sugo di pesce spada (swordfish tomato sauce)

swordfish pasta plated

Here is another fantastic summer pasta dish that I love making at home – pasta with swordfish (a typical dish from Southern Italy and Sicily). You can find swordfish at the fish counter in most supermarkets these days. Whole Foods always has them. If you tried the steak seasoning from my last post and have left over anchovies that you weren’t sure what to do with it, this recipe is for you.

Pesce spada is Italian for swordfish, literally fish spade. Whenever I hear the word spada, I think of my friend from university who studied abroad with me at Universit√† per Stanieri di Siena. She was telling me about her excursion to San Galgano, a medieval city 30 minutes or so outside of Siena, famous for the legendary sword in the stone. They say it’s where the story of King Arthur and Excalibur originated. She told me that she saw the spade in the rock (spada nella roccia) and I could not stop laughing. I never heard it called that before – the sword in the stone sounds much cooler. ūüėČ

Speaking of friends from Universit√† per Stranieri di Siena, a good friend of mine, who I met there while studying abroad, is getting married this weekend in Oregon! So greetings from Portland guys! We’ll be here until the weekend and I can’t wait to share with you our experiences and all the great food we eat when we get back. (more…)

‘Hi Mommy. Are you free for dinner?’

roast dinner spread

One of the many things I look forward to when visiting my in-laws in Ireland is Sunday roast. We¬†gather together with all of Kevin’s siblings at his parents’ home in the beautiful Irish countryside and we enjoy the day with good home cooking and good conversation. How every Sunday should be! ūüėČ When Kevin first moved to the states, I tried to keep up with it, but cooking a whole roast dinner for just the two of us sometimes¬†was too much work. We always¬†ended up with¬†loads of¬†leftovers or¬†the both of us on the sofa with food comas. Roasts are meant to be shared with family and friends!


waverly farmers market

I really enjoyed this weekend’s trip to the market. It was my first time at the 32nd Street Farmers Market, also known as the Waverly Farmers Market, and I’ll definitely be back. What I love about going out to farmers markets is that not only do you bring home locally grown in-season produce, you get to discover¬†different neighborhoods and parts of where you live (for me, that’s Maryland)¬†that you would never stumble upon otherwise. We parked our car along E. 31st St. and I could see myself living in one of the row houses there with the colorfully painted front porch railings. I also tell Kevin I could live in Hampden, Fells Point, Fed Hill, Mt. Vernon, Canton¬†etc. Baltimore city always fascinates me – each street and neighborhood is so different from the next. Sometimes, I just miss living in a city.

July is the perfect time of year to find many great varieties of fruits and vegetables. We arrived with the intention to buy only a few seasonal berries and snap peas, and we ended up spending over $30 dollars on all sorts of goodies. We brought home peaches, red and black currants, gooseberries, blueberries, plums, snap peas, ginger, scallions, bean sprouts, kale, purslane and parsley.


pesto genovese

pesto plated

I used to make pesto¬†so often, anytime we had guests over for dinner, they’d assume I would be serving¬†it. I couldn’t help it – It’s fragrant, tasty, and extremely easy to make. If you tried the spaghetti carbonara recipe I posted, you’ll know when I say something is easy – I mean it!

Pesto originates from Genoa (Genova in Italian) in Liguria. One of my Italian professors at university was from Genoa and she would tell us stories about how as soon as you land at the airport you can smell the fragrant basil in the air. How wonderful is that?! So one summer when Kevin came to visit me in Italy, we took the train to Cinque Terre in Liguria and I had my very first plate of pesto alla genovese. It was delicious and I try to replicate that exact dish whenever I make it at home.



People usually go to Federal Hill at night for the bars, but I like to go there in the day for lunch¬†or a hot cup¬†of coffee¬†and a big plate full of¬†beignets. What? Coffee and beignets in Fed Hill?¬†Oh you didn’t know?!?! To be fair, neither did I until a few weeks ago ūüėõ

We happened to be in Fed Hill one morning and we were looking for a coffee shop. Spoons Cafe was just the place. It’s a charming breakfast/lunch spot on 24 E. Cross St., between Pub Dog and The Stalking Horse. I’ve passed by Spoons many times, but its usually¬†after they are¬†closed for the day.¬†So I was happy to be¬†in the neighborhood while they were still open.

We weren’t particularly hungry that morning, but after a quick look down the menu, one item caught our attention. “O-NUTS baltimore-style cinnamon beignets topped with powdered sugar.” Let’s see –¬†I love Baltimore. I love beignets. I love powdered sugar. One order of O-NUTS please! ūüėÄ


hwae dup bop (sashimi rice salad)

Back in the day, Ellicott City wasn’t overflowing¬†with as many¬†Korean restaurants, bars or supermarkets as it is now. There was one market¬†and one restaurant, and that one restaurant was Han Sung.¬†I’ve been going there since I was a little girl – after band recitals, graduation, school concerts, for any special occasion really. Our two options were the Sizzler on Route 40 or Han Sung in the St. John’s Crossing retail center (across the street from Rita’s). Good times! Now we have so many good restaurants to choose from in the area, but I still find myself craving Korean food from Han Sung.

Han Sung hasn’t changed much since then¬†– the decor, the sushi chef, perhaps even the menu is the same. When you have something good, why change it? And I must say, they have THE BEST hwae dup bop in all of Maryland (the best I’ve had anywhere to be honest). Hwae dup bop literally means raw fish over rice. It’s like the Japanese Chirashi but a million times tastier. Think sashimi meets bibimbop – so freakin’ good.¬†Many of the other Korean restaurants in Ellicott City have hwae dup bop on their menu, but if you want happy tastebuds and an even happier belly, trust me – Han Sung is the only place you should go for it.



Kevin¬†makes a gorgeous strawberry rhubarb pie. I wonder if he’ll make one again for me this summer.¬†Last year we went to Larriland a few times during the strawberry season and loaded up on so many strawberries we didn’t know what to do with them all. Kevin is the baker in the family, so he’s in charge of making desserts. (He says I’m a two trick pony when it comes to desserts – cherry clafoutis and tres leches – but hey buddy my clafoutis and tres leches are super delicious!) The entire month of June 2013, he was churning out all sorts of strawberry creations – strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry soup, cheesecake topped with strawberries, eton mess, strawberry pavlovas, strawberry meringue roulade…it was strawberry madness. Unfortunately this year, strawberry season was too¬†short and we only made it out to the farm on the last remaining days of the season. We knew we wouldn’t be back again for the strawberries and I really wanted to get 20lbs – but that’s me being greedy again. Greedy greedy lisbeth! We ended up with about 5lbs and ate them fresh throughout the day. Supermarket strawberries just aren’t the same…but I suppose they’ll have to do.


fells point farmers market

Hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July! We celebrated¬†the holiday at a friend’s bbq stuffing our faces with good food and ice cold beers. I love how the holidays bring people together, especially friends from out of town that you haven’t seen in ages. We watched the world cup, played some outdoor games (couldn’t have asked for better weather)¬†and I even learned how to play Spades. Well when I say learn, I mean I¬†watched others play, but I think I understand the rules now. I think. I’m awful at card games, unless it’s¬†UNO or Go Fish! I love playing Batman UNO with my nephews, we always team up against grandma (my mom). I know I know that’s not fair – but I still high-five¬†my nephews when someone puts down the joker and makes grandma pick up 4 cards!!! The kids think it’s hilarious!


yakisoba and tsukemono

A few¬†months ago, I decided¬†to have themed cuisine weeks at home. The plan was pick one cuisine and cook at least one dish from that cuisine a day for a week. It was a lot of fun and I was able to experiment with recipes and dishes I had always wanted to try. We made it through¬†4 weeks (Korean, Japanese, Italian and¬†French) before I started getting lazy. Although this was an attempt to broaden my culinary skills and palate, most of the meals I cook at home¬†tend to be¬†Korean or¬†Italian anyway, some weeks weren’t as adventurous as others. I gained some weight during French week (We drank wine every night and went through a good amount of butter – it was glorious!). I really enjoyed Japanese week and I find myself making Japanese regularly¬†these days. Here is one of my favorite recipes that is extremely easy to make – Yakisoba.


korean bbq (how koreans eat it)

the spread

I still remember the first time I brought Kevin’s family out to eat Korean BBQ.¬†I was living and studying in Milan at the time and whenever we had long weekends or holidays, we’d travel to see each other. You don’t know how many Ryanair/Aerlingus/Alitalia tickets I have saved in our memory box. Milan to Dublin, Dublin to Milan and sometimes somewhere¬†in between – Paris, London, Edinburgh…Sounds incredibly romantic, doesn’t it? Have you heard how we met?!?!? We were two strangers in Paris,¬†by the Eiffel Tower,¬†and it was pouring outside.¬†I didn’t have an umbrella and was getting soaked in the rain. Then this handsome Irish gentleman (that would be Kevin) offered to walk with me under his umbrella. As we were crossing the boulevard together, I tripped and¬†he¬†turned towards me and caught me in his arms. COME ON GUYS, ARE YOU SERIOUSLY BUYING THIS TALE?! Things like that never happen to real people!!! We did meet in Paris, but our story is nothing like that. ūüėČ I’m getting off topic here – back to the Korean bbq story. Where was I? Oh yes, so I flew into Dublin to spend the holidays with Kevin and his family.