Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Mangiamo Italiano, Let's Eat Italian, is on of my fall cooking classes at Cooks of Crocus Hill in Edina. If you are looking for a great way to say good-bye to summer and greet fall, this class is just the one for you.

Italians love to eat with the seasons, and this menu does just that, taking full advantage of our late-summer harvest. I will show you how to prepare fresh and healthful seasonal vegetables, pasta and a traditional veal dish. We"ll wrap up our "buona serra" with a heart-healthful dark chocolate dessert.

The menu consists of Banga Cauda (antipasto of seasonal fresh vegetables with an olive-oil dip), crusty bread and artisanal cheeses. Capellini with fresh peas and Italian Prosciutto. Saltimbocca alla Romana (veal in a Marsala wine sauce). Sage Roasted potatoes and Torta Cioccolata.

To register for the class on line go to http://www.cooksofcrocushill.com/ or phone the store at 952-285-1903.

I hope to see you there On Sept. 1, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.

And if you can't attend that class I have others scheduled at Cook's of Crocus Hill for Oct. and Nov. just check out their web site.

Until then....

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Kathy from the Apple Grove Inn in Bayfield, Wi. (www.applegroveinn.net) offered still another delicious recipe for you all to enjoy. I plan on making it at Little Flower Lodge this weekend for my family, it sounds yummy. With some marinated tomatoes it will make a great lunch before we head out on the pontoon. Hopefully your family will enjoy it as much as I know my family is going to.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


3 cups frozen southern has browns (thawed)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 bunch chopped spinach, kale or your favorite greens
4 eggs lightly beaten
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup half and half or cream
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 cup diced ham

In a 9-10 inch pie plate, combine 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, pepper and hash browns and spread up sides of pan to form a crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack, (crust can be made ahead and kept refrigerated overnight). Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onion and mushrooms in remaining olive oil. Add ham and greens and saute until greens are wilted. In a bowl beat the eggs and mix in greens, Swiss cheese, cream and mustard. Pour all ingredients into crust and bake for 20-30 minutes or until knife inserted into pie comes out clean. Let rest 10 minutes, cut and serve into wedges.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Last week-end, Bob and I took a break from our usual lake stay and went with friends up to Bayfield, Wi. on the South Shore of Lake Superior. We did this last year and were very excited to go up and visit apple orchards, art galleries and shops, eat in some great restaurants and of course take in the greatest of our lakes and see a performance by Joan Baez under the "Big Top".
Our weekend began with check in at the Apple Grove Inn, http://www.applegroveinn.net/ 888-777-9558 or 715-779-9558. Kathy and Greg Berger are the innkeepers and their beautiful inn, is located on Hi way 13 in Bayfield. There are 4 lovely and spacious rooms, ours being the largest with a lake view and a comfy king-sized bed. All rooms have a private bath with shower, a fireplace, big T.V.s, complimentary guest robes and a fantastic breakfast each morning.

Kathy has been very generous and has given me a recipe to share with you and I have to say, I can't wait to make it for my own family this weekend. This innkeeper prides herself in using all locally grown foods and this weekend was no exception. We enjoyed beautiful fruits, jams, sausage and maple syrup all from the area. And we even managed to bring home some of the areas great smoked fish and the candy store's famous wine bread, full of luscious local berries. Our trunk was full of local pottery and art as well, so bring a bring car when you go to Bayfield.


1 large loaf of day old organic sourdough bread, cubed into one inch squares
2 pints of fresh or frozen blueberries
8 ounces of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 good local honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 eggs
3 cups of milk, half and half or a combination of both
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Put half of the bread pieces into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle blueberries over bread. Combine cream cheese, sour cream and honey until well blended and spread over blueberries. Place remaining bread pieces over blueberry mixture. Wire whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended and pour slowly over bread. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate over night. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into slices, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

On Friday night after a fantastic dinner at Wild Rice which is the nicest of the areas restaurants with great views and an open dining room we visited the "Big Top Chautaugqua" (http://www.bigtop.org/) . At age 67, Joan Baez entertained us for 90 minutes with new tunes and some ballads from the past and even gave us an encore performance. Celebrating 50 years as an entertainer she seems to be just getting better.
We are already making plans to return next summer when the Big Top will be celebrating 25 years. You should think about joining us for a relaxing, entertaining and enjoyable weekend too.

Buon appetito,
Carmela Tursi Hobbins