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

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Yes, you are seeing correctly. These are boats that used to be buildings, which then became houses and they are on dry land, not water. The other day while I was taking a walk, I parked right in front of them, and thought I must share the unique story of one of Encinitas most famous landmarks.

A little history....Miles Minor Kellogg, a maritime engineer, with imagination, creativity, and recycled lumber from the 1888 Moonlight Beach Dance Hall and Bathhouse that was dismantled in 1925, built the now famous Encinitas Boat Houses.

They are a National treasure that exemplify early California courtyard architecture, early building with recycled materials, and vernacular architecture associated with Historic U.S. Hwy 101. The Encinitas Boat Houses have been deemed eligible for the National Historic Registry.

They are the most photographed houses in our town, now you can see why! Another quirky, funky, unique thing that makes Encinitas a great place to live!
Random, but interesting.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today is a sad day for me---Last night, Fabio, the Italian chef, originally from Florence, was eliminated from the competition on Bravo's "Top Chef " is one of my favorite TV shows, and this particular season, it was made so much more enjoyable because Fabio Flavia was competing---he is charming, adorable and of course very talented!

The final four competition took place in New Orleans and Fabio attempted to recreate creole style dishes... Grits with Sausage and Rabbit, Craw fish with Crab Stew and homemade pasta, and a Bell Pepper Martini, but I guess it was too sweet for the judges....not enough heat!!

He owns a restaurant, Cafe Firenze in Moorpark, CA....I think I might have to make a trip up there soon to taste his food for myself....and maybe a get a glimpse of Fabio....

Personally, I think that Stephan should have been eliminated!

Arrivederci Fabio!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It has been a hella of a week, the internet was down, and I haven't been feeling great, went to the doctor convinced I had some strange disease....the disease is called MENOPAUSE!! Not being able to log on to the computer made me realize how important it is for me to visit blogs everyday, it is truly a source of great pleasure! Sure I could watch TV, read a book, peruse all of my favorite magazines, but I felt a sense of sadness not being able to go to all my favorite blogs and find out what is going on in your lives

Then Lisa at The Coastal Nest gave me this award----my first one---Lisa is one heck of a funny gal, with a heart as big as the the State of California and Washington combined, that's where she's from, Washington. Her blog is creative, funny, entertaining and a joy to read!....of course, now I am supposed to pick 8 people to pass this along to....I hate to break the rules of the award---you all get the award, if you read my blog, you have been officially awarded.

We had a lovely Valentines Day, complete with lobster tails for dinner at home, and roasted banana gelato with nutella drizzed on top for dessert!

Hope you and your sweeties enjoyed the day!

Please go visit Lisa's blog -- she is having a 250th post giveaway!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


World Nutella Day was on February 6th---I am a little slow on keeping up with my posts, sooo I made these brownies as an early Valentine's Day treat for my daughter Ali up in San Francisco. I am popping them in the mail today. I found this recipe at Culinary in the Country.
I know the photo is NOT good, I am not a food stylist, I am not even a good baker, but they are moist, decadently chocolate with a hint of peanut butter and hazelnut flavor. What more could you want?


1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup good quality cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup peanut butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Prepare a glass 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.Melt the butter over very low heat; when melted remove from heat and gently pour into a large bowl. With a wooden spoon stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Combine the flour mixture slowly to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture – mix well.Mix the peanut butter and Nutella in a small microwave safe bowl, and heat until it reaches a runny consistency. Stir the mixture into the batter; then pour it into the baking dish.Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting