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22 Meal Ideas with Pesto

22 Meal Ideas with Pesto

Every year, I wait patiently for the basil to be big enough to make my first batch of pesto. To me, it’s the taste of summer. But, we all know that around this time of the summer, you are suddenly drowning in basil. I like […]

My Easy Christmas Dinner Menu

My Easy Christmas Dinner Menu

Don’t get me wrong; I love tradition. But, I don’t let myself be trapped by it. Some people do the same exact tradition every year and that is great for them. But I let myself change my plans based on what is happening that year. […]

How to Recover from Cooking Mistakes

How to Recover from Cooking Mistakes

Last Saturday night, I was having friends over for a happy hour cocktail and a snack. I decided to make the crispy chicken skin appetizer in my blog that I’ve made many times and is a fan favorite along with petite avocado toasts. I planned […]

Host a Happy Hour Party

Host a Happy Hour Party

I always like to consider different ways to have parties. Everyone has the Saturday night dinner party or the Sunday afternoon brunch. But I find that few people have parties for TGIF – the happy hour party! Instead, most people meet up with friends at […]

My Love of Gardening

My Love of Gardening

I can be a total nerd about a lot of stuff, but I’m probably the biggest nerd about gardening. I have a love of gardening that borders on an obsession! I’m not really sure where it came from, although my parents always had a garden […]

The Technique of Mole Sauce

The Technique of Mole Sauce

I can easily remember the first time I had mole sauce. I was living in Washington, DC and my best girlfriend introduced me to it. She was from New Mexico and was the reason I learned about all the great New Mexican foods – green […]

How to Make Pizza at Home

How to Make Pizza at Home

ZA! There is no one on the planet who loves pizza more than me. I eat it at least once a week and, when I was in Italy, it was my lunch every day. I used to only get pizza from the pizzeria until I […]

Survive the Constraints of Holiday Entertaining

Survive the Constraints of Holiday Entertaining

The Holidays!!! We wait all year for the feelings of happiness and festivity. But there is a dark side to the holidays, and I don’t mean that the sun sets at 4:30pm. We have to find a way to survive the constraints of holiday entertaining. […]

One Pumpkin – Three Pumpkin Recipes

One Pumpkin – Three Pumpkin Recipes

#nofoodwaste – That is my mantra. So, when I have a pumpkin, I’m finding a way to use it! You might like to try one or all of these pumpkin recipes – Pumpkin Pizza, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Pumpkin Dog Cookies. Considerations for Pumpkin Recipes […]

How to Make Fresh Pasta at Home

How to Make Fresh Pasta at Home

Believe it or not, I never, ever, ever buy fresh pasta. I always make fresh pasta at home. Why? It’s a ton cheaper, fresher, and all around better tasting. When I see fresh pasta selling for $7 per package, I chuckle. When I make fresh […]

Recipes for Spouses – Cooking while Pregnant

Recipes for Spouses – Cooking while Pregnant

Pregnancy is such a wonderful and special time for a couple. There is so much joy and anticipation of how your life is about to change. For many, getting to this point was a difficult one and there is pride and excitement about the next […]

Deconstruct Sushi and Make Sushi Salad

Deconstruct Sushi and Make Sushi Salad

Is laziness a constraint? Yes, I think it is and I have to admit that I suffer from kitchen laziness at times. Sometimes we are tired, stressed or just plain lazy! It is the lazy gene within me that came up with the idea for […]

The Yearly Return of Peperonata

The Yearly Return of Peperonata

Ah, peperonata. You leave me for months and then you come back to me every summer. I miss you when you are gone and love you when you return. Watch my Chef’s Demo at the Napa Farmers Market where I made Peperonata live. Some foods […]

Summertime Eggplant Parmigiana

Summertime Eggplant Parmigiana

August is a wonderful month. First of all, it is Constrained Gourmet’s birthday month – #Leo! Second, we have a bounty of summer vegetables at their peak. One of my favorite dishes that I only get in August is eggplant parmigiana. I look forward to […]

Summer Panzanella Salad

Summer Panzanella Salad

Tastes like summer! That is how I describe the taste of Panzanella salad. You can only have it one time of the year in the summer. You must have tomatoes at their peak, the freshest cucumbers and basil. Although I wish I could eat it […]

How to Make Breakfast Tacos

How to Make Breakfast Tacos

Sometimes in life, the constraints start first thing in the morning! I stumbled across how to make breakfast tacos one morning when I  was mulling over the breakfast options without having any english muffins, sliced bread or bagels and I saw a big stack of […]

Fast and Easy Asian Noodles

Fast and Easy Asian Noodles

I LOVE ASIAN NOODLES! You know by now that I love all pasta, but Asian noodles are a craving of mine. Especially in the summer, when the heat is scorching, these noodles are simple, fast, refreshing and light. These Asian noodles are perfect for a […]

Frico with Farmers Market Pesto

Frico with Farmers Market Pesto

I love constraining myself by making meals solely from the Farmers Market. Where I live, the Napa Farmers Market is absolutely delightful! It showcases the bounty we have in our farms in Northern California and is a nice community event where you see your neighbors, […]

Too Many Strawberries Recipe for Jam

Too Many Strawberries Recipe for Jam

This is the lazy person’s constraint for ‘too many strawberries recipe’. If you are like me, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. This was the case when I arrived home from the farmers market with an entire flat of strawberries for two people. I […]

Constrained by Bias – Greek Wine

Constrained by Bias – Greek Wine

We all have bias. It’s impossible to say that you have none, although many of us try very hard to recognize our biases. My bias toward Greek wine started early in my life. I remember my Venetian mother sparring in a (mostly) friendly banter with […]

No Skillet Grilled Cheese

No Skillet Grilled Cheese

Everyone knows how to make grilled cheese, right? It’s super easy – you just slather bread with butter, cover with cheese and toast in a skillet. Why would I give you a recipe for grilled cheese? Well, I came up with this recipe while I […]

Open That Bottle Night

Open That Bottle Night

This is one of my favorite constraints! Making a food and wine pairing around OTBN or Open That Bottle Night. You have to guess what the wine will taste like and make a meal around opening old bottles that your friends bring from their cellars […]

A Memorable Italian Lunch

A Memorable Italian Lunch

Some years ago, I went on the most memorable trip of my life. And, I had the most memorable meal of my life. It all started in Venice…. You see, my mother is from Vicenza, Italy and she met my dad when he was drafted […]

Wine-braised Sausage Sugo Pizza

Wine-braised Sausage Sugo Pizza

I came up with the idea for sausage sugo pizza for the Put a Ring on It dinner while gabbing with my girlfriend on the phone. She gave me a really good constraint and challenged me! She called me to talk about a menu and […]

Moving – The Ultimate Constraint

Moving – The Ultimate Constraint

I just moved. And I did not easily move. I moved during the holidays, with 40 days notice, and to a house half the size. I did this while fighting the flu, packing, harvesting our olive grove and finding a rental house that would take 2 […]

Constrained by Crispy Chicken Skin

Constrained by Crispy Chicken Skin

I am usually constrained to make this recipe because it’s actually hard to get chicken skin. You can’t buy it at the store and I never have any leftover. I really wish I had thought of this myself. It is one of the most creative, […]

Constrained to Get the Most Famous San Francisco Focaccia

Constrained to Get the Most Famous San Francisco Focaccia

If you live anywhere around San Francisco, you know about Liguria Bakery. Or maybe you’ve visited our beautiful city by the bay and got to taste their focaccia while you were here. It is simply the best San Francisco focaccia! The bakery is located in […]

Election Day 2016 Wine Tasting Party

Election Day 2016 Wine Tasting Party

Election Day 2016 is in a few weeks! Some of us have election fatigue, while others of us are excited about the culmination of the campaigns. Whatever group you fall into, this calls for a party! I’ve devised a wine tasting party for election results […]

Dog Cookies

Dog Cookies

The fall just begs for baking! Don’t forget about your canine friends while you make cookies for yourself. Make dog cookies for them, too! It is really important to know the ingredients in your dog’s food and especially, where it is made. If you don’t […]

Constrained by Wildlife

Constrained by Wildlife

I moved to the Mayacamas mountains in Sonoma County wine country six years ago. It was a very big change for me. We moved here from Washington, D.C. Our house was in a very nice neighborhood called Cleveland Park. Nevertheless, we had 3,000 vehicles per […]

Drowning in Basil – A Pesto Recipe

Drowning in Basil – A Pesto Recipe

I have a confession. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach. Case in point: every year, I always plant more in my garden than a normal person can use. But, being the Constrained Gourmet, resourcefulness is one of my guiding principles. So I have […]

Constrained by Duck Confit Tacos

Constrained by Duck Confit Tacos

Duck confit tacos?! Really?! Yes, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. On our Taco Tuesday Series, we continue to raise the bar with interesting and different ingredients. Duck confit is about as different as you can get. Add in some goat cheese, tender greens […]

Constrained with Turkey Tacos

Constrained with Turkey Tacos

You must absolutely try making turkey tacos with turkey wings. I promise, you will love it and it’s gourmet enough to impress any guest. In this video, I give you two recipes for turkey wing tacos with mole and with avocado and coleslaw. Make Taco Tuesday […]

Constrained by Vegetarian Tacos

Constrained by Vegetarian Tacos

If you’ve never had vegetarian tacos, you will not believe how amazing these are and you won’t miss the meat at all! In fact, my husband who is a former football player, only ate Tacos al Pastor before, and now requests that I make these […]

Constrained Cooking Oxtail Tacos

Constrained Cooking Oxtail Tacos

If you’ve never had oxtail tacos, you are in for a huge awakening of your palate and your mind! I love making tacos from unique ingredients, not the boring steak, pork or chicken at every tacqueria. I really enjoy thinking about how to make something […]