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

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It may be possible that you were alive when Alfred Hitchcock made the movie "The Birds"with Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor. I was 10 years old and it scared the.......out of me! I spent a lovely afternoon in the town last Wednesday with my daughter Ali and husband Steve. I am sure Bodega Bay was just another sleepy fishing village before "The Birds" filming made it quite famous. It is a scenic drive to Bodega Bay,and we passed many dairy farms, and quaint small towns. On the way back we vowed that on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving we would walk across the Golden Gate Bridge...Lucky for us, it was raining Friday ALL those calories consumed on Thursday are going to have to hang around a few more days...

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and now on to Christmas decorating!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


You all know Nigella Lawson, the beautiful British cook, who we (or I should say men) love to watch as she so sensuously cooks and enjoys her food - especially when she is raiding the refrigerator in the middle of the night in her robe or pj's!

I decided to make risotto the other night along with grilled salmon and asparagus...and came across this recipe of hers:


2 shallots
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 T. olive oil
1-1/2 c. risotto rice
1 quart of vegetable stock (I used chicken)
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
a few small sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
4 T. grated Parmesan, plus more, for garnish
4 T. heavy cream
White grating pepper
Sea Salt to taste

Put the shallots in a mini food processor and blitz until they are finely chopped. Heat half the butter, the oil and the shallot mixture in a wide saucepan, and cook to soften the mixture for about 5 minutes, making sure it doesn't stick. Mix in the rice, stirring to give it a good coating of oil and butter. Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan and keep it at the simmering point.

Put a ladleful of the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladleful and stir again. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all of the stock, equally, you may need to add hot water from the kettle.

Mix in the lemon zest and the rosemary into the risotto, and in a small bowl, beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, cream and pepper.

When the risotto is ready, take it off the heat and add the bowl of eggy, lemony mixture, and the remaining butter and salt to taste. Serve with more Parmesan.

All I can say is this is the best risotto I have EVER tasted, except for the Saffron Shrimp Risotto I ate in Rome! At first my husband, said, too much lemon, then he couldn't stop eating it!

Or maybe he was just fantasizing he was having dinner with Nigella!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I love a good deal, and recently my friend Janie at Panini Girl let me in on a deal that I couldn't pass up....a beautiful mango wood table for only $ has a few minor scratches, but other than that it is perfect!......Mind you I had my previous dining room table - a reproduction oak pedestal table - for 22 years, and was more than happy to get rid of it. The economy being what it is today and not having an extra $1,000.00 to buy the table of my dreams, I wrote the check! I was happy to donate my lovingly worn table to the Salvation Army...I call that a win win situation! Thanks again Janie....