Pasta La Norma with Pancetta and Camembert and Fig Appetizer

  • -

Pasta La Norma with Pancetta and Camembert and Fig Appetizer

This Pasta a la Norma recipe has been “kicked” up a notch as I personally find the dish somewhat bland unless it’s smothered in cheese.  Since I was also making “Camembert and Fig Appetizer” I decided to keep the recipe lighter as to not kill the guests with cholesterol!  Both turned out fantastic and were a great addition to my Golden Globes Dinner for Four!  I love finding recipe ideas then making them my own— lots easier than laying in bed wondering how I am going to blend figs and cheese and make it yummie…I look for a basic recipe then start changing it to suit my taste.  Trust me my taste is fabulous:)


  • 1 round of Camembert Cheese – good quality
  • 2 packages of Pepperidge Farm- Puff Pastry Shells – TRUST me four of us eat them ALL!!
  • 1- container Organic Fig Preserves   (most stores – definitely Whole Foods)
  • tablespoon grainy mustard
  • tablespoon honey

FIXINGS Appetizer

Put pastry shells on ungreased cookie pan –  follow cooking directions – HOWEVER half way through the cooking TAKE shells out and PLUCK off tops.  Then fill with 3 pieces or Camberbert

and one tablespoon of Fig Preserves.  You can adjust size of cheese as you are cooking — it will make total sense!  I kept the little “tops” of the pastry and baked them for tiny little muffins.

Continue to bake until cheese is melted and pastry shells are brown.  i.e. photo.

Sprinkle a little tiny bit of mustard honey mix on top.

THESE ARE TO DIE FOR APPETIZERS THAT TAKE MINUTES…  Pretend you baked the dough and you will look like a cooking super hero.  I am a great home cook- but when I can take a short cut I totally take a shortcut!!!

INGREDIENTS- Pasta a la Norma – for four

4 – Japanese Eggplants (or Chinese)  you can use the big ones but they need to be cut into rounds and salted for 20 minutes or so – and then rinsed- makes them tender.  Use Japanese!

1- 1/2 cans of Italian tomatoes (I use San Marzano) which are the best in my opinion.  There are other brands.  Use the whole tomatoes and MUSH them in a bowl with your hands. (28 oz)

1 package Italian Pancetta (Italian bacon)

1/2 cup of EVOO –  could be more or less but its a start

1 onion peeled and chopped  (pre chopped – I usually use 3/4 container for one onion)

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 carrot – peeled and diced

1/2 tsp sugar

6 Basil Leaves- chopped

1 packaged Wheat Penne

Pecorino Cheese for shavings— you can also use ricotta salata- but its hard t find.

All purpose flour- tiny bit – see “fixings”



Cut eggplants into little bit than bite size — or in rounds if you prefer.

Sprinkle with tiny bit of flour— just DUST

Cover large heavy pan with olive oil and sauté eggplant- medium heat.  Do in bathes if need be.  Make sure they are Golden and tender.

Set aside

Cut Pancetta in little squares – easier for cooking – sautee until crispy –  set aside

Cook onions, celery, garlic and shake of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt in Pancetta drippings – won’t be much – add EVOO as needed.

Medium heat until golden.  Add tomatoes and sugar and cook over low heat blending flavors.  About 40 minutes.  YOU WILL HAVE 1/2 CAN OF TOMATOES LEFT – So if sauce starts

to go down too much add another one or two “smushed” tomatoes.

Add Basil Leaves – and if you want some Italian herbs— I just used Basil and Lawry’s salt and pepper.

Add Pancetta

Add Eggplant and put at very low heat – 20 minutes or so to keep blending flavors.

Boil large pot of water and add one package of Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta- Penne

Add to boiling water – cook until aldente –  drain.

In large frying pan – non stick (very important) sauté the pasta in olive EVOO oil until slightly crisp.  This may be new to you – but its DELICIOUS!

Serve with slices of Pecorino of ricotta salata—-    I also serve with VERY finely grated red pepper flakes… that’s for my taste so I  let guests sprinkle their own amount.

There will no complaints

Serve with fresh green salad and your guests will love you forever!!!  At least until the next meal!

  • -

Roast Loin of Pork with Vegetables

ROAST LOIN OF PORK WITH FRESH ROSEMARY AND VEGETABLES is again an easy to prepare flavorful dish!!  Using Organic Pork this is really a farm to table home cooked meal.  I cut a TINY bit of Rosemary from our garden as any fresh herb is pungent and in this house pungent doesn’t work!  I truly believe that using herbs should COMPLIMENT the meal and not DOMINATE the meal.  But if you like more of any herb in any recipe – hey go for it!!  This is just my taste!  I based my recipe on various ones that I have across— basically with a good cut of pork there will be some fat — fat acts as a transmitter for the herbs and coating into the meat.  Sounds gross – but is yummy!!!  I cook a lot of pork because it truly is the “other white meat” and we are staring to “cluck” with all the chicken that is eaten at this home!  I love fish but only the ones that seem to cost about $1000000 a pound – and a lot of pasta is great but pretty soon you have to keep buying  larger jeans.


  • 4 large garlic cloves – I have the 5 garlic rule – but these suckers I used were BIG
  • a pinch of fresh rosemary – finely chopped   (remember if you want more – go for it – but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  • salt and pepper (Lawry’s) and Spice Hunter – all natural – steak and chop seasoning (salt free) – – about three shakes in the small bowl with rosemary and garlic
  • 1 bone in pork loin roast –  4-5 lbs  –  I could not find one with bone so I used one without-  it works!
  • 2 carrots,  peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped
  • 10 or so fingerling potatoes – cut into halves
  • white wine/red wine on hand for drizzling and deglazing
  • EVOO



Very finely chop together the garlic and rosemary.  Transfer to small bowl and add salt, pepper and three shakes of seasoning.  Add about 1 tablespoon of EVOO and make a paste.

Make slits of about 1/2″ deep – about 8 or so  all over the pork and insert some of the mixture into each slit.  With remaining seasoning mix rub all over the roast.  Add olive oil is needed.

( I find EVOO is always needed.)  Take some wine – Drink one sip – out of a glass of course – then sprinkle wine in bottle over the roast.  I actually only drank white but sprinkled a bit of each color.

I find that a little wine adds flavor to about any meat and just about every cook.  Enough wine and Poof – you are a chef!! (kidding)

Cook meat for about 30 minutes and then scatter vegetables around roast.  Pork should register about 155 degrees when done -as these days it is being served a little pink on the inside so DO NOT

overcook.  If your vegetables are getting done too quickly – cover with strips of tin foil and add a little chicken stock to the pan.  Even in the finest restaurant Pork is now pink.  I buy organic

meat so don’t worry about the pinkness at all.  Makes roast more moist.

Transfer to platter and cover and keep warm.  Place the roasting plan over low heat and add some white wine and a little chicken stock to make sauce stirring up any drippings.  I find that

pork roast with bone has better drippings but there just wasn’t one!  Sigh.

Carve the roast and arrange on warmed platter and pour pan juices over all.

If you like add some peas-   I used frozen and add to platter.   Also I served with Motts Sugarless Applesauce – added tiny sugar and stick of cinnamon which I left in sauce for a couple of

hours and its compliments dish really well.

ENJOY – Again – your are a CHEF!!!

  • -

Absolutely the Best Chicken Soup Ever

Yes, I tend to cook with a lot of chicken.  I like to use organic because I truly believe the chickens are happier and healthier and not full of mystery stuff that my body doesn’t need.  I have had enough antibiotics in my life!  Don’t need extra helping!  So this recipe (sortoff) was handed down to me from a very old lady that I knew in New York.  I believe she has gone to heaven but the MAIN ingredient in this soup truly is what makes it the BEST CHICKEN SOUP EVER!!!!  On the left is my fabulous stove that I love with all my heart!  It’s a Wolfe and has RED knobs that I KNOW make my pretty good cooking even better!  Love Love my stove!


  • 3 Bone in Organic Chicken breasts
  • 2 Boxes of Organic Chicken Stock  (2 lbs is good-  3 lbs better )  With 2 lbs you night have to add some water as I like LOTS of stock
  • Lawry’s Salt and Pepper     (I should own stock in Lawry’s as I use it for everything – less salt – more flavor)
  • 3-4 carrots diced
  • 1/2 white onion – quarter pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves – smashed
  • 1/4 lb of green beans  (or more if you want)
  • Half bag of “yokless” egg noodles  ( made with egg whites and just as yummie)
  • Bunch of FRESH DILL-  or if it comes packaged a package will do



Remove most of the skin from breasts– cuts down on fat skimming

Season the breasts with Larwy’s and pepper

Sautee the breasts in about a tablespoon of vegetable oil — just cover bottom of pan

When brown remove the chicken and put aside

in Chicken flavored oil saute briefly the carrots, onion, and garlic

Put Chicken back into pot and cover with both boxes of stock

Eyeball the liquid— if you want a bit more add 1/2 cup water– it will gather flavor as it cooks

NOW the MAGIC ingredient — snip off about 1/3 cup of dill…  I swear I just add to taste as I go – but that gives you a beginning

Sprinkle little pieces into the stock.

Cover and let cook for at least 30 minutes on low before you start tasting

I am ALL about adjusting flavor when cooking — but I have been at it a LONG time— so don’t panic just add more Dill if you want but don’t OVER do it!!  The lady that told me about fresh DILL said in a pinch you can add Ginger Ale to the soup— but I have always just used the Dill.  Doesn’t seem like a very good substitute?  Ginger Ale?   I’ll try it someday.

Check soup for flavor — more salt?  More pepper?  More dill?  More stock?  I’m giving you the basics – you can adjust flavor.

When chickens starts to fall off the bone add the green beans and 5 minutes later add the noodles and cook till soft.

Take chicken off bones and shred.  Return to the pot.

When noodles are done you are FINISHED.  It should tastes heavenly and last for about two days for a family of TWO.  We eat it as a main meal!


  • -

Twenty Minute Chicken With Rice

This super easy skillet dish taste great and will make you look like a pro!  Original recipe said it fed four people but they are a little nuts!  Perfect for two just as it is below with my “special changes”.  Prep time 10 minutes – cooking time 20 minutes or so.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil  (coat the pan)
  • 2 large skinless chicken breasts.  I like organic but whatever you are use to is fine.
  • 1 3/4 can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups instant brown rice.  Uncle Ben has it in bags– I used two bags
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets—


1.   Heat oil in pan – just make sure it covers the bottom/  SPLIT the chicken breasts in HALF if thick.  Otherwise the chicken will dry out!!!  Add salt and pepper.  I use Lawry’s salt and Seasonings Chicken Spices– Whatever you use to

season chicken is great.   Remove chicken from the skillet.

2.   Stir in soup, water, paprika and black pepper to the skillet and get to boiling.  Stir in the rice and broccoli and reduce to low heat.   Now if you want to use white instant rice that’s up to you and it will cook faster.  I prefer brown rice

for the texture and of course because it’s just better for you.  My opinion.

3.   Watch the rice as it will take at least 15 minutes to cook to al dente— longer if you like it softer.

4.    Return the chicken to the skillet as it will be almost cooked.  Cover until rice is done.

5.    Sprinkle a little more paprika and pepper on the chicken.  Will taste and look great.

A very tasty dish in a very little time!  Yum

  • -

San Diego Gaslamp 2 Bedroom View Trellis Condo

This San Diego 2 Bedroom Trellis Condo is located right in the heart of the Gaslamp District walking distance to the San Diego Convention Center which hosts world famous ComicCon, the Wharf, Petco Park, popular restaurants including Nobu (Hard Rock) and Donovans one adjacent and one in building,  shops and all downtown has to offer.  Located on the seventh floor the views of Petco are immediate from the great room as well as the private patio area which is covered and perfect for intimate dinners.  Crown Molding surrounds the Great Room adjacent to the stainless steel and granite kitchen,  Separate Bedroom suites are perfect for privacy and look out to the city views.  Hardwood throughout adds that touch of sophisticated downtown living!  Building boasts state of the art gymnasium, community outdoor spaces and BBQ area, secure parking for two cars and washer and dryer inside the unit.

Experience San Diego at its very best when you live at The Trellis.  Right outside your door is the gateway to one of America’s finest cities.   AVAILABLE FOR SALE $495,000.

  • -


Nestled among California Native Landscaping sits this beautiful single level home in Santa Fe Hills offers one of the most amazing lots in the neighborhood.  There is 12,300 square of property with home surrounded by beautiful plants, river beds, and blooming fruit trees.   The Solana Hills property offers four bedrooms and two full bathrooms.  Both bathrooms updated and pristine.  A magnificent sky light is located in Family Room and kitchen areas drenching rooms with sunlight.  French Doors lead out to the magnificent yard and custom overhang that offers protection for those California Sunny days!  An above ground vegetable garden and gazebo add character to already fabulous yard.

Master is large and opens up to the outdoors and offers a European Style bathroom with Single Owned Solar System panel linked to water heater.  In Master Bathroom button next to sink can be pushed to circulate hot water immediately.  Secondary bedrooms are large and just need closet doors as two rooms used for mother in law suite.  Beautiful custom door separates the bedrooms.

The kitchen with custom tile has newer appliances and Maple Wood Floors and a Custom Beautiful China Closet built especially for the home.  Again kitchen is pristine and move in ready!

Details such as sloped driveway for rain to go directly to underground pipe and street, great storage, Solar Tube in Secondary Bathroom, Owned Solar System and so much more make this property a special space in Solana Beach.  Minutes from the beach and Village of Del Mar !  Call for additional information!

  • -


Olde Carlsbad 3 Bedroom Single Level brand new on the market.  Situated in a lush 1/3 acre lot this home is pristine and ready for lucky new owner!  Amazing open layout with Granite custom kitchen leading out to the family room and dining room areas both framed by Satillo Tiles and Maple Wood Floors.  French Doors in most rooms lead out to the spacious vistas and wrap around patios.  Master Bedroom with its separate patio for private sunset glass of wine.  Art studio structure is separate from house but can also be used as office.  Bathrooms offer Granite and tile flooring.

Lowest price property in Olde Carlsbad located minutes from the Boardwalk and the Pacific Ocean!  Crown Molding and Recessed lighting throughout again add touches of elegance with Olde California feel!  Secondary bedrooms are spacious and recessed lighting and crown moldings offer yet addition special touches!  Carlsbad best neighborhood with amazing schools!

  • -




  • Organic Chicken Breast – 2 Breasts- POUNDED thin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Egg – beaten
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • `  1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • Eight or so slices Fresh Mozzarella – thinly sliced
  • Fresh Parmesan
  • Jar of White Linen VICTORIA Marinara Sauce – Cosco- AMAZING I swear!!  And I’m a fresh ingredients cook all the way — this is a savior for quick, easy and yummy!


Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

Season chicken on both sides – I use LAWRY’ Seasoning Sauce and Pepper

Dredge each breast in the flour – top off excess

Dredge the breast on both sides with PANKO

Add couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil to bottom of pan and add 2 chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on each side.  ( 2 minutes or so)

Transfer to baking sheet or lasagna pan and top each breast with some tomato sauce, few slices of mozzarella, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of Parmasean.

Bake in the oven 5 – 7 minutes until chicken is cooked and cheesed brown and crusty.  Decide how crusty you want it.


I served over wheat spaghetti with some sauteed eggplant that I topped with again THE SAUCE!

Couldn’t be easier!  I don’t have any idea WHO makes that Cosco sauce but they are my NEW best friend!!!  I guess I should ready ingredients and make sure its not full of anything scary but it tastes amazing!  THANKS Steve… my friend who loves it!

  • -

San Carlos Single Level For Sale!

Lake-Atlin-Prof-House-HeroThe home features an amazing Modern Designer Kitchen with beautiful Silver/Grey kitchen Island,  Chocolate custom cabinets, Electrolux Stainless Appliances and state of the art hood.  Kitchen even features an electronically managed Sky Light.  The kitchen flows into the Family Room which opens up to the covered Loggia and newly resurfaced pool!  The oversize lot also features assorted fruit trees from Orange to Fig and Avocado.  Warm Maple Laminate Flooring flows throughout the home giving warmth yet easy maintenance.  The living and dining rooms are large and also open to the pool area.  A wood burning fireplace is featured in the living room.

Many extras including a leased Solar System which offers great savings to the new owner as well as tankless water heater.  The home offers three bedrooms and two full baths and ample storage in the garage.  If buyer needs even more additional closet can be added to existing storage unit.  The kitchen has a built in “office nook” in perfect place for watching children at plan or testing new recipes.  The home is bright and airy and perfect for young family or retirees looking for single level.  Located within minutes of San Diego’s best shopping as well as the sand of the Pacific Ocean.  In great condition give us a call for immediate showing.  Great price for this area and this quality of home!

  • -

Corn Pudding Creamy and Delicious

Seriously this is the most delicious thing that I have made in a long time and it takes MINUTES of your time!!  I served it with Crown Roast of Pork and everyone raved about it.  Even made it the day before believe it or not and it stayed really well.  Just took it out and had it at room temperature and then put it in oven for few minutes.


  • 1/2 Cup Butter, melted  ( one stick)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) dry corn bread mix
  • 1 – 15 oz can whole kernel corn – drained
  • 1- 15 oz can cream corn – NOT drained – duh!
  • 1 cup Sour Cream – I used the FULL fat kind


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease baking dish – smaller lasagna dish works- or 9 x 9 baking dish.
  2. In medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, both corns and sour cream.  Mix well and spoon into baking dish.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated over until top is golden brown.  Stick tooth pick or sharp knife in the middle to make sure it is cooked thru and not runny.

I promise it is light as a soufflé and just yummy.  Serve with pork, beef, BBQ and I will serve this one with turkey chili on New Years Day.  Enjoy and the very best of 2016!!!  I’ll have this on you tube shortly!

Search HomesNCooking