Book Review of Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market

We all know how to make food, right? I mean, I think I know how to cook a carrot, or peel a potato. This latest book for my reviewing put to question whether or not I know much of anything about food. Turns out I do know some things, but also learned some new things that will probably make my cooking so much better.

Have you ever come upon a recipe or cookbook that made you rethink how you cook by simplifying it down from a process and taste, to the ingredients themselves. The only book that I’ve read like this, was by Alice Waters, in The Art of Simple Food. Amazing in its simplicity, it showed the best ways to cook something is often the simplest. Now, thanks to the publishers at Scribner I received an Advanced Reader Copy of Marcella and Victor Hazan’s Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market.

If any of you are not already familiar with Marcella Hazan, she is known in the cooking world as the queen of cooking Italian food when you are not Italian! Her recipes are simple and focused on the ingredients.Marcella Hazan died in 2013, but her husband collected papers and notes from Marcella’s collection of writings and compiled them into this book as a posthumously published work of her masterful thoughts on using ingredients in best way possible to bring out their natural flavors. It is arranged as an A-Z reference book covering each ingredient in a most thorough way: Produce, The Essential Pantry, Salumi, and finally a little section at the end that serves as a buying guide on where to find the best ingredients from purveyors that will ship to you!

Her focus on ingredients is so simple and direct, focusing on how to choose the sweetest vegetable, or the crispest leaves; continuing the coverage of the ingredient, to say how to store it and for how long it will last once you get it home and before cooking it. Amazing. No recipes per se, but here’s an example:

Blanch spinach, sauté it in garlic and olive oil, and you have a dish that summarizes the simplicity, directness, and satisfaction of vegetables cooked the Italian way.

One of my favorite recipes of hers that isn’t in the book is a classic simple red sauce that takes just minutes to make and has  but tastes amazing with just butter, salt, onion and tomatoes.

If you love to cook, and read about the finer points of the ingredients that you choose, then this is a great book for you. If you love pictures and actual recipes, this is not your guy. None here. This would be a good reference book to have, since Marcella Hazan was such an authority on choosing Italian ingredients and creating easy, beautiful food.


Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market
By Marcella Hazan and Victor Hazan
Publisher: Scribner
256 pages, Hardcover, $20.US


Grilled Peach Melba #SundaySupper

Grilled Peach MelbaWhen I was a kid, I was lucky enough to have a mom that would bake our cakes for us every year for our birthdays. Whatever we wanted. It wasn’t the days of Pinterest, so it wasn’t too crazy, but it was special and it was perfect. Leave it to me to ask for something other than a tiered chocolate cake that would send most kids into a serious happy place. Nope. I wanted a pie. A peach pie to be exact. Peaches were my favorite and pie was my second favorite. So together, and made by mom…well. Who could top it?

Enter years later when I tried fresh picked peaches topped with a delicious raspberry sauce and cold and creamy ice cream…well. We may have topped my beloved peach pie. At least when I have to make it myself!

The combination of juicy orange peaches and sweet pink raspberries is so, so good and this recipe is just what a hot summer night begs for. In what is essentially just two steps, you have a beautiful and delicious peach and raspberry dessert, otherwise known as Peach Melba.

  1. Make the raspberry sauce.Easy to make Raspberry Sauce

  2. Grill the peaches.Grilled peaches

  3. Put it all together, topped with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice creamPeach Melba Assembly

This is pretty easy, but let me break it down for you:
Sauce recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Raspberry Sauce

Grilled Peach Melba


  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 peaches
  • 1 pint of your favorite vanilla ice cream

To Make:

For the sauce
In a medium pot, heat the raspberries, sugar and lemon until the raspberries break down and get mushy (2-3 minutes). Take off the heat and press the mixture through a fine sieve to get the seeds out, reserving the pulp/juice. Heat this juice with the cornstarch until bubbly and then remove from the heat and set aside.

Grill the peaches
Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Heat a a grill pan or grill to medium. Place the peaches cut-face side down and grill for 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, flip over once there are some nice grill-marks, and grill on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place one half of a peach on a plate. Top with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream and drizzle with the raspberry sauce. Serve and enjoy.


Grilled Peach Melba

I love this season of fresh peaches. For us in New England the season will be closer to September but we can still get them from the south right now. And there are so many creative and delicious ways to enjoy this beautiful fruit. Here are some great ideas from the Sunday Supper folks! Enjoy~





Sides & Salads:

Main Dishes:


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Thank you to the event coordinators: Sue of A Palatable Pastime and Renee of Renee’s Kitchen Adventures. Thank you Sue and Renee!

Easy No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream


vanilla ice creamWe love our ice-cream maker. There is nothing better than homemade ice-cream on a hot day in the summer, or as a special treat any time of year. My kids think it is fun to pick their add-ins and then get to make their very own, custom ice cream.

Because we have a non-chocolate-lover in our house, I make vanilla. A lot. Or at least, a lot more than any other flavor.

I like this no-cook version, also known as “Philly-style” ice cream because it is super easy. I am at the point where easy trumps most other things as far as cooking, or anything really. I think less stress in areas of  life that are supposed to be the fun parts is always a good idea. Right? Cooking should be easy. So make this. You will be happy that you did. And if you don’t have an ice cream maker…well…ask for one. The Christmas or Hannukah season is right around the corner…we are half way there actually. So put one on your list and you can PIN this to make later!Easy no-cook vanilla ice cream

Recipe adapted from my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker manual. The only change I made was to substitute light cream for heavy cream, and 1% milk for whole milk. 

Simple No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream

Yield: 5 cups

A delicious, no-cook, no-egg, recipe for a creamy and easy to make vanilla ice cream.


  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups light cream (or half & half)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed (or you can hand whisk it) to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Stir in the half & half and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. The longer, the more creamy it will get.

Process in your ice-cream maker according to directions. (For me, that means it whirs around for 15-20 minutes.) The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours or longer. When ready to serve it, let it soften for about 10 minutes.


*the original recipe from Cuisinart had 2 cups heavy cream so I lightened it with light-cream, but you can go even more by using half and half (which is ½ light-cream and ½ whole milk). This is my base for adding chocolate chips or random candies at the end of the process. Or just add them as toppings. Vanilla is our favorite to suit EVERY taste.

Easy no-cook vanilla ice cream