Monday, September 26, 2011

Veggie Challenge Results!

After tallying the votes from both Una Mamma Italiana and Dom's Kitchen, the zucchini fritters came out on top! With another food challenge victory under my belt (check out my record here), my Italian Pride is gleaming....

But Chef Condo makes quite an interesting point. With each challenge we do, we have readers vote on both of our individual blogs. Now, as much as we talk trash on the Cucina Chatter radio show, we really are not in this for the money. (I mean, how can we be when there is no actual prize involved in this heated competition!?!) So, we just trust that people will actually vote with their preference.

This time, the fritters were champion on my site, while the Pepperonata clearly took the lead on Dom's. Could we possibly just have very loyal friends? Is Chef Condo paying off his readers to vote for him? Hey - I won't say it, but something smells fishy!!

Okay, okay - all kidding aside - Condo's analysis of this challenge is very true. My zucchini fritters were a fresh, trendy twist on a garden veggie dish, while his Pepperonata was a rustic, home style Italian favorite from the vault! Could East Coast foodies be more old school? Are West Coast readers after those new world concepts? Could be! But it sounds more like a case for a my college Cultural Studies professor that two Italian-food lovers!

This challenge is the first to really expose the fact that we are dueling bloggers from opposite coasts! It just reinforces how very cool this concept is! I am grateful to duke it out with a paisan across the country who loves Italian food & culture as much as I do! Readers get the benefit of two perspectives on the same general topic! And really, our MMC Food Challenges are quite possibly the best, most competitive oonline challenge there is.

If I had to lose to anyone, Dominic Condo would be my pick. But since I won, I'll surely rub it in.....

until the next food challenge, that is!

Piu Tardi!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Well, another Mamma Meets the Cucina battle was long overdue. This time we're dueling with veggies.
Cast your vote for your favorite side dish!

Peperonata, in my opinion, is the perfect Italian vegetable dish. The classic combination of onions, garlic and peppers sautéed in olive oil makes for the beautiful fragrance. The potatoes and tomatoes help give a nice, hearty texture to the dish. And the splash of white balsamic adds the delicious, slightly sweet, slightly tart finish. Whether you're serving it as a side dish, as an appetizer or as a meal itself, the hearty and rustic peperonata is a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal that you will enjoy time and time again.

Many of the recipes that I have found use either fresh tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes, with the addition of some water or broth to keep the peperonata from drying out. I actually prefer to use canned stewed tomatoes and their juices. The stewed tomatoes are already seasoned, they are soft enough where they will meld nicely with the softened peppers and the remaining ingredients, and the juice is plenty to keep this dish thick but moist (you don't want a soupy consistency). Be sure to use a variety of bell peppers. The variety of pepper colors make for a very appealing presentation. And don't forget the crusty bread for dipping and scooping!

1/4 cup EVOO
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 bell peppers (two green, two red, two orange and two yellow), seeded and sliced into strips
2 14.5 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes and their juices
4-5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tblspn Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tblspn white balsamic vinegar

In a large pot saute the onions in olive oil on medium-high heat, and when it is completely softened, and before it starts browning, add the garlic. Saute for an additional couple of minutes, then add the peppers, lower the heat to medium-low and stir well. Partially cover with a lid and let them soften up, about 10 minutes.

When the peppers have settled into the pan, add the stewed tomatoes and the potatoes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and the Italian seasoning, stir well over medium-low heat. Add the white balsamic, stir again, cover, cook on medium-low for about 1-1/2 hours or until potatoes are cooked to preference, stirring occasionally. Serve on a platter with crusty or toasted Italian bread.

Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies - especially this time of year. I can remember my Grandma Rose picking the zucchini from her backyard garden, stuffing the flowers with ricotta and baking them. It was such a special treat that I loved when I was a kid. I figured that in an attempt to mimic my Grandma's recipe I could risk shaming the family, so I opted for fritters instead!

Fritters are a fun and easy way to incorporate veggies into a diet - especially for picky little ones. It's fun for kids to mix up a batter and watch them fry up. I made my daughter part of the whole process and she loved the final result twice as much because of it! Presented with a small slice of fresh lemon and parsley, these become a simple yet elegant side dish. They're like a good pair of jeans - you can dress 'em up or dress 'em down and they always look great.

2 medium zucchini, trimmed & grated
1/2 small onion, trimmed & grated
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
e.v.o.o. for frying

Before combining all the ingredients, pat the grated onion and zucchini dry with a paper towel. This will remove any excess moisture that might make the batter too wet. Then combine all the remaining ingredients (except for the e.v.o.o.) with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter into a skillet coated with a couple TBSP of e.v.o.o. Flatten them slightly and cook until golden brown on each side. (about 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat)

Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve hot or warm.
(The great thing about these fritters is they are great party appetizers since you can easily make up a whole batch and reheat them in a warm oven on a cookie sheet.)

Don't forget to cast your votes on either the Una Mamma blog or the Cucina Domenico website. And be sure to 'like' the Cucina Domenico group page on Face Book! Salud!

Friday, September 9, 2011

FRIDAY FIVE! - An Italian Mojito!

This cocktail recipe uses less than five ingredients - and ONE of the five is one of my favorites - PROSECCO!!

I discovered Prosecco while in Venice (so loved the bellini!!). The rest of my family, while on a recent visit to Florence, discovered this drink, which I lovingly call an Italian Mojito!! Just replace the fresh mint with fresh basil and the sparkling soda with Prosecco. Nix the rum; exchange it for scotch & cointreau and there you have it!

Bunch of Basil
1/2c. Lt. Scotch(like Dewers)
Almost 1/2c. Cointreau
1 bottle Prosecco

Mix Scotch, Cointreau, & Basil together, muddling (crushing) the Basil to bring out the flavor.
Add Prosecco & mix all together. Enjoy!
Above is an actual photo that my aunt took in Rome as this drink was being concocted. It may sound like an odd mix of ingredients, but it's surprisingly tasty! Cheers!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Vote for me! UNA MAMMA ITALIANA for's Mom Food Blogger 2011

Una Mamma Italiana has been nominated for

Please take a moment to go to, where you can vote for my blog to be in the top 100 for 2011's "Mom Food Bloggers!"

It may be a little late in the game (since it's already September!) It takes no signing up just one click! So hurry up and go vote here. You can also search alphabetically for Una Mamma Italiana & Click on the thumbs up! Don't forget to pass on the link to all your paisani!

Ciao e grazie!!

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