Monday, August 10, 2020

Homemade Pizza and Dough Recipe

Make Pizza at Home

"Yes You Can" !



Italian all over Italy, as well as their Italian-American cousins in America,love to make this tasty homemade pan pizza at home. It’s absolutely delicious, and a lot easier to make than you’d think. This is the basic recipe for a Pizza with Tomato & Mozzarella, and you can add other toppings like; Sausage, Pepperoni, Mushrooms, and / or Sweet Peppers if you like. You can even make some delicious Rosemary Focaccia by eliminating the tomato and mozzarella, and adding fresh Rosemary instead. Once you know how to make this basic pizza, you can do a lot of things with this recipe. so give it a shot. Make it a few times and you’ll become a pro, and a hit at the Friday Night Pizza Party, or anytime at all. Buon Apettio!


Ingredients for the Dough :

1 packet Dry Yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 cup Warm Water  (about 110 degrees)
3 cups Bread Flour
2 tespoons Kosher Salt (or Sea Salt)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil for dough & more for pan

You will need a Food Processor to make this dough.

Place the water, Sugar, and Yeast in a small bowl, stir it a little, then let it rest at room temperature until it starts to foam (about 10 minutes).

If your food processor has a plastic dough hook use that. If it doesn’t, then insert the metal cutting blade onto your processor.

Add the Flour and Salt to the food processor and pulse for 2 seconds.

Add the water / yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil to the processor.

Turn the processor on and let it run until the dough starts to form a ball, and is pulling away from the processor bowl. Then turn the processor on again, for exactly 30 seconds and stop.

Get a large glass or ceramic bowl and lightly coat the whole inside with some Olive Oil. Place the dough in the bowl and move it around so it gets coated completely with olive oil. If you need it, add a bit more olive oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave the dough to rise for one hour, in a draft-space. Usually somewhere on the kitchen counter is fine.

After one hour to 1 hour & 15 minutes, your dough should have risen to double its original size. The dough is ready ro roll out and make pizza.


A jar of Italian Passata di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
½ pound whole milk Mozzarella Cheese (Polly-O)
¼ cup grated Pecorino Cheese
8 Basil Leaves, torn by hand

Note : Passata di Pomodro is puree of Italian Tomatoes, aka Tomato Sauce. I recommend getting a good quality Italian product like, Mutti, or anything labeled San Marzano for best results.


You will need a half sheet pan (16.5” x 11.5” ) to make the Pizza.

Turn your oven on to 400 degrees.

Place 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil in the sheet-pan, and spread with your fingers so the whole bottom surface of the pan has a thin coat of oil.
Remove your dough from the bowl and place it in the center of the sheet-pan. Pussh the dough down with your hand, and push and stretch the dough until it forms into the size of the pan, and is completely covering the bottom of the pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest inside the pan for 10 minutes.

Take a spoon and spread enough of the tomato passata (tomato sauce) over most of the pizza dough, leaving a half inch around all sides without tomato, as a border that pizzas always have. 

Drizzle a couple tablespoons of Olive Oil over the pizza. Sprinkle a little Salt over the whole pizza. 

Sprinkel the grated Pecorino Romano Cheese evenly over the whole pizza. 

Evenly spread all the torn Basil over the pizza. 

Then evnenly spread shredded mozzarella evenly over the pie. Don’t over do it with the cheese. There should be spots where ther is just tomato and no cheese over it. You don’t want the cheese to completely cover the pied or it will be out of balance.

Place the Pizza in the oven and bake for about 16 to 20 minutes, until the crust looks nicely browned. Serve and enjoy.

Note : Naturally you can add other toppings to this basic tomato pizza, such as Pepperoni, Sausage, or Mushrooms, whatever you like.

You can make tasty basic focaccia by not adding the tomato and cheese as the toppings on the dough. Instead, add a little more olive oil, some extra Kosher or Sea Salt sprinkled on top. Then add some chopped fresh Rosemary on top, throw it in the oven and bake, and you’ll have some tasty Rosemary Foccacia.



ARANCINI (Rice Balls)

And More ... 

Sicilian Pizza 



Friday, August 7, 2020

The Worlds Tastiest Dish is Pasta with Bolognese Sauce





aka Daniel Bellino Zwicke



It's The #BestTHINGever !!!





by Danny Bolognese



The Best Things in Life are Free ... It's a great old saying. A wonderful old song was evven written on the sbject. The song The BEST THINGS in LIFE are FREE starts out with the lines "The Moon Belongs to Everyone. The Best Things in Life are Free." The song mentions "Flowers in Spring," "Robins that Sing," and "The Sunbeams that Shine." They don't mention Bolgonese Sauce, though they easily could, for it is without question, one the Best Things in life, and it certainly is one of "The Best Things Ever." No doubt. And it can even be free, and if not free, and if you are making it, and paying for the ingredients to make it, it may not be free, but it's dam near it, costing a measly .95 Cents to serve a portion of it. Bolognese the taste is so devine, almost orgasmic, "seriously, it is." It's that good. The taste of properly made Ragu Bolognese, dressing whatever pasta you choose; Spaghetti, Tagiatelle, Rigatoni, whatever, a proper made Ragu Bolognese is one of the most devine dishes imaginable. The great Marcell Hazan said of it, "There is no more perfect union in all Gastronomy than the marriage of Ragu Bolognese and homemade Bolognese tagliatelle." Well I couldn't agree more with Marcella, except that, though homemade tagliatelle is absolutely wonderful, it is not absolutely essential for the great dish of Pasta w/ Ragu Bolognese, they very most improtant element is that you have a perfectly made Ragu Bolognese, the thing that will give the dish 90% of its unmatchable sinfully luscious flavor. The Pasta and the grated Parmigiano Reggaino are great, but "it's all about the Bolognese (Sauce)."

There are many great dishes in the World, and of many different international cuisines, but nothing quite like a well made "Ragu Bolognes," trust me. I love a great Bouf Bourgonnone, Coq au Vin, Foe Gras, Vietnamese PHO, lush American BBQ Ribs, the perfect Hamburger, a juicy Prime New York CUt Sirloin Steak, Tandoori Chicken, a NY Pastrami Sandwich, Belgian Chocolate, perfectly Roast Chicken, I could go on and on, I love these dishes and a couple hundred more, but there is no dish that I love more than a properly made Bolognese, and no Bolognese Sauce that is better than mine, "None," not Marcella's, not anywhere in Bologna, Italy, nor anywhere in all of Emelia Romagna the region it comes from. I know it may sound pompous and egotistical for me to brag about my Bolgonese as I do, and I know people would call me insane, for me to think that of all the great Italian Chefs all over Italy and especially in Emeia Romagan, that I would have the nerve to think that I make "The Worlds Best Bolognese," but it's TRUE, "I do!" I make without a doubt, the single Best Ragu Bolognese in the entire World. Yes it may sound absurd, but absurd it's not. Just ask the some four or five-hundred people who've had it, they'll all confirm the fact that the worlds single best tasting most perfect Bolognese Sauce is made by none other than Italian-American Italian-Cookbook Author (formerChef) Daniel Bellino Zwicke of Greenwich Village, New York.

I was taught the recipe of this the Worlds Greatest Bolognese when I was a cook at the now defunct Caio Bella Restaurant, up on Thrid Avenue at 75th Street in New York back in 1987 by Chef Pasquale, sorry I can't remember his last name. Anyway, Chef Pasquale was from Brindisi Italy, a city in the South of Italy in the region of Puglia. Pasquale started working in kitchens in Brindisi where he first honed his craft. He later went on to work in kitchens in Milan, Bologna, Parma, London, and Tokyo, Japan before moving to New York and becoming the Head Chef at the restaurant Mezzaluna, the 1st restaurant to make and serve real Italian Pizza made in a wood-burning Pizza Oven in New York and in the United States. The restaurant was a big hit, and a couple of the waiters at the restaurant, a guy named Rocco and my ex-boss Enrico Proetti wanted to go out on their own and open their own restaurant, and so they did. They got togehter with a wealthy older Italian man "Fred" who became their partner and put up all the cash to open the restuarant up the street, called Caio Bella. Caio Bella was a big success, and a quick one at that, and it was soon one of the hottest restaurant of the day, back in 1987 when I went in looking for a job. I met Pasquale, we chatted, I told him about my background and my asperations with Italian Food. Pasquale hired me, and the rest is history. I had mostly worked in French Restaurants before that, and I'd gone to New York Technical College in Brooklyn where they taught Classical French Cusisine, which is the food I wanted to cook when I first got started. Yes I first wanted to cook French. But after I made my first trip to my ancestral home of Italy in the Summer of 1985, I caught the bug, and from then on, i wanted to cook authentic Italian Food. I soaked up and learn all I could of true Italian Food, made the Italian way, and I don't mean Italian-American, but by Italians. So I decided I needed to get a job at a great Italian Restaurant in New York that had a great Italian Chef from Italy. I went to Sandro's and Arqua first, and they both offered me jobs, but when I went up to Caio Bella and Chef Pasquale hired me as a line-cook, I decided to take the job at Caio Bella.

Pasquale was a great teacher, and he showed me personally how to make all the dishes on the menu, including his great recipe for Ragu Bolognese. I made it just the way Pasquale showed me how to make it, and from then on, I was the person at Caio Bella who always made the Ragu Bolognese. Pasquale liked the way I made it, exactly the way he showed me, and that was that. And I've always made my Bolognese just like that. No matter what others may tell you, every Bolognese is at least a little different from all others, and so was Pasquale's which latter became mine, and ever since I've made it at Caio Bella in 1987, I've never tasted one quite like mine, which as you know by now, is "The Worlds Best Ragu Bolonese Ever." No Brag, Just Fact as Walter Brennan used to say in his Cowboy TV Show back in the 60s.

In 1998 I finally acheived my dream of opening my own restaurant. I opened up what turned out to be the 1st Ever Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro) in the United States of America in Bar Cichetti. I was the Chef / Wine Director and managing partner of Bar Cichetti. I received numerous accolades from the New York Times, Time Out Magazine, New York Magazine and other publications, including my favorite one of all, a 5 page spread about me and my restaurant Bar Cichetti, and my favvorite line of all from The Journal of Italian Food Wine & Travel Magazine which saide, "Daniel (Bellino Zwicke0 makes the Best Ragu Bolognese in America." Yes they said that, I couldn't agree with them more.

  Thanks, Daniel           THE BEST THINGS in LIFE are FREE   LYRICS The moon belongs to everyone The best things in life are free The stars belong to everyone They gleam there for you and me The flowers in spring The robins that sing The sunbeams that shine They're yours, and they're mine love can come to everyone The best things in life are free The moon belongs to everyone The best things in life are free The stars belong to everyone They gleam there for you and me The flowers in spring The robins that sing The sunbeams that shine They're yours, and they're mine love can come to everyone The best things in life are free The moon belongs to everyone The best things in life are free The stars belong to everyone They gleam there for you and me The flowers in spring The robins that sing The sunbeams that shine They're yours, and they're mine love can come to everyone The best things in life are free ooh... Lord... Everything... Every one of those good things The best, best things in life are free...  

#BestThingYouEverATE !!!


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tribute to Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill

It is a most sad day in New York today. Those New Yorkers with the good sense and capacity to know who this great man was, one of The Great New Yorkers of all times. Hamill passed away Wednesday, August 5, 2020, and New York and The World has just become a much less interesting place," without Pete in it. Hamill may very well be the "Last of The Great Celebrity Newspaperman."  Hamill wrote 10 novels and a couple collections of short stories, and he was a top author, he will most be remembered as a Newspaper Reporter. This he would tell you himself. His style was muscular, sometimes gritty, and always of energetic prose. 

Over his career Hamill worked (wrote) for The New York Post, New York Herald Tribune, The Daily News, Village Voice, and New York Magazine. He penned numerous articles for Esquire, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and other magazines. Hamill was at his best telling the story of his beloved city New York. He could seamlessly write great articles on crime scenes, crime, courthouse drama, of New York and the Worlds Power Brokers, and just about anything. He was a natural storyteller, and with so much knowledge with an encyclopedic take of New York, in his later years Hamill was often featured as a speaker in television documentaries the great metropolis, its history, places, events, and characters, The Heartbeat of New York. We all know him for his books and thousands of magazine and newspaper articles, but if you have never seen Pete Hamill talk about New York, people, anything, do yourself a favor and seek these documentaries out. He had a wonderful voice, and he could besides penning a story, Hamill was great at telling (vocally) as well.

Yes we have lost another great one in Pete. I know it sounds cliche "we've lost another great," yes it may sound cliche, but it is as true as can be. When I look around, at such things as books, writings, music, entertainment, and the horrible crap they've (so-called musicians) been putting out the past 20 years or so, and the people we've lost over the years; Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., John Lennon, Dean Martin, Jimmy Breslin, and now Pete Hamill, the World is so less interesting. Sorry, but there just will never ever be any other entertainer like the great Frank Sinatra, there can't be, current generations just don't have the style or class to appreciate this type of greatness. If you have an entire generation listening to shitty crap rap music, and the so-called alternative rock, it proves right there that these people are completely devoid of good-taste. It so so sad, when we had all that great music (R&B, Pop, Standards, Rock n' Roll) in the 1960s and 70s, that there is so much crap out there today, and practically all the so-called music is so horrible (other than a very few exceptions), "I just don't get it?" Thank God for books, and Thank God for recordings so we don't have to listen to all the Shitty Music (except when your in retail shops) that's out there today, we can listen to the great stuff of the 1960s, 50s, and 70s, and not have to listen the shit they make today (Kanye, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, etc.), yes Thank God for recordings of the past. I feel sorry for the kids of today. We have R&B, Rock n' Roll, Dean Martin, and Sinatra, and we always have Pete. This great man has passed away, we are thankful that we had him (for 85 years). Pete Hamill has passed away, a very sad day, but his words and his legacy live on, "read him."

God Bless you Peter Hamill, and thank you for all you gave us. Rest in Peace, you live on in your written word.


Pete Hamill

A Memoir

"Read This" !

Pete Hamill with The Great Joe DiMaggio

and NT Daily News Cartoonist Bill Gallo

Pete Hamill at dinner with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

They once dated. Pete also dated Shirley McClain, 

and Linda Ronstadt

Two Great New York City Writers

One Italian, One Irish

Gay Talese and Pete Hamill



Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Friday, July 31, 2020

ALpha Donuts Sunnyside Queens NYC

Under The  "7 TRAIN"









French Crullers 

Alpha Donuts



Open 24 Hours




Alpha Donuts is totally cool. It's true authentic, no-nonsense bullshit New York type of place. New York City Guide said, "It's the type of place that Travis Bickel (Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver)  would go to. Good Diners, Burger Joints, and on the money Donut Shops are among our great treasures in this life, and Alpha Donuts is two of those. It's both a great Donut Shop and a Diner, serving satisfied customers good dam Coffee, yummy Donuts, and Breakfast around the clock (Open 24 Hours). And though the owner is Greek, he knows his business and he knows his customers, so her serves and awesome Full Irish Breakfast catering to the many Irish Immigrants living in the neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens. "What more can anyone ask for?"









And Much Much More ...





This is awesome eatery. Anytime of the day or night, we have called by many times and always a friendly welcome and great coffee and mouth watering food. This establishment is historical and should be preserved.

says James K.

What a great experience. I had been walking past this place for a month because I didn't want a donut. A dumb move. I finally learned there was food, and plenty of it, and I stopped in. As good a Greek omelet as I have ever had, and superb home fries. Coffee a cut above most diners. Friendly and competent employees who recognize you when you come back, and an expert grill man. And the ambiance! A throwback, in the best way. These places need to be patronized and saved. I will be back to eat my way through the menu. This is the kind of place that makes Sunnyside special.

.. says Tom N.

I travel often to NY and this is one of the spots that I MUST visit on every trip.
This is as classic as you can get when it comes to old-school donut shops and breakfast joints. Greasy flat-top grill, very old cash register and very friendly service. You just can't beat that.
The donuts are great, the breakfast portions are very adequate and the prices are very reasonable.
Give this little hole-in-the-wall a visit and hopefully you will like it as much as I do.

... says Jaguar 0177

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Hotdogs Burgers and Bowling Jersey NJ






RECIPES and More ..

GOT ANY KAHLUA - Available on


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Worlds Best Lemonade - Recipe

Screenshot 2020-03-05 at 9.50.55 PM

I could see Positano in the distance and my heart skipped a beat. I’d been there three times before, but hadn’t seen it in some time, and it was just as beautiful as ever, even if now there was multiplies of more people going there, the town is still gorgeous. But this time, I wasn’t getting off in Positano as I usually did. This time I was headed for Minori, a town I had an early evening dinner in with my friends when we rented a car to go to Pompeii and then Vietro Sul Mare to by some the beautiful ceramic plates. We stopped at a cute little trattoria for some tasty seafood and then we were off. After our dinner, we stopped off at Amalfi, parked the car, had a couple Negroni’s at an outdoor caffe. Then we walked around and marvelled at the Feast of Santa Anna that was going on at the time. That was way back in 1987. Let’s get back to 2015 on the Amalfi Coast, and making my way to Villa Maria (Minori). It sort of pained me, to not be getting off the bus in Positano as I normally would have done, unless I was coming from Capri by boat. Anyway, I almost wanted to cry of, as I just got a teasing glimpse of my beloved little town (Positano).

The bus passed through the town, making its way to Amalfi, as I strained to catch the last glimpse of the town, we drove on our way south towards Amalfi. No need to cry, I was going to Villa Maria which would prove to be one of the best times of my entire life.

We arrived in Minori, and I hopped off the bus in the center of town. I went into a jumping caffe (Gambaradella) and asked if I could make a phone call to my hotel. The lady at the cash register was kind enough to make the call for me, and told me that someone would be down in a few minutes to pick me up. I got an espresso and Sfogliatelle and waited for my ride. A little while later Vincenzo Manzo showed up at the caffé in his Fiat Panda and threw my bags in his car. We headed up to Villa Maria and arrived about ten minutes later. Vincenzo led the way, and we went into the dining-room and sat down. He introduced me to his wife Maria, daughter Nadia, and his son-in-law, and they gave me a pitcher of fresh lemonade made from the farm’s wonderful lemons of course. At that moment, nothing in the World could have made me happier. I was at Villa Maria hanging out with Vincenzo Manzo and his family and drinking Lemonade made from the famed Amalfi Coast Lemons that were grown in Vincenzo’s farm. Who’s luckier than me.

  Excerpted from POSITANO - The AMALFI COAST  - Cookbook / Travel Guide , due for publication Release May 2020 ... Broadway Fifth Press NYC by Daniel Bellino Zwicke @  







POSITANO - Sorrento The Amalfi Coast

Cookbook / Travel Guide



Ingredients :

The ingredients for homemade lemonade couldn’t be simpler! You can make lemonade with the following 3 ingredients:
  • Lemons: Fresh lemons are essential for this recipe to get that great fresh-squeezed lemonade taste. Depending on the size of your lemons, you will need between 6-8 medium size lemons to get 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice for this recipe.

  • Sugar: White granulated sugar gets dissolved in water to create a simple syrup.

  • Water: How much water you add really depends on how sweet you like your lemonade.
  1. Make a simple syrup. Add sugar and 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Juice your lemons. Strain the lemon juice through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher.
  3. Combine syrup and lemon juice. Add more water, to taste, until you reach your desired lemonade sweetness.
  4. Chill. 


Friday, July 24, 2020

A Recipe Cookbook for Pandemic Cooking - Bestselling Author Daniel B. Zwicke


Better Days

Capri 2015

  Hello! Welcome, and thank you acquiring this book, we (I am) are honored. It’s a special little book, written in time of the Covid19 Pandemic in the United States and all over the World. It’s not a happy subject, so I really don’t want to get into that, just to not that fact here. But speaking of the Pandemic in America, the happening of it changed many things in this World, one of them being, many Americans (millions) really got into cooking at home. Many had never even cooked before and wanted to learn, many Americans who were already fairly accomplished cooks, upped their game, or simply just cooked more, and tried new recipes along with the tried and true. And as I’ve already said, millions of Americans were jumping into cooking for the first time, some partly out of necessity as in the beginning of this thing, most restaurants were closed, and people had to eat, so millions began to cook, some just to put food in their bellies, others as a new hobby, like knitting, making model planes, doing wood carving, embroidery, or whatever, just something to do. But unlike some of these mentioned hobbies and others, cooking, the making of food, filling one of our most basic necessities of life. Not just a necessity, but an absolute must to survival itself, we need shelter (a roof over our heads) clothing, breathing air, drinking water, and putting food in our bellies. If you can’t breat, drink water, or eat, if any of these three things are denied to you, you will eventually die. So you see, knowing how to cook, is quite important. I’ve written several cookbooks, and through this lock-down thing (Covid), I wasn’t doing much, just trying to keep safe, not get the Covid Virus, and trying to make it through each day without going out of my gourd. At first, I could not write at all. I have a book that is about 85% finished, and I simply couldn’t work on it at all. When writing, as all writers, I have my own methods and ways of doing thing, and how I go about writing, and one of the big things with me is, I can’t write at home and very rarely do (about 5%). I do almost all my writing at one of my favorite cafes, and this one I’m doing at the first cafe I ever went to in my life, when I was a you man of just 15 years old, and I used to hang out on weekends in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, watching the street performers and taking pictures with my 35mm Camera. It was a hobby of mine, and I loved it. I’d hang out in the park for a couple of hours, and then go to Caffe Reggio on Macdougal Street, and have a Cappuccino. Well, let me tell you, I thought I was cool, hanging out in this renowned bohemian caffe in the center of one of the World’s great centers of Bohemia, Greenwich Village, New York.  So anyway, after things started opening up, after the the bad stats (people getting the virus) started going down, and things looked better, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill Deblasio started, little by little, one-step-at-at-time let various businesses start opening. It took 3 months, but after the numbers started going down, and it looked like it might be safe to let restaurants and cafes open, letting people sit outside, but no indoor seating yet, around the middle of June, the powers that be said restaurants could open under these conditions, people had to stay 6 feet apart, wear mask, wash their hands and such, and keep social distant apart. So Caffe Reggio, aroudnthe block from my house opened. I gotta have my coffee everyday, and I usually do this at my favorite cafes. My current cafes that I frequent for the past several years and before the Pandemic Lock-Down were Grounded Cafe on Jane Street in Greenwich Village, and the coffee lounge at The Marlton Hotel, also in Greenwich Village. Come March 15, 2020 and New York is on lock-down, only essential business can be open; grocery stores, liquor stores (“Essential? This is Funny.”), drug stores, and restaurants, only for delivery service. So no cafes for me to go to. What did I do? How’d I get my coffee, that what vital for me to have each and everyday? Well, I could make it at home, but me, “I don’t do coffee at home. I love it, and I love going out for it. It’s a thing.” So, how did I get my coffee fix, if I didn’t make it at home, and all the cafes in New York were all closed down? Well, I did the only thing I could. I went to the local Korean Market, where they make coffee to go, and I got my coffee their. I was quite stunned at the quality of the coffee and how good it tasted. And cheap to boot, at $1.25 for a small one, $1.50 for a medium, and just a $1.75 for one that was quite large. I was satisfied. No, I was ecstatic, happy as hell. I got coffee and it’s good! At least they can’t take that away from me. And this made me happy. So, as they say “I Got Coffee,” but where to drink it? Simple, I’d got over to Bleecker Farms (Korean Market), get my coffee and go. I’d go to all the little parks in the neighborhood and drink it my coffee at Winston Churchill Park on Bleecker Street, Bleecker Park on Bleecker, Prince Street Park, Spring Street Park and a few others. like Abingdon Square Park on Hudson Street at Bleecker.  Yes I drank my coffee at parks, but my favorite spots were actually on the stoops of two town-houses in the Village, not far from my house. One was on Commerce Street, also known as Cherry Lane, and the other was one block away on Barrow Street. Yes, I’d get my coffee and walk over to one of those stoops. I had my coffee, and it’s a simple pleasure that makes me happy, just about everyday of my life, I just love it. Coffee never gives me a hard time, it’s always ther, it satisfies me, and it makes me happy. What more can one ask for? I’d sit on my stoop on Barrow Street, I’d get comfy, sip my coffee, see if I had any messages, look at my Instagram, post on Instagram, read the News on my Google News Feed, make phone calls, and chit chat with friends on the phone. I’d drink my coffee, play around on my Smart Phone (“Haha!”), jump on my laptop, I was actually writing for my blogs here and there, but no book writing at all, until I started this book. Yes, I’d chat on the phone with friends, a lot of what was going on as far as the Pandemic was concerned, but other topics as well, sometimes what we’d mostly be talking about pre-pandemic, but there was a lot of talking about the pandemic and how to survive it, and what Cuomo and Deblasio said that day, and things we needed to know about this dreaded thing thrust so brutally onto the World. It was (still is as of this writing July 23, 2020). Yes I really don’t want to talk about this that much, but as I said, this is why I’m writing this book, but it’s not what it’s about. So what is it about? Read on and find out. Next chapter? OK, what is this book about? It’s just about cooking, and the Joy of it, knowing how to cook, eating the fruits of your labor (cooking), and if you’re lucky, sharing this food that you made with those you love, friends and family, for this is one of life's greatest pleasures, and I just love it. I’ve been doing it since I’m 13 years old. Yes I love to cook, and I became interested in it at an early age, when I was just thirteen. I, along with my friend John P. and a couple other guys at Becton High School in East Rutherford, I (we) had the balls, and we decided we wanted to take cooking class. No males had ever taken cooking class at Becton or East Rutherford High School which this high school was called for many years before Becton HS was built. Yes no boys had ever taken cooking clas before, only girls. But my friends and I loved food and we wanted to learn how to cook, so we signed up and got into cooking class at Becton Regional HS, way back in 1972, the first boys ever. So we got into class, and we loved it. I can’t even remember the things we cooked other than Rueban Sandwiches, Meatloaf, and Stuffed Peppers are the only dishes I remember cooking. But I do remember loving the class, having a good time, that I learned how to cook, and I was very proud of myself, that my buddies and I were the first boys ever to take cooking class at E. Rutherford HS (Becton), we had the balls and we were all proud of it. I was always a trend setter. I also was the person to get a bunch of my friends to wear Halloween Costumes to school on Halloween, none had ever done it before. it wasn’t an organized activity, other than me getting a bunch of my friends to dress up, they did, and we started a new tradition at Becton. Anyway, this is where I first started cooking, we learned some things at school, then I’d make them at home, and try some new dishes as well. My stepmother Joan was a waitress at the Cambridge Inn Restaurant in Paramus, NJ and she got me a job as a Bus Boy there, where I worked on weekends all through (4 years) high school. I din’t have hardly any weekends off all through high school, but I always had money in my pockets, and I loved working in the restaurant. I even got two of my friends, Ronnie DeRizzo, and Michael Caci jobs at the restaurants as well.  Yes, I loved it, I was dam good at it. I was the best busboy in the place. Seriously. I was smart, and I could move. I was fast, and all the waitresses in the restaurant used to fight over me, to get me to be their busboy that night. I was so good, I did all of my work and I’d do a good part of the waitresses job so she could take it easy, and not have to kill themselves (so to speak). And they paid me for it. They always paid me more than the percentage cut, cause I was worth it. As Walter Brennan used to say in that show he was in, “I’m the Best. No Brag, just fact,” and it was a fact that I was good, the best. So, I worked at the Cambridge Inn, I liked working, I liked all the complements on being such a good worker, “that’s pride my friends.” Yes you might say I was a little cocky. Yes maybe a little cocky, I was confident in myself and my abilities, but most of all, it was that I had Pride. I had pride in myself and the work I did, and that I did it just about as good as it could possibly be done. Yes this job was good for me, it gave me a good work ethic. But then again, maybe it wasn’t good for me. Why? Well for one, it’s not the greatest business in the World, you bust your ass, and you just make a living wage and not a whole lot more. I know I was smart, still am, and if I didn’t get interested in the restaurant business at such a young age, maybe I would have gotten into something much better, and I would have made a lot more money. And I know I had the smarts to do a lot of things. I know I could never be a doctor, or a scientist, but I was capable of doing probably 80% or more of the things (careers) out there. I know I had and have the smarts to be a lawyer, work on Wall Street (Big Bucks), work in television, all sorts of things. Yes, I watched those guys behind the line, the cooks, and I wanted to be one. And I wanted to go to culinary school, and I did. I found out about a program at New York Technical College in Brooklyn. It was for a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Mgt. & Culinary Arts, and I wanted to get it. I checked it out, got all the info, applied and got in. The school was great, we had some wonderful professors, learned a lot, got a good education, and had some fun along the way. Dam, I’m going on and on. I’ve had a good long career in the restaurant business. I worked at some of the finest restaurants in New York, also being some of the best in the World. I did it all, 4 years at the start as a Busboy, and a dam good on. I got my education at New York Tech College. I started cooking in restaurants in New York. At that point in my career, we had a great culinary background at NY Tech where they thought us Classic French Cuisine, and that’s what I wanted to do at that time, in 1982. So my first few years I worked in French Restaurants, and one hotel. Learning how to cook, and cooking in restaurants, you start at the bottom and little by little work your way to the top, in stages. So that’s what I did. After my first year ant NY Tech, I got a job with one of the greatest Frecnh Chefs in all the World, at Lutece on East 50th Street in New York, with the great Andre Soltner. I got a job as a prep-cook and I had to do a lot of things. I had to cut a lot of vegetables into all sorts of intricate shapes, like carving Carrots and Turnips into little Football Shapes. Cutting various vegetables into Brunois and Julienne. I had to clean veal kidneys, calves liver, and meats to braise into some sort of French Stew. I made Fish Terrines and stuffed Quails with Mushroom Duxells and Foe Gras, then wrapped them in puff-pastry. I did a lot of things, including cutting my fingers all the time, as they gave you a lot of work to do, and they wanted things done fast, and when you don’t have a lot of experience with the knife yet, you end up cutting your fingers a lot. Dam, I cringe when I think about it now. I did become quite proficient with the knife eventually, and could work fast and hardly ever cut myself. I also got my fare share of little burns along the way too. Luckily with all those cuts, and a few burns here and there, I never got hurt too bad. Thank God. Yes, that my first job in the kitchen, it was just for the Summer, got some good experience, and learn a good deal, one being that the French can be real ball-breakers. Well, I knew that. No I didn’t. Anyway, Chef Soltner, on the last day, had a little talk with me. He was a little stern with me, he said, “wake up boy, “ not one of my prouder moments, but I would learn. Let me tell you something, cooking in a restaurant is hard work, it’s not easy, and not everyone can do it. There are brilliant doctor and lawyers and all sorts of successful people who could never make it in a professional kitchen, I did, but it wasn’t easy, especially in the beginning when you have almost no experience. But I was tough, I stick it out and I made something of myself. I worked my way up step-by-step. I started at the bottom, I did prep, then became a line-cook, now that’s really hard, and this is wthe point where a lot of aspiring cooks (Chefs) drop out. They quite. They can’t do it. They don’t want to do. I didn’t. Didn’t quit that is. Almost, but I didn’t I stuck it out. My friend Loci, who was the Chef at Le Relasie on Madison Avenue got me a job with Chef Michel Fitoussi at The Palace Restaurant, which at the time was one of the top restaurants in New York, one of the most famous, and thee most expensive place in town. When Loic told me about the job, that it was at the Palace, I told him, “I can’t work there. I don’t have enough experience.” He replied, “Sure you can. Go over there.” I didn’t have the confidence that I could do it, but Loic did, and he pushed me into it. I’m glad he did. So I went over to the Palace, I met the Chef, we chatted, and he ended up hiring me. He had faith. So I went to work at the Palace. My day was, I did a couple hours prep work when I came in, then I worked the line with Michel at night. oh my good, I was horrible, I din’t know what I was doing, it’s a very difficult thing to do, working the line, You got to have mad skills, you have to be super organized, you gotta be fast, and precise, you gotta get the job done, you have to be good, and turn out perfect product when you have 20 things going on at once. Not everyone can do it. I couldn’t. Well I couldn’t for a bout 10 days, then I started getting the hang of it and got better and better, until the day the Chef gave me a nice compliment. He told me I was doing good. He said, “Ah plutante. You were like a Stone Man. Now you know what you’re doing. Good job.” Well he was right, I was like a stone, I’d freeze, it’s dam hard to do, it takes a little time, and then you either get it or you don’t. Michel knew this, and he stuck with me. He was good to me, and he taught me a lot. He was a great Chef. At the time he was known in New York, as “The King of Nouvelle Cuisine,” and he was dam good, and he liked me, and he thought I was good, and that’s all I needed. “Thanks Chef.”


  This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Cooking at Home (working title) / America's favorite recipes. During the Pandemic of 2020 (Covid19 Virus), I was getting tired of doing nothing, basically the same old thing everyday, not working and not writing. I was thinking about all the cooking that people were doing because of the Virus Lock-Down, being stuck at home and not having restaurants to go to, as they were all closed, yet people had to eat. Some would just call and get food delivered (restaurants were open for delivery only) many cooked their own meals at home, and people were cooking at home, much more than before the pandemic.  Many people were cooking for the first time, while others who had a little more experience, cooked more and wanted to learn new dishes. They figured, "what the heck, I have to stay home, I have to eat everyday, I might as well cook." People needed recipes, I love food, I love to cook, I love eating tasty food, writing cookbooks, talking food, and teaching people how to cook. Most of my cookbooks are Italian, but I love all cuisines, and have written books on so-called American Food, and what American's love to eat. So I wanted to write a cookbook for Americans and their favorite dishes, what they love to eat, and incidentally, what I love to eat. I love cooking Italian food, so there is a section called "That's Italian" with a few of the favorite Italian dishes that Americans love to eat most: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Parm, Lasagna and such. I gathered all my recipes and started compiling the book, on what Americans love to eat, and dishes that any American who likes to cook should have in their repertoire. Most beloved of all, are; Burgers, Fried Chicken, Breakfast dishes, Fried Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Burritos, Tacos, Chili, Meatloaf, Barbecue Chicken, Potato Salad, Buffalo Wings, Pasta, and such. I even put in my recipe for General Tso's Chicken which Americans devour like there's no tomorrow, along with Fried Rice, and Moroccan Chicken. I believe I put together a nice book with a great collected of my recipes. Not just that they are my recipes, as I've been cooking for 40 years, all kinds of dishes, tweaking the recipes, writing them down, and eventually they would go into cookbooks like this one. I still have my mimeographed hand-outs of all my recipes from culinary school, and I've compiled thousands of recipes since then. I have a certain take on food, that's much like the late great Anthony Bourdain, if I must say so, and I believe dear Tony if he were alive would like this cookbook. No it's not about the Pandemic or the Corona Virus< I don't want to talk about that stuff, people are getting sick of it. I'm just letting people know, that because of the pandemic, circumstances in New York and America sparked me to write a cookbook with a great collection of recipes that Americans would really love. I always break my recipes down and make them as simple as possible for people to understand, and help them execute the recipes with tasty results. Always. So this book is for this time and for all times. At least for the next 50 years or so. You can use the book and your favorite recipes within over and over again. I hope you will. This book is for the American people. they've been through a lot.  


  Greenwich Village, New York, July 24, 2020   

"COOKING at HOME" -  AMERICA'S FAVORITE RECIPES is Coming Soon ! ( Fall 2020)

During a Pandemic or Anytime at All