October 4, 2016

rogers gardens: halloween 2016

I know it’s only October 4th, but for all you So Cal locals, I want to remind you to get over to Roger’s Gardens soon and check out their Halloween display before all items and props are sold out. 

This year’s gothic “Grimm Tales” is absolutely my favorite Halloween display that Roger’s has done in the past few years. 

The unique rooms feature Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel and Sleeping Beauty. Furniture and props were used from movie industry to create an eerie, magical vibe.

As you enter, you'll see fluttering book pages 
that come alive with the words and stories of Grimm Tales! 

Be prepared to enter the magical world of  these fairy tales!

The bookcase decor practically jumps out at you! 

Orange pumpkins delight, as Cinderella awaits her carriage.

Here's Cinderella, lost in the forest and
surrounded by magical monarch butterflies.

It's midnight, and she's lost her glass slipper.

In the next room, the big bad wolf awaits...

Little Red Riding Hood and her basket of goodies.

“The forest is dark and enchanted…branches creak and leaves rustle as trees close in, obscuring the path home. Wander deep into the shadows and you’ll find frightful folklores, fantastical stories and chilling tales. These bedtime stories will give you nightmares, and you’ll discover that not all fairy tales end happily-ever-after.” --Roger's Gardens 

There are no dwarfs here to save 
Snow White from the poison in her apple.

Are you inspired yet? 

There's so much more to see!

Elegant and spooky!

Roger's Gardens is always so fun during all the holidays,
and they really go all out at Halloween!

ciao! fabiana

October 3, 2016

sophia loren's stuffed mushrooms

Sophia Loren, the icon of Italian beauty and culture, can cook too! There are lots of Sophia cookbooks out there, but this recipe (found from an old newspaper clipping) caught my attention this weekend.

This is an elegant recipe for mushrooms stuffed with chopped shrimp and other fresh ingredients. I use freshly made bread crumbs, the way the Italians do, and it makes a huge difference! 

I remember helping my Nonna make stuffed artichokes and stuffed peppers, and we always crumbled our own bread crumbs from fresh Italian bread. 

Slice the bread, trim off crust, and crumble with your hands. I was her sous chef when we were together, and I learned a lot from her. The stuffing turns out crispy, but not dry. 

Once you add all the ingredients together for the stuffing mixture, use your hands to gently incorporate the filling. (I couldn’t help adding a drizzle of olive oil to the mixture.) 

When filling the mushrooms do not pack them tightly. Keep it light. Bake and enjoy and let me know if you try the recipe! It’s perfect for the family, or a gathering with friends.     


Here’s how I prepared them:

Sophia Loren’s Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb.      mushrooms , stems removed
½ cup   fresh breadcrumbs (2-3 slices Italian bread)
½ lb.     chopped raw shrimp (cleaned & deveined)
2 tbsp.  chopped green onions
3 tbsp.  chopped  pimientos (or fresh red pepper)
3 tbsp.  minced celery
1                     clove minced garlic (or 2)
2 tbsp   chopped parsley (plus a little extra for topping)
1 dash   Worchestershire sauce (1 dash or two)
add        salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and prepare mushroom caps. I used medium – large cremini mushrooms. When you remove stems scoop out enough room to hold the filling. 

To make fresh bread crumbs, like my grandmother used to, use fresh Italian bread. Use a few slices, remove crusts and crumble in a bowl. Rub between hands to get a fine texture. 

Mix all ingredients, except mushrooms, in a bowl. Fill caps with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until tops are crispy. Top with fresh chopped parsley.
Serves 4-6.

Next time, I will share Sophia’s recipe for 

Pizza alla Napoletana!

ciao! fabiana


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