Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California – Cookbook Review

The above is a quote from my friend Kelli, in regards to the dessert Carol brought to Cooking Club Mid-term Dinner. It was the Date Cake with Whiskey Sauce, and a side of Ginger Gelatto. Um yes…it was truly amazing. The perfect mix of sweet and spice. I’m not a ginger person…but I could have had seconds of that dish! I think this quote is a sign of GREAT things from this cookbook.

Gjelina: Cooking from Venice California


  • Photos are gorgeous. It makes me want to try everything in this book despite the fact that I don’t know what some of the ingredients are. :)
  • Quite a few of the recipes refer to other recipes in the book (which isn’t my favorite) but it’s just cause I’m lazy and I don’t want to make 3 recipes just to make 1.


Mid-term dinner consisted of the following…and ALL of the following (BTW) was fantastic. :)

  • Mushroom Toasts (worth repeating)
  • Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Crispy Shallots & Shallot Oil-Sherry Vinaigrette
  • Beet Carrot Soup
  • Grilled Summer Squash, Za’atar & Cherry Tomato Confit
  • Oven-Roasted Parsnips with Hazelnut Picada
  • Charred Blade Steak with Green Peppercorn & Sherry Pan Sauce
  • Warm Date Cake with Ginger Gelato (worth repeating)

Also made was the Pickled Red Onions. It might sound like a random thing to make on a Sunday afternoon…but there are so many things I can do with them! Top some smoked trout or avocado toasts, or in a lamb burger. They are quite delicious and super easy to make.

Other recipes that are on my list to make is the Grilled Kale with Shallot-Yogurt Dressing & Toasted Hazelnuts, Grilled Jumbo Asparagus with Gribiche & Bottarga (if I can find the last two mentioned ingredients) and the Butterscotch Pots de Creme with Salted Caramel.

I have lots of cooking to do!!! :)

Essentials of Italian Cooking – Cookbook Review

I am finally back at our Seattle Cooking Club! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the group (not intentionally) but life happened and I got busy. I was super excited that the ladies chose Marcella Hazan’s, Essentials of Italian Cooking for this round, because I love Italian food. :) We’ve done a few other Italian cookbooks so it will be interesting to hear how the others felt this one compared.



  • No photos.
  • She gained points by the way she describes making salad. She makes the mundane activity of chopping sound enjoyable.
  • Super educational. Who knew “Marinara” means sailor style.
  • I really wanted to make pizza after seeing the recipes. All the recipes called for a pizza stone (which I unfortunately do not have) so I was out of luck. Maybe I’ll ask for one for my birthday. :)
  • My friend Kelli tried the famous Tomato Sauce and said it was a HIT. I must try it.


First up was the Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Chicken. This wasn’t too bad…but I’ve made better roasted chicken. It was just kind of blah, nothing to write home about. From the looks of the reviews, I should have tried the Roast Chicken with Two Lemons. With the chicken I made the La Grand Insalata Mista. I will NOT make this again. It required quite a bit of rinsing, soaking, squeezing, and chopping. I get that it’s a salad and you gotta do at least two of the four…but this was extraneous. I think the kicker was the onions. It was way too much and it over powered the entire flavor the salad. Plus it gave me a stomach ache, AND really bad breath. No bueno.

For our cookbook club this Sunday afternoon, we had quite the spread. I made the A Farm Wife’s Fresh Pear Tart and the Crema—Italian Custard Creme. Both were pretty easy to make, and were delicious!

The other items on the menu were Lentil Soup, Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon, and Garlic, Margherita Pizza, Meatballs, and Layered Crespelle with Tomato, Prosciutto, and Cheese.




The ladies really liked it quite a bit. Despite my salad mishap, I think it has some fairly easy recipes that are rich, and full of flavor! A keeper!