Stuffed Turkey Bracciole
Braised in a Cream Sherry Sauce

The lure of rolled meats is in the stuffing. It’s like a beautifully wrapped package just waiting to be revealed. The contents of which are breadcrumbs soaked in wine, cheese, herbs, eggs, pancetta, and mushrooms. A variety of ingredients encapsulated by thin pieces of meat, wrapped in twine, seared and braised in tomato, cream, or a wine sauce.

It is one of the most decorated dishes among Italian cuisine and yet so simple and satisfying to prepare. Like a Sicilian style Veal Involtini, or that which is frequently prepared in my own kitchen, the Stuffed Flank Roll, there are a myriad of preparations and meat choices to use.

It’s common to see the traditional use of beef, chicken or veal, but often times you will also spot a recipe calling for fish or rabbit common to the Le Marche Region of Italy.

I happen to have a boneless turkey roll in the freezer left from the holidays so I decided to use it in a Bracciole preparation similar to a Stuffed Chicken Braised in Cream Sherry Sauce I have previously made. I hope you enjoy!

Buon Appetito!

Stuffed Turkey Bracciole Braised in a Cream Sherry Sauce

1 ½ cups Italian style dried bread crumbs
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
½ cup mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
½ cup sweet Vidalia onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sage finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3-cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg hard boiled and sliced

Cream Sherry Sauce
½ cup Cream Sherry
½ cup Whole Cream
2 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Shallots

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl, add mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, fresh ground black pepper, diced sweet onion, minced garlic, flat leaf Italian parsley, fresh herbs and a drizzle of Cream Sherry to moisten.

Unwrap turkey from mesh sleeve. Save the sleeve to wrap the turkey back into after you roll it up. Stuff the turkey with filling, lay slices of hard boiled egg in middle of stuffed turkey roll, fold meat over and rewrap the mesh netting over it or tie it up with kitchen string. Season the Turkey breast all over with salt, pepper and paprika.

In a heavy skillet on a medium flame heat a few teaspoons of oil and a teaspoon of butter, add the turkey and brown well on both sides. Remove to a platter.

In the skillet you cooked the turkey in, sauté 2 teaspoons shallots in 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When shallots are soft add 1/2 cup of Cream Sherry, 1/8 of a cup cream, 2 tablespoons water, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Place the turkey back into skillet. Turn heat to low. Cover skillet partially. Let meat stew in liquids for around 45 - 50 more minutes. Slice up and serve.

A “Gluten Free” Fig and Frangipane Tart
with a Peach Amaretto Glaze on an
Almond Shortbread Crust

A “Gluten Free” Fig and Frangipane Tart with a Peach Amaretto Glaze on an Almond Shortbread Crust

Does anyone else long for the time of year that figs are in season? I adore this fruit! I have a special affinity with figs.. growing up we had plenty of them, a fig tree right outside my bedroom window in our backyard. When ripe, this fruit would produce the most plump, gorgeous, raspberry colored, juicy fruit EVER!!!!

Unfortunately, I haven't had as much luck with fruit trees as my parents did.. 'I'm still waiting for my apple tree, after having it now for three years, to bear fruit'. So when at the market recently eyeing these luscious gems I quickly snapped up a dozen.. only to be disappointed with the lack of flavor and sweetness. I needed some idea to make this tart more fragrant so that's when I decided to glaze the fruits with the peach amaretto jelly. It was a beautiful save!

I also have been using an almond shortbread crust for tarts, pecan pies and cheesecakes now for quite a few years. Adapting this recipe to Gluten Free didn't change the taste or texture one bit. The almond shortbread crust is actually a cookie.. but one time I had a pecan torte with a regular shortbread cookie crust and have been hooked on "shortbread" as pie bases ever since.

What You’ll Need..
6-9 Figs cleaned, tips removed and sliced four ways lengthwise
Gluten Free Almond Shortbread Crust
Gluten Free Frangipane
Peach Amaretto Jelly
Recipes Follow;

Almond Shortbread Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp. bourbon vanilla extract
2/3 cup “gluten free” *all purpose flour
1/3 cup blanched almonds or almond flour (meal)
2 tablespoons brown rice flour or cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pre-Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Pulse almonds with sugar in a food processor till finely ground, add rice flour, gluten free flour and salt. Pulse till well combined. Add butter and vanilla, mix just enough for the dough to start gathering together. Lightly butter the bottom of a tart pan or a cheesecake pan and up the sides a quarter of an inch. Press the shortbread mixture on the bottom. Pierce with a fork. Bake the crust in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. (It will cook again once the frangipane and figs are on top)

Adapted from the Foodie Handbook by Pim Techamuanvivit
½ cup blanched almonds
1/8 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup confectioner’s
7 tbsp. butter at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp. Amaretto

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and place them in the oven. Roast them for about 7-10 minutes,(kepp an eye on them) or until slightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.

Put the cooled almonds and the sugar’s into a food processor and process until fine. Add the butter, egg and amaretto, pulse until well combined. Leftovers can be wrapped with plastic and left in the refrigerator for a few days and in the freezer for up to one month.

Peach Amaretto Jelly
½ cup peach jam or homemade peach preserves
2-3 Tbsp. Amaretto
1 rounded tsp. honey

Mix the honey and amaretto in a small bowl, add the peach preserves and blend well. The mixture should be thin enough to brush on the figs, if it is still to thick, add a bit of water till the consistency is just right.

Putting It All Together

Pre-heat oven to 350°
Lay the fig slices on a tray. Lightly glaze the figs with the peach amaretto jelly.
Spread the frangipane over the top of the prepared par-baked Almond Shortbread Crust.
Layer the figs on top of each other starting on the outside going in so that the last figs will sit higher and create a flower type look. Drizzle the top lightly with more of the peach amaretto jelly so the crust and the frangipane have some of it as well.
Bake the tart in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes.

*The recipe below is a blend to make your own gluten free all-purpose flour at home.

I buy mine pre packaged by Bob’s Red Mill.. only because it’s convenient at my local grocers.. but check out the link I provided for you below.. Living Without Magazine has a variety of flour blend recipes you can make at home.. Including a Gluten Free Pastry Flour blend!

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
source Living Without Magazine

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch

Chocolate Meringue Cookies (Gluten Free)

I love all things meringue .. I have made rainbow colored meringue cookies, meringue nests, have floated them on a crema anglaise sauce.. made little mushrooms for a Bûche de Noël yule log, used them for a Pavlova,
made meringue sticks for my famous “Dalla Mia Cucina Style” Perfect Party Cake and my all time favorite use is for the dessert ‘Baked Alaska’. But, what has racked my brain for many a year has been those darn Chocolate Meringue Cookies.

I have tried many recipes.. even using my favorite meringue cookie recipe and swapping out some of the sugar with cocoa powder, just to end up with a deflated cookie.. and ego.

So will I ever learn.. I should have known that Nick Malgieri, my favorite pastry chef, would have the perfect recipe.. I adore his baking techniques and have used many of his recipes for years as a base to many of my pastry needs. So when I was looking thru endless magazines and cook books for THE recipe.. there it was “Chocolate” by Nick Malgieri.. and the perfect recipe for Chocolate Meringue Cookies.

What sets this recipe apart is the use of good quality unsweetened chocolate blocks.. not cocoa, and, beating the egg whites and sugar together over a hot water bath. This meringue base was like marshmallow cream, so smooth and satiny, a perfect foundation for the perfect cookie.

I hope you try this.. you’ll love-Love-LOVE them, if that is, you are looking for something not too sweet, something crisp, light, gluten free, and a low fat treat.

This recipe is from “Chocolate” by Nick Malgieri.
Recipe yields around ’34′ 2-inch cookies.

3 large egg whites
1 cup minus 2 tbsp of extra-fine granulated sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 275 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a wide skillet, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low.
In a bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine the whites and sugar, whisk to combine. Place the bowl into the skillet filled with hot water and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are heated to 130 F.
The process will take about 6-8 minutes.
Place the bowl onto a base of the stand mixer, or just use hand-held electric beaters to beat the whites until increased in volume and substantially cooled.
Beat on medium speed if you are using the stand mixer, and on high with the hand-held one. The mixture should be stiff and glossy but not dry and clotted.
Pour the chocolate over the meringue and fold it with a rubber spatula.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with 1⁄2 inch star tube and pipe S shapes, or use a larger star tip and pipe meringue rounds as I did in this recipe. Pipe about 1 1⁄2 inches apart, on the prepared pans.
Bake the meringues about 15-20 minutes, until crisp on the outside but still somewhat soft within.
*(Nick’s recipe sets the oven to 300 degrees, I like the cookies a bit more crisp and dry. So my recommendation here is 275. :)
Slide the cookies, still on the parchment, to a cooling rack. If the cookies do not release from the paper they are underdone and should be returned to the oven for a several minutes.
The cookies are the best on the day they are baked. But if you need you can keep them between sheets of parchment paper in an air-tight container.

Carmalized Onion, Potato
and Eggplant Rustici"
with a Pasta Frolla Dough

This Potato and Eggplant Rustici has boosted my moral at home.
Being a Foodie and using my family as the taste testers of my creations.. doesn't always fare well. I may think it's "fabulous", "noteworthy" and "darn ready for a cookbook", but unfortunately I have some picky eaters in my household.

For instance, I made Chicken Marsala a few weeks ago.. oh my gosh.. I LOVED it! But my husband said, too much Marsala taste.. and my daughter didn't like the mushrooms.
"What TO DO???"

One thing I know I will always get raves for with my husband and kids, is Empenada's and Rustici.
I posted an article recently on my Pistachio and Beef Savory Pastries.. that was an unexpected flavor hit for them. I was uncertain to what their response would be, but you know, something happens when a filling is wrapped in a Pasta Frolla Dough.. It's usually a hit!

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

Pasta Frolla


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.

The filling ingredients are as follows;

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Shallot finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic finely minced
1 Stalk Celery finely chopped
1 Carrot Finely Chopped

2 Large Vidalia Sweet Onions thinly sliced
2 Large Eggplants cubed
3 Large Russet Potatoes cubed
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Rounded Teaspoon Turmeric
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Kosher Salt to taste

In a very large stainless steel pan I saute my shallots, garlic, celery and carrots in around 1/8 cup olive oil. When nicely browned set apart in a different dish.
In the same pan.. without washing it first, I then season and saute my main ingredients and cook them separately not to lose their individual flavors. When they are all done and fork tender but not to soft combine them all together adding the garlic, shallot, celery and carrot saute. (back into the large pan)

Season with cayenne and tumeric. I have never cooked with tumeric before.. but I wanted the drama of some gorgeous amber color. Thinking it would only lend to color, I was so pleasantly surprised at the flavor it lent. It was perfect with the potatoes, onions and eggplant!

Add the white wine and cook till the mix is moist but not sopping wet. Add more heat and season to taste if you would like. I love the extra cayenne.:)

I made individual rustici's for my family. They cooked beautifully this way and made a wonderful presentation on the individual plates.

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Cook until the dough is baked through and the filling is set, about 30 to 40 minutes.
For more detailed instructions Nick Malgirei has a great recipe here with instructions for another type of rustici.

Below is a close up picture of an apple blossom, from my tree not pictured..
Photo was enhanced in Photshop with added background texture! :)

Ciao and Buon Appetito!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
and "my"
Master Carpenter

The recipe.. easy, ingredients.. basic, prep work..a snap!

What I do in the home "IS" in comparison, easy to what my husband does out in the field and on the job sites on any given day. He grew up at his fathers side learning the trade as a Master Carpenter.. but as the years went by he grew even more in his art, adding residential building and custom home design to his resume. And.. as many more years progressed he changed hats all together and now builds in the commercial sector.

So when I say I am proud and exited at his latest project, it's because I miss seeing him pick up a piece of wood, prep it, shape it, sand it, paint it and present it as a finished piece of art work. And more so, I guess I can also say I'm exited because the presentation is in our home!

For a job most appreciated and all his hard work that I'm so grateful for, filling the house with scents of apple cinnamon and making sure there is an ample supply of muffins in the basket is the least and most simple thing I can do.
That is..compared to what he has been doing.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I have on my website for Zucchini Pineapple Bread. The cake recipe is basic, just exchanging chopped apples for the zucchini and pineapples. I also used bourbon vanilla instead of the rum, adding an 1/8 of a cup of apple juice to compensate for not having the pineapple.

For the streusel topping, I used 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 3 tablespoons butter.
For the glaze topping, I used powdered sugar, a drizzle of milk, vanilla and cream cheese. Make sure it's thin enough to drizzle over the muffins when done.

*Often when I cook I don't use a recipe,
I do the taste and try test till it's just right! :)

This was a bonus room being turned in to a college girls suite.

Our youngest daughters room.
Called "Visions Of Lavender"

Had to add the visual.. lavenders from my kitchen window!

All the door and window casings, as well as the crown and baseboards are being redone throughout the whole house.

An arch and columns where there was none before..

Ciao for now.. please visit me when you get the chance at my photography blog..


Buon Appetito, Abbracci e Baci!