The cardone, in English known as cardoon, is a celery stalk like thistle plant, that is related to the artichoke family.  The flavors are close to the artichoke as well, being that it is an earthy mellow flavor.

Fried cardone is a traditional Italian side dish that my family has always made for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and never sits around very long. The dish is unassuming but is spectacular in flavor and one of my all time favorites.

Prepping cardone to cook can be timely, but so worth it.

**To Prep you will need to blanch the vegetable;  Trim all leaves, peel the stalks, cut into four-inch pieces and boil them in salted water for fifteen minutes to remove any bitterness.


Fried Cardone

1 large stalk of prepped cardone
1 cup of flour
S&P to taste
EVOO for pan frying

1. Combine flour with s&p in a bowl.

2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  If it’s too hot the flour will burn too quickly.

3. Flour the prepped cardone.


4. Place as many pieces of cardone in the pan at once, adding more oil if needed.


5. Brown on all sides till tender, then remove from heat. ** Clean the frying pan between each batch with a paper towel/clean tea towel to remove the fried flour between each batch, as to not burn the flour further.



Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large pinch fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400F convection roast, or 425F conventional heat.

On a cutting board clean the head of cauliflower:  remove the stem/stalk, leaves and the interior leaves. Then rinse the whole head under cold water.

Cauliflower Head Removing cauliflower stalk cleaned cauliflower head

Using your hands, pull off each floret of cauliflower from the head. You can use a paring knife, but I find they break right off. Then all you are left with is the interior stem, this can be roasted too, or stored in the freezer to use in soups.

cauliflower florets

In a large bowl add in the ingredients and coat the cauliflower well.

cauliflower with parsley, olive oil, s&p and galric

Then transfer to a baking dish.  Cover the cauliflower with the cheese.

cauliflower mixture with cheese on top

Place in the oven.

Total cooking time should be 30 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark take the cauliflower from the oven to stir, then let cook the remainder of the time untouched.


roasted cauliflower


Potato Salad

potato salad

Potato Salad
1.5 lb Red Potatoes
1 Pinch of Fresh Parsley Leaves, minced
1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Bring about 3 Quarts of water in a large stock pot to a boil on high heat.  In the meantime, wash potatoes in cool water then let sit in a fresh cool water bath for ten minutes while the water reaches rolling boil.


Add a pinch of salt to the water then place potatoes gently.


Let boil on high for 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a knife throughout.


Let the potatoes cool to the touch.  While they cool, wash and chop the parsley and chop the garlic.

Once the potatoes are cool enough, peel as much of the skin off as possible. My peeling trick is to wet my hands in cold water.  It helps pull off the skin much easier. Washing my hands off between each or every other potato, as the starch sticks to the hands.

In a large mixing bowl, add rustic cubed potatoes (not perfect), the parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and drizzle with the olive oil.  Mix well to combine the flavors.

potato salad


Roasted Asparagus with Tangerine Panko Crumb

Roasted Asparagus with Tangerine Panko Crumb

Being back in the kitchen is such a big joy! Never thought I’d be this happy in my life over a kitchen! But back to my home cooking is what I need after a big vacation! (which I am still drafting my vacation post!!)

Tonight I decided to take advantage of sprucing up our pallet after a big vacation with some Winter citrus by making this side dish. It was a side to a pork roast and fingerling potatoes. It lasted two seconds on the plate, which means it is husband and child approved!

Roasted Asparagus with Tangerine Panko Crumb
1 lb washed asparagus with woody bottoms taken off
3 tablespoons panko crumb
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of tangerine zest

Set oven to 400 degrees, or 425 convection roast.

Place the asparagus on a parchment paper covered baking sheet with the drizzle of oil and topped with the panko crumb.

Roll the asparagus on the pan so it coats slightly with the crumb.

If you have a hand held grater, hand plain, take tangerine (washed) and grate quickly across the asparagus. Try not to over do it, you jut want a whisper of the oils and zest.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, till the panko is golden brown.


Roasted Asparagus with Tangerine Panko Crumb

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Hope you all had a wonderful night to kick off the new year. Really looking forward to 2013.


Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

1.5 lbs Brussels sprouts (prep directions below)
1/2 lb pancetta chopped
1 shallot chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn freshly ground black pepper

You will need a baking pan covered in parchment.

Preheat oven to 400F.

A washed brussel sprout.  Isn't he cute?
A washed brussel sprout before prep.

Cut off the stems from the brussels sprouts and pull off the bottom and first layers of the outer, darker leaves.

Without top layer of leaves.
Without top layer of leaves.
Without browned stem
Without browned stem

Score the bottoms with an X.

Score the brussel sprout with a cross.
Score the brussel sprout with a cross.

In a skillet, set on medium-high heat, add oil let heat. Then add in shallots and let sweat. Once they are translucent add in Brussels Sprouts, pancetta and s&p.

In a pan on medium-high heat add oil, shallots, Brussels Sprouts and chopped pancetta
In a pan on medium-high heat add oil, shallots, Brussels Sprouts and chopped pancetta

Toss to coat the Brussels Sprouts.

First toss of the Sprouts with the pancetta.
First toss of the Sprouts with the pancetta.

Remove from heat once the pancetta changes color from bright pink to a slightly cooked pink. Add vegetables with all the pancetta and shallots into a baking pan. Let roast for 35 minutes until tender.

Done 🙂


Oven Roasted Leeks with Herbs de Provence

Oven Roasted Leeks With Herbs de Provence

6 medium leeks, cleaned and cut lengthwise into quarters
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup of vegetable stock

You will need a baking sheet covered in parchment.

Pre-heat oven 400°F.

To Clean Leeks
Remove the coarse outer leaves. Trim each leek like you would a scallion- chopping off the root end, and then taking off the darkest portion of the leaves down to the light green; leaving about 2 inches of green. Slice the leeks down the center, rinse under cold water to remove all bits of dirt/sand, slightly bending the leeks around to remove the debris. Drain on paper towels and proceed with recipe.

Take the clean leeks, in a bowl, and toss with the oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Then add to baking sheet.

Roast the leeks until they are tender, about 35-45 minutes. Around the 20 minute mark add in a few splashes of the stock, and then repeat at the next interval of 20 minutes. Once they are tender and have caramelized marks they are cooked.

Finished Side Dish!  Oven Roasted Leeks with herbs de Provence.
Finished Side Dish! Oven Roasted Leeks with herbs de Provence.

Potato Galette

Potato Galette

2.5lbs (5-6 large) Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced thin, then rinsed in cool water to remove excess starch
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of each salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp of each dried rosemary and thyme

You will need a baking sheet covered with parchment.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Take slices of potatoes and coat with all the ingredients.  Then shake to remove excess before putting on the pan for cooking.

Thinly sliced potatoes dressed in olive oil and herbs

Thinly sliced potatoes dressed in olive oil and herbs

Place a slice in center of pan then overlap slices in circle around center slice, forming a flower pattern.  Continue overlapping around so they are even in thickness to the top.  Sprinkle a touch more of salt and pepper.  Place a piece of parchment on top and weigh it down with a pan.

Let cook for 45 minutes, then remove the pan and parchment, and let cook 15 minutes more till browned and all potatoes are tender.

To serve cut into wedges.

place the potato slices around and atop one another in a flower pattern
place the potato slices around and atop one another in a flower pattern

Easy Roasted Potatoes

Oven Roasted Potatoes

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large red bliss potatoes scrubbed clean and then cubed
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp of each S&P

You will need a baking pan covered in parchment.

Preheat oven 375F

In a bowl add all the ingredients and toss until the potatoes are covered.

Before roasting; add in oil, s&p, oregano and rosemary.
Before roasting; add in oil, s&p, oregano and rosemary.

Place in baking pan, and set on top rack of oven. Let roast for 35 minutes, then take out of the oven and switch to LOW broil and then place back in and let broil for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes start to brown. You will want a little crispness to them.

Finished Side Dish!  Easy Roasted Potatoes
Finished Side Dish! Easy Roasted Potatoes

Baked Sweet Potato Slices

Forgot to share this. I mentioned a recipe for baked sweet potatoes a few posts back.  So here it is!

My biggest food weakness is potatoes.  As a small girl my family gave me a nickname that is silly; it’s Italian, and basically it means I am consumed with all things potato: PATATARA.   WHICH IS TRUE!  I could eat potatoes every single day, a few times a day, and I’d still want more.  Cook them and just hand them over people!

Baked Sweet Potato Slices

  • 2 lbs washed and scrubbed sweet potatoes- cut into rounds (see photo)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • ¼  tspn thyme
  • ¼ tspn rosemary
  • ¼ dried lavender (if you have it, if not you can omit)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

You’ll need a flat baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Using the paper will guarantee they won’t stick.

Cut the ends of the potato and slice thin.
Cut the ends of the potato and slice thin.  I rarely peel my potatoes, unless they are green, because I love the rustic look of it cooked.  But this is totally a personal choice.  If you keep the peel on SCRUB THEM!

Preheat oven to 375° F

Lightly drizzle 1 tbsp of the oil on the bottom of the pan.  Arrange potatoes on top.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes.

Voila!  Baked Sweet Potatoes!
Voila! Baked Sweet Potatoes!

Roasted Asparagus


1 lb asparagus spears
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Rinse with cool water to clean the asparagus. Break the tough ends off of the asparagus and discard. The best way to do this is to take the asparagus and snap te bottom off. The woody ends will just snap right off where they meet the good flesh of the vegetable. Makes it real easy to prep!

Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer in a covered cookie sheet/pan. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the spears-roll the asparagus back and forth until they are all covered.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until browned. I like to take the asparagus out at around the 8 minute mark to roll them back and forth so they brown evenly. You want the asparagus to be tender but not over cooked (mushy).


Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus without using tools!
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus without using tools!
Finished side dish! Roasted asparagus
Finished side dish! Roasted asparagus









– Still not feeling well. I’ve succumb to taking meds; I try to not resort to taking anything unless I am in dire need. And this morning I woke up like a zombie!

I didn’t sleep much last night, third night in a row with the dry and sore throat, tossing and turning, and, waking up every toss and turn. : Decided to work from home and run a few local errands to pep me up. I have to write a blurb about the local shops in my town and how much I like them. Had a real great experience today with the woman here, and i’d love to give her support with her business. It’s a real great shop! Maybe I will sometime soon. I wanted to write / post / photo blog a year in review before the new year, so maybe that is a good one to follow it. It’s been quite the year. So many changes, some great and some still getting used to. But I am definitely looking forward to 2013. I don’t really make resolutions or anything, but think I will this year. Get rid of some baggage that’s been irking me.

Last night, I did make it home to put the lights and the tree up (not decorated yet!)!

Also, made a pasta with carmalized zucchini that I will post on here this week, and started fooling around with a clever way to hang my Holiday cards that we receive in the mail- so if it comes out good, be on the look out!!