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Gourmet Pastas and Sauces on-line

alice's heart healthy recipes for mid winter
(return to food)

Here are mid winter heart warming vegan and vegetarian recipes - good for you and great for Valentine's Day.

The * indicates recipes which are Vegan or can be Vegan eliminating the cheese.


Sformatini di Asparagi - Individual Asparagus Flans
24 boiled asparagus spears (green will be best)
1 brimming cup (260 ml) cream
3 shallots
An egg white
Unsalted butter
Vegetable broth
Curry powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 creme caramel molds

see also...
heart healthy recipes
spring veggies
fall veggies
winter veggies
vegetable preparation tips

Begin by buttering the molds, lining the bottoms with disks of oven-proof paper, and then the sides with asparagus tips, sliced lengthwise and cut to a length such that the points reach the bottoms of the pans. Cut the remainder of the asparagus into rounds. Preheat your oven to 380 F (190 C) Mix cream with the asparagus rounds and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Fill the molds with this mixture, stand the molds in a tray of water, and cook them in the oven for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, julienne the shallots, and simmer them in the remaining cream, adding 2 ladles of vegetable broth, salt and curry powder to taste (go light on the latter). Simmer the mixture until it is reduced to a syrupy sauce, and spoon it over the flans after you unmold them.

Serves 4.

Blini di Grano Saraceno - Buckwheat Blini
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups milk, warmed to body temperature (98 degrees)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup heavy cream
Clarified butter or vegetable oil as needed

Creme fraiche
Caviar or smoked salmon
Fresh chives or chervil sprigs

Stir together 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sugar and yeast. Whisk in 1 cup warm milk. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest in a warm area for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together remaining 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and the salt. Using a blender, combine eggs yolks with remaining 3/4 cup milk until foamy. Whisk into dry ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 1 hour. Combine both batters. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks, then gently fold into batter. Pour cream into egg-white bowl; beat until soft peaks form, then gently fold into batter. Let rest for 30 minutes. Heat clarified butter or oil in a nonstick skillet over moderate heat. When hot, drop batter by the tablespoonful into the skillet. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then to warm plates.

To serve: Top each tiny pancake with a dab of creme fraiche and either a spoonful of caviar or a slice of smoked salmon. Garnish with chopped chives or a delicate sprig of fresh chervil.

Yields about 40 blini.

Bruschetta con Peperoni Rossi - Bruschetta with Roasted Red Bell Peppers
6 large red bell peppers
40 2-inch-diameter 1/2-inch-thick diagonal baguette slices
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 1/2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 garlic cloves, halved

Char peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel peppers. Set strainer over bowl. Holding peppers over bowl to catch any juices, seed peppers. Cut into thin strips. Place in bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.) Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on baking sheet. Broil until toasted, about 2 minutes. Trun bread over. Brush with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Broil until golden, about 2 minutes. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Add basil, 2 tablespoons oil and minced garlic to peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Rub oiled side of each bread slice with cut side of garlice halves. Divide peppers among bread slices.

Makes 40 slices.

Onion, Artichoke & Pecorino Frittata
1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon crushed dried Greek or Sicilian oregano leaves or ground fennel
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small sweet onion such as a Vidalia, about 4 ounces
1 4-ounce jar whole pimientos or roasted red bell peppers
3-4 canned artichoke hearts packed in water
4-5 sprigs parsley preferably flat-leaf
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese

Put the oil or butter in a 9- or 10-inch ovenproof skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium-high heat. Beat the eggs with the milk, oregano, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. Turn on the broiler and adjust the broiler pan so it is 6 inches from the heat source.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter the onion half. Put in a food processor and pulse until chopped. You should have about 1/2 cup. Put the onion in the mixing bowl used to beat the eggs. Put the pimientos in the food processor and pulse until chopped. Add to the onion. Cut the artichokes into quarters (if they are small) or sixths (if they are large). Add to the onion and pepper. Chop the leaves from the parsley sprigs and add to the onion mixture. Mix well.

Gently add the onion mixture to the egg mixture in the skillet and spread it out evenly. Increase the heat to medium and cook for six minutes. When the bottom and sides of the frittata are set-the center will still be a little runny-sprinkle the pecorino evenly over the top. Put the skillet in the broiler and cook for about 3 minutes, until the top is just firm and nicely browned. Turn the skillet a few times so the frittata browns evenly. If the top is well browned but the center is not yet firm, put the skillet on top of the stove over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve from the skillet.

Serves 4.



Sformato di anellini o ditali - Baked Anellini or ditali with Ricotta
1 lb. anelli or ditali
3 oz. caciocavallo or grated parmigiano
8 peeled, seeded tomatoes
olive oil
slightly toasted bread crumbs
1 lb. ricotta cheese, passed through sieve
1 onion

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just al dente, drain and add olive oil and a few spoonfuls of caciocavallo or parmigiano cheese. Cook the chopped onion with the diced tomatoes, salt and pepper in a dry pan. Cook until the sauce becomes thick then puree it in a food mill and return to the pot. Add a bit of olive oil, and let sit for a few minutes over low flame. Oil a mold and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Alternate layers of pasta with layers of ricotta, and grated parmigiano. Spread a spoonful of tomato sauce on each layer. The last layer should be pasta. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and put into a hot oven for half an hour. Turn the mold out onto a plate and serve hot.

Red Pepper Fettuccine with Tuna and Black Olives
1/4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 scallions with green tops, chopped
12 large fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
20 pitted Kalamata olives
1 can tuna packed in olive oil
zest of one lemon
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 lb fresh or dried red pepper fettuccine

In a large saucepan, saute shallots and scallions in olive oil until translucent, about 2 min. Add basil, olives, tuna, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir until well heated. Set aside and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and 1 Tbsp salt and boil until al dente. Drain pasta and add to tuna-olive mixture. Toss well and briefly reheat before serving.

Serves 4.

From the Dinner Co-op.

* Fusilli alla Barbabietola - Beetroot fusilli
7 oz fusilli
11 oz. beetr0ot (cooked)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped onion
grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (optional)
salt & pepper

Boil salted water in a large saucepan and cook the fusilli. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with the garlic and chopped onion and sweat for 5 minutes. Blend or chop the beetroot roughly and add to frying pan. Simmer garlic until the pasta is ready. Strain the pasta and pour into the fryng pan and saut�e for a minute or two. Serve in a large serving dish with plenty of freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan.

Serves 2.


Polenta con Verdura Arrostita a Sapore di Timo al Limone - Lemon-Thyme Polenta and Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables
You can prepare the polenta up to 2 days in advance, if desired. Regular thyme may be substituted for the lemon thyme, although it won't have the same citrusy fragrance.

2 3/4 cups vegetable or vegetable broth
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbs. plus 4 tsp. chopped garlic
4 tsp. chopped fresh lemon thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. drained and minced
oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
5 Asian eggplant, halved
lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

3 zucchini, cut into slices 1 inch thick
8 small red potatoes, quartered
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 red onions, each cut into eighths

Line an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the broth, the cornmeal, 1 Tbs. of the garlic and 2 tsp. of the thyme. Continue to whisk until the cornmeal is thick and smooth, about 12 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the cornmeal into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top. Let cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 5 hours. Preheat an oven to 400�F. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup broth, the vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining 4 tsp. garlic and 2 tsp. thyme. Add the eggplant, zucchini, potatoes and bell pepper. Toss well and let stand for 20 minutes.

Coat 3 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Turn out the polenta onto a cutting board and cut into 12 equal slices. Place the polenta slices in a single layer on 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Arrange the marinated vegetables and onions on the other 2 baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper. Place all 3 baking sheets in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn over the vegetables and polenta and continue to roast until browned, about 10 minutes more for the vegetables and 15 minutes more for the polenta. Transfer the vegetables to warmed individual plates, dividing them evenly. Garnish each plate with 2 polenta slices. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.


* Risotto with Lemon and Herbs
6 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil (seperated)
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup finely minced fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, rosemary,
tarragon, mint, and marjoram
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the stock in a saucepan or in the microwave and keep it at a simmer. In a large saucepan, saute the shallots in 1 tablespoon of the the oil over medium heat until soft but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the oil and begins to become translucent, about 2 minutes. Add a cup of hot stock, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Keep adding stock a cup at a time, stirring all the while and maintaining the heat at a simmer until all the stock is used and the rice is almost tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Do not cook the rice too fast and try not to let it stick. It should be creamy and al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining oil, all the herbs, the lemon zest and lemon juice, and the cheese. Cover and let rest for several minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately on warm plates. Decorate with sprigs of herbs or some lemon zest if you wish.

Serves 6.


* Ciambotta Abruzzeze - Vegetable Stew
1 small eggplant
1 cup small zucchini
2 - 3 stalks of celery
1 or 2 small potatoes
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
1 fresh tomato
1 clove of garlic, chopped

Cut all the ingredients,except the garlic and saute in a frying pan with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and the chopped garlic. Simmer until l all the vegetables are tender. Then serve them in a platter.

* La Ghiotta - Vegetable Casserole Abruzzese
10 oz peppers
1lb, 2 oz tomatoes
10 oz zucchini
10 oz onions
2 lb 4 oz potatoes
1/2 cup oil
some thyme branches
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Clean and slice the tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and peppers. Boil the potatoes and cook them until tender. When cool, remove skins and slice them like the other vegetables. In a casserole dish, preferably oval shaped, place alternate layers of potatoes with the tomatoes, onions and zucchini until you use all of the vegetables. In between layers, salt and pepper the vegetables to taste and sprinkle some chopped thyme. At the end, pour the oil over all the dish, then the cup of broth. Bake for about 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F until golden brown.

* Vegetable Paella
2 C. onions, diced
2 C. red peppers, deseeded and diced
1 C. carrots, julienned
1 C. zucchini, julienned
3 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 t. saffron strands
1 1/2 T. garlic, minced
3 C. long grain rice
6 C. vegetable stock, divided
1 - 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C. mushrooms, halved and sliced
1 1/2 C. snow peas, cut in half diagonally
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. paprika
1 C. fresh or frozen peas
1/2 C. black olives sliced
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. freshly chopped parsley
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

In a large pot, saute onions, red peppers, carrots, and zucchini in 1 1/2 T. olive oil for 7 minutes. Meanwhile in a small bowl, soak the saffron strands in a little of the vegetable stock for 5 minutes. Add garlic to the saut�ing vegetables and saute for an additional minute. Add rice and remaining 1 1/2 T. olive oil to the pot, and stir well to coat the rice with the oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add saffron and soaking liquid, remaining vegetable stock, artichokes, tomatoes, mushrooms, snow peas, cumin, and paprika to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir well to combine, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 8-10.

Source: The Vegan Chef Beverly Lynn Bennett


Insalata di Finnochio, Pere ed Indiva - Fennel, Pear, & Endive Salad
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
5 medium-size Bartlett pears (about 2 pounds)
2 large fennel bulbs (about 1 pound each)
4 medium-size heads Belgian endive (2 red, if available)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

In small bowl, prepare dressing: With wire whisk or fork, mix olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper; set aside. (If you like, combine dressing ingredients in jar with tight-fitting lid; refrigerate overnight.) Remove core and slice each pear into 12 wedges, leaving skin on. Place pear wedges in large bowl. Trim top and bottom from each fennel bulb. Slice each bulb lengthwise in half; remove core. Slice halves crosswise into paper-thin slices; place in bowl with pear wedges. Cut 1 yellow and 1 red endive crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices; toss with fennel mixture. Separate leaves from remaining heads of endive. Toss dressing with fennel mixture. Arrange endive leaves around edge of large shallow bowl or platter; top with fennel salad. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

Serves: 8.

Roasted Fig Salad with Warm Walnut Gorgonzola Dressing
16 dried Figs, each cut into 3 pieces
8 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
6 oz whole Walnuts
4 oz Olive Oil 2 oz Balsamic Vinegar
1 oz dry White Wine

Mix first 5 ingredients and spread in shallow baking pan. Roast in 400 degree oven for 6 minutes. Remove tray from oven and deglaze with wine.

6 bunches mixed baby greens (about 6 cups)
1/2 head Radicchio
2 heads Belgian Endive

Clean and rinse lettuce in ice water. Drain and dry well. Assemble lettuce on plates and divide figs and dressing among them.

Serves 4.


* Chocolate Hazel Nut Cake
2 1/4 cups tawny Port

10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup ground toasted hazelnuts (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup husked toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup unhusked toasted hazelnuts

Boil tawny Port in heavy large saucepan until reduced to 10 tablespoons, about 15 minutes. Set reduced Port aside.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350�F.oil a 9-inch square baking pan with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment. Dust pan with flour; tap out excess. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour into large bowl. Cool slightly. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of reduced Port, ground nuts and cocoa. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in another large bowl until mixture whitens and triples in volume, about 6 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and fold together. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until top forms crust and cracks, and tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool 30 minutes. Press down on crusty portion of top to even. Run small sharp knife around cake sides to loosen. Cool 2 hours. Turn cake out onto 7-inch cardboard square. Peel off parchment.

For icing:
Bring cream, corn syrup and remaining 6 tablespoons reduced Port to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Let stand until cool but still spreadable, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Place cake on platter. Spread chocolate icing over top and sides of cake, forming waves in icing atop cake. Press chopped hazelnuts onto sides and 1/2 inch over top edge to cake. Alternate husked and unhusked hazelnuts atop cake along chopped hazelnut border. Refrigerate cake at least 4 hours. (Cake can be prepared 1 day ahead.) Cut cake into slices and serve.

Serves 8.

* Pere al Forno con Uvette Secche e Canella - Baked Pears with Currents and Cinnamon
10 ripe but firm Comice or Anjou pears, unpeeled
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup dried currants
2/3 cup (or more) water

Preheat oven to 350�F. Using apple corer, cut through stem of each pear and all the way through pear to base to remove core. Trim bottoms so that pears stand straight. Arrange pears in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Combine sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add currants. Fill pear cavities with half of sugar mixture. Stir cup water into remaining sugar mixture; pour around pears. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover; chill.) Bake pears uncovered until tender and sauce is syrupy, adding more water to dish by 1/4 cupfuls if syrup becomes too thick and basting occasionally, about 50 minutes. Serve pears warm with syrup.

Serves 10.

Lombardy Apple Fritters
7 oz (200 g) flour
1 egg
3 cooking apples
half a lemon
Quarter pint (150 ml) milk
Quarter pint (150 ml) water
2 oz (60 g) vegetable oil
2 oz (50 g) granulated sugar

Sift flour, and pinch of salt into a bowl Make well in center with spoon, add eggs one at a time and beat Add in milk and water and mix Gradually add in the flour from the sides, to create a smooth fairly runny batter. Mix and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Grate lemon rind. Peel quarter and core the apples, cut into thin slices. Add apple and lemon rind to the batter. Heat oil in a frying pan, add some batter and fry until pale amber colour Drain in a paper towel, sprinkle with sugar, serve immediately.


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