Nibbles for your New Year’s Eve Party!

As 2010 quickly approaches, I want to wish everyone of you a Very Healthy and Happy New Year!
A good friend of mine says “health is wealth” and that is so true and most important, but I can’t help wishing for just a little prosperity to go along with it!

Just a few ideas in case you want to add some other things to your New Year’s Eve table. I know its cold, but pull out your grill pan and grill up some eggplant slices, all your grilling can be done the night before. There’s still time!

Layer each slice with some roasted red pepper, a mixture of feta and herbed cream cheese, you can even use goat cheese if you like, top each slice with spinach or arugula, and then just roll them up and stick a skewer in each one.

A little drizzle of olive oil over the top, and you have a delicious combination!

Keep your grill pan out and make some Spiedini Di Mozzarella. Take 3 slices of a good quality country loaf or sourdough bread, brush each slice with olive oil, stack them on top of each other and place a slice of fresh mozzarella between each layer. Now cut the stack into quarters, and into each quarter stick one rosemary sprig. Grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts. Serve with your favorite pesto for dipping.

You can’t go wrong with Portobella Pizzas either! After cleaning and scraping out the gills of each mushroom, place them for 5 minutes on each side under your broiler until they become tender. Then fill them with whatever you like, I used Italian sausage that was already browned, and tomatoes. Top them with some fresh mozzarella and place back under the broiler a couple of minutes until the cheese turns golden brown. Vegetarian options are just as delicious, you can even quarter them and also serve with skewers.

Have a safe holiday and see you all next year!


Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Tapenade

This is a great little appetizer to have while your leisurely waiting for something to cook on the grill this weekend. It can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and kept in the frig, in fact it tastes even better that way because all the flavors blend together perfectly.

This is not your typical recipe for tapenade, this is rustic and chunky minus the olives and
capers. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly add those things if you want, but for me, I just like the taste of eggplant to shine through.

Ingredients are simple, eggplant, onion, red pepper, and basil. I roasted mine in the oven but you can also grill them too.

Heat your oven to 425F, take 2 nice size eggplants and cut around the skin in a zebra pattern, taking some off and leaving some on. Cut into 3/4 in. disks. Chop 1/2 of a large onion and 2 red peppers the same size.
Drizzle both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast till tender on the inside, and slightly crispy on the outside. Cool and cut into big chunks.

Place everything in a bowl, add 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, and a dressing of emulsified fresh lemon and olive oil, keep tasting to your desired amount, adding more or less. Lastly, add some freshly torn basil leaves and toss in some toasted pine nuts.

Make sure you toast up some good crusty bread so you can smear the tapenade on top, and be sure to open up a nice cold bottle of your favorite wine. Aaaah, this is living!!!
Have a great weekend and Buon Appetito!!


Spring has definitely sprung here in Chicago! finally!! So long winter! See ya! Ba Bye! Arrivederci! Ciao!!

Time to open up the windows, crank up the grill, clean off the lawn furniture, and enjoy the sunshine! And thats just what we did!

Heres a couple of appetizers we enjoyed over the weekend. CAPRESE EGGPLANT TOWER

Grilled eggplant
Fresh mozzarella
Ripe and juicy tomatoes
Red onion
Fresh basil
Brush eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill. You can either grill the red onion slice or just keep it raw. Stack in any order you want.

Drizzle everything with your best extra virgin olive oil, and don’t forget a couple slices of good bread. I like the holes you get with a chiabatta, it’s not doughy at all. Oh, and don’t forget to open up your favorite bottle of wine to enjoy with this.


Grill your zuccini, and spread on your favorite pesto! so simple, so good!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 🙂



I love eggplant and make it in any way, shape or form. This is great for a light meal or an appetizer.

Thinly slice your eggplant and place slices in boiling water for 2 min. drain on paper towels.

Place slices criss cross and layer tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella, then fold up into a neat little package.

Brush with olive oil and broil for 5 min, on each side.

Serve warm with a light tomato sauce, or a tomato based vinaigrette. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

They’re so tender and flavorful, they just melt in your mouth!!

Buon Appetito!!!