Feb 16

Aroma of the Amalfi Coast

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Chef Dolce Debbie and Mamma Agata

As I begin the countdown, as if it didn’t begin as soon as I boarded my last flight home from Italy, and confirming the itinerary for the Amalfi Coast trip in May, I came across this photo of one of my most treasured parts of our Amalfi Trip, cooking with my dear friends Mamma Agata and her beautiful daughter Chiara.

For those of you who saw any of Bravo’s “First Class” show, Chiara and Agata were featured on one of the episodes about a month or so ago. Mamma Agata has been cooking for royalty, movie stars, political figures, and a few of us common folks as well, for decades. As if just simply being on the Amalfi Coast in a villa on the cliff side in Positano isn’t enough to make you think you have died and gone to heaven, we get to spend a day with Mamma Agata and Chiara in Ravello learning to prepare traditional Italian cuisine, dining on her terrace which overlooks the gardens, which is where all the ingredients used for preparing the meals are grown, which again happens to be on the side of a cliff overlooking the gorgeous blue waters of the coast.

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Jan 27

Name That Recipe Contest

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 Chef Dolce Debbie's Spiced Lamb Pillows

And the winner is………….

SPICED LAMB PILLOWS! Doesn’t that sound divine and enticing? Thank you to my winner MsGourmet and her adorable 3 year old daughter Little Miss Hoover for creating this name. Little Miss Hoover calls her ravioli pasta “pillow pasta” and so it begins, out of the mouths of babes! Thanks again to MsGourmet for the name. Make sure to stop by and pay her a visit at www.gourmetworrier.com and experience another piece of culinary heaven.

Jan 27

Do you speak Italian?

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Chef Dolce Debbie at Rolling Pin

No Pressure…but do you speak Italian?

So, last Friday night was another one of my demo classes at the Rolling Pin here in Brandon. I get there early; start preparing in advance a couple of things and getting prepped. I was feeling uncharacteristically calm and “in control”, as I’m typically rushing. So, as I’m settling into this position of self confidence the guests begin to arrive and take their seats. As I’m preparing the pastella for my vegetables, I hear a soft voice asking if I spoke Italian, without looking or thinking I instinctively replied with “si”. When I turned around to see who had asked, there was sitting directly in front of where I was to be cooking, a couple who were upon seeing, obviously Italian. OH MY GOODNESS, ok, I’m always very confident in my cooking and have cooked for many an Italian IN Italy, but, it never ceases to set the notch for me a little higher when I cook for native Italians. Here I am a little southern girl, striving to convince these people that not only am I knowledgeable about Italy and its cuisine, but possess the ability to reproduce the cuisine as an Italian would.


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Jan 03

The Perfect Accompaniment

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Dolce Debbie's Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

What better time to reconnect and visit with family than during the holiday season, right? After talking with some of our dear friends in South Carolina one evening, we decided we would make a quick trip from Florida to South Carolina and throw a dinner party.

Well, now that the decision was made to have the party, it was time for the next big decision, “What’s for dinner?” Since we were driving in on Friday and hosting the party on Saturday, it had to be something which didn’t require extensive preparation time or work. So, what do you prepare that will be elegant, delicious, and easy to prepare? Lamb! So, there it is, I’ll prepare my parmesan encrusted rack of lamb, but what to go with it? As everyone who knows me is aware, I never do the obvious, so after thinking of what would have not only a great appearance to accompany the lamb but also taste good without overpowering or completely fading away, I finally had it…my stuffed, baked tomatoes! The party was a success, and the ten of us enjoyed the time together discussing the fun times we had in Piemonte and the Amalfi Coast in 2008, and looking forward to Venice, Tuscany, and Umbria in 2009.

The baked tomatoes are great for a multitude of reasons. It will give your plate a blast of color, your produce doesn’t have to be the perfect, vine ripened tomato, and the filling is bursting with a savory blend which complements the sweetness of the tomato. This is also a simple dish which can be prepared in as little as 15 minutes and is great for an elegant dinner as well as an every night vegetable. Enjoy! – Debbie

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