Fresh Mozzarella Plate

The Oscars are on this weekend and more than anything, I can’t wait to see all the pretty dresses and I’m predicting the men will have some major beardage going on, a trend that I am ready to see on it’s way out, lol. (There is such a thing-as too much of a good thing.) And a good cheese platter is always nice to have nearby to munch on during commercial breaks. This is so easy to get together and comes together quickly. Serve with nice crusty bread on the side or Pane Guttiau (Sardinian Parchment Crackers) from Trader Joe’s…(ohh…so good.) Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  • fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • raw walnut halves
  • anchovies in olive oil
  • sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • capers
  • celery leaves
  • olive oil for drizzling

Arrange everything and drizzle the mozzarella with a little olive oil. Allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour before serving.

DSC05531I really love this plate, lol. Three posts in a row…

Tuna Melt

I swear I have been craving a tuna melt for about a good week now. And then last night when I was watching The Americans and Stan was having lunch with Zinaida at the diner and she asked, “What is a tuna melt?” I was sold, a tuna melt had to made today. Coincidentally, I had some English muffin bread that I made and there were about two slices left, it was just the amount I needed for my melts. Moons ago, I had English muffin bread and haven’t seen it anywhere. My first and only attempt at making bread was a sad one. It was a hot summer day and it was a garlic rosemary walnut bread that wasn’t quite done. But I ate it anyway, once I toasted it and buttered it, it’s wasn’t so bad. But I added more rosemary, thinking it would add to the earthiness of the loaf but it wasn’t a good idea, overwhelming it and for a while just the sight of rosemary made me run in the other direction. So, making bread has always intimidated me. But then I saw a recipe for English muffin bread on Cook’s Country that looked easy and it was. It was so easy, the following weekend I made another batch substituting reduced fat buttermilk for the milk in the recipe and instead of dusting with cornmeal, I dusted with raw brown rice farina and it was a little more tangy and tasted more like the bread I loved. (Really- if you are intimidated by making bread, try this as your first experiment and you won’t be disappointed.) So, where were we? Tuna melting time…


  • 1 English muffin, split and lightly toasted or 2 slices English muffin bread
  • 1 can chunk light tuna fish
  • 1/2 stalk celery minced, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • a few black olives, minced
  • thinly sliced fresh mozzarella sliced or shredded

DSC05503Combine the tuna, celery, onion, mayo, olives and spread over the English muffin halves, top with the mozzarella slices and broil on high, about 6 inches away from the flame, until nice and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

DSC05492My first batch of bread!

King Oyster Mushroom Parmesan

I love chicken and eggplant Parmesan! And I think it’s the one dish that almost everyone enjoys. The other day, I grilled up some king oyster mushrooms and they were so delicious, I immediately thought, ”This needs to be Parmesan-ed.” Juicy breaded meaty mushrooms, swimming in a good marinara sauce topped with bubbling hot cheeses placed on top of a oh-so-perfect mound of spaghetti. What’s not to love? Such soul satisfying comfort food, on a chilly, almost autumn night. The only thing needed to complete the meal is a green salad tossed with an olive vinaigrette and a nice glass of wine. There is something bad about this meal, I gotta admit, you just want more of it, lol. It’s just that good! Serves 6.

  • 10 oz. king oyster mushroom, about 3, bottoms trimmed
  • 1 25 oz. jar good marinara sauce, warmed through
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • canola oil, for frying
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente

Wipe your mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Next, trim the mushroom caps, lengthwise, so they are even with the stems, so it’s easier to fry. You can reserve the trimmings for another use. You can toss them into a broth, soup or stew, to give it a little extra flavor. Cut your mushrooms lengthwise, so they are about 1/4 inch thick.

Dip your mushroom slices into the egg, followed by the bread crumbs. Have everything breaded and ready to go into the oil. Heat up your canola oil on low to medium heat. Fry the mushroom slices for about a minute to two minutes per each side. Drain on paper towels and move them onto a paper bag. Fry in batches, until all of them are done. Next, take half of the sauce and pour it into a heavy weight 13×9 inch baking pan. Arrange the mushroom slices so they all fit in one layer.

Top with the remaining half of the tomato sauce and the grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Place in the oven, about 6 inches away from the broiler, which is set on high. Broil for 8 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top. Every oven is different, so keep that oven light on and keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn. Enjoy!

Checkerboard Tomato, Mozzarella & Ricotta Cheese Salad

One of the best things about summer are ripe juicy thin skinned tomatoes. Mmm…so end-of-the-summer-delicious when combined with mozzarella, ricotta cheese, basil and topped with a good extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground pepper and a good crunchy salt like Maldon. I like to serve this with a nice bread, extra olive oil, salt and pepper on the side. And if you want a little extra kick, you can serve a nice balsamic vinegar on the side also. I think this is a nice spin on a traditional Caprese salad and doesn’t take much more effort. If you want, you can always omit the ricotta cheese and throw in more Ciliegine. This serves 2, so double and triple as needed. Enjoy and have a great weekend! :)

  • 9 cherry size tomatoes, halved
  • about 6oz. ricotta cheese
  • about 1/2 a 8oz. container Ciliegine mozzarella, left whole
  • a few basil leaves, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt

This recipe is for the amount pictured so it can give you an idea of how much this makes. This is would be great for a party! I used a 1&1/4 inch cookie dough scoop to form the ricotta cheese balls. Once you are ready to scoop, alternate the rows between tomato and Ciliegine and tomato and ricotta cheese. Sprinkle the basil over the mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and ground pepper. Serve at room temperature.

*If you have any ricotta left over, June 25ths’ post, “String Beans & Pennoni” is a great way to use it up. ;)
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