Tag Archives: tips and tricks

Easy Fall Appetizer:: CHORIZO SKEWERS

Hey Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I’m here sharing another inspiring recipe from Annette’s archives. This time of year seems to be filled with fall fetes. It is football season in the South after all! I’m always on the hunt for quick, easy, and most of all, delicious recipes to take to parties or to have on hand when guests come over. Of course, I turned to Annette for inspiration and found this recipe for chorizo skewers.

I love the idea of making elevated tailgate food like this, especially since my days of outside tailgating are over. I prefer to watch games from the comfort of my couch with a fine wine versus a cheap beer, thank you very much!

What’s more simple (and transportable!) than a tasty skewer? Annette recommends using top-notch ingredients for this one. Let us know if you try it for your next party!

Chorizo skewers with Manchego Cheese and Tomatoes
Serves 10

You will need:
– 
4 links of Chorizo sausage
– 1/2 pound wedge of 12 month Manchego Cheese
– 20 baby tomatoes
– 1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into slices
– 10 wooden skewers

Preparation:

Grill sausages on medium heat then pull off of the grill and set aside to cool. While the sausages are on the grill, cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes and set aside. Cut the sausage into 1 inch slices. Using the wooden skewers, pierce the sausage and then the tomato, and cheese, then sausage, tomato, and cheese and then sausage. Repeat with all the skewers, and serve with slices of bread. I like to place some olives on the side as well.

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Beer Americano

Happy Labor Day holiday to all of my friends in the states. I hope everyone is enjoying a day of rest and relaxation. Here’s an easy, Italian-inspired beverage to make this day extra fun: the beer americano. This cocktail is perfect for the last blistering days of summer.

It pairs perfectly with the salty goodness of potato chips and other cookout fare. Look for this and other amazing summer cocktails in my book Cocktail Italiano!

Beer Americano
Serves 1

You will need:
– 1 ½ ounces Campari
– 1 ½ ounces sweet vermouth
– 3 ounces lager beer
– lemon zest, for garnish

To prepare:

Combine Campari, vermouth and ices cubes in a tall tumbler, stir to combine. Pour the beer into another glass, stir to create a stiff foam, reserve the foam with a spoon top the cocktiail with the beer foam, about 3 ounces.

**Note: For a lighter Americano feel free to pour 2 ounces of the beer in to the cocktail as well. However, this should be done before you top the cocktail with the foam.

xx Annette

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Parmesan Crisps:: Quick Summer Appetizer

These lovely little two-bite parmesan crisps are savory and salty with a crunch—perfect to serve with a chilled glass of prosecco or rose. It’s a quick appetizer that uses parmesan cheese with a combination of tomatoes – tomato jam to be exact.

The tomato jam is the star of the show, but you’ll love the addition of mozzarella and basil too. These bites make a great addition to any menu for a summer soiree.

Two Bite Parmesan Crisps
Makes about 32

For the Tomato Jam:


You will need:
– 3  tablespoons olive oil
– 1 garlic clove, chopped
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 4 large heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:
Place ingredients into a medium pot over medium heat for 15 minutes, set aside to cool. This step may be done a couple of days in advance and placed in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.

For the Parmesan Crisps:


You will need:
– 8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
– Place 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat.
– Arrange the spoonfuls about 3 inches apart as they will spread to form round crisps.

To prepare:
Place in a 350 F degree oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool before assembling the appetizer.

To assemble:
– 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Place a dollop of jam on top of the crisp, and add cubes of mozzarella and garnish with a basil leaf.

From my book Picture Perfect Parties RIzzoli NY

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Building our Pool in Italy.

It’s been a long haul building the pool at La Fortezza. It seemed like an easy task, but then Covid struck and everything was put on a BIG hold. I arrived here in February, greeted by the pool covered and surrounded by loads of dirt and debris.

One thing about projects in Italy is they can be on hold endlessly. The idea of starting, let alone totally completing a project is in normal times pretty daunting, so with this monkey wrench thrown into the works, it is truly a miracle that it is finished.

Well almost. The truth is that building projects in Italy are a never-ending story. The idea of everything being perfect and completed is not a concept here. Nothing is perfect, and for my ever-present OCD, this fact is the medicine that I need in order to chill out. When I say chill out, I mean I can sleep at night knowing that there are 10 tiny steps to completing the project, and those may never come to fruition, and I can live with it.

The nighttime lighting has just been completed at the pool. The stairs leading to the pool deck have been a challenge as I bought lighting and the electrician kept dragging his feet to place the final 3 spots light on the bottom step. HE thought I did not need it, but I thought that I or our guests might break an ankle if we missed the last step because of the darkness. We literally fought about these lights for 2 months and FINALLY, he gave in. Now we won’t miss that last step. The last 3 spots on the final step will save lives. He was semi unhappy that I did not take his suggestion of a big stadium light mounted on the house to flood the entire pool area. He actually thought it was a great solution. See what I am dealing with here?

I compare building the pool and the pool area to being pregnant for 2 years and delivering a 400 lb baby…yes painful. The pool company was alright, but we ended up firing them because their service was subpar at best. Which means they barely came to clean the pool and complained if we called them. Yep. But finally, finally on June 12th, 2021 we had a pool. Only 1 1/2 years late. You ask why it was so daunting? Well, let’s just say micromanaging was a must, as the work schedule was all over the place. Then, of course, the weather it rains here a lot in March, April, and May.

The time came to start furnishing the pool deck which was the fun part. I looked online and then discovered a local outdoor furniture and accessories place that was fantastic. It literally is 3 football fields chocked full of the most amazing outdoor furnishings. I will post about my choices in the next blog post so stay tuned!

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aPOPitivo:: Cantaloupe Campari Pops

IMG_4170Boozy popsicles are such a fun twist on typical summer desserts, especially since they’re a dessert and a cocktail in one!

Typically, I make this recipe as a gelato, but a few years ago, I tested turning it into a refreshing summer popsicle aperitivo, and it worked! While I haven’t revived the recipe this summer, I think it’s about time to do so.

When you serve them, pour a thumbs height of Campari in a pretty glass and place the pop into the glass. The melty pop mingles with the Campari to create a delicious and very Italian Apero. Divine!

Cantaloupe Campari Pops
Makes 10 pops
Ingredients:

– 1 Cantaloupe, cut into pieces*
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup Campari

*Note: you can substitute 3-4 cups of passion fruit (about 15 passion fruits)

Preparation:

Make a simple syrup combining the sugar and the water using a small sauce pan on medium heat. Turn off the heat once it starts to boil and set aside to cool.

Blend the cantaloupe and the syrup in a bowl using a hand blender, or blender. Add the campari and put into popsicle molds*.

*Note: I like to pour the puree into the molds using a pitcher; it’s easier.

Freeze for at least 5 hours. Place into warm bath for about 30 seconds to unmold and wrap individually in parchment and place back into the freezer. They can be stored for up to a month, although ours are gone in a week.

Cin cin!

Annette

Recipe adapted from: People’s Pops

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