Friday, August 31, 2012

Recipe: Stromboli with Mushrooms, Sausage & Roasted Peppers

Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


1 tbsp Cento Imported Olive Oil
¼ lb Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage, diced
All purpose flour, for dusting
16 oz pizza dough
1 ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Cento Roasted Peppers, drained, rinsed and chopped
4 oz Cento Mushroom Stems and Pieces, drained, rinsed and chopped
15 oz Cento Pizza Sauce, for dipping.

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium frying pan, heat oil over medium-high flame. Add sausage; cook until browned, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and set aside to cool. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it is 8 inches wide and 14 inches in length. In center of dough, evenly spread ¾ cup of cheese. On top of cheese layer add peppers, mushrooms and sausage; top with remaining cheese. Carefully fold long side of dough to the center; fold the opposite side so edges are overlapped. Gently pinch dough to seal edges. Cut 3 inch shallow slits in top of dough and place on flour dusted baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Slice and serve with a side of dipping sauce. Serves 4.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Don't get rid of that wooden wine box!

When it comes to certain topics, I admit that I am a cultural minnow.  I love to fill my pink matter with all types of information.  There are always times when I find something and I feel like I discovered electricity only to later find that this "discovery" is well known and has been doing fine long before I stumbled upon it.  Well I have to say that when I first saw the above image of a Wine Box Guitar, I was enamored with the style and creativity of the item. To also know that wine box guitars are functional just made me appreciate them even more.
So I did some research so that I may share this information with others, who like me, did not know of these creations.  Well not only to people make and use wine box guitars, there are even those who make cigar box guitars! Who knew, right?
There are communities of indiviuals that share their finished creations as well as recorded music.  These guitars vary from the most simple designs and ease of construction to the more sophisticated.
Some have created their own sites/blogs like Moxie Industries and shared their process. Others have made their instruments and later sell them on ebay.  I was intrigued by this hobby and thought I would share.  Who knows, maybe one of you who read this is real handy and can play the guitar and just may have the inclination to grab an empty wooden chianti box and make a fine instrument with Italian parts.
What I also find interesting is that this hobby/art form has been around since before the 1900s.  Some of these websites provide plans to construct these instruments that were first published over 100 years ago.  I believe in keeping traditions alive and I truly appreciate the roots of this tradition and hope to see a few Italian wine box guitars in the future.  If you come across any, please share with us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top 10 Sports in Italy


When it comes to popular sports in Italy, there is no denying that soccer is number one. And with good reason. The Italian national soccer team has won the World Cup in 1934, 1938, 1982 and most recently in 2006. The Italian national team is the second most successful team in national soccer history. However, people love several other sports in Italy as well.

10 – Rugby  – Rugby is quite popular, especially in the Northern part of Italy. The introduction of rugby in Italy dates back more than 100 years, introduced by the British communities that introduced rugby between 1890 and 1895.
9 – Golf – Golf is quite popular in Italy, with over 9000 registered golf players. There are also some Italian players who are quite notable in the world of professional golf, names as Francesco Molinari and Costantino Rocca are well known to golf fans.
8 – Tennis – Both on television and the actual courts, tennis tournaments have significant followings in Italy. When one looks at the top 150 male and female players at any given time, there are usually quite a few Italian professional tennis players among them. Italy as a tennis nation won the Fed Cup in 2006 and 2009 and the Davis Cup in 1976.
7 – Athletics– Track and field is quite popular in Italy and those who do well on the Olympic or national level are very celebrated people throughout the country. There are many international and national athletic events held in Italy every year.
6 – Wrestling – While it may not be considered an actual ‘sport’ by many, professional wrestling is extremely popular in Italy and the American pro wrestling promotions often make a trip overseas.
5 – Water polo- There is a substantial quantity of professional and amateur players for water polo in Italy. The Italian national team is often ranked in the top four in the world.
4 – Cycling – Cycling is a very popular sport in Italy, in fact, only the Belgians have won more World Cycling Championships than Italy has. Italy also is home to a long distance bicycle race called the Giro d’Italia that is famous throughout the world.
3 – VolleyballPallavolo (Volleyball) is actually very popular in Italy and the country has many amateur players who play recreationally.  The Italian Volleyball League is a respected league among professional players and regarded as one of the the best volleyball leagues in the world. Both the male and female national teams are often ranked in the top four national teams in the world.
2 – Basketball –Italy is one of the best basketball nations in all of Europe along with Turkey, Greece,  and Spain. Until around the year 2000, the Italian league was considered the best domestic league outside of the United States.
 1 – Soccer – Italy does not just treat soccer like a sport; soccer is almost like a religion. Italy has provided some of the most dominant teams both in international competition as well as in European competition. Every Saturday and Sunday thousands upon thousands of people leave their home to watch the game live, and of course, millions take the time on Monday to discuss the results.

I was a little disappointed that swimming wasn't in the top 10 considering they have a few top swimmers and also because waterpolo is such a popular sport. Oh well.  What are your top 10 favorite sports?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Recipe: Italian Style Mini Meatballs

A healthy family is a happy family

Rainy weather can make everyone stuck in the house to go a little batty after a while (especially if you have young children running around) Doing the basic of tasks can become difficult , especially cooking and if there is a power outage during a storm, you best have prepared something.  Well in honor of the hurricane season and all the preparations us people who always seem to be in a storm's "cone of destruction" here is a basic recipe I found on none other than "The Weather Channel's" website,  Little Meatballs are always a favorite in my house.  See how you like this recipe and then maybe I'll share my mom's famous recipe.  May you all be safe through any type of bad weather....


These are perfect for small mouths. You could substitute ground chicken for either the veal or pork, or use just one type of ground meat.

Here's what you'll need:

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • To make meatballs:
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground veal
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A small handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons canola oil, for frying

Let's get started

  1. First make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then transfer half to a food processor. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, sugar, oregano, and vegetable broth to the onions left in the pan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add the ground beef, veal, and pork to the onion in the food processor. Whiz for a minute to chop everything, then add the bread crumbs, milk, parsley, and Parmesan, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until well combined. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of the meatball mixture into about 30 small balls. You can now either fry the meatballs or bake them in the oven.
  3. For frying: Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan and fry in batches of 8 to 10 meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Drain on paper towels.
  4. For oven browning: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put a baking sheet in the oven when you turn it on and allow it to heat up. Put 2 tablespoons of canola oil on the hot baking sheet and add the meatballs. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. Puree the sauce until smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return to the saucepan and add the browned meatballs, using a slotted spoon. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more. Serve with spaghetti or in hollowed-out French bread.

The fun doesn't stop here...

Optional Cheesy Topping
Transfer the cooked meatballs and sauce to a baking dish, sprinkle with 1 cup grated Cheddar or mozzarella, and pop under a preheated broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbling.

Preparation: 40
Cook: 30 minutes, plus 2 to 3 minutes for cheesy topping
Makes: about 30 meatballs
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for children under 1

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More fun with food.... (continued)

While the summer may be coming to an end, having fun with food should be year-round.  Here are some more creative images made of healthy foods for your children. May they have a great school year!

Related Posts:

Saturday, August 18, 2012


A special thank you to our friends at for finding and sharing this great image.... (click on it to view it better)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Remember When?

Remember when you could have purchased Simmenthal in the US? 
"Simmenthal is the canned equivalent of mystery meat.  The most definitive information out there is this enigmatic statement form the label: "Does not contain meat from Simmenthal Cattle." The beef apparently is from Brasil, rather than Simmenthal, the Alpine region where the stuff is canned.  So what exactly is in the stuff?  The cans contain strings of beef in a clear jelly, recommended to be served with olives and cheese on pasta or salad."

We haven't been able to stock it in our stores for over 15 years.  Has anyone seen them in any US stores?

What Helps You Get Through The Day?

Illustration by Kate Moore

Want to purchase this print? Click HERE

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe: Orzo with Asparagus & Bruschetta

Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

1 lb Anna Orzo
2 - 17 oz Bellino Tomato Bruschetta
2 cups fresh asparagus, rinsed and chopped into ½ inch pieces
Salt and Cento Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Add asparagus
to pasta water for last 6 minutes; drain well. Add bruschetta, salt,
and pepper; mix thoroughly. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Serves 6-8.

School is right around the corner and time once again has
become a commodity.  However, making quick and healthy
 meals is not so much a challenge.  Our friends at
Cento Fine Foods have great recipes and all these
ingredients can be found in our stores.  So get ready for
school and get ready for a healthy year for you and your family...