Welcome to my blog. My blogging journey began about in August 2009 as a photo-a-day blog which has since transitioned to combine my love of good food and photography. Today, using as many local and fresh ingredients as we can, my boyfriend and myself spend time researching recipes, making our own adaptations, cooking, taking photos, eating, and finally reflecting on all or part of the above listed process here. I hope you take the time to not only read and look at our photos, but please cook some of the recipes yourself. You are invited and encourage to leave feedback as we continue our culinary journey!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Fest

I've been told by a few of my readers that the photographs in the past two posts did not look very appetizing. So, this post is to appease my picky readers/eaters. Although I will have you know that the past two posts, although they may not have appeared delicious, were wonderfully tasty!

It's fall and that means APPLES! Last weekend Daniele and I went up north to Lincoln Square for an apple fest. There were loads of apples and apple flavored dishes and we were able to sample apple pie, apple pancakes, and apple blintzes. We purchased a few varieties to bring home with us and use for cooking--so far we've made apple fritters, applesauce, and I'm also going to make an apple chutney to eat with a pork roast. I'll post those over the next week and a half, but for now, enjoy these lovely apple photos yourself! Oh, and please---go purchase (or preferably pick) your own fresh apples today and enjoy them while they are in season.

Apple Pie


Apple Blintz/Pancake

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Before we get into the apple recipes, I thought I'd post another one of Daniele's. This is a fairly simple recipe for a brisk fall day--perfect for the weather we've been having recently. The recipe takes about 15 minutes to make and is great for a quick fix when in a rush or when it is mealtime, but you are not that hungry.

1 egg per person
30 g Parmesian cheese per egg (1 oz)
chicken broth

Heat up chicken broth. Mix cheese, egg, and nutmeg together. Pour mixture in boiling broth and stir for 5 minutes. The consistency of the mixture will become similar to a scrambled egg. Eat warm and enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Porcini Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto

Risotto is one of Daniele's specialties, but since it is not a summer recipe, we hadn't cooked it in awhile and various types of risotto have not been featured on the blog. So, this is a first, although I'm sure we will make a variety of risotto recipes throughout the fall.

I love risotto and the main reason is because it is topped with heaps of melted Parmesan cheese. Can't get any better than that!

Porcini Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto
5-6 sun dried tomatoes
dried porcini mushrooms
1 garlic clove
1 cup risotto rice
1/2 cup (or more) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion

Begin by soaking the porcini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in warm water. Also, heat up the chicken broth. Slice the onion thinly and begin cooking the onion and garlic clove in olive oil. After about 5 minutes add the mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes (which should be sliced into small pieces). Cook together for another 5 minutes, and then take out the garlic clove. Add rice and a bit of chicken broth. Add the chicken broth gradually until the rice is fully cooked, which should take about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. When rice is finished (should be soft, no chewy texture), then add 1 tablespoon butter, Parmesan cheese, and stir together. A delightful warm dish for a chilly evening!


 Fall has officially arrived, and today Daniele and I went up north to an apple festival. We sampled all things apple: apple pancakes, apple cider, apple pie, apple blintzes, apple sorbet! Therefore, this week will include photos of our applicious experience and hopefully some recipes of all things apple (we are thinking of applesauce, apple fritters, and apple chutney served with pork roast).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuna and Tomato Spaghetti

Another simple pasta dish for those of you looking to try a new sauce. This week has been busy which has left us with little time to cook. It's orientation week for Daniele and he has been giving lectures and attending activities at the University. I've been tied up with a lot of other commitments and to top it all off---my raisin pumpernickel bread that I promised in my last entry didn't turn out, so I will need to give it another go before posting!

But this is a fairly easy recipe if you're looking for something quick and tasty.

Tuna and Tomato Spaghetti
1 can tuna
2-3 anchovies
1 small onion
tomato puree
olive oil
1 garlic clove
spaghetti noodles

Slice the onion into small pieces and saute with garlic clove in olive oil for 5 minutes. Drain the tuna and add tuna and anchovies to the pan. Cook for 5 more minutes and then add 1/2 can tomato puree, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook on low for about 10 more minutes. It is also optional to add some fresh tomato to the recipe. During this 10 minutes, cook the spaghetti noodles, mix noodles and sauce together, and top with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Italian Cheesy Bread

As promised, one more recipe from Italy. The second night I was there, we sat down for a dinner with a few member's of Daniele's family. Daniele's mom prepared some excellent cheesy bread for us all to share.

Italian Cheesy Bread
loaf of Italian bread
red onion
Parmesian cheese
Guyere cheese

Carve out the inside of the Italian bread. Also, slice the red onion and cheeses. Mix in a bowl the red onion, cheeses, and some mayonnaise. Insert into the center of the bread, place the top of the loaf back on the bread, wrap in foil, and bake in the oven. Serve hot with crackers and pieces of the inside of the loaf of bread.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sun-dried tomato, spinach, anchovy, and pesto sauce

One of Daniele's friends told me yesterday that he had been anxiously awaiting another blog entry and that it had been awhile since I updated. I had to think twice, but remembered my last blog entry was on Tuesday, which has been longer than usual, but still has been only a few days. I guess its a good thing that I have enough loyal fans that people notice when I don't post for 3 days in a row.

So, here is an entry to calm my fans. Since Daniele returned on Wednesday, we have been cooking some fairly simple pasta sauces, but they are not on the blog yet so I will go ahead and add them. The reason for this is that we have been super busy getting the place organized, and I have been working at U of C some and also doing some babysitting work. Not only that but we will have a new addition (a kitten!) Monday morning. I do have some things in the works though: Today I plan on baking some pumpernickel raisin bread (requested by a friend) and next week I will also make some homemade apple sauce (it's that time!). I also plan on making some chili and soups and of course using plenty of pumpkin in my recipes since we have been moving towards fall weather. So, don't lose hope, there is more to come!

But today, we will stick with a modified sauce. Daniele and I still had some pesto sauce in the freezer from when we made it in June. I defrosted the sauce and added some extra ingredients. I sauteed half an onion, added 5 sliced up sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and also a few anchovies before pouring the pesto in the pan. I topped the sauce over pasta, added extra Parmesan cheese, and it was fantastic! Enjoy, and look for more updates in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tandori Chicken

I will have one more Italy entry later this week, but for now will get back to my own recipes. While D was in Italy and I was on my own here in Chicago, I wanted to try some new things. I've been wanting to try an Indian recipe for awhile now, and after some internet browsing I decided to give it a go. I opted for a relatively easy version of tandori chicken---perfect for one person.

And the timing for this recipe is perfect because I will be preparing this tonight for Daniele's return home tomorrow! I will, however, be making a few additions: I plan on adding a green pepper and some spinach to the vegetable mix.

Tandoori Chicken
2 lbs. chicken (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 cup nonfat kefir
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 tomato
2 cups cooked white rice

Mix 1 cup of nonfat kefir with curry powder, garlic powder, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt,  and lemon juice. (I use a hand blender to make the consistency smooth) Add chicken and let mixture sit in fridge for 1-24 hours.

Slice onion, tomato, and any other vegetables of your choice and saute them in olive oil. Add the chicken and yogurt mixture and cook thoroughly , stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice, and serve the chicken and the rice together.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Italian Weddings

While I was in Italy with D, we went to an Italian wedding. I thought it would be more similar to an American style wedding than it was, but, I guess I was wrong.

The ceremony is part of the typical church service. After that is over, the reception is held nearby for about 8 hours and consists almost entirely of one activity: eating. Obviously, food is extremely important in the Italian culture so that is what we did: eat, drink, and when it was over---dance a bit.

This is what we had.


Course 1: Ravioli with mushroom and a type of meat that I seem to forget (Daniele's favorite)

Course 2: Pumpkin and Balsamic Vinegar Risotto (my favorite)

Course 3: Pork Chop with Sauteed Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesian

Course 4: Veal with Fried Potatoes

Dessert: Wedding Cake and Dessert Liquors (not pictured)

D had two servings of each, except for the wedding cake and the risotto. I had one serving of each. This was lunch and it is probably needless to say that we did not eat dinner.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Ok, so I've been a bit neglectful to my blog. It was harder than I thought to update from Italy and now I'm feeling a bit stressed and don't have the time. I just returned from Italy yesterday and Sunday will be running the 1/2 marathon with a friend who is visiting from Washington D.C. Hopefully we are able to finish.

The trip was wonderful and I had lots of good food. I'm pretty tired but until I actually have time for a real entry (about the difference between American and Italian weddings, for example) or a new recipe, I will at least hold you over with a few photos of yummy gelato.

Gelato is different than ice cream, and Italy has the best gelato in the world. I had to have my share while visiting there. Even after the many samples I had I am still not sure---gelato is so much better, but what, exactly is the difference between ice cream and gelato? Someone please explain it to me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Caprese Salad

I traveled to Madison, WI last weekend (the weekend before labor day) to see a good friend of mine. We spent some time there relaxing, walking, and gardening.

Kristin's friend Nina, who resides in Madison, participates in a community garden effort. While we were there Kristin and I helped with picking some of the vegetables. Namely, tomatoes. Since there was an abundance of tomatoes and basil, I suggested we stop on our way back home and buy some mozzarella cheese to make caprese salad.

All you need to make caprese salad is: tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange as seen below.

I am in Italy this week, and when I return will have some updates on Italian food including Italian wedding meals, gelato, and cheesy bread.