Our Favorite Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe

Cooking With Nonna’s Recipe for Italian Christmas Cookies

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.

You MUST try this almond coffee Italian Christmas cookie recipe. (Photo credit: Cooking with Nonna)
You MUST try this almond coffee Italian Christmas cookie recipe. (Photo credit: Cooking with Nonna)

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.

Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe: Almond Coffee Cookies (from Cooking With Nonna)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Almonds
  • 1/2 Lb Sugar
  • Zest of 2 medium lemons
  • 3 Egg whites
  • 1 Tbs Espresso Ground Coffee
  • 2 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar for glazing (put it in a flat plate for rolling)
  • 50 Whole coffee beans

Preparation:

  • To prepare the paste, boil the almonds and remove the peel. Once they are cold and somewhat dry, put them in a food processor or a blender and chop them finely.
  • Put the chopped almonds in a bowl, add the zest of the two lemons, the sugar, the ground coffee and the cocoa powder.  Mix everything very well.
  • Add the egg whites and mix until the egg whites dilute the sugar and the mixture becomes a paste.
  • Take a lump of mixture in your hand, roll it into a ball the size slightly smaller than a golf ball.
  • Roll the ball completely into the sugar and place it on a baking sheet.
  • Slightly insert a coffee bean on top of each cookie.
  • Roll all your cookies and bake them for 30 mins. at 350F.

See more by clicking on this link and visiting Cooking With Nonna!

The 2017 Peter Salerno Inc. Christmas Party Photos

The 2017 Peter Salerno Inc. Christmas Party Photos

Peter Salerno Inc. held its 2017 Christmas party inside the beautiful confines of its award-winning design showroom in Wyckoff, New Jersey earlier this month. As usual, the event was attended by family, friends, associates, staff and a few very special (and very cute) guests!

2017 brought several new babies into the Peter Salerno Inc. family – Gabrielle Salerno-Mayer’s daughter Brielle and Nadya Russov’s daughter Olivia join Anthony Salerno’s daughter Jesse as the next generation of passionate designers! As you’d expect, these beautiful little ladies were the main attraction at this year’s Christmas festivities.

Of course, something that’s always a featured treat at Peter Salerno Inc. showroom gatherings is Peter Salerno’s culinary creations! For 2017, Peter made a few of his special sauces . The first two sauces was a bolognese sauce with three meats, sweet peas, shredded prosciutto and a splash of merlot. The second sauce was a metro sauce, featuring plum tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, prosciutto and heavy cream.

Peter Salerno was joined by some of his most cherished business associates at the Christmas 2017 party as well. Guests included longtime friend and photographer Peter Rymwid, Nicole Sakosits (owner of Stratta, the Tile Boutique), and staff from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Peter is also blessed to be surrounded by his family this holiday season – his wife Tracy, son Anthony, daughter Gabrielle, daughter-in-law Eve, son-in-law Bryan, father Rosolino, and two beautiful grandchildren (the adorable Jesse and Brielle mentioned earlier).

There are many reasons for Peter Salerno and the Peter Salerno Inc. family to feel blessed during Christmas and the 2017 holiday season. The most important of all, as always, is the love and bond of family and friends, and the time and talents of Peter’s professional family.

Enjoy these exclusive photos from the 2017 Peter Salerno Inc. Christmas Party – we hope they add a little warmth and love to your day!

Best Food Gifts of 2017, According to NorthJersey.com

Best Food Gifts of 2017, According to NorthJersey.com

The season of stylish 2017 gift-giving trends continues here on “Design Your Lifestyle”! In this article, we feature another wonderful list of gifts for the 2017 holiday season – this time, centered around food, the kitchen and kitchen design.

The list, compiled by NorthJersey.com (part of the USA Today Network), is a fine collection of food items, pantry items, cutlery, glassware and sweets. Much like the previous list we featured, we selected Esther Davidowitz’s piece for its scope of options, selective nature and inclusivity (there’s a little something for everyone on your list). Ms. Davidowitz serves as the Food Editor for NorthJersey.com, and her expertise certainly shines here.

Try a pickle subscription as a cool 2017 holiday gift idea! (Photo credit: Wiki Commons)
Try a pickle subscription as a cool 2017 holiday gift idea! (Photo credit: Wiki Commons)

For the rest of Esther Davidowitz’s wonderful list of 2017 holiday food and kitchen gift ideas, please visit her full article on NorthJersey.com!

We’ll admit a little bias – as we’re based in northern New Jersey, this list is of particular appeal to us. Each item on the list is created by a local artisan, shop or chef in the northern NJ area. However, that doesn’t exclude the rest of you – a majority of these items are available to buy online, or to ship directly to you through the individual storefront or merchant.

The intent of this article is not only to inform holiday gift buyers, but to support local business and small businesses during the 2017 holiday season – a concept we absolutely love. As Esther Davidowitz explains in the opening to her article:

Of course you can show your appreciation with a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers, but if your host is a food lover (isn’t everyone?) consider giving a food gift. Not just any food, but rather a treat that isn’t just delicious but also made in North Jersey. This way you can nourish your host and support your local businesses simultaneously.

That’s the kind of smart, stylish thinking that we can get behind when it comes to 2017 Christmas shopping and holiday shopping in general, Esther!

Here are a few of our favorite gems from Ms. Davidowitz’s list of 2017 food gifts and kitchen gifts, as featured on NorthJersey.com.

Selections from Esther Davidowitz’s 2017 Food Gift Ideas

1. Pickle Subscriptions from Pickle-icious

We know this one made you look twice – and that’s why we love it. Never mind that Pickle-licious is well-known in northern New Jersey as a go-to for pickle lovers – the store ships nationwide and offers a variety of pickle options in 3 and 6-month subscriptions. Pickle-icious offers subscriptions in quart and gallon sizes as well. What’s not to love?

2. Essie Spice Blends, Essie Spice

Essie Spice Blends are a tremendous way to introduce yourself to the flavors of west Africa in a genuine way. Owner Essie Bartels grew up in Ghana and sources all of her core spice blend ingredients from west Africa directly. Essie’s spice blends have achieved enough acclaim to be available in northern NJ Shoprite and Whole Foods locations – so they certainly have a place in the kitchen of any adventurous, flavor-loving cook.

3. Custom Handmade Cutlery, EDGES Custom Cutlery

EDGES Custom Cutlery Sommelier Collection, 2017.
EDGES Custom Cutlery Sommelier Collection, 2017.

Avid readers of “Design Your Lifestyle” already know all about our obsession with EDGES Custom Cutlery, one of the finest unique, hand-crafted cutlery houses in the United States. Rather than talking about the EDGES collections again here, check out what we’ve said about them in the recent past!

4. Chocolate Ganache Leather Notebook, Sook Pastry

Sook Pastry’s “The Notebook” isn’t just another chocolate gift assortment for the holidays. “It’s a gift of a lifetime,” owner Izzy Yanay told Esther Davidowitz in her article. Not only do you get a beautiful assortment of chocolate ganache pieces, but you receive them in a stunning faux-leather memory box that you can re-purpose after eating your treats!

For the rest of Esther Davidowitz’s wonderful list of 2017 holiday food and kitchen gift ideas, please visit her full article on NorthJersey.com!

A Kitchen Designer Shares His 2017 Home Thanksgiving Photos

A Kitchen Designer Shares His 2017 Home Thanksgiving Photos

Peter Salerno Inc. is the most award-winning North American kitchen and bath design firm of the 21st century. So it stands to reason that in the Salerno family home, Thanksgiving is a pretty big deal.

“[F]amily dinners are all about food, love and more food,” Peter Salerno quipped on social media during Thanksgiving 2017, posting a series of photos of his immediate and extended family sharing a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner in their stunning Bergen County, New Jersey home.

Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.

Peter Salerno was joined for Thanksgiving by his wife Tracy, his father Rosolino and his mother-in-law Jo. Peter’s son Anthony was accompanied by his wife Eve and daughter Jesse, and Peter’s daughter Gabrielle came with her husband Brian and their daughter Brielle.

Peter was sure to thank the renowned Goffle Farms for the family’s delicious 18 pound turkey. The main course was accompanied by some outstanding side dishes, from the traditional (mashed and roasted potatoes, string beans) to the unconventional (a delicious lime and pineapple mold).

Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.

The meal also featured a beautiful and delicious pasta course – homemade pumpkin fettucine with a creamy sausage sauce. The fettucine was a huge hit with the family!

As the 2017 holiday season swings into full force, it’s important to take these moments to cherish those around you – both in your professional and personal lives. Peter Salerno takes great care to maintain a good work-life balance, and takes the time to nurture his work family alongside his own.

Thanksgiving 2017 was a pretty beautiful day for Peter Salerno and his family, but nothing compares to the warmth he felt in his own home. Peter sincerely hopes you had a blessed, safe and satisfying Thanksgiving full of love this year.

Enjoy these exclusive photos from Peter Salerno (of Peter Salerno Inc.)’s 2017 home Thanksgiving!

Peter Salerno's pumpkin fettucine with creamy sausage sauce.
Peter Salerno’s pumpkin fettucine with creamy sausage sauce.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.
Thanksgiving 2017 photos with Peter Salerno and Peter Salerno Inc.

Cooking on the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie

Cooking on the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie

Your choice of kitchen appliances is highly subjective, of course. For our money, the best rotisserie on the market today is the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.


The Flamberge Rotisserie by La Cornue is as effective physically as it is stunning artistically. A French Blue edition of the Flamberge is present in the main display at the award-winning Peter Salerno Inc. flagship design showroom in Wyckoff, New Jersey – and it’s so wonderful, the staff can’t help but use it sometimes (see video above).

The Flamberge Rotisserie is powered by a 27,000 BTU gas burner, yet requires no special ventilation methods and needs only a 120-volt power supply. La Cornue utilizes its trademark vaulted design in the Flamberge’s concave rear walls, which is covered with synthetic wicks to draw up radiant heat without the flame ever touching your food.

An overview, directly from La Cornue’s official website:

A real jewel of technology, the Flamberge Centenaire roasts all meats, poultry, fish and whole fruits perfectly.

With a new, streamlined yet spectacular design, and a reliable, simplified mechanism, the Flamberge optimises the circulation of heat flow.

Both easy to fit because it has no particular ventilation constraints and practical, the Flamberge is a magnetic attraction in any kitchen, immediately arousing a desire to use it.

La Cornue designed special cabinet to accommodate “The Flamberge rotisserie” which will also offer you additional storage.

The centerpiece of Peter Salerno Inc.'s design showroom, complete with La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.
The centerpiece of Peter Salerno Inc.’s design showroom, complete with La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie.

We at Design Your Lifestyle have been lovers of the La Cornue brand for years. An excerpt from a past article:

Ever since Albert Dupuy invented the first La Cornue oven over a century ago, the company has stood at the forefront of cooking design, craftsmanship and innovation. As such, La Cornue has developed a reputation as one of its industry’s leaders, and one of the world’s most luxurious brand names in the world of kitchen design.

Peter Salerno Inc. is proud to not only offer La Cornue’s outstanding line of cooking range products, but to display four La Cornue pieces in our beautiful showroom – a CornuFé range, a CornuFé 1908, a Flamberge Rotisserie, and an absolutely stunning Château range. Much of our partnership with La Cornue is thanks to the tireless work of our business ally and friend Craig Kmiecik, the East Coast Territory Manager for La Cornue at Purcell Murray Company. For over 30 years, Purcell Murray has personified culinary passion and provided the most exquisite brands of appliances, including La Cornue ovens.

For more information on the La Cornue Flamberge Rotisserie, please contact authorized dealer Peter Salerno Inc. at (201) 251-6608.

Fall in Love With White Truffle Season in Italy

Fall in Love With White Truffle Season in Italy

Fall is truly an adventure in Italy’s Piedmont region, as locals, foodies and tourists alike begin the hunt for white truffles. 

October to early December marks the Italian truffle season – especially the elusive and highly prized white truffle, which routinely sells at upwards of $1,000 a pound!

Peter Salerno's homemade white truffle and pasta dish.Peter Salerno's homemade white truffle and pasta dish.
Peter Salerno’s homemade white truffle and pasta dish.

According to Essential Italy, a leading Italian travel site: “Although truffles are generally found in the regions of Piedmont, Molise and Emilia Romagna, there are plenty to be discovered elsewhere. Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche are perfect places to visit if you’re hoping to make the most of the truffle season.”

Very few of our acquaintances love Italian cuisine and the fine art of cooking white truffles more than Peter Salerno, the owner and founder of Peter Salerno Inc. (the most award-winning North American kitchen and bath design firm since 2002).

October-December is white truffle season in Italy's Piedmont.
October-December is white truffle season in Italy’s Piedmont.

Together with the fine staff at Urbani Truffles on West End Avenue in New York City, Peter Salerno developed his own white truffle and pasta dish to celebrate the Italian Piedmont’s white truffle season. Check out some exclusive photos of Peter’s trip to Urbani, as well as his finished dish!

More information from our friends at Essential Italy (we URGE you to read their full article!):

If you are in Tuscany in Autumn, one truffle-based event to try is the San Miniato Truffle Fair, known as the La Sagra del Tartufo Bianco. Held in the beautiful medieval hill town of San Miniato in November, the event usually takes place over several weekends – most typically the last three weekends of the month.

Tuscany is home to around 25% of Italy’s white truffle produce so there will be plenty to go around and it’s the go-to region if you are new to truffles. The festival is also a great place to visit for a day out with food and craft stands, as well as entertainment and restaurants that allow you to try their truffle menus. Other festivals in Tuscany include ones held in San Giovanni d’Asso, near to Siena, held on the second and third weekend of November, with a truffle museum open on the weekends.

October-December is white truffle season in Italy's Piedmont.
October-December is white truffle season in Italy’s Piedmont.

The go-to Italian regions for white truffle season are the Italian Piedmont (or Piemonte) region, Le Marche, Tuscany and Umbria. For the ultimate white truffle experience, check out the towns of Acqualagna, Alba, Volterra and Pietralunga, among others!

Feel free to share your favorite white truffle recipes, cooking tips, photos and experiences in the comments section below!

Peter Salerno's homemade white truffle and pasta dish.
Peter Salerno’s homemade white truffle and pasta dish.

Peter Salerno’s Family Recipe for Homemade Sangria

The Perfect Homemade Family Summer Sangria Recipe

Peter Salerno isn’t just a master kitchen designer, he loves spending time in his own kitchen entertaining family, friends and guests. This love of cooking and creating recipes filters up and down the Salerno family for generations, and has produced some time-tested, delicious recipes.

July 4th Red, White and Blue Sangria recipes (recipes & photo courtesy Epicurious)
Our family Sangria recipe) photo courtesy Epicurious)

When Peter Salerno married his wife Tracy, she brought with her a wealth of delicious recipes, cocktails and other “secret family recipes”. Tracy’s father, Mike Cavallo, was a master of many of these – but one of the family’s favorite creations from Mr. Cavallo was his famous sangria.

What makes the “Cavallo family sangria” recipe so delicious? It might be the perfect mix of ingredients, or the use of brandy and triple sec at the base. Or it may just be the special amount of love with which Mike made it.

In any event, it’s a sangria recipe that’s sure to please, and we’re sharing it with you. It’s the perfect summer sangria recipe for entertaining guests!

Mike Cavallo’s Perfect Summer Sangria Recipe

Ingredients

  • 7 Up/Sprite
  • Triple Sec
  • inexpensive brandy (something like Christian Bros., no need to go over the top!)
  • a bottle of red wine, preferably Merlot or Shiraz
  • ice
  • oranges (you can add apples and pears as well)

Preparation

  • Fill a *large* pitcher with whole slices of orange (leave the peels on), use a wooden spoon to press on the oranges to get a little bit of juice at the bottom.
  • Fill a 1/3 of the pitcher with ice
  • Pour even parts 7 Up/Sprite and wine (pouring both at the same time is the easiest way) until 2/3 of the way filled
  • Pour equal parts brandy and triple sec to taste (usually about 1/2 -2/3 a cup)
  • Fill remaining with the rest of the wine
  • Stir and let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator
  • Enjoy!
If it comes out too strong for you, it can be diluted by adding more soda.
DON’T add sugar, citrus fruits (lime, lemon, pineapple), or bitters!