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Tasty Thursdays – Gelato

I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I’ve eaten more ice cream, sorbet and gelato.

A pint or more of sorbet or ice cream is on my shopping list every week. I tell myself I’ll only need a pint but if I don’t pace myself, I can eat all of it in one sitting.

Last weekend, I was in the Bronx where my friend and I had a wonderful meal at Emilia’s on Arthur Avenue. A family-style restaurant, it was packed when we arrived at a little after six. Pat, one of the owners, told us the wait would be about 20 minutes. We took a short walk down the block to check out another restaurant that had been recommended but it was closed for holiday. So civilized.

I don’t normally order lasagna when I go to an Italian restaurant but this time, I decided to. I was very pleased with my selection. The lasagna was light, each layer almost as thin as a wafer.  My friend’s Chicken Parmigiana made me wish I had ordered it instead.


When the dessert menu came, I looked longingly at the different flavors of sorbet – peach, coconut, orange and lemon – but had to pass. I had no room!

One thing that endears me to a restaurant is the people. By the time we left Emilia’s on Saturday night, we both felt as if we had returned to a place we’d been going to for years. Pat had us in conversation while we waited for our table, then she or her husband would check on us during the meal. We weren’t being singled out for special treatment, they did that routinely with everyone. Pat even introduced us to her granddaughter, who works at Emilia’s on weekends. I could see why the place was so packed when we arrived. It still was when we left hours later.

If you ever make it to the Bronx, just ask anyone how to get to Arthur Avenue in Little Italy and check out Emilia’s.

It’s been in the 90s here in the northeast this week and it made me think of gelato. There was none on the menu at Emilia’s. Anyway, here’s a recipe, courtesy of


2 cups milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar



In a medium saucepan, mix milk and cream. Warm until foam forms around the edges. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until frothy. Gradually pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture gels slightly and coats the back of the spoon. If small egg lumps begin to show, remove from heat immediately.

Pour the mixture through a sieve or fine strainer into a bowl. Cover, and chill for several hours or overnight.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a sealed container, and freeze until firm. If the gelato is too firm, place it in the refrigerator until it reaches the desired consistency.

Buon Appetito!


Tasty Thursdays: Broccoli Grape Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

I was at the nail salon a few years ago when I discovered this recipe for Broccoli Grape Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette in a magazine. I figured since it had two things I love, broccoli and grapes, it would be worth trying out.

I was also intrigued by the combination or broccoli and grapes and wrote the ingredients in my notebook.  The next time I had family and friends over, I tried it. It was delicious! And the most important thing is, my friends loved it. My cousin always complains that I experiment with new recipes when I have people over but even she raved about it.

The flavor of the broccoli, the crispness of it blended well with the sweetness and soft texture of the grapes. The citrusy flavor of the vinaigrette gave it a kick.

The other thing about the Broccoli Grape Salad is that it is very simple to make. Since it’s so easy and everyone loves it, I usually make a large bowl and keep it in the refrigerator, especially in the summer.

Several months after I discovered the recipe, the citrus vinaigrette I was using disappeared from the supermarket shelves. I was crushed. I visited several supermarkets in different neighborhoods trying to find it. Eventually, I gave up and went online. I’ll share below the one I finally decided on.

Here’s the recipe for Broccoli Grape Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette. Hope you get to try it. When you do, let me know what you think.

Broccoli Grape Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

2 bunches broccoli fleurettes, cut into bite-sized pieces (You can also blanch the broccoli to soften them up)

4 cups of red, seedless grapes, halved (or 2 of red, 2 of green)

1 cup sliced almonds


Prepare the citrus vinaigrette following the directions below and set aside.

Place broccoli and grapes into a large bowl

Pour citrus vinaigrette over the salad mixture, stirring until combine

Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend

Add nuts before serving.

Note: The salad can be doubled very easily if you have a crowd.


Citrus Vinaigrette


1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)

1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger


Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Pour into a bowl; cover and chill.

Note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Yield: 1 1/3 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

Citrus Vinaigrette recipe courtesy of


Tasty Thursdays: July 4th Jerk

Jerk is both a style of cooking and the mix of spices used to make jerk. It is a very popular way of cooking in Jamaica that has grown from chicken to pork, fish, sausage, tofu, lobster, etc.

My earliest memories of jerk was of a man who used to sell jerk chicken door-to-door on his

Little Ochie Jerk Lobster – Maynefoto

bicycle. Back then, making jerk was an elaborate affair – it was always slow-cooked in the open over pimento wood, which gave it a distinct flavor. Jerk all but disappeared in the 1960s but it saw a huge resurgence in the 1970s when some enterprising chefs duplicated the sauce and made it available in bottles and packages.

Thanks to Jamaicans abroad who wish for a taste of home, jerk has gone international.

At home, especially in tourist areas, jerk is big business but, as you’d expect, it’s been watered down considerably to accommodate those who are averse to the peppery jerk taste. (Earlier this year, I wrote a post, Jamaica-In Search of the Real Jerk about finding authentic jerk in Jamaica.)

Peppery or not, jerk is still a delicious way to cook. You can bet it’ll be on the menu this weekend at many July 4th barbecues.

Here are two recipes to try.

Stir-Fried Caribbean Vegetables with Jerk Tofu

I discovered this recipe a few years ago. It is one of my favorites and disappears pretty quickly whenever I make it.


1 tbsp Walkerswood Jerk Marinade or Jerk Seasoning (you can substitute any jerk seasoning from the supermarket or the one below)

2 tbsp palm, peanut, sesame or soy oil

500 g/1lb. firm tofu, cubed

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Oil, for frying

For the vegetables:

About 1kg/2 lbs. total of any combination of carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, green cabbage, pak choy, sweet peppers and/or broccoli


Mix together jerk seasoning and oil, add to tofu and marinate for at least an hour (preferably overnight).

Heat the frying oil in a wok or suitable skillet. Deep fry the tofu cubes for 3-5 minutes and reserve. Pour out most of the oil and stir-fry the onion and garlic; then begin to add the other vegetables, hardest first. Cook very lightly; then add the tofu and stir in gently until hot. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour (or up to overnight) marinating plus 10 minutes cooking.

Jerk Tofu recipe courtesy of Walkerswood Caribbean Kitchen by Virginia Burke.

David’s Jerk Chicken


½ cup Jerk Rub*

1 onion, finely chopped

1 Scotch bonnet pepper, minced

Leaves from 1 fresh thyme sprig, minced

2 scallions, including green parts, finely chopped

1 chicken (3 to 3 ½ pounds), cut into serving pieces


Mix together the jerk seasoning, onion, pepper, thyme and scallions. Rub the chicken well all over with the jerk rub. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

Prepare a low fire in a charcoal grill using a combination of charcoal and pimento wood. (If you don’t have pimento wood, substitute applewood or hickory, or build a fire with just charcoal. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat it to 225° to 250°F.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook, covered, for 1 to 1 ½ hours, turning every 10 minutes or so. When it’s done, the chicken will take on a very dark color, the juices will run clear when the meat is pierced, and the internal temperature will have reached 160°F.

*Jerk Chicken Rub

1 onion, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped scallions, including green parts

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground Jamaican allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4-6 Scotch Bonnet or habanero peppers, minced fine

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, combine all the ingredients and grind to a paste. Store leftover paste in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar for about 1 month.

Makes about 1 cup; enough for 406 pounds of meat

Jerk Chicken recipe courtesy of Jerk from Jamaica by Helen Willinsky

Enjoy your 4th!


Tasty Thursdays: Tapas

I love tapas and go to tapas bars every so often, especially in the summer.

What are tapas? Tapas are canapes or appetizers or small snacks that originated in Spain. They can be served hot or cold. There are tapas bars all over Spain and now all over the U.S.

I found a tapas restaurant near the London Eye and was surprised to see oxtail tapas. Of course, I had to try it. I was not disappointed.

Oxtail tapas

Whenever I have friends over, I usually make several different tapas. Two of my favorites are Prawns and Bacon and Ceviche. Tapas pretty simple to make and always go very quickly. Here are the recipe for both, courtesy of

Prawns and Bacon Tapas


  • 5 oz jamon or thinly sliced bacon
  • 24 medium to large uncooked, headless prawns, peeled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lemons, quartered


Cut the bacon (or jamon, if using it) into pieces, which you will wrap generously round the prawns. Place the wrapped prawns down flat on a board and skewer them through the fattest part of the tail, making sure the jamón is firmly fixed. Season generously and drizzle with the oil.

On a high heat, griddle, grill or barbecue the prawn and bacon brochettes for 2-3 minutes on each side, so the jamón crisps up. Alternatively, roast in a hot oven (425ºF) on an oiled baking tray for 8-10 minutes. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.


Ceviche Tapas


  • 1 1/2 lb halibut, turbot, sea bass or salmon fillets, skinned
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, seeded and very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt

For the garnish

  • 4 large firm tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 ripe advocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves


Cut the fish into strips measuring about 2 x 1/2 inch. Lay these in a shallow dish and pour over the lime juice, turning the fish strips to coat them all over in the juice. Cover with a clear film (plastic wrap) and leave for 1 hour.

Mix all the garnish ingredients, except the coriander, together. Set aside.

Season the fish with salt and scatter over the chillies. Drizzle with the oil, Toss the fish in the mixture, then replace the cover. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes more.

To serve, divide the garnish among six plates. Spoon the ceviche, sprinkle with coriander, and serve.