Jun 202015
 
My political days in the NYS Assembly, with Representative Robert J. Connor (Democrat, 96th Assembly District), 1976.

Then…. Working as a legislative aide for the New York State Assembly, 1976 (right). With Representaive Robert J. Connor (96th A.D.), center.

Come join me at L’Italo-Americano, my new soapbox for Italian cooking. My introductory essay, how I went from political aide to professional eater, is my Italian-American story, here.

Cooking at Kips Bay, NYC. | Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Cooking at Kips Bay, NYC. | Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Jun 162015
 

You may know it as “broccoli rabe,” but any Italian will prickle at that mangled term for their beloved bitter greens. Here’s a crash course on how to pronounce it, cook it and love it, with eight terrific new recipes, read on….

Gemelli pasta with rapini, bacon, and chick-peas. | Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Delicious gemelli pasta with rapini, bacon, and chick-peas. | Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Mar 302015
 
Victor Hazan Italianizes My Irish Stew

My readers will now and then offer comments on my recipes, but no one is more exacting than Victor Hazan, husband of and collaborator with the late Marcella Hazan and indeed himself a very fine cook. Here is a message he sent me about my Beef and Guinness Stew recipe, which I offered in my Zester Daily column for St. Patrick’s Day:  I followed it more or less scrupulously, save for some things an Italian cook wouldn’t go for, e.g. boiled potatoes served with their skins on. Che barbarità! I peeled and quartered them and threw them in with the meat after it had […more…]

Jan 182015
 
Polenta: The Long and the Short of It, with Inspiration from Marcella

Nearly twenty-five years ago I wrote an article for Cook’s magazine titled “Polenta: To Stir With Love.” In it, I advocated the traditional method for stirring the cornmeal and water continually as it simmers on the stove for lump-free and silky results, just as I had watched my mother and countless cooks in Italy’s polenta-loving regions do. Although most cornmeal package directions call for simmering it for some 45 minutes, many Italian cooks believe that it should be cooked for at least an hour or even longer, to improve its creaminess and render it more digestible. (Where the stirring was once done […more…]

Dec 192014
 
Still Time Left for Making the Fruitcake You Can Love!

True English fruitcake—sumptuous, evocative, intoxicating— is something you can love. Here is a recipe dedicated to you for Christmas—especially to my friends who think they hate fruitcake. It’s a revelation: continue reading here for the recipe and story.

Nov 242014
 
Thanksgiving Wow—Apples Italian Style

We’re getting close to Thanksgiving, so I’m sending out this little dessert recipe that will cuddle up to pumpkin pie (why have only one dessert?)—or even replace it. Everyone will love you for adding some Italian panache to the feast. Continue reading here for the recipe… *A Note about the artist: This whimsical watercolor was painted by one of my favorite illustrators, Laura Cornell, for my weekly column in the now defunct “Suburbia Today” Sunday magazine section of the Westchester-Rockland (Gannett) newspapers. Laura, already a successful illustrator, went on to become a published author of children’s books as well, including […more…]

Oct 212014
 
Pumpkin Masquerades for a Halloween Sweet

With pumpkin season upon us, I was reminded of a delicious recipe for pumpkin baklava that a Greek chef, Martina Colombotos, made for me some thirty years ago. It was so good that COOK’S magazine ran a story I wrote about Matina and her baklava in their October issue all those years back. Here’s the recipe, written up in a Halloween piece I wrote for Zester Daily for a grown-up Halloween treat. My husband and collaborator, Nathan Hoyt, carved up a pumpkin for Halloween. Thanks to him, and to Richard Bowditch and Tom Hopkins for the original photos. Happy Halloween […more…]

Aug 242014
 
Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Pickle, in Ten Minutes

Pickling hasn’t been this hot in America since covered wagon days when being able to preserve food for the long cold winters meant the difference between life and death (remember “Little House on the Prairie”)? Besides anything else, pickling is downright fun. If you know how to, you’re ahead of the game, but if you don’t, did you know that you can “quick pickle” in the time it takes to boil water and vinegar together? Here’s my latest article in Zester Daily for doing just that with the one crop that everyone always seems to have too much of, zucchini. Why […more…]