September is almost over so naturally our thoughts are moving towards Holiday Baking!

wpid-20150704_163736.jpgNew Orleans Turtle Cookies

An old fashioned Cookie Swap was always on the agenda at my house immediately following Thanksgiving!   I couldn’t wait  to decorate my home for Christmas and send out invitations to friends and neighbors.

The invitation explained that each guest was asked to bake a double batch of their favorite cookies  along with the recipe printed on index cards.  Their cookies would be placed on a platter on the Dining Room table with the recipes close by.  That way, guests could take the container they came with and walk around the table to sample each cookie and take a few to place into their container.  They could also take a copy of the recipe.  It was a way of trying something new and getting some great recipes! Continue reading

A tale of two Doughnuts…..

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Sometimes a quick 5 minute donut is just right.  And then there is the “special occasion”  that calls for the N’Orleans Beignet.

When I was a little girl, sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night Daddy would pile us kids into the car around 11:00 P.M. and we would head out to the French Quarter.  Of course we kids were in our pajamas with bare feet and we knew we were not getting out of the car.  It really didn’t matter, we were just thrilled to see the sights, sounds and smells of the Quarter!  Daddy would pull around to the back side of Café Du Monde and we got to order beignets and chocolate milk with curb service.  Soon after placing our order, the waiter would return and hook our tray of goodies onto Daddy’s window and we would shriek with delight as he passed out plates of these soft little pillows of goodness.  “Be careful not to spill too much powdered sugar on the seats\!”  he would warn.  But if you have ever eaten beignets you know that was just not possible.  Not only was the back seat dusted with confectioner’s sugar, more often than not there were also spills from the cartons of chocolate milk.   Continue reading

Homemade Pasta, anyone??? A true labor of love from the Italian Nona you wish you had!!

wpid-20150212_114540.jpgNests of freshly made  Fettuccine Pasta

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“Straw and Hay”  Spinach and Egg Pasta

Once you have eaten freshly made pasta you can never go back!  The delicate pasta practically melts in your mouth and does not leave you with a  feeling of heaviness. It does, however, leave you feeling “Heavenly”.

The process is a bit time-consuming but I find it to be a very relaxing and comforting pastime that evokes such pleasant memories of my days working at Ristorante Pastore.  In  Italy it is customary for the “Nona” of the family to make  Pasta on a daily basis to feed her family.  The recipe for basic pasta in my cookbook comes from Nona Maria Pastore that I learned to make while cooking at our family’s restaurant, Ristorante Pastore.  It was truly one of New Orleans’ finest Northern Italian restaurants.  Pastore’s Pasta recipes start on page 90.  Their famous sauces start on page 86.

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