parmesan bread pudding with baby broccoli, mushrooms, and pancetta

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Baby Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Pancetta

It seems that I can’t get too far away from thinking about food and blogging, even if I wanted to. Last Monday, I had a day off from work and I had planned on a rmuch-needed day of rest and relaxation. I was going to read magazines on my iPad, get a mani/pedi, and order some takeout from my favorite Chinese restaurant down the street. I wanted a day away from the blog, which meant no cooking, writing, and taking photos. I even banned myself from Pinterest to try to disconnect from anything that might remotely lead me back to the blog.

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eggs in clouds, italian-style

Italian-style Eggs in Clouds

I love serving Sunday brunch at home; it is so relaxing, especially with an easy-to-make dish like this.  Since I already had parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pancetta in my refrigerator and a basil plant growing in my kitchen, it was an easy decision to make this an Italian-style breakfast.   Continue reading

orecchiette with mushrooms, chard, and ricotta pan sauce

I’ve been in a pasta rut lately, but thanks to the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I rediscovered the technique of making a pan sauce to give my tired old pasta a new twist and a boost in flavor.  This pan sauce is full of bold color and taste , made with bacon, mushroom, chard, and ricotta. Orecchiette, the oval-shaped pasta from the southern Italian region of Puglia, is a good choice for this dish because its slight bowl shape is perfect for catching the cheesy sauce which has a slight hint of spice from crushed red pepper flakes and nutmeg.  The orecchiette’s edges are thicker than it’s center for some added texture. Continue reading

shrimp and avocado salad with pancetta, lemon, and mache

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I love lazy mornings like the one I had this morning, with no alarm clocks and no long commutes.  I didn’t have to fuss with my hair, and stayed in my pajamas a little longer.  I slept in, groggily waking up just in time for Chris to hand me my morning latté and to kiss him goodbye, as he scurried off to work.  I spent the early morning wandering about my garden, lamenting my tardiness in planting the zucchini, carrots, and peas, which I promised myself I would do tomorrow.  I halfheartedly leafed through a couple of cookbooks, while watching The Today Show, looking for inspiration for what to make for lunch. I finally got dressed and headed out the door to run some errands. Once I arrived at Whole Foods, I took my time wandering around the pristine aisles, where the produce guy caught me doing a happy dance after spotting some fresh rhubarb, hidden behind some carrots and turnips. Continue reading

eggs poached in chunky tomato sauce

eggs poached in chunky tomato sauce

There are many variations of this wonderfully filling and comforting dish. In its simplest form, eggs are poached in a flavorful tomato sauce. In Southern Italy, it is called Uova al Purgatorio, or Eggs in Purgatory (due to the appearance of the eggs cooking in a hot, bubbling sauce resembling flames in hell purgatory), and it is often made with parmesan cheese and basil served over bread, pasta, or polenta. In the Middle East, it is known as Shakshuka, and it is made with a spicier tomato sauce, crumbled feta cheese, peppers, and cumin and served with warm pita bread. The Turkish dish, Menemen, is similar, as the eggs are cooked with tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a single pan, but the eggs are almost always scrambled, instead of poached.

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egg raviolo

Egg Raviolo with Pesto and Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

This egg raviolo was inspired by the Uovo in Raviolo ‘San Domenico’, a dish I had at Davanti Enoteca in San Diego’s Little Italy last weekend.  The raviolo, which I learned from the friendly waitress is the singular form of ravioli, was filled with an egg yolk lying on a bed of ricotta and spinach.  As I broke into the raviolo for a bite, the runny egg yolk oozed all over the pasta and melded with the brown butter to form a luxurious sauce.  It was a simple dish, but the creamy and silky texture of the egg mixed with the ricotta, butter, and sage was exquisite. I knew I had to replicate this stunning dish at home. Continue reading