Jun 30

July Fourth is just around the corner and besides watching fireworks, many of us will be getting together for fun, festive parties to celebrate the day. In addition to the usual barbeque fare, you can serve this patriotic, red colored summer spritzer made from the season’s fresh strawberries. And if you are feeling even more festive, you can add a little of your favorite alcohol to your drink!Strawberry Spritzer
Fresh Strawberry Spritzer

3 cups strawberry, plus extra strawberry slices for garnish
2 cups crushed ice
mint leaves for garnish

Wash and remove the leaves from the strawberries. In a food processor, combine the strawberries and crushed ice and purée until smooth. Pour the mixture into 4 large glasses and add some seltzer to each glass. Serve cold and garnish the rim of each glass with a strawberry slice and mint leaves. Makes 4

Jun 25

I decided to call the newest section of our e-magazine Cibo, “Young Cooks” because the young people which I am referring to are open to new things and are curious about tradition; because they are searching for spirituality in any form, in health and in simplicity; and because the world has changed and only they can make it rich with good things.

So here is the first recipe for the “Young Cooks” from the June issue of Cibo, and also includes helpful cooking tips and what tools you’ll need.

Penne with Mozzarella and Broccoli

The whole wheat penne can be substituted with white penne or another pasta shape, but it’s best to use short pasta.

Time: This quick recipe can be prepared in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Health: The sauce is not cooked; the ingredients, including olive oil, will maintain all of their nutritional properties. The recipe contains protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber and carbohydrates, and is rich in polyphenols from the pasta and the extra-virgin olive oil.

Required Tools: pot, knife, mezzaluna (or a food processor), cutting board, mixing spoon.

  • Pot: The pot that I am suggesting is very practical and can be used to boil pasta, rice, vegetables and fruit; not using a colander will eliminate the risk of getting burned. If you wish to use a colander, any pot is fine if it contains enough water.
  • Knife: So it’s not too dangerous, knives are to be very sharp. The knife that I suggest is an excellent one I call Easy Going (EG). With the EG you can cut soft mozzarella like it’s aged pecorino, tomatoes like their onions and also bread.
  • Mezzaluna: I suggest a mezzaluna with a double blade because it’s the easiest to use.
  • Cutting Board: I prefer wood, but a medium-sized cutting board made from synthetic material is useful for this recipe and for many others.
  • Mixing Spoon: It’s best to use a spoon made from synthetic material because it’s not absorbent and is more hygienic.

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound whole wheat penne
3 cups broccoli florets, divided
8 ounces mozzarella
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
1 clove garlic
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon anchovy paste
freshly ground pepper

1 Place the penne near the stove and open the box. Put all of the ingredients on the kitchen counter and bring the water to a boil. Add salt and the penne to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
2 Meanwhile, wash the broccoli and cut it into small pieces. Also cut the mozzarella into small pieces. Measure the Parmigiano and peel the garlic.
3 Place on the cutting board, or in the food processor, 1/2 of the broccoli, Parmigiano and olive oil and 1/3 of the mozzarella and garlic. If you use a food processor add vinegar and anchovy paste and season with salt and pepper until the mixture is thick and creamy. If you use the mezzaluna, add the liquid ingredients directly into the serving dish.
4 Pour the mixture into a serving dish and slowly mix adding the remaining olive oil until everything is well combined.
5 Add the remaining broccoli, Parmigiano and mozzarella, mix well and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
6 Once the pasta is cooked, set aside a cup of its cooking water, then drain the pasta and immediately put it into the serving dish.
7 Mix together well for 30 to 40 seconds, add a little of the pasta cooking water to make sure the mixture is evenly combined and not too dry. The dish is ready and should be served warm.

Jun 18

Your lettuce, herbs and other perishable produce will keep surprisingly well with these handy tricks for refrigerator storage.

  1. Wrap unwashed, dry heads of lettuce in a double layer of paper towels and place in a ventilated plastic bag in the refrigerator’s crisper.
  2. Spread unwashed berries in between two layers of paper towels on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to eat. To freeze, place washed and dried berries on a lined baking sheet in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.
  3. Cut off the leafy tops of root vegetables such as carrots, beets and radishes before storing them in plastic bags in the refrigerator. If left attached, the greens will draw moisture from the vegetables, making them limp.
  4. Place the herbs with their stems down in a jar of water. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and refrigerate. Make sure the leaves are dry.

Jun 9

Father’s Day is coming up and there is no better way to a dad’s heart than food, especially dessert. Made from almonds, cocoa powder and mint, these oven-free cookies are not only quick and easy, but even younger kids can help make them and then proudly present their edible gift to Dad.


No-Bake Almond-Cocoa Cookies

These cookies can be served right away, but they are even better the next day.

2/3 cup whole peeled almonds
3⁄4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra
1⁄2 cup sugar
5 mint leaves, chopped, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
whole walnuts for garnish

In a food processor, finely grind the almonds and place them in a bowl. Add the cocoa, sugar and chopped mint and mix. Add 2 tablespoons cold water. Using your hands, knead until a soft dough forms, adding more water if necessary. On a work surface dusted with cocoa powder, roll the dough out to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into small cookies. Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with the mint leaves and walnuts.  Serves 4

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