Tag Archives: cooking

Welcome to Ciao Fiore!

Che piacere vederti! How nice it is to see you!
Benvenuto Amici!
Welcome Friends!

Welcome to the Grand Opening of Ciao Fiore! An enchanting outdoor ristorante on the Mediterranean Coast featuring alfresco dining in an ambrosial garden. Chefs Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!, Debi from Table Talk, and Lori Lynn from Taste With The Eyes are collaborating and cooking together in a virtual Italian cucina to create a captivating five-star four-course meal enhanced with edible flowers and herbs dal giardino.

Il Menu

Ricotta Fresca, Arugula Flowers
Roasted Vegetables
Italian Sausages and Prosciutto
Assorted Breads and Focaccia
Giardiniera – Pickled Vegetables and Olives
Mixed Greens with Nasturtium Flowers

Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto

Pan-Seared Branzino with Cucumber Salmoriglio
Over a Wild Arugula Salad with Cannellini Beans & Feta
Garnished with Borage Blossoms

Lavender & Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Strawberry Caviar
Chocolate Arancini and Pistachio Creme Anglaise
Garnished with Micro Flowers

(please click on the menu heading for complete recipes of all the menu items)

Relax and Enjoy the View

To begin your experience here at Ciao Fiore! we’d like you to offer you a glass of Prosecco infused with our wild hibiscus flowers. Then, at your leisure, help yourselves to the fabulous offerings on the antipasti tavola. Don’t miss our ricotta fresca, try this fresh cheese on the homemade bread with roasted peppers, sprinkled with peppery arugula flowers. Please have at seat on the terrace at the seaside table and enjoy the view of the sparkling blue Mediterranean while you relax and savor the first course.

Antipasti Tavola
Seaside Table
Arugula Flowers
Ricotta Fresca
Prosecco Infused with Wild Hibiscus
Blue Hibiscus

We hope you enjoyed the first course with-a-view at Ciao Fiore! Now if you’ll please follow me to your table in the garden area where we’ll be serving the primo and dolce courses. Watch your step. As we stroll through our gardens you’ll notice all the various flowers and herbs that grace our menu. Chefs Norma, Debi, and Lori Lynn are passionate about using the beautiful color, texture, and flavor of edible flowers to enhance every dish.

To the Garden...
Garden Table
Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto

For the risotto our Chef says that the aromas of citrus plus floral make for a heady perfume. She adds just a hint of rose water plus a chiffonade of “passionate kisses” rose petals to transform this creamy citrus risotto into a blissful dish.

Our Meyer Lemon Tree
Pan-Seared Branzino, Cucumber Salmoriglio, Borage

Fresh from the sea pan-seared fillets are served with salmoriglio, a Sicilian fish sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs. For our Grand Opening, this particular version of the classic sauce is enhanced with Meyer lemon confit, red chiles, cucumber, and Castelvetrano olives.

Fishing Boat off the Coast

Our Chefs feel fortunate to have fresh-caught fish delivered to our restaurant daily. It’s simply not possible to get branzino any fresher than here at Ciao Fiore!

Borage Blossoms to Mirror the Color of the Sea
Borage & Lavender
Maso Canali Pinot Grigio

Our Sommelier at Ciao Fiore! recommends enjoying the primo course with a crisp dry white wine. She suggests a Maso Canali 2009 Pinot Grigio from Trentino’s finest hillside vineyards. It’s well-balanced with light citrus aromas, fresh acidity, and a long clean finish.

Ciao Fiore! Edible Gardens
Dessert Plate

Our Pastry Chef adds frozen chocolate ganache to the center of a risotto ball before rolling it in bread crumbs and frying. Once out of the oil, these arancini are rolled in a mixture of cocoa powder and sugar. The warm chocolate center spills out like lava with the first bite. They are pretty amazing.

Lavender & Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Strawberry Caviar

By employing molecular cooking techniques our Pastry Chef transforms her strawberry sauce into strawberry caviar, tiny micro pearls that burst in the mouth. She flavors the creamy mascarpone panna cotta with the bountiful lavender in our the garden.

Micro Flowers
Chocolate Arancini and Pistachio Creme Anglaise

The Pistachio Creme Anglaise gives the plate a nutty warmth which brings the dessert elements together. It is really nice with a spoonful of the panna cotta, and equally enjoyable as a dip for the chocolate arancini.

Would you care for a cappuccino to sip alongside your dessert course? The garden setting at Ciao Fiore! is tranquil, here we hope you will savor all that the Mediterranean Coast has to offer. Feel free to linger just a little while longer…

Arrivederci! Thank You for Visiting Ciao Fiore!

Ciao Fiore! is a Virtual Restaurant
participating in
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group “Restaurant Wars” Competition

Links to all the competing restaurants will be posted Friday (here).


My Visit to the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville

If you read my last post, or follow me on twitter, you know I was in Louisville, Kentucky last week visiting the GE Monogram Experience Center with a great group of food bloggers from around the country. Some of those bloggers were people I felt like I already knew from all of our interactions through social media and had been dying to meet IRL…

This is Coryanne Ettiene of Housewife Bliss

And then there were some of those bloggers I did not know at all before this trip and now feel like we’ve been friends forever…

My new partner in crime, Sarah of 20SomethingCupcakes.


I have to say, I was familiar with the slogan “GE We bring good things to life”, but I had no idea they were involved in manufacturing so many things; from light bulbs to airplane components and everything in between! We were brought in to learn specifically about the Monogram line of appliances GE has to offer in their high end category.

Our time was broken into segments of classroom time, where we learned about the specs and features of each appliance, and then we got to head into the kitchen and gets some hands on experience.

The fully integrated refrigerators are pretty unique in that they offer a full sized drawer that can go from refrigeration to freeze and back again, giving you the option to use either feature when you need it. How cool is that?

The under cabinet Ice Maker (aka the bourbon ice maker) makes a continuous cycle of fresh ice, in perfect little squares; just right for cocktails, and perfect for people like me who love to entertain (and drink cocktails).

Well,  and of course we had some fun during our time outside of the Monogram Experience Center… our visit to the 21C Hotel which hosts an art gallery and  trendy bar, was the perfect spot for us to hang together on our first night.

As I mentioned earlier, we got to put on our aprons and break into teams (I’m pictured above with my teammates Isabel of Family Foodie & Coryanne of Housewife Bliss) to test out the appliances and participate in an Iron Chef competition (right up our ally!).  For the chive potato cakes that I made, I took advantage of the speed cooking opportunities that the Advantium oven offers. I needed to cook 2 pounds of red potatoes before I could mash them and shape them into cakes, so I popped them into the Advantium and 5 minutes later they were ready! The Advantium offers multi-level cooking: Speedcook, True European Convection, sensor microwave, and warming. My team rallied together in this 50 minute challenge and ended up in a tie for 1st place!

GE knew what a group of foodies would want to do in our down time, so they took us on a visit to Bourbon Barrel Foods  where we got to sample some of their amazing bourbon smoked sugar and other goodies (yes, that is bourbon lemonade in my cup). While there, we also had a tour of a micro brew soy sauce company. A lot of love goes into brewing soy sauce in small batches, and it sure pays off; it was fantastic!

A trip to Louisville would not be complete without a trip to Churchill Downs. So on our last day, that’s exactly what we did. Attending the Kentucky Derby in a pretty dress and fancy hat is still on my bucket list, so I will have to go back!

Thank you to GE for such an informative look at your kitchen appliances, and for sharing your charming city with all of us.

Here is a list of my food blogging friends that attended this event with me. Be sure to check them out—I miss them already!

Brenda from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
Molly and Caitlin from Cooking with Caitlin
Coryanne from Housewife Bliss
Heather from Farm Girl Gourmet
Lisa of With Style and Grace
Brian of A Thought for Food
Maggy from Three Many Cooks
Irvin of Eat the Love
Teri and Jenny from Spoon Fork Bacon
Isabel at Family Foodie
Jenn at Foodess
Cynthia from The Daily Basics
Sarah from 20 Something Cupcakes
Kris from Young Married Chic


Grilled Bruschetta with Asparagus and Parmesan Recipe

When  Jaden Hair of  Steamy Kitchen offered a guest spot on her site, you can image how excited I was!

I’ve shared a recipe for Grilled Bruschetta with Asparagus and Parmesan from my new book, Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Cookbook.

Jaden is also giving away a copy to one lucky winner!

Continue reading the post over at Steamy Kitchen and enter to win