Braised Spicy Pork All’Arrabbiata with Tapenade And Cheesy Polenta


Red pepper flakes bring some heat to this Williams-Sonama spicy Italian red wine sauce  in which pork cubes cook slowly until they are melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Serve the braised pork on top of a mound of cheesy polenta made from semolina flour.  If you can’t find it, make the polenta  with traditional coarsely ground corn meal, as directed on the package.  A spoonful of tapenade made from briny green olives, lemon and capers adds bright flavor to the finished dish.  I added a few shavings of pecorino to serve.  The dish fills the house with enticing aroma during the 2 hours of cooking.    The tapenade can be made the night before for even more ease of preparation.  Just as good the next day as leftovers, you could prepare the whole dish the day before and reheat.

The first time I made this recipe, we all swooned over the dish but especially loved the green olive tapenade.  So the second time, I doubled the  tapenade and reduced the amount of olive oil the recipe called for by half.  Leftovers are great over grilled fish, chicken or on a bruschetta. Continue reading

Flourless Coconut-Lime Ricotta Cake


“I think the heart is a lot like those wonderful fruit, like coconuts and mangoes, you know, you have to break the skin, you have to break it open to get to the good part.”  Saul Williams

This simple flourless cake has it all:  moist with a nice crumb, a crunchy topping of coconut, just sweet enough with its great taste coming from the dynamic marriage of tangy lime and sweet coconut.  Totally gluten free and with loads of healthy protein from the almond meal and the ricotta cheese, the cake is a virtuous indulgence.  Delicious and beautiful for a lovely spring dessert.

Continue reading

Lemon Crackle Cookies


“Huge lemons, cut in slices, would sink like setting suns into the dusky sea, softly illluminating it with their radiating membranes, and its clear, smooth surface aquiver from the rising bitter essence.” Rainer Maria Rilke

The traditional fudge crackle cookie is a popular treat during the holidays.  When I found a recipe for a lemon version, I just  had to try it.  If you have followed this blog you know how much I love lemon anything!  These cookies are light, almost cake-like in texture, with a bright burst of lemony flavor.  The dough needs to chill so plan accordingly.

Lemon Crackle Cookies

Adapted from A Beautiful Mess

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup powdered sugar


In a large bowl, cream together the granulated sugar, butter and eggs. Stir in the zest and juice.  Add in the flour and  baking powder, and mix to incorporate.  On a sheet of wax paper, scoop the dough and form a  ball.   Cover and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
Divide into 12 balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. Cool.

Still Life in Blue with Lemon, Paul Cézanne, oil on canvas, 1873-77, Cincinnati Art Museum