The Only Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe You Need
When it comes to authentic Italian cooking, you can’t do any better than going to the source itself – an Italian grandma! So it’s no wonder that we love the site Cooking With Nonna, filled with delicious Italian recipes straight from the kitchens of Italian grandmothers.
Cooking With Nonna’s mission is “Sharing Grandma’s Italian recipes with the new generations”, and we love the idea. From appetizers to entrees, lunches to dinners to desserts, the site features some great Italian classics and modern spins on your favorite old-world Italian dishes.
Cooking With Nonna is the creation of Rossella and Vito Rago. Rossella travels to the kitchens of grandmothers from all regions of Italy, bringing you the greatest recipes (and secret family recipes!) from all over Italy.
This recipe for Almond Coffee Cookies is one of our all-time favorites, and will be one of the recipes that we use when they make Christmas cookies this year. We’re looking forward to taking it to our parent company Peter Salerno Inc.’s flagship showroom and making another batch myself!
Try it out for yourself, and see how these amazing flavors combine in your mouth for a beautiful Italian holiday dessert experience.
The BEST Thanksgiving Guide You Will Find: Right Here!
We found the greatest Thanksgiving recipe guide we’ve ever seen. Now, we’re sharing it. And wouldn’t you know it; it’s all thanks to Epicurious.
“Epi’s 2019 Thanksgiving Recipe Finder” is a brilliant interactive flow chart of Thanksgiving recipes and ingredients. It couldn’t be simpler to use. Pick up to 3 base ingredients on the interactive chart, and Epicurious automatically narrows down its 509 Thanksgiving recipes to the select few that meet your needs.
From sweet potato to fennel, cider to sausage, Epi’s 2019 Thanksgiving Recipe Finder has it all. Are you or your Thanksgiving guests gluten free, vegan or lactose intolerant? No problem; you’re still covered.
You can also filter the Thanksgiving flow chart by dish type. Narrow the recipes by one of 7 categories (main, side, stuffing, etc.) before selecting ingredients to focus your search. The possibilities are so fun to explore!
Here are just a few great combinations we uncovered:
If these 3 recipes don’t strike your Thanksgiving fancy, don’t fret – there are 506 more where those came from!
This Epicurious Thanksgiving interactive flow chart is a passionate home cook’s dream. It’s perfect for a creative food lover who has the ingredients in mind and simply needs a little direction. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, the 2019 Thanksgiving Recipe Finder from Epicurious is as close to a ‘must have’ tool as we’ve found.
Will YOU Accept Our 2019 Thanksgiving Food Bank Challenge?
One look at the hashtag #FoodBankChallenge on Twitter, and you’ll see how dire the situation has gotten for many of our food banks. Around the world, food banks are woefully depleted of basic and necessary supplies. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this is a food shortage that we need to try and correct!
The task seems daunting – but if each of us focuses on our local food banks and pantries, the mission becomes easier to manage. It all starts with finding your local food bank – our favorite resource is the Feeding America locator.
For years, our parent company Peter Salerno Inc. has pledged to donate no less than 75 turkeys every Thanksgiving season to its local food bank – the St. Andrew’s Parish Food Pantry in Westwood, NJ. St. Andrew’s is a spiritual home for Peter Salerno and his family, where Peter’s children Anthony and Gabrielle were both married.
This isn’t a statement to ‘prop ourselves up’. When broken down amongst several members of a work team, the cost of 75 turkeys isn’t that massive – and the ability to provide enough Thanksgiving main courses for over 1,000 people (1 person fed per pound of turkey) is a number that will change an entire community for the better.
If you’re focusing on turkey, remember that simple calculation – 1 pound of turkey feeds 1 person. If you donate a 16 lb. turkey, a food pantry can feed roughly 16 people.
If your focus extends past Thanksgiving, non-perishable and shelf-stable items are your target.What food items are pantries and food banks most in need of this Thanksgiving season? According to Feeding America, these are the six most requested shelf-stable items by food banks during the fall months:
What can YOU do to take steps to assist those in need and give back this Thanksgiving season? According to Peter Salerno, it’s all about targeted giving.
“Instead of helping dozens of charities, choose two or three that resonate with you to maximize your effectiveness,” Peter encourages. “Imagine how much better a world (we’d have) if everyone who could, would take action.”
Keep in touch with us – and the movement – using #FoodBankChallenge on Twitter. Let us know how you’re helping give back this Thanksgiving season!
Labor Day is about food, fun and family. While you’re taking a much-deserved break from the daily grind of work, there’s nothing better than a great meal or two to punctuate a relaxing Labor Day weekend.
As usual, we’re leaning heavily on the expertise of Epicurious, one of the web’s pre-eminent food and recipe sites, to fill our Labor Day table. The recent release of Epicurious’ article “49 Low-Fuss Labor Day Recipes” provides a great deal of inspiration!
Even the most avid “foodie” isn’t going to eat 49 meals on Labor Day weekend – even though you may feel as though you did eat that much by Monday night! We’ve read up on all 49 of Epicurious’ Labor Day recipe selections, and narrowed the list down to a few options we think deserve to be on your lunch or dinner table during the long weekend.
Let’s look at 5 of our favorite selections from this year’s Epicurious Labor Day “food playlist” and we’ll tell you why they deserve the attention of your taste buds!
This double-stack take on classic Labor Day fare is the perfect place to begin our list. Two grilled 3-oz. patties start this fulfilling burger, and a special sauce punctuated with adobo and finely chopped pickles adds a jazzy punch that separates this burger from the standard.
One of the most surprising and appetizing entries on Epicurious’ Labor Day recipe list, this honeydew salad is full of contrast and unexpected flavors. What begins as a cold, fresh melon salad quickly becomes captivating with the heat of serrano pepper, spice of ginger and intriguing flavor of Persian cucumbers. What begins as a monochromatic all-green salad bowl ends up being a flavorful, fulfilling salad that kept us coming back for more.
While this dish is listed as an appetizer, you may find yourself eating the whole thing and turning this delicious eggplant into an entree. The direction to grill the eggplant directly on the dying coals of your grill is audacious and guaranteed a smoky, charred flavor. This recipe’s harissa vinaigrette is one of the simplest we’ve made in awhile, and is quite delicious.
The grilled veggie trend continues with this spicy cauliflower recipe. Basting the cauliflower with spicy butter gives it a unique orange color, and serving it over a tangy miso mayo adds an extra satisfying punch. This is another dish that can serve as an appetizer or a main course. Like the eggplant offering above, it’s a filling enough offering to satisfy any vegetarian guests at your dinner table.
Looking for the perfect drink to cap off your Labor Day meal? This refreshing berry-filled beverage reaches new heights with the unexpected flavors of rose water and agave nectar. Epicurious lists the rose water as optional; we’ve tried it both ways and think that it makes all the difference. You can spike this drink and make it a cocktail, but the non-alcoholic version provided is pretty perfect as is.
To read the entire Epicurious “49 Low-Fuss Labor Day Recipes” article, click here.
Summer Food Trend Alert: Beat the Heat With Chilled Soup Recipes
When our most trusted recipe sources start producing mass quantities of chilled soup and cold soup recipes, we take notice.
The last few days have been blazing hot in our area (the NYC/Tri-State region), with the heat index approaching 120 degrees. For food lovers, eating a hot meal in oppressive heat can be uncomfortable. Cold drinks don’t provide enough nourishment, and cold meals don’t offer enough refreshment.
The answer, according to Epicurious and other recipe experts, is cold soups.
We’re not just talking about gazpacho! There are some extraordinary chilled soup recipes available, with inventive minds designing new additions to the cold soup cookbook. It’s no surprise that – once again – some of our favorite selections come courtesy of Epicurious.
Epicurious’ recent list of 34 Cold Soup Recipes to Keep You Cool This Summer features no less than a half-dozen recipes we’re instantly enamored with. From a cool AND filling Chilled Coconut Corn Soup to a guacamole-inspired Chilled Avocado and Yogurt Soup with Tomato Salsa, there are plenty of savory options that will leave even the biggest appetites fulfilled.
If your idea of chilled soup on a hot day involves lighter fare, we love the intriguing Chilled Tomato and Stone Fruit recipe, as well as a Chilled Golden Tomato Bisque that requires zero cooking!
We won’t post the full Epicurious recipes here (we’re not big on plagiarism… ha!), but here are links to six of our favorite Epicurious chilled soup recipes, along with brief descriptions of each.
Try them all, and leave us a comment about the one you love most!
Links to Our Favorite Epicurious Cold Soup Recipes
Possibly our favorite cold soup recipe on Epicurious’ list; this fulfilling soup comes stocked with corn, potatoes and onion. Coconut milk, ginger, turmeric and lime zest finish off a bright and satisfying recipe that we will be making again.
Currently holding a 100% “Make Again” rating on Epicurious, this Cool Jade Soup offering is inspired bissara, an Egyptian bean-and-herb purée. The mix of green and lima beans blends well with mint, parsley and other herbs to create a refreshing cold soup.
We were a bit skeptical about this recipe to start. It looked precisely like a normal gazpacho… until the stone fruit came into play. Peach and cherry ingredients give this gazpacho base a surprising – and very enjoyable – sweetness that kept us dipping our spoons into our bowls.
Much like the Stone Fruit recipe above, we start with a gazpacho inspiration and venture off into inspired fruit-based territory. According to original author and recipe creator Susan Spungen, the key is a super-juicy, heavy watermelon.
This no-cook recipe is the height of ease; we found the final result every bit as enjoyable as the short prep period. The notes of sherry and mild honey are small but pop beautifully out of the heavy bisque broth, giving a sweet touch to a savory soup.
In terms of visual presentation, this soup might have the most beautiful color of any on the list. The mellow gold color of this chilled soup is due to carrots and ginger, and a healthy dose of chicken bone broth adds texture. Feel free to try this one hot as well.
Our Updated Guide to World-Class Grilling | Expert Grill Tips
When you’re a branch of the most award-winning custom kitchen design firm of the 21st century, the way you cook is very important. And when summer at the shore is your favorite time (and place) of the year, “getting your grill game” up to par is a must!
Making the leap from “throwing a few things on the barbecue” to becoming a grill master seems daunting. But like any journey worth taking, you shouldn’t look at it as a “leap” at all. Every skill is learned and mastered over the course of thousands of baby steps. It’s the same lifelong process that led Peter Salerno (CMKBD) to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a master craftsman and artisan. From his father’s cabinetry business in Sicily to Peter’s award-winning custom design firm in America, Peter’s journey to becoming a master wouldn’t have happened if his father hadn’t taken the first step so many years ago.
Using the Salerno backstory as inspiration, let’s break the journey to becoming a grill expert into smaller steps and look at what YOU can do to become a better grill cook this summer!
Expert Grilling Step 1: The Proper Grill
Peter Salerno is an avid grill enthusiast, with stellar grill equipment at his home, beach house, and award-winning showroom in Wyckoff, New Jersey. From Weber grills to Miele grill tops to La Cornue rotisseries, Peter understands that world-class grilling begins with world-class grill appliances.
Regardless of your budget, there is generally a ‘best option’ at most price points for grill hardware. Whether you choose gas, charcoal or pellet is entirely up to you and your personal taste; there are reputable reviews and ratings of every style readily available online. But whether you inevitably choose Weber, NexGrill, Kenmore or another brand, the type of grill is every bit as important as the brand.
You’re going to get a much different taste experience off a pellet grill, for example, than you would off charcoal. That doesn’t make one better than the other; it’s simply about your preference. Do you like the woodsier taste a pellet grill may provide, or the traditional smoke of a charcoal grill? Do you prefer the clean efficiency of a gas grill? There is no right answer to those questions – the only “correct” answer is what suits you best.
Each type of grill brings its own perks and its own unique cleaning and maintenance regimen; make sure you read up on these as well!
Expert Grilling Step 2: The Proper Ingredients
All else being equal, a great steak is going to taste better than a mediocre one. (Obviously, you can foul up a great steak as easily as a poor one, but let’s focus on the upside here!)
There really isn’t a ton to say here. It’s worth buying better quality raw ingredients. Spring for the fresher, in-season vegetables. Spend a few more dollars on the right cut of meat, or the higher-quality seasoning.
Expert Grilling Step 3: The Proper Technique
Learning how to grill properly is the most intimidating step in this process; don’t be scared! The Internet has made the journey from novice to expert grill cook so much simpler.
Start with the Epicurious Guide to Grilling. We love it. It’s a soup-to-nuts (or in this case, burger-to-chop) guide to grilling techniques and ingredients, from some of the best amateur and professional grillmasters today.
Get yourself a great Bluetooth or WiFi thermometer. Seriously. There are some amazing Bluetooth applications out there that gauge the temperature of your grill AND the internal temperate of what you’re grilling. Whether you’re cooking with the grill top open or closed, you can monitor the process of your meal no matter where you are. Gone are the days when you had to hover over your grill like a vulture, out of fear you’ve over-cooked!
We love the Weber iGrill 2 BluetoothThermometer; unless you’re on a smaller budget, it’s currently our favorite product on the market. If you’re looking for a WiFi-based alternative rather than connecting to Bluetooth, we suggest the ThermoPro TP20 WirelessMeat Thermometer
Expert Grilling Step 4: The Proper Accompaniments + Sides
Don’t just slather a ton of sauce on your beautifully grilled meat, vegetables or vegan substitutes! The right sides, dressings, dips and garnishes can make or break your summer grill meals.
We found an awesome treasure trove of Grilling Dips & Sauces courtesy of Patricia C. Wilson. We strongly encourage you to jump over to Patricia’s site and take a look at her grilling dips and sauces; there are some really unique, simple preparations that are going to ‘wow’ your dinner guests!
There’s also a wonderful piece on the Williams-Sonoma blog courtesy of their Test Kitchen chef, Belle English. Belle encourages us to “just buy the sauce or rub” – sometimes, there’s no reason to over-think the process! Belle does go on to provide some highly valuable advice on what sauces and rubs to pair with different types of meats, and how to incorporate them into your meal’s preparation.
Expert Grilling Step 5: The Proper Company
Well-prepared food is like any beautiful creation; it’s best when shared with others and consumed by people who will appreciate it! Expert grilling is meant to be shared with family, friends and loved ones.
So now that you’ve taken the first steps to improving your “grill skills”, it’s time to gather the people you care for around a big table, spread out some big family-style dishware, and have a summer grill celebration to remember!