Sauteed garlic shrimp with pasta al pesto

For tonight I decided to satisfy my husbands love for pasta and give a good recipe for those who want pasta during their 3rd phase of the Dukan diet.  I was tired of grilling, so I just sautéed a few wild caught shrimp, previously frozen.  I sautéed them in a bit of basil garlic infused olive oil that I had made a few days ago, until the shrimp  were pink and  looked less opaque.  In the mean time, the water was boiling and ready to add my lovely pasta I brought back from Italy.  It’s a semolina based pasta called “Trecce Dell’orto.  It’s delicious and perfect for pesto but, unfortunately, I’ve not found it here yet.  Once my pasta was cooked, I just added one hefty scoop of pesto I had previously made and tossed it in.  I tossed in a few cherry tomatoes halves to add texture, color and freshness to this dish.  Finish it off with a few sprinkles of Sel de Cali, for taste and presentation, as well as a bit of grated parmesan cheese.  The dish takes about 20 mins to prepare, if you make the pesto ahead of time.  You can use any type of pasta, but good ones with this are farfalle, bow tie, orcetta, basically any type of pasta works.  I find that it’s not the greatest with angel hair pasta because it tends to clump up, but it’s still tasty.  Enjoy.  YUM


Ice Cream vs Gelato

Italian ice cream parlour in Verona.
Image via Wikipedia

I am super happy with my Cuisinart ice cream maker.  This was a gift about 10 years ago and I put it away for a few years, while living in Italy along with my pasta maker.  There was absolutely no point in having either, oh and also my pizza stone.  The pizza, pasta and gelato in Italy is really to die for. But now that I’m back in the US, I have taken my ice cream maker and pasta maker out of the moving boxes. I have made several Ben and Jerry’s ice cream recipes with a few modifications.  I enjoy them, but it just wasn’t the gelato feel and taste.  When in Italy I remember Italians bragging about how gelato is not ice cream and it’s much better for you than ice cream.  Well, I felt it was just the Italian way of superiority when it comes to food.  But they were right and often when it comes to opinions on food, the Italians have every right to brag.  I’ve never tasted such amazing food.  A tomato tastes like a tomato!  The quality of food is amazing. You have to go food shopping much more often due to such freshness not lasting, unlike the shelf life of an American vegetable. Sometimes I wonder what is on my tomato that it can last weeks in the fridge.  Ok back to ice cream.  Hmmm, tomato ice cream could be good.   Anyway, my staple is an altered Ben and Jerry’s mint chocolate chip recipe.  I basically steep real mint into my milk and cream mixture by heating it slightly while I mix the sugar and eggs in a separate bowl.  I let the creamy mint mixture cool before adding to my egg mixture.  Once it’s cooled I add it all to my fabulous ice cream maker.  Once the ice cream is soft enough I add in chopped chocolate, as much or as little as you want.


1 cup sugar

2 cups cream

1 cup milk

2 eggs

mint leaves-a big bunch, discard when done steeping, squeeze out the cream into mixture or one teaspoon peppermint extract

100 grams or big handful chopped dark or milk chocolate.

Beat eggs and sugar together, add in milk and cream with mint taste,

add all to ice cream maker.  Once finished put ice cream in a Tupperware with a thin sheet of syran wrap directly on top of ice cream, this saves some freezer burn.

Now onto Gelato.  It is in fact much healthier for you.  In most of the ice cream recipes I’ve found, 2 cups of cream are required however, I’ve found that gelato is more a milk based ice cream, asking for 2-3 cups of milk.  I’ve not tried to make a fat-free ice cream, but it is the works.  I will however make a full fat gelato first and then make the fat-free version, just in case it’s not good.  I will let you know.

My custard vanilla American Gelato.

I used 1 cup super fine sugar and beat in two eggs and two egg yolks.  At the same time I heated up two cups milk with one cup cream.  Eventually I will eliminate the cream, but I didn’t want it to go bad, so I used it.  I heated the cream and then poured it onto my egg mixture.  After that I brought it all back to the pot and cooked till it thickened.  I let this now, custard type mixture cool in the fridge a few hours.  Once cool, I added some vanilla extract and put in my ice cream machine.  This was a triple yum!!!!!! More gelato recipes to come.  I think that my fat-free version would be a great desert for the Dukan diet.  Oh and for the verdict, I’ve turned Italian and prefer the more egg milk based creamy frozen treat!

ice cream

Bolognese sauce


Olive oil-about 3 tablespoons

1 yellow onion

2 small carrots

2 small celery stalks

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

4lbs Roma/plum tomatoes or use 18oz canned tomatoes

ground nutmeg


red pepper flakes


This was for my husband.  He is a pasta lover and we both like a good Bolognese sauce, otherwise known as “ragu” in Italy.  It is an easy sauce to make, yet it requires many steps.  The first step is chop, chop and chop some more.  You will need to chop carrots, celery and onions as finely as possible.  The onions are chopped separately.  I have opted to use fresh tomatoes, you need a lot more, but the results are better.  You will get a fresh sauce without all the additives of a canned tomato.  I used to blanch my tomatoes to peel them until my mom who swore by this, bought me the zyliss tomato peeler.  It is a life saver.  I just peel the tomatoes, de-seed them, buy cutting them in half and squeezing out the seeds out over the sink.  Then I dice them.  Add a bit of olive oil to a pot and cook the onions for about 3 mins.  Add the carrot and celery mix, let cook for a bit, maybe 10 mins.  Now all I need is some white wine, a glass for me and about a cup for the sauce.  Actually, I also need a wholesome glass of milk, about a cup.  Once the carrots, celery and onions are cooked, add in about a pound of beef.  I like to actually use about 1/2 lb beef and 1/2 lb ground pork.  I think it adds depth to the sauce.  Cook the beef/pork till the pink is gone.  Add about 1 cup milk and cook till almost evaporated.  Then you add about 1 cup dry white wine.  Try to use a good quality wine, one that you would want to drink as well, while cooking.  After the wine is evaporated add your tomatoes.  I use about 4lbs of Roma Tomatoes.  You can also use two large cans of whole tomatoes.  Add some pepper flakes, not too much, just a few pinches.  My friend added about 2 tablespoon full and we spent the evening trying the sauce, adding more tomatoes, trying the sauce again, finding it too hot, added more tomatoes. By the end, we still had a very spicy sauce, but about 6 times the amount, she had enough to feed a small army!  Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.  You will want to cook your sauce on medium for a bit then reduce to low and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours.  This is a great sauce to freeze, but it will also last up to one week in the fridge.  I plan to use our left-over sauce to make a Bolognese lasagna with a bechamel sauce.  The bechamel is easy to make and more common in Italy than using ricotta, which I feel dries out the lasagna.  For those of you following the Dukan diet, this is a great recipe for all phases minus attack.  If you are doing the second phase, this is even delicious just alone!  This sauce is delicious on pasta and polenta.  Enjoy!    Yum.

A Resolution worth eating. Veggies and more veggies

roasted vegetables
Easy and yummy
grilled veggies
grilled portabella mushrooms and shishito
Eat your vegetables is not something you usually here at our table because we do and we love them.  I have started taking out starches and adding double the veggies. I have to admit though, we’ve gotten off track with the holidays, but now that there is no major meal on the way, we are going back to eating more veggies.  We are also going to embark on the Dukan
 diet.  It will be the first time ever that we go on a “diet” or more appropriately, a change of lifestyle when it comes to eating.  I will be making many different dinners following his diet advice closely.  So we shall see how much our dinners change.  My husband will be happy to know that when we are in the maintaining phase we can have our pasta dinners again, but once a week.  I’m very excited to try this new eating plan. Supposedly the initial weight loss will be fast but keeping it off  will be a long process.  For every  pound one looses, you must have 5 days of concern, meaning just because you lost the weight, you need to continue to follow a plan to maintain it.  I hope to lose 10lbs that I gained making cookie over the holidays as well as falling back into eating processed foods.  I never used to eat so much packaged junk, or starches but then again I lived in Italy for 2 years and the gorgeous bi-weekly market made it easy to eat fresh and healthy meals.  So my advice to you, double your vegetable intake this year.  Even our 5-year old son craves veggies of all kinds.  You never have to tell him eat your peas and carrots. The rest however is another story. We are working on getting him to try new foods, mainly proteins.  Once you start putting more vegetables in your diet, you will crave them to, just like my son. There are millions of different vegetable combinations possible, you have no excuse not to eat them. And eating french fries, with ketch-up doesn’t count as a vegetable.