Mother’s Day, 2017

Mothers Day Tulips - 2017

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The Kitchens wish all Moms,

Whether their kids have 2 legs or 4,

A very much-deserved Happy Mother’s Day!

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Oops I did it again …

Atomic Bomb

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I spent the day in the country and was surprised to learn that a post for zucchini noodles was published in my absence.  It was far from ready and has since been deleted.

At the time I was working on that recipe, the post was scheduled for a date in the distant future. Today is that date. I must say, time really does fly.

Sorry for any confusion.

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From the Bartolini Clan …

Zia's Cala Lily

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Thank you all for the heartfelt condolences that you so so graciously offered to me and my family following the passing of our dear Zia. She would have been as moved as we were comforted to read the many expressions of sympathy that you penned and for which we are all grateful.

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Photo: © Sandra Van Der Steen

Through a window …

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I arrived at the hotel in Bologna around 11:00 AM, every bit as tired as you might expect. Still, if I was to begin the ChgoJohn “Pasta-a-Day Diet”, I had little choice but to get out there and find me some pasta. About 2 hours later, I was back in my room and settling in for a well-deserved nap.

I awoke some time later in the best of moods. I had dreamt of the old two-flat. I was a boy and could hear Mom & Dad, Zia &  Uncle, Grandpa, and Nonna laughing and having a wonderful time. As I became more awake, I realized that the laughter and singing I’d heard in my dream were not from my family but came from people gathered on the street below my open window. It didn’t really matter. It was still a wonderful dream and it made my day. I took a photo of that window to remind me of the dream, thinking maybe I could work it into some future post.

Later that day, while on my way to a restaurant that Maps falsely claimed was within walking distance, I received a phone call from my brother. Our beloved Zia passed way about the time I was midway across the Atlantic.

Truth be told, I am not what most would consider a spiritual individual, and as for religion, I’ve described myself as a recovering Catholic. That said, I believe that my dream was Zia’s way of saying good-bye, that she’s in the best of company.

Now it is my turn to say good-bye and I will end this as I have most emails to her.

Tanti baci, Bella.

PS   I’ve been thinking. I remember seeing XXXXXXX served when I was little.  Do you know how it was prepared?

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The Kitchens will remain closed until further notice.

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Happy Thanksgiving – 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Another year, another Sammich.

So much to be Thankful for.

To Those celebrating the Holiday,

We Bartolini wish You a Bountiful Thanksgiving

And may Everyone enjoy a Wonderful Weekend. 

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(Comments for this post have been closed. See? With one less comment to write today, that’s yet another thing to be thankful for.)

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The Visitation of 2015

Unlike her last stay, this year’s Visitation found us at home for much of the time. The only exceptions were a trip to our good friend’s farm south of the city and a brief visit with Zia’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren before she left for Michigan with her son, The Max Whisperer, and his wife. With so little touring to do, we did what we Bartolini do best: we cooked, we ate, and then we talked about how we cooked what we ate. Here’s much of what we talked about.

(Links for the recipes will be found after the gallery or may be shared in the weeks to come.)

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  • Kiwi-Ground Cherry SalsaGround Cherry-Kiwi Salsa (served with grilled ocean trout)- Much like my Ground Cherry Salsa, this version consisted of ground cherries (cape gooseberries), kiwi fruit, red onion, red bell pepper, jalapeño, hand-torn basil leaves, and the zest of 1 lime. The juice of 2 limes was used to dress the salsa.
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Tart Cherry Muffins
  • Oatmeal Cookies with Two Chocolates, Dried Cherries, and Almonds
  • Spianata
  • Smothered Pork Chops (served with mashed potatoes and pole beans with bacon) – Recipe to come.
  • Cacioni (filled with Spinach and Swiss Chard)
  • Zuppa di Pasta e Fagioli
  • Grilled Lamb Chops (served with broccolini and parmigiano-roasted potatoes)
  • Paglia e Fieno
  • Cappelletti in Brodo
  • Slow-Cooked Beef Cheeks (served with panzanella and garlic-mashed potatoes)
  • Sausages, Peppers, and Onions. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan before sautéing together sliced onion, sliced bell pepper, diced garlic, and your favorite Italian sausage. Add a couple ounces of dry white wine. Serve when the sausage is fully cooked.
  • Baked Apple Puffs (served with vanilla ice cream) – Recipe follows
  • Sepia e Calamari in Umido – Recipe to come

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All told, the Visitation of 2015 was a resounding success, one that ended far too soon. We all know, however, that next year will get here before we know it. Come to think of it, I had better get started on that menu.

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Apple Puffs Recipe


  • Make cinnamon sugar by combining 1 tbs cinnamon with 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Make an egg wash by combining 2 tbs water with 1 slightly beaten egg.
  • 1 apple that has been peeled, cored, and chopped into a 1/2 inch dice. (I use Granny Smiths,)
  • A scant tsp butter, divided into fourths.
  • Smooth one thawed sheet of puff pastry. Cut into four equal-sized squares. (See Notes)

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Apple Puff 2*     *     *


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F (175˚ C).
  2. Combine the diced apple with cinnamon sugar to taste. Add a pinch of salt and mix well.
  3. Place 1 to 2 tbs of the apple mixture into the center of each of the 4 pieces of puff pastry.
  4. Place a piece of butter atop the apple filling.
  5. Use a pastry brush to dab a bit of the egg wash on the 4 corners of each piece of puff pastry.
  6. Attach opposite corners of each piece of puff pastry, bringing all 4 to the center of the puff.
  7. Use a pastry brush to coat the outside of each puff with the egg wash.
  8. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar.
  9. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.
  10. Serve warm as-is or accompanied with your favorite ice cream.


Puffs may be assembled — do not coat with egg wash nor dust with cinnamon sugar — and frozen until needed. Do not thaw. Just coat with egg wash, dust with cinnamon sugar, and place on a baking sheet on the center rack of a pre-heated 350˚ F (175˚ C) oven. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Puffs may be made whatever size you want. Cutting the pastry sheets into eighths, for example, will create puffs that are closer to bite-sized.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Pickle Preview

A Fresh Pickle (Served with Grilled Pork Chops)

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I’m Back and the Kitchens are Open!

The Gift

My little hiatus lasted far longer than I had expected but it has finally ended. When last I wrote, I mentioned that I had 2 projects to complete, one a bit of remodeling and, the second a secret endeavor. Well, the secret project was far more involved than I had anticipated and a couple of physical mishaps caused further postponement of the remodeling. (I will get that done!)

Now that it’s complete, I can tell you all about the secret project. I’m very happy to announce that I’ve written a cookbook of our family recipes and stories. Zia has asked me repeatedly to write this book and, well, with almost all of the family recipes now recorded, I couldn’t refuse her any longer. With a great deal of cooperation from my family, this project has remained a secret and she only just learned about the book days ago, when I gave her the first copy.

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Blog Cookbook Page

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Paper Trail 3To say that I underestimated the task at hand is to put it quite mildly. It was through trial and error — with every trial ending in error and then another trial — that I finally settled upon a self-publishing company affiliated with Amazon. (Thank you, Eva!) Then, after a few rewrites, a couple reformats, and plenty of editing, the book is finally ready for release. Yay!

Much like this blog, the cookbook is a compilation of my family’s recipes and stories of life in that old two-flat. I’ve included a few recipes that have yet to be shared here, as well as some as-yet unpublished family photos. There’s even a little something just for you, my ever-faithful WordPress family. I’ve included a game “Dove è Garibaldi?”, “Where is Garibaldi?”, and I’ll make no further mention of it anywhere but right here in this post. Hidden within the book’s pages is an image of Giuseppe Garibaldi, “the George Washington of Italy”, and Grandpa’s personal hero. Can you find him? Now, don’t get discouraged if you can’t. Within the book, I’ve also included a clue pointing to Garibaldi’s whereabouts. When you do find him, however, please NO SPOILERS!

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No, not here. In the cookbook!

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Affiliation with Amazon does come with advantages, mainly that it may be purchased on Amazon here in the US and in Europe. Shipping charges will be assessed at the time of purchase, just like any Amazon purchase. If you live in an area outside of Amazon’s reach, an eStore has been created where you can purchase directly from the company. You will need to create an account, however, in order to purchase anything from the eStore. Each book is made-to-order and should be shipped within days of being purchased. Its arrival will depend upon the shipping priority you select at time of purchase.

There’s no need to bookmark this post for future reference. I’ve created a page — look for “Cookbook” directly beneath the header photo — which includes everything presented here, as well as pricing information for each point of purchase.

Since I will have nothing personally to do with your orders or shipping, please accept my thanks now to those of you who purchase a copy.

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Next Wednesday, as promised, I’ll be sharing a recipe for New York-style cheesecake. See you then!

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NYC Cheesecake Preview

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