Cashew and Garlic Pesto “Kale Chips”

Gluten Free, Potato and Corn Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, SUGAR FREE!!
Snacking just isn’t what it used to be.. but that doesn’t mean it has to be non existent and un-enjoyable! I have come to really enjoy food oddities, like crunchy seaweed, plantain banana chips, fried garbanzo beans and my favorite.. kale chips!

In my quest for non-dairy goodness, leaving out the cream and cheese for that creamy element, has been a work in progress, but, I have found that “something creamy” by way of cashews! I have been completely surprised.. and enjoy it in dairy free cream sauces too!

This is a quick and easy recipe to make.. hope you enjoy!!

Cashew and Garlic Pesto “Kale Chips”

2 Bunches Kale

1 cup raw cashews
½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
A dash of Cayenne Pepper
Salt if needed

Preheat oven to 275˚
Remove ribbing from kale and cut into 2-3 inch chunk sizes. Wash and spin dry to remove all water! Set aside in large mixing bowl.

In food processor, add remaining ingredients, except salt.. add only if needed.
Process until creamy. Pour pesto a little at a time over the kale, mix well. Be careful not to over drench the kale.. it will be too heavy to bake evenly! Spread evenly between two baking sheets, bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, till crispy.
The kale will shrink quite a bit so don’t be shocked! 

Enjoy!! Xo


Genoise Sponge Strawberry Tiramisu Cups

Buon Giorno Friends!! I am soo excited about these little dessert cups.. I've been seeing jars filled with delectable goodies all over Pinterest since the first day I joined.  Just coming from two weeks of baking and graduation preps, I had a few ingredients leftover in my fridge that I wanted to use up. 

In my pantry I had these canning jars that I bought at the hardware store, intending to can plums.. but the jars unused were just waiting for me to wash the dust off and putt off no longer there use. So voila.. perfect timing and an even more so perfect strawberry and syrup infused dessert choice for these mini's.

"Strawberries from my garden".. 
These are Alpine strawberries. An intense flavored runner less berry that grows large and has much fruit. My healthy strawberries come to you with a little companion planting of marigolds.  I love marigolds for there many uses. They are perfect for warding off pests, but they also keep the flesh healthy. I'm not sure exactly why.. I wish I had studied more botany, but when I first started growing marigolds and calendula it was to make a skin soothing tincture. Marigolds contain natural salicylic acid, and help to heal bruised skin. I use to make the tincture and leave it in the refrigerator.. just for a few days at a time.. for a soothing tonic. Again, not a botanist or chemist here.. but I did work in the skincare industry for quite a few years. Many of our high priced items had salicylic acid in them for toning, healing blemishes and minimizing pore size. There ya go.. you should all be growing Marigolds or French Calendula Flowers! 

Back to my recipe.. :)

After all these years of blogging my family recipes, I realize I don't have an actual recipe for Tiramisu here at Dalla Mia Cucina. As I was perusing my own recipe posts, I noticed that I have a picture of a holiday dinner with all the yummy food items, including a dish of heavenly tiramisu, but no recipe. And even now this isn't a traditional Tiramisu, but many of the layer elements are here and can be used in your own tiramisu cake.. or any party cake where you want to impress your guests and family with a dessert that will leave them coming back for more. 

Here in this recipe I'm giving you what I think is the most important element of this classic Italian dessert.. the Génoise Sponge. Not just any sponge, a genoise sponge originating in the city of Genoa. Some call it a genoese sponge, no matter, it's all good and perfect! 

What makes this sponge unique is that it uses no leavening. The volume and airiness of this cake is derived from whipping air into it with beaters. This all takes place at the beginning stages, first warming your eggs and sugar over a warm water bath, beating it and making it light and frothy, then putting it on an electric beater stand and whipping it till the "ribbon" stage. Alternating with the addition of a soft wheat flour, in this case cake flour,  and melted butter. This crumb is firm and open and holds up wonderfully to sugar syrups and espresso. YUMM!! You can imagine where this is going.. right?? 

After I cut out my little cake shapes to fit inside the glass jars, I douse them with the marsala espresso syrup, then layer with the mascarpone cream, topped with macerated strawberries, adding another sponge layer, another dousing.. topped with chantilly cream and let soak up in the refrigerator for 3-5 hours.  When I took the lids off, I smoothed the cream and sprinkled a generous topping of grated chocolate. Good quality.. of your choice! This isn't traditional.. traditionally in a cake form I would use a good quality unsweetened cocoa powder. 

I hope you try this recipe.. I know you'll love it, especially the Genoise.. And if not this particular recipe.. definitely make dessert in these individual sized glass jars! 

...and the recipe!!

Bon Appetito!
Laurie V..

Pistachio Beef "Rustico"
Rustic Savory Pastry

It is no secret that I adore pistachios.. this aromatic nut is flavorful and holds its own when combined with meats such as beef and sheep, but is as gentle as a lamb when whipped into a gelato and chocolates or used as a base for my smooth and tasty pistachio pesto and cream sauce. But then again, you will often just find me eating them right out of a plain paper sack, satisfied to snack on instead of the alternative, oily roasted peanuts and potato chips.

I'm always looking for ways to incorporate pistachios into my home cooking, and when I found that I had a couple extra cups the same night I was making a collection of savory pastries I began combining flavors. The pistachio and ground sirloin were definitely the stars, but they combined well with sauteed shallots, fennel and garlic, red pepper, capers and raisins.

I first browned my ground sirloin, then added red pepper flakes as well as cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, salt, capers and raisins. In a food processor I ground my shelled pistachios and then added them to the beef mix.

In a separate saute pan in olive oil I lightly sauteed my chopped shallots and fennel till translucent. Then I added my finely chopped garlic and continued to saute till golden. This was then added to the pistachio beef mix. I approximately used 1 onion, 1 shallot and 3 cloves of garlic. (for added flavor, a minced green and red pepper sautéed along with the garlic, shallots and fennel would also be amazing!)

When all ingredients were combined I then added a few more teaspoons of olive oil, an 1/8 cup of beef broth and a dab of butter plus a few more seasonings for taste.

The "pastry" is a post in itself. Pasta Frolla is the typical Southern Italian pastry for Rustici and Crostata's. It is by far my favorite pastry to use and is not too hard to make. It tastes like a combination of a shortbread crust and pie pastry dough, but in my opinion is better than both and holds up to many a pastry dessert.

I do love Nick Malgieri's pastry recipe's, and his are usually my "go to" recipes of choice.

But this Italian Pasta Frolla recipe is the basic recipe you can find in almost any Italian cookbook or Nonna's kitchen collection.


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 freshly grated lemons, zest of or 1 oranges
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon vanilla


1.In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and zest.
2.Cut in the butter, until it resembles coarse meal.
3.Add the egg and the vanilla and toss the mixture until incorporated.
4.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly, forming into a disk.
5.Chill, wrapped in plastic at least 1 hour or overnight.
6.Let the dough stand at room temperature until softened, but still firm enough to roll out.

Buon Anno and Buon Appetito!!
I hope you and yours enjoy a Blessed New Year,
From My Kitchen..