Dolce Italiano: Six Degrees of Separation and Chocolate Salami

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This has been a lucky year full of wonderful surprises and accomplishments. I stepped out of my comfort zone to pursue my dream of working in food, turning my passion for Mediterranean cooking and leftovers into a job description I made up for myself:
Professional Foodie. I am still not exactly sure what path lies ahead of me, but I am sure I am at least going the right way as it seems I have been rewarded each step of the way. I have met so many lovely foodies online from all over the world and have gotten little signs everywhere confirming that I am on the right path. One of these signs is a great honor I have been given. I am so excited about it that I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. I have been asked to participate in a very special food blogging event.

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Shelley from At Home in Rome lives in Rome (Obviously), which just so happens to be Roberto’s hometown. She also just so happens to know Gina DePalma, the pastry chef for
Mario Batali’s Babbo Restaurant in New York City.
Gina’s newest cookbook: Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen has just come out and in order to commemorate this event, Shelley, along with a few of us fortunate food bloggers have had the honor to try two recipes from Gina’s new cookbook and blog about it. How fun is that?!

But that is not where the fun ends – oh no siree – you too can join in too. Go blog hopping with us and comment on each Dolce Italiano post on each of our blogs and you will be entered in a contest to win a Dolce Italiano cookbook signed by Gina herself (who is such a nice person to boot!).
Here is how you enter: Check out each of these blogs on the days mentioned (if you are just hearing about this contest for the first time, be sure that you go to visit all these blogs for their posts THIS week) and then comment on the post about Dolce Italiano. Do the same next week and you will have 10 chances to win that book! Here are the other great blogs and the days you need to visit them:

MONDAY: Sara – Ms. Adventures in Italy
TUESDAY
: Ilva – Lucullian Delights
WEDNESDAY
: Sognatrice – Bleeding Espresso
THURSDAY
: Shelley – At Home in Rome
FRIDAY: Jenn – The Leftover Queen – RIGHT HERE!

Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano is a must have for foodies that love Italian food. Even for someone like me, who does not fancy herself a baker or pastry person, despite all the baking I have been doing through the Daring Bakers, I found the recipes to be well-explained, unique and wonderful – just full of the flavors of Italy. It is also a fun book to read! I can really relate to Gina’s intense passion for the food she makes and also her story as an Italian American deeply in touch with the foods of her roots. I am so excited to have this wonderful cookbook in my collection as I know I will be using it often!

So on to the great recipe!

One of my choices of recipe just had to be Salame di Cioccolato. This is a dessert that every child in Italy has had. It is like Nutella, ubiquitous when talking about the foods of Italy for kids. I first heard about Chocolate Salami from Roberto when I asked him what the first thing he remembers cooking was. This was it. Apparently there is (at least when he was a bambino) what he describes as a Disney/ Boy Scout guidebook for kids in Italy known as Manuale delle Giovani Marmotte (Jr. Woodchucks Guidebook) and a recipe for Chocolate Salami was in his version of the book. In his memory it was crushed up cookies and cocoa powder rolled up, chilled and then sliced. Well, as soon as I saw the upgraded, new and improved version in Gina’s new cookbook, I knew I had to make it for Roberto and bring him back to his childhood. So we spent the afternoon in the kitchen making this delicious concoction and having a wonderful time. In his opinion it is WAAAAY better than the one from Manuale delle Giovani Marmotte, shocking, isn’t it? 😉

Try a chocolate salami today!
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Recipe: Pistachio and Ricotta Stuffed Apricots

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Well I just couldn’t stay away for too long! When something monumentous happens in your life, you do a lot more cooking and eating during your celebrations! So I give you this wonderful little treat to check out while I am making my rounds to all of your beautiful blogs! Thank you so much to everyone for your support and well-wishes! We could not be happier over here! 🙂
A while back I saw a delicious recipe for Pistachio Stuffed Nectarines that Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook
did. Roberto loves both nectarines and pistachios, so I knew I had to make this recipe, but it got a Leftover Queen Makeover! I didn’t have any cake hanging around so I substituted Ricotta cheese for it. I also had cottage cheese,which I am sure would work fine, but the ricotta cheese was older so I opted for that. I don’t really like orange extract so I chose vanilla instead. So good, I was all set.

I started the process of halving the nectarines and wouldn’t you know it the pits just wouldn’t budge. So I ended up destroying 2 out of 3 nectarines in the process. Okay, time for Plan B (or are we on Plan C or D at this point??). I had several fresh apricots in the fridge which were nice and ripe. So I grabbed them and the pits came out with no effort. So this is how Susan’s recipe got adapted! Kinda like a game of telephone¦.So here is my creation !
Pistachio and Ricotta Stuffed Apricots!
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Recipe: Baba Ganoush (Mediterranean Medley)

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As promised here is the next recipe for the class I will be teaching about Mediterranean food at the Culinaria.
This week’s Mediterranean Recipe of the Week is Baba Ganoush! I love this recipe. It is easy to make and delicious to eat. Baba Ganoush is very versatile – you can eat it with raw veggies, or toasted pita. Use as a sandwich spread or just eat if off the spoon! I will be preparing it for my class as a dipping sauce for lamb kabobs. A little unconventional, but I never said I was anything but!
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