Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

55 Knives E-Cookbook Released TODAY!

Hey kids, guess what?

Today the e-cookbook, 55 Knives, has been released and guess what else?? I wrote a chapter in it! Weeee!

Me, along with 54 other incredibly talented (wayyyyyyyyy more talented than myself) food bloggers wrote a chapter each for your reading/cooking/baking enjoyment! The range of bloggers is incredible - from those that you've most likely heard of to those that maybe you haven't heard of, but should!

What's different about this cookbook is that every blogger wrote their own chapter, so each recipe has a story behind it written in that blogger's words. Yanno, instead of just one person writing about lots of recipes from different places. So you've got some funny stuff mixed with some sentimental stuff, mixed in with some nice memories, and all of it surrounded by super delicious food!

And if that wasn't enough - because it's an e-cookbook, there are links in every chapter that will bring you to the author's blog, their Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, if they have them, and other associated websites. Dudes ya'll could become stalkers. How fun! There are over 1000 links inside!

It's just a really well put together book and it's cheap! Only $19! Did I mention there are also some money saving coupons for some really great stuff inside as well?

BUT WAIT!!! THERE'S MORE!! If you buy the book between today (May 25) and next Tuesday (June 1) you'll only pay $14.. whadda deal, whadda deal! :D

So before I direct you to the link that you can click to purchase your very own copy, I'd like to thank the man who came up with this idea, who organized all of us 55 bloggers, and then put the book together (including those 1000 links.. fo' shizzle) and published it - Nick Evans from Macheesmo. Thank you for all of your hard work, patience and guidance, Nick! You put together a beautiful book and I can't wait to see it in hardcopy one day! :D Hugs!

Special thanks to Scott for getting this link to work! ;)

So click on this here pretty graphic - or click on the one on my sidebar - or head on over to The Daring Kitchen and click on the button there! Hell, I'll even have this up on my Facebook account later today/early tomorrow. I'm excited! :D

I hope ya'll enjoy the book, truly, it's a great cookbook to own. :)


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks May 2010 - Stacked Enchiladas

Hi kids!

First the good stuff.. this month's Daring Cooks' challenge!

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

The only well lit picture taken by my friend Sue :)

These were delicious.. and I had no doubt even before I made them. You could put just about any kind of Mexican/Latin food in front of me and I know it'll be delish. This recipe was straight forward and easy. My only problem was finding tomatillos. After a 1/2 a day hunt, I found 3 of them. Yes. 3. So the Green Chile Enchilada sauce happened, but I had to cut down the recipe quite a bit to accommodate my small amount of the main ingredient. That's okay though, it turned out delicious and I had enough for 2 of the 6 stacked enchiladas I made.

The other 4 got a red sauce, which was the exact same recipe as the Green Chile Enchilada sauce, except I used 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes in lieu of the tomatillos. It also turned out to be mighty tasty.

First batch of Poblanos roasting over an open gas fire :D

I made 6 enchiladas as Hubbs and I were entertaining 4 of our most gorgeous and closest friends for a birthday celebration. From the response I received everyone absolutely loved the dish, and asked for the recipe.

Very poorly lit and slightly blurry photo of the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce Enchiladas

Thank you so much, Barbara & Bunnee! What a great, simple, easy to put together recipe that is very worthy of serving to guests!

Very poorly lit and slightly blurry photo of the Red Chile Enchilada Sauce Enchiladas - hee!

Please check out the rest of the Daring Cooks' spin on this recipe, I'm sure ya'll will find TONS of ideas on how to make this recipe your own. :)


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Traditional English "Pudding" and an Announcement

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Thank God we were allowed to wimp out and use butter if we couldn't find suet and/or couldn't stomach it. I think I would have been okay with it, had I decided on making a savory pudding, but I've had this horrible gnawing chocolate craving lately that I just couldn't deny a minute longer. So I went with the Very Chocolate Pudding that lots of other members were going crazy over, and it used butter instead of suet.

I'm torn. I absolutely LOVED learning how to steam cake.. something I'd never even thought of doing before. I would love to do this again since the only dishes I dirtied were the Kitchenaid bowl, a spatula and 4 ramekins. I didn't even bother with measuring cups since the recipe was in grams, I just measured everything on a styrofoam plate on top of my scale, then and dumped it all in. Other than for my photos, I'm not even going to have to dirty a plate, as we'll just dig right into the ramekins. Nice.

So why am I torn? The flavor was great.. but I over steamed. I figured for the large single pudding directions in the recipe, quartered into the ramekins, that my steam time would drop by 45 minutes. Well.. they were probably done in 30 minutes. They weren't completely dry, but they were definitely on the side of a "cakey brownie" which I don't like. I like fudgey brownies and airy cake.. so the texture didn't thrill me. But that's my fault, I should have checked them in 30 minutes.

Since I don't make cake often (Lord knows I'd like to) I'm not sure the next one will be steamed or traditionally baked.. although I've seen some flavor combos and photos in the private DB forums that have absolutely made my heart flutter in envy (check out the photos in the slider!).

Regardless though, I truly am thankful for a great lesson in steaming something other than broccoli. :D Thanks so much, Esther!!! xoxo

I don't know why I feel the need to even announce this as most of the readers of this blog have figured it out by now, but food blogging is no longer a passion of mine. I still love LOVE LOVE to cook and occasionally bake.. but to go through the motions of taking horribly lit and out of focus photos, and then trying to come up with a witty post, when frankly, most times in ,my kitchen don't merit a giggle.

A lot of my time is taken working on The Daring Kitchen website and working with all the wonderful people who have helped to make it the success that it is. And kids? It's fakkin exhausting to work that hard on one project and find the inspiration to work on another project that just doesn't trip your trigger any more, yanno? So I've decided to kinda cut some stress and concentrate on the DK and finally stop stressing over not updating this blog much anymore.

You'll find an occasional post regarding a DB or DC challenge here (I've already completed my May DC challenge so it'll be up in a couple weeks), but truthfully, I'm not even really participating all that much anymore. I've decided to focus on the "behind the scenes" duties of the website, hoping to keep present and future members happy and interested in learning how to cook and bake better.

One day the passion to create new recipes to share with ya'll might come back.. who knows.. but for now.. my mojo has pretty much dried up. ;) I am happy to say that I've not lost the passion to make a total ass of myself on the internet and have started a new non-foodie blog where I can just update whenever I want and talk about whatever I want.. once I'm comfortable with the direction it's going, I'll post a link and maybe ya'll can check it out for a giggle or two.


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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Last Minute Easter Ideas!

Hey ya'll.. Hope everyone is well :) And a very Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate!

I did a round-up on, highlighting some amazing food ideas for a delicious Easter table.

Check if out if you've got a minute - if not for this year, then maybe an idea will stick with you next year? :)


Easter Round-up on

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cound I Be Any Later?

Hi! Sorry! Late! Late! No good excuse. Been a cooking/baking LAZIAC lately. My kitchen literally GASPS when I walk in it and stay for more than 5 minutes. Just haven't had any motivation to do much lately.. I think the worst part of winter for me is the end - that stage where we're at the end of winter/beginning of spring. It's always rainy and freezing and were most foodies would relish this time to get in as much rib-stickin', comfort-y, cozy cooking as they can before it gets too hot to even look at the kitchen, I get all blanket-y, book-y, give me a bag of chips & dip and maybe a package of Nutter Butters and I'm good for a month. :P

I didn't want to miss the Daring Cooks risotto challenge even though it was one of the weirdest feelings I've had regarding a DK challenge. Basically, I've made risotto 4,825 times in my life. I've made homemade stock 1,397 times. So our challenge wasn't much of a challenge for me this month, yet I really, really wanted that creamy arborio rice in front of me.

So I had to think outside the box.. I had to figure out a way to do something I haven't done or haven't done much of. So I chose to go sweet. I've made rice pudding a couple times in the past. I've made really good rice pudding in the past. But I never attempted to make it as with arborio rice and I've never experimented in making it as if I would as savory risotto dish. Meaning, instead of dumping rice in boiling water until it was cooked, and then dumping in sweetened & spiced milk until it was thick.. I decided to toast up my arborio rice in some butter first.. and then I started to ladle in the sweetened milk mixture a ladle at a time, constantly stirring until I had a rich and creamy, sweet and spicy, concoction that was just heavenly.

Other than the way I prepared the rice, the recipe came from my little Gracie.. that baking maniac that puts pounds on my hips and ass by just reading a post on her blog. Yes, I'm talking about Peabody and her delicious culinary concoctions. God love her. A couple years ago she made an arborio rice pudding with stone fruit butterscotch topping. As per usual, I laughed at her post, and copy/pasted the recipe into my "Gracie" folder since it tipped my "drool meter" over to tilt. But, I never made it.. so this was the perfect opportunity to try it!

Okay so I did make some changes, but only out of necessity. Stone fruits aren't in season where I live unless you consider the imports from Chile "in season" and you could only consider that if you like rock hard like stone fruit with no taste. Gah. So I went with a Bosc pear and raisin butterscotch topping instead. Dear sweet Jebus that is a combination to go into the books. SO DAMN GOOD! But SO DAMN SWEET! So I decided to throw some salt into the butterscotch and that rounded out the sweetness perfectly. The rice was so thick and creamy with just a hint to cinnamon and the pear/raisin/butterscotch sauce was downright sinful.

You'll forgive my more than usual bad photos - and you'll ignore how they don't make this dessert look very appetizing - just try this.. either now with fruits that are in season, or tuck the recipe away for later in the year when the peaches and plums are at their juicy best and try it. If you like rice pudding, you'll LOVE this dessert!

Thanks so much to Eleanor and Jess for hosting a great challenge that was really enjoyed by so many Daring Cooks! And thanks to Gracie for pulling me outta my comfort zone and allowing me to experiment with one of her recipes. :)


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Saturday, February 27, 2010


Hey kids.. sorry, but you probably won't be seeing a post on my Daring Baker challenge this weekend. Unfortunately what I thought was a simple cold has gotten worse and it's about kicked my arse. Combine that with work and my procrastination issues and well.. no Tiramisu in my kitchen this month. :(

I did buy all the ingredients, so I'm ready to go in that respect.. just need my nose to dry the freeg up and then figure out a way to assassinate the lil fuckers in my head who are pounding the backs of my eyeballs with sledgehammers. Gah. So we'll see..

In the meantime, check out the Daring Bakers blogroll for 1000's of creative and beautiful Tiramisu participants.. everyone did (as usual!!) an amazing job with the challenge! Huge hugs to both Deeba and Aparna for being wonderful hostesses this month.. they picked an awesome challenge of making homemade mascarpone and lady finger cookies! From what I've read in our private forums, both of the recipes are delicious! I REALLY want to find out for myself!


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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Croque-Madame

I had heard of the croque-monsieur sandwich often in the past year or so.. apparently it's making the rounds in the foodie-blog world, since that's where I discover many foods I'd never heard of before. It sounded intriguing, something I might want to try one day, but nothing to add to the MUST MAKE list. I mean seriously, it's a grilled ham & cheese sammie. No big whoop.

And then I was going through some magazine last week - for the life of me I can't remember what it was called - and saw this photo of the most awesome looking sandwich I'd ever seen. It had a fried egg on top! I don't think I've ever spoke of my obsession? fascination? complete and utter GLEE when it comes to the fried egg, specifically the yolk. But there's a twist. Yes, I love fried eggs for breakfast (or dinner) with the usual accoutrements - buttered toast, sausage or bacon, hashbrowns, you know.. heart attack on a plate? :) But this obsession - fascination - complete and utter glee that I feel when I see something topped with a friend egg, that normally wouldn't be topped with an egg.. I just.. can't find the words without sounding gross. Salivate upon seeing oozing yolk is what it is, but frankly, I just grossed myself out by saying that. Salivate and oozing really shouldn't be in the same sentence. Hopefully you yolk lovers out there will get where I'm coming from.. if not.. maybe try to block out what you've just read by closing your eyes tightly and singing LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU MISS GROSS-Y MCGROSSTER extremely loudly until the images go away. :P

It was the mental vision of a crispy baked sammie loaded with cheese and that broken yolk oozing (I can't stop with the fakkin oozing! Someone give me a better word for crissakes - and don't say "runny" cuz that squicks me out too!) down the side of it that had me in such a tizz.. hell it could have been a rabbit turd & peat moss sandwich and I would have been drooling all because of that egg. I once saw a salad made of greens, roasted sweet potato chunks and a big old fried egg on top and although I haven't made it YET, I still drool over the thought of it. A salad with roasted chunks of sweet potato for crissakes? All because of that ooz glorious fried egg.


As I read the intro to the recipe and realized it was a croque-monsieur with a fried egg thrown on top, the sandwich jettisoned to the MUST MAKE list tout de suite. So I ripped the pages out, brought it home to show hubbs and he agreed, we needed to have this for dinner ASAP.

Basically, if ya'll haven't heard of the croque-monsieur, it's ham & cheese (usually gruyère or emmental) between two slices of bread that have been slathered with a bechamel sauce, and then more cheese on top. It's baked until the edges are lightly browned and the cheese is melty and bubbly. Once it comes out of the oven, you slap a fried egg on top to create the croque-madame, throw a nice salad next to it and call it heaven on a plate.

I made a few changes to the recipe. I couldn't find the jambon de Paris ham it called for, so I used prosciutto. I'm not a big bechamel sauce by itself kinda gal, so I decided to doctor it up by tossing in a couple generous handfuls of gruyère (I still had quite a bit left over from the bread) and just the barest peench of ground mustard. I used a loaf of French miche, which I bought at Panera - miche, I assume, means fakking huge. It's a very large square loaf of French bread just perfect for grilling, baking, toasting and of course, making a croque-madame. :)

Hubbs made a cucumber, tomato, olive & red onion salad in balsamic vinaigrette to go with and I think that's really a must. At least for us.. this sammie is rich, kids. It definitely needs a salad or other light side with it. I had considered frying potatoes & onions, making our dinner more breakfast-like, but am glad that I didn't.

So who doesn't like a ham & cheese sammie, eh? I like them, they are O.K., not my favorite but I've eaten many in my day. Who hasn't? Feel about the same way? Kinda meh? Yeah well.. make this kicked up hot ham & cheese sandwich and I doubt you'll ever go back to the usual. We were both amazed at how good this was. Admittedly, the prosciutto wasn't the right ham. It was too salty, but that still didn't take away much from the sandwich in whole. And it was fun to eat a "gourmet" hot ham & cheese with a fork & knife! I suppose you could pick it up and eat it as you would any other sammie, but it'd be kinda messy.. but hey, if that's your thing, go for it. ;)

I urge you all to go out and buy a good ham that's not too salty, a big chunk of gruyère or emmental (I'm sure Swiss would be just fine) and a dozen eggs and get to making this for your dinner this week - and then throw it into your rotation every once in a while. It's a bit of a splurge both in price and calories, but you won't be sorry after you take that first bite. Trust me. SO. FAKKIN. GOOD.

Croque Monsieur or Madame

Serves 4

For Bechamel sauce:

3 TBS. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk (I used fat-free and it came out just fine)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & white ground pepper to taste

For the sandwiches:

8 slices high-quality bread. (the recipe called for "Pullman" loaf, I used French) sliced 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
12 oz. thinly sliced jambon de Paris (high quality wet-cured ham, not too salty)
10 oz. Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
4 whole eggs (for the madame)

Over low heat, in a small saucepan, melt butter then whisk in flour until blended. Continue to whisk while pouring in milk to avoid lumps. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until thickened. This should take about 10 minutes. (If you are only making enough for 2 the sauce thickened within 2 minutes) Once thickened, season with nutmeg, salt & pepper. (This is where I added a couple handfuls of grated gruyère and the smallest pinch of ground mustard) Take off heat, set aside.

The recipe says you can make the bechamel sauce up to 24 hours early. Place plastic wrap directly on the sauce so it won't form a skin, then refrigerate. Gently reheat a few minutes before you are going to use it.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Place the 8 slices of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread the bechamel sauce evenly to the edges of all the slices (you may not need all of the bechamel). Divide ham between only 4 slices covered with bechamel, keeping the ham within 1/4 inch of the edges.

Top all 8 slices with equal amounts of grated gruyère cheese, again spreading it evenly within 1/4 inch of the edges. Place the 4 slices with bechamel and cheese (cheese side up!) on top of the slices layered with ham. Bake until cheese topping is melted and golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes (it took about 20 minutes in my oven)

To make the croque-madame, fry 4 eggs sunny-side up (I went with over easy, because egg slime is A VERY BAD THING) and place one on top of each sandwich. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and serve immediately.


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