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 Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

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 Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

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 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 Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

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!

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 Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. 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.

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Crostini Bianchi-Ricotta and Anchovy Canapes

I am so lucky to have this as the first recipe of the project. I have been dreading this blogging idea because I may be a pretty fair cook, but I don’t consider myself a good writer. So, I ask your sufferance with my style and understand that the point is just the food.

I haven’t posted my bio yet, so I thought I would give you a little background. My husband and I have been married 22 years and for the first 15 people were always telling us that we should open a restaurant. We finally did. It is a unique place for our area. We have a deli, Italian grocery, and a café. We also do a lot of catering. There are 3 owners, Michael, Becky and myself. Michael, my husband, is the people person. He is the one everyone comes to see. Becky, my sister, handles all of the financials and most of the management pieces. I am responsible for all of the recipes and a lot of the computer work. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but we balance out pretty well.

With this recipe the hardest part was not changing anything. When I am creating a recipe for the store, I always start with 4 or 5 that sound promising and then I combine the parts until I end up with something that I really like. When I first read the recipe, I saw that it called for 8 anchovies. I started to cut it back, but realized that I had to be true to Marcella’s recipe, so I followed it exactly. We have a new brand of anchovies that we just started carrying at the store. The brand is Agostino Recca. I am so glad that I had these. They are so mellow compared to other brands that I have used. When I combined all of the ingredients I was amazed at how good it tasted. The ingredients are simple, ricotta, butter, anchovies, EVOO, and freshly ground black pepper. The quality of the ingredients really shine in this recipe. I toasted the bread (Fazio’s Italian sliced bread, for those of you in the St. Louis area). I then sliced off the crusts, cut the slices in half and then half again, and then covered them with the ricotta mixture. My only regret when making these was that we didn’t have any company over to eat them.


Okay, so this wasn’t so hard, maybe I will get used to it!

Comments (12)

Brava! Brava! You have broken the ice for us, with a great post.
ahhmmm..If you needed a taste tester... well, ahhmm...

They sound wonderful. Great first post!

Great job.

I know exactly what you mean when you write about wanting to change the recipe up a bit . . . I'm like that with just about everything I cook (except cakes). That is going to be a HUGE challenge.


You've made me want to make these!


Beth, who are you kidding - you write well (or is that good - I never could get grammar down). Either way, this sounds great and I'm so excited to follow your project, great start.

BTW what's the name of your place? If the others agree, and you have a website, let's get a link in the sidebar.


Great job!
I was thinking the same thing--about not changing the recipes at all. Maybe that's part of the challenge.
Thanks for getting the ball rolling.

Ray Anne:

What a wonderful post! I'm not much of a cook, but am practically inspired to get into the kitchen. Could you give me some information about your restaurant/grocery? I have a friend in St. Louis who is an amazing cook and I'm sure that he'd love to know about it. Thanks.


I will have to have Deborah's help to post a link. I am not that computer savvy, but the website is vivianosmarket.com. We have 2 stores one in Fenton and one in Chesterfield. The name is Viviano's Festa Italiano.

Thanks for all of the wonderful comments! I will not be so afraid next time!

Great post and a wonderful recipe. Kudos for starting the group off..

Terry (teaberry):

How exciting. Congrats on a great kickoff post, and a really good looking recipe!


Beth, they sound delicious and look just wonderful!


Beth, great first blog post. I think you are a great writer! And a great food photographer too. I'm so excited for all of you who are participating in this wonderful project. I'm cheering you on!! RAH RAH RAH!!!

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