Saturday, December 31, 2011


Join me as I lead you around my favorite southern city, Savannah, Ga. from March 22-26, 2012 for a springtime get-away. Enjoy the culture, charm and cuisine of the area. We will tour the Cathedral of St. John, the Baptist, walk through Bonaventure Cemetery, enjoy Wormsloe Plantation and visit Bethesda Chapel. Walk through the streets of this southern belle on our "Mindnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour and enjoy an afternoon on the historic home and garden tour. We will enjoy a sunset cruise to beautiful Tybee Island where we will be treated to a Low Country Dinner. Our tour begins with dinner at the Ole Pink House. A cooking class at the Mansion's 700 Cooking School and the tour also includes a High Tea Reception and Tea Program.

The tour includes accommodations at the historic Planter's Inn on Reynold's Square. Baggage handling, wine and cheese each evening and breakfast each morning. Escorted trolley transportation, driver gratuities and licensed and professional guides.

Space is limited on this tour. Please reserve your space by Jan. 15, 2012. Cost is $1299 for a double and $1726 for a single. Contact me at or go to my website at for a brochure and more information.

And please do tell your friends about this wonderful trip.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Since I have been really busy the past few weeks with our son Teddy's wedding and then book signings in Des Moines, the men in my life took me out for a quick dinner. Our choice? The new burger place that the two Abdo brothers, Paul and John have just opened up on Excelsior in St. Louis Park. The burger was great and served with a nice side of crispy fries. I got mine topped with cheddar cheese, but Brian had the blue cheese burger and said it was fabulous. I suggest the fried onions which were caramelized perfectly and were nice and sweet. The guys ordered chocolate and strawberry malts and loved them.

The Abdo's have been running a MY BURGER in the sky way in downtown Minneapolis for a few years, but this is the first of many more to come in the suburbs. So forget all the other burger joints in town and give this one a try. I think you are really gonna like it.

I understand the fish sandwich is really good too. Mom, Carol Abdo says she likes hers double crisp. I guess I will be making a trip back in the very near future.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Friday, October 14, 2011


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Do you remember how long last winter was? Did you vow to take a winter vacation? Then I have just the trip for you. Join me and others for a 5 day get-away to Savannah, Ga. in March. Go to my web site at and click on the tours button. Take a look at the itinerary and make your reservation now. Contact me if you have any questions. Last years tour sold out, this one is sure to as well.

It is already the middle of Oct. the snow will be flying before you know it. See you in warm and sunny Savannah!

Make every day a celebration.

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

It has been a very long time since my last post, with very good reason. I have been extremely busy both in my office and in my cucina, creating a new cook book just for you.

CELEBRATIONS WITH CARMELA'S CUCINA will be released at the end of this month. It can now be ordered on line through my web site at

The book includes 14 complete menus around celebrations that we enjoy through out the year. Fourteen chapters of new and unique recipes that compliment the holidays that we love to celebrate. With wine pairing suggestions made by my husband and wine enthusiast, Bob Hobbins. The beautiful pictures of the food I created were photographed by Erica Loeks a very talented photographer.

And my earlier book, Carmela's Cucina is also being printed again, so that you can also purchase a copy of a very classic Italian cook book.

These books make excellent holiday gifts and until the end of the year I am offering a baker's dozen, that is buy 12 books and get the 13th book free. Now that's a deal!

To learn more about my book signing events around the mid-west, cooking classes, and culinary tours please visit my website at

I hope to see you at a book signing event, cooking class or on a culinary tour in the near future.

Make every day a celebration.

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

Monday, May 2, 2011


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

It's time to celebrate Mom and all she does for us. I have created an easy and delicious recipe for a Frittata that Mom is sure to love. Serve it with a muffin and some fresh fruit to start your Mother's special day. And don't forget to clean up!

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


3 tablespoons of butter
3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
1 9 ounce carton of mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped marinated sun dried tomatoes
12 eggs
2 cups of half and half
1 8 ounce package of Italian cheese blend
1 small package of fresh Italian basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
finely chopped flat leaf parsley

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add leeks and saute them until they are tender about 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook them about 3 minutes. Stir in sun dried tomatoes. Spread the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a buttered 9x13 baking pan. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, half and half and 1-1/2 cup cheese and chopped basil. pour over the vegetables. Bake in a pre- heated 350 degree oven until top is browned and center is set about 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and chopped parsley. Let stand for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

Monday, April 25, 2011



Now that Easter is behind us, the focus everywhere is going to be on the Royal Wedding. The media blitz has been going on for months and now we are down to the final count-down.

Many people are hosting parties to watch the nuptials and of course the guests will be decked out in their best finery and I hope wearing a beautiful hat or maybe even a cute, Fascinator just like the ones that Kate Middleton loves to wear.

Being the foodie that I am, I want to make sure that everyone has a really great recipe to share with their guests. My recipe for English Trifle is sure to fill your needs and your guests are really going to think that you fussed when you present this delicious dessert.

This recipe can also be found in my cookbook, CARMELA'S CUCINA on page 125. Look for my new cook book coming out in the fall of 2011 for many more wonderful dessert ideas.

Enjoy the Royal Wedding, and I am counting down to my own son's wedding who is also going to be marrying a Kate on May 7, 2011.

Congratulations to all of the newly weds and best wishes for a happy future.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 large frozen pound cake, angel food cake, or 2 packages of soft ladyfingers
1- 3 ounce package instant French vanilla pudding
1 pint whipped cream
4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
1 cup raspberry preserves
1- 3 ounce package slice almonds
Maraschino cherries

Cut the pound cake or angel food cake into cubes, leave the ladyfingers whole. Prepare the pudding according to package directions and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

To assemble, place half of the cake in a trifle or clear glass bowl and sprinkle with half of the Amaretto. Spread 1/2 cup of the raspberry preserves over the cake, allowing some to dribble down the sides. Pour 1/2 the pudding over the preserves. Spread 1/2 of the whipped cream over the pudding.

Repeat the layers ending with the whipped cream. Sprinkle the almonds over the whipped cream and decorate with Maraschino cherries. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

When ready to serve, scoop the trifle into small dessert bowls and top with a cherry.

Sunday, April 17, 2011



It is the week before Easter, so in my Italian family that means it is time to make Easter Bread or Pane di Pasqualino. Under the supervision of my mother, Sarah Tursi, my brother Frank, has now taken over this task. He is pictured with his grand-daughter, Mia in Hawaii, teaching still another generation how to make this delicious and traditional, Easter treat.

I love it, hot out of the oven and smothered with butter. The anise seed is a bit tricky to find, it is sent to us by our cousins in Calabria, and they won't even reveal their source for obtaining the seed, I suggest that you use fennel seed to make your Easter Bread.

This bread is a sure sign of spring in our family and because it is an Easter bread, we often insert colored eggs between the braids. While the bread bakes, the eggs will cook. I like to use and odd number of eggs, for a more pleasing look.

Buona Pasqua,

Happy Easter,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins



5 pounds of flour, plus 1 cup
1 teaspoon anise seed (optional)
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 packages of dry yeast
5 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons sugar
3 eggs

In a large bowl, mix flour and anise seed together. Scald milk and water, let cool, and then add yeast. Add eggs to the flour, then add the butter and oil, and finally the liquid with the yeast.
Add salt and sugar. 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. Cover and let rise until double in size, about and hour. Brush with melted butter and bake in a pre- heated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011



It is that time of year again when I spread the word about the Good Friday Novena that my mother-in-law, Margaret Hobbins gave me when I was a bride, many, many years ago.

Our family says this Novena every Good Friday between the hours of noon and 3:00p.m. These are the hours that it is said that our Lord, Jesus hung on the cross so that we may be saved and enjoy eternal life forever. You must say it 33 times, this is because Jesus was 33 years old when he died to save us.

Please keep in mind that our prayers are always answered, not always the way we want, but they are answered. Over the years, our family prayed this prayer for my sister-in-law Joan, who was very sick and in the hospital for months in a coma, she came out of that coma on Holy Sat. God answered our prayers that year. Today Joan is healthy, beautiful and soon to become a grand-mother. We have prayed for employment and people have gotten jobs and houses have been sold. This is a very powerful prayer.

Please pray this prayer on Good Friday and pass it on to all those who believe in the power of prayer. May God bless you and your family and may your prayers be answered.

Also this year, when our world seems to be a bit up-side-down, please pray the rosary for world peace.

I hope you and your family have a blessed and holy Easter.

God bless you all.

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


(insert your prayer request here.)

Repeat this prayer 33 times between noon and 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday.

Also pray the rosary between the same hours for the intention of world peace.

And pass this prayer on to all believers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011



The snow is gonna fly big time today. Run out to the grocery store before the conditions get too bad and buy yourself a chuck roast and make this recipe for a real comfort food meal. I tested it out on my family a few nights ago, and not a single drop of gravy, morsel of vegetable or meat was left. I did not even have to wash the plates, it was so good they licked them clean!

This recipe was given to me by my friend Pam, who proudly proclaims herself, "a non-cook". If she can make it so can you.

The roast would be great served on polenta, mashed potatoes or cous cous but I just roasted potatoes, carrots and onions the last two hours of cooking and they were great. This meal is so easy and the smells are unbelievable. Try it, you'll like it.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 beef roast, any kind, (I used a chuck roast)
1 package dry brown gravy mix
1 package dry Italian Salad dressing mix, Good Seasons Brand
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup water

Put the roast in a crock pot or roaster
Stir together the packaged mixes and sprinkle over the roast
Pour the water around the roast.
Cover and cook the roast in the crock pot on low 7-9 hours
Or cook in the oven for 5 hours at 300 degrees.
Mix together the dry packets of ingredients and sprinkle over the roast.

When ready to serve cut the meat in pieces and make sure and pour the sauce over the vegetables and meat.

Friday, February 11, 2011



Valentine's Day is considered one of the most romantic days of the year. Restaurants love it, because everyone wants to go out and celebrate with a big fancy meal. I actually prefer to stay at home for my own cozy dinner with the ones that I love. Below is a recipe for a dessert that my special Valentine loves. If he is lucky I will be making it for him on Monday night. In any case I hope you will try to make this easy but delicious tart for the special person in your life. The recipe can also be found in my cookbook, Carmela's Cucina. And if you still need a gift for the special person in your life contact me for a copy.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 and 1/2 sticks butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 4 or 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add almond extract, followed by flour. Mix until combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Press remaining dough into a 10x1 tart pan with a removable bottom. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes, or as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove tart pan from refrigerator and spread the jam over the crust. Crumble the 1/2 cup of refrigerated dough over the jam. Sprinkle the tart evenly with almonds.

Bake the tart in the middle of the lower oven rack until the crust is golden, 30-40 minutes. Cool on a rack. Remove the tart from the pan and serve at room temperature or warm, with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011



Are you looking for a really satisfying, yet easy winter meal? Then this is the recipe for you. Recently I was teaching at Nordic Ware and was telling LoAnn, the cooking class coordinator about and article that I had read about making a baked chicken in a "Bundt Pan." Before I knew it she was passing out a recipe that she had found on line. She actually said that she found about 30 recipes for cooking a whole chicken using this method, so if you don't like this one, then try some of the other recipes that you can get on line. And if you are like Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa you can make a different baked chicken for your whole family for a month.

With all of this cold weather we are having I decided to take the carcass from the chicken and turn it into soup. I will add a bit of the left over meat, add a few fresh vegetables and some frozen tortellini and have another cold weather meal for tonight's dinner. And nothing smells better than a roast chicken in the oven and nothing is easier than this recipe.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins


1 whole 3-4 pound baked chicken
8 whole red or new potatoes
4 whole carrots chopped
2 whole yellow onions peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh poultry herbs finely chopped such as sage, rosemary and thyme
5 Tablespoons butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees

Spray bundt pan with non-stick spray. Toss the potatoes, carrots, onions and celery together with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the fresh herbs and butter salt and pepper and spread the mixture under, over and in the cavity of the chicken.

Place the cavity of the chicken over the center post of the bundt pan, with the legs down and wings up. Tuck wings under the chicken to prevent burning.

Place bundt pan on top of a rimmed sheet to catch the drippings. Do this even if the center of your pan does not have an opening.

Bake for 1 and 1/2 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. The juices should run clear. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes and carve.

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Join me on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. for an Italian Dessert Class. I will be making Tuscan Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce, Zuppa Inglese, Chocolate Mousse Spoons with a Whipped Cream and Raspberry Garnish and Dessert Cheesecakes.

Cost is $25.00 per person, plus tax. Samples and take home recipes are included.

Guests will also receive a 15% discount on regular priced, Nordic Ware-made products purchased that evening.

Classes will be held at the Nordic Ware Factory Store, 4925 Highway 7, St. Louis Park, Mn. 55416.

Sign up by Jan. 21 to help ensure class availability.

Call 952-924-9672 to reserve your place.

I hope to see you there.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins