baldini

Photo by Silvia Baldini

 

Fresh Summer Tomatoes Pasta Bowl
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Fresh Summer Tomatoes Pasta Bowl
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pack pasta penne, sedanini or rigatoni
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large fresh mozzarella, drained and diced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled sliced really thin
  • 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Boil a large pot of water, add sea salt and cook your pasta according to the directions. Drain, quickly rinse under cold water and place in a large bowl. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, toss the tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl with the basil leaves. I like to rip the basil leaves by hand in small pieces. Season with salt and pepper and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. In a small pan add the olive oil and the slivers of garlic. Cook on low until the garlic is golden then remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. With a slotted spoon remove the garlic and place on paper towel to drain. Reserve the garlic oil and the slivers for later use.
  5. Toss the tomatoes mixture with the pasta. Add the some of the garlic oil and the parmesan. Add a touch of black pepper and toss well. Serve at room temperature with extra parmesan and the garlic slivers on the side.
Recipe Notes

You can make the garlic oil in advance and keep in a glass container at room temperature for up to three weeks. I like to substitute pecorino cheese to the parmesan. Burrata is a delicious and creamy alternative to regular mozzarella.

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Fresh Summer Tomatoes Pasta Bowl

My favorite under 20 minutes summer pasta is a bowl of fresh chopped tomatoes, diced mozzarella, basil and garlic oil tossed with a short cooked noodle, then sprinkled with parmesan. It’s very easy to prepare and it taste better at room temperature or cold.  Make sure your tomatoes are ripe and local and choose good quality mozzarella. This is a simple and humble dish but it’s packed with flavor and the whole process is ridiculously easy.

 

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6 Three Day Weekend Free Give Away Passes To The County Living Fair In Rhinebeck

The COUNTRY LIVING FAIR RETURNS TO RHINEBECK, NEW YORK, JUNE 2-4

I’m so excited to be part of the Country Living Fair this year and very honored to be cooking on the stage where I’ll be doing a demo on Spring Power Lunches.

The Country Living Fair brings the magazine’s content to life and gives readers access to a unique shopping experience featuring more than 200 vendors from 25 states, including antiques sellers, food purveyors, artists, furniture makers, crafters, and more. Guests will also have a chance to meet Country Living editors and their special guests; attend cooking, crafting, and DIY demonstrations, workshops, and book signings; sample locally sourced, artisanal food; and shop the Country Living General Store.

Don’t miss out on this fabulous three day event!  Come And Meet Me On:

Friday, June 2 @ 2:30 pm on the Kitchen Stage


The Fair is  June 2, 3, 4 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Gates open for Early Bird ticket holders at 8:30 a.m. Friday & Saturday at the Duchess County Fairgrounds at 6550 Spring Brook Avenue in Rhinebeck, NY 12572 for more in formations click on the  Country Living Magazine link.

The 2017 Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck is sponsored by The 2017 Ford Experience Tour, Jelly Belly®, and JOANN Stores, and is produced by Stella Show Management Company. For tickets and additional information, including a list of vendors and discounted hotel rates, contact Stella Show Management Co. at 1-866-500-FAIR or www.stellashows.com.

I love the fair and I cannot wait to meet all the amazing artists, chefs, crafters and designer that will be there, plus I’m giving away 6 3-day weekend passes to the Country Living Fair. 

To be eligible simply share this post and leave a comment here or tag me and share on my Facebook page or on my Facebook StrawberryandSage page on my  Instagram or my Twitter account, and let me know WHY I should give YOU a 3 day weekend pass to the event…  Contest runs through Tuesday, May 30th and the winners will be announced on May 31st

 

See You The Fair!

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Puberty Class

Euphoria has been building in our home. The infamous puberty class is happening today. Questions have been flying in for months as well as large packs of manly Axe Deodorant. I have spent hours at the local pharmacy waiting for my son to choose between Gold Temptation, Anarchy For Him and yes, something named Excite Deodorant Stick.

Secretly I want my boy to remain cute, cuddly and stinky forever but as a mother I feel the responsibility to give him the chance to grow up in to a strong, confident, respectful, kind and hopefully succesful man.  The way I see it, we have enough puberty-trapped, spoiled men-children disrupting our lives at the moment.

Below you’ll find some of the questions my husband and I answered this year. My younger daughter of course felt the need to jump in abundantly and she was not shy with her queries. The creatures  seem to be the most curious at inopportune times and/or when guests, grandparents or church ladies are close by, but we have learned to deflect when necessary and to answer with— I hope — honesty and humor.

If you feel the need to sit with your family and have “the talk” or any talk, consider making my recipe for a lighter version of a lasagna tray made with pane Casarau. Pane Casarau is an ancient flat bread from Sardegna. The airy flat layers are simply delicious, salty and crunchy. They are made of flour, yeast, water, and salt. The dough is rolled out thin and baked, then split into two layers which are baked again. The result is a thin, crispy cracker like, bread. This crispy bread is great on its own or served together with a fresh but dry pecorino and thick slices of prosciutto. It’s also delicious when layered in this version of the ultimate family comfort food, my easy and light ragu’ and mozzarella lasagna. This lasagna is healthier, lighter than the original version. The Casarau bread while satisfying has less gluten than pasta resulting in a more digestible dish.

I believe ancient wisdom is always the best ingredient therefore I cannot wait to sit around the family table tonight and dispense my knowledge. I’m sure the discussions will not disappoint. Happy Wednesday to all the ladies working hard at growing boys in to good men, not an easy task. #RESIST

 

Puberty Questions:

Does it hurt to get a baby created?
Why do you have sex?
How do you have sex
When you are going through puberty would a person have mood swings?
When do you start having your period?
When do you start growing hair under your armpits?
Does it feel good to have sex?
What happens if puberty doesn’t happen to you?
Why does puberty happen?
Why do people stop doing puberty?
What is it called when you have a tingling in your private part? Is it called an orgasm?
Can a man have a woman’s part and a woman have a man’s part?
What is an orgasm?
What are the side effects of sex?
What makes semen?
What color is sperm?
If I had all the symptoms of a period would I get it soon even if I’m only 10?
What do men and women have to have to make a child?
Does the flow of the period last days?
How many hormones are in the human body?
What age do you start have and stop having baby?
Why do girls go through more things than boys do?
Why do you have a half cup of blood when you have your period? Why not ¼ or 3/8?
How does the HIV virus go into other person by having sex?
What are AIDS?
What happens when a man’s penis becomes hard?
Why is it wrong to have sex before you are married and who came up with the idea that it is?
How do you know someone is in love with you?
Why do people have sexual change of feelings about a man or woman?
How do I know it’s time to wear deodorant?
Why can some women can’t have baby?
Is it normal for a 5th grader to have pubic hairs?
Why does my penis get big? I mean I know what’s supposed to happen but why does it happen randomly?
Do you have to have sex?
I just wanted to know if the sack behind penis ever runs out of sperm?
Why are kids mental when there parents are related?
Is having sex the only way to have a baby?
What are the positions for having sex?
Where do you have sex?
How does sex change your life?
How large does your penis grow when you hit puberty?
How do condoms work?
Can a man to man make babies?
Will my personality change in puberty? Will I become unnaturally gloomy?
Can puberty be disturbing sometimes?
Where does the liquid from the boy’s penis come from?
How are ferternal twins born?
My question is, what happens to your body after experiencing “it”!
For breast feeding where does the milk come from?
When is the right time to start wearing bras?
What happens if one of your breasts is bigger than the other? Is that bad?
Will it hurt when my body changes?
Why are we even talking about these things?

 

Pane Casarau Lasagna Bake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Pane Casarau Lasagna Bake
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups tomato sauce you can use Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 8/12 crackers pane Casarau I used 1 and 1/2 square pack available at Trader Joe's
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 cups meat ragu'
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 350°F. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Wet the Pane Casarau crackers with the vegetable stock or the water to soften them. Then cover the tomato sauce with one layer of the Pane Casaurau. You can break the bread to fit pan.
  2. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bread and season highly with salt and pepper. Add a thin layer of ragu' sauce and spread. Sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of the grated pecorino and parmigiano. Add 4 to 6 thin slices of the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with basil leaves.
  3. Cover with a layer of the softened Pane Casarau and repeat for 2 or 3 more layers using all the ingredients. Top with a layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with the grated cheeses.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minute, or until the cheese on the top is melted and slightly golden brown. Drizzle with olive oil to finish.
Recipe Notes

I used a square version of Pane Casarau from Trader Joe's.  You can find the bread online at hwww.amazon.com/Pane-Carasau-Flatbread-Classic-gram/dp/B007W5OUB6

I have made the lasagna without ragu' and I increased the amount of tomato sauce and the mozzarella.

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Whole Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Herbs

Roasting a big batch of whole tomatoes is a simple way to stash away a useful dish with and intense, concentrate flavor. Tomatoes are not only delicious but they have cooling and astringent properties. They are rich in vitamin C, which can eliminate acne and brighten dull skinI use Plum, Roma or any firm, meaty and ripe tomato. I skin them by plunging them in boiling water for 10 seconds then I roast them with garlic, good extra virgin olive oil, basil and thyme for 45 minutes. I always add salt and pepper after cooking them, because tomatoes don’t take to seasoning well before roasting them, and it’s just better that way.

Roasted Tomatoes can be used as a garnish, or as a healthy and fast sauce scooped on pasta and grains. I chop leftovers with ripe peaches, cilantro and small red onion and hot peppers for an assertive salsa.

The tomatoes keep, covered in the fridge for a week but no matter how many I make they never last that long. #RESIST

Whole Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Herbs
Print Recipe
by Silvia Baldini
Servings Prep Time
12 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Whole Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Herbs
Print Recipe
by Silvia Baldini
Servings Prep Time
12 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 24 medium plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8/10 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • sprigs of thyme
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. With a pairing knife core the tomatoes (cut out a small wedge from the stem end) then score a small cross on the bottom, it facilitate peeling them. Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds. Then scoop them out on a paper towel and remove the skin.
  2. Line a large baking dish with parchment paper, then fit all the tomatoes in the dish. It's ok if they are a bit crowed. Distribute the garlic and the herbs among the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  3. Roast with-out touching the tomatoes for 40 to 45. Once cooked they should still hold their shape but they should be soft to the touch and slightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Store with the liquids, herbs and garlic for up to a week in the fridge.
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Whole Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Herbs

Roasting a big batch of whole tomatoes it’s a simple way to stash away a useful dish with and intense, concentrate flavor. Tomatoes are not only delicious but they have cooling and astringent properties. They are rich in vitamin C, which can eliminate acne and brighten dull skinI use Plum, Roma or any firm, meaty and ripe tomato. I skin them by plunging them in boiling water for 10 seconds then I roast them with garlic, good extra virgin olive oil, basil and thyme for 45 minutes. I always add salt and pepper after cooking them, because tomatoes don’t take to seasoning well before roasting them, and it’s just better that way.

Roasted Tomatoes can be used as a garnish, or as a healthy and fast sauce scooped on pasta and grains. I chop leftovers with ripe peaches, cilantro and small red onion and hot peppers for an assertive salsa.

The tomatoes keep, covered in the fridge for a week but no matter how many I make they never last that long.

 

 

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Risi Bisi Bowl

Comfort in a bowl in less than 25 minutes. It’s called Risi e Bisi. It’s rice and fresh peas. Onions , celery, carrot, pancetta and good chicken stock.

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Bad Ass Moms

The moment I become a mom I felt like I had made it to the top, then I came back from the hospital with a hungry, screaming, pooping machine. I looked like shit, I smelled even worst and I was pretty convinced I would not make it through the night; I’m happy to report back, 10 years later, I am alive, showered and somewhat mentally stable.

Being a mother, so far, has been the best and most fulfilling job/career/racket/diversion/horror-comedy show I have been in charge of. I love my kids; I love nurturing them. I love having a family.

Unlike Ivanka T., mommy survival mode to me has nothing to do with not having enough time to meditate or treat myself to a massage, but rather it reflects the constant state of chaos I live in as a working mom, burning the candle at both ends just hoping to make it all work.

Let’s give a shout to all the bad-ass mothers who don’t have millions under their mattresses, or a butler to make sure their every need is met along with their children’s. The ones who are just trying to raise good (clean) humans and make it from one day to the next in one piece. And the ones hoping that the folks in Washington will finally have our backs.

Once we are done shouting, lets cook a nice brunch for mom. I suggest a frittata.

The frittata is to Italy as the omelet is to France and just as much an art form. Every Italian family has its own recipe and masterful way of turn it. My mom made a great soufflé-like frittata by adding stiffly beaten egg whites, and she turned it on a large lid over the sink without ever breaking it. When turning my version of her frittata, I prefer to use a large plate and turn it by firmly holding the pan and the plate together with two hands and then quickly inverting both. Once the frittata is turned, I gently place it back in the pan and cook for a couple minutes more.

When I want to impress and am seeking extra height on my frittata, I don’t invert it. I finish it in the oven instead. You can also use a special double frittata pan. (Once, on a long overnight trip to Paris to visit family, my father, tired of my brothers and me quarrelling, produced one of these and swiftly but not so gently hit us over our heads. We were quiet the whole remainder of the trip. The pan was a gift for my relatives, or so he told us.)

I call this frittata No-Fear Soufflé because the texture is light and fluffy, and it can rise pretty high after the egg whites are folded in. It makes a lovely present for Mother’s Day when presented in a cast-iron pan, sprinkled with edible flowers and accompanied by a green salad and a sizable hug. #RESIST

photo by silvia baldini

No Fear Soufflé-Like Herbed Frittata
Print Recipe
Recipe by Silvia Baldini
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15/20 minutes total
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15/20 minutes total
No Fear Soufflé-Like Herbed Frittata
Print Recipe
Recipe by Silvia Baldini
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15/20 minutes total
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15/20 minutes total
Ingredients
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 4 large organic eggs whites
  • 1/2 cups grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • light olive oil
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large metal bowl, whisk the 4 eggs. Add the Parmesan, heavy cream, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the nutmeg and mix well. In a large metal bowl, beat the eggs whites with a small pinch of salt and the vinegar until they form stiff peaks. Slowly fold the whites into the frittata mixture.
  2. Heat a seasoned medium cast-iron pan or nonstick pan over high and add enough oil to coat the bottom, then lower to medium. Gently pour the frittata mixture into the pan, lower the flame, and cook until the frittata doesn’t stick to the bottom, about 7 to 10 minutes. Finish the frittata in the oven, 5 to 10 minutes. The center should still be a little creamy. Serve immediately to a happy mom.
Recipe Notes

Tips:

  • If you are using a cast-iron pan, make sure to rub it with 1 cup kitchen salt and 4 tbsp oil. I also use a paper towel to rub the bottom of the pan in circular motions. This helps seal the pan and make it nonstick. Throw out the paper towel and salt mixture when you’re done.
  • You can use 4 individual ramekins. Make sure to grease the sides well and coat with parmesan.
  • Folding is a simple technique. The goal is to preserve the air you worked so hard to produce by beating the eggs. Chef Franc at Le Cordon Bleu taught me to first spoon a small amount of egg whites into the mixture and beat vigorously to combine the molecules and even out the texture, then gently fold the rest of the whites in with a rubber spatula in 3 batches. If you really want to be precise and make sure the mixture is well combined, you can slowly turn the mixture from one bowl to the other and keep folding, repeating this process at least twice. It sounds like a lot of work, but moms deserve it and will appreciate the effort.

 

Variations:

Anything you have in your fridge will make a great frittata add-in. Some ideas and traditional variations:
Cubed Fontina Cheese and Ham
Four Cheeses
Sautéed Zucchini
Caramelized Onions
Cooked Spinach
Herbs
Leftover Spaghetti (a kids’ favorite)
Pancetta and Peas

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No Fear Soufflé-Like Herbed Frittata

I call this frittata No-Fear Soufflé because the texture is light and fluffy, and it can rise pretty high after the egg whites are folded in. It makes a lovely present for Mother’s Day when presented in a pretty cast-iron pan, accompanied by a green salad and a sizable hug.

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Easy Peasy Spring Peas, Snow Peas and Prosciutto Salad

This bright, green and crunchy salad is a take on the classic italian side dish of Peas and Prosciutto.  I like this nutritious salad, it makes a very yummy power lunch or a delicious side dish and since I care about what I eat but I don’t want to lose sleep over it –the past 100 days have been enough of a snooze disruptor — I’m happy when a recipe this balanced takes less than 15 minutes to throw together. #RESIST

Spring Peas, Snow Peas and Prosciutto Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4 people
Cook Time
15 minutes total
Servings
4 people
Cook Time
15 minutes total
Spring Peas, Snow Peas and Prosciutto Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
4 people
Cook Time
15 minutes total
Servings
4 people
Cook Time
15 minutes total
Ingredients
  • sea salt for boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups cups shelled fresh green peas (from about 1¼ pounds pods), or frozen peas, thawed
  • 12 ounces snow peas, trimmed and washed
  • 8 slices prosciutto, sliced medium-thick
  • 1/2 cups shaved parmigiano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Cook green peas and snow peas in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes per batch. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water then drain and dry on paper towels.
  2. Whisk lemon juice and mustard in a large bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly until emulsified; season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  3. Add green peas, snow peas, and mint to a bowl with vinaigrette and toss until well coated with dressing;
  4. Arrange salad on a platter and top with prosciutto. Add the shaved parmigiano.
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Spring Peas, Snow Peas and Prosciutto Salad

This bright, green and crunchy salad is a take on the classic italian side dish of Peas and Prosciutto.  I like this nutritious salad, it makes a very yummy power lunch or a delicious side dish and since I care about what I eat but I don’t want to lose sleep over –the past 100 days have been enough of a snooze disruptor — I’m happy when a recipe this balanced takes less than 15 minutes to throw together.

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Pane Casarau Lasagna Bake

Pane Casarau is an ancient flat bread from Sardegna, also known as “carta da musica” (sheet music) due to its resemblance to the parchment paper that sacred music was written on. The airy flat layers are simply delicious, salty and crunchy. They are made of flour, yeast, water, and salt. The dough is rolled out thin and baked, then split into two layers which are baked again. The result is a thin, crispy cracker like, bread.  This crispy bread is great on its own or served together with a fresh but dry pecorino and thick slices of prosciutto. It’s also delicious when layered in this version of the ultimate family comfort food, my easy and light ragu’ and mozzarella lasagna. Click on the link for my family recipe of a hearty meat ragu’. I make a large pot once every two weeks and then I freeze the meat sauce in batches. You can prepare your lasagna a day ahead and bake it for 3o to 35 minutes on the following day or you can freeze the tray for up to 3 months.

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Spring Break


Things I don’t look forward during Spring Break:

  1. It will take me approximately 3 to 7 days to pack for the whole family; we will have had 37 different marital blow ups before even leaving the house.
  2. Immediately upon arrival to destination everyone, including my husband, will develop an ear infection or an obscure rash that will require a) finding a pharmacy open in the middle of the night and b) a winner disposition for Charades to explain, in a foreign language, what hurts.
  3. The guilty feeling I nurture when I pretend my kids haven’t been on their tablets for 48 hours straight watching twat Jelly on youtube playing Minecraft.
  4. The “ME FIRST” arguments. Me first in the car, me first out of the car, me first opening the hotel door, me first taking a shower. Note nobody never, ever shouts: Me first to bed!
  5. Hotel room sex interrupted by wandering children looking for their tablets.

Things I do look forward during Spring Break:

  1. Even if I’ll be tired as hell when I get back I know I’ll have great memories about my lovely family. I’ll remember with warmness my daughter shoving her gigantic bunny toy through the tiny security detector at the airport, while a line of disgruntle travelers forms behind us.
  2. My son talking poop and farts non stop and making me laugh so hard my Prosecco comes out from my nostrils.
  3. Sharing time with the people I love the most and eating unforgettable meals that I didn’t have to prepare.

If you are smarter than me and decide not to travel but you have to cook for Easter, my pistachio and herbs rack of lamb is absolutely delicious and easy to make. I suggest you ask your butcher to French down the racks, so there is no fat or silver skin left – making them extremely tender, lean and juicy. The racks are easy to prepare and they roast in about 20 to 25 minute in a hot oven, the herbs and pistachios will flavor the meat beautifully making this a show off Easter meal.  And speaking of showing off, the White House announced this year Trump’s Easter eggs will be GOLD, if you think you might miss the more traditional pastel/rainbow colors click on my recipe for pink eggs, they are tasty, tastefully pretty and effortless to make. Happy Spring Break! #RESIST!

Pistachios and Herbs Roasted Rack of Lamb
Print Recipe
Recipe by Silvia Baldini
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Pistachios and Herbs Roasted Rack of Lamb
Print Recipe
Recipe by Silvia Baldini
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 medium grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sea-salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 1- to1 1/4 pound well trimmed racks of lamb
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Combine the garlic, the mint, the parsley, the pistachios, the bread crumbs and the lemon zest in a food processor. Blend until the garlic is finely chopped. Add 4 tablespoons oil and blend until a coarse paste forms. Transfer half of herb paste to small bowl and reserve
  2. Sprinkle each lamb rack generously with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Place 1 lamb rack, meat side down, in the skillet. Sear until golden, about 2 minutes; return to baking sheet, meat side up. Repeat with remaining lamb racks. Cool off for a couple of minutes.
  3. Spread the Dijon mustard evenly over the lamb, then spread the herb and pistachio paste over the lamb racks. Place on to a lined baking sheet, meat side up.
  4. Roast the lamb until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the lamb registers 130°F for medium-rare, about 20 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a platter. Let it stand 15 minutes. Mix any pan juices into the reserved herb paste. Cut the lamb between the bones into individual chops. Serve with the herb and pistachio sauce.
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Pistachios and Herbs Roasted Rack of Lamb

This pistachio and herbs rack of lamb is absolutely delicious and easy to make. I suggest you ask your butcher to French down the racks, so there is no fat or silver skin left – making them extremely tender, lean and juicy. The racks are easy to prepare and they roast in about 20 to 25 minute in a hot oven, the herbs and pistachios will flavor the meat beautifully making this a show off Easter meal.

Recipe by Silvia Baldini

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The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K

There are two teams in life.  The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up team, or the The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K  team. I definitely belong to the latter.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K  is a delicious little gem of a book by Sara Knight and it’s my kind of self-help book.  Read what she said to the Guardian:

1 What Other People Think. This one is non-negotiable. All anxiety stems from here.

2 Having a bikini body. The day I stopped caring about how I looked in a bathing suit, it was like a litter of kittens in black leotards had tumbled down from heaven to perform Single Ladies for the sole enjoyment of my thighs and belly.

3 Taylor Swift. Nope.

Feigning sincerity. I am the embodiment of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I just don’t fake it.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K  is liberating advise for all women stressed out, overbooked, underwhelmed by life. I follow the same philosophy in my kitchen. I keep it simple, if a guest doesn’t like my food it’s their problem not mine and when disaster strikes — say, dinners goes up in flames — I dial in for Sushi.

Here’s one more thought: spend your free time in the sunshine, away from the news and definitely not stressing in the kitchen.
Asparagus is easy enough to prepare. I geek out for asparagus at the farmers market or my local shops, as soon as March and April come around and I choose spears that are brightly colored and have a compact tip. Asparagus mimosa is a simple, fresh and easy way to cook this crisp, sweet spring vegetable.  It’s also one of my Easter brunch favored dishes. Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Asparagus is also a brain booster because it’s loaded with vitamin B12, a vitamin with anti-aging property and known to prevent cognitive impairment. Brain power for pretty ladies, now that’s my kind of no brainer brunch and the kind of veggie I love. #RESIST

Asparagus and Eggs Mimosa
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Asparagus and Eggs Mimosa
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
12-15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Place your eggs in a pot of boiling water. Simmer for 9 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and after cooling down for a couple of minutes, peel them.
  2. Separate the yolks from the whites. Grate the yolks and the white in two different bowls. I like to use a coarse cheese grater.
  3. Bend the asparagus until the tough bottom end snaps off. Discard the end. With a peeler gently remove some of the tough skin from the stalks. Place the spears in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook for 3 to 6 minutes.
  4. Drain and place in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Top with grated eggs, making sure not to cover thetas of the asparagus.
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Food Science For Girls

I have a badass little daughter. She loves science, math, singing songs from Matilda the musical, unicorns and all things rainbow. I’m fond of cooking and since cooking is also a science, we teamed up for her school fair project. I knew she had her eyes on the rain and clouds experiment so after some digging in our pantry we managed to turn a tin of spun sugar in to fluffy clouds and butterfly pea flowers tea in to pretty rain. We filled the glass with bright yellow lemonade, we topped the lemonade with a cloud of spun sugar and we poured the hot blue tea on to the sugar.  We wanted to prove that as a cloud gets full of water or mass, the water has to go somewhere and will break through the cloud and start to fall to the ground. As we poured our hot tea over the spun sugar cloud, we watched the sugar/cloud disappear and change its composition; we were mesmerized by the blue tea slowly dripping like rain in the yellow lemonade and then turning in to a lovely and might I add, yummy rainbow. The cotton candy will melt and the lemonade will react with the tea and change color. The color of the butterfly pea flower tea changes depending on the pH of whatever it’s mixed with. That, dear ladies, is culinary science! If you add, as suggested by one of the parent at the fair, a generous shot of vodka, its’ also a mother’s helper.

Our cloud was not the only disappearing act. Last week our administration revealed the budget outline  known as the skinny budget. The cuts in the proposed educational budget are fast and furious;  among other debilitating cuts, they include eliminating support for after-school programs and teacher professional development.  If science, and the dreams of your children are important to you, download this handy pocket-sized action guide and get to work on your next project.  Your kids can help you writing postcards while sipping on rainbow tea(the non alcoholic one, that is). #RESIST

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Little Women


When I turned 13, my mother gave me a signed first edition of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. She asked me to read it and she promised to one day discuss with me
her favorite character.

For years, she had been piling books in my room. Greek and Nordic mythology. Arabian fables. Anthologies of Dante and The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni. Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers. Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat. Ulysses. Anything by Primo Levi. And Italo Calvino (please, gift your children with his writings). A full series of Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And even one small pocket edition of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe that scared the bejesus out of me.

While I loved reading about Laura and became fascinated by her descriptions of churning butter and tapping freshly sugared sap and an attic full of winter squash and other supplies to get her through the winter, which was something very foreign and intriguing to an Italian girl, Little Women became one of my favorites. I immediately gravitated to Jo, the rebel. She lived unchaperoned in NYC, offered inappropriate stories to publishers, cut her hair short and turned down the rich boy next door.

While Jo will forever be my girl, I later concluded that Mrs. March was the true feminist character, the constructive one, the mother who allowed her four girls to thrive and follow their dreams by building their beloved castles in the clouds. She is sort of a gentler, old-fashioned, go-ahead kind of mom. She nourished her daughters with thoughts.

Nourishing is the best part of being a woman and a mother. We feed, listen, cook, teach, work, produce, give life, care, advocate, hug and fight. Nourishing doesn’t preclude  women from being seductive, and it shouldn’t stop us from being leaders. Nourishing is a female privilege. That’s not an insult to men, who, by the way I love and appreciate. But nourish is largely the land of females. Nourishing deserves respect like women deserve equal rights.  

The four March girls have kept coming back into my life in many ways, becoming even more daring, modern and, at times inflammatory. I rooted for the ladies in Sex in the City. I cried and laughed along with Hannah and the Girls on HBO (shall we talk about Matthew Rhys’ prosthetic Penis for a sec?!) And every decade I bump into a real-life incarnation of the four ladies in the form of my formidable girlfriends who are my lifeline. We bond over our need for love, respect and nourishment and our shared knowing of the importance of being allowed to be vocal, heard and successful. And I’m extremely thankful for each and every one of these women in my life.

A short while before the 2016 election, I took a walk with an argumentative friend. It became clear she was not going to vote for Clinton. What distressed me most at the time, though, was not her political viewpoint but a statement she made while discussing her choice. “The least of my concerns,” she said sternly, “is women’s rights.” Not acceptable, lady.

Dilma Rousseff once said, “I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say, ‘Yes women can.’” We, as women, have the responsibility to propel the movement for women’s rights forward. We also need energy and power to continue the journey we have ahead of us the next four years. Our daily fights are many but we need to persevere.

My mother died six months after giving me Little Women. I was never able to discuss with her which character was her favorite, although I like to think she, like me, was fond of Jo, the rebel.  I consider myself incredibly lucky that in the short time she was with me, she fueled my passion for reading, writing and cooking; she supplied me with an insubordinate mind; and that she nurtured me and taught me to stand up for my beliefs. I want my daughter and my son to grow up with the same ideals but hopefully in a more forward-thinking, more accepting society.

So get your favorite foursome together and dial your elected officials to nourish your country back to normal. And remind everyone you know to do the same. And if you’re hungry for more than good intentions, try my mom’s honey and tangerine roasted chicken. It’s a recipe that will keep you happy while satisfying your hunger for food and equality. #RESIST 

Honey, Tangerine and Rosemary Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4/6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4/6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Honey, Tangerine and Rosemary Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4/6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4/6 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 3 1/2 -to - 4 Lb. organic whole chicken
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 Sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 leaves fresh sage
  • 1 Medium white onion, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tangerines
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a nonstick roasting pan and line the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Prep the chicken. Season with salt and pepper the cavities and the outside. Stuff the chicken with the garlic, the rosemary, sage and the 2 onions half. Slice one of the tangerines in thin slices and place the slices at the bottom of the pan. Place the prepped chicken on the sliced tangerine in the pan.
  3. Juice the 2 remaining tangerines. In a tall jug combine the tangerine juice with the balsamic vinegar, the honey, the garlic cloves, the rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whiz with a hand held blender for a minute or two.
  4. Spoon all but 1/4 cup of liquid over all the chicken. Place chicken in oven and roast for 10 minutes. Spoon accumulated juices back over chicken, reverse pan back to front, and return to oven. Repeat a couple of times, basting every 10 minutes and switching pan position each time. If chicken browns too quickly, lower heat a bit. If juices dry up, use reserved liquid and 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.
  5. After 50 minutes of roasting, insert an instant-read thermometer into a thigh; when it reads 155 to 165 degrees, remove chicken from oven, and baste one final time. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

Substitute oranges with tangerines for a sweeter version. I also like adding fresh ginger to the basting sauce.

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Mermaid Toast

Sleepover For Rebel Girls.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world.

Real women of the past and the present who have achieved incredible results, despite all odds. Rebel girls whose actions have changed the course of history. Painters, scientists, dancers, chefs, astronauts, jazz singers, pharaohs, boxers, writers, political leaders… from every corner of the globe!

It’s a collection of bedtime stories that will inspire young girls (and their mothers, their aunts, their cousins…) to be confident, to dream big, to cultivate their strength.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls was born thanks to a succesful Crowdfunding campaign. Elena Favilli Francesca Cavallo two Italian rebel girls that made their dreams come true.

I’m making mermaid toast for the my next daughter’s sleepover, but move over Ariel, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is what we are reading.#RESIST

 

Mermaid Toast
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Mermaid Toast
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 slices bread slices toasted
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon natural plant base blue dye
  • glitter
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Toast the bread.
  2. In a small bowl whip the cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the blue coloring a little at the time. It looks better when you have some white streaks combined with blue, so don't over mix
  3. Spread the cream cheese on the toasted bread and go to town with glitter.
Recipe Notes

I also make the mermaid toast with ricotta and whipped cream. YUM!

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Honey, Tangerine and Rosemary Roasted Chicken

I think everyone should learn to roast a chicken properly. It’s a perfect go-to family meal, but you can be sure guests will appreciate it.  This is my mother delicious and nurturing recipe for roasted chicken and it’s a bit different from the usually roasted chickens; it’s comfort food with a twist. It calls for honey and tangerine juice. As the chicken roasts, the honey condenses and caramelizes, becoming thicker and stickier and turning the chicken’s skin crisp and brown, the tangerine adds an unusual citrusy taste to the otherwise bland meat. You have to remember to rotate the chicken and baste the bird  because the skin burns in spots. Rest the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.  The juices are tangy and sweet, I loved them spooned over a good rice. I love the power of a good family meal, it restores my energy and brings me joy.

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Clams, Mussels, White Beans and Chorizo Sauce


I hear microwave cooking on high for 2-3 minutes is the Pop Secret to espionage. I’m a chef, not a spy, I don’t care much for microwaves.  Unlike our advisor to the president, what I really care for is my health and the health of my family. I also deeply care about cooking nourishing dishes for us and I yearn to satisfy my cravings  for clean, light but filling dinners. I choose fish often instead of meat, I always offer crunchy vegetables, good grains and lots of legumes and once in a while, I indulge in the comfort of a bowl of pasta or a thick slice of wholesome, crusty bread; PHO and Ramen amuse me — but spaghetti aglio e olio do it for me.

When I spot fresh clams and mussels at the local store I’m quick to snatch them. Clam and mussels are low in fat and low in cholesterol and they are a great source of fish oils like salmon and cod. Frankly, I find them addictive, sort of like potato chips. I cannot resist them. They are really easy and fast to prepare—no worries, a quick steam it’s all they need, no risk of wiretapping from appliances.

I cook my clams and mussels together with humble white beans, fennel and chorizo.  These lovely treasures always turn out deeply satisfying and saucy. The beans are a powerful and a healthy alternative to high fat proteins and contain lots of iron, something women often need; the fennel adds a clean and bright crunch and the chorizo gives an indulgent smoky flavor to this all star-family favorite. I like to gobble down my big bowl with crusty bread. The kids and my husband “order” them on spaghetti. It’s a win-win situation, the adults pretend to be in the sunny riviera, the children throw the empty shells at each others.


Okay, besides nourishing the family, and cursing at the 5 am 2 hour snow delay text from school, I know you deeply care about what’s happening in congress, so double the portions up, get your “Girl’s Gang” over and in between saucy bites be productive and call your elected officials —non stop. This is – believe you me – the truth: we can eat all the healthy beans we can fit in our tummy, but if the Affordable Care Act is repealed at the end of the month more than 10 million Americans could lose their healthcare and it will be harder for the poorest Americans to afford health insurance. Be a force; the people in your life will be grateful and well fed. #RESIST 

Happy snow day! Share this post if you like it.


Clams, Mussels, White Beans and Chorizo Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 30 Minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 30 Minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Clams, Mussels, White Beans and Chorizo Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 30 Minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 30 Minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes, if desired
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 medium celery stalk finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup diced chorizo or pancetta
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves chopped
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup diced sundried tomatoes, if desired
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 36 little neck or manila clams scrubbed and rinsed
  • 36 mussles scrubbed, debearded and rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium to low. Add the garlic cloves, the chili peppers flakes, if using then the onion and the celery. Gently cook and soften the onion for 5 to 7 minute with out browning.
  2. Add the sliced fennel, the chorizo and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring for an extra minute. Add the beans, the sun dried tomatoes if using and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium.
  3. Add the sherry vinegar and the white wine, stir for 5 minutes on medium low heat to cook the alcohol out. Add the Thyme and a hand full of the chopped parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. When ready to serve add the clams and mussel to the beans, squeeze the lemon juice and stir. Then cover with a lid and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and stir with a wooden spoon and cook until some of the clams and mussels start to open. Season lighlty with salt and pepper.
  5. Keep cooking and with a slotted spoon transfer the opened clams and mussels to a bowl as they open. It should take 7 to 9 minutes. Discard the unopened ones.
  6. Stir the beans on low heat, loosen with water if necessary, taste and season with salt and pepper, add the remaining chopped parsley. Discard the garlic cloves and thyme.
  7. Add the reserved clams and mussels to the beans, mix and drizzle extra olive oil. Serve with good bread.
Recipe Notes

This is a great dish for a crowd.  You can prep every thing ahead and cook the clams and mussels at the last minute. I like to serve it with good crusty bread or as a delicious sauce for spaghetti.

 

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Clams, Mussels, White Beans and Chorizo Sauce

When I spot fresh clams and mussels at the local store I’m quick to snatch them. Clam and mussels are low in fat and low in cholesterol and they are a great source of fish oils like salmon and cod. Frankly, I find them addictive, sort of like potato chips. I cannot resist them.

I cook my clams and mussels together with humble white beans, fennel and chorizo.  These lovely treasures always turn out deeply satisfying and saucy. The beans are a powerful and a healthy alternative to high fat proteins and contain lots of iron, something women often need; the fennel adds a clean and bright crunch and the chorizo gives an indulgent smoky flavor to this all star-family favorite. I like to gobble down my big bowl with crusty bread. The kids and my husband “order” them on spaghetti. It’s a win-win situation, the adults pretend to be in the sunny riviera, the children throw the empty shells at each others.

Continue Reading

Asparagus and Eggs Mimosa

Asparagus mimosa is a simple, fresh and super easy way to cook this crisp, sweet vegetable.  It’s also one of my Easter brunch favorite dishes. I look for asparagus at the farmers market or my local shops, as soon as March and April come around and I choose spears that are brightly colored and have a compact tip. Asparagus is a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Asparagus is also a brain booster because it’s loaded with vitamin B12, a vitamin with anti-aging property and known to prevent cognitive impairment. Brain power for pretty ladies, now that’s my kind of brunch.

 

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SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, CHICKEN ONE-TRAY DINNER

Immune System Power Booster


I was driving to a meeting when I heard Leonard Lopate, on NPR, declare that advertisers only care about women between 18 and 34. Ladies above 34 are worthless. I love you Leonard, but the hell with that. It’s not the 1950’s anymore. I’m in full swing with all sorts of life happenings and a decade and a half out of that target. I still shop, cook, spend, dress, exercise, travel, work, take care of my children and nourish my family.
Like many of my girlfriends, we kick ass and need to keep our “aging bodies” healthy, happy and always ready to shake a little booty when necessary.

Mushrooms are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D and they promote immune boosting functions by increasing production of antiviral proteins. Some of my favorite mushrooms are Shiitake. They are simply delicious and they taste particularly divine in this, always fool-proof, oven roasted lemon and parsley chicken one-tray recipe. It takes 35 minute in the oven and minimal prepping. Even my children, those little rascals always poo-pooing mushrooms, after falling from their chairs laughing when they heard the word SHIITAKE, gobbled these ones down! #RESIST


Shiitake Mushrooms, Lemon, Parsley One-Tray Dinner
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Shiitake Mushrooms, Lemon, Parsley One-Tray Dinner
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium organic lemon, juiced
  • 6-8 thyme sprigs
  • 1 lb. Shiitake mushrooms cleaned, stemmed and halved if too large
  • 1 organic lemon sliced
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • extra lemon slices and parsley for garnish
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 450F. Line a thick rimmed oven tray with parchment. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper then place on the lined oven tray. Drizzle the chicken with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and half of the lemon juice and add the thyme sprigs.
  2. Place the chicken in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken begins to brown, then pull out of the oven.
  3. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, toss the cleaned mushrooms with the lemon slices and two tablespoons of the olive oil, one teaspoon of the sherry vinegar, the garlic and the thyme, then scatter around the browned chicken. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are browned at the edges.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, mix the remaining olive oil with the 1/2 a cup of parsley the 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Season the sauce with salt.
  5. When ready to serve, squeeze the remaining half of the lemon on the chicken then spoon some of the parsley sauce on top of the chicken and mushrooms. Serve with the remaining sauce. Garnish with lemon and extra parsley.
Recipe Notes

I adore Shiitake. Of course fresh porcini would  make a wonderful substitute. I have also used marsala instead of the sherry vinegar for a slightly sweeter finish.

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Daily Fights

Homemade Ginger Ale

I have always been a feminist and a geek.  I was born that way. I once went on a strike because my Italian high school offered computer science only to boys. I also had a mad-unreturned crush on one of those boys. Since then, I have managed to keep up with technology and marry my adorable and smartypants husband, produce two constantly hungry children and keep up with my career.  As a by-product my daily fights have exponentially multiplied.

I wake up at 5:45 am everyday to cook a healthy breakfast and make “delicious” lunch boxes for the kids, even if I am 98% positive they would prefer a bowl of Captain Crunch and chicken fingers for lunch. I drive – perennially late – husband to the train station while simultaneously checking my social accounts and making sure I’m trending, an almost impossible task since Potus and his circus have taken over Twitter.

I sign up for my Soul Cycle class, by the time I hit reserve I already know I will never make it on time, I lose my $35. Oh, yeah, fuck it….Barreclass is where it is at anyway.

I sit down at my computer to write and work, it takes me 20 minutes to close Roblox Studio, my son gaming account, another 45 minutes goes by because I get stuck on a phone call with one of the soccer age coordinators, followed by another phone call by the school math specialist. She calls to kindly explain what common core scores my kids are supposed to get, in order to be accepted in compacted math. I DON’T know what compacted math is but I fake it. I check again to see if I’m trending on twitter or on refinery29.  Not yet.  #ParisFashionWeek is what’s happening. No luck with that one.

I move on and I concentrate on the recipes for my clients. I need to pee. I sit down with-out looking and I realize – EWW – I have landed on what It feels like a sticky liquid mess. Boys will be boys. I clean. I shower. I go back to work and five minutes later I’m hungry.

The emails pile on. I am told I must attend an exceptionally relevant event in downtown NYC at the latest hip bakery to benefit equality also or mainly because all the food influencers will be present. Somehow I finagle my way in.

I bring my two adorable kids as a beard. They spot 47 kind of Pinterest looking like decorated cakes. They go wild and spend $200 on sweets and they also pile up on Ottolenghi’s clones of yellow cumin mini doughnuts. It’s for a good cause I don’t mind. I notice a cute bunny on the counter, I think it’s a prop. I realize I’m mistaken, it’s not a prop — he has his own blog.  I’m told he is getting a book deal.  I spot -FUCK-  the kids feeding the cumin doughnuts to the blogger-author-bunny. God forbid, author-bunny gets a stomach bug.

I chat with a statuesque/thin/fabulous model, she tells me she loves cooking and eating really fatty food and that her blog has a GINORMOUS following. I look at her beautiful manicured hands, I glance at my dry cuticles and grill mark scars on my arm and for a second I want to cry. I don’t.

I make it back home. I realize I have to warm dinner up because the aupair tells me she is feeling tired and that also she is still not comfortable turning the stove on by herself, because the stove is different from the one she grew up with. She has been with us for 6 months.

I sit at the computer with – AH! – false hope I will finish my menus and recipes. I work for a solid 15 minutes before I become aware of the time.

I’m late to pick up my husband at the train station. I tell the aupair to make sure the peas don’t burn. I shove the kids in the back of our one week old car.  It smells good, it’s clean and it’s promising me a long life of service. I get on the road it’s dark as hell. The car on the opposite lane swirls towards me, I manage to move on time but the two driver side mirrors collide and explode. I hit the swear jar one thousand times. Kids think it’s hilarious and start cashing in on the situation. Methuselah blond lady, takes 20 minutes to find insurance papers, yells at me, in my head I think: “go fuck yourself”  but I keep politely smiling.  We finally exchange numbers.  I get to the train station late, husband is agitated and when he sees the exploded mirror he doesn’t respond well.

We get home, the peas are burned. The husband looks down at the carpet and notices mud tracks on the entrance carpet. Silently, with his coat still on, he starts vacuuming with a very loud Dust Buster, the one that, sadly we all know, doesn’t suck anything up, any longer. I make a mental note to hit Costco for a new one.

We have dinner, kids go wild, but they make me laugh. Husband seems to be in a better mood after a good meal. I think about going to a late yoga class – WHO THE FUCK AM I KIDDING – I need to be up till 2 am to finish my work and posting on socials.

I remember to make my daily call to our Senator.

Everyone is now in bed. The house is quiet. I pour a glass of my Home Made Ginger Ale – YUM! – I settle in front of the computer, I check my Instagram one more time , I start working.  #RESIST

 

Homemade Ginger Ale
Print Recipe
Servings
6/8 Drinks
Cook Time Passive Time
50 Minutes 3 Hours including chilling
Servings
6/8 Drinks
Cook Time Passive Time
50 Minutes 3 Hours including chilling
Homemade Ginger Ale
Print Recipe
Servings
6/8 Drinks
Cook Time Passive Time
50 Minutes 3 Hours including chilling
Servings
6/8 Drinks
Cook Time Passive Time
50 Minutes 3 Hours including chilling
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped and peeled ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 quart chilled seltzer or club soda
  • 3 tablespoons fresh organic lemon juice
  • 10/15 mint leaves
  • 1 small pinch salt
Servings: Drinks
Units:
Instructions
Ginger Syrup
  1. Cook ginger with the water in a small pan. Bring water to a boil, then simmer partially covered, for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let the liquid steep for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture through a sieve in to a bowl, pressing the ginger and then discarding.
  4. Return the liquid to a pan and add the sugar and a small pinch of salt.
  5. Heat the syrup over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill the syrup in covered jar until ready to use.
Assemble Drinks
  1. Mix the Ginger syrup with the seltzer and lemon juice and the mint leaves. You can start with a 1/4 cup of syrup and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice per 3/4 cup of seltzer, then adjust to your taste.
Recipe Notes

Ginger syrup will keep, chilled in a refrigerator for one week.

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