Monthly Archives: May 2017

Ristorante Antipasti

There is one thing you have probably figured out on your own. I love food, I love to cook, and I love to eat. When I think of Italian food, this is the place for me.  I was treated to Mother’s Day dinner there yesterday. This place never disappoints!!

Antipasti is located in Ocean City, Maryland, land of sun, sand, and fun, on the Atlantic Ocean. It is considered one of the hot vacation spots in Maryland. There is something for everyone, young and old alike.

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The owner and chef, Fausto, makes you feel like you are dining in your own home. Quite a handsome fellow, I might add. He makes it a point to come to your table at least once and more often than not, several times. His olive colored skin, striking blue eyes, and beautiful smile, add to his charismatic charm and appeal. Doesn’t hurt that he also makes sure all the ladies get a kiss. This is true Italian hospitality.

When you walk through the doors the walls are lined with pictures of Fausto and his guests. Joe Namath, Henry Winkler, Sir Paul McCartney, are just a few to mention. It is quite a gallery.


 

With so many selections on the menu to choose from, it’s hard to say that one item is better than the other. I am absolutely in love with his gnocchi. Little pillows of heaven, that melt in your mouth. It’s hard not to moan out loud when I eat them. From appetizers to desserts, the whole dining experience is phenomenal.

http://www.ristoranteantipasti.com/menu

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He also teaches cooking classes. My husband surprised me by signing us up. I did learn one valuable lesson about tomato sauce, or “gravy” as true Italians call it. You MUST use San Marzano tomatoes. So named, for the region they are grown in. Cooked low, and slow until they render all of their sweetness. I added absolutely nothing to them and turned out the best “gravy” I have ever made.

If you happen to be in the area, stop in and say hello. I will caution you, it is best to make a reservation, especially during the high season which is summer. If you want authentic Italian food and an authentic Italian atmosphere, don’t miss Ristorante Antipasti. Maybe I will see you there!

http://www.ristoranteantipasti.com/find-us

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

 

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HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

I would like to reach out and wish all the Moms a Happy Mother’s Day.  I myself am blessed to be a Mom and a Grandmother, aka “Mimi”. I am also lucky enough to be a stepmother to 3 children as well.

While being a mother is rewarding it also has it challenges. When I was a young mother I remember being terrified that I wasn’t up to the task. Yep, scared to death to be honest. My daughter somehow made it and is a fantastic mother to my grandson. Of course, I can not take all the credit. It truly does, take a village.

Nobody gives you a handbook of instructions. There are no set rules or reasons on how to be a mother. We just do it! Some how, we find our way.

I lost my Mother quite a few years ago. There are still times when I have the urge to call her and consult with her or ask her “what would you do”. So often, I will say something and have to pause, because they are her exact words. It’s those moments when I realize, I am much like my mother.

It was my good fortune to marry into a family that I also love. My mother-in-law has been like a mother. In fact she told me long ago, “you can call me Mom”. I do and I respect and value her opinions. She raised two children of her own, after all. My husband is a wonderful man and his sister is like the sister I never had. I am pretty lucky!

So to all you Moms out there, everywhere, enjoy your day. To all of you celebrating your Mothers enjoy every moment. Time is fleeting and goes by in the blink of an eye. The time to celebrate and love is now. Lets treat these wonderful women with all the joy and appreciation they deserve. I truly hope your day is filled with all the things you love and make you happy.

This one is for you Jeanette ……. wherever you are! I love you!

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Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

Air Fried Cannoli

Okay, so I was watching Giada this morning from her rooftop in Florence, Italy. She proceeded to make cannoli with a renowned pastry chef. It’s not bad enough that she is willowy, well endowed, gorgeous, and the grand daughter of Oscar De Laurentis. She also has a smile that goes on for days, and the ability to eat whatever she wants.  I am for lack of a better word, envious. What a life!

Needless to say after watching this episode I had the greatest desire for a cannoli. What if I could make the cannoli shells in my air fryer? It would definitely be more waist friendly but it still has to have good texture and flavor. After looking up several recipes on the internet I came up with this version.

While it looks like there are a lot of steps they are short and simple. My cannoli tubes came from Amazon.com and were very inexpensive. Just make sure you use caution when removing them from your air fryer, they will be very hot. I used tongs, being careful not to break the shells.

By my calculations for 30 servings, my recipe is 5 Smart Points per cannoli. You can add some grated chocolate, chopped nuts, or chopped candied cherries. Any extras will also add additional points. So pick your poison! I liked mine without the fanfare.

Air Fryer Cannoli

Ingredients:

Shells:

  • 4 C all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 C white wine

Filling:

  • 1 lb ricotta cheese, drained
  • 3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t cinnamon

Directions:

Filling:

  1. Drain the ricotta for about 1-2 hours. I use a paper towel lined fine mesh sieve over a bowl.
  2. Combine the ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon until combined. Use a hand mixer or a hand whip.
  3. Put filling into a piping bag, I use baggies, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Shells:

  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cut in butter
  3. Add egg yolks; stir with a fork
  4. Stir in wine, 1 T at a time, using a fork until the dough clings together
  5. Form a ball with the dough and let stand for 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap.
  6. Take a small amoutn of dough at a time, keeping the remainder covered. Roll dough almost paper thin, on a well floured surface.
  7. Using a 4 inch cookie cutter, or you can use a glass (martini glass works well) and cut into circles. Keep covered until ready to fry.
  8. Roll each circle of dough around a metal cannoli tube that has been lightly rubbed with cooking spray, overlapping the ends and press to seal, flare out the edges slightly
  9. Place 4 of the cannoli in the air fryer at 380 degrees for 5 minutes, open the air fryer and turn them over and fry for an additional 2 minutes.
  10. Remove from the fryer and place seam side down on a paper towel.
  11. Let cool a minute or two before trying to remove the cannoli form. Hold the cannoli shell down on the paper towel and carefully slide the tube out on one end. Leave them on the paper towel to cool completely.

Filling the cannoli:

  1. Cut a hole in the piping bag and fill each cannoli at both ends, being carefull not over or under fill them. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, lightly.
  2. Serve immediately

Note: Unfilled shells can be stored in an airtight container for serveral days prior to filling. Fill as needed and always serve immediately.

 

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

 

 

 

CHOPTANK CHARLIE

I am very sad today as I write this post. You see, we have lost one of our four legged friends, known to us as “Charlie”.  Charlie was a beautiful Golden Retriever who was part of the Feehley family. He was well known and loved by many. I will always fondly remember him on the Choptank River, swimming, and chasing sticks and balls thrown in the water. He was always eager to please and very gentle.

Our “fur babies”, become part of our families. We nurture, care, feed, and take care of them in the best possible way we can. In return, they love us unconditionally, without question or pause. There’s something comforting about opening the door and seeing that tail wagging and their smile, just because they missed you; just because they love you.

In my experience this pain is one of the hardest to overcome. It only comes with time, and only you know when that time is. Once you come through the other side you are left with fond memories and the hope that one day you will see them again.

I know Charlie is running in the sunshine, chasing sticks and balls. He’s still there watching over my dear friends and trying to comfort them from afar. I also suspect he has caught up with his partner in crime, Chessie. His female counterpart who passed away only three short years ago.  (Pictured below are Cruiser, and Charlie on the right.)

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Love your pets and enjoy every day you have with them. I believe that’s how they live. In the moment, with you and for you, every second, of every day.

I will keep Charlie in my heart. My prayers and love go to Robyne and Terry. Let time be on your side and ease your sorrow and pain. We will all miss Charlie and will be thinking of and praying for all of you.

In dedication to Robyne, Terry, Charlie, and Cruiser.

xoxoxo

 

 

MY LEAKY DINNER

Funny story this one! Odd name too, I suppose. Let me explain………

My dear friends owned a bar fondly known to all of us, as Leaky’s. Some of the best food I have eaten anywhere. All prepared in a kitchen the size of a closet. It was truly my favorite place to eat and play. I will admit to dancing on the bar, but just this one time!  As with all good things, they come to an end. I am fortunate enough to know the chef and actually had the opportunity to work with him for a while. Lucky me!!!! As for the chef, he’s moved on to bigger and better things.

Whenever we went to Leaky’s my usual was steamed shrimp and a wedge salad. I don’t know if you know this or not but, all shrimp are not created/cooked equal in the land of food. Leaky’s was and always will be my favorite.

Shrimp are also a highly favored food when you are watching your weight. Not only are they said to boost your metabolism but, they are low on the points scale for me. A half pound of shrimp adds up to a total of 4 Smart Points. Throw in a salad and bingo, it’s a great, filling, meal.

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There really isn’t a recipe for this one. I buy a pound of shrimp, rinse them and throw them in a steamer pot. I add some chopped onion, and lemon wedges and toss all of it in Old Bay seasoning. I use 2 cans of beer in the bottom of the pot to steam them. It takes minutes. When they turn pink and they are no longer translucent, they are done. So don’t walk away, there is nothing worse than over cooked shrimp. I like them with cocktail sauce on the side for dipping.

My wedge starts out with half of a romaine heart. Traditionally, it’s a wedge of iceberg lettuce. Then I top it with chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of my favorite bleu cheese dressing, (Lighthouse for me). I add some crumbled center cut bacon and some chopped scallions. Truly a great salad!

If you like shrimp and you like quick meals, this is one to remember. Give it a try!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

CREAM CHEESE SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE

It is beautiful out! I have a few more plants and bulbs to put in so I am thrilled it’s not too hot. I know in the next few weeks that will all change so I am trying to make the most of it.

With that in mind I am always looking for quick dishes. My sister-in-law, Dawn tried this recipe and said it was fantastic. I made it last night and I agree, it’s fantastic!!

I have never been a fan of fat-free cream cheese. However, it works perfectly in this recipe. It reminded me of Mascarpone, which is an Italian cream cheese, but without the added calories.

I will be ear-marking this recipe and using it again. It would be great as well if you added some vegetables. Spinach, kale, mushrooms, and broccoli are just a few that come to mind. Of course, you could always have your vegetables on the side or serve it with a side salad. With or without additions, it was tasty and filling.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

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CREAM CHEESE SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE (Weight Watchers)

8 servings / 9 Smart Points per serving

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12oz dried spaghetti (I use Dream Fields)
  • 1 (28oz) jar spaghetti sauce (I used my homemade sauce)
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or 1 lb of lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8oz fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese, grated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a skillet, brown the ground meat until cooked through; drain fat if needed and stir in the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
  3. Cook the spaghetti as directed on your package. (I cooked it 2 minutes less since it also cooks in the oven).
  4. Drain and return to the warm pot. Add the cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and     minced garlic. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and the noodles are coated thoroughly.
  5. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan. Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the dish. Put the spaghetti on top of the sauce and top with the remaining sauce.
  6. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly.

Note: You could add vegetables to the pot when mixing the cream cheese in the noodles. Spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus, or mushrooms or a combination of any would be excellent.

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