The Basic Art of Italian Cooking ....where food meets art, travel & life! Tue, 21 Mar 2017 01:05:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Basic Art of Italian Cooking 32 32 53500274 Food Blogging, Tuscan Picnic, DaVinci the Foodie Tue, 21 Mar 2017 01:05:15 +0000 If you will be in the Newtown, PA area in March and April join me in one of my specialty classes I will be presenting at Bucks County Community College. Here is excerpt from their catalog: You can register by calling the college at 215-968-8000

Former international supermodel turned Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati has won numerous awards for her bestselling book series and Blog-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm- including the  Gourmand World Award and  Culinary Travel Blog of the Year/  Considered one of the foremost experts on Italian Culinary Arts  and Culture, she frequently appears at consumer and trade food and wine shows, TV, and radio and is currently working on her own PBS TV series. She also is a consultant for Food Travel Blogging and Online Content Development.

Food Blogging 101

Learn how to become a blogger for a hobby or for a second income. Have you ever been inspired with a meal or a specific dish or recipe and want to share it with others? How about sharing it with the world? Learn how to create inspiring social media of 40 characters or less, combine photos and words to make delicious content. Creating your own food blog is definitely empowering. What better way to combine your recipes, your pictures, your thoughts and creative expressions – in a beautiful, yet personal presentation. Maria Liberati

Newtown Campus/$79
RCULI 4174 C01
3 Sat, 3/25-4/8, 9-11am

Exploring Italy’s Food and Art Through Leonardo DaVinci


Did you know that beside all of his other amazing inventions and masterpieces- DaVinci was also a foodie. He invented many kitchen devices that we take for granted, had his favorite recipes that he depicted in some of his paintings and poetry from his notebook and had tried to support himself while in art school by opening his own  restaurant with another famous art great. Maria Liberati, author of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: DaVinci Style will guide you through a power point presentation on a trip through Italy per Leonardo’s travels and food experiences. Learn some of DaVinci’s favorite recipes and his kitchen inventions. Maria LIberati

Newtown Campus/$69
RCULI 4179 C01
Sat, 4/15, 9 am -12 pm

The Basic Art of a Tuscan Picnic

This course will include a cooking demo of a 4-5 course Tuscan Picnic by instructor as well as tips on how to have a Tuscan Picnic. This course will include a cooking demo by instructor of each of the courses, recipes will be provided as well as tips on hosting your own Tuscan Picnic. Attendees will sample all courses and eat as a Tuscan Picnic. Maria Liberati

Newtown Campus/$69 /4187 C01

Saturday April 1st, 12- 2:30 PM

Get your copy of the award winning book series:

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A Sunshine Salad..Limoneira Oranges and Fennel Mon, 20 Mar 2017 03:21:40 +0000 “If the family were a fruit it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable-each segment distinct”…Letty Cottin Pogrebin (American Journalist)

Oranges are my favorite way to ‘let a little sunshine in’ during the cold days of winter.  An easy way to bring sunny oranges to your winter table is this fresh salad containing fresh fennel and oranges. My favorite oranges are produced by Limoneira, for this recipe I used their lusciously sweet yet slightly tart navel oranges. And while you are eating this salad you may want to read about the interesting history of Limoneira. And it’s nice to know that these are oranges produced in the USA…..

Fennel Orange  Sunshine Salad

1 lb of fennel

1 tablespoon of raisins

2 fresh oranges

2 tblsps pine nuts

for the dressing

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp apple cider vinegar


Squeeze  1 orange. Place raisins in small dish and pour orange juice over raisins, let soak for 10 minutes. Peel  the other orange and cut into segments and set aside. Wash fennel and cut off hard green part on top, cut off hard part on bottom, Slice the heart of the fennel thinly using a mandolin. Cover with cold water. Set aside.

Place pine nuts in non stick pan and toast for a few minutes. remove from heat and set aside.

Remove raisins and drain from orange juice, but set aside the orange juice. Set aside raisins. Add apple cider vinegar to the orange juice, then add in olive oil. Mix with hand immersion blender. Set aside.

Place thinly sliced fennel in bowl, add in soaked raisins, then orange slices, cover with olive oil/orange dressing and top with pine nuts, toss.

For more recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition


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Smokey Bones.. the Heat is On! Sat, 18 Mar 2017 00:08:26 +0000 Smokey Bones is a great restaurant to experience a ‘smokin hot meal’ and barbecue at its finest!  They have lots and lots of choices.. award winning ribs and chicken and steak..but on my visit I opted for the salmon salad..with yummy barbecued salmon, baby spinach,candied pecans, feta cheese,red onion and a balsamic vinaigrette. I try to keep the healthy in my yummy dishes and yes I could do that with this dish!
Eating in the restaurant was fun, nice ambiance, not too noisy, no dishes to clean or utensils!!Yeah!!

But my second visit I decided to try and order online and take out so I could eat in my office while I finished up some work…so easy to order online, just go to their website, choose what you want and you can even schedule a time to pick up your meal.Wow,it was a great experience and no hassle..everyone was so nice and helpful….So convenient to be able to order from my office and schedule a pick up time. The second visit I had  barbecued salmon with two sides..a baked potato and cole slaw..Delicious..And when I picked up the meal it was on time and smokin hot and ready to go!

Looking for a casual restaurant for a lunch or dinner..check out Smokey Bones for barbeque at its’  best!


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Say Thank You In Italian..Happy St. Joseph Day Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:52:51 +0000 the Italian word for ‘thank you’.  Make it a point to say thank you, in any language, at least once a day to someone.

My thank you’s  for today go to Mother Nature for a long awaited Spring that will soon be here and all the Holidays and foods  of Spring …including the  traditional creampuffs for St.Joseph’s Day…. in Italy this is known as Father’s Day- (March 19th) also in  Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Lichtenstein. It  is celebrated annually on the feast day of St. Joseph. This feast has many ancient origins that began as the vigil of the spring equinox, in ancient times.

The traditional St Joseph’s Day meal consists of  bitter orange slices drizzled with local olive oil, freshly baked bread, sweet and sour giardinera, chickpeas, beans, peas, rice, baccalà (cod), cicherchie beans, maccheroni baked with breadcrumbs, fruit, and dessert. Dessert for this meal is usually a traditional zeppole or bignè, or even a St. Joseph fritter. The bignè and zeppole are very similar and called different names in different regions of Italy.


For the Italian pastry cream

Place the sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a saucepan and place over low heat. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the flour, making sure no lumps form. In another saucepan, scald the milk; a skin will be formed on top and mixture will be just about to reach a boil but not quite boiling. Remove from the heat.

Add the scalded milk to the other saucepan, stirring constantly with a wire whisk so the mixture remains smooth. Stir until the mixture is ready to boil, but do not let boil. Reduce the heat, add the lemon zest and vanilla extract, and continue stirring over low heat until cooled, for 4 minutes. (The cream should be the consistency of a pudding.)

Remove from the heat, and place a layer of waxed paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool at room temperature for 3-4 hours.

For the zeppole

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the water in a saucepan over low heat. Add the butter and salt, and increase the heat to medium. When it reaches a boil, remove from the heat and add the flour, baking soda, and sugar all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.

Return to the stove over medium-high heat and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides. Remove from the heat and add the eggs one at time, mixing each one in well with wooden spoon before adding in another.

Then, add the vanilla extract and blend in with a spoon. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop the mixture by tablespoons (forming into a cream puff shell) onto the paper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the puffs from the oven when done and let cool. Cut a small slit in the side of each puff to release steam so they do not become soggy. Let cool on a baking rack. When cool, cut off the tops, fill each with 2 teaspoons pastry cream, jam, or jelly and dust with powdered sugar, and replace the tops. You can also top with some pastry cream and cherries.

For more recipes, get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition


FOOD BLOGGING 101- March 25th at Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA- if you are interested in becoming a food blogger, I will be guest instructor for this long running course beginning soon, hurry and register limited spots available

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Celebrating International Women’s Day..A Torta Mimosa Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:53:16 +0000

My favorite way to celebrate International Woman’s Day is with a traditional Mimosa Cake.. ..the mimosa is the traditional flower associated with this day because the yellow of the mimosa symbolizes  vitality,warmth, joy and are some quotes to inspire you from women (besides my mother and grandmother) who have inspired me….

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa (Philanthropist/Charity Worker)

We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington (AOL/Editor In Chief of Huffington Post)

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand (Novelist/Philosopher)

Please share any of your inspiring quotes with us here in comments!

Now onto the recipe….the smell and taste of the Italian cream brought me back to the days of making this with my grandmother,mom, aunts and  and cousins… in the kitchen..I would always get to lick the cream off the long strips of lemon peel as they were removed from the cream…….here’s the recipe

Torte Mimosa

for the sponge cake

5 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons of potato starch

rest of the cake

16 ounces of pineapples in syrup

3 egg yolks

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons of flour

peel of 1 fresh lemon

1 vanilla bean

1 cup of fresh whipping cream

1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

for the sponge cake- sift flour and potato starch together twice, set aside, then beat eggs and sugar together in one bowl. You must beat the egg mixture for at least 15 minutes. Then, fold the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time. Place in an 8 inch cake pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees

For the  Italian cream, place milk in saucepan with lemon peel, vanilla 

 bean, bring to a boil, remove from heat, set aside. In a bowl, whip egg yokls with sugar, add in flour that has been sifted.  Place in milk that has been boiled, then place this mixture back over heat to boil and thicken, stirring constantly, once thick (like pudding)  remove from heat. . Remove lemon peel and vanilla bean and refrigerate,

Whip cream with powdered sugar. Add in cooled Italian cream  mixture by folding in and refrigerate.

When cake has cooled, cut into 3 layers. cut the top layer into small cubes for decoration. Put second layer in  a cake plate, wet with pineapple syrup, then spread cream that has cooled on layer and top with pineapple that has been cut into cubes. Top with 3rd layer, cover third layer with pineapple juice  and totally cover with remaining cream . Decorate with small cubes of sponge cake and a mimosa in the center and serve


Happy Women’s Day!



For more recipes get your copy of the award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions

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Happy Carnevale..Mozart’s Memories.. Fried Apple Recipe Wed, 01 Mar 2017 01:58:39 +0000

text copyright 2017 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc

Memories of colorful Carnevale in Venice from Mozart  in this Letter to his wife who was in Salzburg, at date of this letter

from Venice Feb 13,1771

Bad weather and an amazing gale meant that it wasn`t till the morning of Carnival Monday  that we reached Venice, that same afternoon we managed to see H Wider who, together with his wife, accompanied us to the opera . We lunched with him on Shrove Tuesday,  then went to the opera, which began at 2 and finished at around 7 in the evening, after which we dined with him and by 11 or 12 o`clock German time  we were in St Mark`s Square in order to go to the Ridotto. We told each other that you`d probably be with H Hagenauer and would hardly imagine that we were talking about you in St Mark`s Square. We had the most appalling rain, but today, Ash Wednesday, we have the most beautiful weather. Praise be to God, we`re in good health. Who do you think we met in Brescia? – – We were on our way to the opera buffa  there when we encountered Sga Angeliga [sic] Maggiore, the prima donna, who`s married to a tenor who was also performing there. She was very surprised to see us. Tell H Spizeder that if he wants to see his former impresario Crosa, he can do so in Milan, where he goes about begging, wretchedly dressed and with a long beard. This is how God punishes cheats! You`ll have heard that Carattoli and Laschi have died. I`ve received your letter with the note from H von Vogt. Farewell, I must hurry. We kiss you 100000 times and I am
your old

 One of my favorite recipes for Carnevale is …

Frittelle Di Mele (Fried Apples)


Excerpted from the Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition)

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons of grappa

2 medium apples-peeled, cored and chopped into small cube size pieces

Juice of one orange

3/4 cup raisins, soaked in 1 cup warm milk (to soften)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

grated peel of 1 lemon or 1  orange

Peanut or sunflower seed oil for frying

Soak raisins in warm milk, prepare apples and set aside. In bowl place eggs,vanilla, sugar, pinch of salt, orange juice, orange peel, grappa, blend together with wire whisk. Add in flour sifted with baking powder a little at a time. Blend together till smooth mix is formed, add in apples and soaked raisins (drained). Blend all together well.  Heat oil in deep pan., Drop dough in small balls into hot oil, When golden brown, remove with slotted spoon, place on paper towel and let towel absorb excess oil before sprinkling with powdered sugar and serve.

Get more recipes from the Gourmand Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition here or in ebook version exclusively on Kindle.


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Walk In the Clouds..Recipe for Coconut Cloud Dessert Mon, 27 Feb 2017 01:02:24 +0000  

Text copyright 2017 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia, Inc.

As the old saying goes…“He who seeks what they should not, finds what he would not.” There is a town in the province of Viterbo (in Umbria, Italy) that should be called the true “Magical Kingdom.” From far away, this town looks like a vision in the sky…something out of a dream…an ancient place where it seems as though all time has stood still…Civita di Bagnoregio.

Embarking on a day trip around Umbria seemed like it might be quite uneventful. Though it is a beautiful part of Italy, I assumed that I would see many of the same beautiful churches filled with frescoes, rolling verdant landscapes and the like. Surprisingly, I felt as if I was  suspended on a cloud whilst sight seeing…… There it was—this seemingly magical walkway to the sky.

If you decide to visit Civita di Bagnoregio, you may enter by bus from Orvieto. Cotral buses provide transportation for a small fee. The bus leaves from Orvieto’s Piazza Cahen. Then, the bus drops off in Bagnoregio. From Bagnoregio, a minibus drives up to Civita. If you prefer walking, ( the best way to visit-in my opinion) you can walk up the hill and follow the main road, enjoying the breathtaking views (Wikitravel). If you want to take a staycation and pretend your there without visiting..check out the local webcam that updates photos every 5 minutes there

The perfect dessert while viewing this ‘heavenly kingdom’ in the sky is my gluten free coconut cloud dessert. While it is highly doubtful that you will have leftovers..if you do favorite way to keep leftovers fresh and fresh tasting is the Ozeri InstaVac Food Storage Set. Ozeri is also a perfect way to store ingredients or any foods you want to keep fresh. Besides the fact that they keep air out and lock the freshness in, one of my favorite things about these containers is that you can also post the date you stored them with the handy dial on top of containers. Makes storing so convenient!


Coconut  Cloud Dessert-( gluten free )

(approx 8 servings)

*1 cup rice flour-

*1 cup coconut flour

*3/4 cup sugar

*4 ozs butter

*5 medium eggs

*1 tsp baking powder gluten free (or regular baking powder if you are not gluten sensitive)

*1 lemon

*extra butter to butter pan

*pinch of salt

*Powdered sugar

Separate eggs and set whites aside. Beat egg yolks, sugar into a cream. Add in softened butter and lemon zest and beat again. In separate bowl place in flours and baking powder. Add into egg yolk mixture a little at a time. In separate bowl beat egg whites, pinch of salt to firm peaks. Then fold egg whites into mixture. Butter and flour with rice flour or potato starch a square or round 8 “ cake pan. Place in batter. Cook for 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

For more great recipe get your copy of The Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays &  Special Occasions-2nd edition


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Valentine’s Day Menu.. Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:47:19 +0000

Love is the poetry of the senses……..Honoré de Balzac

copyright 2013-2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love with anyone you choose.. So even if you are single or for some reason have to be far from the one you love on this day, you can still enjoy the spirit of the day with friends and those close to you.

Cook together and enjoy a lunch or dinner together. Here are some easy ,fun recipes..delicious too, that are easy enough to cook together. I call them ‘ recipes from my heart’ because these are recipes given to me by friends and family that we have come together to cook.

And you can bring together those that you hold dear for a meal any time in the spirit of Valentine’s Day

Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!  ~Thomas Hood

(recipes are available here ‘>A Valentine’s Day Menu )

Menu For Valentine’s Day

Antipasto- Focaccio with cherry tomatoes and olives

First Course- Spaghetti with tuna, tomatoes and hot pepper

Second Course-Pollo al Pomodoro ( Chicken with tomatoes)

Dessert- Carrot-Lemon Cake

Available  Exclusively on Kindle‘>..A Valentine’s Day Menu

Get the Gourmand World Award Winning Book  The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-Second Edition 

Valentine’s Day Recipe …Chocolate Pear Crostata….Innamorata! Wed, 15 Feb 2017 01:00:37 +0000 Innamorata….

I am in love with the sun … it gives me warmth

I am in love with the wind… it caresses me

I am in love with life… it makes me laugh

I am in love with flowers.. they make my mind drunk with beauty

But chocolate..I am ‘innamorata‘ ( the Italian word meaning’ to be in love’) with … because of infinite  reasons….

and those of you who have a passionate palate will agree that dark chocolatehot,cold ,or any temperature.. (containing a minimum of 65% cocoa) is the ultimate in comfort food!

Winter pears are perfect for this Pear and Chocolate Crostata, that mixes dark chocolate and fresh pears for a scrumptious taste experience!  One bite of this and you can not help but utter  the Italian word  ‘innamorata’ from your lips

Pear and Chocolate Crostata

(from The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions Second Edition, Copyright 2009-2017  Art of  Living,PrimaMedia, Inc; winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Awards 2009)

2 fresh pears-peeled, cored and cut into small cubes

5 dried dates chopped

2 tablespoons of Cognac

2 tblsps of unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 -1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 egg yolks

egg whites beaten or whisked till firm

16 ounces baking or dark chocolate (minimum 65 % cocoa)

For decoration

1 fresh pear ,peeled and sliced thinly

1 tablespoon butter melted

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons of pear or apple jelly

In a food processor place in the chopped dates,  pears,  Cognac, blend well, do not liquefy. In a bowl, place in  2 tablespoons of unsalted butter,sugar,flour, baking powder,egg yolks, fruit from food processor with liquid and whipped egg whites. Blend well. Butter and flour an 8 ” cake pan and pour in the mixture. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes. remove from oven and let cool

Melt baking or dark cocoa in double boiler and use this to  glaze  top of cake. Measure butter and melt, add in sugar. Dip thinly sliced pear in butter and sugar  and  then dip one side of pear slice  in pear jelly  and arrange as a  decoration on outside of cake with pear slices placed all around, stuck to border of cake.  Top with chocolate glaze.Place in fridge till chocolate  glaze is hardened and become……. innamorata …..

Get more recipes to make any day a Special Occasion in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-Second Edition..

Isaac Newton..Apple Biscotti..Winter Fruit Macedonia… Fri, 10 Feb 2017 15:21:24 +0000  



Text copyright 2017 Art of Living, Prima Media, Inc/Maria Liberati

Happy belated birthday (January 4th)  to  Isaac Newtown….and this month I have been so inspired by the thought of apples… where would the research of Isaac Newtown be without the apple.

With so many varieties of apples to choose from there are  many apple recipes from first course to desserts…  Torte di Mele (apple pies)  are everywhere..but you can also make biscotti (cookies) with apples…the fragrance from these little gems wafted through the house this morning and I hope will probably remain throughout most of the day..the best way to perfume the kitchen and then there is a Winter Fruit Macedonia…..

 Apple, Raisin & Pinoli Biscotti

(Biscotti con Mele, Uvetta, Pinoli)

4 cups unbleached flour

1 cup brown sugar (fine)

½ cup butter

½ lb of peeled, grated apple

1/3 cup raisins (place in hot water for 3 minutes, drain and squeeze water out to dry)

3 tablespoons pinoli nuts

4 medium eggs

1 tsp baking soda

Zest of 1 organic lemon

¼ cup powdered sugar

pinch of salt


Place the flour on a wooden board or work surface, Make a well inside the flour and place inside softened butter, sugar, pinch of salt, grated zest of lemon, egg yolks and pinch of salt. Work all ingredients in by  hand. When ingredients are well blended add in grated apple and raisins. Mix by hand, until all ingredients are well blended in. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper

Separate dough into small balls, size of a quarter. Place on parchment paper, leaving some distance between each biscotti. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Place powdered sugar in a small bowl, mix with enough warm to hot water to make a glaze. When biscotti are cool, drizzle glaze on top and sprinkle each biscotti with pinoli nuts. Let glaze dry for 15 minutes, serve.

Another one of my favorite recipes is a winter macedonia that is made with sliced favorite apple to use in this is the Opal fact it is the only apple perfectly suited for a macedonia..not only because of its’ crispness but because it does not turn brown..

Winter Macedonia

Serves 4

5 slices of fresh pineapple

1 banana

1 apple

1 small bunch of white grapes

1/2 grapefruit

1/2 pomegranate

10 hazelnuts

1/2 cup Campari

Wash grapes, and cut each grape in half. Place in a glass bowl.

Peel pomegranate and remove seeds and place in bowl with grapes.

Cut pineapple slices into small pieces, peel and slice apple in thin slices. Place both into bowl with grapes. Peel banana and slice into 1/4 inch slices, add into bowl. chop hazelnuts and place in bowl. Squeeze 1/2 grapefruit over fruit. Optional:add in 1/2 glass Campari


For more great recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning book:

 The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition