naples34102 Profile - (18863788)


Home Town: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Mequon, Wisconsin, USA
Member Since: Aug. 2004
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Italian, Nouvelle, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet
Hobbies: Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Wine Tasting
Recipe Box 1 recipe
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  • Type
  • Overall Rating
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Barilla PLUS(R) Rotini with Three Peppers and Herbs
Sesame Vegetable Stir-Fry
First kitchen pic since remodel. Good to be back!
Caramel-Apple Crisp
Easy Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookie Icing
Our Danny Boy - all settled in <3
Grandbaby Daniel - One day old and headed home! <3
About this Cook
After raising two children and putting them through college, they are now on their own and my husband and I are empty nesters. Not better, not worse, just different! My husband's job has always required a lot of travel, but now I accompany him on all his trips. It seems we travel more often than we're home, sometimes several trips a month! I have seen and experienced some amazing things and while I do get homesick, I'm blessed for the opportunities to see so much of our country. And, since a great deal of my husband's work is in Naples, Florida, we have a second home there and enjoy our little getaway. When we're home, we've established a new ritual of dining, just the two of us...beautiful music, lots of glowing candles and a martini(Chocolate for me, Traditional for him) while we work together in the kitchen to make creative and elaborate dinners.
My favorite things to cook
While the kids were growing up, cooking meals was more a daily function than a satisfying experience. Once my "work" was done, I always found great satisfaction in baking. Now I've stepped beyond the "kid friendly" meals, and have really enjoyed trying more creative dishes for meals. Baking, however, is still my greatest joy. I still make the family favorites when requested, but I love experimenting, trying new recipes, putting twists on some of them, and try to master higher-skilled techniques not so familiar to me. No distractions anymore, so I now have the luxury of having the time and opportunity to work on more complicated recipes!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Having started cooking at age five, and at my age, there are many memories of family cooking traditions, and I still use them on holidays when we're all together. By far my favorite is our Christmas Eve dinner tradition. I am a second-generation Italian-American who continues to follow traditions set forth by my mom, grandma, and probably by the women before them too. We have a traditional, meatless, Italian Christmas Eve Dinner which has always included spaghetti with sauce made from tuna and anchovies (trust me, you don't taste the tuna or anchovies!), baccala (salt cod), and Shrimp Scampi. It wasn't always the kids' favorite, but they've come around! And I know they'd think something wasn't right with Christmas if it was any other meal!
My cooking triumphs
Consistently preparing beurre blanc and other emulsions perfectly and understanding why!
My cooking tragedies
I've only had one cooking tragedy, but it was a doozie! When my son was about 10, I was in college and preparing my Senior Thesis. I had been studying long hours, getting very little sleep, and still trying to keep up with my domestic responsiblities as well as taking care of the kids and getting them to all their activities. On his birthday I sent him to school with brownies for his class birthday treat. Easy...I made them so often I could do it blindfolded. I'll never forget when he got off the bus after school that day, carrying the empty pan and with his head hung down. Clearly something was wrong! He told me I had forgotten to put the sugar in the brownies, and I can only imagine how embarrassed he was as his classmates sunk their teeth into them! I couldn't have cared less about my cooking failure, but only that I was responsible for my son having a not-so-nice birthday at school.
Recipe Reviews 2373 reviews
Barilla PLUS(R) Rotini with Three Peppers and Herbs
Particularly because I'm this recipe's first reviewer I wish I could tell you this was anything beyond forgettable. Needs more olive oil, it screams for fresh minced garlic, and I'm not sure I was a fan of the fresh thyme here. Acceptable, edible, but certainly not great; surprising since Barilla generally comes up with some pretty fine pasta dishes.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Sep. 15, 2014
Sesame Vegetable Stir-Fry
Not particularly inspired or creative, but quite good just the same. As the Japanese steak houses do, I gave this a a plop of butter and a squeeze of lemon to finish. Oh...and I used FAR less soy sauce than specified; just a few shakes'll do ya.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Sep. 14, 2014
Cuban Shredded Pork
I planned tonight’s meal carefully but regrettably this was not the hit I had hoped it would be. I cooked the meat (country style ribs which could tolerate the long cooking time without drying out) in the crock pot and was disappointed it had so little flavor. At this point I’m thinking the last step, frying it up and adding onion, garlic and lime juice, would take care of that. It did not. All that step managed to do was dry it up, and even tho’ a GOOD amount of butter and olive oil doctored that right up, you shouldn’t have to do that with a good recipe. I served this with yellow rice and Cuban Black Beans II, also from this site. I ate mine as is, but it definitely could have used some sort of sauce to moisten it up and make it more palatable. Hubs took care of his with a good plop of sour cream. Shouldn’t be. If I was to make this again I would NOT fry the meat. I’d cook the onions and garlic till tender, add the meat and just heat it through, then add the cilantro and lime juice. And I wouldn’t think of making this with a lean cut of meat like boneless pork chops – that’s just asking for trouble. Bottom line, this was only mediocre, and mediocre is disappointing to me.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Sep. 13, 2014
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