If a restaurant is named after a family member, you already know the food is going to be amazing. Definitely check out Mamma Angela’s if you’re ever in Maryland. I loved that almost every item on the menu is under $20! Everything we ordered off the menu was great, especially the fried polenta with truffle and mushrooms. And make sure you try their house-made limoncello.
I look forward to the holidays for only one thing: food!
I have been making this Red Velvet Trifle cake for my holiday get-togethers for a few years now and it is always a hit. I got the recipe from this website and tweaked it a little bit. Follow the recipe, but just the cake part.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
- 2 oz red food coloring
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
You will also need:
- 1 large bag of shaved coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 2 containers of fresh cut strawberries (or one 1 lb. bag of frozen strawberries work fine, just thaw them the night before)
- 1 16 oz container of whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350º.
Prepare three 8″ round cake pans with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat eggs, butter and sugar until creamy. Add cocoa and food coloring. Mix until well combined.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine soda and vinegar and add to batter. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tests done. Allow cakes to cool completely.
Toast the shaved coconut in the oven on a baking sheet until it is light brown. It’s okay if not all the pieces are toasted. Let that cool completely.
Preparing the cake
Cut the cake into one inch squares and layer it in a trifle bowl starting with the cake, then the whipped cream, strawberries, and toasted coconut, and repeat. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Side note: the supermarket ran out of red food coloring so I used green food coloring instead. It looks great with the red strawberries. I call it the “The Grinch Velvet Cake”.
If you decide to try out this recipe, let me know how your cake came out. Happy holidays!
For someone who loves to travel and travels often, I had the biggest fear of flying overseas. There was just something about flying over water for an extended period of time that scared the shit out of me. A couple months ago, I decided to suck it up and bought tickets to Italy with my best friend. It was an eight hour flight, non-stop, on Emirates Airlines. The seats were bigger, there was more leg room, and the food was pretty good. There was a bigger and better selection of entertainment, compared to domestic flights, to keep me busy. It was not as bad as I imagined it to be and totally got over my fear. Hello, world!
My friend and I only had four days in Italy, but we made the most of our time there. The food was incredible and the Italians were so sweet to us. Everyone spoke English, so it was easy to navigate around. There were so many well dressed men and women! I mean – it makes sense – Milan is the fashion capital.
Climbing the steps of the Duomo di Milano was probably one of the highlights of Milan. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine at a restaurant on the top floor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II overlooking the Duomo. The Galleria is one of the oldest malls in the world. And, of course we had to try real Italian pasta and gelato.
Nobu is a well known Japanese restaurant with locations all around the U.S. and the world. My friend and I thought we’d be bougie and take it up a notch by eating at the Nobu in Milan. It’s located within the Emporio Armani Store. We chose the prix fixe menu; the sea bass sashimi was my favorite.
Before leaving to Rome, we had to try authentic Milanese food. I found this small mom and pop restaurant down an alley near the Expo. My friend ordered Milanese risotto with saffron and I ordered the grilled sea bass. The risotto was such a comfort food dish. The sea bass was so light and refreshing. It was such a simple recipe – just olive oil, lemon and herbs.
Stay tuned for Italy: Part 2 – Rome!
My family is a very family-oriented family despite the fact that everyone is spread apart across the country. We are all grown adults with our own lives and own families, but we do try to set aside time for these family gatherings. For our 2nd Annual Cousin Trip, we took it down Tampa, Florida.
We drove out to Clearwater Beach and rented kayaks from Sail Honeymoon. Sailboats and stand up paddle boards are also available for rent. We kayaked out to Caladesi Island which is just 15 minutes away. It was 80 degrees, the sun was out, and the water was nice and cool. Caladesi Island was the perfect place to hang out for a whole day. I wish we had planned this trip better and brought a picnic. We saw a few dolphins swim by while we were on the sand, and my cousins were lucky enough to have had an encounter with a manatee while paddling back to shore. It swam under their kayak and poked it’s snout out of the water.
On our way home we stopped by the famous Frenchy’s for a bite to eat. I’ve eaten at this restaurant a few times and my favorite dish is always the Greek Style Octopus. I also got the Jerk Grouper with Coconut Rice. The flavor of the coconut was not overpowering and accompanied my fish so well. The Frenchy’s Garlic Crab Fries and Maryland Style Jumbo Lump Crap Cakes were also delicious.
When my boss told me I was approved to go to training in New York City for a week, I was so excited. Not only was I looking forward to be learning geeky computer IT stuff, but I couldn’t wait to try the hundreds of great restaurants just train stops away from me. Everyone is always raving about how NYC has the best brunches, so I thought I’d try a spot.
My New York native friend suggested we hit up St. Anselm in Brooklyn (Williamsburg). We walked in on a Sunday afternoon and to my surprise there was no wait. To start off, I ordered a mimosa because brunch isn’t brunch without a mimosa. We shared the grilled avocado with shrimp salad appetizer. I’ve never had grilled avocado and it was absolutely amazing. It came halved, topped with baby shrimps in a white sour cream sauce with lemon zest and herbs. This savory sauce was sour and cold and offset the warm, neutral flavor of the avocado so well.
My friend ordered the steak and eggs off the Specials menu. She got her steak cooked medium but it came medium rare. None of us complained; that’s how steak should be cooked anyway. It was so juicy and flavorful. The dish came with garlicky potato fingerlings perfectly cooked tender. They were definitely addicting. She also ordered a side of spinach gratin, which was also tasty. You could taste more of the spinach and not the cheese. (I forgot to take a picture of it.)
My friend suggested I try the Sweet Tea Brined Young BoBo Chicken and I did not regret my decision to listen to her at all. They cook you a whole young chicken — yes, a whole chicken. As in chicken head, neck, and feet and all. The chicken is soaked in a tea marinade and then cooked on the grill. It was well cooked through and still very juicy. The lemon wedges were the perfect touch of sour.
Here’s a fun fact. St. Anselm’s meat is antibiotic and hormone free. One of the farms they source from is BoBo Farm, hence the Bobo in “Sweet Tea Brined Young Bobo Chicken”. I’m all about healthly eating!