July 2nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

When I was a kid, I spent my summers at the beach, living on my parents’ houseboat. I would love to throw the crab baskets and nets over the dock in hopes of a huge catch. We would clean the crabs, steam them (my Mom did it with garlic & white wine) and chow down with some ice cold beer. Because of my summers at the beach and my love for crabbing, I have become an expert crab eater. When I’m done, there’s not one speck of meat left in the tiniest crevice.

When my Mother died, the boat was sold and me and my little family start going out for our crab fix. We would go to The Crab House at Two Mile Landing in Wildwood, NJ.. It’s one of those places where they put brown paper down on the table, hand you a pick and a mallet and let you get to work on a huge pile of steamed crabs.

The crab tried to take the hammer away, but I just wasn’t having it!

My husband and I rented a little cottage on the beach for a few weeks in Cape May, NJ. Like usual, our entire vacation is based on where we’re going to eat. Of course, the Crab House was on top of the list. Our daughter Lea and her friend Ashley, came to spend a couple of days with us, so we decided to wait for them to go. (per our daughters request.) She remembered going there as a kid and buying a tee shirt that had three Rasta dudes on the front and the caption read, “We Be Crabbin’.” When we got there she ran off to the gift shop, like she was seven again, to look to see if they still had the tee. (mind you, she is now 23!!) She was disappointed that the shirt no longer exist, but her disappointment only lasted until the server placed the crabs on the table. It quickly became a dinner full of shells flying, lots of beer drinking, laughter, full tummies and there was even a little singing!! A song we made up called; you guessed it, “We Be Crabbin’”

My daughter Lea & her friend Ashley, were ready to attack. They meant business!!

The aftermath!


June 30th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My husband and I rented a little cottage on the beach in Cape May, NJ. Our little rental is located right on the very tip of the state, called Cape May Point. To get from were we live to the state’s tip, is about a 3 hour drive. Atlantic City, the playground of New Jersey, was in route to our final destination. We decided to break up the ride by stopping in AC for dinner in one of the Casinos. American Cut, from Chef Marc Forgione, an iron chef, is in Revel, one of the newest casinos in town.

Relaxing with a glass of white wine before dinner.

With a name like American Cut, you can guess the restaurant is a steakhouse. John and I shared a strip steak that was smothered with Jack Daniel’s onions, that were sweet and boozy. We ordered Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, a giant glazed carrot with mint, and roasted cauliflower as sides. We also got 3 sauces to accompany the steak, chimichurri, Chef’s steak sauce & Au Poivre, my fav. The sommelier helped us pick a beautifully full bodied, smoky red wine from Spain, that went perfectly with our meal. It was so yummy, that John and I had no problem finishing the bottle.

The husband checking out the menu.

We did leave the casino with our wallets a little lighter, but not from gambling from the pricy meal. But, we came out winners inspite of it, because we throughly enjoyed our dinner.


Revel Casino’s slot machines. Does anyone ever come out ahead?!


June 25th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

On these hot summer days, the last thing I feel like doing is eating a huge, heavy meal. I find myself eating less and lighter during the summer months. One of the things I love to have on hand is gazpacho. I keep it in the fridge for a quick, refreshing meal. I usually make it with a tomato base, but will occasionally step out of the box and try new ways, like this recipe for roasted tomatillo gazpacho.
I know that one of the great things about making gazpacho is that there is no cooking involved, but this recipe is an exception. I usually put everything in a food processor and pulse away, until I reach the consistency I like. Tomatillos are rather firm in texture, this is why I like to roast them. They begin to breakdown and get really juicy, making them perfect for soup.
Although, you do have to cook them, there is still a minimal amount of effort in preparing this gazpacho. It still produces a refreshingly cool, light, summer meal in the end.

continue for recipe>>

JUST A LITTLE DIVA FYI** Tomatillos are sometimes referred to as Mexican tomatoes, but they aren’t tomatoes at all. They’re a member of the cape gooseberry family.


June 19th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The husband and I decided that we were going “to try” to eat more fish. Since we are both MEAT eaters, I didn’t know how this would play out. When I was younger, I hardly ate meat. I would spend my summers at the beach and grew up eating every kind of seafood there is…then one day that all changed. I don’t know what day that was exactly, but suddenly fish seemed boring to me. My taste buds changed. If I have a choice between fish or meat…move over little fishy, hand me the steak knife.

I could blame it on the fact that I’m getting older and it’s said that your taste buds begin to dull or I could blame it on my love of red wine…..I’m going with the wine theory. My husband and I belonged to a gourmet club. 4 couples would get together taking turns hosting dinner. We would pick a theme and pair our dishes with wine. I never really drank wine before, but suddenly I became obsessed. I started reading about it, I’ve taken classes and most importantly, I started to drink a lot of it! :)

In my attempt to be a fish eater, one night John and I went out to dinner and I ordered, seared cod with panzanella salad. It was so delicious. It was not boring at all. It was packed full of flavor. I enjoyed it so much, that I wanted to make something similar at home. The recipe I posted here is my version of that dish. I must say, we all were REALLY happy in the way it turned out. The fish had a subtle but rich taste and texture that paired really well with the crisp, sweetness of the corn and tomatoes, as well as the tartness from lime juice. I even used the left overs to make tacos for lunch the next day, which were awesome. Now that we’re eating more fish, I found a whole new obsession..white wine. With a fleshier fish like sea bass, I could pair it off with a fuller white wine. As my husband calls them, “whites that drink like reds.” Oh to Joy!!!
I loved this dish and I’m making a conscious effort to eat more fish, but I still want to know….”Where’s the beef?”
continue for recipe>>


June 16th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I like lots of lemon on my oysters.

Whenever John goes on a business trip, we always have a date night, the night before he leaves. Last night, was one of those nights. We went to a local restaurant that we frequent, called Halcyon. We started with some crisp white wine to wash down our oyster appetizer.

French Kiss are one of my favorite east coast oysters.

Here’s a little tid-bit for you, about oysters. They’re said to rev up your libido. Casanova ate a dozen oysters everyday, and we know what kind of reputation he had!!! I eat them because, I love the taste. They’re like summer in a shell. Although, I wouldn’t mind a rev every now and again.

John enjoying the vino.

For my entree, I had soft shell crabs. Since they’re in season for a short time, I order them wherever I go. I eat so many, that I’m happy when the season ends. I’ll admit, that the first time I had them, I was somewhat grossed out. I tried to keep my mind off of what I was actually eating. You know, the shell and all the “stuff” inside…ewwwee But, I got over it and now they’re one of my favorite foods. It’s funny how your palate will change if you let it.

Yummy soft shell crabs are in season from May – July. HURRY, go get some before they’re gone!!!

Look at the thickness of that baby!!!

John decided to keep a crab theme going by ordering a giant crab cake, that even he couldn’t finish. By the end of the meal my tummy was FULL. Because I was about to explode, I opted not to have dessert and have an after dinner drink; or shall I say, John had a drink, I had olives. (as if I didn’t eat enough) John sipped on an ice cold, extra dry vodka martini with three olives. I think he likes martinis, because it makes him feel a little James Bond..ish. As he drank his cocktail, I ate the giant green, vodka soaked olives that were swimming at the bottom of the martini glass. If I ever drank a martini, my drunk ass would be on the floor…for days! It wouldn’t be a pretty sight, this is why I stick to eating the drink’s garnish.

I ate all the olives. Sorry John.

The wine, the martini and the vodka olives, made us a little giddy and anxious to get home. Who knows, maybe the oysters were beginning to have an effect on us. Maybe, that Casanova guy was really on to something..wink..wink. With or without the oysters, it was a great date with the husband!!



June 11th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My friends and family know that I have a cookbook obsession; so when they find one that they think I might like, they buy it for me. I lost track of how many books I actually have. Soon, I’m going to have to build a room in my house just for them! Some people read novels before they go to bed…I read cookbooks.

Recently, my dear friend Laura, gave me “One Sweet Cookie,” by Tracey Zabar. It’s a book full of cookie recipes by pastry chefs from Manhattan restaurants. Flipping through the book, I came across the recipe for these “lemon poppy seed linzer cookies.” Every time I picked up the book, I always seemed to stop on that recipe. That meant one thing…I needed to bake these. I did, I loved them and wanted to share the recipe with you, so here it is.
continue for the recipe>>


May 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

A friend came to visit, walked in my house, plopped a cake on the kitchen counter, tore open the pastry box and proclaimed, “You’ve GOT to taste this cake. It’s the best damn pound cake I’ve ever eaten.” On the box were the words “Philly Fluff.” Besides wanting to share with me this cake made in heaven, she thought I would get a “kick” out of the name, due to the fact I was born and raised in Philadelphia.

Feeding off her adrenaline, I got excited to try the cake. I cut a small piece and took a bite. My eyes grew wide and I quickly cut myself a giant, hungry man piece. I literally, moaned as I ate this huge piece of heaven. It was light and fluffy like a cloud. It was truly the best pound cake I’ve ever eaten; in my life!!! I quickly took note of the bakery where it was purchased. I had to know where I could buy more of this baby.

I had never heard of Philly Fluff cake, so I had to research it. The bakery where my friend bought it was, “Natale’s,” in Summit, New Jersey. This pound cake is their number one seller and has been for the last 70 years. Don’t let the name Philly Fluff, fool you. It has nothing to do with the City of Brotherly Love, but has everything to do with the fact that it’s made with Philadelphia cream cheese.

Since baking is scientific, I couldn’t conjure up my own recipe, so I searched the web. I came across a few recipes, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the recipe by Krissy, over at Make it Naked, that I knew I found one I had to try. Some of the other recipes, used shortening and hers did not, which made it appealing to me. Besides, I loved the story she wrote about the cake and her adorable grandfather. Check her site out.

I changed the cake a bit by making it lemon poppy, per my son’s request. Not only was I pleased with the recipe, so were my friends and family. We loved it so much, I had to bake another, this time like the one my friend bought at Natale’s Bakery, plain. My intentions were to use Krissy’s recipe and maybe one or two others that I found. But, after tasting her’s, there was no need to look any further for the perfect Philly Fluff recipe.

continue for the recipe>>

SPICY MARGARITAS (jalapeño infused tequila)

May 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Every time we have a party, I like to have at least one special cocktail to serve before dinner. There have been many good ones, but these spicy margaritas have become everyone’s favorite. The spicy cocktail have become my signature drink. I also, make a spicy martini that is well loved. First timers always have the same reaction. At first, they’re not sure if they like the drink or not, but there’s something about the heat from the chili pepper and the salt on the glass rim, that quickly becomes addicting.

When I decided to have a Cinco de Mayo party, it was a no brainer that these spicy margaritas were to be on the menu.
I must warn you, the spiciness of the jalapenos, accelerates the effects of the alcohol. I don’t know for sure if this is fact, but I can only speak from my own experience, as well as the experience of my friends. Just one, will not only go straight to your head, but you’ll find yourself speaking Spanish while doing the macarena!! You have been forewarned.




April 29th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

When ever my husband travels, he calls and text messages me at least a dozen times a day. It’s bad enough that I’m stuck at home somewhere in suburban New Jersey, but he tantalizes me even more by telling me everything he’s eating. A few weeks ago, he was in London on business. While he was there, he was taken to a very popular restaurant called Ottolenghi, in the Notting Hill area of London. He raved about this place. As he described what he was eating, all I could do was to taste the food with his words. I ate vicariously through him.

Since, I couldn’t be there, (boo hoo) he was nice enough to buy me a cook book from the restaurant’s chef. All the recipes in this book look and sound amazing. I flipped through the pages countless times, dog-earing the pages with the recipes I NEED to try. The one I posted here was the first of many from the book, I want to share.



April 6th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Remember when you were a kid, you couldn’t wait to get older. You were so anxious, that you would tell your age in 1/4′s. I’m 7 3/4; I’m 9 1/2. We wanted to rush to get older so we could drive, finish school, drink, move out of our parents home, get married, have children and suddenly….things change. We get so wrapped up in our kids or career, that we forget who we really are. We look in the mirror and barely recognize ourselves. “When did I become my mother?” We hear this expression all the time, but it’s true, our youth slips away without warning.

Once I said those words, I knew I had to change things. I refuse to get old. I know I can’t stop the aging process, BUT I can stay young in my mind & attitude. I have 2 of the greatest teachers on Earth, that can help me do just that…my kids.
My daughter is 23, my son is soon to be 21. I listen to what they talk about; movies, music, and even their thoughts on politics. I spend a lot of time with them, just talking and laughing. I believe once you forget you were ever young, and close your mind to what’s current, that’s when you become old. STAYING OPEN MINDED, is key to staying young!!!

My birthday was a few days ago and I got to thinking, I need some rules to live by. Rules that will help me stay young.
So here they are:


1) I shall dance around the house with the music blasting, when no one is home. (I do this when I’m cooking)
2) I shall listen to current music and belt out a tune while I’m driving.
3) I shall laugh every day.
4) I shall exercise, stay active (I love tennis) and eat healthy (most of the time.) :)
5) I shall live in the moment.
6) I shall only surround myself with people who are fun and I enjoy being with.
7) I shall continue to have date nights with my husband and flirt. (with him) ;)
8) I shall never talk about my ailments with my friends, during our “Ladies Night Out,” !!!
9) I shall dress fashionable, but yet still age appropriate. (no granny panties, sweatpants or daisy dukes!)
10) I shall lie about my age. (kidding)

Stay Young and Enjoy!
continue for the cake recipe>>

March 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

ANDIAMO!! (let’s go!)



March 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Meatloaf is one of the all American, old fashioned, traditional comfort foods. It’s one of those dishes that is as versatile as the person who makes it. It seems like every family has it’s own recipe. I think you either love it or hate it.

Now a days, meatloaf recipes have become much more than a glorified hamburger. Over the years, it has gotten many facelifts. It has become a canvas for many different flavors. In my family, traditional meatloaf is only liked by me, unless I spice it up!
Here in Diva’s versiom, I put an ethnic slant on this classic. I took flavors that are popular in Mexican cooking. Chorizo sausage, poblano peppers, cumin, chili pepper and the use of tortilla chips instead of breadcrumbs give a classic meatloaf new life.
continue for recipe>>

IRISH COFFEE CUPCAKES (coffee cake, whiskey ganache filling & Bailey’s frosting)

March 14th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, involves lots of alcohol. I remember in my younger days, when I lived in Philadelphia, there was a tavern called Fitzgerald’s. A huge group of us would go every year for a little celebrating. The funny thing is, more than half of us weren’t even Irish. Nonetheless, we would make our way to the tavern and drink out weight in “GREEN BEER.” YUCK!!!! Now, I think it’s gross, back then I thought it was cool. Oh, the things you do when you’re a “youngin.”

Since St. Paddy’s Day is associated with much alcohol consumption, I thought it only fitting to make dessert for our celebration, that was spiked with not one, but two different spirits. I took the concept of an Irish Coffee and turned it into a cupcake. Irish coffee is brewed coffee spiked with whiskey and brown sugar, then topped with whipped cream. For the cupcakes, I made a coffee flavored cake, filled them with whiskey ganache and then topped them with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting.

Now that I’m a “little” more mature and wiser; I say, “move over green beer, hello cupcake.”

continue for recipe>>


March 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m a cookie monster. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, so of course I love all types of desserts. When I want something sweet to munch on while plopping myself in front of the TV, I always reach for a cookie; preferably homemade!

The cookies I’ve posted here, are my latest treat. They’re hazelnut sandwich cookies filled with Nutella. SAY NO MORE…Nutella, rules supreme. I can eat it by the spoonfuls, right out of the jar. I will admit, there have been a few sleepless nights, when I sat on the kitchen floor doing just that. It’s one of my guilty pleasures.

The original recipe for these cookies, use chocolate ganache for the filling. Chocolate is yummy, but I couldn’t see the cookies filled with anything other than Nutella; it just made sense. It made sense to my taste buds as well. With one bite, I became the happiest cookie monster around.
continue for recipe>>


February 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I follow food shop and restaurant openings, like people follow sports. I actually have a restaurant bucket list, of places I would like to go. I recently read about a new donut stand in Chelsea Market in NYC. For those of you who are not familiar with Chelsea Market, it’s an indoor market that houses specialty food shops, restaurants and the Food Network Studios. This little stand called “Doughnuttery,” makes mini donuts that are coated with interesting flavored sugars.

Recently, my daughter and I, took a stroll through the market to seek out the mini donuts. I walk-ran to the stand when I saw it. I get like a little kid. I nearly started jumping up and down screaming, I want that one, no that one, no..no..that one!!! Since I am not a kid, I composed myself and picked out the 3 flavors that sounded the best to us.

First, let me tell you that the 3 inch donuts are made right in front of you. After frying, they roll down a little conveyer belt into a warm tray. They are then placed into a small bag with the flavored sugar and shaken vigorously until the warm donuts are covered in sweetness. I couldn’t wait to taste them. I ripped open the bag and popped the warm donut in my mouth, they made me do the happy dance!

We bought 3 different flavors, Urban Monkey, which is coffee, banana and coconut sugar; Paris Time is lavender, pistachio and vanilla sugar; and PBCP, which is peanut butter, cayenne pepper & pretzel sugar. It was unanimous, the PBCP was our favorite. If your ever in Chelsea Market NYC, look for the ‘Doughnuttery,’ or you can make your own. Here’s Diva’s version of mini donuts with chocolate-peanut-cayenne sugar.
continue for recipe>>




February 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

There is a new trend happening in the restaurant business, at least in Manhattan there is, and that’s the onslaught of new Asian restaurants. Recently, my daughter took me to a very popular Japanese ramen noodle brasserie called Ippudo in the East Village of Manhattan. This place is so popular, that there is usually a long wait for a table. I’ve been there twice, and for some reason, luck I guess, we got a table right away. I love when this happens. It makes me feel as though I won a prize! Besides, feeling special for getting a table quickly, we had a fantastic lunch.

I ordered what they call “Akamaru Modern.” It’s a pork noodle soup with miso paste, cabbage, sesame, mushrooms, scallions and garlic oil. My daughter ordered, Kogashi Karaka Miso Ramen. It’s a chicken and pork base noodle soup, with broth made from black charred miso, Ippudo’s special blend of hot spice, topped with pork, cabbage, leafy greens, and glazed with a layer of oil.
We both enjoyed our dishes to the fullest. I couldn’t think of a better way to warm our cold and brittle bones on that cold 26 degree blustery day. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
continue for recipe>>


Diva Eats World does not own the last 3 photos of the interior of Ippudo.


January 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Today, we had some snow in the New York area. I have this weird love of shoveling. There’s something about being outside and breathing in the cold air, that makes me feel alive. Good thing I like I to do it, because my husband hates it; so it works for us. After all that hard work of shoveling, I needed some comfort food.
I made a huge pot of chicken-red bean chili and a chipotle corn pie, to warm my tummy on this cold, snowy day. I was nice enough however, to share some with my husband. After all, it was very strenuous watching me shovel from inside a warm house!

continue for the recipe>>


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.
continue for recipe>>


January 11th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink



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.
continue for the recipe>>

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!

continue for recipe>>

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,

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.

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.

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!

Happy Holidays
continue for the recipe>>

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!

continue for the recipe>>
Please help out the victim of hurricane Sandy by donating to The Red Cross. Every little bit helps.

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!
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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.
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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.
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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.


(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!
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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Apricot & Pistachio Chicken w/ White Wine-Honey Glaze (paleo friendly)

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.
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Apricot & Pistachio Tart recipe, continue>>

Tomatokeftedes (fried tomato balls from Santorini, Greece)

July 27th, 2012 § 2 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.
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Venice & Burano, Italy

July 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


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


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.
continue for more photos of Santorini>

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.

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.

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>>

Jamaican Street Corn (jerk curry mayo & coconut)

June 21st, 2012 § 1 comment § 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.
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Summer Squash Salad (paleo Friendly)

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.
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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

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.

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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.
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Philly Pretzels

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.”
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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.

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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.
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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!
continue for the recipe>>

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!
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!


Easter Bread

March 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

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

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