WILD MUSHROOM PIE

January 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I love the food in Paris. My favorite is the homey, comfort food that is served in all the bistros. During my last visit, friends took us to this tiny bistro, which was a dimly lit, bustling, little place that was buzzing with energy.


On the menu were these little mini tarts of wild mushrooms. I kept popping them in my mouth like they were kernels of popcorn. They were these little flaky pieces of earthiness.


After I shoved the last tart into my mouth, I took out my trusty phone, went into notes and simple wrote “wild mushroom pot pie.”
Here is the recipe that was conceived that starry night in Paris.
Enjoy,
D I V A
continue for recipe>>

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DIVA EATS ITALIA

January 11th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

CHECK OUT DIVA’S OTHER SITE “DIVA EATS ITALIA,” FOR ITALIAN FOOD FROM REGION TO REGION.
TIRAMISU CHEESECAKE

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CITRUS-CANDIED GINGER QUICK BREAD

January 10th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I love junk mail! I never met a catalog that I didn’t like. Crazy I know. I feel all those stupid catalogs are equivalent to an infomercial or shopping on QVC. (for me anyway) I flip through them and no matter how useless some things are, I still want to order them. Now that I think of it, I’ve always loved catalogs. I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but when I was a kid, I carried around one from Sears. Each page was full of red check marks next to the things I wanted, not only for that moment when I was 7, but for when I got married with kids!!! Nothing like planning ahead.

I no longer carry around a Sears catalog, but I still get excited when a catalog comes in the mail, especially William Sonoma. Besides all the regular stuff they sell, there are always fabulous recipes printed on the pages. As I was flipping through the newest one, I came upon this delicious looking citrus-ginger quick bread. I loved the idea of the bright flavors of citrus and the warmth from the ginger together. This isn’t the first recipe I’ve tried from William Sonoma, that I enjoyed. Look out for them, they are worth a try, like this bread.
Enjoy,
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Chocolate Marble Bread w/ Chocolate Ganache

January 5th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


There are many superstitions surrounding the new year. Ones that are said to bring us anything from luck, lust or fertility. These superstitions can come from eating beans to stripping naked at the stroke of midnight, New Year’s Eve. Some are a little extreme..don’t you think? On a more simple and respectable note, I read that, baking bread with a coin inside, will bring good luck to the person who finds it in their piece.

While, I was reading all these interesting facts, I came across this fabulous looking bread. There it was, a chocolate marble bread with all these beautiful swirls with a thick rich layer of chocolate ganache on top, just sitting there all enticing. It had me at hello! I baked up a few mini’s and gave them to friends. I thought I’d give them all a chance at luck. As far as the fertility stuff, I’ll leave that up to them!

Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for recipe>>

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Say Goodbye To The Holidays

January 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


It’s time to put away the holidays. The parties are over, the cookies have been eaten & the gifts are returned. The only thing left was to take down the tree. With this, the holidays will be officially over.
The last 2 days were spent putting away everything Christmas, so we can make way for 2013…Lucky number 13! I hope it brings good things to all!!

Yes we have a white tree! Our house is modern, it seemed appropriate.

All of the ornaments on the white tree are white & silver.

I love this little guy. This ornament hung on our very first Christmas tree as a married couple. 1987.

The ornaments on our other 2 trees, which happen to be black, are colorful & fun.

Last but not least,
A GREAT BIG HAPPY NEW YEAR KISS TO ALL OF YOU FROM ALL OF ME!

Eat up for luck, happiness & wealth

December 29th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

When the new year rolls around, most people start to think about the year ahead. We make resolutions in hopes that somehow they will make the year better. I myself make a bunch of resolutions that I keep for about a minute. Instead of making a bunch of promises that you know youre not going to keep, eat instead. There are a bunch of food that are considered to bring, luck, wealth, health & love for the coming new year. Here is an example of some of those foods.

GRAPES
It’s said that in Spain, 12 grapes are eaten as midnight strikes. Each grapes represents a month. Every sour grape you eat, represents a not so desireable month, but every sweet grape means a good one.

I love this idea from Martha Stewart. Put 12 grapes on a skewer & place them in a glass of champagne to toast the new year.

COIN
Bake a coin into a cake & whom ever gets the piece of cake with the coin will have good luck; if they don’t break one of their teeth biting into the coin.

Instead of baking the coin into one big cake, either bake them into individual cakes & give them to your friends as a parting gift after a party. This way the fun continues even after the party is over.

Fontina & Black Peppercorn Biscuits

December 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


When I was a kid, my brother and I, loved those ready made biscuits that came in that long cardboard cylinder. I loved to give the container a good whack on the edge of our formica counter top. Even though, I knew it would split open, I still got scared when the container popped. If there were any biscuits left over from dinner, we would use them to make sandwiches for our lunch the next day. To my brother and I, they were a real treat…until, I had the real deal.

My parents took us to a restaurant that served freshly made biscuits. They were light, flaky and cheesy. Who knew you could but cheese in the dough! My mother was a great cook, but not much of a baker. This is the reason, we used canned ready made biscuits. I learned a lot about cooking from my Mom, baking I had to learn on my own.

Unlike my mother, I love to bake. I especially love it when something can be pulled together in no time, like these biscuits. There is no replacement for something that’s freshly baked, served hot out of the oven. Since that day long ago, I said goodbye to ready made biscuits, and hello to homemade!

Enjoy!
Happy Holidays
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Turnip-Pear Soup w/ Almond-Vanilla Oil

November 18th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Recently, we were without electricity for 12 days due to hurricane Sandy. It was truly a frightening experience. We live about an hour drive to the coast of New Jersey and 15 miles outside of Manhattan. Both these areas were pummeled from the storm. We lost our power and a few trees went down, but we were so fortunate to be free from harm, both my family and our home. The devastation of the New Jersey Coast and New York is mind boggling. After the storm, Manhattan had an eery feel. There were not many people on the streets, many businesses were closed and the lights weren’t as bright. The city that never sleeps, was just about shut down. The last time the City had this feeling was right after 9/11. Frightening. And, we had the nerve to complain about losing electricity.

Being without power for almost 2 weeks, you really get to see how much we take for granted. If we said it once, we said it a thousand times, “How did people live before electricity!” Imagine, no hot water, no heat, no cooking, no TV, no satellite radio, no COMPUTER, and the was worst not being able to charge our cel phones. I felt like I was shut off from the world. All I have to say is “Thank you, Benjamin Franklin!!!”


I tried to keep my sense of humor through out this ordeal. I kept making light of the situation, by making one bad joke after another. Most of them being about me and the “superstorm” having the same name. At first John (my hubby) laughed, but around the 5th day his laughs became less frequent. By the 10 day, nothing was funny. By the 12th day, he was angry, because we were the only neighborhood in our town without power, literally! On the afternoon of the 12th day, the power miraculously was restored. We could here our neighbors and the utility workers cheering. We were so happy, me, John and our 4 dogs started a conga line and danced around our well lit, heated house. Finally it was over.

I was cold morning, noon and night on those 12 days. It was the kind of cold that goes right to your bones. Even though we now had heat, I couldn’t shake the chill. I needed something that was going to warm me inside and out. I needed a huge bowl of soup; so soup I made. I think I made about 4 different kinds, some to eat now and some later. I happen to be flipping through a New York magazine and saw a recipe for turnip-pear soup with almond-vanilla oil. Now, I know this may not seem to be the kind of soup that you would think of to warm up your bones, but the recipe intrigued me. I was so happy that the recipe was ridiculously easy to make; my kind of recipe.

All it entails is to saute the veggies, then simmer them in stock (you can use store-bought) until soft. It’s then pureed and WAH LAH…a delicious fall soup was born. Right before serving, it’s drizzled with almond-vanilla oil. The oil basically is store-bought almond oil that you infuse with a vanilla bean. This really gave the soup a pleasant, unexpected flavor. It took it from an everyday soup, to a dish that you can serve at a dinner party. And yes, it was hearty enough to warm my bones. It’s a keeper!

Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>
Please help out the victim of hurricane Sandy by donating to The Red Cross. Every little bit helps.

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Pumpkin-Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

October 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


The other night I couldn’t sleep. I grabbed my computer and spent the night with Google. As Google & I were surfing the net, I came across a website that list food holidays. I couldn’t believe the foods that were on this list. Some were worth celebrating, others, not so much. A few of my favorites; greasy food day. WOW…all I could think of, was a huge juicy burger & fries covered with ketchup. My other favorite was donut appreciation day. Whom ever decided to make this a holiday, sure does like donuts. There was a donut appreciation day in every month. I missed it in October, but you can bet your last dollar, I’ll be celebrating next month.

Of course, since it’s October, I looked to see what’s celebrated this month. As I scrolled down the list and past donut appreciation day, written next to October 26th, was pumpkin day. Perfect! A few days before halloween and in time for me to make one of my favorite breads; Pumpkin-Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. It’s moist with a hint of chocolate and crunchy, buttery bits on top. This bread should have a holiday of it’s own, it’s that good.

I’m posting the recipe a few days before October 26th, so you guys can celebrate the holiday with this fabulous bread.
Happy Pumpkin Day!
Enjoy,
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Maple Sweet Potato Ravioli w/ Toasted Marshmallows & Pecans

October 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I had a few friends over for dinner the other night and I wanted to prepare dishes that say “Autumn.” Maple mashed sweet potatoes came to mind. I guess they remind me of fall, because of Thanksgiving. Growing up, my mother would always make maple sweet potatoes as part of our holiday meal. To do something a little different, I decided to make ravioli using the potatoes as the filling.

Making homemade pasta isn’t that difficult, but it could be time consuming; especially if you’re not use to doing so. Instead, of making my own dough, I’m not ashamed to say, I cheated. I used wonton wrappers. They make making ravioli seamless. They are light and thin and don’t really have a taste. For this reason, I think the flavors of the filling really come through.

Besides the potatoes (obviously) my mother, would put maple syrup, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and marshmallow fluff into them. I wanted to incorporate all these flavors into the ravioli dish; these ingredients became the filing. The sauce was simply browned butter. For presentation sake, I garnished them with toasted mini marshmallows and chopped pecans. I loved them, my friends loved them, and I think my mother would have loved them.
Enjoy,
DI V A
continue for recipe>>

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Fish & Chip w/ Mushy Peas

October 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


London has a bad rep of being a city with bad food. Please, someone tell me who started this rumor? I was recently in London, and had fabulous meals. One night, we went to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant “Barbacoa,” which was too yummy for words. However, I will tell you this, that the entire menu revolves around the pig: ALL parts of the pig. When I walked out, or shall I say, when I waddled out of the restaurant, I squealed. Another night, we went to an Indian restaurant called “Cinnamon Kitchen,” which was anything but typical. London is a cosmopolitan city, much like New York, where good food can be found all over the city.

I think, what people may mean, is the food of the “people,” as I call it. Food that Londoners or Brits eat regularly. Some of the food that they’re known for are things like; roast beef, game, Yorkshire pudding, & shepherds pie. These dishes aren’t so different, than other countries I’ve been to. They are just known by different names. Whenever you go to any countryside, the food becomes earthy & hearty. The people use what the land has to offer.

Of course there are other dishes like bangers & mash, spotted dick, kidney pie, black pudding, & bubbles & squeak, that many people may not be familiar with. If you knew what these foods are, believe me, you wouldn’t think they were so weird. When I travel, I like to try the food of the “people.” I may not eat all of it, but I will taste everything. These are dishes that you may not find anywhere else. They are the soul of the people.

I do however, have favorites everywhere I have traveled. When I return to these places, there are foods that are “must eats” for me. In Italy, there are many things, but one in particular is pizza,(I hardly eat it in the states). Paris, it’s steak tartar, steak au poivre, & macarons. In London I have to eat fish & chips with mushy peas.

There are establishments all over London called “Chippies or Chippers.” These places specialize in, you guessed it, fish & chips. You can get it in some finer restaurants & pubs, but it’s not the same as eating it out of a paper bag. The fish is always tender, the batter is light & airy. The chips are fat & potatoey (if that makes sense).

When I got home from London, I wanted to try my hand at making my own. I have to say, it turned out really good. The key, to a great fried fish is the batter. It needs to set & allow to become foamy. As for the chips? I never met one that I didn’t like. I may have said this before, so excuse me for repeating, but to me, the chip is just a vehicle to get the ketchup into my mouth. I don’t care how thin or big the chip is, as long as there’s ketchup around, I’m happy. What can I say, I’m American; we basically live on the stuff.

Making the fish & chips was really no big deal; It was rather easy. I still prefer eating it out of a greasy paper bag. I know that may sound gross, but there’s nothing wrong with a “little” grease, especially, when it comes from something good. I may try some other traditional British dishes in the future, but I’ll leave the spotted dick & the black pudding to them.
Cheerio,
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Jet setting

September 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I’m flying to Europe for a 3 city visit. First stop, London, then Milan, & ending with Paris. If you would like to come along, go to my facebook page. I’ll be posting pix of where I am, what I’m doing & of course, what I’m eating.
Hope you can Join me.

Arrivederci!
D I V A

(BTW: I travel wearing more clothing than what’s in the photo. It’s too chilly on the plane.)

Fig Clafoutis

September 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I’m in a Paris state of mind. I’m heading out this week for Europe, with one of my stops being Paris. I wanted to post something French….a dessert. France has the whole pastry thing wrapped up. Don’t get me wrong, there are pastries & sweets that are delicious from other countries, but as a whole, France wins! Some of their pastries seem so complicated to me….I don’t do complicated very well. If I see a recipe with a lot of ingredients & steps, I generally won’t even entertain the idea of making it.

Clafoutis (klafuti) is a classic baked french dessert that is surprisingly; extremely easy to make. It’s “kinda-sorta” like a flan batter that is poured into a baking dish & traditionally black cherries are arranged on top. As the cake bakes the fruit releases some of their juices & sinks slightly into the batter.

Although, clafoutis is traditionally made with black cherries, there are many other types of fruit that work just as well. I like to arrange whole fruit standing for a more dramatic presentation. In late summer, early fall, figs are in season, so it seemed natural to use them. I put orange zest & cinnamon into the batter to give it a warm fall feel. I topped it off with a drizzle of sweet honey.

Clafoutis is a French dessert that only looks, complicated. You don’t have to tell anyone that it’s not. I’ll leave the complicated stuff to the French. After all, they’re so darn good at it!
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for recipe>>

Gingered Green Bean Fries w/ Wasabi Dipping Sauce

September 7th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Green bean fries are crispy on the outside, tender & sweet on the inside. They’re somewhat tedious to make. The hard part is getting the crumbs to adhere to the beans. In spite of the effort, they were worth making.
To me, no matter what type of fries I’m eating; it’s all about the condiment. I’m not a dipper, I’m a scooper, so what ever is on the other end of that veggie better be yummy. Fries (french fries as they were once known) are my guilty pleasure, at least that’s what I thought. I recently realized that my pleasure was actually the ketchup. The fries were just a vehicle to get it into my mouth.

The simple wasabi dipping sauce I made for the green beans, were the same for me. I loved the bean fries, but I found myself triple dipping (while no one was looking of course)! Don’t let what I’m saying discourage you from trying these, they are delicious. I guess my point is, if your like me, make plenty of dipping sauce for those who are scoopers.
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for recipe>>

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Corn Salad w/ Mango & Toasted Coconut

September 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I love to entertain. I like opening my house to friends & sharing with them some of my favorite foods. I’m always organizing something; game night, costume parties or just a simple BBQ. One of my criteria for entertaining is to prepare simple food & do as much as possible, ahead of time. It’s no fun if you’re stuck in the kitchen while your friends are having a good time. I want to enjoy the night as well.

Over the weekend we had friends over for dinner. I made everything before hand so when they arrived, all I had to do is to pop a few things in the oven. One of the dishes I made was a fresh corn salad with mango & toasted coconut. Everyone loved it. It’s especially good when you use fresh corn off the cob. I used sweet white corn that snapped when we bit into it. I added red bell pepper, lime juice, serrano chili pepper, mango & toasted coconut. It had somewhat of an Island flavor. YUMMY
This recipe came about by having left over Jamaican corn, which I posted previously. It’s now going to be a summer staple. I love when good recipes come about without any forethought.

I put a lot of passion & love into what I do; it’s nice that my friends know & appreciate it. It makes me extremely happy when I see them enjoying being in my home & loving my food.

Continue for recipe>>
Enjoy!
D I V A

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Sriracha Popcorn

August 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Sriracha is a hot sauce that’s used as a popular condiment in Thai & Vietnamese cuisines. Here in the States, sriracha has recently become somewhat of a phenomenon. It has a cult following & it even has its own cookbook. Bon Appetit called it the ingredient of the year for 2010 & it’s still going strong.

The popular sauce that’s so loved in the States is made by a company called Huy Fong. It’s quickly recognized by the rooster on it’s label; this is why the sauce is sometimes referred to as rooster sauce, or cock sauce. If you’ve been following my blog, you know how much I love spicy food. I have at least 2 bottles of sriracha in my house at all times. So of course, when I saw an article about a company making & marketing sriracha popcorn, I needed to have some. I went on the company’s website, only to find that it can only be purchased online. I couldn’t wait, so I decided to try to make my own. How hard could it be?

I simply made popcorn, squirted sriracha on top & tossed well, making sure every kernel was touched by the sauce. I loved it & so did my taste tasters. I wonder if they have Sriracha popcorn in Thailand.
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for recipe>>

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Fig Raisin Bread Pudding

August 21st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Once my husband John & I, were in Italy taking a stroll; there on the ground, were loads of figs, just lying there, big as lemons with beautiful purple skin. I couldn’t believe it; I wanted to pick up every single one & stash them in my suitcase to take home. (bad idea) I didn’t always love figs. When I was a kid, my grandmother use to eat dried figs & dates. I always thought they were “gross.” Of course as I got older & my palate developed, I grew to love both, especially figs…fresh figs.

I walked into the market the other day & there before me, were boxes of beautiful fresh black mission figs. I ran right over to them & picked up a box. I had all intentions of chowing down on these bad boys, in the car on the way home, but I wanted to share the love. I decided to eat half of them & make something yummy with the other half. I bought some store baked raisin bread from whole foods & an idea was born…fig raisin bread pudding. I took a basic bread pudding recipe & took it to the next level. I used raisin bread & tucked the fresh figs in between the bread cubes, sprinkled with sliced almonds & baked till delicious.
continue for the recipe>>
Enjoy,
D I V A

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Apricot & Pistachio Chicken w/ White Wine-Honey Glaze

August 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


As a kid I never ate apricots. If my father didn’t like something, it never entered the house. As I grew older, I realized that there was a whole world of food that I didn’t know I liked…brussel sprouts, lamb, kale!!!
It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I took a class at the Institute of Culinary Education, that I realized that I like apricots. It was a class on sweet & savory tarts. I was assigned to make an apricot & pistachio tart. From the first sweet-tart bite of the apricots, I was convinced….I was convinced that my father had damaged taste buds.
I was in Whole Foods the other day. There were apricots everywhere. I couldn’t pass them up. I had to think of someway to incorporate them into dinner. The infamous tart, that hooked me onto these delicious little treats, gave me an idea. I took apricots, pistachios & thyme; paired them with sauteed chicken breast & made a sauce of white wine & honey. I used honey to add a little more sweetness, since the apricots were a little tart. This dish was a home run. I was happy that all the ingredients blended together perfectly. I’m also happy for not inheriting my father’s damaged taste buds.
Enjoy,
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
Apricot & Pistachio Tart recipe, continue>>

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Tomatokeftedes (fried tomato balls from Santorini, Greece)

July 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


If you’ve read my prior post, you’ll know that I was recently in Greece. My husband & I had the pleasure of visting 2 of the Greek Islands, Mykonos & Santorini. Since our trip, we have a new respect for the Greek cuisine. We liked it before, but now we LOVE it. I can say that it’s up there on my list of favorites, right under Italian food. My husband agrees. It’s fresh, simple & homey. I’m sure this is why the Greeks live long, healthy lives. It’s the great mediterranean diet.

Being on the islands, of course there was plenty of seafood to eat. Octopus, squid & spiny lobster are favorites. They are simply grilled & drizzled with olive oil & lemon. (By the way, the olive oil is fantastic.) The Greeks also love eggplant & fava. They were on every menu in one form or another.
There are some dishes that are universal in Greece, but each island has their speciality.
In Santorini, white eggplant (I have a recipe coming so stay tuned), capers, pistachios & fava, but the real star of the island is the baby tomato. They are sweet, deep red & juicy. Like in the Campagna region of Italy, Santorini has volcanic soil that tomatoes thrive it. Needless to say, they are used in many of their recipes. To give you an example; one restaurant gave us homemade tomato paste to spread on our bread..it was yummy! I’ve never seen that before.

Our first night in Santorini, we experience another way they use those delicious tomatoes. They are called tomatokeftedes. They are finely diced tomatoes, onion & mint, mixed with some flour, then fried until lightly golden. From the first bite we were hooked. Naturally the first thing my husband said was, “You HAVE to make these.” He loved them so much, he ordered them everyday as part of our lunch. They were one of our favorites; if not our favorite things we’ve eaten in Santorini.
I knew, as soon as I got home, I was going to try to make tomatokeftedes. I couldn’t wait to share them with our family & friends, in hopes that they to, will have a different perspective of Greek food as we did.
Enjoy,
D I V A
continue for recipe>>

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Venice & Burano, Italy

July 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

VENICE, ITALY


If you would like to read about & see more photos of Venice & Burano, Italy follow the links.
Venice
Burano
Enjoy,
D I V A

BURANO, ITALY

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Santorini, Greece

July 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


My husband John & I, just got back from Greece. We visited the islands of Mykonos & Santorini, as sort of a second honeymoon. It was our 25th wedding anniversary this May, so we decided to take a trip to a place we’ve been wanting to go for years…Greece. Everything I’ve read & so many people I know who’ve been to Santorini, said it’s extremely beautiful! I was excited to go & my expections were high.

We had been to Mykonos first, so we had to take a ferry to Santorini. The hotel had made arrangements for us to be picked up & taken there. As we were driving along these winding roads, I kept waiting to be wowed by Santorini’s beauty. Mile after mile…nothing. Even when we pulled into the driveway of our hotel, I was disappointed.

We stayed at a fabulous hotel called Perivolas, where the rooms are caves built into the mountain. When we arrived at our room, I stood on our patio & was taken by the view of the caldera. The caldera is rock formations caused by volcano eruptions. The water of the Aegean Sea was still & not to mention unbelievably blue. The boats on the water seemed to glide across it in slow motion. There was a calm & stillness to the entire place, which made me relax instantly.

Although, the caldera was beautiful, It still didn’t wow me. That night, John & I sat on our patio drinking champaign watching the sun set over the caldera before dinner. As we were sitting there, I began to see some of Santorini’s beauty. It has the most fantastic sunset I’ve ever seen. The colors were intense & the sun seemed to sink into the water. I was beginning to be wowed.

We ate dinner that night in the hotel restaurant. They sat us outside with a view of all the white biuldings in the town of Oia. It was dusk, so the sun still had a little more light to give. We sat down studying our menus, when I noticed that there was a pink glow. I looked up to see that the entire sky was differnt shades of pink. The white buildings reflected all the colors the sky had to offer. It was amazing. I saw a little bit more of Santorini’s beauty. I went to bed that night with a different feeling about the island.

John & I, are early risers. So the next morning as we sat outside drinking our coffee looking at the view, the sun had just come up. As the sun rose higher, again the sky & the water took on different colors. Santorini is a kaleidoscope, that changes colors as the day progresses. As I sat there, I realized that Santorini’s beauty was more than white building & the caldera, it was the light. The light & colors created by the sun & moon. At that moment I was no longer disappointed in Santorini. I can now say that Santorini is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.
D I V A
continue for more photos of Santorini>

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July 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Diva Eats World, has packed her bags, and is going on vacation!!! I’m about to embark on a new adventure, so I can eat more of the world. I have a 5 O’clock flight tomorrow July 4th, that is headed for Milan. I’m meeting my husband, who is already there on a business trip. From Milan, we are going to spend four days in beautiful, enchanting Venice. It’s been about five years since I’ve been there, and can’t wait to go back.

After our time in Italy, we’re flying down to Greece; the islands of Mykonos and Santorini to be specific. This will be our first time in this beautiful country. It’s been a place I’ve had on my “travel bucket list” forever. This trip is more than just a vacation, it’s a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. When picking a place to celebrate, we had two criteria;
ONE) It had to be someplace we’ve never been before, and
TWO) It had to be romantic…so Greece was our choice.
I feel fortunate, that we’re able to spend this special time, in such amazing places. I’m looking forward to watching the sun set into the gorgeous blue water of the Aegean Sea, eating grilled octopus, drinking white wine from Santorini, and overdosing on feta cheese.

If you would like to come along with us on our adventure, you can, via FACEBOOK. Join my page (the link is below) to see post of photos of the beautiful sights, as well as the delicious food I’ll be devouring! I’ll keep you abreast of everything that’s going on. Well, maybe not EVERYTHING.(wink,wink). It is an anniversary celebration, after all.

Please come along; we would love to have you.
See you on Facebook.
Arrivederci,
D I V A
(FACEBOOK LINK)

Farro w/ Blueberries, Corn & Goat Cheese

June 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

More and more people are trying to eat healthier and put more whole grains into their diets. Whole grains are know to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
One of my favorite grains is farro. It’s mostly grown and eaten in Italy, especially in the region of Tuscany. It has a toothy, chewy texture, and somewhat of a nutty taste. It makes a great backdrop when mixed with fresh veggies and fruits.
Whenever I make salads, I always use produce that is in season. For this recipe, I paired farro with corn, blueberries and basil for a perfect summer dish.
I also added, lemon to brighten the flavors and goat cheese, which gave the salad a creaminess. It’s a perfect, tasty and healthy combination! It goes to show, how delicious healthy food can be.

Enjoy!
D I V A
FARRO W/ BLUEBERRIES, CORN & GOAT CHEESE serves 4 2 c. cooked farro or brown rice, cooled 2/3 c. blueberries 1/2 c. corn from the cob or frozen 1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled 4 basil leaves, rough chopped Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil salt to taste Cook the farro according to the package. Let it cool. Put the farro in a medium sized bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well being careful not to break the berries. It’s that simple! “>continue for the recipe>>

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Jamaican Street Corn (jerk curry mayo & coconut)

June 21st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Most people are familiar with Mexican street corn. There are a few places in New York that have excellent corn, Cafe Habana being my favorite. But, the corn I had at Miss Lily’s the other night, I liked a little better…no not a little…a lot!
Mexican street corn is grilled, then smothered with mayo and sprinkled with cotija cheese. What makes Jamaican corn different, is that the mayo has jerk seasoning and then it’s rolled in toasted coconut. I’m not sure if this is an authentic Jamaican dish, but Miss Lily’s claims to be a restaurant that’s Jamaican or Island cuisine. Either way, it’s delicious, and I loved it. I loved it so much, I had to make it for myself.
On some Islands, curry is a staple in their diets. Taking this into consideration, when I decided to try to reproduce Miss Lily’s corn, I made curry mayo and added jerk seasoning. In the mayo, I put cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne. Of course I had to roll the corn in the toasted coconut, it added a slight sweetness that off set the spiciness from the cayenne. This corn is now my summer favorite!
You must try Jamaican street corn the next time you fire up that BBQ.
Enjoy,
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Summer Squash Salad

June 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


During the summer months especially, when there are so many beautiful vegetables around, I love making raw salads. With their eye catching colors, it’s easy to be inspired. It’s a fact that people eat with their eyes first, and veggies never disappoint.
When I say raw veggies, I’m not just talking about tomatoes (I know they’re considered a fruit!), cucumbers and spinach; I’m talking about black kale, white asparagus, red and white striped beets, and purple cauliflower, to name a few.
These salads aren’t just delicious, they are packed with all things good for you. They’re a great source of fiber, iron, vitamins A and C. To add more healthy goodness, throw in some fruit and nuts and you have yourself one health conscious meal.
In this salad, I used yellow, and green squash, along with pine nuts, and shaved radishes for an extra pop of color and crunch. I dressed it with olive oil, lemon and pecorino cheese. It’s a simple, delicious salad that only takes minutes to make. I recommend, you go to the market, and get inspired.
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

Here are some links to past salads I’ve posted.
Shaved brussel sprouts
Thai tofu salad w/ spicy red chili dressing
Veggies with anchovy dressing
Chopped antipasto salad

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Corn-Basil Ice Cream

June 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Ice cream is one of those quintessential summer treats. It’s eaten all year, but there’s something about its cold creaminess, that’s so satisfying on a warm day. Did you know, Americans eat 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year; more than any other country. Now-a-days, there are just as many flavors to choose from, as there are people eating it.

When I was a kid, there was an ice cream parlor close to our house, that boosted about their “48 flavors.” (regardless, I only ordered vanilla) At the time, we thought that many flavors was so cool; now, it’s no big deal. Mud pie or peanut butter ice cream were the most inventive flavors once, but not today.
The flavors that are now available are mind blowing and some are pretty darn strange. Some of the more inventive flavors I’ve heard of are, caviar, stilton cheese, spaghetti and cheese, sardine, and Viagra… the list goes on and on.

When I bought my ice cream machine, I wanted to try some of my own flavor combinations.
I’ve made, vanilla cherry rose, chocolate lavender, olive oil, and lemon poppy seed. They’re not as far fetched or creative as the flavors I mentioned, but they’re about as daring as I “want” to get. The other day, I was in the mood to make a new flavor. I asked my facebook followers, to give me some ideas. They gave me some pretty good suggestions, but what intrigued me, was the suggestion of caramel corn; not so much the caramel as the corn.

Right away, I though of a salad I like to make in summer; fresh corn, lobster and basil.
I decided to make the flavor corn-basil, leaving out the lobster for obvious reasons. Like I said, I don’t “want” to get that creative. I steeped the fresh corn cobs in the milk, for an hour to infuse the corn flavor into the ice cream.
You know when you eat corn on the cob, and you get down to the cob, and it taste creamy and milky, well that’s what the ice cream taste like. It was milky and sweet with a hint of fresh basil. I loved the flavor of this ice cream. The only thing that would make it better, is if it was served with a piece of polenta cake.

Enjoy!
D I V A
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Pepperoni Pretzels

May 15th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I grew up in Philadelphia, where soft pretzels are a part of a daily nutritional diet. They’re sold in many stores & by vendors on almost every street corner. When I was a kid in school, everyday we had snack time; where we were able to buy candy (nice healthy snack) & pretzels. The teacher would open a big brown paper bag that was full of rows & rows of pretzels, all stuck toghether like little soldiers. Their smell would permeate the entire classroom & make our mouths salivate.
There were only a certain number of pretzels to be sold, so if too many kids bought more than one, some kids would be left out. There was nothing more disturbing, than not getting a pretzel at snack time. We would even barter for pretzels with the kid who had more than one. Can you see how serious these little twisted pieces of salty dough are to us Philadelphians?!
I read that Philadelphians eat 12X the national average in pretzels per year. Why are they so popular there? It’s said that in 610AD Italian monks would give pretzels to students as rewards for being diligent. This practice then became popular in Austria & Germany. Pretzels made their way to the U.S. by way of the Dutch, who settled in Pennsylvania. The first pretzel was said to have been baked in the U.S. in 1861; 75 miles west of Philadelphia. They were used to feed farm workers because they were filling & inexpensive. Eventually, the pretzel trickled down into the city cuisine & eventually turning into what they are today.
Philly pretzels are different than soft pretzels sold in other cities. They’re oblong in shape, less doughy & have a toothiness to its consistency. The true Philadelphia way to eat a pretzel is, smothering it with mustard…. spicy mustard! Needless to say, whenever I go to Philly to visit family & friends, I make sure I have a few pretzels stashed in my car for the long ride back to NYC.
The pretzels I posted here, are no where near Philly pretzels, but they’re a good homemade snack that’s fun to make with the kids. There is finely chopped pepperoni in the dough & they’re sprinkled with salt & parmesan cheese. These pretzels are great when served with tomato sauce for a pizza taste.
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

Philly Pretzels

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Apricot & Pistachio Tart

May 10th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I love living so close to Manhattan. It’s home to some of the best culinary schools in the world. One of the schools is “The Institute of Culinary Education.” I’ve taken many classes there over the year: one class focused on savory & sweet tarts. The instructor Kathryn Gordon, assigned each person in the class a specific tart to make; mine was apricot & pistachio. I heard her assign the other tart, tomato-basil, cherry custard, chevre, rosemary & walnut; they all sounded much more appealing than apricots. But, like a good student I went to work.

When all the tarts were done, they were displayed on a table to show the other students. As I looked at the array of tarts, I thought,”Well at least mine looks nice.” It’s crust was nice & golden brown & the slits on the top made the apricots peek through. We all got a chance to taste each others tarts. To my surprise, the tart I made I loved. Most of the student in the class named the apricot & pistachio tart as one of their favorites. At that moment, I was glad it was assigned to me.
The instructor gave us the recipes to all the tarts, as we were leaving the class. Now, that I have all the recipes, the apricot & pistachio is the only one I make. It has become a favorite. I guess, the moral of this story is, “The grass always seems greener on the other side.”
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Migas (eggs, cheese, peppers, jalapeno, & crushed tortilla chips

May 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I’ve never heard of migas (pronounced mee-gas) until recently. Almost every Saturday morning my husband & I go to Raymond’s for breakfast. Raymond’s is a restaurant in the town where we live, that is crowed 24/7. It’s a place to see & be seen. Since we’re early risers, we get to the restaurant as soon as it opens.
A few months ago Raymond added a few new items to his menu; migas was one of them. One of the cooks in the restaurant made it for the staff one morning. Raymond tasted it & decided that it had to be on the menu. Since it was new, I had to try it…of course.
It’s scrambled eggs with green peppers, onions, tomatoes, jalapeno, cheese & torn pieces of soft tortilla. It was served with a red & green salsa.(salsa verde) From the first bite I fell in love with migas. Actually, I can’t decide what I like better, the migas or the salsa verde.
Salsa verde is a sauce made from tomatillos, jalapeno, lime juice & cilantro; all the flavors I love. It’s bright & refreshing & it’s good as a dip or a condiment.
In Diva’s version, I made a few minor changes to the traditional migas. I changed the pepper to a poblano pepper, I used pickled red Jalapenos & I used tortilla chips instead of soft tortilla. I too served it with salsa verde as well as beans. Diva’s version is not the same as Raymond’s, but his will do on those Saturday morning visits when I’m not in the mood to cook.

Enjoy!
D I V A
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Peanut Butter & Nutella French Macarons

April 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Oh…French macarons, the little cookie that’s causing quite a stir everywhere. With it’s slightly nutty, crunchy exterior, chewy center & their eye-catchinglly beautiful colors, that one can’t help but love.

Even though the macaron was born in Italy, they became popular all over France, especially in Paris, when Catherine de Medicis (from Italy) married Henry II (the king of France) in 1547. Catherine’s chef brought them to France when he made the cookies for their wedding. It wasn’t until the grandson of Louis Ernest Laudree, a pastry shop owner in Paris, decided to stick 2 cookies together with a bit of ganache in the center. He eventually added different flavors & to differentiate these flavors he added color.

They never really caught on here in the states until recently. I’m not quite sure what sparked this trend, but macarons now have a cult following in the U.S. In New York over the past few years, more & more shops selling these delicate little cookies have popped up; but none as popular as Laudree’s. A few months ago, the wildly popular Laudree from Paris opened a shop in Manhattan. This shop has caused a frenzy. At any given time, there’s a long line that extends from the shop door to well down the street. Now we Americans, can taste a bit of Paris history in this one little cookie without leaving the country.

Many home cooks are now trying their hand at making French macarons, including myself. As you probably know, they are known to be a very temperamental little cookies!!!! I think that the difficulty in making them is part of their appeal. I must say I’ve made them many times, sometimes with disappointing outcomes & some with great success. When they come out right, I get this overwhelming feeling of joy, that makes me do the happy dance around my kitchen! It’s kind of silly to get that excited over cookies, but because they’re so difficult, it’s a great accomplishment when you get it right!

I had some egg whites left over from some pasta dough I made & decided it was time to make macarons. The fun part in making them is deciding on the flavors. This time I used one of my favorite combos…peanut butter & Nutella. You can say, I married America, Italy & France all in one delicious cookie. It’s my ode to where they started, where they’re coveted & where they are now.
Enjoy,
D I V A
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Toffee Covered Matzoh

April 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Matzoh is unleavened bread that is traditionally eaten by Jews during Passover, when leavened bread isn’t permitted. Matzoh reminds me of an unsalted Saltine cracker. Growing up we never ate matzoh, I’m an Italian catholic. I knew what it was & I tasted it, but had no feel for it. I found it rather bland, until…I was at a friends house for seder (passover feast) & she served chocolate covered matzoh. After eating this I wanted to convert!!! (My grandmother who was a devout catholic, is turning in her grave right now). I don’t know what genius thought of covering matzoh with chocolate, but I love them!
Whether your Jewish or not, what’s good is good & you don’t have to observe passover to enjoy this delicious treat. It’s so easy to make it’s sinful. (no pun intended) I lined the matzoh on a cookie tray & poured hot brown sugar & butter (margarine if you observe) that I melted on the stove. I then baked it for 15 minutes, took it out of the oven & sprinkled the top with chocolate chips. When the chocolate was soft I spread it over the toffee & topped it with sliced almonds. I can’t tell you how good this is. You need to try it for your self. If you want, you can use Saltine crackers in place of the matzoh.
But, BEWARE this toffee covered matzoh is highly addictive to Jews & Gentiles alike!
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Cheesecake/Carrot Cake Cake

April 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Happy Birthday to ME, Happy Birthday to ME, Happy Birthday Dear DIVA, Happy Birthday to ME!!!

On one of my mile stone birthdays, I was so depressed that I cried the entire day. My poor husband tried to make the day special by taking me to the “Four Seasons” restaurant in Manhattan, thinking this would make me happy. Instead, I got upset with him because there were too many “blue haired people,” (are the words I used) in the restaurant and it made me feel old.
When I came to my senses, I realized HOW RIDICULOUS that was! From that point on, I decided not to attach an age to my birthday, but to celebrate it as another year I was blessed with life! Life and birth are the same thing, aren’t they? So if your age gets you down, just start looking at it in a different way. We can’t change the fact that we’re all getting older, but we can change the way we think about it.
I now believe in celebrating my birthday to it’s fullest. For me it doesn’t last a day, I have week long celebrations. One year I actually wrote up an itinerary of activities for my friends to help me celebrate. My birthday has become an event my friends look forward to. This year besides the day at the spa, lunch with a few friends, dinner with my husband, then a dinner with my family, we are going to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, New York with some of my closest friends.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Arthur Avenue, it’s the Italian section of the Bronx which has rows & rows of restaurants and speciality food stores. The restaurant we’re going to is called
“Pasquale Rigaletto’s.” I love this place because not only is the food good, but they have a man that sings old Italian songs like my father and uncles use to. They would sing, and we kids would sing right along with them not knowing a single word they were saying, nor did we care. All we knew is that we were having fun. This place reminds me of those happy times spent with my family. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate my LIFE!
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the cake recipe>>
The cake is a creamy cheese cake that is sandwiched between 2 layers of carrot cake & covered with a cream cheese icing! It’s decadent, rich & sinful! A must try!

DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW DIVA ON FACEBOOK

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Easter Bread

March 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

If you would like this recipe for Easter bread visit my other blog Diva Eats Italia

Tzimmes

March 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


There’s so much talk & many blog post floating around about Easter so I thought I would give some attention to Passover. It’s a Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. It’s celebrated with a seder, which is a ritual feast that starts the holiday. I don’t observe Passover but I’ve been invited to many seders by friends.
I thought I would post a recipe of one of the dishes that I had during passover. It’s a sweet carrot stew that incorporates dried fruit. Tzimmes can be really sweet, so I changed it up slightly to give it a little less sweetness. Although it’s considered a stew, I more or less roasted the veggies.
Besides carrots which is always in the recipe, I added sweet potatoes. The fruit I decided to use were dried cherries & prunes which are traditional to the dish. With the help of some brown sugar & honey, the dish got it’s sweetness. This makes a great side dish with any roasted meat, whether your Jewish or not.
Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>

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Pasteles de Guayaba y Queso (cream cheese pastry filled w/ guava)

March 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


A few weeks ago my husband & I went on a mini vacation in South Beach Miami. It was 4 days of basking in the sun & eating fabulous meals. One day we went for a walk & happened upon a latin pastry shop that of course I couldn’t resist. The bakery smelled like sugar & spice & all things yummy! The woman behind the counter told us that she “just took out guava filled turnovers.” How can one resist a freshly baked pastry warm right out of the oven? You can’t & I didn’t. I took one bite & my eyes rolled in the back of my head in pure pleasure.
I was told that the pastry was simply made of butter, cream cheese & flour, which made the pastry flaky & light. It was reminiscent of the dough used to make rugelach. The filling was just a spoon full of guava paste that wasn’t overly sweet & gave the turnover a tropical flare.
In Diva’s version I changed it up slightly. First of all, for me whether it’s a pie, tart or turnover it’s all about the dough. It needs to be flaky & buttery. This recipe is just that..perfect! As for the filling, this is where I changed it up. I couldn’t find guava paste so I used guava preserves. I also added a dollop of cream cheese into the filling & sprinkled the top of the turnover with sugar before baking. When you have the perfect dough recipe, no matter what’s inside, you know it will taste fabulous!!
Enjoy,
D I V A
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Churrasco w/ Chimichurri Sauce (grilled Skirt Steak w/ a Vinegar-Herb Sauce)

March 20th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


The weather is starting to change here in the New York area. This week the temperatures are into the 70′s. As soon as the season changes & the weather warms up, I think of grilling. There is this little latin restaurant that we frequent in lower Manhattan called “Cafe Cortadito.” The place is small but the atmosphere is big, the food is great, it’s inexpensive & the owners couldn’t be nicer. I love places like this. The reason I’m mentioning this place is because whenever we go I like to order “churrasco w/ chimichurri sauce.”
Churrasco is an Argentinian dish that refers to grilled beef or meat. In Argentina, each person eats 150 pounds of beef per year!! That’s a lot of cows! This dish is said to have originated in Pampas, an area of Argentina where there are many “Gauchos” (cowboys). These Gauchos will coral the beef & then cook the meat over an open fire.
Churrasco is often served with a sauce called “chimichurri,” which is made of herbs such as cilantro & red wine vinegar. I love the taste of the acidity of the vinegar & the freshness of the herbs on the juicy, charred meat. This sauce is not only great on beef but also on pork & chicken.
Now that the Spring has finally arrived & the weather is warming up, it’s time to fire up that grill & enjoy the outdoors.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Steak & Guinness Pie w/ Irish Soda Bread Crust

March 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. Most people celebrate with pints of ale & corned beef & cabbage. I love corned beef & cabbage, but I knew there had to be more Irish food to explore. I wanted to make something different this year so I called my friend who is from Dublin. She gave me some suggestions, but when I heard steak & Guinness pie, my antennas went up….I had a new recipe to try.
In Diva’s version, there are some ingredients that aren’t traditional to the dish, but I think they gave the stew a lot of flavor & texture. As I was figuring out what to put into the pie, a light bulb went off in my head. I had the idea to put Irish soda bread as the top crust. (I think this idea is a brilliant one if I may say so myself!)
Guinness has somewhat of a bitter taste, so the raisins in the soda bread balanced it out. Also, the caraway seeds that were in the bread gave the dish a beautiful earthy flavor that took it to the next level. The bread itself soaked up the yummy juices & gave it added texture. I am BEYOND happy with the way this recipe turned out. It was hearty, flavorful & touch of Ireland.
Erin go Bragh!
D I V A
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Colcannon

March 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


March 17 th. marks the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick the patron saint of Ireland. This day is celebrated with parades, singing, dancing, eating & drinking. When I was younger, every year on St. Paddy’s Day my friends & I would go to an Irish Pub called Fitzgerald’s.
We would eat corned beef & cabbage & drink “green beer.” I know gross!! It was inevitable that someone on the way home would get caught up in the celebration & get sick…NOT PRETTY!

My family is from the south of Italy where not much cabbage is eaten; so needless to say, it’s not something I grew up with. Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day at Fitzgerald’s Pub made me realize that I love cabbage. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish eaten in the winter months due to it’s heartiness. It’s know as a poor man or working man’s food. It’s basically mashed potatoes with chunks of ham, cabbage & leeks all mixed together. From the first time I heard of this dish I knew I had to make it. I did, I loved it & now I make it every year on St. Paddy’s Day. How could you not love this, it’s mashed potatoes, who doesn’t love them!!! Irish or not, if there is a reason to make colcannon, I’m celebrating.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Mexican Shepherds Pie w/ Chipotle Mashed Potatoes

March 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


This year my husband & I became empty nesters! When your kids leave home it’s bitter sweet. You’re happy because they’re moving into adulthood & having a sense of independence, but in the same breath, you miss them & feel that they don’t need you any longer.
Now, I’m getting use to them not being around & I hate to say it but, I’m loving it!!! Thank goodness they don’t need us as much, I’m tired! My husband & I are having the time of our lives. We feel as we did when we first got married. My son asked me what I’ve been doing now that both he & my daughter are gone: I sad “anything I want!”

We are lucky though, because both our kids go to school & live in New York City, which is about 15 miles from where we live. We try to get together with them at least on Sundays for dinner. Even though we are fairly close, it’s not that easy getting in & out of the city. Sometimes it takes me 1 1/2 hours of bumper to bumper traffic. Not fun!

Both my kids are self sufficient in the kitchen. My son actually calls himself “Divo” the male version of “Diva.” With their busy school schedules, cooking elaborate meals is not feasible. This is where I come in. I spent the last few days cooking up favorites to give to them. One of my son’s favorite recipes that I make is a Mexican bake. Think of it as a shepherds pie of sorts. I first saute onion, green peppers & ground beef. Then I add corn, beans & a bunch of spices. The best part as far as I’m concerned, is the chipotle mashed potatoes. I add shredded jack cheese & chopped chipotle peppers to the potatoes to give them a smokey spiciness.

I guess my kids still need me for something other than to pay their bills. I keep them from over dosing on junk food! It’s good to be needed.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Toffee Bars

March 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Whenever I’m in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, I have to go to the Chelsea Market. For those of you who don’t know, Chelsea Market is an indoor market with retail stores, restaurants & specialty food stores on the bottom floor & the Food Network Studios are on the upper floors. I have on occasion caught a glimpse of a Food Network star or 2.
When I walk into the market there are alway a few must go places I head to. “Boun Italia” the Italian specialty store, to buy Setare pasta, which could only be bought there. “Eleni’s”, for one of their banana cupcakes & of course “Fat Witch Bakery” for the most delicious little brownies I’ve ever tasted.
The first time I had a Fat Which brownie was many years back; we were having a dinner party & a friend brought them to our house. She said “this place just opened, I haven’t tasted these, I hope they’re good.” Good!! I have been a fan ever since & apparently so is all of New York & beyond. Fat Witch Bakery has been in the Chelsea market since 1998 & still gong strong. So of course, when I saw their cookbook I just had to buy it. Skimming through it, there were so many recipes that I wanted to try, but the toffee bars kept calling out to me.
The first time I made the bars I loved them & so did my son & his friends. They ate them all before I got a chance to photograph them for Diva Eats World. This time, I didn’t take any chances; I made sure that no one would be home. They are ALL mine!!!
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Stuffed Peppers w/ Rice, Feta & Spinach

February 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


The other night I made far too much rice for dinner. I had to figure out something to do with the left overs; I decided to stuff some peppers. Stuffed peppers can be a meal unto itself. Growing up my mother would stuff them with meat & rice which became an all-in-one meal. In “Diva’s Version” I used brown rice & added some Greek flavors. In with the rice I put spinach, pine nuts, capers, olives, lemon, oregano & feta cheese. The brown rice could be substitutes for white rice as well as orzo or any small pasta. They are perfect for lunch as well.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Breakfast pizza

February 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


During the week my breakfast consist of a Greek yogurt & coffee. I think for most people, weekday breakfast is a grab & go meal. When the weekend rolls around, most people want something a little more satisfying & relaxing. I always try to think of something a little different on those days when breakfast is a sit down meal.
Here in New Jersey a “Taylor ham”, egg & cheese sandwich is the breakfast of champions. Taylor ham is a brand name for pork roll. It’s popular in NJ because it originated in Trenton the state capital & it’s still made there. I took this idea of New Jersey’s “state sandwich” & turned it into a pizza.
I took store bought pizza dough & roll it into individual portions. I pre-cooked the crust & then topped it with home fries of potatoes, onions & sprinkled with paprika. Precooked pork roll & grated jack cheese is placed on top of the home fries & popped back into the oven to warm up & to get the cheese all melted. I then put a fried egg on the pizza to finish it off. My favorite part about this pizza is when you cut into the egg, the yolk covers the potatoes & pork roll to give it a delicious creaminess. This breakfast pizza was a huge hit with my family, as I’m sure it will be with yours.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Indian Spiced Cauliflower, Potato & Pea Fritters w/ Yogurt Sauce

February 10th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


I have a friend who is from India. His parents came to New York to visit him resently & had a really hard time with the food here. To come to America & eat french fries & cheeseburgers I guess was a little hard to swallow for them. They thought the food was too bland & hated everything they ate even the so called Indian food. Of course the Indian food here is probably a just a resembelence of the food in India. Most are watered down versions to accommodate the American palate. Indian food is a cuisine with loads of vibrant colors & warm earthy flavors. It’s full of spices, curries & heat.
Vegetarianism is practiced widely throughout the country so most vegetables eaten are hearty. Cauliflower, potatoes & peas are a classic combination in Indian cuisine. Most often this combo is eaten as a curry. In my recipes here I took the flavors of this traditional dish & put them into a fritter form.
I chopped cauliflower & potato added some spices such as garam marsala, cumin, coriander & turmeric threw in some peas made fritters. To top them off I & served them with a yogurt that I added cumin seeds & cilantro to. If you like food with warm spiced you’ll love these fritters.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Salted Apple-Caramel Hand Pies

February 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Every month me, my husband & our closest friends get together for some sort of group activity..example last month we went bowling. Somewhere between falling on my butt & all the gutter balls I realized this sport was not for me. This month we decided to have game night. Great I love games. I use to be a beast (that means good) at pictionary & trivial pursuit. I thought for sure I would be able to redeem myself with this activity. WRONG, It wasn’t because I was terrible at the game my friend choose it was because once we sat around the table & started eating, drinking & laughing the games weren’t even thought of. I guess I’ll have to wait until our next activity for me to try “again” to redeem myself.
For our “we didn’t play any Games night” I made these apple-caramel hand pie for dessert. I thought hand pies would be good, this way we could hold them while playing. As you could see by the photos of the pies in a dish with ice cream that the pies were not held. Oh well even thought the night wan’t exactly how we planned it was FUN.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Easy Breadsticks

January 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Breadsticks always remind me of an old fashioned Italian restaurant with red & white checkered table clothes, straw covered bottles of chianti & breadsticks standing tall.
The difference is that those sticks were plain & dry, these breadsticks are crispy & flavored with herbs & spices. They are so easy to make, especially when you use store bought dough! I made them purely because I had some pizza dough left over from my
Genoa Stromboli post on my other blog Diva Eats Italia.
I was recently in Las Angeles where I had lunch at “Mozza” a pizzeria where Mario Batali is a partner. I loved this place!! As soon as you sit at your table they give you freshly made breadsticks made from pizza dough that are thin & crispy. Since I had the dough I thought I would try to make some using different flavors. I made some with truffle salt, red pepper & fennel seeds, fresh black pepper & course salt & some I made with fig jam. They all turned out really good. Next time you’re making pizza & have some dough left over try these sticks. Warning they are addicting!
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Hot Dog & Sauerkraut Pizza

January 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Since the Super Bowl has been on my mind & on the minds of millions of other people I’ve been thinking party food. Here is another recipe that would be great for such gatherings. Although my Italian roots are screaming in my head that this pizza is sacrilegious, I went ahead & made it anyway & I liked it. As a matter of fact I loved it! Sorry Nonna (grandmother) when in Rome do as the Romans.
I par-cooked the pizza crust first so the sauerkraut doesn’t make the pizza soggy. I hate soggy pizza, it drives me crazy. Anyway, I then put a nice smear of mustard on the crust before I layered the kraut, sliced hot dogs & topped it with cheddar/jack cheese. I served it with chopped hot peppers, relish & chopped raw onions. Serve it with your favorite hot dog topping.
Kids will love this as well.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Blue Cheese & Bacon Potato Salad

January 19th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dressing & celery sticks are a bar snack favorite. Everyone knows about these wings but just in case…..they are chicken wings that are deep fried & then doused with a hot pepper sauce. They are then served with blue cheese dressing & celery sicks to help cool off the heat from the spicy wings.
In my last post I took the concept of the Buffalo chicken wings & put a new slant to this bar snack favorite by making Buffalo chicken meatballs.
I also wanted to make something that would go along side of the meatballs that had the same cooling effect as the sauce. I basically took the blue cheese dressing that I made for the meatballs & put it in with potatoes along with some celery & crispy, salty bacon. If you’re a blue cheese lover you’ll love this make ahead salad. It’s another perfect dish for a Super Bowl crowd.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Buffalo Chicken Meatballs w/ Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

January 18th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Super bowl Sunday is fast approaching….GO TEAM!!! I’m really not a football fan. Although I can’t imagine how I’m not having grown up in a house where my father & brother watched every sport there is. The bombardment of sports managed to suck in my mother but I escaped untouched (except for tennis).
At any rate there will be many people gathering together to cheer on their team that day & lots of food to go with it. I wanted to take some classic Super Bowl favorites & give them a new twist.
I took the idea of Buffalo chicken wings & turned them into meatballs with the same hot sauce that makes the wings so loved. Eat them as is or as sliders with extra hot sauce & blue cheese.
I paired the meatballs with some blue cheese potato salad that’s creamy with a slight crunch from bacon & celery.(this recipe will be posted tomorrow) I basically took potatoes & added the blue cheese sauce that usually accompanies the wings to make the dressing. Regardless of which team wins these recipes will always be winners with me.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Roasted Veggie & Bean Pot Pie W/ Black Pepper Crust

January 13th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


During the winter months when the cold goes right down to your bones, you want to settle next a fire & dig into something warm, hearty & satisfying. The weather in the New York area hasn’t been as described, it was a mild 52 degrees today & it’s January! Regardless, these veggie pot pies are just plain good to eat no matter what the weathers like!
I roasted some rutabaga, turnips, butternut squash & onion w/ fennel seeds. Roasting veggies is my favorite way to cook them, it brings out all there natural sweet yumminess. I then made a simple sauce flavored with some thyme, added swiss chard & cannellini beans, mixed everything together, filled individual bowls & placed the the perfect crust on top.
For me the crust is the most important part. I’m the person who eats the crust on a pie & not the “fruit” filling. It needs to be buttery & most importantly super flaky & light. I’m thrilled to say that this recipe produced just that… the perfect pastry dough! For some added flavor to our savory pie I put fresh crushed black pepper through out the dough.
I’m actually eating one as I’m typing this post. Trust me they are beyond good!
Enjoy!
D I V A
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Chocolate Chocolate-Caramel Cream Pie w/ Chocolate Pretzel Crust

January 10th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


This simple pie is ridiculously good. I took one bite & did a happy dance around my kitchen. If you’re a chocoholic like me, you’re going to love this pie! My initial intension was not to make everything chocolate, but while I was making it I kept adding chocolate to every step & I’m glad I did.
The crust is made of salted hard pretzel crumbs & chocolate chips which melted when the hot butter was mixed into the crumbs. The easy chocolate cream filling is simply chocolate melted in hot cream. Just in case you thought this pie wasn’t rich & chocolatey enough, I put a surprise layer of chocolate carmel under the filling. This luscious gooey layer is my favorite part. The one thing that’s no surprise is how good this pie is.
Enjoy!
D I V A
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