Get Adobe Flash player
Keep Calm and Have a Cocktail..A Decorated Cocktail that is!


copyright 2014 Maria Liberati.Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc.

The Holiday season is soon approaching.. and cocktails are a great  ‘get together’ beverage..what better way to relax the palate then to begin with a are my 11 tips for perfectly decorated cocktails from The Basic Art of Cocktails….after all décor and presentation is almost important as taste during the Holidays…cocktails can be alcoholic or alcohol is not necessary..a cocktail is all about the style of presentation of the beverage, the place they are served and the relaxed mood of the venue…

Cocktails because no great story ever began with someone munching on a big salad…

1 Harmony and balance are the two things to keep in mind when decorating a cocktail.
2 For short drinks, use small maraschino cherries, black and green olives, lemon
orange or lime peel.
3 For medium cocktails, use decorations that are fruit., vegetable or herb based.
4 For long drinks, always serve with a straw to facilitate easy enjoyment of the
5 Decorations should be not only esthetically pleasing to the eye, but also pleasing
to the palate.
6 Avoid decorations that are complicated or time-consuming to create.
7 When using fruit or vegetables be sure to use ones that are not overly ripe.
8 Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly, if using the skin also.
9 Give your drinks chromatic effects just by adding crushed ice, creams or colored
liqueurs. These must also blend well with the taste of the drink.
10 For a decorative effect, sprinkle powdered coffee, cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon or
shaved chocolate on top.
11 For another effect, place glass in freezer before serving and decorate rim of glass

For more cocktail recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Cocktails  exclusively on Kindle and the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions 2

bookcoverfinal (2)



Hot Tuscan Soup, Cold Blustery Day

copyright 2014 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc


Today was the first blustery windy day of the season, a day that made me long for some Tuscan bean soup ..and I know just the is an authentic Tuscan style bean soup with Farro from Montepulciano..’




Zuppa Toscana con Farro

1 lb of dry mixed beans ( cannelini, kidney, lenitils)

finely chopped onions, carrots, celery

salt pepper, peppeoncini

extra virgin olive oil

16 ounces of crushed tomatoes

1 cup farro

Soak beans for 12 hours or overnight. Then boil in salted water till tender. Saute in a large soup pot- the carrots, onion, celery and a pepperoncino in olive oil,add I crushed tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Add in the drained beans. Place on heat and let boil for 15 minutes. Cook farro as directed on package (usually about 30 mnutes)> For last 15 minutes add in to soup to cook. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil..


For more great recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition

rsz_rsz_cover (2)

Coffee..a Hug in a Mug…and a Gran Caffe recipe

copyright 2014 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Coffee..a morning without it is like ..sleep!


“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder. ~

Honoré de Balzac, “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee”


Café Mocha


  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups hot espresso coffee
  • ¼ cup hot milk (fat free or low fat)
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar


  1. Place evaporated milk in a chilled bowl with powdered sugar.
  2. Whip until peaks form and then place in refrigerator.
  3. In another bowl mix honey with powdered cocoa and cinnamon, mix with wooden spoon.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Distribute mixture into 4 coffee cups.
  6. Mix coffee with milk, and then pour into cups.
  7. Stir and top with whipped evaporated milk and dust with powdered cocoa.

Gran Caffe

Ingredients (serves one)

  • 1 teaspoon of Aurum
  • 1 Tablespoon of liquid cream or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of cacao
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • Powdered unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup of (very hot) espresso coffee


Pour all ingredients, except cream, into glass coffee cup. Stir. Pour cream or milk on top, do not stir and sprinkle unsweetened cocoa on top.



Coffee is nothing more than a hug in a mug!


Get more recipes in the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition


Quinoa Mushroom Patties and Redfish Roti with Plated.Com


I had such a great time last week making dinner…quinoa patties with mushrooms and redfish roti! I had fun because all my ingredients were all pre measured out, and mailed directly to me. No stress of shopping for ingredients.

I went to and selected the right dishes for my guests and scheduled the date I wanted them delivered. My fresh ingredients were delivered for the dishes I selected. The recipe delivery was also included.

The meals are healthy and there is no stress. You can plan a family meal or a meal for guests that are healthy,delicious and fun to make. And for those of us that are short on time, there is no extra time required to go out and search for the right ingredients. It is all done for you. After a busy day at work,

you will have ingredients pre measured, ready to go to make a delicious gourmet meal for friends or family.

The seafood is from Sea to Table, a Brooklyn-based company that partners with local fishermen from small-scale sustainable wild fisheries and ships the catch directly to you, so healthy seafood is part of the seafood meals.

I ordered the Quinoa Mushroom Patties…yum they were truly different and delicious. They even included a pouch of grated pecorino cheese, which added loads of flavor to the quinoa. These patties made a great meat free style meatball or patties and were really flavorful with all the spices that were included in my packet. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised.



Quinoa Mushrorom Patties



The redfish roti was equally as impressive. And who knew this Caribbean dish could be so easy to prepare, and so delicious too. The roti were great as an accompaniment to the redfish. This was truly a great, light, healthy dish. But it was a great dish to prepare and makes it so easy to do enough a non experienced chef could do this without much effort! It was fun to create an authentic Caribbean dish with not having to take a course on authentic Caribbean cooking

.     did all the thinking and shopping and planning for me, all I had to do was wait for my shipment, plan the meal and who I was going to invite and voila! I had a great meal.

It truly could not be easier to have a great gourmet dish in your own kitchen created by you (or at least your friends and family will think so) but did all the work.

Plated is extending a great deal to my readers  HERE




The redifsh roti was equally as impresive

Tailgating and Homegating Ideas

If you are tailgating are some great products for your next tailgating or homegating event ..this recently appeared on Fox Channel 43 in York/Lancaster. Pa

Grapes..Galileo and Risotto with White Grapes

copyright 2014 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

DSCN6013 (photo 2014 copyright Art of Living ,PrimaMedia,Inc.)

The Sun with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it has nothing else in the Universe to do.

Galileo Galielei is  this time of the year that I begin obsessing about grapes.. if you haven’t already noticed..they are everywhere and so sweet to eat.….what I don’t pop in my mouth I save for a savory lunch and my favorite recipe….

Risotto with white grapes

from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edtion, copyright Art of Living, PrimaMedia, Inc./Maria Liberati

1 cup rice(Arborio or carnaroli rice)

1 tblsp butter

1 cup dry white wine

2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

½ lb firm white grapes

1 slice of onion chopped finely

6 cups vegetable broth, (must be kept hot)

4 tablespoons of parmigiano reggiano cheese freshly grated or shaved

Wash grapes, pat dry, cut in half., set aside. Place olive oil in saute pan and saute minced onion. When onion is transparent, add in rice and let rice toast for approx 2 minutes. Then add in ¾ cup vegetable broth, stir constantly until liquid has evaporated, repeat this until rice is cooked (risotto should take approximately 18 minutes to cook till al dente consistency). Halfway through the cooking (9 minutes) add in halved grapes. When rice is cooked ,remove from heat, top with butter and parmigiano-reggiano cheese, stir gently and serve. Garnish plates with some whole grapes.


See you at:

October 17-19th  Philadelphia Food and Wine Show at the Valley Forge Convention Center..stop by The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm  pop up sampling booth for a book signing and samples of sweet to eat fresh baked desserts!  On Stage cooking demo on Saturday at 7:30 PM..for more info email [email protected]


CousCous and another Foodie Stop!

copyright 2014 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc.


“Couscous, the food so nice, they named it twice”

from the film Pineapple Express

What better way to enjoy great food and discover new dishes and new and not so new  local venues than to attend this year’s Philadelphia Food Show at the Valley Forge convention Center.

This year my booth will be a pop-up sampling booth of recipes from my books along with book signings.

I am really honored to be part of this year’s event  I will be signing copies of my latest book and sampling  some delicious recipes with one or more   couscous dishes to share for tasting!

Please stop by and say Hi!

Cous Cous with Tuna and Veggies

1/2 cup couscous

4 cups vegetable broth

1 zucchini

1 can of tuna

4 roasted peppers (from Roland Foods)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 ounces small cherry or grape tomatoes

small handful mint or fresh basil leaves

Measure couscous and place in bowl. Cut zucchini into long sticks. Place olive oil in saute pan and saute zucchini sticks till golden. Set aside.

Bring vegetable broth to a boil and place  into couscous. Stir until couscous is puffy, add in a pat of butter and stir. Continue stirring till most liquid has ben absorbed by couscous. Separate couscous with a fork.

Flake tune in separate dish. Add into couscous. Place in cheery or grape tomatoes that have been cut in half. Add in zucchini and incorporate into couscous.

Garnish the plate with mint and basil…

And if you are in the Philadelphia  area on Friday, October 17-Sunday October 19 stop by my pop=up restaurant  and book signing  at the Philadelphia Food Show and join us for great food, and fun!.See you there!

For more great recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition at

cover- book 2nd edition-001

Montepulciano and Pici alla Briciole or Pasta with Toasted Breadcrumbs

copyright 2014 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

“Refill the glass that is empty..empty the glass that is filled..never leave a glass filled..never leave a glass empty!”




One of the  favorite dishes that we discovered while in Montepulciano was a simple pasta dish known as Pici alla briciole. Pici is the typical pasta made in this region while briciole are bread crumbs. We discovered this dish and got right to the kitchen at one of our favorite stops-DSCN6045 Villa Nottola- and prepared and then dined on Pici alla briciole with some wine referred to as Super Tuscan..but always from Montepulciano.

If you want to try a staycation and turn your kitchen into a taste of Montepulciano..grab a bottle of wine from Montepulciano and whip up some of this pici alla briciole..and World pasta Day is only a month away..October 25, 2014..the perfect dish for this day as well…..

Pici alla Briciole

(If you can’t find pici pasta, regular spaghetti will do)

1 lb of day old bread

1 onion or 2 leeks or 2 scallions

small handful of fresh parsley leaves chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

extra virgin olive oil


! lb of pasta (pici or spaghetti) cooked till al dente)


Place day old crusty bread in food processor till reduced to bread crumbs. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in saute pan with chopped garlic and onion, saute for 1 minute , add in  1/4 cup Montepulciano, add in bread crumbs to toast. When bread crumbs are toasted, add in chopped parsley and saute. Cook pasta till al dente and place in saute pan with bread crumb mixture place on low heat and toss. Serve with pecorino cheese and fresh parsley.

*See you at

Cathedral Village in Pennsylvania


*For those in Lancaster/ York Pennsylvania I  will be doing a segment on Tailgating on FOX Channel 43 Morning News on September 26th at 7:40 AM

*Mercer County Italian American Festival

For event listing go to

Fri. Sept 26th, 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM & Sat. Sept 27th, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM, Mercer County Park,

1638 Old Trenton Road, book signing and sampling, in the Cultural Theater located in the

Heritage Pavilion on the festival grounds

*Tues. Oct 7th, 6 PM to 8 PM, Free Library of Philadephia – Andorra Branch, 705 E Cathedral Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128,

book signing & sampling

Free Library of Philadelphia – Andorra Branch

– See more at:

For more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition
Food Memories of Montepulciano and Abruzzo, Biscotti recipe

copyright 2014 Art of Living,Primamedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

DSCN5985Montepulciano has still been on my mind..



and especially the cantucci biscotti  that we enjoyed with the Vin Santo produced there..but as the saying goes when in Abruzzo do as the Abruzzese do! (Well I think that is how they say it! or what I am trying to say is that since I am in Abruzzo now  I must do an Abruzzese version of these I have been tinkering and tinkering and finally came up with a recipe that uses the local ingredients here..with the help of my one and only!

These are really addictive, but eat them a day or two after they are baked, the flavors will astound you and you won’t be able to stop after just one..I think we have put on a pound or two just from eating these…

Saffron Nutty Biscotti

1 pound of flour

1 cup sugar

1 envelope of saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of warm water

4 ounces almonds whole

4 ounces hazelnuts whole

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

8 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate broken into bits

4 eggs


Place flour in bowl, make a well in center. Break 4 eggs and place inside well, whisk eggs, place in vanilla, baking powder, sugar.  Blend with electric mixer  till well blended. Then by hand fold in the nuts and chocolate pieces till well blended in.

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper, form 2-3 logs from the dough and place on parchment paper, back in an oven preheated to 350 for 30 minutes, then remove from oven cut into biscotti and bake again for 10-15 minutes till golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool.


*See you at

Cathedral Village in Pennsylvania


*For those in Lancaster/ York Pennsylvania I  will be doing a segment on Tailgating on FOX Channel 43 Morning News on September 26th at 7:40 AM

*Mercer County Italian American Festival

For event listing go to

Fri. Sept 26th, 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM & Sat. Sept 27th, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM, Mercer County Park,

1638 Old Trenton Road, book signing and sampling, in the Cultural Theater located in the

Heritage Pavilion on the festival grounds

*Tues. Oct 7th, 6 PM to 8 PM, Free Library of Philadephia – Andorra Branch, 705 E Cathedral Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128,

book signing & sampling

Free Library of Philadelphia – Andorra Branch

For more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions:2nd edition


More from Montepulciano and a Cantucci biscotti recipe..

It is not possible to visit Montepulciano without enjjoying some cantucci biscotti.  And don’t ask for a recipe, everyone has their own way and will swear theirs is the correct and the best way. Although the traditional cantucci did not have any butter or oils in them, many add that in their recipe today.

This is my favorite recipe for cantucci..and if possible enjoy with a glass of Vin Santo..the wine that cantucci were made to be enjoyed with!

And here are barrels of Vin Santo being aged in the Avignonese winery in Montepulciano, such a beautiful place!



Cantucci Biscotti

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 lb flour

1 cup of whole almonds

1 tsp baking powder

Parchment paper to cover baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Form flour into a well with hole in the middle. Place in eggs that have been beaten with fork and sugar. Blend together,then add in baking powder and fold in whole almonds. Once almonds have been folded in, form dough into logs that are about 2- 4 “ in thickness. Place logs onto parchment paper. Bake logs for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut logs on a diagonal into biscotti. Place biscotti on baking paper again and bake for 10 –15 minutes  or until golden. remove from oven, let cool and serve with Vin Santo after dinner or with coffee or tea.


For more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition

rsz_rsz_cover (2)


**Cook with me and 5 Star Chefs in Italy at the renowned Chef Academy and taste and tour Italy for one full week in February. The week long cooking, tasting ,tour takes place in the town of Terni Italy where Valentine’s Day began..the birthplace of St. Valentine. Be part of all the Valentine;s Day celebrations also taking place there. Limited reservations, for more info email: [email protected]

Our Brand: