Saturday, November 24, 2012

Free ebook today!!

In honor of Small Business Saturday, my ebook, The Queen of Minor Disasters, is available for FREE on amazon!
Get it here

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Queen of Minor Disasters

Hello everyone!
I know it has been so long ( over a year!) since I posted, but I'm back with a big announcement!
My ebook, The Queen of Minor Disasters is available on Amazon now.
The Queen of Minor Disasters is a fast, fun, chick-lit novel with recipes!
 Get it here

About the book
 Stella DiLucio is the master of fixing other peoples’ problems. After all, the sassy twenty-seven- year old manages her brother Lorenzo’s restaurant on the Jersey Shore. With the help of a little “Food Therapy” Stella can evade meddling mothers, face frenemies, confuse gossiping locals, and smooth out family conflicts, all while keeping a smile on her face. But when Stella gets thrown a major curve ball, her life starts to unravel. Will the queen of minor disasters be able to set her own life straight?

Join Stella as she deals with her quarter-life crisis, runs the family business, and ultimately figures out what she wants in life. Full of unexpected twists and turns, outlandish characters, and inspiring recipes, this laugh-out-loud novel will take you behind the scenes of the restaurant business, whetting your appetite, and making you beg for seconds.

About the Author
Antonietta Mariottini has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Rutgers University and has taught writing at the high school and college levels. Before writing this book, she managed her brother's restaurant for seven summers. She is now a proud stay-at-home mom who writes when her baby is sleeping. This is her first novel.
For more info, please visit or

Where to buy it
Get The Queen of Minor Disasters as an ebook on Amazon for just $2.99

Don’t have a Kindle?
You can read this and other Kindle books on your computer, smart phone or tablet by downloading the free Kindle App from Amazon

Friday, September 23, 2011

Still Summer Salad

Has it cooled down where you live?
Here in Texas it has ( instead of being in the 100's we are now in the nice cool 90's). So it's clear, September is still summer, even if the official first day of Fall is today.
Truth be told, I'm enjoying the "summer" more now than I did in July. It's still unbearably hot, but now the mornings carry a nice cool breeze and the evenings aren't so sticky. Plus, I can actually go swimming without feeling like I'm sitting in a bath tub ( always a plus).

So since summer is still in full swing ( regardless of what the calendar says) I figure this salad is pretty perfect. It has the color and crunch that we crave when the weather is down right hot, and has the perfect lemony tang that makes you want to sit in the shade.

Even if it's getting colder where you are, you'll still want to try this one out. One bite, and you'll be back on the beach.

Summer Salad

adapted from a recipe by Giada Di Laurentis

Serves 2

1/2 pound of sugar snap peas
2 large cucumbers, peeled
2 large tomatoes ( I used Roma, but any type will do)
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Blanch the snap peas in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately immerse the peas in an ice bath. This will keep them crunchy.
2) Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers. Combine with drained sugar snap peas in a large bowl. Top with salt and pepper. Toss
3) In a separate bowl, whisk oil and lemon juice together. Pour over salad. Toss and enjoy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

a new recipe and a big announcement

This time I have a valid reason for my absence.
Drumroll please......
I'm pregnant!!!!
We found out right when we got home from Greece, and even before the doctor confirmed it, I was feeling the woes of the first trimester full force.
Most nights I shied away from cooking, but on the rare event that I did turn on the stove it was only to make bland white rice, or eggs. Sometimes a sandwich or two would sneak into the pregnancy repertoire, but certainly not one worth mentioning ( because you all probably make a better grilled cheese than I do).
And that's how it went for three months.

Then, last month I visited my family in New Jersey and satisfied all of my pregnancy cravings which could not be fulfilled in Texas ( namely a Philly soft pretzel and an Italian pastry from south Philadelphia.) My mom even make me a treat which I hadn't had since I lived in Rome-white pizza topped with zucchini flowers, anchovies, and mozzarella. It didn't last long enough to take a picture though.

Being around all the great food, great family, and great friends made me my nausea disappear. And once I felt better, my brother Luciano put me to work at his restaurant at the Jersey shore.

Of course, there were many perks to working there. One night, Luciano created this fusilli pasta special that I devoured. When I came back to Texas I couldn't wait to recreate it for Gian Luca.
The verdict- it's a winner!

Fusilli with sausage and porcini mushrooms

serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed
12 dried porcini mushrooms, diced
1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 pound of fresh fusilli pasta ( dry will work too)

1)rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in one cup of warm water for 30 mins. Save the water.
2) Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and simmer until golden brown. Remove the garlic.
3) Add sausage into the pan and break it up into pieces with your spatula. Allow sausage to brown and then add the reserved porcini water and mushrooms.
4) Add the diced tomatoes and lower the heat, allowing the sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes.
5) Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente.
6) Add the pasta into the saucepan and toss until the pasta is coated.
7) Add grated pecorino and chopped parsley to taste.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

where I've been

Hello Blog friends-
For starters, my apologies for disappearing for over 2 months!
One minute I was counting down to my 30th birthday and the next minute it's June 9th...
So just to recap what's been going on over the past two months-
I've been grading papers and wrapping up the semester-
Writing, sending to agents, and waiting-
taking care of our new Kitten-- (an adorable rescue named Schiuma)
and vacationing in Crete!

But now we're back in Texas and ready to roll. I promise some Greek recipes soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

6 days to the Big 3-0

As if the Bronx wasn't culturally diverse ( and sometimes shocking) enough, I decided, as a Sophomore in college, to go to Jamaica.

Now, I know what you're thinking-- who cares, a lot of college students go to Jamaica for spring break.

But my trip was vastly different. Instead of staying in a resort in Ochos Rios or Negril, my group stayed in a dorm in Kingston.

This trip was not about lavish beaches, tanning by a pool, or dancing until the early hours in the morning. This trip was about serving others.

Fordham University had a student run group called Global Outreach, whose main purpose was to organize volunteer trips during winter or spring break. I liked the sound of that, and while I wasn't brave enough to apply to the trip in India or Africa, I did muster up the courage to apply to Jamaica.

After a series of interviews, I was chosen to spend two weeks of winter break in Kingston with the eleven other students who made the "team". To prepare for the trip we met once weekly to talk about things we would encounter, to reflect on our week, to pray, and to organize the details. Only one girl had been to Kingston before, and she offered all the advice she could give.
But nothing could really prepare us for what we'd see. Jamaica is a third world country and was, at that time, engulfed in civil unrest. ( In fact, ours was the last trip to Kingston, as the city is too dangerous).

But amidst the crime, the poverty, images of starving children in the streets, and the sweltering heat, was one of the most touching moments of peace and beauty in my life.
We were blessed to work with the Missionaries of Charity in Kingston, and just seeing how these sisters devoted their lives helping the poor was overwhelmingly beautiful.

The residents in the Home for the Dying and Destitute were mostly older people, picked up off the streets and brought in the shelter for their dying days. But instead of fear and dismay, the walls were filled with love, laughter, and songs.

In addition to the Missionaries of Charity, we volunteered at a grade school, helping the teachers and principal with the lessons.
To thank us, the teachers threw us a dinner party, full of Jamaican favorites, including Akee and Saltfish, the dish they were raving about for days before the dinner.

As we were getting ready for the dinner, I remember feeling guilty for even having a party. It seemed odd to me to want to party after all we had seen there. When I told this to our group leader she replied, " you need to accept the gifts you're given."
So I did.

ACKEE AND SALTFISH (COD) RECIPE- Photo and recipe taken from here

Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish. This recipe is Americanized but still delivers great taste.


Serves: 4

1 Can of ackee, drained
1/2 lb boneless salt cod
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper skin finely chopped up
1 small tomato, chopped
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 sweet pepper chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Recipe by ©

Soak the salt cod in a pot of water overnight to remove most of the salt. If the cod is still very salty, boil in water for 20 minutes. Drain cod and cut or break into small pieces.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the onions, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper, tomato, tomato paste and green peppers. Stir for a few minutes. Add the cod. Stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the can of drained ackee. Do not stir because this will cause the ackees to break up. Cook for a few more minutes then sprinkle with black pepper.

Best served with bammy, roast breadfruit, fried or cooked dumplings, or fried or cooked plantains, cooked yams and Jamaican sweet potatoes.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

7 days to the big 3-0

I turn 30 on April 1st- but it's no laughing matter. Even though I've started an official countdown with this post and part of me is looking forward to my thirties, another slightly larger part of me is dreading it.
After giving it much thought, I realized why.
I loved my twenties.
I mean really really loved them.
Obviously there were the big things: graduations, career accomplishments, marriage. And these milestones really made my twenties shine.
But I can sum up the essence of my twenties in one word: travel.

My twenties took me to places I dreamed about ( ahem, Roma) and other places I'd never thought I'd go (Hello Minneapolis) so I've decided to dedicate this countdown to some of the places near and dear to my heart.
Of course, I'll include the food that will always always always take me back to that place:

So we'll start in a place where probably none of you want to go- but that I dreamed of as a teenager: The Bronx

I moved to the Bronx when I was 18 to attend Fordham University, and though I wasn't yet in my twenties, I did start the decade there, so it's only fair to dedicate at least one post to the "Boogie Down".

Unlike other freshman, I was armed with knowledge- my brother Joe went to Fordham four years earlier, and gave me the best brotherly advice possible- "Go to Pizza Mike's".
So while other freshmen sat in the cafeteria on our first night, I led a small group of new friends down Webster Avenue to get what would be the first of many Sicilian slices.

But any Fordham Alum will tell you that most late night- vodka infused debates stemmed from one topic-- who has the best pizza?
While Mike's is a strong contender, Pugsley's usually wins in the end.
A quick Google search confirmed that both are still in business and, as this is a Thursday night, I'm sure some undergrads are frequenting one of the local bars and trying to decide which pizza to consume at 3,4,or 5 am.
Even though I always preferred Mike's thick pizza- which was the main culprit of the notorious freshman fifteen that I packed on ( and didn't lose until my mid twenties)-- Pugsley's stole my heart for an entirely different reason: their chicken rolls.

Picture this folks: a chicken parm wrapped in pizza dough and baked in the oven. Enough said.

And while I don't have a recipe, or a photo, you can use your imagination on this one. If by chance you ever find yourself in the Bronx, you might just want to make your way to Pugsley's for one. Just take the D train to Fordham Road and follow the hoards of students, they'll steer you in the right direction.