Love is the poetry of the senses……..Honoré de Balzac
copyright 2013-2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love with anyone you choose.. So even if you are single or for some reason have to be far from the one you love on this day, you can still enjoy the spirit of the day with friends and those close to you.
Cook together and enjoy a lunch or dinner together. Here are some easy ,fun recipes..delicious too, that are easy enough to cook together. I call them ‘ recipes from my heart’ because these are recipes given to me by friends and family that we have come together to cook.
And you can bring together those that you hold dear for a meal any time in the spirit of Valentine’s Day
Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine! ~Thomas Hood
Winter pears are perfect for this Pear and Chocolate Crostata, that mixes dark chocolate and fresh pears for a scrumptious taste experience! One bite of this and you can not help but utter the Italian word ‘innamorata’ from your lips
Pear and Chocolate Crostata
(from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions Second Edition, Copyright 2009-2017 Art of Living,PrimaMedia, Inc; winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Awards 2009)
2 fresh pears-peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
In a food processor place in the chopped dates, pears, Cognac, blend well, do not liquefy. In a bowl, place in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter,sugar,flour, baking powder,egg yolks, fruit from food processor with liquid and whipped egg whites. Blend well. Butter and flour an 8 ” cake pan and pour in the mixture. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes. remove from oven and let cool
Melt baking or dark cocoa in double boiler and use this to glaze top of cake. Measure butter and melt, add in sugar. Dip thinly sliced pear in butter and sugar and then dip one side of pear slice in pear jelly and arrange as a decoration on outside of cake with pear slices placed all around, stuck to border of cake. Top with chocolate glaze.Place in fridge till chocolate glaze is hardened and become……. innamorata …..
Get more recipes to make any day a Special Occasion in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-Second Edition..
Text copyright 2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati
The region of Campania is well known for many things: the Island of Capri, the Roman ruins of Pompeii, Neopolitan pizza, Sophia Loren. Although when most people travel to Italy, they primarily pay homage to the country’s “big three”, Rome, Florence, and Venice, the area of Campania can bestow more than enough breathtaking views, fascinating historical sites, and delicious food to last a lifetime.
Campania is located in southern Italy and its capitol is Napoli (Naples). Its name derives from the Latin word, Campania Felix, which means “fortunate countryside.” At one time it was part of the Magna Graecia, which were the Greek colonies of Southern Italy. It became part of the Roman Republic, and following its collapse in what is now southern Italy. It became part of the Roman Republic and following Rome’s collapse, it was controlled by numerous outside, governing parties.
Some of Italy’s most stunning sites are found in Campania. The Island of Capri, a popular choice for honeymooners, filled with awe-inspiring views, whitewashed buildings, and lemon trees, receives visitors year round. However, it becomes completely inundated with tourists during the summer months, when people desperately yearn to savor the island’s gorgeous and romantic ambience. Amalfi, a city that enjoys an incredible location allows for a spectacular view upon approach into the city; it is based at the slope of the steep Lattari Hills and overlooks the Bay of Salerno.
Pompeii, the city that was destroyed and completely buried when the imposing Mount Vesuvius volcano erupted in 79 AD, continues to attract and amaze tourists who seek out the town’s many well-preserved and still intact buildings and artifacts. It is one of Italy’s most visited tourist attractions, receiving approximately 2.5 million visitors each year.
The Campania region is home to many delectable foods. The modern pizza is said to have originated in Naples. One such version is the timeless pizza Margherita, made with olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves. Two famous sweet indulgences include the baba cake, an old Austrian cake that arrived in Campania during Austrian control of the Kingdom of Naples and was modified to become a cake that people could eat when on the go, and sfogliatella, a pastry cake from the Amalfi coast, that has begun to enjoy worldwide recognition. Lastly, Campania is also famous for its beautiful and delicious lemons, which come from the city of Sorrento.
Campania is waiting to be explored by all who visit, and will not disappoint those who sample the food, drive along the coastal roads, and become captivated by its breath taking sites. Campania awaits…
And to make your own authentic Neapolitan Pizza get your copy of The Basic Art of …Pizza
Text copyright 2017 Art of Living, Prima Media, Inc/Maria Liberati
Happy belated birthday (January 4th) to Isaac Newtown….and this month I have been so inspired by the thought of apples… where would the research of Isaac Newtown be without the apple.
With so many varieties of apples to choose from there are many apple recipes from first course to desserts… Torte di Mele (apple pies) are everywhere..but you can also make biscotti (cookies) with apples…the fragrance from these little gems wafted through the house this morning and I hope will probably remain throughout most of the day..the best way to perfume the kitchen and then there is a Winter Fruit Macedonia…..
Apple, Raisin & Pinoli Biscotti
(Biscotti con Mele, Uvetta, Pinoli)
4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup brown sugar (fine)
½ cup butter
½ lb of peeled, grated apple
1/3 cup raisins (place in hot water for 3 minutes, drain and squeeze water out to dry)
3 tablespoons pinoli nuts
4 medium eggs
1 tsp baking soda
Zest of 1 organic lemon
¼ cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Place the flour on a wooden board or work surface, Make a well inside the flour and place inside softened butter, sugar, pinch of salt, grated zest of lemon, egg yolks and pinch of salt. Work all ingredients in by hand. When ingredients are well blended add in grated apple and raisins. Mix by hand, until all ingredients are well blended in. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
Separate dough into small balls, size of a quarter. Place on parchment paper, leaving some distance between each biscotti. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Place powdered sugar in a small bowl, mix with enough warm to hot water to make a glaze. When biscotti are cool, drizzle glaze on top and sprinkle each biscotti with pinoli nuts. Let glaze dry for 15 minutes, serve.
Another one of my favorite recipes is a winter macedonia that is made with sliced apples..my favorite apple to use in this is the Opal apple..in fact it is the only apple perfectly suited for a macedonia..not only because of its’ crispness but because it does not turn brown..
5 slices of fresh pineapple
1 small bunch of white grapes
1/2 cup Campari
Wash grapes, and cut each grape in half. Place in a glass bowl.
Peel pomegranate and remove seeds and place in bowl with grapes.
Cut pineapple slices into small pieces, peel and slice apple in thin slices. Place both into bowl with grapes. Peel banana and slice into 1/4 inch slices, add into bowl. chop hazelnuts and place in bowl. Squeeze 1/2 grapefruit over fruit. Optional:add in 1/2 glass Campari
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
“there’s no place like home” ..Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
copyright 2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,inc/Maria Liberati
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to go somewhere…a cold weekend led me to take a trip back in time in my attic…it led me to a place where I would find lace crocheted by hand and brought me back (in mind only) to a time when it was usual for women to crochet a finishing lace touch to their bed linens…or a decorative handmade piece of lace for the couch or centerpiece..
I was on a quest to find a table runner for an unexpected dinner party I was throwing and in desperation decided to rummage around my attic…. sometimes it is true that you can travel around the world on a quest to find something .. when all you were looking for was there at home under your own nose…So there it was a beautiful hand crocheted table runner..and special sheets for the guest rooms..
But these items were not from any ‘big box’ store but from the heart of my grandmother and aunt….who made these with their own hands and heart.I may add..for they were made for their family with love! .
So when looking for something be sure to check home first..what you are looking for may be right there..under your own nose!
Cioccolatini (Little Chocolates)
from the Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition)
16 ounces milk chocolate
¼ cup raisins
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
4 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts
½ glass Marsala wine
Soak raisins in Marsala wine. Place 2/3 of chocolate in the top of a double boiler. When chocolate begins to melt and becomes creamy and melts remove from heat and pour in oil and remaining chocolate and melt together.
Place 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder on plate and roll raisins in powdered cocoa to coat. Place melted chocolate in small, mini baking cups till half full. Then place in coated raisins, cover with melted chocolate and top with chopped hazelnuts.
Place in refrigerator till firm. Serve with a Vernaccia di Cristiano Wine
Text copyright 2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati
The things that are expected of winter, in the mountains of Italy, are.. of course- snow and lots of skiing, but also a dessert that commemorates the famous settimana bianca(white week) the ‘infamous’ week spent skiing on whatever snow capped mountain you desire, surrounded by a snow covered mountain….and one of the most romantic mountains to spend your settimana bianca.. is Monte Bianco in the Italian Alps- a winter without seeing Monte Bianco is just not winter…one of the most written about mountains by the likes of Victor Hugo and Shelly….But if you are not able to visit Monte Bianco you can always experience it as a delicious dessert..( something that splendiferous had to be honored with its’ own luscious dessert)…. and this one is actually good for you..made with chestnuts, dark chocolate and only a small amount of sugar…
So now I can say that my January is definitely complete..(unfortunately not a visit to) but my annual making of the Monte Bianco….before the chestnuts were all gone…but after I found the chestnuts I had to find a ‘schiacciapatate’ (potato ricer). I love to mash the chestnuts by hand in my schiacciapatate…
not many make this dessert at home and even less make it by hand… but for some reason mine was nowhere to be found…so I went from ‘door to door’ asking friends and relatives if they had a schiacciapatate’ to borrow..and luck struck me at the last door…finally a schiacciapatate that was not wanted but in great condition! So, I willingly adopted it and gave it a place in my kitchen..
(photo by en.wikipedia.org)
1lb of chestnuts
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
8 ounces dark chocolate (minimum 80%)
1 cup whipped cream
Boil chestnuts in water for approximately 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, peel. Place in saucepan, cover with milk, add in vanilla and sugar. Boil until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Place boiled chestnuts while hot in potato ricer and mash into bowl. Melt chocolate in double boiler and place into mashed chestnuts. Blend together. Place mashed chestnuts and chocolate mixture into potato ricer and let the mixture fall onto a plate as you rice the mixture, forming a mountain shape. Cover with whipped cream. Place in fridge for 15 minutes and serve.
You can also find this recipe in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:DaVinci Style
People who spend a lot of time focusing on residential design may be familiar with the concept of the Beni Ourain rug at this point. If you’re fond on all things that relate to interior design, you may have seen a lovely Moroccan Berber rug on display somewhere. You may have spotted one in a beautiful model home. You may have seen one in a home renovation and remodeling publication. You may even have seen one in a particularly stylish residential property during a visit. If you’re curious about Beni Ourain rugs, you’re not an anomaly. These rugs have been the source of enthusiasm and mystique for quite some time. People are just beginning to understand the amazing benefits they bring to the table. Moroccan Berber rugs are handcrafted floor coverings that have been tradition in North Africa for longer than most people know. These modest tribal beauties, however, are comparatively new superstars in other areas of the planet.
If you dream of durability, a Beni Ourain rug could hit the spot for you. These rugs consist of numerous tiny loops. They differ from many other popular rugs in that they aren’t made of strands. If you want to get your hands on a floor covering that’s the picture of strong and durable, a Moroccan Berber rug could potentially be ideal. These rugs are generally tough. They usually stay in fantastic condition for years. Just remember, however, that there are numerous fiber options for these rugs. Certain Moroccan Berber rug fibers are markedly more durable than others. Don’t assume that all of these rugs are necessarily the same. People who want to purchase particularly strong and dependable Beni Ourain rugs should always pay attention to fiber styles.
Designing a home beautifully can cost a lot of money. Most people find the process extremely stressful. It makes them worry that they’re going over their budgets. It makes them worry that they won’t have enough money to cover other rooms and areas, too. If you want to take a budget-friendly approach to designing your residential space, a Moroccan rug could work out well. These floor coverings are usually excellent value for your money. That doesn’t mean that their prices don’t differ dramatically, however. Some of these rugs are considerably more expensive than others. There are also some, however, that are rather inexpensive.
Beni Ourain rugs are majestic. Looking at them is a soothing experience that’s not easy to describe. They appear in all sorts of colors. They have all different types of designs, too. If you’re someone who could get lost in a world of geometric shapes and forms for hours, you’re undoubtedly the kind of person who should have a Moroccan rug. These rugs can take you to a new universe. They have faraway feels that are evocative of life in the Atlas Mountains long, long ago. They also, however, manage to maintain a sense of true modernity. If you want a rug that’s well-rounded and that can match all kinds of settings well, you should remember the name ‘Beni Ourain’ clearly.
These rugs can give people comfort that’s both effortless and pleasant. If you constantly question the comfort levels of your home rugs, Beni Ourain coverings won’t leave you with any doubt whatsoever. Their textures are impossibly soft and inviting. Click here for more details on the wonderful world of Berber rugs.
copyright 2016 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc
Merry Christmas from the Liberati family to yours with a Christmas Card from my niece Sofia Liberati
and Christmas wishes from My (rescue Pup) Sweetie Bear’s first Christmas..here with Santa
My favorite product find for a great Holiday gift, especially for the coffee lovers on your list:
Try this exceptional Columbian coffee at www.devocion.com
And don’t forget a copy of The Basic Art of Coffee in paperback or in Kindle version as an accompaniment to this gift!
*Carrington Farms has the purest of pure Coconut Oils that makes a great butter substitute for your Holiday recipes or anytime you want to add healthy fats to your diet
*Also put a dash of Carrington Farms Flax Seed in muffins, breads, pancakes, waffles, soups for a healthy touch to any food. My favorite ingredient to add into our Christmas morning Brunch Pancakes
Here’s wishing you a week full of Delicious days… and may the spirit of the Christmas Season be with you all year ‘round..
Pasta Frolla is one of the most delicious pie crusts and is versatile since it also makes great cookie cutter cookies. and makes the tastiest pie crust. Use for pumpkin pie, apple pie, crostata and any other sweet pies you can think of. Thanks for Debra in Pennsylvania for requesting this recipe,
2 sticks of butter (8 ozs.)
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla
* Optional-peel of 1 grated lemon
Place flour, salt, baking soda and butter (taken right from refrigerator). in food processor. Blend till a ‘sandy’ mixture is formed. Then add in sugar and blend in. Take out ‘sandy’ mixture and place on wooden boards. Form a well in center and place in egg yolks, vanilla, lemon peel. Knead dough by hand unti la smooth dough is formed. Form into one large or 2 smaller balls of dough and cover with plastic wrap, place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface, roll out to desired thickness for pie crust and/or cookie cutter cookies. Bake at 375 degrees,for 15-20 minutes until golden or as directed with pie recipe if pie filling is required.
For great recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book
The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition in paperback or in Kindle version
copyright Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc 2016/ Maria Liberati
With the Holiday season approaching fast many have their mind set on gifts and the Holiday table…so instead of 1 Holiday Guide there will be more than one this year, focusing on a variety of products for gifts and products that will make a great addition to your Holiday table!
The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition
This Gourmand World Award Winning Culinary Book has become a Holiday favorite around the World, thanks to our over 300,000 followers! Order soon a limited amount of copies are still available…. for recipes and Holiday stories, menus included, 200 pages, Includes Christmas Eve, Feast of the Seven Fishes,Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, La Befana, Valentine’s Day, Carnevale. Makes a great Christmas or Holiday gift! get your copy on Amazon and.or Kindle using these links:
I love making a special breakfast for our Holiday Table on Christmas morning. One of my favorite dishes for our Christmas Brunch is an easy parfait made with freshly made ricotta served with seasonal fresh fruit and topped with Viki’s Granola it is 100% all natural and gluten free. Simple recipe but ohh so delicious because of the freshly made ricotta and granola that work so well together to give a creamy crunchy taste
In cooking, the rule of thumb is that..”not all oils are created equal”. So when I recommend using olive oil, I must specify that the olive oil should be extra virgin, first cold pressed, certified, organic. Not all oils are the same.
The same goes for oils for the skin, hair and nails…..”not all oils are created equal”. So when you want to get the benefits of using oils on your skin, hair and nails you have to use an oil that is organic, pure and 100% naturally sourced. Using an oil that has chemicals and fragrances defeats the purpose..and is worse than using no oil at all.