About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Jan

Jan is a serious home cook who loves to read recipes and then do her own thing. Her focus is ingredient driven comfort food, often with an Italian influence. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about food and travels (next trip to Italy: May/June of 2012) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Kim

Kim joins us after being our permanent sub on the Pomodori e Vino project. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think or The Amy Foundation.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

Our Subs

About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Amy

Amy is a teacher in suburban Boston with far too many cookbooks, her Grandmother's meat grinder and canning jars, and a new Wolf stove. She appreciates cuisines from around the world, with a particular fondness for French, Moroccan, Italian, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. Tweaking her cooking and eating habits resulted long-lasting weight loss and health benefits, proving that living well still tastes good. An old hobby is knitting; and a newer one is canning preserves. Read more from Amy on her blog, Destination Anywhere.

June 28, 2012

Rhubarb Apple Crisp with Ginger

By Sandi

By now y'all know that our flavor for the week is Rhubarb. This is another of those curious fruit/vegetable situations.  In the south . . . we treat it as a fruit (surprised?)

Rhubarb is always good in a fruit pie, a cobbler or a crisp. I decided to fancy-up an apple crisp ~ the recommended 'flavors' have been capitalized.

Of course I used our WhistleStop Apple Crisp Mix
. . . It doesn't get any easier than this.

Rhubarb Apple Crisp with Ginger

2cups APPLES

2cups fresh rhubarb

3 Tbs candied GINGER

1/2 cup granulated SUGAR (more if desired)

Chop the apples and rhubarb into large chunks. Sprinkle with sugar and minced candied ginger. Place in an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with a crumble crust.

A Crumble Crust Recipe...

3/4 BUTTER or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cup BROWN SUGAR, packed

1/2 tsp. SALT

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Bake at 350° until hot and crusty on the top.

Scoop and serve with ice cream.

It don't get much better than that in the summertime~
Y'all enjoy~

June 26, 2012

Rhubarb Tiramisu

By Jan


I had what I thought was a very original concept—to make tiramisu with a strawberry-rhubarb filling but... After I made it I checked on Google and there are a few other brilliant cooks who have done it before. My recipe is not exactly the same as any of theirs but the idea is the same. Nevertheless, here’s my not-so-original recipe

Rhubarb Tiramisu—serves 10

3 Packages of Ladyfingers

Rhubarb filling
3 Cups rhubarb sliced into 1/2 inch pieces—about 6 stalks.
1/3-cup sugar
2 Tablespoons water
6 thin slices fresh ginger root
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries+ 1 more tablespoon of sugar

6 egg yolks (room temperature)
1/2-cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2-cup cream

8 ounces mascarpone cheese
8 ounces cream cheese

1-cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons reserved rhubarb cooking liquid
Grated white chocolate


Slice the strawberries and mix them with the tablespoon of sugar and set aside. Then, bring the rhubarb to a boil with the water and ginger slices. Turn it down and simmer for about 8—10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft. Put it into a bowl, mix in the sliced strawberries and let it cool.


For the custard:
Put the egg yolks, sugar and salt into a stainless steel bowl (I used my stand-mixer bowl) Beat the mixture for about 3 minutes until it’s thick and much lighter in color. Stir in the cream.
Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, very gently, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches 160°.


It took me about 7 minutes. Set it aside to cool. After it is back to room temperature, beat in the mascarpone and the cream cheese. Beat it for about 5 more minutes until it is smooth and thick.

Meanwhile, strain the rhubarb mixture, saving the liquid, and remove the ginger slices.


(Notice the gorgeous color!)
Put the liquid into a wide shallow bowl or a pie plate.

Dip the ladyfingers quickly into the rhubarb liquid and use them to fully line the bottom of a 9X13” glass baking dish. Put them very close together but not overlapping.

Cover that layer with 1/2 of the custard mixture, spreading it as evenly as you can, followed by all of the drained rhubarb. Spread it gently. It’s OK if some of the custard poke through—just be gentle.
Top with another layer of dipped ladyfingers and then the rest of the custard. Put it into the refrigerator to begin to set while you whip the cream, adding the rhubarb towards the end of the whipping process.

Spread the whipped cream on the top and grate on the white chocolate.

Chill for at least 4 hours.


June 20, 2012

Pea Salad with Lemon and Mint

By Palma


This is a refreshing summer salad and the combination of peas, lemon and mint was very flavorful.

1 pound fresh English peas
1/2 lb. small pasta
1/4 c. lemon Greek yogurt
1/4 c. mayo
zest of one lemon
2 green onions, chopped
20 mint leaves, finely chopped
salt to taste

Blanch peas in boiling water for 90 seconds. Drain and set aside. Boil pasta, drain, and combine all ingredients.

June 19, 2012

Coconut Rice with Peas

By Jan

This is so easy and it transforms "hum drum" white rice into a special side dish.


1 cup white rice
1 shallot minced
1/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup defrosted frozen peas

In a small saucepan, saute the shallot and the coconut for about 4 minutes.
Add the salt, rice and water. Bring to a boil. Turn down to very low and cover the pan. Let the rice cook for 18 minutes. Stir in the defrosted peas and recover just enough to let the peas heat through--about 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


June 14, 2012

Dijon Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze

By Sandi

Y'all know by now the 'flavor' for the week is asparagus. The one thing I am always reminded when I spend time in Italy is that the most important thing is quality.
You'll see that the recommended 'flavors' have been capitlized.
Dijon Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze
1 tsp SALT
2 lb Asparagus spears
2 Tbs grated parmiggiano CHEESE (the good stuff)
In a skillet, heat oil. Cook trimmed asparagus until just tender. Sprinkle with mustard and balsamic. Salt as desired. Toss gently until spears are evenly coated. Remove from heat.Place asparagus on a serving plate. Sprinkle evenly with cheeseI toasted this for a smidge to melt the cheese.
Y'all enjoy~

June 13, 2012

Asparagus Lasagna Roll-ups

By Palma


These make an elegant side dish, or meatless main course. They come together quickly, and are rich and delicious.

Parmigiano-Bechamel Sauce

2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated parmigiano or granna padano cheese

6 lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. asparagus, blanched, or cooked for 2 min. in microwave
6 oz. mascarpone
Shredded parmigiano

Put pasta water on to boil, and make sauce. Stir together butter, flour and salt until butter is melted and combined into a rue. Add milk, and whisk until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, and stir in parmigiano.

Boil 6 lasagna noodles for 8 minutes.

Spread cooked lasagna with mascarpone


Cut asparagus into thirds, and place pieces on top of mascarpone.


Spray a 6 cup muffin tin with olive oil cooking spray. Spoon one large spoon on bechamel into each muffin cup. Roll up lasagna noodles and place one in each muffin cup on top of sauce.


Spoon the remaining bechamel onto the tops of each lasagna roll-up and top with shredded parmigiano.


Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.


June 12, 2012

Tortellini with Asparagus Sauce

By Jan

Tortellini with Asparagus Sauce—serves 4-6

My daughter Kathryn loves asparagus, roasted, steamed or sautéed and she loves tortellini. It was fun to create this dish for her.

20 ounces cheese tortellini, cooked al dente and drained (reserve some of the water)
1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound)
1 onion sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese
3/4-cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic chopped
1-teaspoon butter
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup (very approximate) reserved pasta water
1/4 cup shopped fresh parsley

Cut the asparagus so the stems are in about 1/2 inch chunks and the tips are reserved.


Sauté the onions in the olive oil until they just begin to brown.


Add the garlic and the chopped asparagus bottoms and a pinch of kosher salt.

Cook them well, until the asparagus are softening—about 8 minutes. Add the tops of the asparagus, the broth and the goat cheese. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the asparagus tips are just tender.
Season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper

Put the butter and the cooked tortellini into the pan and mix it all together gently over a very low heat. If you want it saucier, add the reserved water, too.

Serve with freshly grated parmigiano and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

This was really a winner-- a perfect spring dish.


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