Tips from the Chicks

A.S. here with this week’s Tips from the Chicks. I know, I know, I was supposed to make a video. It never happened and I’m ashamed. What I do have are some awesome Italian recipes that are not difficult to do and will make your mouth water and your toes curl. Next time I promise I’ll make a video. What I do have is some great pictures from our honeymoon where we attended a six day cooking school.

The trick to great Italian cooking is to keep if fresh and simple.



Andie at the cooking school in Tuscany

Basil and Olive Pesto

Calamata Olives – 8

Black Olives – 8

Grape Tomatoes – 5

Garlic Cloves – 2

Basil – 10 fresh leaves

Olive Oil – 3 to 5 Tbls until desired thickness

Salt and Pepper to taste.


Place olives, tomatoes, garlic and basil in a food processor and chop for ten seconds. Drizzle olive oil into processor bowl while running until pesto is formed. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Hubs at the cooking school in Tuscany

Parmesan Tortilla Chips

Olive Oil – ¼ cup

Dried Oregano – 1 Tbls

Black Pepper – ½ tsp

Tortillas – 12 (I use flower but corn will work great too)

Grated Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup

Salt – ½ tsp


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. In a small saucepan whisk together the olive oil, oregano and black pepper. Warm it over medium heat and set aside until cool. Brush the oil mixture over the tortillas on both sides and stack them. Cut the tortillas into strips and arrange them on the pans. Sprinkle with the cheese and salt. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.



Some of the food we cooked in Italy on our honeymoon.

Pasta with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

Pasta (Tagliatelle or Fettuccini) – 1 pound

Blue Cheese – 1 cup

Milk – ½ cup

Prosciutto Ham – 1 cup

Olive Oil – 2 Tbls

Salt if needed. (Be careful because both the prosciutto and cheese are salty)


Chop the prosciutto. In a large saucepan lightly saute with the olive oil. Add the cheese and milk and heat until the cheese is completely melted. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as directed on package. (maybe one minute less since you’re going to finish it in the sauce) Add the pasta to the sauce and coat the pasta. If it’s not wet enough add a little pasta water to thin out. Serve hot.



What you find at a Tuscan farm market!

Zucchini Sauce with Penne

Zucchini – 3 or enough to make 2 cups diced

Tomatoes – 2 cans diced

Fresh Basil – 6 leaves

Garlic – 1 clove chopped small.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Olive oil – 2 Tbls

Grate Parmesan.


Dice the zucchini into ½ inch cubes. Add olive oil and zucchini to a large sauce pan and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato and saute another 3 minutes. Add in the basil, salt and pepper and let bubble gently until the flavors combine. It only takes a few minutes. Cook dry penne pasta as directed on package and add to the sauce. Mix together until pasta is coated. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese on top.



The view from the vineyard.

Chippino (Italian Fish Stew)

Garlic – 5 cloves whole

Olive Oil – 4 Tbls

Onion – ½ chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Red Pepper Flake – ¼ tsp

Diced Tomatoes – 2 cans

Tomato Paste – 2/3 can

White Wine – 1 cup (dry)

Fish Stock – 4 cups

A Firm Fish like Cod – 2 Filets

Large Shrimp – 16

Muscles – 1 dozen

Clams – 1 dozen (Canned can be substituted)


Put the garlic in a large pot with cold oil and brown the garlic on both sides. Remove the garlic. Season the fish fillet on both sides with salt and pepper and brown in pot 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. Salt and Pepper the cleaned and shelled shrimp and add to pot cook for 2 to 3 minute until pink. Remove and set aside. Add the onion and saute with salt and pepper until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add white wine and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pot. (Deglaze) Cook for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol. Add red pepper flake and tomato paste and combine thoroughly. Add the tomatoes and fish stock and simmer 20 minutes. If your muscles are fresh add them and let them open in the sauce. If they are frozen follow microwave direction and add them after. Add clams (If fresh let them open. Cut the cod into 1 inch cubes and add with shrimp. Let everything simmer for a few minutes just to make sure all the fish is warmed through. Serve hot


You can add a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the top and some Parmesan if you wish.


DSCN0612 DSCN0620








Milk – 1 cup

Butter Unsalted – ¼ pound (1 stick)

Kosher Salt – Pinch

AP Flour – 1 Cup

Extra Large Eggs – 4

Heavy Cream – ½ cup

Chocolate Sauce

Caramel Sauce (optional)

Vanilla Ice Cream


Preheat the oven 425 F.

In a saucepan, heat the milk, butter and salt over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Add the flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for two minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into a food processor with the steel blade. Add the eggs to the bowl and pulse until eggs are incorporated and mixture is thick.


Spoon the mixture into a piping bag or zip-lock and cut a ½ inch hole in the corner. Pipe mounds 1 ½ inch wide and 1 inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a wet finger press down the swirl at the top of each mound. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for 10 minutes. If you tap them they should sound hallow. Allow them to cool.


Slice open the puffs, fill with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with sauces.