Grand Tasting with Barilla at NYCWFF

DEMO RECIPE - Barilla® Orecchiette with Rapini, Mussels and Pecorino Romano Cheese

Barilla’s Chef Manager Lorenzo Boni is serving the Orecchiette with Rapini, Mussels and Pecorino Romano Cheese at this year’s Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting event which takes place both on Saturday, 10/18 and Sunday, 10/19.

Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Rapini, Mussels and Pecorino Romano Cheese

                     Prep Time: 15 minutes                     

Cook Time: 20 minutes Ingredients

                        1  box Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette

                           25 mussels, shelled and cooked, liquid reserved

½     cup dry white wine

        5    tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

                      1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced thin

                         ½     bunch rapini, boiled and roughly chopped

         ½  cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

to taste  red pepper flakes

to taste  salt 

Preparation for the Mussels

COMBINE the mussels and the white wine in a large sauce pan and cover with a clear lid. COOK over medium heat until they open. DISCARD any mussels that do not open.


BRING a large pot of water to a boil; season with salt and cook the pasta according to package directions. SAUTE the garlic with olive oil and red pepper in a medium skillet over medium heat; when it begins to turn slightly yellow, add the rapini and sauté well. ADD the mussels and the reserved liquid and bring to a boil. DRAIN the pasta  and stir with the sauce mixture. TOP with the Pecorino Romano cheese before serving.


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Food Network NYC Wine and Food Festival


I have been attending this event for the last 3 years. Every year this is one of my all time favorite events. Its a great event for an amazing cause.  I hope to see you there. The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE and Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager are pleased to announce the program of events for the seventh annual Festival, taking place October 16-19, 2014. Featuring more than 100 dinners, tastings, parties, seminars, and more over the course of four days, this year’s Festival will showcase the expertise of more than 350 of the world’s best culinary and wine and spirits industry leaders. All proceeds from the Festival benefit the nation’s leading hunger relief organizations, No Kid Hungry and Food Bank For New York City, for which the Festival has raised more than $7.5 million to date.

Anchoring this year’s Festival program are more than 25 intimate dinners planned as part of the Bank of America Dinner Series, featuring a delegation of renowned chefs from all corners of the world. Talent highlighted throughout the series will include: Philippe Baranes, David Bouley, Dario Cecchini, Dominique Crenn, Kobe Desramaults, Alain Ducasse, Christopher Kostow, Ori Menashe, Enrique Olvera, Yotam Ottolenghi, Michel Richard, and many more. There will also be a special dinner on Wednesday, October 16 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the renowned Le Cirque restaurant, hosted by 2014 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Sirio Maccioni.

A selection of brand new events has been added to bring fresh new flavors and experiences to even the most discerning palate. Guests can enjoy Hot Dog Happy Hour with Mo Rocca, Dominique Ansel’s Wonderland, Ample Hills & Brooklyn’s Best Dessert Party, Down-Home Country Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood, Delta presents Food with Altitude featuring its Culinary Captains, and the MasterCard Priceless Exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets to Rachael Ray’s Feedback™: Chefs and Cocktails. The Festival is also collaborating with Meatopia founder Josh Ozersky to close out the weekend with Meatopia X: The Carnivore’s Ball hosted by Michael Symon. The meat-centric event features some of the world’s greatest chefs cooking beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and wild game over live wood fires; and of course, as in Meatopia’s past, celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda will cook and serve a one thousand-pound steer.
The Festival brings back its fan-favorite large tasting events as well, with a handful receiving a unique twist from previous years. The celebrated pizza event that debuted in 2013 comes back as Ronzoni’s La Sagra Slices hosted by Bongiovi Brand Pasta Sauces & Adam Richman presented by Time Out New York, where musician Jon Bon Jovi will join brothers Anthony and Matthew to show their support of dad John senior’s new line of Bongiovi Brand Pasta Sauces. Other returning signature events include:
 Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations presented by MasterCard®
 Blue Moon Burger Bash presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Rachael Ray
 Thrillist’s Barbecue & the Blues hosted by the cast of The Kitchen
 Rock & Roll Night Market with Hot Bread Kitchen hosted by Masaharu Morimoto
 Jets + Chefs: The Ultimate Tailgate hosted by Mario Batali

ABSOLUT Best Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by the cast of Chopped
 Stacked: A Sandwich Showdown hosted by Restaurant: Impossible’s Robert Irvine
 CASAMIGOS Tequila presents Tacos & Tequila: A Late Night Fiesta hosted by Bobby Flay
 The New York Times presents Greenmarket Brunch hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian
 Oktoberfest sponsored by Village Voice hosted by Andrew Zimmern
 Mixology Masters hosted by Justin Warner
Another popular event returning with expanded allure is Cooking Channel presents Chicken Coupe hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, in celebration of Schrager’s newly-released Fried & True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides (Clarkson Potter; May 2014). New this year, Chicken Coupe will feature award-winning cocktails from the mixologists at The Dead Rabbit alongside everyone’s favorite indulgent fried chicken offerings.
Also back in 2014 are coveted experiences like Celebrity Cruises® Wine & Pairing Seminars hosted by FOOD & WINE, The New York Times’ star-studded Times Talks, unique hands-on sessions at the Home Studios, Master Classes at the International Culinary Center, and more.
The entire line-up of events for the 2014 Festival can be found at

About the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE
The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival is hosted by and benefits the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign, 100% of the Festival’s net proceeds go toward helping these community based organizations fight hunger. Southern Wine & Spirits of New York is the exclusive provider of wine and spirits at the Festival. More information about the Festival can be found at
About Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 31 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Through its network of community-based member programs citywide, Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank’s hands-on nutrition education program in the public schools reaches thousands of children, teens and adults. Income support services including food stamps, free tax assistance for the working poor and the Earned Income Tax Credit put millions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and independence. Learn how you can help at
About No Kid Hungry
No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. No Kid Hungry connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities. Join us at

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Pull Apart Pizza

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Let’s talk about an easy recipe and preparation.  This pizza is great for parties or a fast weeknight meal.  My kids loved that it was a pull apart pizza.  All you need are your hands to enjoy it.  Everyone had their own serving bowl with warm marinara sauce.  Just like a regular pizza feel free to add any topping you would like. Get creative, I think for the next one, I will make a Hawaiian pizza.  I hope you enjoy!


12 oz. Pillsbury biscuits, cut into quarters

1 small onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped

salt & pepper, to taste

8 oz. package cheese, of your choice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried Parsley

1 teaspoon dried Oregon

Marinara sauce, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl toss all the above ingredients together until well incorporated. Pour mixture into a bunt pan (you can use any kind of baking pan). Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and flip it over onto a plate. Serve hot and with a side of warm marinara.

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Upside down Caramel Apple Walnut Cake

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Well it’s about that time for apples to shine again, now that fall is here.  I love to cook and bake with apples. One of the treats I enjoy around this time of year are caramel apples. I wanted to turn this into an upside down cake and instead of peanuts (that you would use on a caramel apple) I used walnuts in my batter.  The finished product turned out amazing. For the sauce I made my homemade caramel sauce. When this came out of the oven it went great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Plus it makes the house smell amazing.


3 cups cake flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cup milk
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, sliced
1 cup caramel sauce, homemade or store bought


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round baking pan. Add caramel and arrange sliced apples to the bottom of the pan.

Sift flour into a large bowl.  In another bowl cream butter with electric mixer. Slowly add sugar to butter until creamy and fluffy. Sift flour again along with baking powder and salt into butter mixture. Next add one egg at a time to mixture. Then slowly add milk and extract. Finally add walnuts and fold them in with a spatula. Do not over beat cake batter or it will become a dry cake.

Slowly add batter to the pan without shifting apples and caramel.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes. Take a large plate and place on top of pan and slowly flip over. Tap on the bottom of pan and remove.

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“Right Here” By Tony Luke Jr.


I’m not sure about you but I love to cook with some good music. If you haven’t heard this name you might want to look into it: Tony Luke, Jr. Yes the king of cheesesteaks has released a new single.  You would think he is all about food, but he’s so much more. Tony Luke, Jr is an actor, restaurateur, musician, TV host, and the list goes on.  His passion for music has always been there since he was a child.   His new single was just released in September and is now available on iTunes and on vimeo  The song and his voice is on point. I would say this is a must add to your song collection.  I had the pleasure of asking him 5 questions on what food and music mean to him. 

Q: What made you start to sing?

TLjr: As far back as I can remember I was always singing to my family as young as 5 

Q: How do food and music influence your life?

TLjr: Both food and music have always been expressions of creativity.  It’s such a great feeling to create a new dish, discover new flavors, and such an amazing feeling to write a new melody, new lyrics to create something from nothing that brings joy or meaning to someone’s life is the greatest feeling in the world.

Q: Favorite singer/band and favorite chef?

TLjr: My favorite and greatest influence in music has to be Billy Joel, and a lot of the groups from Philly international records.  I always loved R&B music And I think the combination of both really molded my style of writing and singing as far.  As my greatest influence as a cook a lot of it comes from my father, and I can’t pick one specific chef that has influenced me the most because I’ve gotten so much from all of them but I always give props to Bobby flay.  He was the first person to introduce me to TV by doing a throw down with me on his show and because of that appearance things kind of snowballed.  I did all these other food shows and really enjoyed doing them really enjoyed being part of the food television scene and all these things let up to where I am right now so proud to be Cohosting my own show on Spike TV called Frankenfood.

Q: What kind of music do you mostly like to sing/write?

TLjr:  I really enjoy doing ballads.. love writing them.. love performing them.  I also love doing midtempo songs.  I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic at heart lol.  I’m not much on dance music but I can dance lol 

Q: What else is in store for Tony Luke, Jr. ?

TLjr: Getting ready to find out when we start shooting season two of Frankenfood. I’m really enjoying promoting my new single right here, and looking forward to doing some new films.  I have a new film I’m starting to raise money for called “Ride into Terror”, which is kind of an action horror film and expanding the Tony Luke’s brand.  So, I’m keeping myself busy.  I have a great team that I work with.  They’re amazingly talented and I’m just trying to enjoy life and do as much as I can.  I’m also hoping to do more speaking events; especially love speaking at schools.  I love to tell children that whatever goals you have, they are attainable but they don’t come easy.  You have to work hard at it.

Thank you Tony Luke Jr for taking the time to answer some questions, and Best wishes with all your future endeavors.

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Coconut flour mini cake

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I love having something sweet after dinner, but sometimes I don’t really feel like baking a whole big cake just to satisfy that sweet tooth. This recipe is super easy and great for entertaining.  My dad makes an almond version of this cake which is fantastic as well. The mini cakes basically come out looking like cupcakes.  I used my small food processor to make these. Its an easy clean up too. You can top this little delight with what ever your taste buds desire.  I know summer is now behind us but I am still a sucker for raspberries they have become one of my favorite fruits.  I made a raspberry sauce for this mini cake which is easy to prepare as well.  You can also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy with a glass of red wine or coffee. 

Makes only 4 Servings


1/4 cup Coconut flour

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1-2 tablespoons dark rum

1/4 cup almond milk


Preheat oven to 375 F degrees

In a small to medium food processor add the ingredients. Mix for about 1 Minute until well incorporated. Take 4 baking cups that are lined with parchment paper and foil (picture provided in slide show of cups). Pour mixture into cups and into the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown on top and toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool. Remove from paper and set on a plate. Turn mini cake upside down. This will give it more of a cake look.

Raspberry Sauce:


2 pint fresh Raspberries, washed

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon lime or lemon juice


In a small saucepan on medium to low heat add ingredients. Stir occasionally and press down on raspberries.  Takes about 8 to 10 minutes until you get a good sauce. If it dries out add a splash of water and stir. I love the seeds so I did not strain it. But feel free to do so. Drizzle sauce over mini cake.

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Spaetzle (German Noodles)


Oktoberfest is upon us. So I figured this would be a great recipe to share. A traditional noodle called Spaetzle. It’s super easy to make and you can get super creative with flavoring. I used some nutmeg in the dough which gives it that earthy taste. Also when making the Spaetzle you would need a Spaetzle maker but in this case I didn’t have one so I used a pasta colander. You need something that has little to medium holes on it so you can pass the dough through to make little Spaetzle noodles. I served the noodles with a fried pork tenderloin cutlet. I hope you enjoy.

1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile take a large bowl and mix flour, eggs, nutmeg, s&p and milk, until smooth.

When the water has come to a boil season with salt (remember you want your boiling water to taste like the sea). Take the colander and hold above the boiling water. Pour some of the mix into the colander. You can use a spatula to help the batter pass through the holes. Cook noodles for about 5 minutes.

Next take a sauté pan and melt butter, add Spaetzle toss together with butter. Finally add the Parmesan cheese, parsley and scallions. Serve.

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Hosting a Food Should Taste Good Gathering

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“This post is brought to you in partnership with Food Should Taste Good. All thoughts and opinions are my own”.

One of the things I love to do the most, other than cooking, is to entertain for family and friends.  When I had the opportunity to get together with friends to host a party for Food Should Taste Good I was excited.  I made some different dips some salsa, cheese dip and cheese platter with fruits. Also a guacamole with some crabmeat and sliced cucumber with smoked salmon with capers.  I had a couple of bottles of wine for my wines drinkers and some beer for my beer lovers.  To entertain I placed my chips on a long party platter. I set 4 flavors of the Food Should Taste Good tortillas blue chips, guacamole, olive and sweet potato.  Everyone had their favorite flavor. Food Should Taste Good has a great variety for a get together and party. 

All chip varieties are gluten free, cholesterol free, have zero grams trans fats. They are also certified Kosher.  Plus, many varieties are certified vegan. Which is a plus when purchasing chips for parties.

Remember to get creative with your parties.  People tend to eat with their eyes first so make the setting appealing and interesting.  Try and bring flavors of spice and sweet to the table.  If you don’t drink alcohol make virgin cocktails or provide refreshments of a sort.  Bottom line is you want to have fun and enjoy your guests.

For information about Food Should Taste Good check them out

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The Melting Pot in King of Prussia


The family and I had the pleasure of going to dinner at The Melting Pot in King of Prussia last week. First off if you love fondue this restaurant is a must to try. We love cheese in our family so the kids were just as excited as the hubby and I were. The service at the King of Prussia Melting Pot was amazing. Our waiter was so helpful and super friendly with us and the kids. Melting pot has a great selection of cheeses, broths, meats and veggies. It’s a great place for a first date or for a family outing. There were 2 burners on our table where we were able to enjoy and cook our own food. We enjoyed a 4 course meal.

For the appetizer we had to choose different cheeses to melt in the fondue pot and a variety of veggies, tortilla chips and bread all for dipping.  Next was a refreshing delicious salad of our choice.  We all chose something different to enhance the experience.  Afterwards for the main course, we chose the “land and sea” and the “king of Prussia.”  We enjoyed lobster tail, chicken, filet mignon, pot stickers, shrimp, steak and lots of veggies. We cooked this in 2 amazing broths on the burners at our table.

To the grand finale where the best is for last… dessert.  We let our kids choose what kind of chocolate they wanted for dipping. My little guy choose the s’mores and my little girl choose dark chocolate salted caramel. The server brought out fruits, brownies, pound cake, cheese cake and rice Krispy treats.  My kids were in heaven but so was I.  All and all the restaurant is a must try in my book.  There is a wide selection of wines and a menu that will make you wanting to come back for more.  It is an experience not to be rushed, but to sit and enjoy with great company.  Check out their website here or video below.

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Food Should Taste Good Pairings

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“This post is brought to you in partnership with Food Should Taste Good. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 I have been enjoying Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips now for a couple of weeks. I Love working with a fantastic brand and am happy to have partnered up with this one. My kids and hubby are totally hooked. Below I have two recipes for you to pair with the chips (which are delicious on their own).  One of the recipes I’ve concocted is a spicy and the other a sweet.

I wanted to try to make different kinds of dip to enjoy along with the chips. The hubby and I enjoy jalapeño poppers so why not make a dip out of it?  The other reminds me of the Autumn season with some sweet potato chips; almost like a sweet potato casserole.  These are super easy recipes and great for future holiday and football parties get togethers.

Jalapeño popper dip


2 (8oz pkg) cream cheese, room temperature
2-3 jalapeño peppers, diced
4-6 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
Green onions, chopped for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
In a medium bowl mix cream cheese and jalapeños together. Place the mixture in a oven safe dish. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until bubbling.

Take out of the oven top with bacon and green onions. Serve warm.

Chocolate marshmallow dip


2 cups of chocolate chips, melted
1-2 large marshmallows, roasted
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of heavy cream

In a medium bowl cook the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and butter.  Place the heat safe bowl over a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

After chocolate is done place into a small bowl. Now roast the marshmallow and place it on top of the chocolate.