Friday, November 28, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us it is time to focus on the next holidays that are quickly approaching. I will be offering 2 holiday baking classes to make your holidays easier. If you like sweets and desserts these classes are for you. And if you love chocolate, I have one class that you are going to especially want to sign up for and bring a friend or two along too.

On Thur. Dec. 4 from 1:00-3:30 p.m at Edina Community Education I will be teaching a class that I call, CHOCOLATE AND CUPCAKE CELEBRATION WITH CARMELA'S CUCINA. We will be making Coconut Joys, Peanut Clusters, Nutella Ravioli,Chocolate Mousse Spoons, and Red Velvet Cupcakes.To register for this class contact Edina Community Education at or phone them at 952-848-3952.

And on Sat. Dec. 13 from 1-4:00 p.m. I will be teaching the art of Italian Dessert Making, or as they call it, DOLCI, ITALIAN DESSERTS at Cook's of Crocus Hill at 50th and France. Come and enjoy Tuscan Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce, Zuppa Inglese, Zeppole with an Almond Cream Filling, Torta Cioccolata and Crostata di Marmelata. Any of these delicious desserts will make you look like a pro for your festive holiday dinner or party. To register go to or phone them at 952-285-1903.

For all of my favorite desserts and recipes perhaps, a copy of my cookbook, Carmela's Cucina is just what you need or would like to give as a holiday gift. To purchase one go to my website at or to and they also can be purchased at Cook's of Crocus Hill and some Byerly's stores.

I hope to see you at a class or at a holiday event very soon.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

In my cucina, we barely have the Thanksgiving Turkey out of the oven when our thoughts turn to cookie baking. And in fact we started a bit early this year, when I invited my two son's girlfriends over last weekend for an extra early start. We made 8 different cookies and packaged them up so that each of the girls could take some to their Thanksgiving feasts. And we even managed to stash a few for future holiday events. The following recipe for COCONUT JOYS was given to me years ago by my friend Jacki and we make it every year as it is a big hit in our family. One of the nicest things about this cookie, is that you do not have to bake it and therefore it frees your oven for other cookies that do need to be baked. I hope you like it as much as we do. It is a winner!

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 cups coconut
4 ounces melted chocolate chips
Red Hots for decoration (optional)

Melt butter in a saucepan. Pour melted butter into a mixing bowl and add powdered sugar and coconut. Mix well. Shape rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Make an indent in center of each cookie. Melt chcocolate chips. Fill centers of cookies with melted chocolate and top with Red Hots. Makes about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

I know you all must be very busy this week getting ready for the biggest feast of the year. I love this holiday, because it is all about the food. No presents to think about, just the traditional foods that we have all come to love. You don't really even have to think about the menu that much as some things are a given.

I got off easy this year, we have been invited out, so all I have to do is bring the cranberry sauce and an appetizer. Since I was on Show Case Minnesota ( last week and demonstrated an appetizer I will make the same one for our feast. It is quick and easy and I am going to share it with you, the best part is you can make it ahead and then just heat it up when you are going to serve it. Everyone at your gathering is going to love it.

Most importantly, I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, filled with family, friends and really good food.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 large round of Brie Cheese
1/2 cup of chopped and peeled green apple
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried craisins
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon melted butter
Box of crackers such as Carr Water Crackers

Mix everything together except the Brie. Slice the Brie horizontally in half. Put half of the mixture on the bottom half and cover with the top half and pour remaining mixture over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Last weekend while we were in South Bend, In. visiting our son and his wife and going to the Notre Dame football game ND lost in 4 over-times we managed to fit in a visit to a near-by winery. After Mass on Sunday we decided to make a 30 minute road trip to visit Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant in Buchanan, Mi. 800-283-3363,

After touring many wonderful wineries in Italy my expectations for a great wine and food in this part of the world were rather low. Was I ever surprised! First of all it was a gorgeous day, sun shining and fall at it's peak, the colors were amazing. The vines had just been recently picked and all that remained were a few lonely stragglers. The drive leading to the restaurant was lovely with beautiful fall flowers in full bloom.

A fire was burning in the fire place as we entered our dining area and were taken to our table which overlooked the vineyard. It was a perfect place to be seated. Our new daughter-in-law was pleased that we were so happy with her selection of the outing for the day.

I was amazed at the variety of the menu, not what I would expect in Buchanan, Mi. There were several fish dishes to choose from, pasta, pheasant, elk, bison chicken and pork. It was the macadamia nut encrusted tilapia with coconut milk sauce that grabbed my attention and Jeannie's each beautiful plate was garnished with a pineapple and more nuts and the moist, tasty fish laid on a bed of braised red cabbage. It was awesome.

Bob decided to go Italian, I am still off pasta after 3 weeks of it daily and of course, in Italy it is the best pasta ever, but the small sampling that I had of his gemeli pasta in a porcini mushroom and wine sauce with black walnuts and pancetta was very good. With this creative dish he chose a wine called Red Arrow Red after the highway that the winery is on. This was matched perfectly the pasta, and was a robust blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Bob was delighted with his selection.

Patrick was the most adventuresome of the group and went with the pheasant which was moist and cooked to perfection in a Merlot sauce and was surrounded by tender root vegetables. He also selected a Merlot from their vineyard which he thought went perfectly with his meal.

I am sorry to say that we were too stuffed to try even one dessert as we had loaded up earlier on a calamari appetizer, warm crusty bread with an herb butter and a some of us had a crisp garden salad. While Jeannie and I enjoyed a thick, tasty curried chicken and rice soup.

We took a short stroll through the vineyards and a tour and then drove further into Mi. and to see the lake. Funny, the cutest little ice cream shop was just ahead and all of a sudden we did have room for a bit of dessert after all. And who could not stop at a place called Oink's Ice Cream Shop? My butter pecan cone was creamy and chuck full of pecans, I ate every last bit. And you guessed it, feeling a little piggish I was oinking on the way out!

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins