Veggie Contest Results

So the votes have been tallied, and while I came out on top on the Cucina Domenico poll, the total votes once again went to the one and only Una Mamma Italiana. Very impressive, Una Mamma…you should be proud! What I found most interesting about both of our dishes is that they are a good representation of who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish with our respective blogs. My dish, the Peperonata, was more of an old world, rustic style meal that could be found in just about any Italian household here on the east coast. Una Mamma’s Zucchini Fritters put a sleek and modern spin on a simple garden vegetable, which has a very west coast trendy vibe. So yes, I’m taking the high road on this loss, and chalking the votes up – on both blogs – to regional preference. Maybe this battle showed what each of our readers likes about our particular style? (Stay with me on this one, people….a 14/1 loss is not THAT easy to deal with…OUCH!). In all seriousness, we both encourage you to try both of our recipes and enjoy them. I am very much looking forward to cooking up the Zucchini Fritters in the near future. Once again, congratulations Una Mamma! And until next time….



The Cucina Chatter Webcast!

September 20, 2011 Guest Bloggers, Menu No Comments

We Need YOU!

WHAT: “Live From The Newsroom”

WHEN: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 7:00-7:30 PM Eastern

WHERE: Your Computer! Log on to

WHO: Cucina Chatter Cast

WHY: We Need 500 Real Time Viewers!

Can you help us out? Our partners at the Daily Times only agreed to put us on the webcast because we guaranteed 500 REAL TIME viewers.

Tweet it, Facebook it, share it, log on from any and every device you possibly can.

What’s in it for YOU:

• You will get to see and hear professional chefs, and me, the cook next door, discuss the food items we will bring
• You will have an opportunity to ask us questions in real time via the chat button at the site
• You will laugh your arse off because that’s what happens when we all gather around the kitchen table
• The quickest half hour of entertainment ever! (Unless we overstay our welcome 

See Ya On Your Computer!

Mangia & Enjoy!


The Mamma Meets The Cucina: The Veggie Challenge!



Well, another Mamma Meets the Cucina battle was long overdue. This time they’re dueling with veggies.

Cast your vote at the bottom of the page for your favorite side dish! You can also cast your votes on the Una Mamma blog. And be sure to ‘like’ the Cucina Domenico group page on Face Book! Salud!


Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies – especially this time of year.  I can remember my Grandma Rose picking the zucchini from her backyard garden, stuffing the flowers with ricotta and baking them. It was such a special treat that I loved when I was a kid. I figured that in an attempt to mimic my Grandma’s recipe I could risk shaming the family, so I opted for fritters instead!

Fritters are a fun and easy way to incorporate veggies into a diet – especially for picky little ones.  It’s fun for kids to mix up a batter and watch them fry up.  I made my daughter part of the whole process and she loved the final result twice as much because of it!  Presented with a small slice of fresh lemon and parsley, these become a simple yet elegant side dish.  They’re like a good pair of jeans – you can dress ’em up or dress ’em down and they always look great.


2 medium zucchini, trimmed & grated
1/2 small onion, trimmed & grated
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
e.v.o.o. for frying

Before combining all the ingredients, pat the grated onion and zucchini dry with a paper towel.  This will remove any excess moisture that might make the batter too wet.  Then combine all the remaining ingredients (except for the e.v.o.o.) with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter into a skillet coated with a couple TBSP of e.v.o.o.  Flatten them slightly and cook until golden brown on each side. (about 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat)

Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve hot or warm.

(The great thing about these fritters is they are great party appetizers since you can easily make up a whole batch and reheat them in a warm oven on a cookie sheet.)


Peperonata, in my opinion, is the perfect Italian vegetable dish. The classic combination of onions, garlic and peppers sautéed in olive oil makes for the beautiful fragrance. The potatoes and tomatoes help give a nice, hearty texture to the dish. And the splash of white balsamic adds the delicious, slightly sweet, slightly tart finish. Whether you’re serving it as a side dish, as an appetizer or as a meal itself, the hearty and rustic peperonata is a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal that you will enjoy time and time again.

Many of the recipes that I have found use either fresh tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes, with the addition of some water or broth to keep the peperonata from drying out. I actually prefer to use canned stewed tomatoes and their juices. The stewed tomatoes are already seasoned, they are soft enough where they will meld nicely with the softened peppers and the remaining ingredients, and the juice is plenty to keep this dish thick but moist (you don’t want a soupy consistency). Be sure to use a variety of bell peppers. The variety of pepper colors make for a very appealing presentation. And don’t forget the crusty bread for dipping and scooping!


1/4 cup EVOO
 1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 bell peppers (two green, two red, two orange and two yellow), seeded and sliced into strips
2 14.5 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes and their juices
4-5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 tblspn Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tblspn white balsamic vinegar

In a large pot saute the onions in olive oil on medium-high heat, and when it is completely softened, and before it starts browning, add the garlic. Saute for an additional couple of minutes, then add the peppers, lower the heat to medium-low and stir well. Partially cover with a lid and let them soften up, about 10 minutes.

When the peppers have settled into the pan, add the stewed tomatoes and the potatoes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and the Italian seasoning, stir well over medium-low heat. Add the white balsamic, stir again, cover, cook on medium-low for about 1-1/2 hours or until potatoes are cooked to preference, stirring occasionally. Serve on a platter with crusty or toasted Italian bread.


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