About the food of Jamaica

Sunset on 7 Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica. Photo by Chaoleonard.

Seems like everyone I know has been to Jamaica - usually, for a wedding, their honeymoon, or spring break. Or a scary combination of all three. (I shudder to think). While many visitors stick to strolling the soft sands and wading in the clear waters, some seek out other adventures, like ecological river tours, climbing sheer waterfalls, and exploring local museums. While all this sounds fantastic, my stove top Adventure is clear. You see, back when I made the Caribbean Green … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Italy


THE SCENE Many things about Italian cooking involve family. Sharing. Loud conversations while laughing over nothing. But this is not always the case. For example, I waited an entire week to tell Keith ....  a.k.a. Mr Picky ... a.k.a. the man with the most hypochondria ever... about the eggs. The raw eggs. In the tiramisu. It was mama's lil' family secret all week long. Hear me out - my logic was sound. First of all, I'd made the thing three times. Each time, it became … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tiramisu


Makes one large trifle (Serves at least 8) Your day was hard. Maybe you have a party coming up. Or you are out of ice cream. Perhaps your favorite DVD  got scratched. Or your 20 lb cat left a 1lb hairball on your favorite sweater. I have the answer for everything: make tiramisu. Trust me. After a hard day, tiramisu is easy. It's the perfect dessert for fancy parties and casual parties. Plus, you won't ever crave ice cream again. Well... not while tiramisu is hanging out in your fridge. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Homemade Pasta Dough


Makes 1 large batch. Enough for at least 150 standard ravioli & more noodles than you know what to do with. Slap. Roll, roll, roll, roll. Slap! My great grandmother, Assunta, made pasta dough with the strength of a hundred Italian sailors. Mom, just a kid then, was not allowed to touch. Instead she was told to sit quietly and watch. She remembers how, as Assunta rolled the dough thinner and thinner, it gradually swallowed up the table and heavy oil cloth covering. Eventually, all … [Read more...]

Recipe: My Mother’s Stuffed Artichokes (with Poll)


As far as I'm concerned there's only one way to enjoy a movie: cuddled up to a plate of stuffed artichokes. I've already managed to brainwash the rest of the clan into agreement. I started young with Ava - at 10 months old she became enamored when I found one the size of her head. Today - at just two years old - she's an artichoke eatin' pro. To enjoy your next movie with an artichoke, you just need three accessories: a giant bowl for the discarded leaves, napkins, and a small bowl of melted … [Read more...]

Recipe: Alfred’s Pork Ravioli


Makes enough filling for at least 150 standard ravioli I have fond memories of curling up on the basement stairs, hanging over the railing, watching my great-great, very distant I'm-not-quite-sure-how-we're-related cousin, Alfred, make ravioli. I'll never forget the way the ravioli rolling pin zipped out dozens of ravioli in a heartbeat. Alfred lived to 103 and I attribute that partly to the fact that he continued making ravioli two-three times a year, well into his nineties. He'd make a … [Read more...]

Menu: Italy


This week I can shut my eyes and dream my way to Italy.  All I need is to dust my hands with flour, slap around some pasta dough, and fill the house with the scent of steamed artichoke. In an instant, I'm there. Just knowing that I'm making recipes that my family has made for hundreds of years (in some form or another), brings a smile to my face - it's like a mini vacation from the unknown so common in this adventure. Then, as I watch Ava help me cook and enjoy the food, my heart triples in … [Read more...]

About the Food of Italy


Mom proudly calls the Italian side of our family peasants. The old-fashioned word makes me laugh, but she insists that's exactly what they were. They weren't nobility. They weren't merchants. They were peasants. Farmers, if you will. More specifically, they worked the mushroom fields in Cicagna, Italy - a bumpkin-sized town near Genoa. From what I understand, our family left behind a mountainside villa and acres of mushrooms for a passport to Ellis Island. In their absence, my … [Read more...]