Thursday, January 27, 2011

Italian Mamas: Pesto, Bruschetta, & Creamed Corn (just cuz)

Much of my cooking inspiration comes from my mother. I remember in high school I would shrink away from having to help in the kitchen at home; I once tried attempted orange juice by throwing whole oranges in a blender (Toni managed to stop me in time). So when I finally began to appreciate the fine art and bliss of home cooking, it was my mother's recipes I thought of first.

"How do you make your lentils?" "So I shouldn't be adding salt to boil water for tea?" Shameful, I know. It was probably her Italian roots and mine too that finally brought about a love for the kitchen. A number of my dishes are a work in progress to veganify Italian classics. One of the her classic recipes as such was her bruschetta.

So following up on my second project, and really beginning what will be a long dedication to reviving the childhood favorites (bonding over community, family, and food), I have a few short and easy recipes based on my mother's cooking and her Italian roots.

These dishes were all served up just after Christmas during a dinner party with my best friends (Sarah, Diane, Bianca) from across the country. Nothing beats a long night of sharing with friends over the dinner table, a nice glass of wine, and.... a fort!! (Toni kindly built us girls an epic blanket fort!)

Happy Campers

Toasted Bruschetta

* 1 Fresh Italian Loaf (whole wheat if available)
* 4-6 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
* 5 Roma Tomatoes, diced
* 2 Garlic Cloves, minced and crushed
* 2 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
* 2 t, Dried Oregano
* 1 t, Dried Parsley Flakes
* 1 T, Good Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 t, Freshly Ground Pepper
* 1 t, Freshly Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or salt of choice)


1. In a medium bowl, add together all the ingredients except the loaf and vegetable oil. Mix well and set aside.
1. Slice loaf into 1 in slices. Heat a cast iron (or heavy bottomed) pan over medium heat. Place olive oil in a dish and brush lightly on each side of each slice as your lie them on the pan. Toast for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until crispy and golden.
3. Lay out your toasted bread and top each with a large spoonful for the tomato mixture. Each immediately & Enjoy!

Easy Vegan Pesto Pasta

* 1 T, Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese
* 1 Bundle Fresh Basil Leaves (approximately 8-15 leaves, depending on moisture content)
* 1/2 C, Pine Nuts
* 1/3 C, Good Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
* 1 T, Freshly Ground Pepper
* 1/2 T, Freshly Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or finely grained salt of your choice)


1. Add together all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Pesto should be almost smooth, just a bit chunky. If too moist, add a few extra basil leaves and a handful of pine nuts. If too dry, add an extra tablespoon of olive oil. Easy as that. Eat with crackers and wine, or add to pasta. Enjoy!

And just for good measure, if you're mouth was watering over the pictures, I wanted to present to you...

"Bianca's" Asian-Flare Creamed Corn
Aka. PETA's creamed corn recipe.

Its awesome, and easy, try it.

So if any of you have a family recipe, even if its not that good, just something unique to your childhood, maybe made by an aunt, a cultural recipe made on holidays.... I'd love to hear about it! Just a general recipe outline (even if it includes meat, dairy, eggs, etc; all the better to work with) would be awesome... and OF COURSE, the story behind it, the most important part.

I want to hear from you, let's share :)



  1. HAHAHAH WE MADE IT ONTO YOUR BLOG!!! what a nice accomplishment. I made the pesto pasta last night, isn't that funny?! I love what you're doing nat, this is so cool!

  2. Great Blog! I will give you a web where I get real fruit on powder form to make juice and desserts, I taste organic mango, it is delicious. enjoy it !