Erice Almond Cookies

  • 3/4 cup olive oil ( Lemon Infused, optional )
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds ( blanched )
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl, using a hand wisk, blend together the oil and sugar. Add the egg and the extract and beat until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, stir together the ground almonds, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the sugar and oil mixture and blend thoroughly. Take very small handfuls of dough and squeeze firmly in your fist. Roll into 2 ” balls and place on a cookie sheet 3″ apart. Flatten the balls to 1/2 ” thick wafers. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Let cool before taking cookies from cookie sheet.

Click here to see a nice article on Erice almond pastries.

Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet onions, sliced thin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onions and cook until they soften. Add salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring periodically until the onions begin to brown.

Meatballs with Red Sauce

These meatballs are tasty and versatile. In red sauce, they can be eaten with spaghetti or they can be made into a hearty sandwich. Leftovers can be frozen and used for a quick dinner on a busy day.

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef, low fat
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Red Sauce

  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 large cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Note: for a chunkier sauce, substitute one large can of diced tomatoes for one can of tomato sauce)

Grate or finely chop onion into a large mixing bowl. Reserve half of the grated onion in a separate bowl for the sauce.
Add bread crumbs and one tablespoon of EVOO.
Add two eggs and mix until the eggs are scrambled and the mixture is consistent.
Add ground beef and ground sausage to the mixing bowl by breaking the meat into small pieces and gently mixing and tossing the pieces with the egg mixture. Combine the mixture thoroughly but avoid squeezing the meat together as much as possible to avoid over-working the meat.
In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, place three tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium flame. Form meatballs into approximately 1 ½” balls without overworking the meat. Brown the outside of the meatballs by gently turning them every few minutes. I find it easiest to cook in batches.
When brown, remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Continue until all of the mixture has been used.
Once all the meatballs are cooked, add the remaining onions to the saucepan and cook until the onions soften.
Add one small can of tomato paste. Fill empty can with water, add to pan and blend ingredients.
Add two large cans of tomato sauce to pan and mix ingredients thoroughly.
Season sauce by adding garlic, basil and oregano.
Add meatballs and allow sauce to simmer for at least one hour.
Adjust final seasoning with salt and pepper.

Farfalle with Sausage in Vodka Sauce

  • ¾ lb bulk Italian sausage
  • ½ lb farfalle
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 crushed peppercorns
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 1 cup whole tomatoes
  • 1/3 heavy cream
  • salt

Melt butter with olive oil in wide pan with peppercorn. Add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until slightly brown. Lightly purée whole tomatoes in a food processor. Add farfalle to boiling water and cook until al dente.. Add cooked pasta then the vodka, tomatoes and cream. Stir and add salt to taste. Cover and cook on high for one minute. Serve immediately.

The Best Ever Steak Marinade

Per each pound of grilling steak:

  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • ½ T black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, finely grated
  • 2 T wine vinegar, white
  • 4 T EVOO (preferably Rosemary-Basil)
  • 1½T butter, melted
  • ½ lemon
  • salt to taste

In a bowl or jar, mix thyme, pepper, garlic, vinegar and olive oil thoroughly.
Add mixture to thawed steaks with basting brush, covering all surfaces.
Wrap steaks tightly in plastic wrap.
Let steaks sit for 2 hours at room temperature or for 4 hours in refrigerator. Rub steaks through the plastic wrap every 30 minutes.
Grill steaks at 400˚F. For medium rare, 1 1/2”, room temperature steaks: grill 5 minutes on one side and 3 minutes on the other side. Only turn steaks once and do not puncture the surface of the meat.
After steaks have been turned, squeeze the lemon to cover the surface of the meat.
Once the steaks are removed from the grill, add butter with basting brush to surface.
Salt to taste.
Note: Always let steaks set for 5 minutes before serving.

Scrambled Eggs “Italiano”

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO, garlic infused
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tomato (2 slices and the rest of the tomato diced)
  • 2 sprigs, fresh basil (one sprig diced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Scramble eggs in a mixing bowl with a small amount of water. Place olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs, diced tomato and diced basil to the pan. Stir eggs in pan so that they cook evenly. Eggs should be removed from heat before the surface of the eggs are completely dry. Place eggs on a plate. Garnish with tomato slices and fresh basil. Drizzle garlic infuses olive oil over the top of the eggs. Serve immediately.

Creamy Leek Soup

Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 5 leeks, (the white and light green section only), chopped (set aside a small amount for garnish, if desired )
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 medium red potatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Garnish

  • Sautéed leeks
  • Chives, chopped
  • One leaf or two of flat leaf parsley
  • EVOO.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the leeks and the onions. Cool until soft, but not brown, approximately 10 minutes.
Add water. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
Add potatoes and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes.
Puree in blender (in batches) or with an immersion blender. Add milk and whipping cream. Heat until very hot but do not allow to boil.
To garnish: Sauté a few slices of leeks in 1 teaspoon EVOO for about 4 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sautéed leeks, chopped chives and a leaf or 2 of flat leaf parsley. Drizzle EVOO over garnish for additional flavor.

Caponata

  • 1 medium sized eggplant (approx. 1 1/2 lbs )
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (sweet), chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons capers
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil ( Rosemary Basil Infused preferred), set aside

Peel eggplant and cut 3/4-inch cubes. place cubes in a colander and add 3 teaspoons salt and mix thoroughly. Put paper towel on top of eggplant and add a few pounds of weight on top for an hour or two to drain in sink. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add onions and celery. Sauté until onions become soft (take care not to burn). Add tomatoes to skillet and simmer with cover for 15 minutes with occasional stirring occasionally. Uncover pan add eggplant and the remaining ingredients, except for the remaining olive oil. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes and cool to room temperature. When cool, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil ( Rosemary Basil Infused) and serve. Keep in refrigerator in covered container for a quick treat to serve when company stops by.