Sometime in the 1970’s, my father came across an article describing an Italian’s physical reaction to being deprived of pasta for more than two days. The syndrome was called “Hypopastemia”. It became the running by-word in our home when we missed our pasta for whatever reason and we were starting to get the “shakes”.

We ate some form of pasta 6 nights of the week – sometimes small pastina in soup, sometimes a tube shaped pasta with a meat sauce (aka gravy), sometimes spaghetti with clam sauce, but most often it was pasta with different vegetables. Saturday was reserved for steak and mashed potatoes, my grandparents concession to living in America.

So now after a long day at work the most comforting meal for me is a bowl of pasta with a lot of vegetables plus a large salad and sauteed beans.

Here is another quick recipe. I call this dish: Pasta Verdure (lush green vegetables).



2 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks

Zucchini Matchsticks
Zucchini Matchsticks

½ red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Small head of Kale or Swiss Chard, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 cup of frozen peas

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO), divided

½ pound Penne Pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2 TBS balsamic vinegar


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

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

Green Vegetables
Green Vegetables

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

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

Cook pasta according to package directions, BUT for the last 3 minutes of cooking time add the kale, peas and asparagus. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sautéed 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 red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 3-4

Chillin’ in Brooklyn

When I decided I wanted to enter the world of food blogging, I met my daughter Carolyn at her home in Williamsburg to work on creating Vegan Except Dessert. But of course, who can work on an empty stomach?

So, we headed north one block to the famous Brooklyn Smorgasburg.

Brooklyn Smorgasburg
Brooklyn Smorgasburg

What a treat- dozens and dozens of food vendors! Lots of vegan choices and we ate our way through it all- yum!!

My two favorites were:

The Epic Banh Mi sandwich from Regal Vegan . I was too busy gobbling it up to get a photo ( soooo sorry). They make a fabulous lentil and walnut spread that is great on sandwiches or just crackers for a snack.  Check their website to see where you might get it.

Regal Vegan
Regal Vegan


The Phatty Beet Burger from Chickpea and Olive. The Chickpea and Olive crew, Daniel Strong and Danielle Ricciardi are good friends of my co-worker, April. So, I knew to look out for their booth- and I’m very glad I did! VERY interesting and VERY tasty!

Chickpea and Olive
Chickpea and Olive

What a great way to start my new project! Can’t wait to go back !

Celestine’s Everday Cookies

This recipe is my version of a cookie that my mother-in-law, Celestine always had whenever we came to visit. She was a prolific baker and this cookie was my favorite…not too sweet, filled with all kinds of good stuff. The perfect little treat.


Heat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment


1 ¾ cups all purpose flourcookie dough

½ tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp table salt

1 stick (4oz) unsalted butter

½ cup white sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup quick oats

½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped

½ cup crispy rice cereal


Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well to combine.full sheet

Add the flour mixture, when fully incorporated add the remaining ingredients.

Scoop onto the baking sheets. Flatten the dough slightly with your fingertips.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden.

This recipes yields 30 cookies when using a 1 ½ Tablespoon scoop.

Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

This is a very easy, but very tasty meal for a busy person. Add a large green salad- and presto! Dinner is ready!

My preference is to use yellow fleshed sweet potatoes, otherwise known as Asian, Japanese or Korean sweet potatoes, available in specialty food  or organic produce stores. I find them less “sweet” than the  traditional orange flesh ones.


Heat oven to 375.  Serves 2

Yellow Sweet Potatoes
Yellow Sweet Potatoes


2 medium sweet potatoes, preferably yellow fleshed.  Also known as Asian, Korean or Japanese sweet potatoes

1 can organic White Northern Beans

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium bunch of kale, woody stems removed, thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Salt and Pepper to taste

¼ tsp Red Pepper flakes


Scrub the sweet potatoes, poke holes and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.

Roast in the oven for about an hour or until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.Kale and Beans

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, cook the garlic over low heat in 2 TBS of the EVOO for about 2 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add the beans (do not drain) and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the kale, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until wilted.

Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. And finish with a drizzle of the remaining EVOO

When the potatoes are done, split the potatoes season with salt and pepper.

Fill them with the bean mixture and enjoy!