My Favorite Burger

As delicious as the food in Rome is I must admit that every once in a while, I find myself craving food that is not pasta or pizza, but rather enchiladas verdes, pad thai, or most common of all, the classic American hamburger. I've found however that a good burger (unlike a plate of spaghetti all carbonara) is hard to come by in Rome, and so I often end up making my own burgers at home. This brings us to today's recipe for burgers, which beats out the pancakespeanut butter cookies, or berry shortcake on this blog for the spot of "quintessential American recipe." After all, nothing says "America" quite like a hamburger (or in this case, cheeseburger). 

One of the (many) wonderful things about a burger is that it can be completely personalized to suit the diner. Aside from the classic beef burger with lettuce and tomato, there are also turkey burgers, chicken burgers, tuna burgers, salmon burgers, veggie burgers, and even buffalo burgers. The choice of toppings are endless -- no cheese, or cheddar cheese, blue cheese, even goat cheese; ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, or mayonnaise; onion rings, bacon, or a fried egg -- I've even seen burgers topped with pulled pork. In short, the burger is a reflection of American cuisine, where anything goes -- just like you can have grilled chicken added to your pasta for an extra $1, or have a side of fruit with your sandwich, you can have your burger any way you want it (don't tell the Italians that). 

This is the recipe for my ideal burger. A beef patty (because let's be honest, beef tastes a lot better than chicken) with sharp cheddar, buttery olive oil-y avocado, and a little lettuce and tomato for freshness. For my perfect burger, the bun must always be toasted, if only for the practical reason that it makes it sturdier and more likely to support all of the delicious ingredients inside. Do not leave out the Worcestershire sauce -- it is the secret ingredient that complements the beef perfectly, and is not to be underestimated. Make these on the grill this weekend!! Enjoy!!


MY FAVORITE BURGER (AVOCADO CHEDDAR BURGERS)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 slices of cheddar cheese** (or cheese of your choice)
2 avocados
1 large tomato, sliced
4 leaves of lettuce
4 sesame seed buns, toasted
Olive oil
Salt 
Pepper

Directions:
Start with the avocados. Slice each in half, remove the pit, and use a spoon to remove the avocado pulp. Mash the avocado in a small bowl with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef with the Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. Shape the beef in to 4 equal patties and grill for 4 minutes per side for medium doneness. If you do not have a grill, you can also cook these burgers in a large skillet on the stove. When the burgers are almost done cooking, place a piece of cheese over the top and let it melt.

Place the burgers on the the toasted buns and top with tomato, lettuce, and avocado. I like to serve this burger with my favorite side -- sweet potato fries! -- but regular fries are great here too! Makes 4 large burgers.

**I have also made these "inside out" cheeseburgers by placing the cheese in the center of the burger patty and closing the patty over, so that way when you bite in to the burger there is cheese on the inside.





Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles


I wish the background in the above photo was a bright blue swimming pool, or the ocean, but alas, this photo was taken from my apartment balcony, where I (if I'm lucky) manage to catch a little breeze in the sweltering heat that is summer in Rome. Having just started a new job, I will not have any vacation this summer, which makes sense -- I started a little over a month ago -- but I will certainly miss having a week or two of pure relaxation. 

I might not be able to lay all day on the beach, but I can make homemade popsicles, which is somewhat of a consolation, right? So, to today's recipe for Raspberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles, which are so very refreshing that they're really not so different from a dip in the pool (or at least that's what I tell myself).  

These popsicles have a few things going for them: First off: let me assure you that much like these bagels, these are worlds away from the supermarket version you're used to, and are totally worth the bit of extra effort involved. Secondly: these popsicles are also on the lighter side, nutritious even, made with Greek yogurt, berries, and a a little sugar and honey to sweeten things up, and are absolutely delicious. The yogurt here is creamy and sweet, and balances the tart raspberries perfectly with just a hint of honey mixed in every bite. I find these to be more substantial than your average fruit and ice popsicle thanks to the yogurt, and besides being a perfect summer dessert, I admit I've had these for lunch or dinner when it's too hot to cook. I also consider them a completely acceptable breakfast (your usual fruit and yogurt, but frozen on a stick!)

If you want to make some frozen desserts at home but want to start with something more approachable than homemade gelato, these are a great starting point. In terms of the flavors -- I opted for raspberries because they're what I had on hand, but I'm sure that strawberries or blackberries, or any combination of those three would be delicious as well. Now that I've added popsicle molds* to my kitchen tools, the possibilities are endless -- I'm thinking strawberry prosecco or honey, yogurt, and toasted walnut popsicles next. Stay tuned!!

*I was surprised at how little trouble I had finding popsicle molds here in Rome, not to mention they only cost me a few euros. If you can't find them at your nearest supermarket or cooking supplies store, I found they also sell them on Amazon.

RASPBERRY YOGURT POPSICLES

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened Greek-style yogurt


Directions:
Cut the raspberries in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the honey and stir to combine. Set aside.

Place the water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved. Gently simmer for 5 minutes more. Pour the syrup in to a small bow and chill it completely. You can do this in the fridge, but I find it much quicker to set the bowl of syrup in a larger bowl of ice water or just pop it in the freezer for a bit. Within 15 minutes, it should be quite cold to the touch. Whisk the yogurt and chilled syrup together in another bowl.


Place the berry mixture and any juices that have accumulated in a blender or food processor and process until almost smooth. Prepare the popsicles by alternating pouring the yogurt mixture with the berry mixture into each popsicle mold, repeating as desired until you reach 1/4-inch from the tops (to leave room for expansion as they freeze). Use a skewer to lightly swirl the mixtures together, if you want -- I swirled some of them and left some with clearly defined layers of yogurt or raspberry. 
If using conventional molds, snap on the lid and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (45 minutes to 1 hour), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When the popsicles are fully frozen, I found it was helpful to leave them at room temperature for a few minutes to make removal from the molds a bit easier. Makes 8-10 popsicles, depending on the size of the molds you use.

Recipe adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com.

Swordfish with tomatoes, raisins, and pinenuts



As you may recall from this post from a few months ago, seafood tends to be my culinary Achilles heel. While I have more pasta recipes in my repertoire than I can count, and know how to make all sorts of cake and even gelato from scratch, I realize I am slightly unbalanced as a cook, in that I tend to focus a lot on primi and dessert, and don't have much experience preparing seafood or fish. I decided to learn how to make a few seafood recipes, if just to expand my culinary horizons a bit.

This recipe is the result of one of this effort, and what a yummy result it is. The mix of ingredients may seem odd first, but trust me on this – every bite of the sauce is different, thanks to the briny olives, sweet raisins, sharp capers, and savory tomatoes, and don’t underestimate the usually mild pine nuts, which really give the sauce another layer of flavor. I was concerned at first that the sauce would overwhelm the swordfish, but I am pleased to report that they both complement each other perfectly, both shining through just enough to make a nicely balanced dish. This dish is also light enough to eat in the summer, and if you're not up for turning on your oven you could also grill the swordfish and serve it with the sauce over the top. 

I’ve used swordfish for this recipe as it is substantial enough to stand up to the flavorful sauce, but feel free to use any kind of fish you like -- tuna would also be good. If you have any sauce leftover, I found it is also delicious stirred in to couscous (so good in fact that it would be worth making the sauce just for this, never mind using the leftovers!) Enjoy everyone!

SWORDFISH WITH TOMATOES, RAISINS, AND PINENUTS

 Ingredients:
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup white wine
Olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves
1 ¼ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup black olives pitted and halved
1 ounce pine nuts
3 tablespoons capers
4 swordfish steaks (about 1 ½ pounds)
Parsley to garnish


 Directions:

Soak the raisins in the wine for 30 minutes. Remove the raisins from the wine, and reserve the wine. 

Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over high heat. Sauté the onion, tomatoes, and garlic until soft. Add the reserved wine and let it cook down, about 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins, olives, pine nuts and capers. Reduce the heat and let the ingredients cook together for another 10 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 


Season the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper. Place the swordfish a lightly oiled baking dish and cover with the cooked sauce. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked throughout. Serve right away, sprinkled with parsley. Serves 4.









Nectarine, Burrata, Prosciutto, and Arugula Salad


 The recipe I made a few weeks ago for tomato, basil, and goat cheese shortcakes, a savory twist on the classic berry shortcake, got me thinking about what other recipes I could reinterpret. First on my list was this recipe for Nectarines with Burrata, Prosciutto, and Arugula, which is a spin on the classic, insalata caprese, made with mozzarella and tomatoes, and prosciutto e melone, a classic summer appetizer of, you guessed it, prosciutto and melon.

Though delicious as they are, I thought that these dishes could do with a bit of shaking up and decided to create a hybrid dish inspired by them both: I substituted mozzarella with burrata* cheese, swapped the sweet tomatoes for the even sweeter nectarines, and kept the prosciutto, reasoning that if prosciutto works well with melon, why not nectarines? And oh, how right I was -- this my friends, is not your average salad. The salty rich prosciutto, creamy mild burrata, sweet juicy nectarines, and peppery arugula made for one of the best dishes I've had all summer, and every bite was a little different thanks to all of the different flavors. Added bonus: this is a no cook dish (balsamic reduction aside) and is the perfect summer lunch, light dinner, or even appetizer. If you're still sitting here reading this post, what are you doing?? Go make this recipe right now! 

A couple of notes: If you've never tried burrata cheese, you don't know what you're missing. Burrata, which means "buttered" in Italian, is a fresh Italian cheese with an outer shell made of mozzarella, and a soft inside made from a mixture of mozzarella and cream -- think of it as the more passionate, out going cousin of mozzarella di bufala. It is one of the best things you will ever eat and should be available in most well stocked supermarkets and specialty food stores. If you can't find it, however, good quality mozzarella di bufala will do just fine. Don't feel like making a balsamic reduction? You can dress this salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make it completely heat-free.


NECTARINE, BURRATA, PROSCIUTTO, AND ARUGULA SALAD

Ingredients:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 bag of baby arugula
4 medium nectarines, cut in to slices
6 ounces of burrata cheese, torn in to pieces
8 slices of prosciutto
Olive oil

Directions:
To make the balsamic reduction, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan or skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the balsamic vinegar simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Make a nice bed of arugula on each of the four plates and top each with the nectarines, burrata, and prosciutto. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and some olive oil. Serves 4.









Penne with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and lemon

I can probably count on one hand the number of people I know who actually like to cook. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I happen to meet someone who enthusiastically responds "yes I love to cook,!" whose idea of fun is making homemade gelato/bread/lasagne and who, perhaps most importantly of all, is eager to plan as many dinner parties as possible. The truth is, while everyone loves to eat, most people tell me that they "do not cook," or "aren't good at cooking," or that they would "like to cook but don't know how." In reality I think learning how to cook is a life skill everyone should acquire, to some degree -- after all, we all have to eat, and if we all have to eat, we might as well eat well (in other words, go beyond opening a cereal box or making a peanut butter sandwich).  

In reality, cooking isn't really all that hard -- really, it isn't! In its simplest form, it requires you to only follow the recipe directions, not so different from following a map in order to get where you want to go. While it is true that some recipes are more difficult than others -- I wouldn't recommend that a non cook make from scratch ravioli on their first go, for example -- there are many easy, quick, and delicious recipes that anyone can make, seasoned cook or not. Today's recipe is a perfect example of this, a good "starter" recipe for those who are just beginning to explore the culinary world. 


This recipe can be described as a kind of sun dried tomato pesto of sorts, made with only a few ingredients that all pack a punch -- briny olives, flavorful sun dried tomatoes, bright lemon, sunny basil. spicy garlic, and salty Parmesan, all of which combine to make a delicious sauce that any non chef can make. Actually, this doesn't even require any actual cooking, just a bit of blending in the food processor, so it's an ideal first time recipe that will still make you look like an expert. The no cook aspect also makes it ideal for the summer heat. 

Once you feel comfortable following easy recipes like this, you can move on to creating and experimenting with your own recipes, if you're feeling ambitious -- that's how any cook has their start, after all! Bon appetit everyone!


PENNE WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES, OLIVES, AND LEMON

Ingredients:
12 ounces penne pasta
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped roughly
1 cup black or green olives, pitted
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process until blended and smooth. Put the sun-dried tomato mixture in a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions for al dente pasta. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl.


Toss the tomato mixture with the pasta, adding a little pasta water if necessary so that the sauce coats the pasta evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve either hot, room temperature, or cold. Serves 4 people. 

Recipe adapted from Giada di Laurentiis.







Mini Berry Crostate


 A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bag of pecans  -- one ingredient that I love to bake with, but are impossible to find here -- thanks to one of my awesome colleagues at my new job. I decided to return the favor by baking a pecan pie as a thank you -- easy enough, right? -- except I realized that I'd have to bring the pie to the office by way of the subway, where I switch from the A line to the B line. If you think this sounds feasible enough, you clearly have never taken the Roman metro at rush hour, where the B line in particular becomes a jungle of sorts -- masses of people pushing and shoving on to every cramped and air condition-less train that passes every 7 or so minutes (I really do need to look in to the bus schedules...) The odds of the pie being flattened under the handbag or elbow of whoever managed to squeeze in next to me on the metro seemed higher than the pie actually arriving intact, so I opted for mini pecan pies. These, I reasoned, would be packed up in a tupperware container an slipped in to my bag. And I was right -- these mini pecan pies went over famously with my colleague, arrived in one piece, and the fact that they were tiny added to their appeal.

What does the metro and pecan pie have to do with mini berry crostate, you ask? I realized that desserts, while always delicious, are even more appealing when in a mini form. Take cupcakes, for example: besides the fact that they are cake, and who doesn't like cake, they are individual cakes, designed for just one person, which makes them even more special. If I could make mini pecan pies or mini cakes, why not mini crostate, I thought? Thus these mini berry crostate were born, made for dessert at a dinner party we hosted for the 4th of July.

A crostata, if you're not familiar, is essentially a free form, open faced pie, also known as a galette. I'm not sure if it's because these were in a mini form or not, but these were fantastic, with a buttery super flaky crust and sweet summer-y filling, perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I used raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries here, but you could also use any sort of fruit you like. Stay tuned for other mini desserts -- I'm thinking mini cheesecakes or souffles next. 

MINI BERRY CROSTATE

Ingredients for crust:
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons ice water

1 egg (egg wash)

Ingredients for filling:
2 cups berries (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, quartered)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Directions:
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly and carefully with your fingers so that each piece is covered with butter. Pulse 12 or so times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, and stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out on to a floured work surface, roll it in to a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. (If you're making this recipe when it is hot out, the longer you refrigerate the dough the better -- if it isn't cold enough, the butter in the dough will begin to melt once you start rolling it out).

Meanwhile, mix the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes or so. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll the refrigerated pastry dough out into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Using a 5 inch round cookie cutter (or even a 5 inch round bowl, just trace around it with a knife) cut out 4 circles of dough. Transfer them to a greased cookie sheet. 

Distribute the fruit evenly over the center of each circle of pastry, and then fold over the border of each, pleating it to make an edge. 

In a small bowl, beat the egg to make an egg wash and brush it over the edges of each crostata. Bake the crostate in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Let cool and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 4 crostate. 









Insalata di Riso

In keeping with the theme of my past few recipes, I’m sharing another summer friendly dish that takes minimum effort and heat to prepare. Insalata di riso—or rice salad—is a dish that I came across for the first time while living in Bologna. It was June, and the heat was already at its peak. My go-to favorites, tagliatelle al ragù and piadina with prosciutto and mozzarella, suddenly seemed too heavy to eat when the weather was so hot, and tortellini in brodo was completely out of the question. The hearty Bolognese cuisine that I had grown to love in the cooler weather seemed to have turned on me, and my diet began to consist mainly of gelato and macedonia (fruit salad), the few foods that were cool enough for the soaring temperatures.

Despite the heat of the city, my friends and I decided it would be a good idea to climb up to the top of the Monte della Guardia Hill to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, a basilica that was built between 1723 and 1757. The center of the city and the church are connected by the Portico di San Luca—a 3.5-kilometer arcade with 666 porticos that stretches all the way up the hill. Making the trek up to see the basilica had been an item on my “to-do-in-Bologna” list that I had saved for the very end, forgetting that going uphill was best done in the cooler months. We set off early in the day to avoid the heat as much as possible, and made our way toward the basilica in the 85-degree heat, thankful for the porticos that provided at least a little shade along the way.


The two-hour trek to the top was not easy, but well worth the effort when we finally reached the basilica, which was beautiful, as was the landscape around it and the view of the city. As you can imagine, however, we were all a little worse for wear—sore feet and legs, sweaty, overheated and decidedly hungry after the journey to the top of the hill.

Almost there!

That’s where this insalata di riso comes in. We had all brought along a small cooler with food for a picnic once we reached the top, and insalata di riso was my friend Anita’s contribution. At first, I was skeptical—the ingredients to the salad looked pretty varied, and up until that point I had known rice was meant for risotto or stir-fry, but never served cold.

It turned out to be the perfect dish for that day: it was cool and refreshing, and every bite had a different mixture of flavors. It cooled us all down and filled us up in preparation for the descent back to the city. This is a recipe that I’ve since replicated often at home, and it’s perfect for picnics, barbecues, or just a simple lunch. Note that this is an extremely versatile dish, and every Italian has their own way of making it – I have added in the ingredients I like best, but feel free to mix and match to make your own recipe. Sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, basil, or green olives would also be good additions. Enjoy!


INSALATA DI RISO

Ingredients: 
1 cup long grain white rice 
¾ cup fontina cheese cut in cubes 
½ cup ham, cut in to cubes 
½ cup yellow bell pepper, cubed 
½ cup red bell pepper, cubed 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
½ cup black olives, halved 
1 cup arugula 
6 ounces tuna in olive oil, drained 
Olive oil 
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  
In a large pot, cook the rice in salted water according to the package directions (generally cooking
time is around 13–15 minutes). Drain the rice and rinse it under cold water. Transfer it to a large bowl and let cool.

Next add the peppers, tomatoes, olives, arugula, ham, cheese and tuna to the rice, and toss everything together until well mixed. Season the insalata di riso to taste with salt and pepper and olive oil to taste. Let the insalata di riso rest in the fridge for an hour, covered, until cold. Serves 4.









Chocolate Gelato

It goes without saying that Italy is a beautiful, marvelous country with many assets. The language spoken here is melodious and beautiful to the ear, there is a wealth of art and history to be explored, and it goes without saying that the food is wonderful. I realize how lucky I am to be living in a such a marvelous place as Rome -- really, I do! -- but I find myself forgetting all of the Eternal City's good qualities every year, from June-mid September, when Summer hits. Let me explain: while it is true that Rome is home to the Colosseum and Piazza Navona, it is not home to air conditioning, something that would be very handy during the sweltering summer months, when temperatures climb high in to the 90s. While you can usually find air conditioning in shops or offices, it is not always a fixture in apartments, the same way that microwaves, dryers, and dishwashers are not givens here either. Without air conditioning at my disposal then, I devised three other ways to beat the heat here in Rome:

1. Sit in front of your fan. Don’t move.

2. Go to the movies. A lot. There’s air conditioning in the movie theatres and it’s dark. Pick the longest movie possible.

3. Gelato. Eat lots and lots of gelato.

Let’s focus on the third and perhaps most interesting point on my list. Gelato is the quintessential summer dessert in Italy (just as ice cream is in other parts of the world) and has proven time and time again to be a lifesaver during the summer in Rome, and a perfectly acceptable dinner option when it is too hot to turn on the stove or oven.

While most people opt to get their gelato fix at the nearest gelateria, I’ve found that it’s also fun to make gelato at home (just keep it in your freezer for whenever you need to cool down!). I began to make both homemade gelato and ice cream* a couple of years ago after receiving an ice cream maker as a birthday gift. I admit I was initially skeptical—making gelato at home was probably complicated, and wasn’t it easier to just buy it somewhere?

This recipe for gelato al cioccolato, the first recipe I ever made with my ice cream maker**, changed my mind. Not only was it simple to make, it also packs a real chocolate punch (make sure you use good quality chocolate) and has a dense smooth texture, far better than any gelato you will get out of the freezer aisle. Added bonus: this is also an impressive dessert to serve to your dinner guests, because after all, how many people can say they make their own gelato?! Once you get the basic gelato-making technique down, you can also be creative and experiment with different flavors. I’ve since tried out recipes for chocolate raspberry gelato, cinnamon gelato, and blueberry gelato -- the possibilities are endless. Buon appetito! 

CHOCOLATE GELATO   

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled 

Directions: 
In a medium saucepan, over low heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt until blended. Add 1/4 cup of the milk, and whisk it until the cornstarch dissolves. Whisk in the rest of the milk and then, (still whisking) combine the mixture until it thickens and comes to boil, for about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute longer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth.

Transfer the chocolate gelato base to a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the cream. Place the bowl inside another large bowl filled with ice and water to cool, stirring often, for about 30 minutes.

Process the gelato base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the gelato to a container (I usually use Tupperware) and cover. Freeze the gelato at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight. Makes 3 cups of gelato.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, June 2004 issue.

*In case you’re wondering, ice cream generally has more air incorporated into it during the churning process, and uses a good amount of heavy cream; gelato on the other hand contains less air (making it denser in texture) and is made with more milk than cream, so it is slightly lower in fat (a perfect excuse to eat gelato!) In addition, gelato is made with few or no eggs at all, while American ice cream is almost always made with eggs.

**If you're undecided about whether to buy an ice cream maker, I highly recommend it -- it's a super investment for the summer and you can use it to make sorbet, frozen yogurt, and ice cream as well. If you have a Kitchen Aid standing mixer you need only buy the ice cream bowl attachment and you're good to go.

 






Fourth of July Recipe Roundup

Happy Fourth of July everyone! If you're American it's very likely you will be celebrating this weekend with a picnic or barbecue and some fireworks. Haven't decided on your menu just yet? Here are some all American (and a few Italian) recipes that would be perfect to include in your menu. 

Savory
Basil Pesto
Bruschetta 


Bars and Cookies

Fruit Desserts + a Cake and Pie