Limoncello Cookies of Sorrento

These sound wonderful! I know how to put that leftover limoncello to use 🙂

Lemons, and lots of them, are used to make up the Italian liqueur and digestive, Limoncello. But only the freshly peeled lemon rinds are used. This liqueur is unique to Campania and several areas claim parentage including Sorrento and the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

I recently purchased a cookbook called  NAPLES and the Amalfi Coast, fourth title in The Silver Spoon’s regional series. It’s a lovely book with scenic pictures and reflects one of Italy’s most unique regions for food. It goes through the five different areas of Campania giving local recipes characteristic of the area as well as information about the countryside.

Lemons of course were mentioned but a recipe for lemon salad did not sound too appealing.  I knew I could not get the sweet Sorrento lemons that are often eaten; fruit, skin and all with just a dusting of sugar.

In my new neighborhood there is…

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Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

Which vegetable (or fruit depending on who you ask) says autumn more than the beloved pumpkin? It’s so versatile, you can turn it into a bread, pie, cookies, muffins, and in this case soup. It has a mild sweetness, velvety texture, and a slight coconut finish.  Delicious as a meal served with the quick dinner rolls.  I make the soup using fresh sugar pumpkin which is small and sweet.IMG_1863

Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk ( serves 8-10)

  • 1 onion cut into slices
  • 1 1/4 lbs fresh pumpkin
  • 2 cans coconut milk (reduced fat or full fat)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coriander leaves or 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Small pinch dried chile pepper flakes (optional)

Wash, cut and remove seeds from the pumpkin.  Carefully cut the skin off and cube the flesh.In a dutch oven, dry heat the onion (place onions in the hot but dry pot) and cook about 2 mins until fragrant.

In a dutch oven, dry heat the onion (place onions in the hot but dry pot) and cook about 2 mins until fragrant.  Add to the onions, coconut milk, chicken broth, cubed pumpkin, coriander, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Turn heat down to low and simmer approx 30 mins or until pumpkin is soft.  Remove the bay leaf.  Now, to get that smooth velvety texture you can either use an immersion blender in the pot and cream the soup, or you can pour soup into a blender and VERY CAREFULLY puree. Return pureed soup to heat and simmer for 5-10 mins longer.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  The soup tastes best 2-3 days after it’s been made.  Enjoy!




Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


Welcome fall with its blanket of beautiful colors, crisp mornings and pumpkin muffins 🙂 Just the smell of these filling the house as they bake puts me in a  more relaxed mood.  So slow down, grab a cup of tea and enjoy one of these delicious muffins.

Pumpkin Cream cheese Muffins (makes 24 muffins)

Preheat oven to 325F. Line or grease two (12 muffin) pans.

Muffin Batter

  • 3 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

Sift above ingredients into a large bowl

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree ( canned or fresh)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Wisk the above ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix well.  Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full.  Divide the cream cheese filling evenly between the muffins. The cream cheese filling will spread out while baking.

Cream cheese filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp orange zest


Bake 30 mins. Enjoy !


Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Trying this chocolate banana bread ASAP!

Sweet & Spicy Living

Double Chocolate Banana Bread. Check out the recipe at

I am a chocolate lover, you can tell right? Double the chocolate, double the fun. There is nothing better than double double. I had been making different variations of banana bread from Strawberry Banana Loaf Bread, Chocolate Chips Banana Bread and Banana Sponge Bread but this is so far my favorite of them all. 


Maybe I am being biased because I am all for chocolate, but this Double Chocolate Banana Bread is really insanely sinfully and chocolatey delicious. I had this for breakfast, chocolate and banana for breakfast, what could be better?


Eating this is what I call my simple pleasure in life. Happiness could be described in different ways, but right now, all I can think of is “Happiness is enjoying my morning with every bite of this Double Chocolate Banana Bread” 🙂 Yummy! Let’s get started!


This banana bread has a very soft and moist texture, and…

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Slow Cooker Meatballs

Almost every country has some type of meatball.  In Romania we call them “chiftele or piftele” depending which part of the country you’re from.  We fry them and sometimes make a tomato sauce in which they are left to marinate “chiftele marinate.”

This here is a simple, no frying pan needed meatball recipe.  They are cooked in the crock pot for about 5 hours.  Boil some pasta and serve them over, turn them into meatball subs, or just eat them as they are, my personal choice.

Slow Cooker Meatballs (makes about 40, 1 inch meatballs)

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 lb italian sausage mix, your choice of sweet,mild or hot
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Place ground meat in large bowl, followed by the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the spaghetti sauce.  Mix thoroughly with your hands until mixture is homogenous. Pour half jar of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of your crock pot. Lightly wet your hands and pinch a small amount of meat from the bowl.  Roll it between your palms to form a ball, continue with the rest of the meat, placing meatballs in the crock pot as you go.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the meatballs.  Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.  When it’s time to serve, gently separate the meatballs from each other with a spoon as they stick together during cooking. Enjoy!


“Sun-Dried” Cherry Tomatoes

Little morsels bursting with flavor…..that’s what they are! Sun dried tomatoes, even though they are not dried by the sun per say, but by my oven, are such a a treat.  They are great on sandwiches, salads, pizza or just by the handful.  I’ve had an abundant cherry tomato harvest this summer, and what better way to preserve these juicy globes of goodness than preparing them as follows:

Sun-Dried Cherry Tomatoes (makes about 2 cups)

  • 3 lbs cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.


Halve all the tomatoes and spread evenly on the baking sheet.  In a small bowl, mix the  olive oil with the minced garlic and drizzle evenly over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle them with generous amounts of salt and pepper (taste them to make sure they are to your liking.) Place baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30 mins, after which you turn down the temperature to 200F and continue roasting for 3-4 more hours, or until desired dryness.  Cool completely, see if you can help yourself from eating them all, and place in a clean jar or airtight container.  I’m not sure how long they keep in the fridge for because  mine didn’t last past day 2 since we ate them all.  If you have better self control than me, leave  a comment with the amount of time yours lasted in the fridge. Enjoy!


Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Burst Cherry Tomatoes

I accidentally grew a spaghetti squash.  At first I thought it was a weird looking cucumber, but it gre larger, rounder and eventually yellow.  I’m so glad we got this extra vegetable from the garden. It’s sweet, a bit crunchy, versatile and fun to make.

  • Spaghetti squash (2-3 lbs in size)
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes
  •  Fresh Basil, small handful chopped
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash, cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil on the flesh side and season generously with salt and pepper.  Place on microwave safe dish cut side down and cook approx 10 minutes or until skin feels soft.  Remove carefully from microwave and let cool enough to handle.  In the meantime, in a small pan heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, place cherry tomatoes in the pan along with the garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook on low to medium heat until tomatoes burst gently, approx 6-8 mins. Remove from heat and set aside.  With a fork scrape the flesh from the squash into a large bowl stirring gently to break it up.  Pour the tomato mixture on top, season with more salt and pepper if needed, sprinkle with the parmesan and fresh basil.


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