Soup, Sandwiches and Dessert

I haven’t been cooking much lately, it’s been a whirl wind couple of weeks here as I lost a much loved cousin of mine to cancer, but recently I had to pull together a quick lunch for visiting family, fortunately I had all the ingredients to make this Sausage and Chard Soup. A big pot of comforting soup simmering on the stove always hits the spot.

Brown 1/2 lb. of crumbled Italian sausage, ( I used spicy)** Toss in 2 chopped carrots, 1 chopped onion and 1 large minced garlic clove** Add 1 1/2 cans of drained cannelini beans ( reserve half can) and a few cups of chopped swiss chard or kale** Pour in 1 1/2 boxes of chicken stock ( reserve the other half box)** If you have a cheese rind or two, put that in** Season with salt, pepper and a sprig of rosemary** Take the remaining 1/2 can of beans and the rest of the broth and place both in a bowl and if you have an immersion blender or just a regular blender give it a whirl and pour into the pot, this will act like a thickening agent. Cook until veggies are tender, it doesn’t take long.

In the meantime I sent the husband out to a nearby deli to pick up some Italian Subs consisting of provolone, salami, capicola, mortadella, tomato, onion and oil all on fresh Italian bread.

Worried that it wasn’t enough I quickly made some, Peppers and Eggs. Five or six large peppers seeded and cut into strips then sauteed in olive oil until soft, add in a dozen beaten eggs and lots of grated romano cheese, salt and pepper.
This is a big family favorite, such a humble sandwich that tastes like a million bucks! We’ve been eating this since we were kids, I always top mine with hot giardinera!
No time to bake? No problem! Just make a quick stop at our favorite Italian Bakery, you can never go wrong with Napoleans, Sfogliatelle, and fresh filled Cannoli’s!
For all my local peeps if you haven’t already done so please check out The Italian Bakery at 82 E. Lake St. Addison, Il. Always consistant and good!
Have I told you that they make a great cannoli cake? We order them all the time! Cash Only.
But my personal favorite are their cannoli’s, crunchy and creamy with every bite! Now all you need to do is put on a big pot of coffee, a match made in heaven!

Foodie Field Trip

I meet with my girlfriends once a week, sometimes we meet for coffee early in the morning, sometimes we go to lunch at our favorite restaurants and often we just cook for each other at our homes.

Sometimes we hop in the car and go into the city just to eat a famous sub sandwich or go to get an Italian ice with some pizza.

I could go on and on about our little excursions like the time we went hunting down fig paste and this particular eggplant salad that we’re obsessed with, but I need to get to the point of this post!

Our recent “field trip” was to a fabulous place called Caputo’s Cheese Market, if you blink you would drive right by it! Located in an industrial area with high fencing all around you barely see the sign as you enter through the gate, the building looks like a warehouse until the door swings open and you’re bombarded by every type of pasta you can think of, tomatoes, canned and jarred all over the place and every kind of staple you would want for an Italian pantry.
Here’s the layout, they have three specific rooms, the main floor is where the staples are, then on the upper level you’ll find the bakery and deli room, salads of every kind, you can even eat lunch there on the tables they have set up. Pizza, panini or any kind of sandwich you want, order your favorite salads and grab a cannoli for dessert!

I just love their olives, my favorite are the massive green olives stuffed with gorgonzola! Every time I open my fridge and see them, I want to pop one in my mouth, they’re so good!
Their sausage is made fresh daily, excellent quality with that old world flavor, and they’re not afraid to use fennel!

The cheese room is overwhelming, every where you turn there’s a different cheese, local and imported from everywhere, the prices are so reasonable one could get carried away, (cough, cough!)

Any of my Chicagoland readers who do not know about this hidden gem, it is worth the ride, go for lunch and spend the afternoon shopping! They have 2 locations, I’ve only been to the one in Melrose Pk. Here’s the link.

Like I said we could have eaten there for lunch, but on that particular day we planned to go to
Danny’s Cafe a neighborhood restaurant which happens to be right up the street from Caputo’s Cheese Market!

What you’ll find at Danny’s Cafe is great food in a casual neighborhood atmosphere with generous portions, I mean come on, how many restaurants do you know that actually serve neckbones?

We went there on a Tuesday, otherwise we would have ordered their platter of neckbones which people go crazy over!

Instead we ordered the fried smelts for our appetizer, this was a small order in which 4 people could easily eat from it.

The feta, tomato, asparagus and olive salad was the perfect complement to my favorite sandwich!

My favorite sandwich is, pepper and egg with crumbled sausage, big enough for 2 to share! Not pictured is the hot giardiniera I spooned all over the top, unbelievably good!

I’m stuffed just looking at all this food!

Buon Appetito!


I don’t know exactly when this humble sandwich had it’s beginning, but I’ve been eating this since I was a little kid. It’s usually offered primarily during the Lenten season in many of the Italian beef stands here in Chicago land, and on Friday’s, as an alternative to meat. Yes, way back when, the Catholic religion had a “no meat on Friday” rule and I think that’s how this sandwich all came about. I have to admit, even though I can find this sandwich close to where I live, and in some places it’s on the menu all year long, my favorite place to get this is right out of my own kitchen!!

Why? you might ask? Because I always think it taste’s blah there, never enough seasoning, you know, salt pepper, Romano! you can’t be skimpy with the ingredients!! It’s all about the flavor! the blending of the olive oil with the scrambled eggs and cheese, oh, and you must have good crusty bread, none of that white spongy stuff will do here!

With that being said, here’s how you put it all together… Saute your sliced peppers in olive oil that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic, till tender not mushy. Next, scramble up some eggs that have been seasoned with salt, pepper, and a generous amount of Romano cheese, don’t be skimpy on the cheese, this is what makes it so good!! Pour it all over your peppers till it sets up. Place it in some crusty bread, and if you like hot stuff like I do, a little Hot Giardiniera to top it off!!

It’s warm, satisfying, and beats a cold sandwich any day!!!

Buon Appetito!!