Monday, June 17, 2024

Me n My Muffaletta Sandwich
















Friday, June 14, 2024

Jersey Shore Crab Sauce Recipe

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There are plenty of Maryland Blue Crabs down on the Jersey Shore, as well as plenty of Italian-Americans. The two go together, and this Crab Sauce for pasta is a specialty of Jersey Italians who love seafood, along with their Brooklyn and New York neighbors. They all love it! So will you. 


12 Hard Shell Blue Crabs 12 tablespoons Olive Oil 12 Cloves Garlic
1 for each Crab, peeled and chopped 1 Small Onion, peeled and chopped fine 
 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes 
 1 – 28 oz. can whole San Marzano Tomatoes 1 – 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes 
 1- 16 oz. can Tomato Puree 
 ½ teaspoon dry Basil 
 ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley 
 1 pound Lump Crab-Meat, fresh frozen or canned 
 1 pound imported Italian Spaghetti or Linguine 

 Put olive oil in a large pot and heat to high. 

Place the Crabs in the pot and sauté at high heat for 10 minutes. 

 After browning the crabs, remove from pan and set aside. 

 Put onions in pan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. 

 Add the garlic and red pepper to pan and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. 

Add whole tomatoes to pan and cook on high heat for 4 minutes whole stirring with a wooden spoon. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato puree. 

Add the Crabs back to the pot. Cook for 90 minutes on low heat. 

 Remove the crabs from pan and let cool on the side. 

Remove all the meat from the crabs and discard the shells. 

Add crab-meat to sauce with your extra pound of lump crab-meat and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. 

Cook pasta according to directions on package. 

Drain pasta and put back in the pot it cooked in with 8 tablespoons of reserved pasta cooking water. 

Sprinkle pasta with a little olive oil and mix. 

Add 2 cups of crab sauce and half the parsley to pasta and mix. 

Plate the pasta with sauce on 4 plates in equal portions and top with some more sauce and some parsley. 

 Notes: Do not serve with cheese! Italians never have cheese with Seafood Pasta. This is enough sauce for 2 to 3 pound of pasta, or about 12 portions, so after you make this Pasta with Crab Sauce with 1 pound of pasta, you still have plenty left over for another day.


The Finished Sauce

"Yummm" !!!

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Pasta with Jersey Shore Crab Sauce


and Other Great Recipes

by Daniel Bellino Z


Friday, June 7, 2024

The Best Bruschetta Recipes



"MAKE IT" !!!




  • 1/4 c. 

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 

    cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 4 

    large tomatoes, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt 

  • 1/4 c. 

    thinly sliced fresh basil

  • 2 Tbsp. 

    balsamic vinegar 

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


  • 1 

    large baguette, sliced 1/4" thick on the bias

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

  • 2 

    cloves garlic, halved

    1. Step 1In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, heat oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Let cool.
    2. Step 2Meanwhile, set a large strainer or colander over a bowl. Add tomatoes and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
    3. Step 3Let sit 5 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a large bowl. Add basil, vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp. salt and toss to combine. Add garlic and oil from skillet and toss again to combine. Let marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days

    1. Step 1Preheat oven to 400°. Brush bread on both sides with oil and arrange on large baking sheet.  
    2. Step 2Toast bread, turning halfway through, until dried and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then rub one side of bread with halved garlic cloves.
    3. Step 3Arrange bread on a platter,  spoon tomatoes on garlic-rubbed side of bread just before serving . 



1. To make Bruschetta al Caprese, just get some good fresh Mozzarella, and cut it into 1/4" cubes. Mak the above recipe.

2.  Just before serving, add the diced Mozzarella to the Tomato mixture and gently mix.

Top the toasted bread with Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella, and serve.


Make the above recipe for Tomato Basil Bruschetta.

Cook a 1/2 pound of cleaned shrimp, either by poaching, grilling or sauteing.

After cooking the Shrimp, cut in half down the middle.

Follow all the steps of the Tomato Bruschetta recipe. Once you have place the

Tomatoes on top of the Toasted Bread, add 1 or two pieces of Shrimp to each

Bruschetta. Serve and Enjoy.





Thursday, June 6, 2024

Italian American Food by Bellino Daniel



There has long been a debate, fights, and Mud-Slinging in regards to Italian and Italian-American food served in restaurants in New York and the rest of the U.S.. Culinary Snobs, people who "Think" they know what they are talking about and what not. I can set the record straight, being an Italian-American who has been eating Italian and Italian-American food for more than forty years, who has been professional Chef and someone who has eaten all over Italy on some 15 trips to the great peninsular. In addition to studying Italian Food in Italy for some 25 years, I am constantly reading all sorts of articles , cookbooks, and historical facts on this subject, in addition to being one of the countries foremost authorities on Italian Wine. Anyway, let me tell you. I myself was once a uninformed Food Snob who badmouthed and was slightly disdainful of unauthentic Italian food being served in restaurants all over the city. That's just in restaurants. Of course I Loved eating Sunday Sauce, Eggplant Parmigiano, and Meatballs that my aunts made at our frequent family get together s. And on the occasions that we weren't at one of the family's homes but in an Italian restaurant in Lodi or Garfield, I usually ordered Chicken or Veal Parmigiano. Yes I loved it, but these dishes, for me at the time (1985-1993) had their place, and it was not in the kitchen or on the plates of any serious Italian Restaurant in Manhattan. Eventually as I learned more of the history of food in New York, Italy, and the World, I realized that there was actually a real true Italian-American Cuisine and that it was completely valid. Do you realize that if you think there is not a true valid Italian-American Cuisine, then you also must concede that there is No True French Cuisine, because the origins of what we now know as French food and Cuisine is really Italian. Yes, I said Italian. For the food and cuisine of French was quite primitive and did not begin to form into what we now know as French Food and French Cuisine until Caterina Medici of the Noble Florentine Family of the Medici married the King of France and brought her Florentine Chefs with her to the French Court way back in the 15th Century. So there. Many dishes which most people think of as French in origin, like Duck ala Orange, Bechamel, and others, are really Italian. "So there!" Anyway, back to Italian-American food. Food and cuisines are constantly changing and evolving. This is how Florentine Chefs of Italy, went to France with the newly crowned French Queen who was of the Italian Peninsular in one Katherine Medici and taught the French how to cook. Thus Italians immigrating to the United States in the early 20th Century brought their ingredients and techniques from Mother Italy to cook the dishes from their homeland, with some modifications do to financial issues (being poor) and the unavailability of certain ingredients and started forming what would one day be known as Italian-American food (Cuisine). 

Excerpted from Sunday Sauce

 by Daniel Bellino Zwicke




Friday, May 31, 2024

How Champagne is Made




























The Connoisseurs Private Tour 9 Tastings


Discovery of the most famous areas around Epernay, Capital of the Champagne vineyard : The "Côte des Blancs" known as the kingdom of Chardonnay Grand cru and the Marne Valley renowned for its historic hillsides producing Pinot Noir where Champagne was born.

Visit 2 families of independent producers/growers with explanations on the Champagne making process, visit of presses, wineries and cellars.
Taste 6 different Champagnes Grand Cru/Premier Cru including natural Champagnes (without dosage), extra brut, old vines, vintages, aged in oak barrels, etc.

In addition to the Champagnes, taste the 3 essential Champagne alcohols and aperitifs : Ratafia, Fine de la Marne and Marc de Champagne from the Goyard Distillery which is the oldest in Champagne. Our discovery tour through the vineyards and villages of the "Côte des Blancs" passes in front of the "Château de Saran", a prestigious property of the LVMH group (owner of Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, etc.) and the production site of Champagne Moët & Chandon. A commented passage is also planned in the very famous "Avenue de Champagne" in Epernay where are located the superb mansions and production buildings of the Champagne Houses Moët & Chandon, Perrier Jouët, Pol Roger, etc. When visiting Hautvillers, village called the “Cradle of Champagne”, enjoy a private tour of the Church where the grave of Dom Pérignon, known as the spiritual father of Champagne, is. In Hautvillers, we will also stop to admire the most magnificent panoramic view of Champagne overlooking the Marne Valley in the hillsides listed as a World HAeritage Site by UNESCO where Dom Pérignon performed his experiments. It is the ideal location to take unforgettable photos of you and the breathtaking landscape. Here we will also discuss sustainable viticulture and explain the management of the vineyard. What a program !
Believe me, you will become an expert in Champagne after this tour !














Meet your local guide in front of Reims Centre train station, next to the office of tourism. Drive in the Champagne countryside to a typical Champagne House, Le Clos Corbier, where your electric mountain bike will be ready for you to ride. After a little warm-up to get comfortable with your e-bike, leave for some adventures ! Your bike will take you though the Champagne vineyards and hillsides where you will get to learn about the champagne region and terroir. Cycle back to Le Clos Corbier down the Marne canal. Visit the cellars and taste different champagnes from the family domaine. You will discover and learn about the champagne making process. After this memorable afternoon, your guide will drop you off at 07:00PM in front of Reims Centre train station.


Champagne (/ʃæmˈpn/French:  is a sparkling wine originated and produced in the Champagne wine region of France under the rules of the appellation,[1] which demand specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from designated places within it, specific grape-pressing methods and secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to cause carbonation.[2]

The grapes Pinot noirPinot meunier, and Chardonnay are used to produce almost all Champagne, but small amounts of Pinot blancPinot gris (called Fromenteau in Champagne), Arbane, and Petit Meslier are vinified as well.

Champagne became associated with royalty in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The leading manufacturers made efforts to associate their Champagnes with nobility and royalty through advertising and packaging, which led to its popularity among the emerging middle class.

Still wines from the Champagne region were known before medieval times. The Romans were the first to plant vineyards in this area of northeast France, with the region being tentatively cultivated by the 5th century. Cultivation was initially slow due to the unpopular edict by Emperor Domitian that all colonial vines must be uprooted. When Emperor Probus, the son of a gardener, rescinded the edict, a temple to Bacchus was erected, and the region started to produce a light, fruity, red wine that contrasted with heavier Italian brews often fortified with resin and herbs.[3] Later, church owned vineyards, and monks produced wine for use in the sacrament of the EucharistFrench kings were traditionally anointed in Reims, and champagne was served as part of coronation festivities. The Champenois were envious of the reputation of the wines made by their Burgundian neighbours to the south and sought to produce wines of equal acclaim. However, the northern climate of the region gave the Champenois a unique set of challenges in making red wine. At the far extremes of sustainable viticulture, the grapes would struggle to ripen fully and often would have bracing levels of acidity and low sugar levels. The wines would be lighter bodied and thinner than the Burgundy wines they sought to outdo.

Contrary to legend and popular belief, Dom Pérignon did not invent sparkling wine, though he did make important contributions to the production and quality of both still and sparkling Champagne wines.

 The oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, which was invented by Benedictine monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne, in 1531. They achieved this by bottling the wine before the initial fermentation had ended. Over a century later, the English scientist and physician Christopher Merret documented the addition of sugar to a finished wine to create a second fermentation six years before Dom Pérignon set foot in the Abbey of Hautvillers. Merret presented a paper at the Royal Society, in which he detailed what is now called méthode traditionnelle i.e. Traditional method, in 1662.  Merret's discoveries coincided also with English glass-makers' technical developments that allowed bottles to be produced that could withstand the required internal pressures during secondary fermentation. French glass-makers at this time could not produce bottles of the required quality or strength. As early as 1663, the poet Samuel Butler referred to "brisk champagne".

In France, the first sparkling champagne was created accidentally; the pressure in the bottle led it to be called "the devil's wine" (le vin du diable), as bottles exploded or corks popped. At the time, bubbles were considered a fault. In 1844, Adolphe Jaquesson invented the muselet to prevent the corks from blowing out. Initial versions were difficult to apply and inconvenient to remove. Even when it was deliberately produced as a sparkling wine, champagne was for a very long time made by the méthode rurale, where the wine was bottled before the initial fermentation had finished. Champagne do not use the méthode champenoise until the 19th century, about 200 years after Merret documented the process. The 19th century saw a dramatic growth in champagne production, going from a regional production of 300,000 bottles a year in 1800 to 20 million bottles in 1850. In 2007, champagne sales hit a record of 338.7 million bottles.

In the 19th century, champagne was noticeably sweeter than today's champagnes. The trend towards drier champagne began when Perrier-Jouët decided not to sweeten his 1846 vintage before exporting it to London. The designation Brut Champagne was created for the British in 1876.[14]

The only wines that are legally allowed to be named “Champagne” must be bottled within 100 miles of the Champagne region in France. The name is legally protected by European law and an 1891 treaty that requires true champagne to be produced in the Champagne region and made from the Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, or Chardonnay grapes grown in this region. 

Wine-producing districts of Champagne

Champagne is a single appellation d'origine contrôlée but the territory is divided into next sub-regions, known as wine-producing districts, and each of them has distinct characteristics. The main wine-producing districts of the Champagne wine region: Reims, Marne Valley, Côte des Blancs, Côtes des Bar, Côtes de Sezzane.

As a general rule, grapes used must be the white Chardonnay, or the dark-skinned "red wine grapes" Pinot noir or Pinot meunier, which, due to the gentle pressing of the grapes and absence of skin contact during fermentation, usually also yield a white base wine. Most Champagnes, including Rosé wines, are made from a blend of all three grapes, although blanc de blancs ("white from whites") Champagnes are made from 100% Chardonnay and blanc de noirs ("white from blacks") Champagnes are made solely from Pinot noir, Pinot meunier or a mix of the two.

Four other grape varieties are permitted, mostly for historical reasons, as they are rare in current usage. The 2010 version of the appellation regulations lists seven varieties as allowed, Arbane, Chardonnay, Petit Meslier, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot meunier, and Pinot noir. The sparsely cultivated varieties (0.02% of the total vines planted in Champagne) of Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Pinot blanc can still be found in modern cuvées from a few producers. Previous directives of INAO make conditional allowances according to the complex laws of 1927 and 1929, and plantings made before 1938. Before the 2010 regulations, the complete list of the actual and theoretical varieties also included Pinot de Juillet and Pinot Rosé. The Gamay vines of the region were scheduled to be uprooted by 1942, but due to World War II, this was postponed until 1962, and this variety is no longer allowed in Champagne.

The dark-skinned Pinot noir and Pinot meunier give the wine its length and backbone. They are predominantly grown in two areas – the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne. The Montagne de Reims run east–west to the south of Reims, in northern Champagne. They are notable for north-facing chalky slopes that derive heat from the warm winds rising from the valleys below. The River Marne runs west–east through Champagne, south of the Montagne de Reims. The Vallée de la Marne contains south-facing chalky slopes. Chardonnay gives the wine its acidity and biscuit flavour. Most Chardonnay is grown in a north–south-running strip to the south of Épernay, called the Côte des Blancs, including the villages of Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. These are east-facing vineyards, with terroir similar to the Côte de Beaune. The various terroirs account for the differences in grape characteristics and explain the appropriateness of blending juice from different grape varieties and geographical areas within Champagne, to get the desired style for each Champagne house.


Most of the Champagne produced today is "Non-vintage", meaning that it is a blended product of grapes from multiple vintages. Most of the base will be from a single year vintage with producers blending anywhere from 10 to 15% (even as high as 40%) of wine from older vintages. If the conditions of a particular vintage are favorable, some producers will make a vintage wine that must be composed of 100% of the grapes from that vintage year. Under Champagne wine regulations, houses that make both vintage and non-vintage wines are allowed to use no more than 80% of the total vintage's harvest for the production of vintage Champagne. This allows at least 20% of the harvest from each vintage to be reserved for use in non-vintage Champagne. This ensures a consistent style that consumers can expect from non-vintage Champagne that does not alter too radically depending on the quality of the vintage. In less than ideal vintages, some producers will produce a wine from only that single vintage and still label it as non-vintage rather than as "vintage" since the wine will be of lesser quality and the producers have little desire to reserve the wine for future blending. 

Prestige cuvée

cuvée de prestige is a proprietary blended wine (usually a Champagne) that is considered to be the top of a producer's range. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Laurent-Perrier's Grand Siècle, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, Duval-Leroy's Cuvée Femme, Armand de Brignac Gold Brut, and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. Perhaps the first publicly available prestige cuvée was Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, launched in 1936 with the 1921 vintage. Until then, Champagne houses produced different cuvées of varying quality, but a top-of-the-range wine produced to the highest standards (and priced accordingly) was a new idea. In fact, Louis Roederer had been producing Cristal since 1876, but this was strictly for the private consumption of the Russian tsar. Cristal was made publicly available with the 1945 vintage. Then came Taittinger's Comtes de Champagne (first vintage 1952), and Laurent-Perrier's Grand Siècle 'La Cuvée' in 1960, a blend of three vintages (1952, 1953, and 1955) and Perrier Jouët's La Belle Époque. In the last three decades of the 20th century, most Champagne houses followed these with their own prestige cuvées, often named after notable people with a link to that producer and presented in non-standard bottle shapes (following Dom Pérignon's lead with its 18th-century revival design).


A French term (literally "white from blacks" or "white of blacks") for a white wine produced entirely from black grapes. The flesh of grapes described as black or red is white; grape juice obtained after minimal possible contact with the skins produces essentially white wine, with a slightly yellower colour than wine from white grapes. The color, due to the small amount of red skin pigments present, is often described as white-yellow, white-grey, or silvery. Blanc de noirs is often encountered in Champagne, where a number of houses have followed the lead of Bollinger's prestige cuvée Vieilles Vignes Françaises in introducing a cuvée made from either pinot noir, pinot meunier or a blend of the two (these being the only two black grapes permitted within the Champagne AOC appellation).

Blanc de Blanc

A French term that means "white from whites", and is used to designate Champagnes made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes or in rare occasions from Pinot blanc (such as La Bolorée from Cedric Bouchard). The term is occasionally used in other sparkling wine-producing regions, usually to denote Chardonnay-only wines rather than any sparkling wine made from other white grape varieties.


Rosé Champagnes are characterized by their distinctive blush color, fruity aroma, and earthy flavor. Rosé Champagne has been produced since the late 18th century; storied French Champagne houses Rinault and Veuve Clicquot have each claimed to have shipped and sold the first bottles.

The wine is produced by one of two methods. Using the saignée method, winemakers will leave the clear juice of dark grapes to macerate with the skins for a brief time, resulting in wine lightly colored and flavored by the skins. In the more common d'assemblage method, producers will blend a small amount of still red wine to a sparkling wine cuvée. Champagne is light in color even when it is produced with red grapes, because the juice is extracted from the grapes using a gentle process that minimizes contact with the skins. By contrast, Rosé Champagne, especially that created by d'assemblage, results in the production of rosé with a predictable and reproducible color, allowing winemakers to achieve a consistent rosé appearance from year to year. 

The character of rosé Champagne has varied greatly since its production began. Thought to be a sign of extravagance when originally introduced, by the early 20th century these wines were colloquially known as "Pink Champagne," and had gained a reputation of frivolousness or even dissipation. The 1939 Hollywood film Love Affair was reportedly approached to promote it by featuring the main characters bonding over enjoying the unpopular drink, and caused a sales boost after the film's release. It is also cited by The Eagles as a beverage of choice in the titular "Hotel California." Rosé Champagnes, particularly brut varieties, began regaining popularity in the late 20th century in many countries. Because of the complex variety of flavors it presents, rosé Champagne is often served in fine dining restaurants, as a complementary element in food and wine pairing


Just after disgorgement a "liqueur de dosage" or liqueur d’expédition – a blend of, typically, cane sugar and wine (sugar amounts up to 750 g/litre) – is added to adjust the levels of sugar in the Champagne when bottled for sale, and hence the sweetness of the finished wine. Today sweetness is generally not looked for per se, and dosage is used to fine tune the perception of acidity in the wine.

For Caroline Latrive, cellar master of Ayala, a Champagne house that pioneered drier champagnes at the end of the 19th century, dosage represents the final touch in champagne making and must be as subtle as possible to bring the right balance.

Additionally, dosage protects champagne from oxidation because it includes a small amount of SO2, and sugar also acts as a preservative. Benoît Gouez, cellar master of Moët & Chandon says that sugar helps champagne recover from the oxidative shock of disgorgement, and contributes to the wine's aging potential.

Wines labeled Brut Zero, more common among smaller producers, have no added sugar and will usually be very dry, with less than 3 grams of residual sugar per litre in the finished wine. The following terms are used to describe the sweetness of the bottled wine:

  • Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of sugar per litre)
  • Brut (less than 12 grams)
  • Extra Dry (between 12 and 17 grams)
  • Sec (between 17 and 32 grams)
  • Demi-sec (between 32 and 50 grams)
  • Doux (50 grams)

The most common style today is Brut. However, throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th century Champagne was generally much sweeter than it is today. Moreover, except in Britain, Champagne was drunk as dessert wines (after the meal), rather than as table wines (with the meal). At this time, Champagne sweetness was instead referred to by destination country, roughly as: