When a Cheesecake looks
like the San Andreas Fault

It may not have looked pretty enough to serve.. but it was a taste masterpiece!

I had ingredients left over from my Pumpkin Marsala Spice Cake with a Cheesecake Surprise, so my intention was to reverse the dessert and make a simple cheesecake with a pumpkin swirl. It was in fact a good idea, I have made this type of cheesecake before and it has turned out wonderfully. But this time I wanted the pumpkin flavor to just be an accent, infusing the cake with just a slight taste of pumpkin.

I piped the cheese filling 1/4 of the way up the pan, then I dolloped a few teaspoons of pumpkin filling in the cheese and swirled it around, then adding more cheese filling to 3/4 of the way up the pan. I then dotted the pumpkin filling on top of the cheese filling so that I could run a toothpick through the dots creating a pretty design on the top of the cheesecake, as you see above.

It created San Andreas like faults in all the dotted places on my cake. Not so pretty.. but the slight infusion of pumpkin was the success I was hoping for.

Now let me tell you about the crust.. this was where most of the flavor punch came from. With an ingredient list of graham cracker crumbs, ginger snap cookie crumbs, ground cinnamon pecans, brown sugar, butter and a drizzle of marsala wine.. we were all in heaven. The combination of flavors were (and are) a perfect melding of holiday aromatics.

So while I may make a few adjustments for future swirly's that decorate the top of my cake, I won't change this crust!

An addition to our cheesecakes that my mom had taught us when we were young in the kitchen, was to take the cake out five minutes before it was done and add a sour cream topping, put it back in the oven and bake for an additional five minutes. For the sour cream topping we just mixed together sour cream, a couple of tablespoons of sugar, vanilla and a splash of lemon (if a lemon based cheesecake). This topping would for sure hide any of the cracks on the cake.. and it tastes so good!

While I don't have an exact recipe for the pumpkin filling, I added around;

Pumpkin Filling
15 oz. pureed pumpkin, 1 egg, 1/2 cup half and half, sugar, bourbon vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves to taste.

The rest of the recipe is as follows;

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup ground ginger snap cookies
1/4 cup finely chopped cinnamon or candied pecans
1/2 stick melted butter (more if needed)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. Marsala

3 sticks of 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs. Flour
2 tbsp. Bourbon vanilla extract
1 tbsp Marsala wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees°.
In a food processor grind ginger snap cookies and pecans. Mix together with graham cracker crumbs and the remainder of crust ingredients. Lightly press into a spring-form pan going up an inch or so on the sides. Set crust aside.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla and Marsala, blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour 1/4 of the batter into prepared crust. Dollop some of the pumpkin and swirl around with a knife. Avoid cutting into the crust. Add the remainder of cheese filling and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Dot the cake all the way around.. in columns, with the pumpkin filling. With a toothpick, move slowly around the circle through the middle of the dots. Cover bottom securely with foil. I do this so butter from the crust does not drip in my oven. I almost think this also prevents the bottom from cooking to quickly while the thick middle is cooking.

* If you want to avoid the San Andreas Fault look.. you can limit your pumpkin filling to the middle section of your cake only. :)

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is a little jiggly in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Turn the heat off and open the door of the oven so it is ajar. Let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. At least 12 hours. I like to make my cheesecakes a whole day in advance to serving.

Buon Appetito!

Green Beans and Potatoes in Broth

This is such a tasty way to serve vegetables poached in a wonderfully light broth infused with tomato, spices and wine. If you like hearty vegetable soups, this is along the same lines but the vegetables are poached just till a fork can pierce them and then they are sautéed in a bit of olive oil and herbs till golden. These go well with beef or poultry and can be served hot or at room temperature which makes them ideal for picnics and barbeques.


1 lb fresh green beans cleaned and cut to 1 ½ inch length sizes
4 large baking potatoes cut into chunks

Water to cover vegetables in pot
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
1 cup white wine
2 tsp. vegetable or chicken bouillon
Yellow Onion sliced roughly
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
Poached Vegetables
Salt and pepper if needed
1 tsp. fresh rosemary finely minced
2 tsp. fresh basil chopped roughly
2 tsp. fresh thyme

In a stock pot, pour water over vegetables just to cover. Add tomato sauce and wine, yellow onion, bouillon and seasonings. Let come to a boil, lower heat and cook for around ten minutes. Just so they are slightly tender enough to pierce with a fork.

Remove vegetables from broth, reserving liquids for use in sauté.
In large sauté pan, heat olive oil. Sauté garlic till translucent. Add poached vegetables, toss or stir to coat and cook. Add fresh herbs and season to taste *if needed. They should have been seasoned adequately in poaching broth. Add around a ¼ of a cup of reserved liquid. Cook till well seasoned but don’t cook so long that the vegetables start to fall apart. The liquids will thicken a bit with the starch of the potatoes. This adds to the wonderful flavor. Serve hot or at room temperature. They taste great the next day as they sit in broth overnight!
Buon Appetito,

Stuffed Mushrooms

If there's one side dish that is most requested by my children in our home.. it would have to be stuffed mushrooms. I love cooking with mushrooms and in my opinion they make a successful ingredient in almost everything. :) One of my first posts here on DMC was an onion and mushroom saute. Yumm! You can check it out here.

You can use white button mushrooms, which are also called agaricus, crimini mushrooms, portabello mushrooms or porcini mushrooms for the base. Did you know that portabello mushrooms are the same as crimini just on a larger scale.
For the stuffing I use bread crumbs, freshly ground from a stale loaf of bread or store bought crumbs are fine too. I add Parmesano Reggiano grated cheese, finely shredded mozzarella, melted butter, white wine and salt and pepper to taste. Very little black pepper for it will overwhelm the flavors if your not careful. I don't have exact quantities for this recipe but I do always start with the bread crumbs and cheese for the base and work from there. Add the liquids a little at a time. A few tablespoons of melted butter then a few tablespoons of the wine till the mixture is moist enough to hold together when pinched. Have your mushrooms ready, stems removed, mushrooms cleaned with a damp cloth or a dry brush. Don't ignore your stems from the mushrooms.. they will make a wonderful addition to your stuffing if finely mince and added to the rest of the ingredients.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven for approximately 12 - 15 minutes. They will be golden brown in color and the cheese from the inside should be oozingly delicious.

Ciao and Buon Appetito!

Whole Grain Pecan Loaf
and Fall in Temecula

There is something about the change in seasons that gives way to a breadth of newness.. the jewel tone hues of summer redesigned to shades of crimson, sienna and umber. The air thins out as the moisture from the humidity declines and the wisps of the wind blow gentle breezes across the plains here in my Temecula.

Sometimes words alone can't describe it.. not even the pictures captured through my lens. But the feeling I get with this sensation none the less is enough to brighten my countenance and fill me with a renewed vigor.

There is nothing I love more than to welcome the cooler season with scents of fresh baked breads and the nutty aromas of whole grains and nuts.. and cloves! Something about the scent of cloves in all it's allure and mystery speaks not just of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but of a quintessence that entertains a feeling of anticipation.

A much needed day of rest and relaxation as I strolled through the Vail Lake Resort off of Hwy 79.. I have a special spot that I often retreat to that overlooks the glen and the lake in the distance. I can't recall a time ever visiting my little haven without being greeted by the whistle of the wind rustling through the trees.

“Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God's voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.”
Quote by William Barclay

Even my eldest daughter today made a remark about
the weather finally giving way to Fall..

This ridge in Temecula is along The Rainbow Gap, a valley way that brings cool air from San Diego's ocean through to the Temecula Valley.. the affect of this cool air is what gives the Temecula Vineyards it's plush flora and makes grape growing ideal. The moderate daytime temperatures and warm sunny days along with cool nights, are ideal conditions for the best wine grapes.

After a stroll on a crisp fall day there is nothing more comforting than a slice of fresh baked whole grain bread with yummy oats and pecans, scented with clove and drenched in homemade honey butter.

Beautiful sepia colors of dried out sunflowers..

Every year we look forward to a visit to Peltzer Farms for their annual fall festivities and gorgeous display of pumpkins.

Bella's choice..

...and mine!

Happy Fall 2010!!
Can't wait to unveil some hardy recipes and photo's..
Ciao, Abbracci e Baci!!


Crumbly Delicious Blueberry Buckle

We have had such beautiful weather so far this year, unlike the typical 100 and up degree weather that we usually have. It has been perfect for baking and berry picking.. but alas, the berries at the local farm have faded and given their last bounty. I'm so glad that our grocery produce stalls are still full with these blue beauties, I think this gem has to be my favorite fruit of all!

This is a simply delicious recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa's Blueberry Crumb Cake.
It tasted just like you would think a moist coffee cake would, with lots of blueberries and cinnamony sugar goodness on top..
only to be enhanced by a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream.

For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers,
crumble the topping evenly over the batter.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home

Apricot Zabaione
Almond Shortbread Tartlets

With the heat of summer I haven't been cooking as much fancy fare.. but instead have been utilizing my indoor grill and then filling up our salad bowl with fresh lettuces and vegetables.

While staying close to the air conditioned kitchen though, I have had fun creating some new desserts while playing with some old Italian recipes to "up the flavor ante" and to add my own DMC style. (take a look at the address bar, Dalla Mia Cucina ~ DMC is now my sites domain) :)

Here with this Zabaione, I incorporated an apricot flavor by blending a puree I made by processing some sun dried apricots with a little bit of sweet fortified wine, then carefully mixing it with a bit of home made whipped cream. It gave it a mousse like texture.. light and airy and "oh so delicious".

I love the delicateness of a shortbread crust.. even more so.. an almond shortbread crust that pairs perfectly with apricots and amaretto.

This dessert has all the desired elements of a sweet craving, for an elegant dinner party or a gratifying end to a Sunday meal.

Hope you enjoy..

Buon Appetito!!

Blackberry Wine & Coconut Cakes
and a Contest Winner!

We have had a wonderful and eventful month of June thus far. Relatives in town for my daughters graduation plus an extended holiday has left us with the feeling of exuberance and excitement, but also a little sad knowing it will soon come to an end as my sister and her family head back to there little parcel of land in the Northern part of California. While my sister was hear we had a fun time of food, fellowship and shopping for fanciful items at the antique market. *Below are some pretty spoons and linens I picked up for literally pennies on the dollar.

This is a simple dessert I made with fresh, sweet blackberries and blackberry wine to make a syrup and then baked it into a yummy coconut pound cake batter. It was so delicious!

On our free time I captured some shots of new growth and foliage in the yard. This is a single pedal from a purple Agapanthus plant.

I also want to thank all of you who commented on my blog as well as on my Facebook page giving me some great ideas for my kitchen remodel. Using the Random Number Generator website the number chosen was 2. Lynn from Blue Skies is the winner of the $60.00 gift certificate to CSN Stores. "Congratulations Lynn"!!!! xoxo

Blackberry Wine Syrup

1 -1/2 cup Blackberry Wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Pint cleaned and dried blackberries

Combine the wine, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low; cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid becomes syrupy and has reduced by about two-thirds. With heat on low add the blackberries stirring just till they begin to soften but keep there shape.

Coconut Pound Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (6 oz), toasted and cooled

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter 6 ramekins and dust with flour, knocking out excess flour.

Whisk together flour (2 cups), baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 8 to 10 minutes with a hand held mixer. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low, then mix in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in coconut gently but thoroughly with a rubber spatula.

Spoon batter evenly into individual ramekins around 3/4 of the way up. Place ramekins on cookie sheet. With a large spoon, carefully place blackberries and syrup over cake batter not skimping on berries.
Bake until golden and bubbly and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into side comes out clean, 20 - 25 minutes

Cool individual cakes on a rack 15 minutes. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!!
Buon Appetito!!

"Orange Molasses"
Raisin Cookies

Summer started with a flurry of activities and the excitement of a graduation. Our oldest daughter is now on her way to a collegiate course that may take another 8 years or so depending on whether or not she sticks with her plans! We are so proud of her and a little overwhelmed emotionally too.
Can you relate? :)

And now that their vacation has begun, I'm already realizing that with the kids home, writing and posting favorite recipes will probably come few and far between. This simple recipe was a perfect choice to start the kids' summer off with and to also share with visiting family in for the festivities. It may look like a simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookie..
but my play with ingredients gives it a complex flavor and texture.

You may have read my holiday cookie post a few years ago called the "Italian Filled Cookie". This cookie is my families version of the traditional Sicilian cookie called a Cucidati. It is so delicious and filled with yummy goodness in the form of chocolate, apple butter and rum soaked raisins. If you have never poached pears or soaked fruit.. you really need to try it. I don't normally enjoy raisins straight from the box, dry and shriveled, they, like prunes, really only remind me of growing old and "not so gracefully". :) So if I can help it.. smooth, plump and hydrate is my adage!

With this Oatmeal recipe I plump and hydrate the raisins. I was intending on using Rum or Marsala. I love those flavors together, they are a match made in heaven. But with none on hand I decided to improvise with what I did have. I had an assortment of juices.. apple, orange, pear.. but I also needed to have something that would intensify the flavor as the liquid and the raisins simmered. Molasses and raisins.. and with that, orange juice for the liquid became the perfect choice!

I wish I could bottle my husbands enthusiasm.. he is so kind and wonderful and gave these cookies the highest rating he has given any of my cookies before! I thought they were pretty good too, not so overpowering or bitter with molasses, but yet in my opinion not to sweet either. I say in my opinion, because my mom did say they were a little too sweet for her, but normally she adds very little sugar to anything. :)

As far as a recipe goes.. I took a generic oatmeal cookie recipe from one of my favorite wedding gift cookbooks and added my improv on ingredients from there. Chocolate pieces, coconut and walnuts were also added to my orange molasses soaked raisin oatmeal cookie batter. :) For a more intense orange flavor, I would add some zest of an orange. It all melded together so wonderfully! 

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
**1/2 cup raisins simmered in molasses and orange juice, then drained (read up above)
3/4 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut (optional but yummy)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and, if desired, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats, drained raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut. refrigerate for 1 -2 hours.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Let stand on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

**You can either soak your raisins and molasses in a jar for 1 day or over night, or you can speed up the process by simmering them on low in the orange juice and molasses till they are plump. I used 1 cup of orange juice to a 1/4 cup of molasses. When they were done I drained them in a sieve before I added them to the cookie batter.

Buon Appetito!

Simple as an
"Olive and Anchovy Crouton"

You've heard the phrase, "Less Is More", well this is a concept that applies here to a dinner salad simply prepared with a few ingredients. The star, being the crouton is so infused with flavor that it wows the taste buds. The trick here is to minimize flavors that would compete with the olive and anchovy in the crouton. Sunflower seeds, very mild and small, tomatoes, not too fruity or aromatic and mild Gorgonzola.. a smooth and mild cheese unlike a Blue or Roquefort that may steal the show.

I had the idea for this crouton when my leftover Kalamata Olive loaf was beginning to get stale and my leftover anchovies from my Gallette were sitting alone in the refrigerator. I hate to waste food.. waste not want not. So I gathered the anchovies and pulsed them in my mini food processor with a fruity olive oil, added some red pepper flakes and black pepper for a spicy infusion. Cubed the remainder of the olive loaf and tossed them in the oil mix to coat. I set my oven to 300 degrees. Any lower and they get too crisp for my liking. I like a bit of a chewy but dry texture to my croutons.. although if you like them extra crunchy I would definitely lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees.
While in the oven check every ten minutes turning them over repeatedly till they are a nice golden brown.

To dress up this salad I drizzled a nice fruity olive oil and a "little" red wine vinegar over it, and sprinkled a little sea salt on top. Growing up I remember my Calabrian grandmother preparing salads dressed with a simple dressing of olive oil, salt and a little red wine vinegar. I loved it this way. It really brings out the flavor and freshness of your salad ingredients.

Don't forget to give me your "Kitchen Remodel" ideas and enter my Kitchen Remodel contest for a chance to win a $60.00 gift certificate. You can enter here. Grazi!!

Buon Appetito!

Summer Vegetable Soup

There really isn't anything difficult or spectacular about this soup, except for the fact of it's deliciousness and healing ability it seemed to have on my family! Soup is one of those meals that I crave all year long. I love rich broth's infused with fresh vegetables, onions, garlic and wine. I love starches in a soup because they are natural thickeners and even enhance flavor. Potatoes take on such beautiful flavor from stewed ripe tomatoes and bouillon seasonings, and corn still on it's cob is so yummy to munch on after it has cooked in the soup broth. So when my husband over the weekend needed something light and healthy after being inundated by restaurant and to-go food during his business week, I quickly ran out exited to purchase vegetables for a nice pot of hot summer soup!

Large Stock Pot filled 3/4 way up with water
2 -3 Tablespoons Vegetable bouillon to taste depending on your liquids
Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Large onion thinly sliced
2 Large garlic cloves crushed
1 1/2 cups White Wine
2 cups crushed tomatoes or cored and diced very fine
2 Large Carrots diced small or sliced into diagonals
2 Celery Stalks finely diced
2 Ears of Corn on the Cob cut into three pieces each
1 Large Plantain Banana cut into 1 inch slices
2 Potatoes cut into small chunks
2 Zucchini sliced
2 Yellow Squash sliced
2 Cups Fresh Green Beans cleaned and cut
Fresh Parsley finely chopped
Fresh Basil Leaves finely chopped
1 Lemon cut into slices

This really is an easy preparation! Scrub and cut all your vegetables and set aside.
Bring pot of water to a boil. Add vegetable bouillon.
Add crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, plantain and corn on the cob.
Let cook for 20 minutes.
Add the white wine, the yellow and green squash, green beans, parsley and basil. Add 1/8 of a teaspoon of red pepper flakes plus around 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Let cook for half an hour more. Check the seasonings and adjust flavor if necessary with pepper, bouillon and wine. The soup will start to thicken a bit with the breakage of the potatoes. The plantain bananas will still be firm but this is normal and they are still good! When soup is finished serve in bowls with crusty bread and slices of lemon. Let each one squeeze their own amount of lemon to taste. Decorate with fresh basil and enjoy!

Ciao and Buon Appetito!

A Savory Galette
Gruyere, Anchovies, Arugula
Olives and Capers..
and a Contest!

*Be sure to read the bottom of this post for the contest details!

I have had the hardest time posting this.. the picture doesn't do the end result justice. But if there is any time you are going to trust me.. now is it!

This Savory Gallete with the mix of olives, capers and anchovies.. plus the addition of lots of garlic and shallots had the most beautiful aroma and set the house a whirl. Talk about an intoxicating bouquet! Then enter in the arugula and Gruyere cheese.. so much flavor and texture that it will be a "tart recipe" worth keeping in the front of your recipe box.

The title of this recipe also limits some of the star ingredients for this Gallete, I used three different cheeses. Besides Gruyere, I used Fontina to blend with it and then topped the tart with Chevre goat cheese before putting it in the oven.

I started by making my dough. I love to add fresh herbs to my dry ingredients in the processor. They really impart beautiful aromas. This especially works well with a delicate and mild cheese tart when you want to make it a little more savory. Here is another recipe where I incorporate basil into my dough.

Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cleaned and dried arugula leaves
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chilled non hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Crust Preparation
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Add arugula and pulse to incorporate. Add butter and shortening; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. *DO NOT OVER MIX YOUR DOUGH. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before continuing.

I love all of these ingredients!

You don't want to add salt to your saute. There is plenty of flavor in these ingredients. For myself, I like to use olives cured in oil to eliminate some of the saltiness. If you can't find any or if you have olives and capers in a brine solution on hand I suggest you rinse them. The anchovies are very salty and will impart much flavor!

3/4 cups Manzanilla and Kalamatta Olives sliced in half and seeds removed (rinse well if in brine solution)
2 Tbp. Capers (also rinse)
Red pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper
1 large (or two small) shallots finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
5 anchovy fillets cut into small pieces
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated Fontina cheese
3/4 cups crumbled goat cheese

1 egg white
3 tablespoons milk for washing your pastry (whisked together)

Saute garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper in olive oil till golden.

Add olives, capers and anchovies. Saute for 3 minutes and turn heat off.

Add arugula and blend well. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350°.
Roll out dough and transfer to a round cookie sheet lined with non stick foil or parchment.

Sprinkle with grated Gruyere and Fontina blend.

Top with the arugula anchovy olive blend.

Dot on top with the crumbled goat cheese.

Fold up your dough in a non uniform rustic style. Brush with egg white/milk mixture. Bake in 350° oven for approximately 40 minutes - 50 minutes until dough is golden.
Buon Appetito!

Now for the contest..

This last week being the memorial weekend we had all sorts of cooking tools, utensils and small electrics out on the counter. We were a busy family cooking and grilling! It had me thinking of all the items I still don't have.. and things I could still use. We are in the process of a house remodel. There are some things staying.. and many things going! Currently we have "can lighting" in my kitchen but are considering a new lighting system. Candice Olson, designs some of the beautiful rooms utilizing beautiful light fixtures like track lighting, sconces and hanging lights. What to do!!

We are also changing out the cabinetry and back splashes. I'm going all white! Woohoo.. I might regret it later, but we currently have stain grade and it's time for a change. Instead of white marble behind the stove though I think I'm going to use stainless as a back splash along the oven wall. We have all sorts of ideas.. but I can never have too many!
So your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is #1. To comment to this post with a link to a design element that would make my life in the kitchen much easier! :) That includes storage ideas and accessories too!

Also #2.. "link love" my friend! If you can just mention the contest with this link on your blog, twitter, or Facebook and leave me a message as to where I can see it, you will automatically be entered into the contest with a chance to win a $60.00 gift certificate to CSN Stores. That's it.. two things! The contest will last two weeks from today. The last day to submit a comment and a link to this post will be June 17th! If you enter anonymously be sure to add your name and email address to your comment.

*For the Winner.. with your purchase you will be expected to pay all tax, shipping and handling costs, so please take that into consideration when making your purchase choice. The winner will receive the certificate via their e-mail from
CSN Stores.

Thank you so much for taking my "remodel challenge".. so let the games begin!
P/S. The next contest will be a pasta and risotto exchange!

Ciao, abbracci e baci!