Posts Tagged ‘ mangiabenemama ’

If you want an aromatic and tasty focaccia you don’t have to leave your house because you can whip this up in no time!   Seriously.   No machine needed.   This takes about 10 minutes of prep time, 1 1/2 hours of rising time and 20 minutes of baking time – that’s it! 


  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsps fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • sea salt, coarsely ground

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and 3 tbsps of the rosemary.  Add yeast mixture and remaining water.  Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon and/or your hands.  Transfer to a floured cutting board and knead by hand for a few minutes until smooth. 

Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil.  Place dough in bowl and cover with a towel.  Let rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place, until doubled.  (I put it on my dryer in the laundry room!)

Preheat oven to 425.

Once risen, punch down and place on an oiled baking sheet (I use my round pizza stone, but a cookie sheet is fine).  Press dough down with your hands into a circle, dimpling it with your fingertips.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and remaining rosemary.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note:  The thinner you pat down the dough, the crisper the foccacia.  The thicker you leave it, the softer the bread.  Thick is great for making sandwiches.

Vatiations:  Use sage instead of rosemary.  Add sliced olives, red onions, or zucchini.  Cheeses of most any kind are terrific on it – parmesan, mozzarella, fontina, etc.

Here it is right before going into the oven:

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admin February 4th, 2009      No Comments »

My daughter is moving to Santa Barbara, so in the past two weeks I have made two trips up there — I have found my new weekend getaway!  WOW!  The town is rustic, charming, quaint and unique; and has the best restaurants to be found!  We purposed to not eat at any chain-type places and only ate at one-of-a-kind local haunts, and we were not disappointed.

At Pascucci’s, I ordered a shrimp dish they called “Palermo”:  Large tiger shrimp stuffed with pesto, wrapped in prosciutto and grilled.  It was an exquisite dish – and as is my custom, I came home with a desire to recreate!  

I spent Friday at my good friend Linda’s house and decided to try my hand at this dish for lunch.  We made pesto from scratch, but you can use a prepared pesto to save some time.  If you want to make it from scratch, see here:  Tina’s Pesto

  • 16 large raw shrimp, in shell (I bought tiger shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Shell shrimp but leave on tail.  Butterfly the shrimp (cut almost all the way through the flesh down the center of the shrimp’s back).  Insert a bit of the pesto into the opening and press closed. 

Cut each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise.  Wrap each shrimp with a slice of prosciutto.

Heat a griddle to high and brush with the olive oil.  Place the shrimp on the grill and cook approximately 2 minutes each side, until prosciutto is lightly browned and shrimp is cooked through.  Serve hot and mangia bene!

Pesto Stuffed Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp

Pesto Stuffed Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp

Photo Credits:  Linda Marshall

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admin January 11th, 2009      No Comments »

Can you believe it is December already!?  WOW.  Time to start thinking of the baking to be done.  A baking tradition going back years in our family is Pecan Tassies!  It’s a way to eat pecan pie without overindulging – unless you eat a lot of them!   They are pretty simple to make and they are rich and sweet.

To make 2 dozen:


  • 1 3-oz pkg Philly Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour

Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Add flour and mix well.  Chill for at least one hour.  Shape into 2 dozen 1-inch balls.  Press into bottoms and sides of ungreased cupcake tins.

Preheat over to 325 degrees.


  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 2/3 cup pecans, chopped

Beat together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt until smooth (I whip til it is airy)

Divide half the pecans among the pastry-lined tins.  Add filling by teaspoonful; top with remaining pecans.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool in pans.  Remove.  These keep for quite awhile in an airtight container.

Mangia Bene!

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admin December 3rd, 2008      No Comments »

Tastes of Italia is a wonderfully delicious magazine that is currently the #1 rated Italian cooking magazine in America! 

In each issue are recipes, visits to the different regions in Italy, hints about choosing good wines, and tips to help you create homemade Italian cuisine in your own home.  Makes a great stocking stuffer!









Click here to order:  Tastes Of Italia

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admin December 3rd, 2008      No Comments »

Through my contacts at Amazon, I am able to get some good discounts and can pass those savings onto you! Some items automatically have free shipping. The usual Amazon shipping is free if you purchase $25 or more. Here are the items I know would make many cooks, or aspiring cooks, happy this Christmas!

Gourmet Magazine is the best of the best of magazines for those who love to cook!

Order Gourmet Magazine here: Gourmet (1-year)


I love my Cuisinart Griddler! We make panini, bruschetta and even cook sausages on ours! A must for every kitchen.

Order Cuisinart Griddler here: Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler


Dave and I have been doing low-carb and find making own own beef jerky from flank steak and beef brisket is a breeze, and affordable compared to supermarket prices for beef jerky!

Order Ronco Electric Food Dehydrator here: Ronco FD1005WHGEN 5-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator


The ultimate in wine bottle openers!

Order Connosseur Countertop Wine Opener here: Connoisseurs Countertop Wine Opener


We love to inject our roasts and poultry with marinades – it adds much flavor and tenderizes, too!

Order Weston Meat Injector here: Weston 23-0402-W Meat Injector, Nickel Plated (2 oz.)


One of the best general cookbooks I’ve got is the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. It has been updated recently and should be in the cookbook collection of every kitchen!

Order Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook here: The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook: America’s Bestselling Step-by-Step Cookbook, with More Than 1,400 Recipes


Have you ever wondered how Red Lobster makes those Cheddar Bay Biscuits? Recipes in here include famous items from Cheesecake Factory, KFC, Hard Rock Cafe, Olive Garden, PF Changs, Applebees, and more!

Order Most Wanted Restaurant Recipes here: America’s Most Wanted Recipes – Volume 1


Delectable Olive Oils – Basil, Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper – all in an Ottavio Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Great for cooking or for dipping!

Order 3-Pak Italian Olive Oil Set here: 3 Pack Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Garlic, Basil, Roasted Pepper

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admin November 14th, 2008      No Comments »

I heard of this shrimp appetizer made out of wonton wrappers and shrimp that you dip in a jalapeno jelly.  As is my custom, I “doctored” the recipe and am sharing it here with you!

Makes 24 pieces.

  • 12 large shrimp, raw, peeled & deveined
  • 24 wonton skins
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsps fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly julienned
  • 4 ozs cream cheese, softened
  • vegetable oil for frying

Slice shrimp in half length-wise. 

Dip wonton wrapper in milk.  In the middle of the wonton wrapper, place shrimp diagonally.  Add a sprinkle of green onions, cilantro, and a couple red bell pepper pieces.  Top with a 1/2 tsp of cream cheese.

Roll up from one corner and place seam side down in frying pan with about 1/2 inch of hot oil.  Fry until light brown on each side.

Serve with Raspberry-Jalapeno jelly for dipping.


You can buy the Raspberry-Jalapeno jelly here: Raspberry & Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly

Alternately, you can make your own jelly by mixing raspberry or apricot preserves with hot jalapeno jelly; though this A Bountiful Harvest brand is delicious!

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admin November 14th, 2008      No Comments »

This pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) recipe is a classic Italian recipe, fondly known as “pasta fazool”.  I made it the other night since it was getting quite chilly here and it seemed right to do a nice warm meal.  Rachel Ray calls dishes like this “stoup” – a thick soup or a thin stew! 

My recipe for Pasta Fazool – makes at least 12 servings:

  • enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large pan (I use my Dutch Oven)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely choppped
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 15-oz cans cannellini or great northern beans
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans
  • 2 15-oz cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 qts chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry wine (red or white)
  • 3 cups small pasta (I used Ditalini)
  • 4 cups raw spinach
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, at serving

Heat the oil in a large pan or Dutch Oven.  Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic; saute until translucent.  Add rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 3 minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, chicken broth and wine.  Bring to a boil.  Boil 3 minutes; reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. 

Increase heat to medium.  Add pasta and spinach.  Cook for 10 minutes, until pasta is done al dente.  Reduce heat to very low.

You can leave soup simmering on low for quite awhile, or serve immediately.

Serve in large bowls, topped with parmesan cheese and accompanied with crusty bread for sopping up the soup. 

It is very good warmed over the next day.  Also easy to freeze.

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admin October 14th, 2008      No Comments »

With the weather getting a bit chilly, it is good to start thinking about warm, hearty meals.  The gist of this recipe works with just about any cut of pork roast:  Loin, Crown, Butt, Shoulder, Tenderloin.  The first pic below is a center tenderloin; the second pic is a pork shoulder – both I made recently.  The garlic is a natural marinade, moistening and flavoring the roast at the same time.

  • 3-4 lb pork roast
  • 10-15 whole cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half long-wise
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh rosemary branches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make 20-30 1/2-inch slices uniformly over the roast.  Insert half a garlic clove into each slice.  Place roast into a PAM sprayed roasting pan.

Rub outside of roast with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place rosemary branches on top of the roast.

Bake for 20-25 minutes per pound or until thermometer inserted into middle of roast reads 160-170.

Remove from oven.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.

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admin October 14th, 2008      No Comments »

We experienced a gourmet delight last night at Oceanside’s newest Italian restaurant – Rosina’s!  We were there celebrating our family’s September & October birthdays.  As a larger party, we were treated to “Cena di Stile di Famiglia” – Family-Style Dinner.

Starting off, fresh ciabatta bread was served with a sun-dried tomato and olive oil dipping sauce, as we enjoyed the Chianti and Pinot Grigio!

We had a superb Insalata del Oro - a spring mix of lettuce topped with pears poached in port wine, toasted pecans and gorgonzola cheese - served with a balsamic vinegarette. 

We were presented next with two different pasta dishes.  The presentation in the big, farm-style platters made it truly feel as if we were back at Ristorante Tredici on the outskirts of Rome!   Fusilli all’ Arrabbiata was the best I have ever tasted outside of Italy – with an appropriate “kick” of hot.   I don’t know the restaurant’s name for the other pasta dish, but I will call it Conchiglie con Cavolfiore i Uva Passa – shell pasta with cauliflower and plump golden raisins with an Alfredo-type white cheese sauce.  The raisins nestled into the shells making for a tasty bite.  Heaven!

Our main course was Pollo alla Cacciatora.  Tender chicken pieces with a robust rosemary sauce.  Normally chicken cacciatore is served with peppers and onions, but this was just chicken with the distincive rosemary.  If we weren’t so stuffed, we would’ve eaten til midnight!

Dessert was six or seven different desserts, also presented family-style — meaning we took a bite of each and passed it on down!  While not sure what they all were called, we had a creme brulee, cheesecake in a double crust, chocolate lava cake, and several torte type presentations.

Rosina herself lovingly welcomed us, gave us the background on each dish, and made sure we were all able to Mangia Bene!

Please make a point of taking a trip to Italy while staying in your own backyard – visit Rosina’s.

3613 Ocean Ranch Blvd, Oceanside   760-721-5000

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admin October 7th, 2008      2 Comments »

This recipe is for a Pesto appetizer that is terrific on baguette slices or wheat crackers.  It is a coarsely chopped mixture – don’t make it if you don’t like garlic!  It freezes well and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Add more olive oil to this recipe and you have pesto sauce for any type of pasta!  It is also very suitable served with boiled meats and tortellini en brodo.  (Recipe to be posted soon!)

  • 5-6 cups fresh basil
  • 8-10 or more cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 large chunk pecorino cheese (4-6 oz)
  • coarse ground sea salt, to taste
  • coarse ground pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, about 1/4 cup

You will be chopping the first four ingredients in a food processor.  Finely chop them, but take care NOT to puree them, as you want texture!

In small batches, place basil leaves in food processor and chop.  Do about 1 cup of basil at a time.  Transfer to a medium-sized mixing bowl after each batch.

Repeat the process with the garlic cloves, the pine nuts and the pecorino cheese; add each to the mixing bowl.

Add salt and pepper.  Drizzle in the olive oil only to wet the ingredients, it should not be liquidy.  Mix well and let sit covered for several hours in the refrigerator for the flavors to blend.

Serve with slice of baquette or crackers.  Or, add more olive oil and heat to serve as a pasta sauce.

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admin September 27th, 2008      No Comments »

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