Pasta Estiva


This dish is my version of a pasta that Chef Eric of Bistro Rollin often makes special for my husband and me. Bistro Rollin is a wonderful restaurant in Pelham owned by the great hosts, Barbara and Arthur Bratone- our favorite Friday night hang out!

You’ve all heard of Pasta Primavera- right? Meaning “springtime pasta”, because the vegetables used in that dish generally make their appearance in spring. I’ve named this dish Pasta Estiva , meaning “summertime pasta” because the vegetables here appear in summer (and through early fall) at your local farmers’ market.


2 medium zucchini, grated (to yield about 2 cups)

3 carrots, grated (to yield about 2 cups)Veggies for Pasta Estiva

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 ear of corn, kernels removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

Handful of basil, shredded

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO), divided

½ pound Rigatoni Pasta

Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat 2TBS of the EVOO.

Add the corn kernels and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cook another 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

Sauté over medium high heat, until the vegetables are wilted and just cooked through. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables.

Heat over medium heat- adding some of the EVOO and some of the pasta water to loosen the vegetables and make a “sauce”.

Add the shredded basil and enjoy!

Serves 3-4

Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Italian Plums

Late summer fruit- Italian Plums and peaches
Late summer fruit- Italian Plums and peaches

This cake is very easy to make, and utterly delicious. It  makes use of of the season’s bounty- hurry and try it while you can still find Italian Plums at the farmers’ markets!

And – it’s dairy free!

Lemon Olive Oil Plum Cake

Heat oven to 350. Coat a 9” cake pan with olive oil and dust with flour.


1 cup (5 oz) all purpose flour

¼ cup (1.5 oz) yellow cornmeal

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp table salt

¾ cup (5.25 oz) sugar

½ cup fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp lemon zest

10 Italian Plums, cut in half and pitted

Confectioner’s Sugar for dusting the top of the cake


Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and olive oil until completely emulsified.

Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and lemon zest.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Combine thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Lay the Italian Plums cut side down on top of the batter in concentric circles.

Bake 25- 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool 15 minutes on rack; unmold cake, turn plum side up and finish cooling on rack.

Dust the top of the cake with Confectioner’s Sugar.

BAKER’S NOTE – This cake is equally delicious without the addition of plums.

 Finished product - Plum cake cooling in the pan
Finished product – Plum cake cooling in the pan
Plum Cake Batter
Plum Cake Batter

Seeing Pope Francis – September 25, 2015

Yesterday my sister, Angela, and I gamely headed with 80,000 others to Central Park to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis.

Yikes you might say- but it was a testament to the goodness of the participants and the greatness of New York that the day went off without a hitch!

My sister, Angela, savoring the bread at Bar Boulud
My sister, Angela, savoring the bread at Bar Boulud

To prepare for the hours of standing, Angela and I had a wonderful lunch at Bar Boulud- food for our bodies while waiting for food for our souls.

Since I eat mainly vegan, I chose the gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, spinach and pine nuts…absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try my hand at this at home.

While we weren’t as fortunate as our mother and brother in seeing the Pope up close,  we were witness to the rainbow that appeared over us while waiting for the Pope-mobile!

See the rainbow?
See the rainbow?

A symbol of peace and fraternity- how appropriate for Pope Francis’ visit.

Pope Francis smiling at our mom as she blew him a kiss!
Pope Francis smiling at our mom as she blew him a kiss!
Waiting for the Pope Pasta
I call this: Waiting for the Pope Pasta

Zucchini Apricot Muffins or Tea Bread

2015-04-25 13.44.16Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini !!!

These are heavenly for a weekend breakfast with friends

Zucchini and Apricot Muffins or Tea Bread

Heat oven to 350; Spray a muffin pan or  8×4 loaf pan with non- stick baking spray


1 cup (5 oz ) All Purpose flour

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup plus 2 TBS dried apricots, diced (2 oz)

¼ cup plus 2 TBS walnuts, toasted and chopped (1.5 oz)

1 large egg

6 TBS (3 fluid oz) canola oil

¼ cup plus 2 TBS sugar (2.6 oz) ¼ cup apricot preserves (2.5 oz)

1 ½ cup grated zucchini (6.25 oz)

2 TBS sugar for sprinkling on top


Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set Aside

In a small bowl, combine dried apricots and walnuts. Lightly dust with flour. Set Aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, canola oil, apricot preserves and sugar until completely combined.

Gently fold in zucchini.

Fold in flour mixture and stir until completely combined

Add apricots and walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan; smooth top and give a healthy dusting of sugar.

Bake until firm to the touch and tester comes out clean- about 15- 18 minutes for muffins, 30-35 minutes for tea bread

Yield: 9-10 muffins, or an  8×4 inch loaf

Late Summer Corn and Green Bean Salad

2015-07-16 18.40.13I LOVE my summer Saturday ritual of visiting the Bronxville, NY Farmers’ Market!

As the weeks progress, the offerings get more and more bountiful. This simple salad uses the summer staples found everywhere.


To serve 4

3 ears sweet corn, kernels sliced off the cob

1 pound string beans

2 beefsteak tomatoes

handful of fresh basil, cut into thin strips

olive oil to taste

splash of white wine vinegar


Heat 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil in large saute pan

Saute the corn kernels over medium high heat for a few minutes until crisp tender; season with salt and pepper.

Blanch the green beans in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp tender- about 5 minutes.

Cut the beefsteak tomatoes into wedges.

To assemble – gently toss the corn, beans, tomatoes and basil together on a large platter. Season to taste with salt, pepper, more olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Only add the vinegar right before you serve it to keep the beans from turning yellow.


Food Memories- France- September 2014

Toulon Farmers' Market
Toulon Farmers’ Market

Another amazing experience! Celebrating a special birthday of one my French cousins in her hometown of Toulon. It was a magical day- feasting from noon till night!

And then, the next day a stop at the bountiful Toulon market to gather honey, jams and lavender.

Then on to Paris!  Food, wine and CHOCOLATE!!

Macarons too!
Macarons too!
Sampling at Maison du Chocolat
Sampling at Maison du Chocolat

Food Memories -Assisi – September, 2013

2013-09-28 12.49.00

Two years ago, my husband and I were fortunate to spend a week in Assisi celebrating the anniversary of my life long friend, Lisa and her husband, Ray.  We walked the cobblestone streets, savored the best pasta imaginable, sang arias in the courtyards and generally just lived the moment. The pastry shops all had windows brimming with the most beautiful dolce…Just thinking about it has my mouth watering!!2013-09-28 21.26.29