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Linguine a la Vongole.. Italian Summer by the Sea…Food Blogging 101

copyright 2015 Maria Liberati/Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc

 

Did you ever dream of being a Food Blogger..read below the recipe to join me in Food Blogging 101..

Summer at the beach house here on the Adriatic is just not complete without one dish of freshly made linguine a la vongole (linguine pasta with clams).. first a trip to the fish market at 5 AM to get the freshest, just caught clams..then some time spent cleaning and soaking..then finally it’s time to saute them in just the right amount of olive oil with some fresh garlic, dry white wine and fresh parsley….and then it is time for the pasta

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Everything has to be executed almost like a theatrical production..and the best is always saved for last..the pasta..and the finale.. is a finished plate of linguine with clams..delicious enough to deserve a standing ovation!

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To create your own theatrical masterpiece of Linguine with Clams

Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic to a large saute pan. Add in freshly washed clams, add in 1/2 cup dry white wine and some freshly minced parsley, saute till all clams have opened up, discard any that do not open. Cook a pound of linguini pasta till al dente. When done, drain and toss in saute pan with clams, toss around to coat pasta, serve with some freshly minced parsley on top and a glass of dry white wine!

If you can’t get to the beach, take a  staycation at home decorate a table with colors of the sea,eat al fresco if possible and eat your linguini with clams stateside while thinking of the sea…

 

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

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** September 26th-Did you ever dream of being a food blogger! if so join me at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, Pa for my 3 part seminar-Food Blogging 101 and learn how to start or have your own food blog !http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/598713/food-blogging-101

 

* October  16,17,l18th stop by the  Philly Food and Wine Show at Valley Forge Casino, Valley Forge Pa. I will be doing a cooking demo on stage from one of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking books and doing book signings all day at my booth. For more info email: [email protected]

Gourmet Boutique, a quaint Boston gift shop in the heart of historic Back Bay steps from Boston Public Library and Trinity Church is a true gourmet voyage. An unparalleled selection of sweets fill floor to ceiling display. maxims chocolate Calissons de Aix en Provence, Guerande salt butter caramels, nougats de Montelimar and pate de fruit are staple French sweets. Maxim's de Paris offers an extensive range of these delights taking you on a sweet journey across France.
How Hotels Use Interior Design To Relax You

How Hotels Use Interior Design To Relax You

When it comes to hotel interior design, everything is preconceived. Almost every piece of furniture, light fixture, color scheme, and finishing touch was chose for a distinct purpose. The majority of the time, that purpose is to help you relax.

The following article will help shed some light on how this is done. It takes a variety of techniques to set the relaxation stage, but if done properly, guests can find their hotel a stress-free environment.

Lighting

One of the first ways in which relaxation can be accomplished is through various lighting. The problem with getting the lighting just right for relaxation is that each individual has their own preference. Some guests may relax best when being bathed in light while others prefer a dim, cooling effect to reduce stress.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll notice that most hotels have multiple light sources. This allows guests to adjust the amount of light, whether it be natural or artificial, to their liking. Recessed lighting overhead is the most common form of artificial light in a hotel room. The recessed lighting provides plenty of overhead light without the clutter of hanging lights or standing lamps. We’ll get into decluttering later. Hotels will also include a few bedside lamps along with a dimmer switch to provide the perfect amount of light for any situation.

Natural light is an ideal way to create relaxation. There really is no substitute for artificial light. In addition to a great light source, natural lighting usually means there is a nice view of the outside. However, this also needs to be adjustable which often means including floor to ceiling drapes. The drapes themselves serve multiple purposes including light adjuster, privacy creator, and aesthetics.

Outdoors

As mentioned previously, a view to the outside world is a great way to help guests relax. It is rare for a guest to want to be cooped up in a windowless room for their entire stay. To take this view one step further, hotels will design with the outdoors in mind.

Hotels are typically pristine keepers of their outdoor landscaping because it can affect a guest’s mood. Dead grass or overgrown shrubbery are eyesores that can place someone in a negative mood. Creating a connection to the outdoors within a hotel also allows for fresh air. If the outside air isn’t so fresh, for example if your hotel is located in a city, then live plants in the interior can make a big difference. Living plants help with air purification and create a more natural looking interior.

Luxuriousness

You don’t have to run a five-star hotel in order to create a sense of luxury. Guests will appreciate the luxurious sense of appeal in an interior design. It gives them the sense that they are being treated like luxurious individuals. This is all created by the interior design choices that are made from the flooring, to the walls, to the artwork, and even the front desk.

It’s All in the Details

The slightest of touches can make a lasting impact on interior design. For example, the artwork on the walls should be chosen because they elicit a certain emotion. In a guest’s bedroom, you may want to choose soothing or relaxing artwork. Think of ocean waves and tranquil colors to get a sense of what artwork should be used.

Details such as the color paint of the walls and the style of countertops can also make a difference in creating a relaxing or non-relaxing atmosphere.

Uncluttered

Finally, to create a relaxing hotel atmosphere, the amount of clutter needs to be at a minimum. Uncluttered spaces have a natural calming effect as well as making an area seem more spacious. This is why using a lot of free standing lamps as the main source of lighting is a bad idea. It just adds more clutter to the room while eliminating open space.

Notice how most hotel bathrooms today have over sized counters with very little actually placed on them. This lack of clutter is a huge help to relaxation efforts. Chances are your guest will clutter the room themselves; there is no need for you to do this beforehand. Without enough room to spread out, it can be difficult for a guest to relax.

Gourmet Boutique, a quaint Boston gift shop in the heart of historic Back Bay steps from Boston Public Library and Trinity Church is a true gourmet voyage. An unparalleled selection of sweets fill floor to ceiling display. maxims chocolate Calissons de Aix en Provence, Guerande salt butter caramels, nougats de Montelimar and pate de fruit are staple French sweets. Maxim's de Paris offers an extensive range of these delights taking you on a sweet journey across France.
A Ferr’agosto..a Plum Cheesecake to Remember

2015 copyright Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

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This year’s   Ferragosto  was spent home  staycation style..but staycations sometimes turn out to be the best kind of Holiday..especial;ly if you spend it with someone special doing things you love… Let’s see….so Ferragosto 2015 went down like this.. Alfonso and I spent the early morning hours picking fresh plums at the farm and making marmalade till our fingers turned purple…afternoon..a Pranzo di Ferragosto of Melanzana Parmigiana made with freshly picked Eggplants.. and freshly picked grilled veggies-mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini..all grilled on branches of freshly picked rosemary…watermelon everywhere to keep cool and refreshed..and a plum cheesecake for dessert…..evening meal was corn on the cob grilled and bruschetta topped with shaved pecorino cheese eaten alfresco..dessert was a walk in the piazza and a gelato at our favorite gelato bar..and to end the night a televised performance of one of Pino Daniele’s last performances on Sogno Son Desto with Massino Ranieri…wow..I didn’t realize we could fit so much into one relaxing day! So many tastes and memories for one long day..that was too short!

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Just a glimpse of a morning  full of plum picking turning into 20 jars of plum preserves!

 

Here is  snippet in a recipe of my Ferragosto 2105 staycation

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Plum Cheesecake

2- 8 ounce packages of reduced fat or regular cream cheese

1-4 ounce container of plain greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

zest  and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

10-14 dessert type biscuits

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter melted

1/4 cup plum preserves or marmalade

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cream  cheese, Greek yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla in a bowl and beat till creamy, then add in lemon zest and juice. Crush cookies/biscuits and add in melted butter till moist. Cover cheesecake pan with baking paper and form a crust with crushed cookie/butter mixture. Pour in cheesecake mixture. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for approximately 50 minutes or until firm. Let cool, then place in refrigerator for 2 hours to become firm and serve. Spread plum preserves on top before serving.

 

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

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**Ever wanted to be a food blogger..Join me for my course-Food Blogging 101 at Bucks County Community College in Newtown Pa in September, go here for more info http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/598713/food-blogging-101 or just email us at [email protected]

 

*October 16-18th Join me at the Valley Forge Casino for Taste of Philly Show..where I will be cooking onstage and doing book signings throughout the weekend..For more info email [email protected]

 

**

Plum Amaretti Muffins and a Plum Filled Farm

copyright 2015 Maria Liberati/Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc

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Spending our summer  holiday with the plums that are over abundantly filling our little farm this year. But who can complain, these plums appear every few years and the weather apparently agreed with them this year..picking and preserving the little golden gems now!

Besides  plum preserves and marmalade…. here is another way to enjoy the plums for breakfast with these muffins….of course with a cappuccino

Plum Amaretti Muffins

1 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

2 eggs

12 fresh plums

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

grated peel of 1 lemon

8 amaretti cookies crushed

Cut plums into cubes.Crush amaretti cookies, set aside.  Cream butter with sugar, then add in flour and baking powder that has been sifted, a little at a time. Then add in milk, blending a little in at a time, then add in vanilla and lemon peel. Stir in plum pieces. Butter and flour muffin tins or use paper muffin cups. Sprinkle bottom of muffin tins or cups with a tsp of crushed amaretti cookies, pour in muffin batter till 3/4 fill. Sprinkle tops with crushed amaretti. Bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes.

 

For more recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions

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Food Blogging 101- Did you ever dream of being a Food Blogger.. Join me in September and October if you are in the suburban Philadelphia area as I will be guest lecturer for Food Blogging 101- a 3 session course on all the basics of becoming a Food Blogger. Contact the Continuing Education Departments at Bucks County Community College in Newtown and/or Delaware Valley University in Doylestown for dates, times and registration info, or email us at [email protected]

Tramezzini.. and Ferragosto

 

 

Trying to enjoy this last month of summer for 2015..it is hot, and sunny  here in the mountains of Abruzzo…and this month  includes lots of trips to the beach, the park, the mountains and anywhere eating alfresco is possible..here is a recipe for one of my favorite portable sandwiches for any impromptu picnic… this week is a week long celebration of the last of hurrah of the summer of 2015..culminating on August 15th..known as Ferragosto

Tramezzini are delicious finger appetizers, known all over the world. They can be described as elegant flavorful finger sandwiches that can be adapted for almost any occasion: for an outside picnic, for a simple snack, for an elegant buffet or an afternoon tea and for a quick meal. They are easy to prepare and you can fill them with many different ingredients, the flavor combinations are endless! That is one reason that almost everyone, including children love them.

The simplest version is to prepare a filling of prosciutto, cheese, tomato, lettuce but you can take away or add ingredients as you like.

Tramezzini al Prosciutto

8 thin slices Swiss cheese

8 lettuce leaves-romaine or spring mix or baby spinach

3 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tomatoes

8 thin slices of prosciutto

3 tablespoons of sliced black sliced olives

8 slices of American style bread, crusts removed

Prepare the ingredients by washing and drying the lettuce, and tomatoes. Separate the lettuce leaves. Slice tomatoes. Set aside. Slice black olives. Prepare 4 sets of sandwiches by first cutting off crusts of bread. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Begin by layering ingredients on 4 slices this way. First a slice of prosciutto, then 2 lettuce leaves for each sandwich, then tomato slices, another layer of prosciutto, slice of cheese, sliced black olives. Top with slice of bread, mayonnaise side down. Wrap tramezzini in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Then slice sandwich in half first in triangular shape then cut that into half , so you then have 4 triangle shaped sandwiches.

 

Text copyright 2015 Art of Living.PrimaMedia,inc/Maria Liberati

For more recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions

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If you have ever wanted to be a food blogger, and i nthe Suburban Pennsylvania area in Sept and October .. I will be guest lecturer for Food Blogging 101 at Bucks County Community College in Newtown Pa and Delaware Valley University in Doylestown Pa.Join me in this fun 3 session course and learn the ropes of being a food blogger! Contact the Continuing Education Department at either school.

*See you at Valley Forge Casino in October for the Philadelphia Food and Spirits Show, for further info or sponsorship opps for my booth and /or stage appearance email us at [email protected]

 

Terme Beach Resort, Ravenna Italy…

copyright 2015 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

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If you have not had a chance to enjoy a summer vacation yet..what are you waiting for summer is almost over…if you are looking for beach, activities, health and wellness, spa, great food, Italy all combined in one then the perfect choice is Terme Beach Resort in Ravenna, Italy..in the heart of  (what is known as wellness valley)…Healthy eating abounds nearby and while you are taking in the sights and the health benefits of the spa’s thermal Terme Beach resort waters you can also enjoy fun activities like bicycling. going to the beach, sightseeing in the heart of Ravenna..

Terme Beach Resort has many spa services that contain the thermal waters there..the water is known to have extremely beneficial effects because of its’ high levels of minerals, and known to be very therapeutic…. so whether it is just for relaxing, or a catching up on beauty treatments or healthy rejuvenation and a wellness vacation you will find it all at  Terme Beach Resort.

And don’t forget the rest of the family, with so much to do there..you will want to bring them along for the beach, bicycling, culinary delights!

After working hard on my upcoming PBS TV show and book appearances I needed a rest and my stay at Terme Beach Resort was all I needed to get me up and running again..and I have to include a special mention for the healthy,local, delicious food I experienced at Terme Beach Resort for the morning Brunch but also the surrounding area.

Ristorante  Molinetto is definitely on my list for my next visit to Ravenna. If you are looking for local. seasonal, tasty..this is the perfect choice. I forgot to mention ambiance..and presentation of the food…here is our yummy chocolate dessert

 

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Believe it or not, this was a sampling of vegetarian style Italian dishes, including carpaccio made from Seitan and ravioli made with tofu….

Ristorante Molinetto …for those of you that have been asking me if you can get vegetarian food in Italy-they are the answer but they also have non-vegetarian hearty, rustic, traditional Italian food also..

 

For more recipes get your copy of the award winning book

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions

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*** Want to be a Food Blogger??Have you ever dreamed about being a food blogger? I will be special guest lecturer for food blogging 101 at Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA in September and Delaware Valley University in Doylestown,PA in October. To register send an email to [email protected]  or contact the Continuing Ed departments at either school…Hope to see you there!

A Vintage Italian Summer

copyright 2015 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc

The traditional steamy hot days of August are here finally again, after a few summers of cool weather..the notoriously hot Italian August is her to stay this year!..my go to lunch today was an easy but oh so delicious

fagolini with limone insalata ( green beans and lemon salad)… the beans were fresh and locally grown and the lemons from (any other place) Amalfi Coast.

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So all you need to do is steam the beans till tender, add in freshly chopped garlic, juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and a handful of freshly chopped parsley leaves. Let marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. Serve with crispy bread and a slice of artisan cheese and you have an easy light dinner to eat al fresco..

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see my appearance and my booth at the Atlantic CIty Food and Wine Show at the Claridge Hotel last weekend, look forward to seeing you at the Valley Forge Casino event in October!

For more recipes and stories of culinary travel throughout Italy, get your copy of

the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions

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Save a Piece of Summer With Freezer Jams!! See you in Atlantic City

 

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Few pleasures compare to sinking your teeth into a slice of fresh, succulent fruit.   once summer has shown its’ last glimmer , the fresh sweet fruit will be gone…  Whether you are one of the many berry lovers who inundate strawberry fields in the spring or you delight in crowding your kitchen with baskets of raspberries, peaches and blueberries from the farmer’s market, you know that aside from gobbling down these sweet treats, preserving them quickly becomes a priority.

Historically, jams and jellies have become an ideal way to stretch out the fruit season into the rest of the year. The process is a rather large undertaking: boiling jars, cooking the fruit, adding the pectin—and sugar; lots and lots of sugar. But traditional jam-making is not the only option anymore.

Freezers now add another possibility for fruit preservation. Freezer jam, for example, is becoming increasingly popular. Like traditional jam, it can be prepared using berries, apples, oranges, pears, peaches, and an unlimited combination of tasty treats. But best of all, freezer jam benefits our health, the environment and our taste buds.

One way in which freezer jam is unique is that the fruit is not cooked. The fruit retains its bright color, its many nutrients and, most importantly, its fresh flavor. The ratio of fruit to sugar in traditional jam is often 1:1. When making freezer jam, only about a third of the sugar is necessary.

Unlike jars used for traditional preserves, freezer jam can be stored in clean plastic containers or jars of any kind. They don’t even need to be boiled first, cutting out one time-consuming step right there. And if you have kids that need to be put to work, don’t forget that jam-making can be a family affair. Most freezer jam recipes call for finely chopping or crushing the fruit. Who loves squishing slimy peeled peaches or juicy berries more than kids? (Supervision of pre-squishing-hand-washing is highly recommended.)

Making freezer jam isn’t quite as much fuss as you might think. From fruit preparation to the freezer, it can take less than an hour. However, if you are plunging into jam-making mode, one key piece of advice: be sure to have some fresh bread or a luscious croissant close by, for once the jars are filled, your melt-in-your-mouth creation is ready to savor!

*Saturday July 24th and July 25th Claridge Hotel-Atlantic City Food and Wine Show at the Claridge Hotel-Hope to see you at the at the show..it gets bigger and better every year..I will be onstae on Saturday at 1:45 and doing book signings and sampling all weekend in the Grand Market..see you there..for more info email [email protected]

Get more recipes and  culinary  travel stories in the award winning book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking

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Steps To Becoming a Sommelier

Let's face it - your love of wines has brought you here. You've probably acted as an amateur wine taster (as the laymen like to put it) at family reunions or parties among close friends. Perhaps you were recently impressed by an exquisite wine that you ordered at a fancy restaurant. Alternatively, you were inspired by someone who knows everything about wines and can go on and on about weird terms like palate, aeration, minerality, texture, complex or terroir.

No matter what brought you to this wonderful profession, you enjoy wine and know how to appreciate its cultural and culinary importance. Although becoming a good sommelier takes as many as ten years of practice and constant study, you can quickly master the basics of wine tasting by following these steps.

  1. Know how to enjoy and appreciate every glass of wine, bad or good

Up until now you probably never given much attention to what wine you are drinking. For most people, possibly even for you, a glass of wine was just a good alcoholic drink that goes great with the prime rib steak. Although common, this perception should change, and your first step is to assess and study every glass of wine that you have from now on.

  • Make a professional assessment of the wine: know some of the primary aromas that are found in wines (vanilla, clove, oak) and connect them with the more conventional wines. For instance, you should try to detect the delicate vanilla and clove aroma in a Pinot Noir, and the slight flavor of oak in a vintage wine.
  • Expand your knowledge on different wines and wine-producing regions of the world: everyone knows about French and Italian wines, but you should delve even deeper and read about the particular wine producing areas in these countries. Get to know what wines these regions make, which are some of the best grapes, and a short historical background on each of them
  • Experiment with different wines and try to enjoy every wine that you can. Also, get comfortable with the wine etiquette – pouring and serving wine is an art in itself, and every sommelier should know the basics.
  1. Try to find work in the wine industry

If you do not already have a job in the restaurant or hotel industry, this is your best chance of getting one. You could also look into retail outlets that focus on wines such as Shop Rite Wine. Your recently acquired knowledge will impress some restaurant managers, and you might get lucky and land a job that will get you closer to the wine cellar.

You should apply to wine-focused restaurants, wine bars and cellars, wine tasting rooms or any catering business that has a focus on wines. Usually, these companies already have an experienced sommelier in their team, and you will have the opportunity to learn from already established professionals. As many experts suggest, the sommelier profession is mostly learned while working under an experienced mentor, through constant practice.

Keep in mind that a successful sommelier is always in contact with customers, and some establishments may even ask sommeliers to act as wine salesmen. You should always anticipate the needs of your customers, provide them with any information regarding the wines, behave politely at all times and be well-groomed, squeaky clean, and dressed appropriately.

  1. Getting the sommelier certificate

Sommeliers do not have to be certified, but it helps to get a valid diploma that guarantees and acknowledges your hard-earned qualification. You will have a better chance of getting the job you want, and you will gain more respect inside the extremely competitive wine industry. Although many world-renowned sommeliers do not have any diploma that certifies their qualification, it is a bonus that you should exploit.

Flaviu Mircea is an amateur wine taster who has learned to appreciate the finer points of the beverage, and is working his way up to be a titled Sommelier himself. If you wish to learn more about him you can visit on Google+.

 

 

 

 

*Disclaimer-some posts are done in exchange for monetary compensation

An All American Snack for Celebrating!

Sometimes I only hope to make a good popcorn movie.”-Lou Diamond Phillips

Happy Independence Day and in honor of a true American snack food-Popcorn! Celebrating with a healthy true American snack food. Americans have been enthusiastically devouring bags since as early as the 1880’s..Celebrate your fourth with a bag of my favorite-G.H. Cretor’s Popcorn

Popcorn is an essentially healthy snack and they keep it that way, with so many flavors to choose from. My favorite way to enjoy them is on the plane..where it is difficult to find healthy food. I throw a bag of G.H. Cretor’s Popcorn in my carry on and have something to snack on while whiling away the 9 or so hours on the plane  enjoying a movie while flying back and forth to Italy to film my new PBS TV Series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: some posts are compensated with product or monetary compensation.  Posting about a product is not an endorsement of a product by Maria Liberati, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm, Art of Living,PrimaMedia, Inc.

 

 

 

 

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