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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Keeping your Cool!

Growing I up in New York, I was accustomed to hot, humid, summers, but San Diego is usually not muggy...except for the last few days...I started scouring old magazine issues to find a cool, easy salad...and found this one, featured in August 2009 Sunset Magazine! I changed it up by adding 6 oz. cooked pasta, omitted the chives and added chopped fresh basil and more lemon juice!

Tomato Bruschetta with Tuna and Cannellini

Serves 4

5 T. extra virgin olive oil
Finely shredded zest of 1 lemon
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 tsp. chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped flat leaved parsley
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans tuna
3 green onions, sliced
4 to 8 slices large tomatoes

In a medium, bowl whisk together oil, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt, pepper and chives. Add parsley, beans, tuna and onions and stir until coated.

Arrange tomato slices and spoon tuna mixture on top.

I also recommend a cold glass of Pinot Grigio to keep you really cool!

Friday, July 1, 2011

What is on David Rocco's Mind?

Have you seen his show on the cooking channel, "Dolce Vita" yet? It is addicting and I have a new food crush - David Rocco is a Canadian chef who films a show in various parts of Italy. He is so likable and, if I must admit, really cute, and he whips up easy Italian recipes either on the stove of his kitchen in Florence, or literally on a rock near a Sicilian beach,'s a cooking/travel/lifestyle show and I love every episode shot in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, the crowded streets of Florence, or along the Sicilian or Amalfi coasts..along side him is him is his wife Nina, and in the last two seasons, his adorable twin daughters.... Yesterday his Facebook post was "Had these Nutella Fritelle" last night, and the craving lingers, How do you like your Nutella?" - he received 77 comments on that post...of course I had to chime in...

My friend Janie sent me this recipe the other day courtesy of The Moonlight Baker, and it sounds like the next perfect way to include Nutella in a delicious cheesecake....

Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars

- 8 Chocolate Graham Crackers

- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, melted

- 16 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature

- 2 eggs, at room temperature

- ½ C. Granulated Sugar

- ¼ + 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream

- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

- ¼ C. Nutella

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter an 8 x 8 baking pan and line with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment is well pressed in the corners. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse chocolate graham crackers until they become crumbs (like bread crumbs). Add in melted butter and pulse until moistened. Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake crust in the center of the oven until set, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Clean out the food processor. Add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, ¼ C. heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Pulse until smooth. Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside. Add Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of heavy cream to remaining 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture in the processor. Pulse until smooth.

To assemble, spread the vanilla cheesecake mixture over the cooled graham cracker base, being careful not to disturb the crust. Pour Nutella cheesecake layer on top of vanilla layer and spread evenly. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, lift bars out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper (it should release easily). Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Yields 16 Squares

My repertoire of nutella recipes includes nutella brownies, nutella banana bread, nutella pumpkin cheesecake and nutella pumpkin bread to name a few...

This weekend I am featuring zucchini nutella bread at the Leucadia farmers market.

As David Rocco said "so I think its probably safe to say that Nutella would taste good on a shoe"..."