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Our Journey Begins

Toasting to our first night in Rome, April 2018 at the Piccolo Abruzzo Ristorante, Rome, Italy

 

Welcome & thank you for joining us.

We are identical twin sisters Teresa & Barbara, who grew up on Long Island, New York and now happily reside in North Carolina.  We were born 6 minutes apart…Barbara arrived first, which would only be relevant if our parents were King & Queen; which they were not, but she never misses an opportunity to remind me! 😂

Italian food is our heritage and cooking has become our passion. Now that we are both retired we rediscovered our passion for cooking. Here you will find our favorite family recipes that have been handed down for three generations along with some new favorites that we hope you will enjoy as much as we do.

 

About Teresa: After retiring as the controller of a construction management firm, my husband Jack & I moved from the Village of Northport, NY to coastal North Carolina. Our children & grandchildren still reside on Long Island and we go back as often as we can to see them. When not cooking, I still pursue my love of creating fine jewelry in gold, silver, and gemstones along with golfing with friends and playing Mah Jongg.

About Barbara: After just retiring as the Credit & A/R manager for a food supplement company, I accompanied Teresa on the day she moved at the suggestion of my husband Gary. We could write a book on the hilarious adventure during the long ride down, but that’s another story! I fell in love with the community and called Gary to tell him “we” bought a new house in NC! He thought I was joking but 11 months later we moved into our new home. He’s a keeper after 48 years… Our children reside on Long Island and southern California.  I also enjoy creating jewelry when I have the time; however, I’m just not as passionate anymore about jewelry making as Teresa is.

 

 

 

 

 

Date Nut Bread

Date Nut Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf (about 16 slices)
  • Difficulty: Easy

I have been making this date nut bread every Christmas morning for what seems like forever! Originally I got this recipe from my longtime friend, Linda O'Donnell. We were next door neighbors and best friends since 1970. A lot of baking went on between us during our children's youth. Every Christmas morning Gary & I would spread some cream cheese on a slice, grab a cup of coffee and watch the kids open presents. We absolutely love it.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups chopped dates ( I use Sun Maid or Dole)
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts – nuts may be omitted)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Grease a 9¼ x 5¼ x 2¾ loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter & brown sugar with dates.
  • Pour the boiling water over the date mixture and cool.
  • When cool, add beaten egg & dry ingredients. Beat well.
  • Add nuts &  vanilla. Stir well.
  • Bake in loaf pan for 1 hour & 10 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center.
  • When slightly cool, remove from loaf pan and continue cooling on rack.
  • After completely cooled, cover in plastic wrap to keep moist.


Note: No need to wait for Christmas! Enjoy this anytime with cream cheese or butter spread on top.

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Gluten-Free Braised Pork Ragu

Gluten-Free Braised Pork Ragu

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

Braised Pork Ragu brings your basic tomato sauce to a whole new level! We simmer our pork ragu for hours to bring out the most delicious, sophisticated flavors that will impress your family & friends. This is a hearty meat sauce and any leftovers can be frozen for a quick, last-minute weeknight dinner with pasta, risotto, mashed potatoes, or polenta, just use your imagination. It's the epitome of Italian comfort food and sure to please. Can you tell we love it?? ❤😋

Ingredients

  • 2½-3 lbs. pork shoulder, bone-in (use boneless if bone-in is not available)
  • Kosher salt to season pork shoulder
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 8 cloves Dorot frozen  garlic, minced ( you can get Dorot’s at Target & Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch Chili de Arbol flakes
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (omit if salt sensitive)
  • dash of pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1  28-ounce can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1  6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1  28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (we use Cento)
  • 1½ cups water
  • fresh basil for gluten-free pasta garnish

Directions

  1. Trim & remove any excess fat from the pork shoulder.
  2. Pat the surface of the pork shoulder with paper towels until dry.
  3. Season on all sides with Kosher salt & black pepper.
  4. Heat the EVOO in a large dutch over medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, sear the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes on each side., until golden brown crust on all sides.
  5. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
  6. Add onions and carrots. Cook until softened but not brown, about 4-6 minutes.
  7. Add Kosher salt, garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano & dried basil, chili flakes and bay leaves.
  8. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
  9. Add red wine,  stir and cook until wine has slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add whole tomatoes & their liquid, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
  11. Stir to combine then add the pork shoulder back into the dutch oven. The liquid should be at least halfway up the meat, but more is good.
  12. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover but leave the lid slightly open to allow slight reduction of sauce as it cooks.
  13. Stir occasionally, turning the pork to ensure all sides come in contact with the sauce.
  14. Cook the pork for 5-5½ hours until the meat is so tender that it is easily shredded with a fork.
  15. When pork is done, remove meat into a bowl and shred into pieces with 2 forks.
  16. Remove the bay leaves from sauce and discard. Return the shredded pork to the dutch oven. Cook an additional 30 minutes to marry the flavors.
  17. Continue cooking on low while preparing your favorite gluten-free pasta or lasagna.
  18. Garnish finished dish with some fresh basil, whole or torn.

Note: We serve this hearty pork ragu over gluten-free Fettuccini with a side of gluten-free stuffed artichokes.

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Braised Pork Ragu

Braised Pork Ragu

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy

Braised Pork Ragu brings your basic tomato sauce to a whole new level! We simmer our pork ragu for hours to bring out the most delicious, sophisticated flavors that will impress your family & friends. This is a hearty meat sauce and any leftovers can be frozen for a quick, last-minute weeknight dinner with pasta, risotto, mashed potatoes, or polenta, just use your imagination. It's the epitome of Italian comfort food and sure to please. Can you tell we love it?? ❤😋

Ingredients

  • 2½-3 lbs. pork shoulder, bone-in (use boneless if bone-in is not available)
  • Kosher salt to season pork shoulder
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 8 cloves Dorot frozen  garlic, minced ( you can get Dorot’s at Target & Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch Chili de Arbol flakes
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (omit if salt sensitive)
  • dash of pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1  28-ounce can Cento San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1  6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1  28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (we use Cento)
  • 1½ cups water
  • fresh basil for pasta garnish

Directions

  1. Trim & remove any excess fat from the pork shoulder.
  2. Pat the surface of the pork shoulder with paper towels until dry.
  3. Season on all sides with Kosher salt & black pepper.
  4. Heat the EVOO in a large dutch over medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, sear the pork on all sides, about 3 minutes on each side., until golden brown crust on all sides.
  5. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
  6. Add onions and carrots. Cook until softened but not brown, about 4-6 minutes.
  7. Add Kosher salt, garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano & dried basil, chili flakes and bay leaves.
  8. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
  9. Add red wine,  stir and cook until wine has slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  10. Add whole tomatoes & their liquid, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
  11. Stir to combine then add the pork shoulder back into the dutch oven. The liquid should be at least halfway up the meat, but more is good.
  12. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover but leave the lid slightly open to allow slight reduction of sauce as it cooks.
  13. Stir occasionally, turning the pork to ensure all sides come in contact with the sauce.
  14. Cook the pork for 5-5½ hours until the meat is so tender that it is easily shredded with a fork.
  15. When pork is done, remove meat into a bowl and shred into pieces with 2 forks.
  16. Remove the bay leaves from sauce and discard. Return the shredded pork to the dutch oven. Cook an additional 30 minutes to marry the flavors.
  17. Continue cooking on low while preparing your favorite pasta.
  18. Garnish finished dish with some fresh basil, whole or torn.


Note: We serve this hearty pork ragu over Pappardelle with a side of stuffed artichokes.

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Mediterranean Style Fish Stew

Mediterranean Style Fish Stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Very Easy

Yesterday I saw codfish at my local supermarket's fish counter and thought how good that would be with some zucchini & chunks of San Marzano tomatoes that we both already had on hand. It was late Friday afternoon & both Barbara and I wanted to make a really simple & quick meal. This fish stew is naturally gluten-free...(My husband Jack has celiac disease so gluten-free cooking is a way of life for me.) We label it GF as a reminder that eating GF can be delicious and healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1  28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 3-3½ lbs fresh Cod
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved & thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled & smashed, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt (omit if salt sensitive)
  • 6 Tablespoons EVOO, divided 4 & 2
  • dash of pepper to taste
  • dash of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 12 large Green olives with pimento, cut in half
  • 12 pitted Greek black olives, cut in half (Kalamata olives)
  •  Pecorino Romano, grated for topping ( contrary to the old belief that you shouldn’t use cheese with fish…it’s delicious)
  • Minced fresh parsley for garnish

Directions

    1. Using your hands, crush the San Marzano tomatoes, reserve liquid & set aside.
    2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels then cut into 4-5 inch pieces.
    3. In a large deep skillet heat 2 Tablespoons of EVOO on med-high heat. Add half the codfish and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet & set aside. Repeat with second half of fish then remove & set aside.
    4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining EVOO over med-high heat, add onions, oregano, zucchini, garlic, salt, and pepper until tender.
    5. Add tomatoes and liquid to skillet. Bring to a boil.
    6. Add the cod and bring back to a boil, spooning sauce over top. Reduce heat to simmer, uncovered just until fish begins to flake easily with a fork, about 5-7 minutes, no more.
    7. Sprinkle with parsley and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Note:  Serve with crusty bread. This also makes a wonderful meal served over your favorite pasta or rice.

     

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