Friday, May 30, 2008

Quick Mediterranean Fish

Now that the seasons have solidly changed, I've been playing in the kitchen a bit to figure out some new summer recipes. My rule of thumb is to cook meals that are fresh, delicious and healthy. This may sound like a tall order, but meeting all of these goals at once doesn't have to be difficult. I wanted to share a wonderful dish I have no problem whipping up, even after a long day at work. This fish recipe only takes 30 minutes to prepare. It's nutritious and flavorful, and my family loves it. As long as you have good quality, fresh ingredients, this is a recipe you can't mess up. If you make it part of your weekly repertoire, it can also save a significant amount of time you'd otherwise spend on menu planning.

Quick Mediterranean Fish

olive oil
sea salt
1 large cut of the fish of your choice
1 large package fresh spinach
1 bulb of fennel
1 shallot
1 bunch or package of cherry tomatoes (the riper the better)
1 bunch asparagus (if in season)

Heat the oven to 350 on the bake or convection bake setting
Coat bottom of porcelain or glass baking dish with 1/3 cup olive oil
Wash the spinach, place it in the dish, and lightly salt
3 garlic cloves (minced)
Fennel (finely)
shallot (finely)
cherry tomatoes (in half)
asparagus (2 inch lengths, discarding the first two inches at the bottom of each stalk)
Sprinkle the vegetables over the spinach with olive oil
Put vegetables in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until spinach is wilted and the other vegetables are softened
Take the dish out and gather vegetables together into a small mound
Place the fish on top of the mound of vegetables and spoon some of vegetable mixture on top of the fish
Lightly drizzle the vegetables and fish with more olive oil and dust with salt
Put dish back in the oven
Continuously baste the fish with the olive oil and vegetable mixture to keep it moist while cooking

I usually cook 2 lbs of fish for my family, and that takes 35 minutes. Obviously, the cook time will vary depending on the amount and type of fish you have. To check for doneness, insert a knife to see if the fish is flaking. Also use the knife to see if the center is cooked.
Once cooked, the fish should be very moist and aromatic from the infusion of vegetables and olive oil.

My favorite fish to use is halibut, but you can change fish out each season depending on what's available. Red Snapper and wild Pacific salmon would also taste divine. Even though wild fish is more expensive, I never buy farm raised fish. I believe the health benefits outweigh the cost. I also stay away from high mercury fish like tuna and swordfish. Cook with different types of vegetables as they come into season, and use your favorite FRESH herbs (never dried!) to infuse the fish with diverse flavors.

I was so excited when I discovered this recipe. It's a healthy, one dish dinner with all the nutrients you need for a balanced and wonderful summertime meal.

-Find a recipe that's easy to do and your family likes. Then repeat it with variations.
-Try to incorporate healthy ingredidents when feeding your family. It's essential to good health.
-Once you have the basics of cooking down, don't be afraid to experiment with your recipes!
-Buy local. Buy fresh. Buy what's in season.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The History of the Cupboard

I was recently at a friend's home who showed me an amazing thing. It wasn't anything flashy or expensive, it was just her kitchen cupboard.

On the shelves were all of the dishes she'd collected over the years from her family and in her travels. It was then that I realized how important a cupboard really is-- it contains the entirety of a family's history.

When our loved ones are no longer with us, the things with low economic value but high sentimental significance are always the things people want the most. Often, these items are the dishes on which favorite meals have been eaten for generations.

I think about my mother who had dishes dating back to her great grandmothers from England and Germany, stoneware and whiteware that traveled all the way from Europe to Kansas to Oregon.

In your own life, choose pieces that you'll use over and over again at family dinners and holidays and celebrations. They bring a special meaning to the meal and the moment. Every time they're used, those pieces will be imbued with a sense of history and soul. Who needs to wrestle with the boxes in a dusty attic to find memories when you can just open the cupboard instead?

-Look in your family's cupboard. There are treasures to be found that will create an instant sense of history.
-Create your own traditions with new dishes, for birthdays and the holidays that are used each season.
-Set your table and eat together as a family as often as you can. This ritual keeps a family close and brings meaning to the quotidian life.
-If you don't have a family yet or are away from your family, invite friends over for weekly meals. Sunday brunch is a great place to start!

Serving Up Love

Over the holiday weekend, I saw the film Waitress with Keri Russell. Well written, well acted, and funny, it was a delightful cinematic surprise. The story is about Jenna, a diner waitress who bakes outlandish and delicious pies that everyone loves. She’s stuck in an unhappy marriage, and when she finds out she’s pregnant, she’s sure that her life has taken a permanent nosedive. I won’t give away anymore of the plot because it would take away from the pleasure of watching the film for yourself. In the end however, Jenna does discover a reason to live and love.

There is so much about this movie that I adored. Without preaching at you, the film quietly emphasizes the amazing strength and resourcefulness of women. It also demonstrates how suffering can be cured through human connections and the love those relationships yield. Another lovely element of Waitress was the simple joy of good food. Through baking her pies, Jenna finds a way to cultivate joy in her life and also touch the lives of others.

Hmm. Touching the lives of others through creating and sharing an experience at the table. Sound familiar? One of the reasons this film resonated with me so much is because its message was very close to our goal at Rosanna. We want to reach people and bring them together by serving delicious meals on our dishes, which we create with love and infuse with soul.

If you haven’t seen this film, watch it. You’ll come away feeling, much like one of Jenna’s extraordinary pies, warm and gooey inside. But in a good way.

-Don’t discount the power behind cooking with love. Whether cooking for someone or being cooked for, I guarantee you’ll find happiness in the experience.
-During difficult moments, accept support from people who love you. It will feel a million times better than shutting yourself off from the world.
- No matter what your situation is, it’s never to late to change your life, creating a better and happier existence for yourself.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Human Connection


It's a vaguely recognizable word these days. Neighbors: they're the people you share an extended living space with. The other side of a duplex, the halls of an apartment complex, the street outside your front door, are all places you can expect to see them. Believe it or not, the word "neighbor" used to refer to more than just the people who live in close proximity to each other. Neighbors used to provide an integral support system, emotional and practical, for each other. Sadly, this identity of the neighbor has fallen mostly by the wayside

Fostering neighborly connections, while a bit time consuming to cultivate, can prove to be a very worthwhile endeavor.

While I'm home in Seattle, I never have the time to reach out in the way I'd like, to our neighbors. But while we're at the beach, were life is slower, I have the luxury of time. Gearhart has a real community feeling. Unlike in the city, people's lives spill into the street here. Someone is always out walking a dog, and a swarm of kids on bikes, slows passing car traffic to a crawl.

Every summer, my daughter Francesca and I have a tradition of making pie with blackberries we handpick. We had already made a few for ourselves, and this time we decided we'd give the dessert to someone else. We found our recipient in an older man who lived across the street. His wife wasn't with him on this particular visit. We didn't know him, but we did want to connect with him.

When Francesca and I delivered the pie, he was touched by our unexpected and generous homemade offering. After that, we established a lasting relationship.

This holiday weekend, this gentleman met my husband on a walk into town. He invited us to their home for cocktails. To their typical Northwest cottage, I brought over lilacs in a Rosanna Beach Bottle vase as a thank you for the invitation.

We were greeted by a charming couple in their 70's, whose home and habitudes reminded me strongly of my parents. We had a wonderful time with them. They talked about history of the Oregon Coast, and shared with us their adventures and memories during WWII involving Japanese submarines firing on the Pacific coastline.

That night, we crossed a generational divide, and discovered that we had many things in common. We also benefited greatly from listening to stories from their rich lives. Mimmo and I left their home feeling happy, connected, and part of a community we'd not been part of before.

-Reach out to neighbors you see occasionally but don't know. Surprise them with a homemade treat they wouldn't make for themselves.
-Greet people when you see them in the street. A simple hello can go a long way towards making a human connection
-When you are invited into someone's home, show your gratitude by bringing a little something along like flowers from your garden or a bottle of wine you have in the fridge.
-Reach out to strangers. It's amazing what you can learn when people open up and share their lives with you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dishes that are Dear to the Heart

Quite often, we receive emails from Rosanna admirers. They write that they bought dishes from us years ago, and have since broken or misplaced them. They've loved these dishes well, and want to know if we have replacements in our warehouse. I wanted to share one of the most recent messages we were sent:

Hello Rosanna,

I enjoyed reading your biography on your web site and share your passion for Bella Italia.

A few years ago, my wife purchased a coffee mug for me that was made by / for your company. The mug has the image of a post card addressed to Signore Ugo Riso in "Roma." The postmark, "23 7 35 Pesaro" is from a small village in north central Italy on the Adriatic sea named Pesaro. My family has its roots in Pesaro so this imparts a sentimental value to the mug. The mug has a capacity of about 18 ounces.

This mug was damaged during our recent move back to the United States from Portugal. I am in the Navy on active duty and was stationed is Lisbon.

I checked your web site and did not see any items resembling this mug. Is it possible that you may have any of these mugs in your warehouse? I would be interested in purchasing a quantity of these mugs.

Thank you for your assistance.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Unfortunately, the collection in question is no longer in production. However, we scoured our warehouse and were able to find some of the mugs this man asked about.

Stories like these confirm that Rosanna dishes do make a difference in people's lives. The heart and soul we try so hard to communicate with our design does come through. It's wonderful to have our product featured in fashion magazines, but it is responses like the one above that prove we're living up to our mission statement and vision for Rosanna dishes- to create traditions and becoming an integral part of peoples' lives.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Our annual and much anticipated warehouse sale is fast approaching, and you're invited!

Here are the details:

Friday, June 6th from 1pm to 6pm
Saturday, June 7th from 9am to 6pm

Our warehouse in the SoDo District
440 South Holgate Street
Seattle, WA 98134

On Friday morning we'll be hosting a private shopping event for our email list. To sign up, please email with a request to receive our e-newsletter.

This year, we're also having a dish drive! Bring in your retired and/or mismatched tableware to donate to the Tacoma Housing Authority, and refresh your table with some new Rosanna product. All donated dishes will go to homeless families transitioning into Section 8 housing. It's spring time-- out with the old, and in with the new!

The warehouse sale is always a great bargain, because many dishes are at wholesale pricing. We also still a have a small amount of hand painted Deruta ceramic ware we'll be selling as well as some beautiful antique furniture pieces from Europe.

Our warehouse sale is the perfect spot to find gifts for all occasions and recipients-- teachers, bridal and baby showers, and weddings to name a few. We'll also have everything you need to throw an inspired outdoor summer gathering.

We hope to see you there!


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rosanna Gift Registry!

Springtime rings in Wedding Season. Fortunately, Rosanna dishes make perfect wedding gifts for a couple that is just starting a life together. As such, we've responded accordingly by adding a new Gift Registry feature to our online store. This feature makes it much easier for your friends and loved ones to let you know which designs you prefer.

To register, just add the items you like to your cart by clicking "I'll Buy It." Then, click on your cart (on the left sidebar of the page) and select the option "save to gift registry." We've also made it easy to search for others' registries. You can enter first name, last name, or e mail address.

Some of my favorite collections to give to newlyweds include:

Cin Cin!
Dinner Party Place Settings--always a classic choice