Monday, June 14, 2021

News & Ways to Stay in Touch

Last year I became the editor of chief of two sites, the Cheese Professor and the Alcohol Professor. On each site you will find three new stories a week. There is also a weekly newsletter. Needless to say, I have not been blogging here as much as I did in the past. But there are still ways to keep in touch! 

My old email subscription service Feedburner was discontinued, but you can sign up with and then choose how you would like to be notified of new posts--in a feed, a direct email or otherwise. Simply click on this link to sign up (or the "subscriber now" link in the side bar). 

I do hope you will take a look at both the Cheese Professor and the Alcohol Professor and consider signing up for the weekly newsletters as well. I write the newsletters and also contribute to both sites. Check out the past newsletters for Cheese Professor and the past newsletters for Alcohol Professor to subscribe.

As always, you can find pretty much all the stories I've written personally here

Wishing you all things cheesy, boozy or otherwise delicious,


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina Recipe & Contest

Just as Margherita pizza is symbolic of Naples, gnocchi alla Sorrentina is emblematic of Sorrento. Like the Margherita, it features the colors of the Italian flag thanks to tomato, mozzarella and basil.That trinity seems like the most classic of Italian ingredients, but is it? Basil is not native to the Mediterranean, it came to Italy from India via the spice routes.  Tomatoes came from the New World and didn't make their way to Italy until the 15th or 16th century, the same for potatoes, which are a key ingredient in gnocchi in many regions. I've read that potatoes were used because at one time the price of wheat was very high but I don't know if that's actually true or not. 

My recipe for gnocchi alla Sorrentina is incredibly simple, but like all Italian recipes, it relies on excellent quality ingredients. There are lots of recipes out there for gnocchi alla Sorrentina. While they all have potato gnocchi topped with a sauce made from tomatoes along with basil, Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella, they sauce recipes vary. Some sauce recipes use soffritto, a combination of carrots, celery and onion. Other recipes use onion. Some use tomato paste. But if you use Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes all you need is olive oil and garlic. 

The reason you should use Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP tomatoes is twofold, the consistency of the product the taste. It's just ideal for making a quick and brightly flavored tomato sauce. You can make the gnocchi by hand or buy a brand you like, but the sauce must be made from scratch, the basil must be fragrant and the mozzarella must be soft and fresh. I have used other tomatoes in the past and had to rely on tomato paste to boost the flavor of tomato sauces, but not anymore. Grown and picked exclusively for the can in the volcanic-rich soil of Mt. Vesuvius. They have a special red and yellow PDO label issued by the European Union that ensures they are the real deal. 

Now that we are finally getting out of the house, I'm pleased to share a chance to win dinner courtesy of  #ILoveSanMarzanoDOP at a local restaurant valued at $250. Simply enter  I ❤ San Marzano DOP contest for a chance to win! Good luck or as we say in Italian, in bocca al lupo! 

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina 
Serves 4 as a starter of 2 as an entree

1 pound potato gnocchi, cooked
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 28 ounce can San Marzano DOP tomatoes
Two sprigs fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
6 ounces fresh mozzarella (not low moisture) diced


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a saucepan and add oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and cook it over medium heat until it begins to turn golden, then turn the heat off. Using your hands, squish the tomatoes into a pulp and add them along with the puree in the can to the saucepan. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's the sauce is very thick. Add one sprig of basil, and turn off the heat. 

Combine the sauce and the gnocchi, and transfer to a casserole. Sprinkle with half of the Parmigiano Reggiano and all of the mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with the second sprig of basil. 


Rules: You must be 18 + years old and live in the United States to win. Contest deadline is 11:59pm June 18, 2021.  21 Winners will be randomly selected and notified by phone.  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Truffle Hunters

I got to meet people in the truffle business a few years ago when I was the blogger for the Napa Truffle Festival. I even blogged about truffle dogs. I am not a big fan of dogs but fell head over heels in love with the adorable Lagotto Romangnolos. Affectionate, smart and energetic, they were irresistible. The award winning documentary The Truffle Hunters features not just truffle dogs, but the dog’s owners, and some truffle brokers. 

This delightful and quiet documentary transports you to Piemonte in Italy and takes you into the hidden world of the truffle hunters, both the men and their dogs. But it also shares the dark side of the business. The truffle business is notoriously shady. In some sections of the film you literally get a dog’s eye view of truffle hunting. But the real charm are the men themselves and their relationships with friends, clients and their undying love for their dogs. Like the film itself, they are quirky, eccentric, funny and intense. 

Truffles are all about scent, and this film not only conjures up the smell of precious white truffles, but is a banquet for all the senses—the sounds of nature, the damp chill of the forest, and the beauty of lives led in a way that is perhaps as precious and rare as truffles themselves. The film is now playing in select cities. Check Truffle Hunters website for more information. 

Friday, November 06, 2020

The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook Review & Roasted Grapes and Yogurt Recipe

The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook by Toby Amidor is a book a lot of people could use right now. If you are feeling like you can’t face cooking anymore, don’t know how to cook, have very little in your fridge or pantry or are cooking for fussy eaters, it solves the question: What should I eat? Eat, not cook, because some of the recipes don’t even require using the oven or stove. 

 I don’t remember exactly when I met Toby but we have been on several press trips together. She’s a dietician, but also a home cook and I can attest she thoroughly enjoys eating. Her recipes are good reminders of what you can do with very little but also include some really ingenious things you probably haven’t seen before. She has a 3 ingredient oatmeal raisin cookie and two-grain free pancake recipes, one for pumpkin oat pancakes and another for peanut butter banana pancakes. 

 The book has recipes that are for every meal including snacks and treats, and have codes to indicate things like whether they are freezer friendly, food for meal prep, one pot, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. They also include scaled-down versions for fewer servings. The book includes tips for new cooks, cooking for two and cooking for students. The recipe I made from the book was Roasted Grapes and Yogurt made with vanilla Greek yogurt, grapes and honey, it was a hit.

Roasted Grapes and Yogurt 
Slightly adapted from The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook
2 servings 


1 cups seedless red and green grapes 
3 cups vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons liquid honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil


Heat oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and when shimmering add the grapes. Heat for 2 minutes then transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove skillet from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 

Divide yogurt into two bowls. Drizzle each bowl with a teaspoon of honey and then add top each bowl with the grapes and any liquid. 


Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the cookbook and this post includes an affiliate link.