Mary Ann's Blog

Breaking the Ho Hum of Restaurant Menus

Reading a restaurant menu can be boring sometimes.  Going out to dinner should be as is often said, a dining adventure, a treat and a time to relax when a day out of the 24/7 kitchen is a good idea. So when the opportunity comes my way, I look forward to enjoying foo…

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Tips For Finger LIckin’ Five Napkins Baby Back Ribs!

Love baby back ribs? Me too and I have a few tips on how to get the best flavor.  1) Look for the best meaty bone in ribs; bone gives flavor.  2) Season them well with a mixture of salt and coarse black pepper that is combined first in a bowl; if you…

Old Gravenstein Apples

Up the hill near my vegetable garden stands an ornery, old apple tree, the only one I own. For years before I bought the property, it had been neglected until one day I stooped to pick up a withered apple near its trunk. Curiosity got the best of me. I cut off the “…

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Squash Plain and Fancy

Squash, both summer and winter varieties, come in many shapes and sizes. Some are plain and some are fancy. Some have brilliant colored skins, others have artful shapes, but all are delicious, good for you, and easy to prepare. Just about everyone can get zucchini…

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Tomato Gratin

A tomato gratin is a good and delicious way to use up extra summer tomatoes.  Tomato Gratin Extra virgin olive oil 4 cups ciabatta bread cubes diced 1-inch 2 garlic cloves minced 5 cups cut in half cherry tomatoes 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar Grinding black p…

Make Mine Minestrone

Got too many veggies coming in all at once from your garden? Get out the soup pot and make minestrone, a sure way to use up summer’s bounty. Freeze some for those nasty winter days ahead. Minestrone SoupServes 8 ¼ cup olive oil1 large onion, peeled and diced2…

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Renette, The Little Queen of Apples

The humble apple can most certainly be declared the most powerful of all earthly fruits when we consider its ancient biblical origins and the consequences eating one had for Adam and Eve. Northern Italy, especially the Trentino-Alto Adige region, has had a long history o…

Can You Bake A Pie?

I just felt like baking a pie, even though the temps have been close to 100F recently.  Call me crazy. Here are some tips for baking pies in general.  1) For single crust fruit filled pies, pre-bake the crust for about 10 minutes to avoid crust sogginess. I lik…

Just Peachy

It’s peach season again when my favorite white peaches are available. It’s not that I don't like common yellow peaches, it’s just that white peaches seem more exotic in both taste and look. When I crave them, I head for local peach orchards in my area o…

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A Bowlful of Cherries

A couple of years ago, my husband decided that we needed a couple of cherry trees so we planted Queen Ann and Bing varieties with great anticipation of a bountiful crop to come in around the 4th of July, which for me always signaled that cherries were in season and if you…

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Ciao Italia Family Classics

Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.

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