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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…