January 14, 2012

i'll feel better tomorrow...

This is how I feel today...
but I'll be back tomorrow 
with a post about the 

Golden Globes Red Carpet fashion!

ciao! fabiana

{photo of Carole Lombard}

January 13, 2012

celebrity living rooms part 2

another quiz...
1.  a. Campbell Brown  b. Erica Hill  c. Meredith Vieira
2.  a. Madonna  b. Britney Spears  c. Cher

3.  a.Dennis Quaid  b. Tom Hanks  c.Steven Spielberg
4. a. Eminem   b. Kid Rock  c. Tommy Lee
5.  a. Jennifer Aniston  b. Matthew Perry  c. Lisa Kudrow
6.  a. Bono  b. Sting  c. Prince
7.  a. George Michael  b. Elton John  c. Usher
8.  a. Kate Spade  b. Vera Wang  c. Cynthia Rowley
9.  a. Jack Nicholson  b. Goldie Hawn  c. Diane Keaton
10. a. Sharon Osbourne  b. Paula Abdul  c. Jennifer Lopez

11.  a. Shia LaBeouf  b. Johnny Depp  c. Gerard Butler 
12.  a. Rob Lowe  b. Tom Cruise  c. Keanu Reeves

How well did you do 
and which one's your favorite?

If you're ready to take another quiz, 

check out my post of 
 Celebrity Living Rooms part 1

ciao! fabiana

answers:  1a, 2c, 3a, 4b, 5a, 6b, 7b, 8a, 9c, 10a, 11c, 12a.

January 12, 2012

color inspiration...black & white

Black and white is such a classic combination.  Whether it's stripes, zebra, chevron, damask or just plain solids, black and white can be breathtaking, when it's put together perfectly.  

This combo looks especially captivating when paired with bright red, chartreuse, turquoise or hot pink. Here are some of my favorite looks from pinterest.

ciao! fabiana

dandelion greens and more

One of my favorite memories from when I was little, was adventuring around in my back yard with my favorite cat during the summer. Those lazy days were spent picking rhubarb from our neighbor’s garden, climbing the big willow tree, and my most vivid memory, waking up to a yard full of yellow dandelion flowers.

They were so beautiful, and a few days later we were in wish heaven, blowing wishes all afternoon long with the magical little white puffballs. Little did we know that we were propagating the next crop of dandelions.

My Nonna would come over often, and I would watch her with confusion at first, as she uprooted every dandelion plant with a sharp kitchen knife. And, I will never forget the excitement she had with harvesting her huge crop. At that point, I understood what her intentions were, DINNER!

I remember her taking them inside, cleaning them, and   later boiling the bitter herbs to serve to the family. I don't think I ever tasted them back then, and if I did, I know I would have hated the taste. 

The nutritional value of dandelion, or "cicoria" as she called it, is outstanding. And it's no wonder that my Nonna lived to be a few months shy of 100 years. She had an incredible, innate health sense.

Here are some USRDA facts  for raw dandelion: 112% Vitamin A, 32% Vitamin C, 10% Calcium, 9% Iron, and 535% Vitamin K, with only 25 calories per serving.

I prefer my dandelion cooked, and the Food Network has quite a few interesting recipes such as Dandelion Green Gumbo, Garlic-Braised Dandelion Greens with White Bean Puree and Crispy Pancetta, and Warm Artichokes and Bacon over Dandelion Greens. 

DAndelion Greens and Andouille

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray 
  • 1 pound dandelion greens
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 to 1 pound andouille sausage, chopped or crumbled, parcooked or fresh
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons cider or wine vinegar
  • Sprinkle sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated


Heat a pan with a few inches water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, season with salt, to taste, and add the bitter greens. Cook for a few minutes, then drain and reserve.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the andouille. Brown the crumbles or the chopped cooked sausage, then add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and add the bitter greens. Heat through for a few minutes, then douse with vinegar, and season with sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Traditional Medicinals makes a line of herbal teas, and one of my favorites is PMS Tea. I have been drinking this periodically for about 15 years, and it's only ingredient is dandelion root. When all else fails, PMS Tea is a blessing!  The taste is not really that terrific, but it works!

Native American groups, Chinese and Arabian cultures, the Welsh and other Europeans have used Dandelion for medicinal and health reasons for centuries. Our culture even has recipes for dandelion wine, made with the flowers.

The name is derived from the French Dent-de-Leon or from the   Latin words dens leonis, which both mean Lion's tooth or teeth, referring to the sharp looking little petals.  Any which way you look at it, a dandelion still makes me happy.  : ) 

ciao! fabiana

my three favorite cooking shows

Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel

Extra Virgin is a sassy, fun show starring actress Debi Mazar and her husband, Gabriele Corcos who are a quirky combination of New York and Italian cultures. I love their energy and their love for each other and food. I've been a fan of Debi's for years, and Gabriele compliments her style so well. 

They cook simple Tuscan foods like pizza, biscotti, panzanella, bolognese sauce, pesto, roast chicken and tiramisu.  Their recipes are all natural and pretty easy to make. Don't have a pizza oven? Try cranking up your oven to 500 and cooking a fresh pizza.  I buy pizza dough at my local pizzeria, Massimo's. You won't be disappointed. 

Even if you don't cook, they are fun to watch, and who knows, they might inspire you to make a little bruschetta.  

Recipe courtesy Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar
Prep Time: 40 min, Inactive Prep Time: 3 hr 0 min


  • 3 cups brewed coffee, cooled
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
  • 4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
  • 2 shots rum or Italian Marsala, optional
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish
  • Special equipment: Moka coffee pot that serves 12 (3 cups coffee)


First prepare the coffee using a Moka machine big enough to serve 12 (about 3 cups) pour it in a bowl and allow to cool off, add 2 tablespoons sugar or sweeten to taste.

Mix the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and mix until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg mixture and continue to mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture. Stir in the rum, if using.

Dip the savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers) in the coffee, and one by one lay them flat into a 7 by 11 pyrex tray, making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness. Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.

Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.

Serves 8
Cook's Note: Because you are working with raw eggs, it is mandatory that you use the freshest product you can find. Organic, free-range eggs are good enough, unless you have a neighbor with a chicken coup...in that case, get his!

Test the eggs by putting them in a bowl of water: if they fall to the bottom they are fresh and safe, if they come afloat they are ready to be tossed!  *RAW EGG WARNING


David Rocco's Dolce Vita on the Cooking Channel

David Rocco's show is set in Florence, Italy, which I love because every episode features a romantic snippet of Italian life.   He also travels to other regions and cooks up simple magic from their local traditions and foods. 

His food is simple, healthy and rustic.  Some of the recipes I've tried include the Caprese Salad, Grilled Radicchio, Mussels alla "my way", and Pumpkin Soup.  New recipes I'm dying to try are Pizza Pasta, made from left-over spaghetti, and Zia Orsola's Spinach Risotto.

One of the things I love about this type of cooking is that Italians are resourceful.  They use leftover bread to make meatballs, panzanella or bread pudding.  And they use leftover spaghetti to make a Pizza Pasta.  All you need to do is add eggs and parmesean cheese.  It's simple and brilliant!  Here's the recipe:

Pizza Pasta
Cook Time: 5 min Level: Easy Serves: 4 servings


  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2/3 pound leftover spaghetti with sauce
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


In a bowl, beat eggs with freshly grated cheese before tossing with leftover spaghetti. Make sure the spaghetti is fully covered with the egg. Add a dash or two of salt, to taste, noting that the leftover spaghetti is already seasoned with salt.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. To test oil temperature, drop a piece of spaghetti into the pan. If it sizzles upon contact, the oil is ready.
Pour the spaghetti mixture into the pan and flatten it out like a pancake. Fry for 2 minutes on high heat, or until golden brown.
To flip the pasta, cover the pan with a plate larger than the pan, and hold it covered. Flip the pan and plate together to transfer.


Two Fat Ladies on the Cooking Channel

Warning!  These "ladies" can be annoying to some, but I find them quite endearing.  My seven year old son and I love watching them together.  You can't ask for anything better than that!  So, now on to Clarissa and Jennifer (the one with the glasses). These two chubby British gals just know how to cook. 

They start and end every show arriving and departing on their vintage motor-cycle and side car. They smoke and joke, and it's fun to watch.  Their cooking style reminds me of Italian cooks in that their meals are usually simple and rustic, and they use fresh ingredients. 

They cook things like Coq au Vin, Welsh Lamb Pie, Tomato Summer Pudding and Stuffed Artichokes (recipe below).  It's comfort food British style.  The shows airing on the Cooking Channel are reruns.  Jennifer died in 1999, but their show doesn't seem dated and the food is still enticing .  

If you google their names and read their bios, you'll find they have lived very bawdy, interesting lives.  They've even been parodied on Saturday Night Live by Brendan Fraser and  Darryl Hammond!  Hysterical!

Stuffed Artichokes

Recipe courtesy Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright
Prep Time: 30 min  Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min  
  • 6 large globe artichokes
  • 3 ounces fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, cut in half
  • 2 ounces black olives, stoned and chopped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 pint (1/2 cup) white wine


Remove the large outside leaves from the artichokes. Cut 1-inch off the top of the remaining leaves and scoop out the choke from the center of the artichoke.

Make the stuffing by mixing together the bread crumbs, onion, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, capers, olives, and salt and pepper to taste.and fill the center of the artichokes.

Cover the bottom of a heavy casserole, large enough to hold the artichokes comfortably, with olive oil. Heat until it is warm, then add the artichokes. Pour over the white wine, cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour.

Yield: 6 servings
ciao! fabiana


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