Thursday, March 22, 2012

Savor Spring Vegetables

I'm partnering with my friends over at Family Eats again this month for a post on eating seasonally. Stop by Family Eats here to take a look at what's being cooked up for spring!

As the warming weather reveals beautiful new elements in the world, the earth also yields wonderful treats just waiting to be eaten: spring vegetables. The season for each spring vegetable is short lived, so be sure to take advantage of the selection at your local farmers' market. Snap up the best of the season as soon as they appear, because they might be gone next week! Some of my personal favorites are asparagus, artichokes, and baby English peas. All three can be incorporated into salads or a springtime pasta dish. Asparagus is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it delicious, it is very good for you, too. Studies have shown that it is a great low-calorie source of folate and potassium and that its stalks are high in antioxidants. Just six spears contain some 135 micrograms of folate, almost half the recommended daily intake. Green asparagus especially is a good source of vitamin C.


When you eat in season, and the vegetables are locally grown, you'll find such a wonderful difference in taste and texture from out-of-season supermarket varieties. Once you try eating seasonally, I promise you'll never go back. Below is a list of delicious fruits and vegetables available during the spring. Be sure to grab them!

March, April, and May Fruits
Barbados Cherries

March, April, and May Vegetables
Belgian Endive
Collard Greens
Fava Beans
Green Beans
Morel Mushrooms
Pea Pods
Purple Asparagus
Red Leaf Lettuce
Snow Peas
Spring Baby Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Vidalia Onions
White Asparagus

There are also a number of delicious vegetables and fruits available year-round:

Bell Peppers
Black Eyed Peas
Bok Choy
Cherry Tomatoes


Enjoy the Spring!

With love,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Be Ready for Spontaneous Get-Togethers

This week I'm collaborating with the entertaining blog Hip Hostess! Hip Hostess is writing about last minute entertaining made easy. Check them out here.


Italians love to get together to eat, but Italian dinner parties are rarely formal affairs. After a friendly conversation or chance meeting with friends, both parties agree on a date a few days in the future, and a dinner party is born. I absolutely love this part of the Italian culture. The invitation to an easygoing and relatively unexpected dinner party creates an atmosphere of exuberant anticipation, giving the evening a youthful, carefree freshness and providing an opportunity to enliven the spirit. When we spend our vacation in Italy, unplanned dinner parties play an important part in the Italian experience.

pizza oven

How to have your own spontaneous pizza party:

1. Pick up the phone and call your friends and invite them to a pizza party that night.
2. Many pizza restaurants sell their dough raw; if you don't have time to make your own dough, ask around at your favorite pizzeria.
3. Use a pizza stone to replicate the effect of pizza cooked in an authentic pizza oven. Preheat it as the oven comes up to a temperature of 500 - 500 F (260 - 288 C) (Gas mark 9), and let it heat for at least 30 minutes before you slide the first pizza on it. Bake your pizza f or 6 - 7 minutes, or until the crust is browned and bubbly
4. Use my tomato sauce recipe below as a base sauce for the pizza.
5. Use fresh mozzarella - the kind that comes in balls packed in water - as your first layer.
6. Grate real Parmigiano-Reggiano in a food processor or with a Microplane grater to sprinkle on top.
7. Use freshly sliced prosciutto, salami, or capocollo meats. Make sure your cold cuts are fresh and moist. Arrange the meats on top of the pizza after it has come out of the oven to avoid overcooking.
8. Lightly saute slices of zucchini, eggplant, and artichoke hearts in extra-virgin olive oil. Drain on paper towels and set aside to use as pizza toppings.
9. Set out a jar of Nutella and have a small bowl of sugar ready to make an amazing dessert pizza.
10. There are many great toppings you can use on your pizzas. See below for more ideas.

tomato sauce

Rosanna's Tomato Sauce


1 large carrot
2 ribs celery with leaves
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup (120 ml) good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 (28 ounce) (794 g) cans San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoons (6 g) sea salt
1/2 teaspoons (3 g) sugar (if necessary)

Chop the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic (this can also be done in a food processor).

Put the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chopped vegetables and saute over medium heart until just soft, about 5 minutes.

Puree the tomatoes in a food processor, then add them to the pan. Add the salt and sugar if necessary (I find that the San Marzano tomatoes are usually sweet enough on their own). Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Daniela and Vito's Out-of-This-World Pizza Toppings

What exactly you choose to put on each pizza is completely up to you and your guests, but there are a few things you can do to make your pizzas truly extraordinary. First, use the best quality ingredients for your toppings: homemade sauce, locally grown and preferably organic vegetables, freshly sliced cured meats, and good quality cheeses. Second, don't be tempted to overload your pizza with too much sauce and cheese, which can result in soggy, sloppy crust.

Rosanna's Tomato Sauce
Extra-virgin olive oil

3 large balls fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices
1 cup (100 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 cup (100 g) freshly grated Pecorino Toscano (aged Tuscan sheep's milk cheese)

Zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise, sauteed in olive oil until golden, and drained on paper towels
Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled, peeled, and cut into cubes
Eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise, grilled or sauteed in olive oil, drained on paper towels, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths
Small yellow onion, peeled and roasted until soft and lightly browned
1 bunch baby arugula, washed, drained, and spun dry
1 (14-ounce) (396 g) can artichoke hearts in water, drained

10 thin slices prosciutto from Parma or Norcia, Italy
15 to 25 thin slices  Genoa wine salami
15 to 25 thin slices copocollo
10 thin slices pancetta
3 mild Italian pork sausages, grilled or broiled until cooked through, then thinly sliced

Dessert toppings
1 (13-ounce) (371 g) jar Nutella
1 cup (200 g) sugar

pizza party
Have fun!

With love,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

La Vie en Rose

Feeling inspired? Be sure to check out the Parisian-themed post over at Girly Obsessions. Our friends there are showcasing the Petite Patisserie plates and a delicious macaron recipe! Girly Obsessions is a wonderful blog about all things pretty, cute, and fabulous - what's not to love?

Last month I had the immense pleasure of exhibiting at the Maison Objet Show in Paris, France. It is one of the most influential design shows in the world and designers exhibit their wares by invitation only. Being invited to the show was an incredible honor and compliment to the Rosanna brand.

We had a fantastic booth set up in a French style showing off all our new Spring and Summer lines.

One of the best parts of the show was getting to meet people from all over the world who really understood the Rosanna mission and philosophy of tradition, love, and connecting with others. Some of the customers we spoke to were from places such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Austria, and Portugal, to name a few. It was wonderful to hear about our products are being sold in such culturally diverse places. I am fluent in French, too, so being able to communicate with France's people directly was a treat.

Of course being in Paris in and of itself is always amazing. I have a handful of shops and cafes that I go to every time I visit. There's a bakery called Poilane that has the most incredible bread - it's all whole grain, hand-made, real artisan-crafted bread with no additives. I love the concept of eating soulful, healthy food wherever I am. I also spent a whole day in the Paris flea markets taking in the culture and being inspired by all the lovely items the merchants were selling. I took back suitcases full of treasures!

As luck would have it, we were there the week before Paris' Fashion Week, and got to peek at the trends to come. For most of the time we were there, Prada had paper covering the display windows so no one could see in. On the last day, they tore down the paper to reveal a beautiful display full of bright, colorful tones and lots of pastels. Spring had certainly sprung at Prada!

I'm always overflowing with creativity after a visit to France and the City of Lights. Everywhere you go there are beautiful pieces of inspiration: the food, history, ambiance, and fashion of Paris are unparalleled.

J'Adore Paris!

With love,