Jambalaya Will Make Everyone Happy

Jambalaya is a rice dish famous in the Creole cooking of Louisiana, a kind of Louisiana version of the Spanish paella.  In the Creole cooking of jambalaya, a cooking associated with New Orleans, they make it “red” through the use of tomato paste and/or tomatoes while in Cajun cooking, the cooking of the Acadians from […]

Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches Make “Moon of the Faithful” Syrup for Crêpes

This Sicilian sweet syrup is part of what is known folklorically as being part of cucina arabo-sicula, the cooking influenced by the long ago Arab presence in Sicily.  In some Muslim countries, the apricot is known as the “moon of the faithful.”  The apricot belongs in the same family as the peach and nectarine, all […]

Grilled Shrimp Make Great Appetizers, But Can Be Ruined Quickly

Grilling shrimp is a very simple matter that can easily go wrong.  The difference between succulent shrimp grilled to golden orange perfection and dry, withered buttons of nothing is a matter of a minute or so.  When grilling shrimp it is best to stay by the fire and keep your eyes on them, turning often […]

“Oh, Wonderful!” Sicilian Eggplant

The Sicilian expression—although little known among contemporary Sicilians—sciàtara-e-màtara, is an exclamation of wonder–or contempt!  It might be said like “Oh, wonderful!” or contemptuously as in “God! Great merciful God!”  The expression derives from the Arabic shātirū yā mā tāra as in “oh, the cleverness that you see!” which Arabs say sarcastically when someone from whom […]

Fava, Artichokes, and Porcini Mushrooms with “Straw and Hay” Fettuccine

June is the time for fava and artichokes and what better way than to cook them with pasta as is typical of Italian cooking. In this recipe inspired by Tuscan cooking, the name of this pasta dish in Italian, paglia e fieno, is a slight twist on a typical dish in Siena, that means “straw […]

Peaches Arrive For Our June Desserts

Local peaches and nectarines, two of my favorite fruit, arrived at many farmers markets in the past couple of weeks and they will be at their peak of season for the next few months.  I’m lucky I can even get a peach prepared for a dessert as I tend to eat them while bent over […]

Comfort of Meatballs

There’s something very comforting about meatballs. They are, in fact, comfort food, and whether one ate them as part of spaghetti and meatballs or in a meatball hero as a child, they remain the paragon of comfort. In my research over decades concerning the cuisines of the Mediterranean in general and Italian in particular–the kafta […]

Eggs and Ham

Breakfast is the meal of the day that most cooks keep simple. At best they might use some leftovers to dress it up, but no one want to prep food in the morning.  When I say breakfast, I don’t mean early brunch. If you’re eating breakfast after 10 am I consider it brunch.  A real […]

Savory Pie in a Cast Iron Skillet

There’s something fun and easy to old-fashioned cooking in cast iron, such as this savory pie made in a cast iron skillet and topped with puff pastry. Savory pies were far more popular in the early part of the last century than they are today. They are waiting to be rediscovered.  This recipe is not […]

Switzerland’s Hot and Cheesy Casserole Named After A Disease

Goms is a valley in the rugged mountainous canton of Valais in Switzerland, where this pie originated. The unusual name of this pie, Gomser Cholera, derives from the cholera epidemic that hit Switzerland hard in 1836. Rather than leave the house and risk infection, people tended to prepare meals with the food they had on […]

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