Polenta at 8 Angell Street, a Homemade Tale

Polenta is to Italy what Mashed Potatoes are to America, the ultimate Comfort Food. Both are derived from humble inexpensive ingredients, able to be transformed in countless ways from bland to Oh, My, God good. We’re talking the kind of good that usually only comes from Mamma or for us Americans, Mom. So I was delighted and surprised with the Polenta…

Trump’s Win Is Our Forest Fire

Like many of my friends and family, I woke early and openly wept. Tears, heaving sobs I was unable to stop. Loosing the 2016 Presidential Election to Donald Trump was a punch in the gut. Why are women crying so openly? Because America once again said, this behavior is fine. It’s non big deal. Women…

Roasted Eggplant, Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella With Lardo & Fresh Herbs

I’ve been on the road for nearly seven months now. Which made cooking… different and set CookingforBello into hibernation mode. I will fully admit, I used to read blog posts that started with “It’s been a while since I posted” and almost immediately thought “really?” Well I get it now. Life changes and so to do…

Pantry Must-Have: Polenta

I’m a little obsessed with Polenta this week. Can you blame me? Every time I have it, I’m reminded how it’s the ultimate Italian Comfort Food. How easy it is to doctor it up, how an inexpensive ingredient can create a satisfying, hearty, delectable meal. Plus, you know, if you keep a pantry, you can always…

Stories of Comfort, Mashed Potatoes to Polenta

You know that dish, the one your Mom, Dad, Grandma made you as a kid? The dish that took away sadness, aches, hunger, a cold winters chill replacing it with a warm hug from the inside out? This post, is about a family with two versions of comfort food, American and Italian, Mashed Potatoes and Polenta. In my…

Lazy Cows Make The Best Cheese

Originally posted on ALOR:
Ok so maybe the Podolica Cow is not exactly lazy, it’s just a perfectionist. Why does the work ethic of a Cow matter? One word, Caciocavallo. Perfectly subtle, slightly salty cheese, lovingly stretched and shaped by hand that is made from the milk of the Podolica Cow. Grazing in the wild over Southern…

Why I’m Mad About Saffron

I’m a big fan of kitchen hacks. Little steps that elevate quick and easy dishes to meals your family remembers. Saffron while it is expensive, has a lot of quick and easy tricks to offer. Fold Saffron in with butter or mix in with salt or honey and dress up everyday items. Add a pinch of…

A Traveling Cook’s Kitchen Essentials

As Bello and I hit the road for 90 days, there is one thing outside of family and friends that I know I will miss, cooking. This long on the road traveling internationally, I had to pack up my tools in storage and it honestly killed me a little bit. Trapped in a box in…

Etsy Lovers, This One’s for You!

One thing I know about Bloggers, is that we all seem to root for each other. It’s a community I love and one I’m gratefully to be a part of. Etsy is another community that people really love and so, without further ado, Bello finally launched his third collection for Paolo Ferraris Colors titled Skyscapes…

5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Food waste is an issue I first encountered while working at Food Network on a special called “The Big Waste” with Chefs Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay and Michael Symon. On seeing the Chef’s honest shock, surprise and dismay as they visited orchards, grocery stores, went dumpster diving… it dawned on me, if professional Chefs, food industry…

Pepper Disguised as a Chile: Hungarian Wax Pepper

Is it just me, or is the difference between a Chili and a Pepper a little confusing? Botanistically speaking, both are nightshades, fruit born from the flower of the Capsicum Species plant. Yep, that’s right a spicy/sweet fruit not a veggie even though it’s green, check. Got it. Hmmm ok so, the same right? By the time I waxed…

Fish & Cheese Together? Why YES!

Let’s talk for a minute about the unlikely combination of seafood and cheese. My first introduction, the Filet-O-Fish, left me scarred in college. GROSS! Who puts cheese on fish! After one bite I tossed the sandwich and declared fish and cheese an unkosher combination. Like many things in life, time and experience, can and do, change opinions. Since…

Vegetarian Goulash for Goonies

Bello and I have started a Flashback Movie Night tradition on the weekends and I’m cooking! This weekend, the Movie: The Goonies, the Dish: Goulash… well Vegetarian Goulash that is. Tonights Inspiration I had no idea what a big Goonie Bello was until while on vacation hearing him exclaim “That’s It! Do you remember the scene where…

Recipe in the Making: Eureka! (Part IV)

This week, I had a flavor Eureka moment realizing when a dish is balanced, it’s the equivalent of bolting awake in the night, sitting straight up in bed. You’ve been awakened. A quick backstory: After initially sharing my Food Fail: A Recipe in the Making for Roasted Poblano Risotto with Fried Egg (Part I), I was blown away by the amazing Kindness…

Beet Haters, This One’s For You

Question for the Beet haters out there, do you turn your nose up at mushroom, spinach and lettuce too? If you lump these foods in with beets under the “tastes like dirt” camp, it’s not your fault. You really are just as cool as those Beet Salad lovin’ Hipsters. It’s Geosmin that’s to blame. People have varying sensitivity…

Recipe in the Making: Starting from Scratch (Part III)

After initially sharing my Food Fail: A Recipe in the Making for Roasted Poblano Risotto with Fried Egg (Part I). I was blown away by the amazing kindness of the Food Blogger community (Part II). Fellow Foodies, Friends and Food Bloggers openly shared support, great ideas and even went through the trouble of taking photos from old magazines to share…

The Princess Bride & Acorn Squash Brown Butter Sage Pasta

Acorn Squash in and of itself for me, was never a squash to write home about. I’ve roasted it as a side many times, yet it never really felt like a good enough payoff for the hard work of cutting the bugger in half! However, last night, while huddled around the family kitchen table we tucked…

Pantry Must-Have: Dried Mushrooms

For years I was a little intimidated by dried mushrooms. It’s not something most American’s grew up using. I’d pick up a package in the grocery store and put it back not knowing for sure how to use them, thinking it was FAR more complicated then it is. It wasn’t until while sitting beside my…

Recipe in the Making: Kindness of Foodies (Part II)

Last week I shared a Food Fail story of my attempts to develop a recipe, Roasted Poblano Risotto with Fried Egg. Despite research, planning and painstaking prep, the dish fell short of flavors floating in my mind. It was still tasty and Food Pornerific… That’s the trick though isn’t it, to developing a great recipe? Not stopping, not giving up…

Food Fail: Recipe in the Making Part I

With food bloggers, one thing I don’t see a lot of, is food fails. The dishes tried that didn’t go right. I can’t be the only one who has these right? It’s a natural inclination, to only show the finished product, the perfect dish. Even America’s most beloved TV Celebrity Chefs consult recipe developers, test a…

Unserved Dishes Around the World

Some of the best food in Manhattan, never, ever hits the tables for customers front of house. While working hard in Italian Kitchens, Latin cooks bring a few ingredient from home, peppers, juices, herbs and more to spice up pasta, making it more to their liking, their palates for a quick meal. Front of house gets Spaghetti, back of house gets…

Promised Quesadilla a Year in the Making

One thing that fascinates me, something I’m increasingly grateful for, is the curiosity North America displays for the cuisines of the world. I intentionally use North America, not just America here. Canadians hate that BTWs. That American’s call the U.S. “America,” please, as if we are the only country on the continent of North America! The Unites…

When You’ve Got Thyme

I’ve talked in posts before of a simple Lemon Vinaigrette that tops Smoked Salmon perfectly in Spring. This weekend, I whipped up a batch to top Chicken, Bread and Romaine hot off the grill and added just one small ingredient that made a big difference, Thyme. With the weather finally turning the corner into Spring, we yearned…

The Devil’s Gulch Made Me Do It

It’s dangerous, having cheese like Devil’s Gulch around. If the full wheel is out, not fire, nor brimstone, nor the fear of snug jeans will keep Bello and I from finishing it off. I mean look at this cheese. Cowgirl Creamery is a coaxer of curd, a provocateur of cream, the ultimate seducer of suckers for cheese. Once…

United by Food

Today is a hard day. Hate spoken loudly, the news repeating it, a cruel nonstop refrain. As a blogger, I debated, should I add my voice to the digital noise, today? I will not go silent. Chances are, if you read a blog today, you are seeking escape too. Looking for comfort from a community…

Quesadilla: “Cotija, Cheesed to Melt You”

Ok it’s true Cotija softens more than it melts, but that’s precisely why it’s perfect for Quesadillas. I’m well aware that it’s not a traditional Quesadilla pick, but we’re talking about an American, Norwegian, Irish woman making a Quesadilla for her Italian Husband. Tradition went out the window a long time ago. So why opt for trying…

Smoked Salmon and Lemon Vinaigrette

Seeing as today is the first day of Spring, and Mother Nature is sleeping in, I decided to bring a little Sunshine to our lunch table in the form of a bright, tart Lemon Vinaigrette. Paired with Smoked Salmon, this dish takes just minutes to prep and has become one of my ultimate Kitchen Shortcuts….

Top 10 Reasons to Own Cast-Iron

One of the hardest parts of life on the road, is not having your own kitchen. While, I pride myself in being able to cook in nearly any situation as I’ve talked about in my 5 Cheap Travel Tips: Saving on Meals post, I’m giving myself a little room for kitchen nostalgia. Despite not having my own…

Grilled Caesar Salad

If you’re looking for a way to get your family excited about salad, try grilling it! Romaine Lettuce is low in calories and high in water, helping it stand up to the heat of a grill (indoor or out).  It takes just a few minutes of heat to transform this cool, crisp, slightly bitter green to a more…

Secrets to Cooking the Perfect Steak

It took me a while to master but put a steak in me, I’m done. I found my own tried and true way to cook the perfect rare steak at home. There are a lot of methods that work but this one results in that “slow walk through a warm kitchen kinda rare” that restaurants often blaze over. Fair warning, this…

Gnocchi with Creamy Blue Cheese a Recipe of Love

Homemade Gnocchi is delicious, satisfying, inexpensive and it’s relatively easy to make, but that’s not the reason I love it. Rolling out Gnocchi reminds me of two beautiful, intelligent, highly capable, caring, warm hearted women, I respect and love greatly, my Moms. In 2012, my now Husband brought me home to Italy for the first time….

Scallops with Sweet Pea and Avocado

Scallops freeze surprisingly well and thaw with little effort. If you move the scallops to the fridge before you go to work in the morning, they will be ready for dinner when you get home. Which makes this a simple and quick way to feed 4 hungry adults dinner. NOTES: I like a little heat to…

Welcome Justin Trudeau, Did You Bring Any Coffee Crisp?

Justin Trudeau’s trip to the US is the first official visit of a Canadian Prime Minister in 19 years. Hearing the excitement in the US Press did my heart good this morning. I’m pretty sure the excitement goes beyond his sexy charm, or the fact that Mr. Trudeau is adorable cuddling Pandas. After living in T.Dot (aka Toronto)…

Robiola, Robiola, ROBIOLA!

If you’re looking for a big hit on your next cheese platter, it’s worth the effort to track down a good Robiola.  When it comes to getting a balance of flavor, one that tends to appeal to a nearly everyone who worships at the alter of cheese, three milks are better than one. Since 1876, the highly prized…

Lord All Murray’s Cheese is in Town!

Hold up, wait. You mean to tell me in the nearly 14 years I’ve been living away from Ohio a few things have changed? Among them, cheese has progressed beyond Gouda, Colby Jack and Sharp Cheddar? I’d started to think of New York City as the Big Cheese rather than The Big Apple while I…

A Pickled Onion Walked Into a Jar

Onions are notorious for making us cry but usually it’s when you cut them. This quick, easy, and slightly spicy Pickled Onion Recipe is so good it… well I think you get the joke from here. What’s not a joke? The fact that you can keep them around (stored in the fridge in an airtight…

Put an Egg On It

Many a night, I turn to eggs to make a meal seem more hearty and complete. It’s usually unplanned and last minute, but when the Veggies are down and my Husband is hungry, it’s my crutch. It maybe #memeish of me, but I find the always on hand, super versatile egg, ripe for topping anything from veggies…

The Perfect Recipe for Second Day Bread: Panzanella

Nothing beats bread warm and fresh from the bakery, except maybe a  recipe that brings new life to your leftover loaf. You know one that doesn’t scream, stale bread walking. I’m with Oprah’s, I LOVE BREAD. You’ve seen this ad right? We love it too Oprah, we do. Unlike Oprah though, we don’t indulge in bread everyday,…

Easy, Healthy, Homemade Granola

I realized a few years back, my Sister and I, could officially call ourselves adults since we started swapping homemade gifts. Come on, who doesn’t love homemade sugar scrubs with orange zest. Hint, hint send more Sis. My Homemade Granola is my Sister’s first pick and reoccurring request for a homemade gift. This one is for you Sis….

Holy Cheeses That’s Good

My Husband is to cheese what pigs are to truffles, wait that sounds wrong… what bird dogs are to… no, this is getting worse… what trained Cormorants are to Fishermen in China… nope, no better. Bad metaphors aside, when it comes to cheese, my Husband is genius. If there is a cheese to top all cheeses he will root…

5 Cheap Travel Tips: Saving on Meals

It’s a big beautiful, evolving world and nothing thrills us more than being somewhere for the first time together. Why, oh why, can’t magic carpets or teleporters really exist? Delta, do you need a spokes-couple? No… just saying, have passport, will travel. Seeing as we’re both pursuing artistic fields and as my Mom puts it “honey, I made…

All Else Fails, Roast an Onion

Ever find a recipe so simple, easy and yet so tasty it changes your entire opinion on an ingredient. That happened to me recently, with always on hand humble red onion. I don’t mind left overs and thankfully now my Husband doesn’t either. My rule of thumb to get an Italian man’s buy in on second day…

Dirty Vicar Pasta: Trofie with Creamy Mushroom and Crispy Bacon

There are times when I really knock a dish out of the park. When I do, my husband is not shy in letting me know it. Bello was so pleased with my Trofie with Creamy Mushroom and Bacon last night he dubbed it “The Dirty Vicar” after a Monty Python Sketch he once saw at a rather impressionable…

Top 20 Portland Picks: Beer, Food and Fun

In my life I’ve moved 18 times. One would think, with as happy as Bello and I are in our current home in Jersey City, I would never want to move again. Minutes from Manhattan, $1,000 a month saved in rent redirected towards travel and far more amenities than our Upper West Side apartment… and then we…

Perk From Home

While my Husband tells me I am a brave woman, I’ve always thought of myself as lucky. One only need look as far as the people in my life to see my luck is true. I am fortunate enough to have the kind of friends, that you learn from, admire and respect. Just a few years ago two of my best…

Is Raclette a Thing Now?

Do you ever have that thing happen? That thing when previously unaware of the existence of something, once you become aware of it, you see it everywhere? That thing is happening to me now with Raclette and I find myself wondering, is this a Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon thing… or is Raclette just very in right now? Food trends are a…

You, Me, Cicheti and Vino in Venice

I count myself extremely fortunate to have found a partner who shares my passion for travel, food and wine. Day after day, my Husband and I tailor our lives to ensure all of our extra time, energy and money can be funneled towards traveling the world together. This year, one of our many trips was to…

Secret to Growing Herbs in the City

Ok maybe these are not so secret… but when I found the Lechuza self-watering planters, they truly became my number one weapon in fighting high grocery bills. In an earlier post The Little Things in Spice, I blogged about the financial benefits to growing herbs at home. I’ve been saving hundreds of dollars a year since I picked up…

A Chilled Carrot Ginger Soup Revelation

I will never forget the first time I realized how delicious carrots can be. While visiting my Sister in Upper Michigan one summer, we ambled into her garden to pull some items for dinner. For the first time, I pulled a carrot straight from the ground, wiped it clean and munched-in. Happier than any rabbit, I nibbled away, simply…

Juicing Made Easy

Why was I waiting? I knew better! It was me who diligently bought the expensive designer fresh juices from the grocery store for my Bello to make sure he got some fruits and vegetables with lunch. What was I thinking? Did I really think that I HAD to have that $429.95 Hurom HG Elite Slow Juicer?…

Cartagena Top Culinary Picks

Like many, I sometimes bristle at the use of the word Foodie. So pervasive and overused it often comes across as a joke. When Hipsters have rejected the phrase, surely so should I. Yet, when it comes to describing the type of person (me for instance) who spends weeks planning where and what to eat before their next adventure,…

Finally! Perfect Pizza at Home: Crispy Crust Tips

It might surprise you, as it did me, to learn that most Italians don’t make pizza at home. In Italy, pizza is left to the Pizzaiolo, those men who are artisans of the perfect pie. I discovered this from my Husband’s reaction to my proud statement, “tonight I’m making pizza for dinner.” He looked surprised, delighted, and just…

Saying I love You with Figs

Growing up, Sunday was my favorite day of the week. In our house, those days started with a big breakfast, followed by a big lunch with dinner always being popcorn. We loved it, the tradition, the taste of the buttery, salty popcorn in a big ol’ bottomless kettle my family happily scarfed down while watching a movie. I…

Quick, Cheap, Easy: Zucchini Carpaccio

There is something really gratifying about a side dish that’s quick, cheap, healthy and easy, especially when it impresses as elegant in it’s simplicity.  Zucchini Carpaccio is a dish I was introduced to at Fig & Olive during Restaurant Week a few years back. I recall debating at the time, “should I opt for this…

Ceviche Sundays

In my last post, I practically wrote an ode to Marc Forgione and his Suck You Sliders. It was those sliders that inspired this Cod Ceviche. Perhaps out of pure drive to make a dinner with clean healthy flavors to follow such a rich, luscious brunch. Sort of the yin to my Marc Forgione brunch…

Spicy Corn Salad

There are two things about my culinary habits that I hope my Husband finds endearing. First, I absolutely hate to waste food and often reinvent leftovers into a second meal or side dish. Consequently, our freezer, while organized is packed at all times. I’ll share my freezer tips and tricks in another post soon. Secondly, I’m mad…

Cheap and Easy: Cream of Mushroom and White Bean Soup

My Husband is a mushroom lover. My Husband is a wine lover. Given the choice of where to swing a little extra budget, we go for the wine. I’ve learned to turn a simple vegetables into many delightful dishes, yet I’ve never found any tricks to making a simple wine into something spectacular. Over the top expensive…

Cock’s Fresh in Belgium, So’s the Beer Eh?!

One of the ways I knew my Husband was the man for me, was how I felt completely at ease being myself with him instantly. He’s never rolled his eyes at my silly jokes and accepts that my sense of humor is that of a 12-year-old boy. One of the reasons we both love to travel,…

Easy Rainbow Potato Salad… for Breakfast. Yep I Admit It!

It’s summer time and with access to a pool, my apartment has become a relaxing haven for myself and a few close friends to escape the heat of New York City on the weekend. With company coming, I like to get up early and get dishes squared away, so I can relax with everyone else….

The Perfect Nacho

Growing up, I was fortunate to get home cooked meals, good ones. I recall helping my Mom each night in the kitchen, something I loved doing, while my Sister did her homework. That always baffled me, anything to get out of homework! Then again, she did go on to graduate from The Ohio State University a Magna…

Cream of Eggplant Soup with Crispy Potatoes

Have you ever seen the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi? Those who find themselves obsessive over anything, especially food, will identify. When I wake at 4 AM mind racing, I think about the ingredients in my fridge and potential recipes. I’m no Jiro, but it’s these few precious minutes each day when I let my mind run wild, unchecked…