5 Fabulous Bloggers: Proud Italian Cook

Proud Italian Cook, Window Pane Pasta

Windowpane Pasta with Basil Pesto
Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes & Tiny Cubes of Fresh Mozzarella

Hi everyone, it’s me Marie, from Proud Italian Cook, I’m excited to be guest posting here today for my friend Lori Lynn. I was honored when she asked me along with four other bloggers to be a part of her fifth year anniversary celebrating her exquisite blog Taste With The Eyes.

Lori Lynn and I both started our blogs back in 2007, and since then I have had the pleasure of meeting her in person and sharing a fabulous meal with her and her wonderful family here in Chicago. I’ve always said to Lori Lynn from day one, that she couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name for her blog.

Taste With The Eyes is a visual feast, from the moment you arrive you’re instantly drawn in by all her gorgeous photos, her fabulous food and glorious surroundings, and every time I leave here I feel like I’ve just experienced fine dining at it’s best and can’t wait to come back!

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Miso-Braised Asparagus, Ginger Sauce

miso braised asparagus, ginger sauce

Miso-Braised Asparagus, Ginger Sauce, Sliced Scallion
served on
My “Le PONT de la TOUR” China
in Honor of
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

While ginger sauce makes a heart-healthy alternative to hollandaise, braising asparagus in miso broth adds another layer of subtle flavor. A casual ladle of ginger sauce over braised asparagus makes for a zippy vegetable side. The addition of buckwheat noodles, tomatoes and pine nuts makes a vibrant meatless meal.

❖❖❖

Lucy Robinson Hanson
1886 – 1970

Over a century ago, Lucy Robinson and Jack Hanson were Londoners. Early in the 1900’s, Jack left England for Chicago to follow his dreams. Shortly thereafter and still a teenager, Lucy left her family and followed her true love to America. By 1952 Lucy was a widow, a mother of 7 and grandmother of 17 when Princess Elizabeth, while visiting Kenya, received the news of her father’s death and her own accession to the throne.

Lucy decided to take one of her grandchildren back to England to visit the family she hadn’t seen in many many years and to witness The Coronation which was to take place in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd of June 1953. They boarded the RMS Queen Elizabeth and sailed to England. The granddaughter that accompanied Lucy was my mother. She was 19.

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Fiddlehead & Flower Month-of-May Salad

fiddlehead fern salad, edible flower salad
fiddlehead fern frond & edible flower
tatsoi & arugula salad
avocado, yukon gold potato, dijon dressing

April showers brought May flowers. And with the upcoming opening of our “ristorante alfresco virtuale” Ciao Fiore! I’ve got edible flowers on my mind. Marigold and Johnny Jump-Up, Nasturtium, Pansy, and Borage too. I spotted the fiddlehead fern fronds at Whole Foods Market, in season right now just shipped down from Portland, Oregon. Flowers and ferns seemed like a pretty pairing, and thus this delightful Month-of-May salad was born.

Edible Flowers in the Salad:

  • marigold – bright orange petals, some with red tips
  • johnny jump up – small purple petals
  • nasturtium – large orange flower
  • pansy – large dark violet-purple flower
  • borage – tiny blue petals

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Woodsy Shiitake & Black Kale Soup

shiitake soup
Shiitake, Black Kale, Tofu & Seaweed Soup
Sesame, Scallion, Sriracha Garnish

Woodsy. Earthy. Deep.
This is one intense vegan soup that offers full epicurean contentment.

Flavor profile:
meaty shiitake mushroom, robust kale, subtly sweet ocean-y wakame seaweed,
toasty sesame oil, tangy hot sriracha
Aroma profile:
heady, intense, wet forest, earthy
Texture profile:
steamy broth, chewy kale, silky shiitake, slippery wakame, spongy tofu, crunchy sesame seed
Color profile:
deep dark broth, midnight-green wakame and kale, spring-green scallion, electric red sriracha

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Spring Bliss: Sugar Snap Pea, Avocado, Tomato, Mint

spring bliss soup, sugar snap pea soup, chilled pea and mint soup

Chilled Sugar Snap Pea & Mint Soup
Mashed Avocado with Lime, Tomato Concassé with Shallot
Fresh Mint, Chili Oil & Creme Fraiche Garnish

A vendor at the Farmers’ Market was handing out samples of fresh-from-the-vine sugar snap peas. Telling people just to eat them as is, no cooking necessary. They were sweet & exploding with flavor, crunchy, the color of spring. Few of us could pass up buying a basket or two. Once home, I turned to my favorite vegetable cookbook Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables for inspiration: Sugar Snap Pea Soup. A simple and refreshing chilled soup. With avocado for richness, tomato for sweet acidity, mint for brightness. Spring. Bliss.

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Linguini, Smoky Avocado Sauce, Black Beans, Lime

avocado pasta

Linguini, Grilled Avocado Sauce with Lime & Cilantro
Topped with Black Beans, Red Onion & Serrano

Been seeing the avocado puréed, and used as a sauce or dressing a lot lately? I sure have. With pasta, as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad, as a substitute for hollandaise with fresh fish or vegetables. Great heart-healthy ideas all!

Here, I take flavors that pair well with avocado such as lime, green chile, red onion, cilantro, black beans…and re-mix them into a refreshing green pasta dish. And by adding one more layer of flavor – smoke – the silky sauce takes on another dimension. Lime juice keeps it bright, and serrano kicks up the heat. It’s a healthy pasta fiesta!

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Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup

Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup

Fresh Egg Fettuccine with Braised Red Cabbage, Red Onion, Roasted Red Beet
Red Wine Butter Sauce & Beet Syrup
Thyme-Scented Baby Candy Stripe Beet with Fresh Chervil

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t toss those adorable blushing baby candy stripe beets into the pasta. Their charm would have been sadly lost. So the thyme-scented little chioggias were simply sliced in half and arranged around the pasta, with the most incredible concentrated beet syrup, and dainty little sprigs of fresh chervil.

We’re celebrating betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their fantastic color, which also happens to be a powerful antioxidant. Candy Beet Fettuccine is the second course in a striking beet-centric vegetarian meal prepared for the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group’s monthly challenge featuring the BEET. It joins first course, Baby Golden Beet Salad, in a color competition, posted yesterday here. Red, pink, or gold?

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