Mary Ann's Blog

Viva La Befana!

“La Befana vien di notteCon le scarpe tutte rotteCol vestito alla romanaViva, Viva La Befana!” “The Befana comes by nightWith her shoes all tattered and tornShe comes dressed in the Roman wayLong life to the Befana!” Truth be told, Christmas is n…

Tilemakers Stew

Casseroles are meant for winter eating and one of the classic casserole's that comes to mind in describing this method of cooking is a Tuscan dish, now almost lost to time, called peposa, a hearty stew of wild boar meat with lots of pepper (from where the dish derives its…

The No Stress Christmas Eve Buffet

The countdown has begun. (Actually it began BEFORE Halloween). The holidays are here with all the stress that goes with it. Most of us have limited time to devote to all the things that will claim our sanity from now until January 2nd. But we try to please our loved ones …

There’s A Holiday App For That!

We all have a gazillion apps to choose from on our phones but have you thought about choosing the apps for your holiday get-together? From now until we ring in 2020, most people will be in holiday party mode Money spent on holiday food and drink will no doubt tempt the p…

The Presepio

It is said that St Francis of Assisi was the first to present a live nativity scene while celebrating Mass on Christmas Eve. Through time, the creche or manger scene is   known in Italy as the presepio and are found in churches across Italy as well as along road…

Italian Cookies for the Holidays

As the Christmas and holiday baking season approaches, I am most grateful for the dog-eared and faded, hand written recipe notebooks that my mom passed onto me, along with her old worn wooden recipe box stuffed with splatter stained index cards that tells the stories of h…

A Merry Pear(y) Holiday Salad!

Need a different salad idea for the holidays? Bring your guests unexpected cheers by taking inspiration from what is in season like pears and team them with the newest darling of the cheese world, burrata. Burrata is made from cow’s or buffalo milk and is available …

A Keepsake Cookie for The Holidays

While traveling around the western coast of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way, I stopped to have lunch at a farmhouse café. It was cute as a button and so pastoral that I wanted to stay all day but there was ground to cover. On my way out, I spied the most gorgeous…

Bring Back The Cheese Ball

Remember the holiday nut encrusted cheese ball sitting majestically on a throne of Bibb lettuce and surrounded by crackers? It’s back and looking ever so hip with new flavor nuances. I like to ratch up the flavor with dried fruits like figs and apricots but cranberr…

A Baker’s Dozen Cookie Tips

Over the years, I have tried to perfect my cookie baking. Through trial and error and lots of cookies later, I think I am on the right track, so here are tips that may be helpful for you. 1. Choose cookies that can be frozen for a few weeks. 2. Convection baking results…

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