“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Una nuova vita in Guardia Sanframondi, Italia


Se mi avresti detto quattro anni fa che avrei proprio una casa in Italia, mai ti avrei creduto. Fortunatamente per me, che è come la mia storia ha rivelato. In un modo strano, mi sono ricordato di questo a causa di un abito...

Era solo quattro anni fa, quando prima ho viaggiato in Italia con mia madre a partecipare a un festival dell'Opera il resort stupenda isola d'Ischia, appena fuori della costa di Napoli. So che è un cliché, ma mi sono innamorato con l'Italia. Mi sono innamorato con la bellezza, la gente, la storia, lo stile di vita, il cibo; le cose semplici. Qualcosa di piccolo come una passeggiata al mercato giornaliero per alcuni pomodori freschi è diventato qualcosa che ho atteso con impazienza di tutti i giorni. Ho deciso quindi che sarebbe necessario tornare in Italia come spesso come ho potuto, ma ho solo bisogno di capire un piano.

Poco dopo essere tornato a New York dopo un mese in Ischia, io non era lo stesso. Ho lasciato un pezzo di me lì e ha iniziato a vedere tutto in modo diverso. Non ho più sentito a casa e ci siamo sentiti come un estraneo nella città che avevo conosciuto da quando sono nato. È stata una sensazione molto strana e non era abbastanza sicuri di cosa fare fuori di esso. Ogni giorno, ho pensato a Ischia, non ho potuto ottenere fuori della mia mente. Non ho potuto ottenere la bellezza dello stile di vita fuori dalla mia testa. La mia routine in Ischia era così rilassante; sveglia, avere un cornetto e un frappe in città, andare al mercato, hanno la mia mattina voce classi, un bellissimo pranzo del balcone con mozzarella fresca, pomodori, fagioli, pane e noci, prendere un breve sonnellino, nuotata, doccia, corsi serali o prestazioni, una grande passeggiata attraverso la città o dall'acqua, cena (a volte con gli amici), gelateria, un altro a piedi e letto. Era uno stile di vita che non avevo mai sperimentato. Venendo da New York, tutto è così veloce, non hai mai un attimo di respiro, è sempre lavorare lavorare lavorare, che cosa posso fare per fare soldi, come posso farlo, ma farlo più velocemente. Non c'è mai un momento di pace e mi sono reso conto dopo vivendo tale beatitudine, non ho più voluto la vita che avevo a New York e che incluso fare una transizione da opera ad una passione che ho avuto da quando ero piccola... cucina.

Avevo iniziato a studiare canto privatamente quando avevo solo 11 e ha avuto successo in età molto giovane, quando all'età di 17 anni sono stato invitato dal Metropolitan opere che portano il tenore Marcello Giordani a cantare come solista al concerto inaugurale per la sua nuova fondazione. Dopo anni di studio vigoroso, ho iniziato a perdere l'amore che ho avuto una volta per il canto e solo voglia di cantare per divertimento; Forse con alcuni amici fuori a cena o per una serata casuale in una grande piazza tranquilla in Italia (io riesco a quello in un altro post.) La routine di diventare un cantante non era più attraente per me e ho sentito che non era una misura per la mia personalità. Ho anche sentito che non mi ha permesso di esprimere la mia creatività in modo ritenuto naturale per me.
Da quel primo viaggio in Italia nel 2011, ho viaggiato in Italia nell'autunno del 2012 e 2013 (l'anno che ho studiato di cucina a Firenze) e l'anno che è stata veramente un punto di svolta, 2014.
L'anno 2014 è stato un grande anno per me, che avevo completamente fatto la transizione a tempo pieno di cucina. Nel 2012, avevo iniziato a scrivere un blog di cucina/stile di vita, La Cucina Della primadonna e da che avevo stato contattato per sviluppare le ricette e contribuire a vari libri di cucina. Ospitare cene a tema; come Alice nel paese delle meraviglie Tea Party o una cena di Carnevale veneziano e fornire servizi per eventi aziendali e lavorare con agenzie di pubblicità e pubbliche relazioni. Posso essere me stesso, pianificare il mio programma e ciò che più amo è che nessun due giorni sono gli stessi. Sempre sto progettando nuovi menu per eventi diversi, lo shopping per la nuova funzione, testare nuove ricette, è eccitante e dopo la routine dell'opera, eccitazione è esattamente quello che avevo voglia. Ho sempre amato cucinare, in realtà, più spesso, quando ero alle prove o lezioni, stavo pensando, casa e cottura. E quando vuoi andare a casa e cuocere, vorrei portare il cibo alle mie lezioni per i miei insegnanti o ai colleghi.

Così, torna a perché 2014 è stato l'anno che ha cambiato tutto. Io e mia madre avevamo fatto dei piani per tornare in Italia per alcuni mesi in modo che ho potuto fare qualche lavoro a Firenze e iniziare a stabilire lì con l'intenzione di stabilirsi alla fine lì a tempo pieno. Tutto ciò che avevamo impostato. Avevamo un appartamento affittato, avevo lavoro e interviste, esso è stato piallato tutto. Ma un giorno, mia madre stava guardando House Hunters International. Fu un episodio che ha avuto luogo in una città che non avevo mai sentito parlare di, chiamato Guardia Sanframondi.

E ' stato bellissimo, unico, fuori dal sentiero battuto e i prezzi delle case sono state completamente nel mio budget. Non avevo mai pensato di comprare una casa in Italia perché presumevo che mai potessi permettermelo. Ho pensato che vorrei affittare un piccolo appartamento a Firenze e che sarebbe bene. Ma una volta che mia madre ha visto questo, abbiamo avuto i nostri cuori impostato su esplorare questa pittoresca città medievale. Abbiamo tagliato corto una settimana a Firenze così che potessimo viaggiare a Guardia e iniziare la caccia casa. Eravamo solo in Guardia per sei giorni e ha lasciato per andare a Firenze. Abbiamo lasciato senza una casa, ma siamo partiti con molto più di quanto abbiamo immaginato che ci sarebbe. Abbiamo lasciato realizzando che abbiamo dovuto tornare indietro e trovare una casa lì. Ci siamo innamorati con Guardia. La gente, la città, le montagne, i panorami, l'aria, lo stile di vita, tutto. Questa è stata una città dove la gente ha detto "buongiorno" a vicenda semplicemente camminando per le strade. Dopo aver incontrato qualcuno una volta, avrebbero honk a voi e onda e offrire a darti un passaggio. I vicini lascerebbe frutta fresca ed erbe alla tua porta. Questa è stata una vera e propria comunità. Venendo da New York, questo era qualcosa che non avevo mai sperimentato. Una volta arrivati a Firenze dopo quelle belle giornate sei in Guardia, ci siamo sentiti come shock culturale. Io amo Florence, ma dopo aver vissuto in una comunità italiana, sapevo che era quello che volevo. Ancora una volta, abbiamo tagliato il nostro tempo a Firenze breve e restituito a Guardia per tre settimane per continuare la nostra ricerca. Poi ho trovato quello...

 
Storia divertente, il nostro ultimo giorno in Guardia durante quella prima settimana, dovevamo per vedere la casa che ho finito per comprare, ma a causa di qualche confusione con la lingua e non capire che ora e dove, non abbiamo mai visto la casa. Questo mi ha fatto pensare che questa casa era destinata a me.
 

Così, all'inizio della mia storia ho parlato di un vestito. Ho indossato prima quel vestito a Ischia solo quattro anni fa e questa mattina, ho messo quel vestito, levato in piedi sul mio balcone e poi ha preso la mia passeggiata in città al mercato. Mi ha ricordato quanto può cambiare. I miei capelli sono più brevi, il vestito è lo stesso, ma è cresciuto solo del mio amore e la passione per l'Italia.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ora qui in Guardia per l'estate, avro' la mia casa pronta e prendendo tempo per rilassarsi e apprezzare tutto. Quando vado a casa mia mi fermo e guardare le montagne. Guardo una farfalla che si siede sui fiori. Vedo la stessa bella donna anziana a piedi su per le colline ogni giorno con la sua canna. Vedo due amici che parlano a vicenda da attraverso le strade sui loro balconi. Vedo la bellezza e la magia. Ho avuto così tanti "mi pizzichi" momenti, che non riesco a credere che questo è tutto vero. Vedo che cosa può accadere se si imposta il tuo cuore su qualcosa. La vita è breve e dobbiamo fare il più possibile mentre noi siamo qui. Se non siete felici con qualcosa, spetta a voi per cambiarlo. Vita può essere un sogno se è trasformarlo in una realtà e per mia fortuna, ho trovato quel sogno.

A New Life in Guardia Sanframondi, Italy


If you would have told me four years ago that I would own a house in Italy, I never would have believed you. Lucky for me, that is how my story has turned out. In a strange way, I was reminded of this because of a dress….

It was only four years ago when I first traveled to Italy with my mother to participate in an Opera festival on the gorgeous resort island of Ischia, just off the coast of Naples. I know it is a cliché, but I fell in love with Italy. I fell in love with the beauty, the people, the history, the lifestyle, the food; the simple things. Something as small as taking a walk to the daily market for some fresh tomatoes became something that I looked forward to everyday. I decided then that I would need to get back to Italy as often as I could, but I just needed to figure out a plan.

Soon after returning to NYC after a month in Ischia, I was not the same. I left a piece of myself there and started to see everything differently. I no longer felt at home and felt like a stranger in the city that I had known since I was born. It was a very odd feeling and I was not quite sure what to make off it. Every day, I thought about Ischia, I could not get it out of my mind. I could not get the beauty of the lifestyle out of my head. My routine in Ischia was so relaxing; wake up, have a cornetto and a frappe in town, go to the market, have my morning voice classes, a beautiful lunch of the balcony with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, beans, bread and nuts, take a brief nap, swim, shower, evening classes or performances, a big walk through the town or by the water, dinner (sometimes with friends), gelato, another walk and bed. It was a lifestyle I had never experienced. Coming from NYC, everything is so fast paced, you never have a minute to breath, it is always work work work, what can I do to make money, how can I do this but do it faster. There is never a moment of peace and I realized after experiencing such bliss, I no longer wanted the life I had in NYC and that included making a transition from opera to a passion I have had since I was little…cooking.

I had started studying voice privately when I was only 11 and had success at a very young age, when at 17 years old I was invited by the Metropolitan Operas leading tenor, Marcello Giordani to sing as a soloist at the inaugural concert for his new foundation. After years of vigorous study, I started to lose the love that I once had for singing and only want to sing for fun; maybe with some friends out to dinner or on a random evening in a big quiet piazza in Italy (I’ll get to that in another post). The routine of being a singer was no longer appealing to me and I felt it no longer was a fit for my personality. I also felt that it no longer allowed me to express my creativity in a way that felt natural for me.

Since that first trip to Italy in 2011, I traveled to Italy in the fall of 2012 and 2013 (the year that I studied cooking in Florence) and the year that truly was a game changer, 2014.

The year 2014 was a big year for me, I had fully made the transition to cooking full time. In 2012, I had started writing a cooking/lifestyle blog, La Cucina Della Prima Donna and from that I had been contacted to develop recipes and contribute to various cookbooks. But in 2014, I started Magic & Pasta Events. With Magic & Pasta Events the goal is for my clients to have a unique dining experience, either in the privacy of their own home or in a commercial kitchen/dining space. I host theme dinners; such as an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party or a Venetian Carnevale Dinner and provide services for corporate events and work with public relations and advertising agencies. I can be myself, plan my own schedule and what I love most is that no two days are the same. I am always planning new menus for different events, shopping for new function, testing new recipes, it is exciting and after the routine of opera, excitement is exactly what I had been craving. I had always loved cooking, in fact, more often than not, when I was at rehearsals or lessons, I was thinking about being home and baking. And when I would go home and bake, I would bring the food to my lessons for my teachers or to colleagues.

So, back to why 2014 was the year that changed it all. My mother and I had made plans to return to Italy for a few months so that I could do some work in Florence and start establishing myself there with the intention to eventually settle there full time. We had everything set. We had an apartment rented, I had work and interviews, it was all planed. But one day, my mother was watching House Hunters International. It was an episode that took place in a town I had never heard of, called Guardia Sanframondi.

It was beautiful, unique, off the beaten path and the prices for houses were completely in my budget. I had never thought about buying a house in Italy because I assumed I could never afford it. I figured I would rent a tiny apartment in Florence and that would be fine. But once my mother saw this, we had our hearts set on exploring this picturesque medieval town. We cut short a week in Florence so that we could travel to Guardia and start house hunting. We were only in Guardia for six days and left to go to Florence. We left without a house, but we left with much more than we imagined we would. We left realizing we had to go back and find a house there. We fell in love with Guardia. The people, the town, the mountains, the views, the air, the lifestyle, everything. This was a town where people said “buongiorno” to each other just walking on the streets. After meeting someone once, they would honk at you and wave and offer to give you a lift. Neighbors would leave fresh fruit and herbs at your door. This was a real community. Coming from NYC, this was something I had never experienced. Once we arrived in Florence after those beautiful six days in Guardia, it felt like culture shock. I love Florence, but after living in a real Italian community, I knew that that was what I wanted. Once again, we cut our time in Florence short and returned to Guardia for three weeks to continue our search. Then I found the one….

 
Funny story, on our last day in Guardia during that first week, we were supposed to see the house that I ended up buying, but due to some confusion with the language and not understanding what time and where, we never saw the house. This made me think that this house was meant for me.

So, at the beginning of my story I mentioned a dress. I first wore that dress in Ischia just four years ago and this morning, I put that dress on, stood on my balcony and then took my walk into town to market. It reminded me just how much can change. My hair is shorter, the dress is the same, but my love and passion for Italy has only grown.



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
I am now here in Guardia for the summer, getting my house ready and taking time to relax and appreciate everything. When I walk to my house I stop and look at the mountains. I look at a butterfly sitting on the flowers. I see the same beautiful old woman walking up the hills every day with her cane. I see two friends talking to each other from across the streets on their balconies. I see beauty and magic. I have had so many “pinch me” moments, that I cannot believe this is all real. I see what can happen if you set your heart on something. Life is short and we must make the most of it while we are here. If you are not happy with something, it is up to you to change it. Life can be a dream if you turn it into a reality and lucky for me, I have found that dream.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Salted Caramel Doughnuts with Roasted Pecans


Ciao tutti!! I know, I know. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted and I’ve missed you all. Life has been nuts. Between working and building up my brand, Magic &Pasta Events and trying to juggle a social life, I have been getting ready for the biggest decision of my life. You may remember that back in February I announced that I brought a house in Italy, in the beautiful town of Guardia Sanframondi. I am going to be leaving for Guardia at the end of the month and will be there until the middle of September, getting my house ready, starting renovations and I’ll be in the process of working on a HUGE project (more details in the next few months.) I am also planning on completely redoing La Cucina Della Prima Donna and making it more accessible and easier to search for recipes and including some travel tips, photos, etc. In the meantime, I would like to share with you my newest recipe…

Classic Yeast Doughnuts with Salted Caramel and Roasted Pecans
 

 
Yeast Doughnuts
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 packet of instant yeast
4 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk, warmed to 105 F- 115 F
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. pure maple extract
3 egg yolks
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
Vegetable oil, for frying (I prefer peanut oil)
 
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the warm milk, vanilla, maple and egg yolks. Mix till smooth. Add the whole wheat pastry flour and the butter and mix until incorporated. You can prepare this recipe with all bread flour, I just always prefer to bake with a  little whole wheat flour because I find it adds a light nuttiness to ever recipe and it makes your treats a little healthier. Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and smooth (it will be slightly sticky).
 
 
 
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft free place to rise for 1 hour. You can also refrigerate for up to 12 hours and have perfect dough just in time for breakfast. Lightly flour 2 baking sheets. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut with a floured doughnut cutter or biscuit cutter. Use the extra dough for doughnut holes, don't throw those babies out! Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheets and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise a second time until they are puffy and almost double in size, this should take 15-30 minutes. The doughnuts and ready when the dough springs back slowly after being touched with a fingertip (if it springs back too quickly, it needs more time, if it collapses, it has over proofed and you can reroll the dough and cut it once).
 
While the doughnuts rise, fill a large heavy bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil. Heat over medium high heat. As always with frying, please be very careful. Using a spatula, carefully lower a few doughnuts into the oil; do not overcrowd the pot. If you have too many doughnuts in the pot, not only will it take longer to fry, but the dough will absorb more of the oil and we don't want greasy doughnuts. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning a few times, until the doughnuts are a light golden brown and cooked though. Remove with a  slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel. Let them cool slightly before glazing. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes. Next step....the Salted Caramel. Cue Homer Simpson drool.
 
Salted Caramel
 
¾ cup cream

½ a vanilla bean, split length wise

½ cup sugar

2 tbsp. light corn syrup

4 tbsp. butter, chilled and cut into cubes

¼ tsp. kosher salt
 
Pour your cream in bowl, scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean. Add the whole bean and set aside.
 
Stir the sugar, corn syrup and 2 tbsp. cold water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high, boil, occasional swirling the pan, DO NOT STIR. Continue to cook for 5-6 minutes or until a deep amber color forms. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the vanilla cream. When I say gradual, I mean gradual, otherwise the sugar will seize up and you will have to re-melt it, so add the cream slowly. The mix will bubble, that is to be expected. Whisk over medium heat until smooth and thick, anywhere from 2-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter and salt. Stir until melted and smooth. Strain into a shallow bowl for dipping!!
 
 
 
Roasted Pecans
 
1 cup of crushed pecans
 
Toast your pecans on a pan in the oven. I prefer the low and slow approach when roasting nuts to decrease the odds of burning. I like my nuts slightly toasted, so toast on 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Every oven is different so please pay attention and don’t burn the nuts!! Place the nuts in a shallow bowl for dipping.
 
 
Assembling the doughnuts
 
Dip the doughnut in the caramel. Its okay, I like to double dip too!! Let the caramel set for at least 20 seconds and then dip in the nuts. Set on a wire rack. Dig in!! I enjoyed these last Saturday morning with a big glass of iced coffee on my terrace. Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A new dinner with Magic & Pasta in NYC, a new haircut and a new house in Italy....

Ciao a tutti!! Tutto bene?! It’s been too long! Last I posted I was exploring Florence and having the time of my life. What has happened since then? To put it more accurately, what HASN’T happened since then? I’ve gotten a haircut. I know that might not seem like a big deal to you but I have always grown my hair for years at a time, even cutting it for Locks of Love Twice. One day in Florence I looked at my hair, almost down to my shoulders and thought “it’s time for a change.” Thinking on it just one day, I marched into a saloon, translated best I could and ended up with a fabulous short, shaggy chin length bob. I figured with all of the big changes I was making in my life this just part of it. What do you think??



Next up was going back to Guardia Sanframondi. Remember I had mentioned I spent some time in a beautiful village in Campania before getting to Florence? Well, I loved it there so much, I actually cut my time in Florence short and returned to continue my journey. What did I do while I was there? Well, I made a ton of wonderful friends, ate some of the best food I’ve ever had and bought a house. Anyhow…..wait, what? A HOUSE, YOU SAY? That’s right. I BOUGHT MY VERY FIRST HOUSE IN ITALY!!!! As you can clearly see, Italy is very important to me. I am very proud of my Italian roots and have always wanted to be closer to what I feel is really my home. In fact, Guardia is just two hours from where my great-grandfather was born in Naples. I will be posting pictures and I will dedicate a whole post to the beauty of Guardia. I have never been anywhere like Guardia. It really is magical and I can’t wait to share this journey with you. Here is my new view...
 

I then returned to NYC and have been cooking regularly, doing private events with Magic & Pasta. Here are some of the dishes I have made for some dinners. In the order that they are shown are my "Caprese Salad" with parmigiana mousse, pesto gelatin and candied baby tomatoes, Polenta Fritti with Mushroom Onion Tapenade and Garlic Rosemary Chicken with Grilled Scallions over Parsnip Puree….
 




 
I actually am hosting one of my stylized ticketed dinners coming up on March 7th in NYC that I would love to invite you all too….”Aperitivo Italiano.” The menu will include small bites of Aperitivo Style dishes with my own twist, such as Rosemary Fried Chicken with Semolina Pancakes and Spicy Chestnut Honey and Herbed Parmigiana Polenta Bites with Speck. What to see the full menu for this delicious dinner? Then click here, you will also see ticket information. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to comment here or e-mail me at magicandpasta@hotmail.com Here are a few photos from one of my last dinners to give you an idea of the setting...





Until then my friends, I will be spending the day doing some prep in the kitchen and trying to stay warm!!! Ci vediamo!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Un Altro Day in the Life da Firenze

Another days look at my daily life here in bella Firenze. Ciao ciao per ora!
 
"A Day in the Life in Bella Firenze"
November 18th, 2014
 
Part 1- Walk by the Duomo and catch a rainbow after a morning shower. — at Piazza del Duomo.
 
 
Part 2-  Enjoy your daily cappuccino with a cornetto while people watching.
 
 
Part 3- Cross the Ponte Santa Trinita and arrive on
Via de' Tornabuoni to indulge in some window shopping.
— at Via De' Tornabuoni - Firenze.
 
 
Part 4- Eat at your favorite pizza spot, but actually try a different pizza. This baby is topped with eggplant, parm and prosciutto. — at Trattoria Pizzeria GUSTOLEO.
 
 
Part 5- Take a picture in the rain...because I like the pretty pop of color from the umbrella. — at Piazza della Signoria.
 
 
Part 6- Take cover outside at the Uffizi when the rain starts coming down and sneak a photo of the man who you can always expect to see out front....Da Vinci. — at Uffizi.
 

Part 7- Look out at the piazza and appreciate the beauty that is all around you. This is the Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati. Yes, it's chilly and raining, but hey, they is my view!
— at Piazza della Signoria.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ciao da bella Firenze!

Ciao a tutti! I apologize for not posting for a while. Things have been very very busy. I am actually in bella Firenze for the time being and enjoying every second of it. I hosted a fabulous Halloween party with The Florentine and I have a lot of other VERY exciting things coming up. What are they, exactly? Well, if I told you that would spoil the surprise, now wouldn't it?

Want to see pictures from the party I hosted with The Florentine? Check them out right here!

In the meantime, I will be posting pictures at least once a week, but hopefully more, entitled "A Day in the Life"....photos of my what my day looks like while in Florence. I will also be heading back to Campania soon where I spent time in a beautiful medieval village before I arrived in Florence and then I'll be headed back to Rome. Tell me..what is your favorite site to see in Florence? And if you haven't been yet, what do you hope to see someday? Addio per ora!

"A Day in the Life in Bella Firenze"
November 13th, 2014


 
Part 1- Find a delicious cornetto filled beyond belief with nutella. Enjoyed at café in Piazza Santa Croce.
 
 
 
Part 2- Explore some of the beautiful museums that Florence has to offer. — at Museo del Bargello.
 
 
Part 3- Take a moment to stop and LOOK. Appreciate what is in front of you. This is Donatello's David. — at Museo del Bargello.
 
 
Part 4- Enjoy pizza that is topped with speck, ricotta, grana and stracchino. AND FINISH THE ENTIRE THING! — at Trattoria Pizzeria GUSTOLEO.
 
 
Part 5 - Catch a glimpse of a rainbow peaking through the sky as I slowly walk home in the rain without an umbrella...because I'm in Florence and I don't care about getting wet.
 
 
Part 6- Enjoy un altro cappuccino and tiramisu. Because I'm an adult and I can eat however many sweets I want!! — at Piazza del Duomo.
 
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Olive Oil Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips & Almonds and A RECIPE CONTEST!!


Ciao a tutti! I have some really exciting news… I'm a finalist in the Eggland’s Best Your Best Recipe Contest, AGAIN!!! The last time I won my category, can you help me win again? Here’s what you have to do…

Please go to this link- http://www.egglandsbest.com/yourbestrecipe.aspx and take a look at the top of the page at the Breakfast Category. You will see my Olive Oil Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips and Almonds, click on it, enter your e-mail and click vote! You will have to confirm your vote via e-mail and you can vote once a day until Oct. 31st. I have some really big plans in the near future and this money could really help me out. It would greatly appreciated, as always. Grazie mille a tutti!! Thank you so so much, here is the link again just to be safe: http://www.egglandsbest.com/yourbestrecipe.aspx


In the meantime, I’m sharing the recipe for my yummy muffins again, so if you want to make them and see what you think of them for yourself, please let me know! These are great for breakfast, an afterschool school, dessert…pretty much any time of day that you feel like having one! Buon Appetito!!

 Olive Oil Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips and Almonds
 
 
 



 
3 cups of flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of almond milk (you can use regular milk, the almond milk just adds a slightly sweet almond flavor that I like)

½ cup of olive oil

½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. almond extract

1 cup of Dark Chocolate Chips (you can use regular chips)

1 cup of chopped almonds
Preparation
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 6 muffin tin pan with non stick spray or you can use muffin liners.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until combined. Add the milk, olive oil, vanilla and almond extracts. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and gently fold. You do not want to over mix, that will result in a heavier muffin. Fold in the chocolate chips and almonds. Pour the batter into your muffin tins, be sure not to go all the way to the top, just a little bit below. Bake for 30 minutes or longer if needed. You can stick a tooth pick in to make sure they are set. Everyone’s oven is different so baking time may vary. When they are done, let them cool for around 15 minutes in the pan. Then after 15 minute, EAT!!