Saturday, July 4, 2015

Overnight Pulled Pork

I think the secret to keeping the pork really moist is brining the pork before cooking it.
After several trips to the store for various ingredients and forgetting to buy apple cider vinegar I used red wine vinegar for my brine.
I love the flavors of pork mixed with citrus(lemons, limes and oranges, juiced) and Rosemary, so I added them to the vinegar and I placed the pork butt in a non reactive pot to hold the meat so the liquid covered the meat. Let the meat sit in the liquid for at least 12 hours refrigerated.
I made a dry rub consisting of salt, pepper, Rosemary,  finely ground coffee, and chopped garlic.  Rub the entire roast with the dry rub until it is covered, top and bottom, and place in the 275-300 degree oven for 8 hours or more. 
I usually like to do this while I sleep, especially in the summer. If the kitchen is getting heated I'm not feeling it while I'm sleeping, but I am smelling it,  and by the time I wake up, the pork has a beautiful bark, ready to come out of the oven and be pulled. 
The meat is so tender I usually just pull it apart with my hands. No other kitchen utensils are needed.
We enjoy eating our pulled pork on flour tortillas served with slaw.
The meat is so rich with flavor that In my opinion no additional BBQ sauce is needed, but feel free to add your favorite sauce. I'd suggest a mustard based sauce for this one. Your taste buds will sing!
Buon Appetito!

I've found these store bought rubs that are very flavorful. If you don't want to experiment on your own pick some up at your super market. Smell it before you use it. If you don't like the aroma from the rub, chances are you won't like its flavor, so toss it. I love the jerk seasoning. I use a pinch of it in all my rubs. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stuffed Calamari

Sometimes I get in the mood for a taste of something that I haven't really tasted before. I may have had all the favors together at a meal but not in the same dish. These are the times that inspire me to come up with different dishes for my family. This stuffed calamari dish was one of those times.  It's a very simple dish. I hope you try it.  My family loved it!
Here's a few hints when buying calamari. 
1. Buy it clean.
2. Buy it clean
3. Buy it clean

I know I've repeated myself but it's worth repeating. Those tiny creatures are tedious to clean and if you can purchase them cleaned already why wouldn't you. 
You are still going to have to make sure that they are clean, you just won't have to spend hours cleaning them. Trust me on this, buy them clean, and if you're stuffing them buy them big!

I started off by soaking the calamari tubes and tentacles in milk for a few hours. The size on these said they were 5" - 8". (They cooked to a smaller size.)

I separated the tentacles from the tubes and I par boiled the tubes. (I don't know if this is correct but it helps the tubes to stay open while stuffing them) give the tubes a cold bath so they stop cooking.  Set the tubes aside. 

In a sauté pan with half a chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, and 1 celery stalk chopped cook the tentacles with 5-6 extra large shrimp just until the shrimp turn pink. Take off the heat. Let the mixture cool a little. 

This mixture will need to go into a food processor. I like to "pulse" it a few times so the mixture has a little chew to it and not completely smooth.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of hot pepper flakes. The mixture will be moist. I added a small handful of  seasoned breadcrumbs.
Now it's time to stuff.
If you have a pastry bag you may use it, or use a plastic ziplock and cut off one corner and fill the tubes. Or do it my way, get the baby spoons out! I fill them all the way. 

Place them in a baking pan that has a basic tomato sauce*. Add a little white wine, add one can of red kidney beans, cover and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through.
*please use fresh tomato sauce and not something premade that tastes like "homemade". It will make a huge difference in flavor. 

I served the stuffed calamari over very refreshing zucchini "spaghetti". 

Buon Appetito 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Zucchini "spaghetti"

I've never been a fan of spaghetti squash. I'm sorry it does not taste, nor has it ever "tricked" me into believing that I was actually eating spaghetti. In desperate times while dieting I would try to convince myself that it was an alternative to pasta but I was truly delusional. The blank looks from around the dinner table from my family would tell me I wasn't doing a good job of pulling this one off.
I have finally made a dish using zucchini that resembles spaghetti. It was delicious! I knew it was a success when my husband requested a spoon so he could twirl his "pasta".

This is the machine I used to cut my zucchini into "spaghetti".
I spiral sliced 4 large zucchini and then gently tossed them in extra virgin olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. 
I prepared a simple fresh tomato sauce consisting of fresh tomato, onion, garlic, fresh chopped parsley, and white wine.  Seasoning to taste with salt and pepper and a little dash of red pepper flakes. 

I tossed the zucchini spaghetti with the tomato sauce and topped with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese, it's all ready to go into the preheated 400 degree oven.

Baked for about 20 minutes it's ready to serve!

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NO KNeed To Worry, you can make this Bread!

NO Knead Bread


  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  •  Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed


  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy ? (I have no idea what this really means)  and sticky. (sticky, I know)  Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
  5. Ok, here's my take on this recipe. Not knowing what shaggy meant I think I got through the first part of making the bread without a hitch. However,   it being winter in New York it's hard to find a spot in your house that is  70 degrees warm to let the dough rise for 18 hours. Heck I keep my thermostat at 66 and if you touch it you will be punished! I did place the covered bowl in the oven figuring that the pilot light would at least warm the oven up a little for this process. 
  6. At the end of the 18 hours the dough looked ready. Its surface was dotted with bubbles.  The recipe was easy to follow from this point on.
  7. When the bread came out of the oven I have to say that it was absolutely beautiful. It looked like something that was baked on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. The crust was nice and hard, crunchy just the way we like it and the inside bread was like cake. 
  8. But here is where I wish I had tweaked the recipe...It needs SALT. The bread had no flavor. It didn't taste like anything. It just tasted like baked flour and water. My bread had no personality. This bread, after rising and resting for 20 hours, with a crust as hard as a skiers helmet should have personality!
  9. So if you decide to make this bread, don't be shy with the salt.  It definitely needs it. 
  10. Buone Appetito
  11. Lorraine
  12. xoxoxo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Food Network Auditions, Utube Videos and Italian Southern Fried Chicken

A few weeks ago I was contacted by casting producers to make an audition tape for a show on The FoodNetwork called Home Cooks. They were back for season 2 and somehow my information landed on one of the casting producers desks. I probably submitted an email last year and completely forgot all about it, no matter, it was very exciting to be contacted asking me  to audition.

 My husband and I were traveling at the time. When we came back, making the tape was on my mind. I knew I had limited time to get my audition tape in. What could I make? Looking in an empty refrigerator I'm thinking, Carbonara, because all I have is an egg , a piece of cheese, bacon and an onion. (There's always spaghetti in an Italian household!)
I contacted the producers with some questions and was told to please not submit a pasta dish. Oh great, there went my Carbonara.  If you haven't tried my recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara you really should.

I had to rethink everything, was tired, did not want to go shopping and became very flustered knowing that I only had the one day to get my tape into producers if I wanted to be considered for casting for this show.

I knew I had to make some magic happen. I decided to make Aunt Roses' Italian Southern Fried Chicken.  I could make it with ease and more importantly I had all the ingredients to get it going. There's always some chicken parts in the freezer!

This is nothing like Perini Fried Chicken (a little shout out to all my Texas friends, Hi Y'All!) Perini Fried Chicken is in a league of it's own, however so is Aunt Roses' Italian Southern Fried Lemon Chicken.
The link below is my unlisted UTUBE Audition. It is the link I sent to the producers. Watch it and you can see me in action. If you hit the links above you can get the list of ingredients to make the dish. It is finger licking good. Try it with some crusty bread dunked into the lemon and garlic sauce. It is amazing.

A few days later I was asked to come in with a dish for an in person tasting interview.
This was the dish I brought with me. It is one of my specialties. I also like to make it as a Veal Chop.
This was a double cut pork chop stuffed with spinach, asiago cheese, and prosciutto, served with a cheesy polenta cake and  roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and red onions. The sauce spooned over the pork chop was a red wine and shiitake mushroom sauce.  I had the best dish in the room. I knew it, and the people around me knew it.  I felt confident, and was proud of what I put on my dish.

I really felt good about my in person audition. In the past I have been very intimidated by producers,  their questions and become a stammering idiot. It also happens while I'm on tape. I loose my words and my mind, and forget what I'm talking about. I forget to breath. LOL!  Being filmed does not come natural to me! However, cooking, creating and being in the kitchen is very natural to me,  it's  part of my soul and who I am and why I am who I am and if they had given me the opportunity I know I would have overcome my camera shyness.
I didn't get the call that they said might come. I walked out of that audition with my head held high knowing I gave them the best of me! 
I'm just wondering if the Dave Matthews look alike who made the Deviled Eggs got the call. I mean, really! Who brings Deviled Eggs to a Food Network Audition? Just asking...
We'll see when the show airs!

Love you all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Just in time for Thanksgiving. 
This recipe for stuffing is a favorite for many. 
When my children were younger and in elementary school I used to make Turkeys for each of their classes, stuffing and all. I got a reputation as the Turkey Lady, and I must admit I rather enjoyed it, reputation and all.

Sausage stuffing 

2 large yellow onions - chopped (diced)
2-3 stalks of celery - cleaned and then cut into strips and then chopped (diced)
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped fine
1-2 pounds Italian sweet sausage 
2-3 bay leaf
Rosemary leaves (fresh or dried)
1 stick of butter
Chicken stock (2-3 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bag seasoned bread cubes (pepperidge farms makes a good one)

Take the sausage out of the casing, crumble it so it is in small pieces and cook in a frying pan until cooked through. Because sausage has fat you usually will not have to add any fat to the pan before cooking. If you feel like it needs it,  add a little bit of olive oil if you have it. 
When the sausage is browned and cooked through set it aside. 
In a stock pan melt the stick of butter on low  heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cook until the onions become translucent. Do not brown the onions. Add half of the chicken stock, the Rosemary (if using fresh, use a nice sprig of it, if using dried use a tablespoon.)
Let it simmer on low for 1/2 hour.
In a large bowl, or in the baking dish your making the stuffing, mix the cooked sausage, bread cubes and the onion, celery mixture. Add the rest of the chicken stock, it should be moist, not too wet. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree preheated  oven until heated through, approx 45 minutes.  If you like a crunchy top take off the aluminum foil for last 15-20 minutes of baking time. 
If you enjoy mushrooms you may add them. I would add them while cooking the sausage. Personally, I think this "dressing" has so much flavor that the mushrooms get a little drowned out. However, if you'd like to sweeten it up a little, add a small chopped apple to the stuffing right before baking. 

I will look for some pictures to add to this post later. 
Don't forget, you can always email me if you have any questions!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You can stuff it!

Pork... I'm talking about stuffing Pork! You may stuff whatever you want!

 This dish can be made with any chop you like. It would be just as delicious with a nice double cut Veal Chop, a Chicken Breast (please, on the bone) or perhaps a chicken thigh. We love that meat on the bone! It's always sweeter!

My husband loves Pork Chops! He came home with some beautiful double cut chops from the butcher the other day. They were gorgeous! Breading these beauties was out of the question. However, the idea of stuffing them appealed to me.

I started by making a stuffing using spinach. I sauteed spinach in a pan with 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/2 white onion, also chopped and seasoned it with salt and pepper.
Once the spinach wilted I let it cool and rough chopped the mixture. To the spinach, onion and garlic I added 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of shredded  soft Asiago cheese and 1/4 cup of unseasoned breadcrumbs.

Make pockets in each of the chops and filled it with the spinach mixture. Seasoned each chop with salt, pepper and rosemary (on both sides).
Get your pan ready to cook your chops. Let it get hot and add  2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook the chops on med/high heat on each side for about 4-5 minutes. They will release easily when they are ready to turn.
Take the chops out of the pan and place them on a baking sheet and finish them in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.

While the chops are finishing make your sauce.

There should still be some of the oil and butter in the pan. Cook some sliced mushrooms and diced pancetta in the pan. When the pancetta is cooked deglaze the pan with whatever wine you have open, no wine, no problem, use some broth, no broth, use some water. Make sure you get all that crispy good stuff from the bottom of the pan. If it needs more liquid add it, and maybe just another little pat of butter. Taste it and season it if it needs more seasoning.
A little fresh chopped parsley and sage adds nice notes to this dish.

I served it on a bed of sauteed broccoli slaw.  It was perfect! It was delicious!  Enjoy!

Buone Appetito!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pork Chops stuffed 3 ways

Pork Chops and Sauerkraut was never my favorite meal growing up. To this day it hasn't been a favorite in my house, either.  My go to when cooking  Pork Chops  has usually been to cook them with  peppers and onions.

While shopping these chops called to me. They were thick cut and I knew that they would be perfect for stuffing.

The stuffing I used was a mushroom, sausage and spinach stuffing. Truth be told everything used for the stuffing was something that was a "must go" in the refrigerator. "must go" is a euphemism for left overs!

I had some left over mushrooms that I mixed with left over sausage and put it in the food processor and pulsed it a few times. To that mixture I added some grated cheese, a wedge or two of laughing cow cheese, ( I absolutely love this cheese) fresh chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

I made a pocket on the side of the pork chop and first stuffed it with the cooked leftover spinach and then stuffed it some more with the mushroom and sausage mixture.

I then heated up my frying pan getting it nice and hot, added 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of butter and browned the seasoned pork chop (salt and pepper) on each side.

Once they were browned, they were cooked in a 350 preheated oven, on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes more.
While the stuffed pork chops were finishing in the oven I deglazed the frying pan using the juice from the sauerkraut and a little touch of white wine. Then I added the sauerkraut and cooked it a little more.

When the pork chops were cooked through I plated the pork chops right on top of the sauerkraut.
It was absolutely delicious. I could have eaten bowls of the sauerkraut, it was that good.  The pork chop wasn't bad, either! In fact, for something made on the fly, it is one of my favorite pork chop dishes that I have ever made!

Buon Appetito

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Grapefruit of Wrath

I have never thought of myself as a Gin drinker. I'm more of a Vodka kind of gal who has also been know to throw back a few Scotch and sodas. (Those were my redhead days!)

I remember my first cucumber martini, in Oxford, Ohio and thought "This is delicious!" and asked the bartender what kind of vodka he used. Imagine my surprise when told it was Gin! But, I don't drink Gin...and then I didn't think much more about that as I ordered another one!

While vacationing in Spain my husband and I noticed that in every establishment we visited with a bar, the variety of Gin was sublime! On the roof top of the Ohla Hotel in Barcelona I was introduced to a Cucumber and Tonic Cocktail. The Ohla Hotel bartenders are known for their cocktail skills. The Bar Manager, Guiseppe  Santamaria was a finalist for Best World Class Bartender Spain 2012.
The drink was delicious and refreshing. Made with Hendricks Gin, sliced cucumbers and a pour of tonic (from those little bottles) is a perfect match.  We had several on the roof top that day!

Hendricks and Tonic at the Ohla, Barcelona made by Luca from Luca.

 When I came home from Spain I quickly went out and purchased myself a bottle of Hendricks to make my own cucumber and tonic drinks!
Hendricks and Tonic made by me!
At this moment you are probably wondering "Is she ever going to tell us about the new drink, The Grapefruit of Wrath?"  Well, here it comes.
Every night before retiring to my room I would go into the bar at the Ohla Hotel just to watch Guisepee make cocktails. They were beautiful! Every drink he made was a work of art! He probably got tired of me asking him, "what's that? OMG, what's that?" while sitting there drinking a plain ol' Hendricks and Tonic! His assistant handed me the bar menu so I could choose one the drinks that I was admiring for myself.
I choose the Grapefruit of Wrath. It's dangerously good!
award winning drink made by Giuseppe SantaMaria, Ohla, Barcelona
Martin Miller Gin, with a muddled wedge or two of pink grapefruit,  mixed with fresh squeezed lime juice, poured over crushed iced, with a drizzle of Creme de Cassis,  then finished with fresh mint and a sprinkle of sugar. So delicious!
 My Version of the Grapefruit of Wrath 
Finding the Martin Miller Gin was not so easy. So I had my liquor store special order it for me. I am now the proud owner of a case of Martin Miller Gin.  Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! LOL! Everyone that I have been introducing this drink too has fallen intoxicated with it! I don't think my case of Martin Miller is going to last that long!
Here's a clip of Guiseppe making the cocktail for me. 

Here's how I made my version of this great cocktail. 

Cut a pink grapefruit in circles. Remove the skin and any seeds. Take a slice or two and muddle it. Pour into a glass with ice cubes, add Martin Miller Gin,  and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and shake it all up until ice cold. Pour back into a glass, top it off with Creme de Cassis,  and garnish with fresh mint and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. (and  blueberries if you have them.)
My sister keeps saying that this is a delicious summer drink! I say it's a delicious and refreshing drink for anytime!




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pillsbury Million Dollar Recipe Contest

 Pillsbury Million Dollar Recipe contest!

Click on the link I've provided and enter some recipes of your own. There are so many products to choose from and work with!
Hey, you never know, and like they say "you've got to be in it to win it". It could be something that you've been making and enjoying that could win you a nice chunk of change!  LOL! So go ahead, and enter! Good luck!

I had a package of Pillsbury Chocolate fudge ready to bake cookies and played with these for the contest, and then I discovered that these cookies were NOT on the list of ingredients! Oh well, I quickly adjusted my recipe and went on to make some other delicious sweets and have submitted the recipe for them.


1 package of Pillsbury cookie dough, ready to bake, or roll
1/2 cup sweet unsalted butter
3 - 4 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ozs semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

For bar cookies

Line a 9 x 9 or a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil so you have a 2 inch overhang on each side.
Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Press cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared pan so that you have an even layer. Bake for 10 - 14 minutes depending on the size of the pan you are using.

Take out of oven and let cool.

Make a peanut butter filling using one cup of peanut butter, 3 cups - 4 cups confections sugar and 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted sweet butter (room temperature).  With an electric mixer on high speed whip peanut butter and butter until smooth, add confectioners sugar one cup at a time. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract when mixing.

Using a spatula spread peanut butter mixture over cooled cookie mixture. Place in the refrigerator while making the ganache.

Place the chocolate pieces into a bowl that is heat proof.
In a small sauce pan heat heavy cream to a simmer.
Pour heavy cream over the chocolate pieces and let stand for about 2 minutes.
By hand, mix until the cream and the chocolate are smooth.

Pour this chocolate ganache over the peanut butter layer, sprinkle with sea salt and let chill for one hour or more.

Cut into 2 inch squares and Enjoy!

If you want to make cookie sandwiches, bake the cookies as instructed on the package.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Take one cookie so the bottom of the cookie is facing up. Fill with the peanut butter mixture. Top with another cookie so the top is facing up and dip into the ganache. Place on  cookie sheet lined with parchment paper  and let the ganache set. For a quicker set place the cookie sheet with dipped cookies into the refrigerator for 10 - 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy! They were delicious!

Here are the pictures of the cookies and bar cookies that I made.