Tag: Pittsburgh food

Perfectly Fall Pear Salsa!

A salsa does not have to be chunky tomatoes scooped up with crispy salty tortilla chips. Although delicious, the components of a traditional salsa can be used to make something new! So let’s see…a fruit, onion, chili peppers, and of course a cheese! The habanero has a fruity flavor if you can take the heat and pairs really well with a fruit based salsa.

Most recently, we ate this salsa chilled, alongside beautiful butternut squash wedges that were seasoned with lime and spicy sweet flavors. You can also prepare this recipe warm! Just put some oil in a pan and add the goat cheese last! I love a fruit salsa with a beautiful piece of fish, like salmon! Not sure? Trust me this is delicious!


Pear Salsa
2 pears, chopped (squeeze a little lemon so they don’t brown)
1/2 of 1 small red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small habanero or poblano pepper, finely chopped
1- 2 lemons, squeezed approx. 4 tbsp.
2 tbsp. your favorite honey, (Right now I looooove The Wright Stuff)
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro or parsley
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese


In a mixing bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Add pears, onion, pepper, garlic, cilantro, and salt and pepper.
Mix to coat.
Add crumbled goat cheese and carefully stir.
Serve chilled.


Walleye Tacos With a Roasted Corn Peach Salsa!

My neighbors are awesome fishermen and who do you think gets a bag of fresh caught fish after the trip? The neighborhood food blogger of course. Ha! Thank you so much! The fresh walleye I was given this week soaked up the marinade beautifully and made a delicious base for some fresh fish tacos.


I made a totally amazing roasted corn and peach salsa by cutting spicy pan roasted corn on the cob off the cob and adding the sweet flavors of a diced peach, a small onion, and a handful of chopped chives. Fresh squeezed lime juice pulled it all together!


Seriously, Pittsburgh might just have a new “thing”…fish tacos!
Fish tacos are most definitely one of my favorite dishes to order out in Pittsburgh.  Believe it or not,  many of our restaurants have nailed a fabulous fish taco entreé! Some of my favorites…Penn Avenue Fish Company, Kaya, Täkõ, and Round Corner Cantina. All totally exceptional! Of course I make them at home, too!


Walleye Fish Tacos
1-1/2 lb. raw walleye fillets
1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin



Cube raw walleye.


Mix lime juice, cilantro, chili powder, and cumin in a mixing bowl.

Add walleye cubes, coat with marinade and refrigerate.


Heat a pan and cook walleye cubes until just cooked through- pink turns white and flake with a fork.

Roasted Corn and Peach Salsa
2 corn on the cob
1 peach, chopped
2 pats butter
2 tsp. cayenene pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp.cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 lime


Roast buttered corn in a pan or on the grill until desired doneness.
Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Cut corn off the cob after it cools a bit.


Add onion, chives, cilantro or parsley to corn.


Squeeze the juice of one lime into bowl.

Fish Taco Sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. sriracha

Mix together and add more or less sriracha to taste


Build your taco with your favorite flour tortilla.
Add the roasted corn and peach salsa, and top with sriracha sauce.



Sushi 101!


I totally love sushi! Beautiful colorful sushi rolls, the variety of fresh fish, and the artistic presentation most definitely put sushi making into the art category. Having never attempted to making sushi myself, last week I had the opportunity to take a Sushi making class- part of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program.

My first roll ever! Ahhh!



The talented Chef Aaron Hoover led the class by demonstrating and explaining each step. I attended with my food blogger friend Tasha from The Food Tasters Pittsburgh. We started with the sushi, the rice.


So sushi rice, a Japanese rice, is cooked, then mixed with a heated vinegar- sugar -salt mixture. The mixture is added while the rice is being fanned to cool it down to create a shiny rice.


We each had our own stations set-up and prepped with cutting boards, knives, sushi must-haves (pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi), and mixing bowls with bright vegetables and fish to add to our sushi rolls.


We chopped a few of the vegetables with Chef Aaron’s instruction. It’s always really cool to see how a pro chef chops a bell pepper. Bonus! You don’t even need to pick out the seeds his way. Just chop the sides of the pepper on the indents leaving the top, all of the seeds, and fleshy middle in tact as the waste. Voila! Awesome!


We made various types of sushi, maki, futomaki, temaki, nigiri, and gunkan sushi. A bamboo rolling mat was provided and we got to take it home!




Inside Out Rolls look so beautiful! Especially with the addition of some black sesame seeds.
I know super fancy, right?

Cones – Temaki Sushi




We even learned how to prepare miso soup! By including stories of Japanese culture, explaining Japanese cooking ingredients, and making the sushi class fun, Chef Aaron was a great instructor. I loved this class and can’t wait to explore other new genres of cooking! Cajun, Creole, and Chinese to name a few! We ate and took home a ton of sushi, recipes, and instructions!


The best part for me…we didn’t have to clean up! HA! Just cook and take your sushi home, leaving the mess.

Other offerings include photography, art, and fashion!
Check out The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program!

Does your city offer these “creative” classes? I would love to hear about it!


I was invited to attend the Art Institute’s Get Creative Sushi Class free of charge.  All thoughts in this article are my own. You know me- If I don’t have anything nice to say, I don’t say anything at all.

Vegetarian Mexican Manicotti!

Most nights, dinner at our house is an unplanned fridge raid pantry raid mashup. Sometimes I’m missing an ingredient that I want to use and dinner morphs into something a little different. So the day I didn’t have tortillas, but I did have manicotti shells? Yep, Mexican Manicotti… and it is totally delish!


By making a sweet but spicy pineapple jalapeño salsa base, the stuffed manicotti shells can actually be cooked right in a large saucepan. No need to turn on the oven, this light, vegetarian, perfect-for-summer meal is sure to be a family favorite! The dish even looks beautiful. The colors create an amazing presentation!


Shhhhhhhh! Packed with powerful vitamins and protein, Mexican Manicotti is super healthy, too!!

Vegetarian Mexican Manicotti
(makes 12)

1 8oz.box (12) of your favorite manicotti shells- boiled until al dente
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1 medium jalapeño pepper , chopped
1/2 cup black beans- soaked and boiled or canned beans, drained
1-1/2 cup shredded cheese- monterey jack and cheddar blend (1/2 filling 1/2 topping)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (1/2 filling 1/2 topping)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chopped green onions
salt/pepper to taste


Drain manicotti and let dry on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil to keep them from sticking.


In a large saucepan, combine canned tomatoes, garlic, crushed pineapple, and chopped jalapeños.


In a mixing bowl, combine black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Gently stir to mix well.


Carefully fill manicotti shells with black bean mixture.


Place filled manicotti shells in sauce pan – 1 inch apart.


Cover with pineapple salsa from bottom of pan.

Cook 8-10 mins. until bubbly.

Cover with cheese and cook an additional 5 mins. until melted.


Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro and serve!

This recipe is soooooo great you probably won’t have leftovers…We never do!!



A Family Feast ! Sarafino’s Restaurant

One day I had a meeting at a little Italian restaurant in Crafton. I asked, as I typically do, “What is your most popular dish?” The server responded, “Well, the beans and greens, the homemade gnocchi, the pizza, everything is great!” Of course, the table ordered all of it to share.


When the dishes started arriving I couldn’t believe it. The beans and greens were perfect! Big chunks of sausage with a little kick. The homemade gnocchi- fork marks and all-were little pillows of heaven coated with red sauce and clinging crumbs of fresh grated Parmesan cheese.




“Everything was fantastic,” I told Joe Caliguire, Sarafino’s owner, a humble man who behind his smile knew I would be totally blown away by his restaurant’s “lunch.”


Caliguire recently traveled to Luca, Italy to gain more culinary knowledge and to cook with a family in their restaurant. When he got back he hosted a special tasting party for family and friends. I was lucky to be included!
Family and friends meant a traditional Sunday Supper set-up…

…long tables with close place settings, food served family style, and one hundred loud, passionate conversations happening all at once! I had the pleasure of sitting with some of my faves! Pennies Pints Pittsburgh, TheFoodtastersPittsburgh, yajagoff, everybody loves you, and the great Rick Seback!

A special day for the Caliguire family!




Sarafino’s is BYOB so we had plenty of wine and beer to accompany our 10 course meal. Yes, 10!

Here were a few of my favorites!
Grilled Artichokes With Lemon!

Stewed Squid Bruschetta

Homemade Pasta With Braised Rabbit

Not to mention…Soup, Pizzas, Chicken liver páte over polenta squares, penne with mint prosciutto and Parmesan, stewed wild boar over polenta, and roasted pork with rosemary potatoes!

Poached Fruit with IceCream and Biscotti! It’s too bad we had nothing to drink ; )


Visit Sarafino’s! One of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets! Take a bottle of wine and tell Joe I sent you!


40 East Crafton Ave.
Crafton, PA

Lemon Basil Squares!

I am my grandma. Lemon dessert obsessed. Of course bright lemon yellow is her favorite color…”the apple doesn’t fall too far” is too true. Spring brings it out in me. I crave lemon meringue pie, lemon salad dressings, lemon chicken!
Salads doused in lemon juice are the most refreshing spring/summer salads! I just made a beautiful Greek salad this week!


Lemon squares rank pretty high on the refreshing dessert list and are easy to make! My recipe makes a 9X13 pan, just sprinkle some powdered sugar, cut into squares, and enjoy a beautiful, delicious dessert! This time I added finely chopped basil for an element of surprise!

The addition of the basil’s green color added a crispness and a pop of color to the plain lemon squares. The flavor is incredible! Super sweet and lemony with a pop of savory! Delish!


Here is the recipe!

Lemon Basil Squares
(Makes one 9X13 pan)

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp. basil, finely chopped(1 tbsp. for sprinkling on top)
2 tbsp. Powdered sugar (also for sprinkling on top)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour 9X13 pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups flour with a wooden spoon until well mixed.

Press mixture into bottom of a greased 9X13 pan.


Bake crust for 12-18 minutes until set and golden.

Meanwhile, whisk together filling ingredients.


Pour filling over baked base and return to the oven for 18-20 mins.

Let cool.

Sprinkle with remaining chopped basil and powdered sugar.


Enjoy the lemony deliciousness!

NEW Market St. Grocery Store Opens Downtown Tomorrow!

Driving to McKnight Road, The Waterfront, or Eeek! Mt. Lebanon in rush hour traffic, all because the Strip closes at 4:30 and where else can you buy food?? It’s the downtown Pittsburgh grocery nightmare…


Downtowners know it well and Ralph Falbo is the superhero who took the old Ciao Baby restaurant location and turned it into a hot and trendy downtown grocery stop. With Vallozzi’s owners and Pittsburgh’s blessing, Market Square’s Market Street will house the first downtown grocery store in five years.

Maybe pick up some wine and cheese for the evening in Market St. Grocery’s wine bar!

Is it a grocery store? Like produce, pasta, cheese? Yes. With perks! Like a wine bar, and a French pastry shop…Yes! It needs to be as fabulous as downtown Pittsburghers!? Right? Hello!!


My favorite part of Market St. Grocery is the French pastry shop Gaby et Jules that sits against the front window. The colorful macarons and delicate pastries brighten the store! Perfect for dessert or a treat at the office, the Squirrel Hill based pastry shop is a beautiful and unexpected addition!

If you don’t feel like cooking Chef Michael Lamantia will have many prepared options.




What will the prices be like? I might pay $2 more not to sit in one hour of traffic. Would you?

Enjoy, Pittsburgh!

Market St. Grocery
435 Market Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The stores hours are 7am-9pm. The wine bar will be open later.

Farm To Table Ticket Giveaway! Plus, A Vegan Mexican Beer Chili Recipe!

Pittsburgh’s 9th Annual Farm to Table Conference is right around the corner. This year it is being held on March 27th and 28th at the David Lawrence Convention Center. The two day event will feature speakers, demos, local farmers, kids activities, and a taste of local food!


Spend your Friday Happy Hour at the Friday Night Tasting! Stop in for Breakfast Saturday! There are many ticketing options to meet your needs!

Get your tickets here!

Enter the ticket giveaway HERE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This year’s theme is “Cook At Home,” the first step in your family’s health and wellness journey!

Here is an easy and delicious recipe I prepared at Farm to Table Pittsburgh’s For The Love Of Pittsburgh event in February!


Vegan Mexican Beer Chili
(serves 6-8)

2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 12oz. bottle of your favorite Mexican beer or something lime, jalapeño, chipotle flavored
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 jars Clarion Farm Organics jar tomatoes- 1 32 oz.can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 16oz. bag black beans, cleaned and soaked until plump, or 2-15 oz. cans of you favorite beans, rinsed.
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cumin
3 squeezes of Sriracha
Salt/pepper to taste


Warm olive oil in a large, deep pan.
Add garlic and cook until golden.
Add onion, bell pepper, and beer.
Cook until vegetables soften, but are still crisp.
Add tomatoes and seasonings.
Cook 15-20 more minutes until bubbly.
Add beans and heat through.


Top with scallions, diced onions, a scoop of fresh guacamole, and/or your favorite Mexican toppings!


Farm to Table Pittsburgh will email the tickets to the winner directly! Thank you for entering and supporting Farm to Table, Cook At Home, and Shop Local, Pittsburgh!!

Chicken Pancetta Pan Pasta!

If you are having company at your home this weekend…They are probably going to end up getting snowed in and spending the weekend!

Here in Western PA, the snow and cold have been relentless. The desire to leave the house is about a zero, and pantry- fridge raiding dinners are what’s in! My go-to option is a quick pan pasta!


Depending on the what ingredients you have, your pan pasta can consist of rich vegetables, a meat, and definitely some beautiful greens! Simply boil your favorite fork pasta like penne, bow ties, or even rigatoni. Get the other ingredients cooked in a large pan and toss the pasta to coat! Don’t forget to top with fresh grated Parmesan and/or Locatelli Romano for a beautiful finish!

Chicken Pancetta Pan Pasta
(Serves 4-6)

4 tbsp. Olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup roasted red pepeprs chopped
3 medium 1-1/2 inch chicken breasts, cubed
3 slices of pancetta, chopped small and fried in a pan until crisp
1 lb. of your favorite fork pasta- penne, bow ties, rigatoni, etc.
3 handfuls of fresh spinach



Heat oil in a large deep frying pan.

Add garlic and cook until softened and golden.

Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, drain and toss in pan.

Mix in roasted red peppers and crisp cooked pancetta.

Add spinach and top with fresh grated Parmesan and Locatelli Romano



Have You Eaten Your Breakfast?

How about your Second Breakfast?
If you visit the Pittsburgh Public Market you can!


Head Chef and owner Thomas Wood started his food stand at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District in mid-November.

Wood sees the Public Market as an incubator for start-ups to get off the ground, tweak their business model, and find success. With help from the available Market Kitchen, Wood was able to launch his dream venture named after “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”‘s Second Breakfast.
Wood keeps his ingredients organic, fresh, and local. Many come from other Pittsburgh Public Market vendors, such as Franklin Farms Flour and East End Brewing Company’s beer. Beer for breakfast? As an ingredient, of course!


I ordered Second Breakfast’s
hugely popular Chicken and Waffles. Wood explained his shredded chicken cooking method. First, he renders the fat from Garrett Farms bacon. Then, browns the chicken in the bacon fat, deglazes with East End Brewing Company’s Monkey Girl beer (when not in season Monkey Boy will do), and slow cooks for three hours. Yummmmmm, and that’s just the chicken. Wood prepared a beautiful, homemade waffle while we chatted, and topped it all off with the sweetest maple syrup!

I took two very lady-like-ish bites and discussed the fabulous flavors and textures of the food. Within minutes of driving down Penn Avenue, I opened the to-go box, picked up the syrup and shredded chicken covered waffle with my hands, rolled it up, and devoured the rest. I seriously felt like Buddy from the movie “Elf,” -sticky syrup all over my face, my hands, my steering wheel, and the front of my jacket. Ha!
Got me, Thom! I had my first ever Second Breakfast and I loved it!!


Stop and visit the vendors at the Pittsburgh Public Market and see Thom for your Second Breakfast. Have your own public market vendor idea? Ask some questions!


Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Wednesday 8-4
Thursday 8-7
Friday 8-4
Saturday 9-5
Sunday 8-4