CUCINA CARA MIA.......Random thoughts from "my dear kitchen" about food, travel, Italy, San Diego and life!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I have been tagged by Lisa at Coastal Nest to share seven random things about me:

I have been married twice, once in New York, to my first boyfriend, second time and LAST TIME to Steve for 21 years

I have an intense fear of spiders, pretty much from the age of about 9 when my cousin informed me there was a daddy long legs climbing up my neck

I have walked two marathons for Team In Training, one in Honolulu, Hawaii and one in San Francisco, in honor of my daughter, Courtney, a leukemia survivor

I have had an addiction to General Hospital in the past – I have finally kicked the addiction, since I stopped working in January, now my addiction is BLOGGING!!

I love to dance, but it seems the only time I do is at weddings, think I missed my calling as a ballerina!

Travel is my true passion-my best friend and I planned our first trip to Europe on the famous $5.00 a day book, while we took the Long Island railroad train into NYC to our jobs. We were 19; it stirred such a longing to see the world!!

Back in the 70’s when I was married to the first husband, I was really into Transcendental Meditation, otherwise known as TM. Twice a day I sat down and meditated, with my very own mantra. Our entire life revolved around Maharishi and finding “bliss” I am still trying to find bliss, but I don’t meditate anymore, I pray!!

I am not going to tag anyone, but if you want to share some random things about yourself, go
for it!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day in San Diego

What do a sausage and pepper sandwich, a bad Frank Sinatra impersonator, and sidewalk chalk art all have in common? We experienced them all as we strolled down the streets of Little Italy this past Sunday for the 14th annual Italian Festa. It was a beautiful day in San Diego (when is it not?)....Lots of artists, young and old, expressed themselves creating amazing chalk murals on the street. The wonderful aroma of pizza, lasagna and other delicacies wafted through the crowds of people where vendors sold jewelry, italian pottery, and clothing. Both Obama and McCain supporters passed out buttons and stickers. We stopped at a local cafe, had some lunch...did a little people and pet watching, purchased some nutella and fresh Italian bread and headed back home to watch the Charger game. For dinner -some of my homemade spinach baked ziti. Life is good!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


When I was growing up a nice Italian girl in New York, Friday night was reserved for non meat dinners. Everyone knows Catholics didn't eat meat on Fridays, so we ate vegetarian. My mother's revolving repetiore consisted of peppers and eggs, lentil soup, tuna and tomato salad, and my least favorite, pasta e fagiole.

I hated eating it. Here I am, some 40 years later, and I made pasta e fagiole for dinner last night. The weather is turning a little brisk here in San Diego. I still have some basil and oregano growing in my garden. What to cook!! Off to Google to do a little recipe searching. There were quite a few recipes with white beans, tomatoes and herbs. I just had to try that old family favorite.

With a couple of slices of foccocia and a glass of Chianti Classico, it tasted much better than I remember.!

By the way, the new header photo is a view of the bay of Sorrento shot through the window of our hotel, La Badia, which was originally a convent. I bet those nuns are still eating pasta e fagioli.

pasta e fagioli
Bon Appétit July 1990
Servings: Serves 2 to 4.
4 tablespoons olive oil,
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 16-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
Salt and pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni, freshly cooked
Grated Parmesan


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook 5 minutes. Add parsley, basil and oregano and simmer until tomatoes soften, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with back of spoon, about 15 minutes. Add beans and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place pasta in bowl. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Pour sauce over and toss thoroughly. Serve, passing Parmesan separately.