Tuesday, April 28, 2009



My family, in Des Moines have all been members of the Italian Cultural Center. But I just recently was made aware of their great web site. If you want to learn more about Italian immigrants, travel and food, then check out their site which has a link on my home page at www.carmiescucina.com or go directly to their web page at www.iaccofia.org

Buon appetito,


Saturday, April 25, 2009



Teddy and I had a few errands to run this busy Sat. morning and decided that in order to get through the long list of "to do" items we should fortify ourselves with a hearty breakfast from Blackbirds.

Having had many excellent lunches at the quirky Blackbird Cafe, I was anxious to try their breakfast items. The place was packed on this beautiful spring morning, but the friendly host got us a nice table for two right away and our smiling waitress brought me a cup of steaming, strong coffee as soon as I requested it.

The breakfast menu is as eclectic as the little cafe, serving up classic eggs to oxtail hash. Teddy and I usually go for the specials and this morning was no different and of course we always share. This son knows the drill well. Teddy ordered the fritatta with sausage, leeks and sage. This dish could have used a few potatoes or fresh fruit, but the toast was excellent. I decided on the breakfast sandwich. Thick slices of bread with scrambled eggs, bacon and Swiss, sauteed like French toast. The pure maple syrup and orange marmalade were nice accompaniments, but again a fresh fruit garnish would have been nice.

Chef Chris Steves is doing a excellent job at this neighborhood establishment and it was great to see the place so busy. His staff is friendly and helpful and eager to please. It was a nice little breakfast, but a some fresh fruit would have rounded out the plate nicely and have been a colorful and tasty addition.

Blackbird is located at 815 W. 50th Street in Minneapolis. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (WOW). and their website is http://www.blackbirddmpls.com/

Try them, you'll be happy you did. And the best part of the meal, of course was getting to spend time with Teddy.

Buon appetito!

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Thursday, April 23, 2009



Learn to make a complete spring or summer meal on Thur. May 7, 2009 at Edina Community Education. Eat like the Italians do, "Al Fresco." To register for this class contact Edina Community Education at 952-848-3952 or go to their web site at www.edina.k12.mn.us/community to sign up.

We will be making Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil, Pesto Pasta, Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Insalta Mista and Almond Jam Tart. Come join us for the fun and food.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Friday, April 17, 2009



Last night I had a great time cooking at the Royal Pantry Cooking School, part of Hopkins Community Education. It was a small group, about 10 which was just perfect for their space and for the class members participation in the meal.

We prepared a meal that I call IL Mulino, which is one that we always have on our culinary tours of Tuscany. We began with focacia with prosciutto wrapped around the savory bread. Then I demonstrated one of my favorite pastas, Farfalle (butterflies) in a Sage Butter Sauce. For our primo piatto, or main course we had a roasted pork loin which I seasoned with Italian herbs and olive oil. The meat was perfectly cooked, tender, moist and juicy and WOWED my class and to go with it we enjoyed roasted vegetables and potatoes and a mixed green salad with roasted pine nuts. But it was dessert that really got everyone, cream puffs with almond cream, blackberries and a berry sauce all dusted with powdered sugar.

If this sounds good, think about taking my next class at the Royal Pantry on May 12, 2009. Contact them to register for Grazietta's Farm House dinner and enjoy more Tuscan recipes. To make a reservation call 952-988-4070 or go to www.hopkinscommunityed.org

And for my full teaching schedule go to www.carmiescucina.com I hope to see you at a class sometime soon.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



Today is tax day and most of you by now have filed your taxes and are waiting for your return. I have a great idea for how to spend that money that you have coming in. How about a Cooking and Wine tour with Carmela's Cucina? Join me for a tour of Italy and experience the wonderful culture and cuisine of the area.

Go to my web site at http://www.carmiescucina.com/ and click on the tours link for all of the information, then contact me by May 31, 2009 to make a reservation for you and your friends. This small group tour is limited to 12 people and includes, 7 nights lodging in a beautiful restored farm house villa. All ground transportation to and from the airport and throughout the week. Breakfast daily, 5 lunches and 7 dinners with wine. Two cooking classes taught by local experts in Italian cuisine. Fully escorted with English and Italian speaking guides. All guests receive a specially designed event planner/recipe book upon arrival.

Visit Lucca, Florence. Cinque Terre, Sienna, San Gimingano, Monteccatini, and Chianti.

The first five people to register for the trip with a paid deposit of $500.00 will receive as a special gift a bottle of Olive Oil from IL Mulino di Torrigiani.

Contact me soon at bchobbins@comcast.net as space is limited.Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Easter Bread is a tradition among Italian families.(www.wikipedia.org/wikiEaster_bread ) It was always a sure sign of spring when my mother's beautiful PANE DI PASQUALINA appeared.
The colored eggs intertwined in the braids are a symbol of the renewal that we experience at this time of the year. I hope you will try the recipe below and that your family enjoys it as much as ours.
Buona Pasqua,
Buon appetito,
Carmela Tursi Hobbins
5 pounds of flour plus 1 cup
3 teaspoons of anise seed (optional)
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup oil
4 packages dry yeast
5 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons sugar
3-5 eggs
In a large bowl, mix flour and anise seed together. Scald milk and water, let cool and then add yeast. Add eggs to flour and then add the butter and oil, and finally, add the liquid with the yeast. Add sugar and salt. Knead the bread mixture until elastic-it may need a little more water. Cover the bowl, and put it in a warm place.
Let the dough rest for about an hour. Knead again for about 10 minutes, and let rest again for about an hour. Divide the dough into 15 balls and roll each ball into a rope about 25 inches long. Take three ropes and braid them together.
On a greased cookie sheet, for the braid into a ring, insert dyed Easter eggs between the braids. Cover the bread and let it rise until double in size, about an hour. Brush with melted butter and bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Makes 5 braided rings.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009



I was the featured chef on Show Case Minnesota today. Since it is the week before Easter the food I prepared and demonstrated included some wonderful antipasti and desserts that you could serve for Easter dinner. The Torta Di Limone is the spring recipe of the month and can be found on my website at http://www.carmiescucina.com/ but if you would like to see the actual demonstration go to http://www.kare11.com/, then to Show Case Minnesota and click on the Tuesday link. You will find it there and can see exactly how to prepare Torta di Limone for your Easter Dinner. The other recipes can be found on my website under, archived recipes or in my cook book, Carmela's Cucina.

Buona Pasqua,
(Happy Easter)

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Monday, April 6, 2009



Are you looking for something fun to do, either alone or with some friends? How about a cooking class? I will be teaching in many different programs over the next few months and offering private cooking classes as well. Are you interested in learning about the food of different regions of Italy? Maybe something quick and easy for your family or dinner that you can serve "al Fresco"? I am also teaching some classes from my culinary tours as well, IL Mulino, Tuscan Farm House Dinner or Grazietta's Farm House Dinner might be just the class you are looking for to help sharpen your cooking skills.

Just go to my website at www.carmiescucina.com for my complete cooking schedule for the next several months, choose a class and then phone the school to register.

Below is a list of schools and their websites.

I hope to see you at a cooking class in the near future.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

EGAN COMMUNITY EDUCATION 651-423-7920 www.district196.org/ce
EDINA COMMUNITY EDUCATION 952-848-3953 www.edina.k12.mn.us/community
HOPKINS COMMUNITY EDUCATION 952-988-4070 www.hopkinscommunityed.org
COOKS OF CROCUS HILL 952-285-1903 www.cooksofcrocushill.com
ACORN PANTRY (Siren, Wi.) 715-349-8995
SOPRA-SOTTO (Rochester, Mn.) 507-252-5522 www.sopra-sotto.com

Sunday, April 5, 2009



Spring is in the air and Easter is just a week away. Join me on Tuesday morning, April 7, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. on channel 11 on Show Case Minnesota, (www.kare11.com) when I will be the featured chef for the day . I will be demonstrating a perfect, yet simple Easter dessert. And if you are not at home during that time, the recipe will also be available on my website at www.carmiescucina.com

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins