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Monday, August 31, 2009

A Dream of a Meal or Linguine at the Beach....

What a dream..the sea will do that to you and a visit to the local seafood market.. had to wake up early and begin working on this recipe before my day started..Fresh fish, delicious pasta, some local produce and what a dish!!

Dinner will be great, I thought to myself..not that dinner in our seaside home has ever been less than that. A mad rush through our wine cabinet and there is was a bottle of a locally produced Pecorino wine-made in the town of Offida in the province of Le Marche (only about 45 minutes from us) .'this will be great to use as an ingredient in the dish..”

Okay, so one of the most important ingredients what should the dish be...

But wait time to wake up for the morning cappu and's 6:30 am and I know my better half will insist we go now or we won't have a selection of cornetti to choose from. The coffee bar makes their own production of cornetti., so there are not that many of each type..there are the ones filled with chocolate cream, the nones with apricot marmelade ,then plain with nothing inside, integrale with miele (whole wheat with honey), mandorlata (topped with thinly slivered almonds and a bit buttery ( I remember these on our trip to the South of France where they are very buttery as per French cuisine).

Anyway my favorite is the whole wheat with honey, his is the mandorlata...but get there past 8 AM and those are all gone...

Throw on something for another hot sunny day. It is almost like a gamble when you arrive at the cofee bar, the first thing you do is step up to the front counter to see if you can find your favorite cornetti..when found stop for a minute and smile from ear to ear..knowing that today you will be able to begin your day your favorite way.... that light, flaky morsel complements the cappuccino to make for the perfect jolt to start your day..

When you arrive you feel listless..but when you leave eveything looks rosy and the day begins to have a meaning and now you are ready to start..

And I was stop..the loical fresh fish market..morning is best time to get there and get the freshest pick...and there I found what would be tonight's dish..the small tiny clams that make llinguine alla vongole a well as other fresh fish fro a grilled seafood entree (our second course).

Find my recipe for linguine alla vongole at the beach here

Friday, August 28, 2009

Suitcase Full of Flavors

copyright 2009, Maria Liberati

Getting ready for a weekend at the beach. A suitcase full of flavors is what I am many tastes and foods to cook with at the sea and I don't want to miss any. So I bring some flavors form home to cook rosemary from our garden..some golden potatoes grown locally..a few preserving jars in case it rains and I decide to preserve tomatoes
The tomatoes of Francavilla..ugly but are perfect for sugo (sauce).. the fresh fish market near home (at the beach) makes any seafood dish possible..

Menu for the weekend will be pasta asciutta (pasta with a freshly made tomato sauce) served with locally produced Pecorino wine. Linguine allla vongole (spaghetti with clams) tiny sweet clams from our local fish market....and served with a locally produced Trebbiano wine...bruschetta for dinner with locally produced mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil..side dish of the potatoes from home roasted with organic rosemary...and a weekend at the beach in the summer always means fresh watermelon for dessert and an evening passeggiata for gelato at our neighborhood gelato bar..can't substitute anything else..

Back to packing..and to make a quick run to our neighborhood forno (oven) to get some locally produced potato bread for a panino to take along for the ride..Not a fan of fast food 'on the road ' places.. A presto enjoy the end of summer weekend......
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over 140 recipes ,menus, tips for the Holidays and more...

Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene,


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spaghetti in Rome

copyright 2009, Maria Liberati
Here is a recipe for one of my favorite pasta dishes..brought to mind because I just enjoyed a dish at one of my favorite restaurants in Rome-
Serve with Chianti wine in recipe, dine al fresco as we did in Rome-for an added touch..

La Matriciana

for 4 people

*1 lb of pasta (spaghetti, bucatini,rigatoni)
½ onion
1 clove of garlic
¼ pound bacon (optional), cut into thin strips
3 tblsps of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of dry white wine (Chianti)
½ tblsp of white wine vinegar
5-6 leaves of fresh basil
¼ of a dry, hot ,red pepper
a pinch of black pepper
2 lbs of ripe red plum tomatoes
¼ cup of pecorino romano cheese freshly grated

Place olive oil in saute pan and warm, place in bacon and chopped onion, hot red pepper, garlic .Saute until onion begins to become golden. Pour in wine and let liquid evaporate. Then add in the tomatoes that have been fileted (seeds removed) and fresh basil leaves.
Saute on medium heat for approx 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Cook the pasta till al dente. Drain and place in sauce, toss and place in half of the grated cheese, toss. Serve each portion with a pinch of black pepper and more grated cheese.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Time is Only Ingredient in Short Supply,,,

Even though time is spent at such a slow pace here, it is in short supply. Before I know it it is 1 PM or a Holiday and all stores close down. So if you need any ingredients that you may have forgotten you can't get them until the re-opening of the store which can be in 3 hours or a day or two-depending on time of year and date of year.
Yesterday for instance -the 15th of August and a big Holiday here in Italy. I planned on making a chocolate ricotta cheesecake- so Friday ingredients were purchased-well all ingredients- but the dark chocolate pieces needed to mix into the ricotta. But someone must have chocolate bars-perhaps a coffee bar or small grocery store?
The difficult part was first to find something that was open on the 15th of August. Next did they have chocolate. Found 2 coffee bars that were (surprisingly) open. But they told us that even though they normally carry chocolate bars throughout the year, they don't have them this time of the year for fear that they may melt..

So the chocolate cheesecake would have to wait for one more day and it was a ciambellone classico for dessert. And yes, was able to find a small, local, candy store open today that did have the Dark chocolate bars. And the cheesecake will have to wait until tomorrow. Here is the recipe for the ciambellone and stay tuned for the cheesecake recipe in the next few days.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spicy, Spicier, Spiciest....

By: Eliza Chute
Spicy food seems to be one of those things that you either love or you hate. Depending on how spicy it can make you hot, and sweaty and even induce labor in some cases…only if you are pregnant that is. Many cultures have spicy hot food, for example the Si Chuan province of China is known for such types of foods. In addition Indian foods always tended to be very spicy. I used to absolutely despise spicy food, absolutely!! But I think the reason for that was that I never got used to it, because I never ate it. In college I was determined to expand my horizons, and started eating spicy food. I had Indian food for the first time in college, and that was my first snippet of real spice. The spiciest food I have ever had was in Belize. I was staying at a bamboo farm run by a lovely young married couple. The culprit was a salad. I’m serious. The lettuce was so spicy for some reason and I couldn’t tell why, but I didn’t want to insult them by not eating, so I kept eating it and I was miserable and sweaty and they gave me water in this tiny little cup and I ran out of it so fast, and I kept tearing and there was nothing I could do about it, but now…I can chow down on the spiciest of foods..thanks to this situation.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our Woman of the Week...

Woman of the Week: Michelle Obama
by;ELiza Chute
As always, there is a lot of media attention, especially now considering the milestone that our 44th president represents. That is why our woman of the week this week is our, very own first lady: Michelle Obama. Like president Obama she is from Chicago. She graduated from Princeton University Undergraduate and also, like the president, went to Harvard Law School. However the two met at working in Chicago after graduating from Law School working for the law firm Sidley Austin. She has done a variety of different things, job-wise, but they have mostly been geared towards the social services sector.
She was blessed with great intellect. After she skipped the second grade, she joined the gifted class in sixth grade. In high school, she was on the national honor society and the honor role all four years. Which was clearly enough for her to get into an Ivy League University. She graduated from Princeton cum laude, with a double major in sociology and African-American studies. Having always been an advocate for minorities, she participated in demonstrations that advocated for the hiring of more minority professors. After law school , she worked with the, then, future president. The two were married in 1992, and now have two daughters Sasha (born Natasha) and Malia.
Michelle is really well known as a very well dressed woman, but she does so much more than put great clothes on her back. After Sidley Austin she held many public sector positions in Chicago. A year after she married Barrack she became Executive Director of a non profit that encouraged young adults to get involved in issues, a group called Chicago office for Public Allies. After that she developed the Service Center at the University of Chicago while working as Associate Dean of Student Services. In 2002, she started working for University of Chicago Hospital, which she continued to work for part time while Obama was running. According to wikipedia, “Although Obama has campaigned on her husband's behalf since early in his political career by handshaking and fund-raising, she did not relish the activity at first. When she campaigned during her husband's 2000 run for U.S. House of Representatives, her boss at the University of Chicago asked if there was any single thing about campaigning that she enjoyed; after some thought, she replied visiting so many living rooms had given her some new decorating ideas.” Apparently she had reservations about her husband running for president, but cut a deal in which he would stop smoking. In the campaign she always discussed aspects of race and education from the perspective of a mother.

Don't forget to get your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Make Your Own Sushi

By Eliza Chute: blog contributor

This semi-recent Japanese food craze is getting more and more popular as more and more sushi restaurants are popping up all over. More and more people are warming up to the idea of eating raw fish. And why shouldn’t they? It’s tasty. If you haven’t had the privilege of going to a sushi restaurant where you can watch them make the sushi, you maybe haven’t had the chance to look at it and say… “I can do that myself!” Well, you can. It is quite easy, once you get over the idea that you will be handling raw fish. Sushi is pretty good for you considering the main ingredients are raw fish and rice which are low in fat and high in protein, vitamins minerals, but also carbohydrates. And one should always be cautious of eating in addition to the fact that tuna can contain mercury.

There are over 7 types of sushi, some of which are harder to make than others. There’s Nigirizushi, Makizushi, Fotomaki, Temarizushi and a whole slew of others all equally as difficult to pronounce. The most typically made type is hand rolled sushi, which is rolled with a bamboo mat. The key ingredients are nori and rice. The rice is more specifically a sticky-type rice, so that it will stay attached to the nori which is the seaweed wrap in which the sushi is wrapped. You can wrap specifically the fish, which is normally salmon, tuna, yellowtail and eel. Avocado is also commonly used in sushi. The way to make it is to spread the sticky rice on the nori, all on top of the bamboo mat. You can choose to cover one or both sides of the nori, but if you cover only one side then typically the rice goes on the outside which would be on the bottom. Then you can fill it with the fish, some avocado, celery or whatever you choose, get some wasabi ginger and soy sauce and you are good to go.

Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati was busy this weekend on stage at Bally's Casino in Atlantic City.Also there was Emeril,Guy Fieri, Ted Allen, Ingrid Hoffman, Cat Cora. Read about it in her blog at

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