Mary Ann's Blog

Zucchini Empire

I swear those zucchini I planted are on steroids! You got to get them when they are small, not baseball size because small means not only tender, but a lot less of those pesky seeds and a not so watery texture. If I let my guard down, even for a day, they multiply like ra…

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How To Make Really Good Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta is not cheese; it is a by-product of the cheese making process and is as important to many regional Italian dishes as olive oil and tomatoes. Ricotta is made from the whey of cow or sheep milk. Think of whey as the leftovers from the cheese making process. Re-coo…

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Happy Birthday America!

Next to Christmas, the 4thof July is my favorite holiday. It’s not so much about the cookouts, parades or fireworks that makes it so but this once a year national reminder that being an American is a precious gift that we too often take for granted. And it is nice t…

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Battuto: The Four Evangelists of Italian Cooking

When Italians cook, they start with something called a battuto, a mince of ordinary vegetables like onions, celery, carrots and garlic, that create a foundation for extraordinary flavors that really make a dish come together. These ingredients are often referred to as the…

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Net Zero

I planted my own strawberries last year and for all the work that went into it, I probably realized maybe a quart of perfect red berries that had not been pecked at by birds and ravished by chipmunks. So this year I was in attack mode and put a solar electric fence around…

Let The Good Times Roll

Good ol’ cinnamon rolls… that’s what the world needs right now. Banish those troubling thoughts of trade wars, a slumping economy, horrendous traffic and rising gas prices. Instead focus on big, golden brown cinnamon scented yeasty soft buns filled with…

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It’s Easy Being Green

Ever wonder why that broccoli or those green beans that you just cooked look so dull on a plate? It’s the acidic compounds present in them that come in contact with chlorophyll and that is what turns veggies a dull color. Keep the green in them by several methods; d…

Dad’s Day

For Fathers Day, why not treat Dad to these delectable scones filled with dried fruit for his wake up call. He just may have to have more than one! Dads deserve special treats on their big day and these scones will not disappoint. They are beefy, dense and full of dried f…

Shopping at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company

I just revisited my old friends at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in Pittsburgh while  I was there to do some cooking at WQED. The store has old world charm that has not changed since its inception (1902) and offers an Italian food experience that no big box …

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Make Cauliflower Taste Great Again

It used to be that I just hated cauliflower as a kid. It tasted mushy and had no flavor. It was always served boiled with salt and pepper and little else. Over the years I have tinkered with ways to make cauliflower great again. I have roasted it, grilled it, sauté…

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