Ciao! My name is Yolanda and I'd like to welcome you to my Blog! I have always had a love for cooking, baking and eating. This blog is mainly a place for me to record and share precious family recipes from those living and deceased as well as delicious recipes that my friends have given me throughout the years.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Torta Morbida di Mele e Mandole (Moist Apple Almond Cake)

One of my Italian teachers once told me that one way to learn more Italian vocabulary was to find something you are interested in and read about it in Italian or any other  language you are trying get get better at.  I obviously enjoy cooking, so I often immerse myself in anything cooking related that is in Italian.  I enjoy watching Italian cooking shows on youtube, watching Italian cooking shows on the Italian RAI Channel.  When I am in Italy I always buy many cooking magazines at the local stores or from street vendors to take home with me.  One of my favorite cooking shows and magazines to buy is "La Prova del Cuoco."  I recently found that I could download the magazine onto my I-Phone and purchase the magazine for just $1.00/magazine.  One of the recent additions had a recipe for Torta Morbida di Mele e Mandorle, which in English means Moist Apple and Almond Cake.  This recipes also just happens to be Gluten Free, because the recipes calls for Almond Flour instead of your normal All Purpose.  When I read this recipes I translated the ingredients and went straight to the store to buy the ingredients.  That night I just so happen to have to work at the Italian Club and so I brought my cake to share.  It was a huge hit and all the ladies wanted the recipe! They had never had a cake so moist in their life!  
  • 3 Golden Delicious Apples
  • 2 TBSP of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 325 Grams of Almond Flour
  • 8 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
  • a Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp. of Almond Extract
  • 50 Grams of Slivered Almonds
  • 1 TBSP of Water
Special Tools/Materials: 
  • Springform Pan 9 Inch
  • Parchment Paper
  • Peel and Dice the Apples into small cubes
  • Place in a Small Saucepan with Lemon Juice, 2 TBSP of the Sugar and a TBSP of Water.
  • Cover and Cook on Med/Low Heat for 10 Minutes.
  • When the Apple Compote is done, Mash it well with a Fork and let it Cool.
  • In a large Food Processor or Blender, add the Apple Compote, Eggs and the rest of the Sugar.  Mix Well.
  • Next, add the Almond Flour, Almond Extract, a pinch of Salt and Mix together until blended. 

  • Line a Springform Pan with Parchment paper and add the Cake Batter.  Smooth is out with a Spatula or Spoon.

  • Sprinkle Slivered Almonds and Some granulated Sugar on top.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 Degrees F. until it is Lightly Golden Brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  

  • Let the Cake cook and then remove it from the Springform Pan and tear off the Parchment Paper.  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tortellini with Butter, Olive Oil and Sage

Tortellini con Burro, Olio di Oliva e Salvia, as it is called in Italian.  The ingredients are so simple, yet this pasta dish is bursting with flavor.  I have spent a lot of time in Italy with my family and have come to learn that the Italians prefer making their pasta with very simple, good quality, fresh ingredients. Every day for lunch my aunt or cousin would make pasta, which is what almost every Italian eats mid day.  They use whatever fresh ingredients are in season or are in their gardens.  One day it would be Pasta with Zucchini, Pasta e Fagiole (beans), Gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce, Pastina in Broth, Spaghetti with Clams or MusselsPasta with Tuna, Tagliatelle with Mushrooms and fresh Sausage, and most often Ravioli or Tortellini with Butter, Olive Oil and Sage.  I think you get the idea!   By the time I leave Italy I have to admit, I can't even look at Pasta for a week! 
Ingredients for 5-6 People

  • 1 lb of Fresh Cheese Tortellini (try your local Italian Market or Wegmans)
  • 4 TBSP of Unsalted Butter
  • 4 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10 Leaves of Fresh Sage plus extra for Garnishing
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Procedure: *The photos are based on half the recipe for 3 People
  • Boil Tortellini in lightly Salted Water according to package. 
  • While the Tortellini are boiling, put Butter, Olive Oil, and Sage in a frying pan on Medium Heat.
  • When the butter is melted, let cook about 1 more minute and take it off the heat. (you do not want the butter to brown!)
  • Drain the Tortellini and carefully toss it is the sauce.
  • Top with Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Sage.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Lamb with Peppers in Sauce

          Lamb with sweet green bell peppers slow cooked in tomato puree is one of those meals that brings me back to my childhood. This is an old family recipe that came from my Great Grandma Assunta Caccamo.  I never got to meet her because she died before I was born, but my father lived with her as a child and learned how to cook many amazing dishes from her; this being one of them.  My father would make this about twice a year and it was always a favorite of mine.  I would walk in the door from school and right away could tell my dad was making this old family favorite, by the amazing aroma that would spread throughout the house.  It has a very distinctive smell and whenever I make it now as an adult, the smell lingering throughout my house gives me flashbacks of family dinners in our little kitchen and images of absorbing fresh Italian bread in the delicious lamb sauce.  
          My family never wastes anything, so after eating the lamb with pepper and bread, my father would take all that left over lamb sauce and peppers, add red wine to it, and let it simmer for another 45 minutes.  He would then toss it is some Spaghetti and that would be our dinner the following evening, Boy was is delicious! Trust me! 
         I have mentioned in another post that my father unfortunately suffered a few strokes and does not remember how to make any of the amazing meals I have fond memories of as a child.  I thank god that I asked him for these recipes years before he had these strokes and wrote them down in a book. I know my great grandma Caccamo would be so proud of my dad for sharing her recipe with me and for me continuing to keep some of her special recipes alive.  

Please Click Here for Printable Version

  • 3 TBSP of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5-6 cloves of Fresh Garlic
  • 8 Shoulder Lamb Chops
  • 1 12oz Can of Red Pack Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can of Hunts Tomato Paste
  • 4 Green Bell Peppers
  • Salt and Pepper for taste
  • Trim some of the fat off of the Lamb Chops and cut each one in half, lengthwise.
  • Cut Garlic cloves in 4's 

  • Place a large Sauce Pot on High  Heat, add the Olive Oil and the Garlic.  
  • Once the Oil is hot, add the Lamb Chops and brown on both sides.  As you brown them, season with Salt and Pepper.  

  •  Meanwhile, put the Whole Peeled Tomatoes and Tomato Paste in a food processor or blender until smooth.  
  •  Once the Lamb is lightly browned on both sides, add Tomato Puree and stir.
  • Once the sauce comes to a simmer, lower the heat to LOW, cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes.  
  • While that is cooking, clean out your Bell Peppers and cut into slices.  Set aside.

  • After the Lamb has been cooking for 45 minutes, add the peppers, lightly toss, cover and let cook another 45 minutes.  

  • Serve with Warm Crusty Bread.  
Tip:  The next day, take the leftover Sauce and Peppers, add Dry Red Wine and simmer an extra 45 minutes.  Boil about ½ lb of Linguine and toss in the sauce and peppers.  You will have an amazing other meal!