Michelin Up Close

I recently signed on to a two-week tour of northern Italy together with a small group of  veteran travelers who have an appreciation for upscale dining and vintage wines. The organizer was Laurel Pine Living Luxury,  a name that immediately signals the high caliber of the trip’s content.

I was out of my comfort zone for such a high-powered trip as this but was hoping to benefit from the group’s  experience and maybe learn a few things in the process.  Continue reading “Michelin Up Close”

Pasta Crime & Punishment

Most chefs are pretty capable of cooking pasta, regardless of their cultural or ethnic background.  I say “most” because there are huge numbers of self-styled professional cooks who suffer from a serious defect whenever they attempt to expedite the process.  The defect involves the manner in which they set up to serve up pasta dishes to a large crowd, something you yourself have tried to do from time to time no doubt. Continue reading “Pasta Crime & Punishment”

Springtime Pasta!

Well here we are in the dead of winter on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (Bishopville MD to be exact) and not finding much to do outdoors thoughts seem to drift ahead toward spring.  Spring brings flowers, vegetable gardens and of course weeds.  But in my case the big attraction is springtime food cravings, right alongside summer, fall and winter.  Continue reading “Springtime Pasta!”

The Purple Gnocchi Eater


I thought I had a winner.  Had I won it would have been two years in a row because last year’s entry,  my lasagne bolognese, was the champ.

UNICO logo2I’m talking about a pasta recipe contest sponsored by the Delaware chapter of a national Italian-American service organization called UNICO.  And you would be correct,  members are called “unicans”.

This time I entered the item featured below with total confidence of its success.  Purple potato gnocchi with a four-cheese sauce,  known in Italy as gnocchi alla fonduta.  The word “fonduta” means fondue,  and reflects the four-cheese blend one might find in Swiss fondue recipes.

Continue reading “The Purple Gnocchi Eater”

The Authentic Bagel

The topic of home-made bagels came up recently in a discussion with my nephew who called my attention to an excellent blog site (realdealcooking.com) that elaborates on the proper technique for making this style of bread product.  My interest having been sufficiently piqued I soon embarked on the inevitable research tedium that partly characterizes my life in the kitchen.  (The rest is characterized by inertia punctuated by rare fits of perceived talent).

My intention was to try to find a connection between bagels and Italian cuisine,  because I slavishly believe all good things to eat in the world originated in Italy.

Continue reading “The Authentic Bagel”