Chicken salad

Chicken leftovers? No problem! Last night I roasted a whole chicken, definitely too much for the two of us, especially because I don’t like its flavor if I warm it up the following day. So I removed the bones while the leftovers were still warm and today I turned them into this appetizing recipe.


(for 4 people)  A  B  Gf

  • the meat from half roasted chicken or 1 lb. of organic chicken breast
  • one carrot (optional)
  • one stalk of celery (optional)
  • half yellow onion (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 2 tender stalks of celery
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • the juice of half lemon
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. of mayonnaise (see my recipe)

If you don’t have any chicken leftovers, boil the chicken breast until tender (approximately 40 minutes) in a quart of water, together with half yellow onion, one carrot and one stalk of celery.

In the meantime, make the mayonnaise (see my recipe). Then wash and peel the carrot, wash the celery and the bell pepper. Chop finely the celery and the carrot, cut the bell pepper into thin slices removing the seeds and white membrane inside, and then cut them into small pieces.

Mince the chicken, put it into a mixing bowl, squeeze the lemon on top of it, toss, add the chopped vegetables, the roasted pumpkin seeds, the mayonnaise, toss again and serve.

N.B. Please remember to wash your hands and every surface that has been in touch with the chicken with hot water and anti-bacterial soap since poultry meat is very prone to contamination by the dangerous bacterium E. coli.




Celery root coleslaw

A variation of the traditional coleslaw, this simple recipe is a quick solution for an appetizer or a fresh side dish. Hard to believe that such an easy recipe can be so tasty.


(serves 4 people) A V B Gf

  • 1celery root
  • 3 Tbsp. of mayonnaise (see recipe)
  • Pepper

Make the mayonnaise following my recipe.
Peel the celery root with a potato peeler and julienne very thinly.
Add the mayonnaise, taste for salt and add if necessary, then a little bit of freshly ground pepper to taste, toss and serve.

Beets and feta salad


(serves 4)  F  W  B  V  Gf

  • 1 bag of organic arugula
  • 2 red beets (cooked)
  • 1 fennel
  • 3 oz. of Feta cheese
  • ¼ cup of roasted pumpkin seeds


  •  2 tsps. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. of  organic honey
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt (to taste, optional)
  • Pepper (to taste, optional)

Trim the leaves from the beets, wash the beets, scrubbing away any dirt, and leave them wet. Wrap them in foil and place them on a cookie sheet. Cook in the oven at 400F for 45/50 minutes. Once cooled, peel them by removing the outer skin with a knife and cut them into small cubes.
Rinse the organic arugula and arrange it on four serving dishes. Cut the Feta cheese into small pieces; arrange these two ingredients on the arugula, together with the pumpkin seeds.
Trim the fennel stalks and wash the bulb. Cut it in half lengthwise and slice it thinly, starting from where you removed the stalks and discarding the hard root end.
Arrange some fennel on each salad.
In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing on the salad.

Smoked Salmon and Fennel Risotto

The other night I was craving for something new and original and, after browsing recipes for half an hour without finding anything inspiring, I opened my refrigerator hoping to find an idea. Looking at the fennel bulbs that I was planning to cook au gratin (see my recipe), I started to wonder how they would taste in a risotto instead. Probably bland, I concluded. But what if I added to them a stronger flavor? Smoked salmon suddenly seemed the perfect pairing and, since my husband is a very tolerant guinea pig, I decided to try the experiment.
Perhaps because I adore salmon in any possible way, I ended up loving this risotto: it’s healthy, it’s low-calorie, it’s light, it has an appealing look, and it makes a meal in less than half an hour!



(for 4 people)  F  W  B  Gf 

  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 4 oz. of smoked salmon
  • 10 oz. of rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1 quart of boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp. of butter
  • 3 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 1 organic bouillon cube
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped

Trim the fennel stalks and wash the bulb. Cut it in four lengthwise, then cut each half in two, Slice it thinly, starting from where you removed the stalks and discarding the hard root end. Continue reading

Lentils Salad *

This salad can be eaten warm or cold.
Instead of lentils, you can also use black-eyed peas, soybeans, chickpeas, etc.
It gets particularly high in proteins when you mix two varieties of legumes and rice, for example lentils with rice and kidney beans with chickpeas.
In the summer the dried herbs can be replaced with a handful of fresh basil or cilantro.
In the wintertime, some chopped rosemary adds a warmer taste to this salad.


(serves 2)  A  V  Gf  B

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cucumber or 1 zucchini squash
  • 6-8 dried tomatoes


  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Tamari
  • 1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp. Evoo
  • Salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder, dried herbs

Rinse the lentil and soak them for about 12 hours. Then rinse them again and cook for 20 minutes in vegetable broth, stirring occasionally and adding some water if necessary.
After 10  minutes, add the dried tomatoes and stir.
Transfer the cooked lentils into a serving bowl and stir in a grated cucumber or a grated zucchini squash.
Instead of the grated vegetables you can add a diced fresh tomato or bell pepper.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, pour over salad, toss and serve.

* Recipe by Sonja Bachus

Roman Gnocchi

Roman gnocchi are semolina flour dumplings that make a fabulous entrée or a side dish. Their taste is surprisingly delicate because, during the cooking process, their volume doubles and their sticky, thick texture becomes fluffy, almost soufflé-like.
I prefer to cut them into squares because it’s easier and less messy, but in Rome these gnocchi are cut into discs, typically using the wet rim of a small glass. These round gnocchi look nicer, but you are left with a lot of remnants and, being them such a delicacy, you don’t want to waste a single bite!


(serves 6)   A  V 

  • 2 cups of semolina flour
  • 1 quart of organic milk
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of unsalted organic butter + 1 Tbsp. for the oven pan
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt

Pour the milk into a saucepan, add a big pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and start adding the semolina flour, little by little, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid forming any lumps; cook for ten minutes, stirring often because this mixture has the tendency to become very thick and to stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Continue reading


Typical of the Northwestern part of Italy (Piedmont, Liguria and northern Tuscany), the name Farinata used to designate all recipes made with different flours and liquids, boiled until cooked and condensed, such as Polenta. Today, though, it refers to a very specific recipe made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Farinata should be cooked in a wood-burning oven, and that’s why it’s served in many Pizzerias. However, if you warm up your regular oven well in advance, the result is almost as good.
Farinata makes a very tasty, original appetizer or a nutritious snack. It can also be served as a side dish in a rustic meal.
Not only it’s delicious but also gluten-free!


(serves 6)   F  W  Sp  V  B  Gf

  •  3 cups of chickpea flour
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 tsp. of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Put the flour in a big bowl, make a hole in its center and start adding the water a little at a time, stirring well to avoid any lumps.
Mix slowly and with care so that the result is a very homogeneous mixture. Add the salt and let the farinata rest all night in the bowl. The following morning remove any foam that has formed on its surface. Continue reading


How could I forget that today it’s Cinco de Mayo? Actually I did, but a friend reminded me a few minutes ago. It must be because in the area where I live there aren’t as many Mexicans as in San Jose, where I lived before. There it was impossible to miss Cinco de Mayo because days before the party stores began to display all the paraphernalia for the celebrations and cars drove around flying huge Mexican flags and honking to the refrain of “La Cucaracha”. In fact, in areas with large Mexican-American populations like California – and the Southwest in general – Cinco de Mayo is the occasion to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage, with all the drinking, eating and partying that goes with any Mexican Fiesta. Continue reading

Roasted Potatoes


(serves 4)  A  V  B  Gf

  • 1 lb. potatoes (Yukon gold or fingerling)
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp. Evoo
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Warm up the oven at 380 F.
Peel the potatoes (if you are using fingerling potatoes, just wash and scrub them), cut them in 1-inch cubes (or in half lengthwise for fingerling) and put them in a bowl. Cover them with 2 tsp. of salt; toss well and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
Peel the garlic, cut in half and remove its green core. Remove the leaves from the rosemary stem.
Drain the potatoes (there will be a greyish liquid on the bottom), coat them in 2 Tbsp. Evoo, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic, then transfer them into a roasting pan greased with the remaining olive oil.
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes start turning golden brown.
Serve warm.

Artichoke risotto


(for 4 people)  Sp  F  B  Gf

  • 2 medium artichokes
  • 10 oz. of rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. of chopped parsley
  • 2 quarts of boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp. of butter
  • 3 Tbsp. of EVOO
  • 1 organic bouillon cube
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese

Wash the artichokes and discard any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.
Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. Continue reading