Happy Holidays #TeamFabio !!

First !! I have to thank everyone who created and sent in their challenge photos !! Although everyone cannot be the winner, do not worry !! ALL of the wonderful food challenge photos will be featured on the website soon (I liked them all that much !!)…. I will tell you all about it later !!

But NOW, lets get to business !! For those of you who are new, I will explain exactly how the challenge works!! I, Fabio, give you 5 ingredients, which YOU….will create your own unique dish !! You must use ALL 5 ingredients…and anything else you want !! Yes, anything else YOU want !!

Grand prize winner will receive a full set of the new Bialetti Cookware !! And the runners up will receive the latest Fabio Viviani cookbook !!

Lets get to it !! Here are the ingredients for the 2nd Fabio’s Kitchen Academy
Challenge !!

  • Mozzarella
  • Carrots
  • Ham
  • Pine Nuts
  • Mint

After cooking and before you stuff your face, be sure to take a picture or upload a video of your unique creation, then submit your dish to challenge@fabioviviani.com !! Every entry will be submitted to my Pinterest – Fabio’s Kitchen Academy Challenge #2 where everyone can vote for their favorite dishes by “liking” them !! You have now until January 1st, 2012 to send in your signature dish !! The winners will be announced in my newsletter on January 8th, 2013 !! What better way to start the new year !!

All of #TeamFabio will be able to vote !! Be sure to tell your friends and family to do the same !! ; )

Best of luck to you all & Happy Holidays !!

- Fabio

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 4 comments

For all of you who love cookies…this week is for you !! The first week of December is Cookie Cutter Week, so I am giving you SEVEN cookie recipes. It’s the holidays, you’re allowed to indulge this month : )

This week, I want to talk to you all about brown sugar. It is a very interesting ingredient because it is used very often in both desserts AND meat dishes and other entrees….how ??? I often use this ingredient in my dishes, such as my Italian Meatloaf, Beef Brisket, Pan-Grilled Pork Chops…and of course desserts like Ricotta Fritters, Cinnamon Buns, and Doughnuts.


HOWEVER, don’t you HATE it when you can’t soften the brown sugar ?? Whenever it comes in a bag, it’s often hard and it just annoys people (especially me) when it’s in chunks and unusable. But you know me, I’m here to save the day and save all of your brown sugar problems !! Here are some easy tips to soften your sugar before you use it in your recipes!!


If you don’t need to use the brown sugar immediately:


1) Put the sugar in an airtight container with a slice of fresh bread on top, seal it and leave overnight. It should be soft in the morning! If it isn’t, let it sit another day or two.


2) Put a few drops of water over the hardened chunks of sugar, put it in a sealed plastic bag, and let it sit for a couple days.


3) Put brown sugar in an open container, top it with a moistened cloth or paper towel, and let it sit overnight.


4) Put the sugar in an airtight container with a few apple slices in it. Within a day or two, it will soften- just remember to remove the slices before you use it!


If you need to use the brown sugar immediately:


1) Put the sugar in a container and put it in the microwave with a small bowl full of water next to it. Microwave for 1 minute. If it’s still hard after that…try again for 30 seconds…repeat this until soft. Be careful not to melt the sugar!


2) Put the sugar in a baking pan into the oven at 250 degrees F. After 5 minutes, check it. If it’s still not soft..microwave and check every few minutes until its ready!


3) Put the chunks of sugar in a food processor or blender and chop/pulse it until its ready to use.


4) Put the sugar in a microwave-safe plastic bag and put a moist paper towel in the bag. After you seal the bag, put it in the microwave for 20 seconds…if still not soft, microwave for a few seconds and repeat.



I hope these tips help with your frustration around hardened brown sugar : ) Now you can be HAPPY when using this ingredient !!


Check out my cookie recipes this week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@fabioviviani), and Pinterest. Happy December everyone !

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

Ladies and gentleman ! This week I present you a blog all about NUTRITION…I know when people think Italian food, they think it’s healthy but but too heavy for an everyday diet. I’m here to change that !! This week, all my recipes are healthy Italian dishes that you can fully enjoy without the guilt. However, I always say why not eat rich food in smaller portions ?? Anyways, November is Good Nutrition Month- maybe they think you should eat healthy now in order to stuff your face during the holidays ; ).

 Your body needs many many different nutrients, vitamins and minerals…and to get this, you need to eat foods in all the different categories like grains, vegetables, meat, dairy etc. However, this doesn’t mean you get to go all out and eat anything !! You need to think smart and eat good quality foods. Basically, eat all different kinds of foods, but don’t eat too much of them. Also it is important to exercise : )
Here are some simple nutrition guidelines to follow:
  • Avoid bad fats (saturated, hydrogenated, & partially hydrogenated fats) like animal & dairy fats.
  • Eat good fats (unsaturated fats) like canola oil and olive oil, as well as nuts, seeds, and fish.
  • Choose healthy carbohydrates like veggies, fruit, legumes (lentils, dried beans, split peas), & whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley).
  • Eating refined-grain carbohydrates like white rice, potatoes, & sugars increase blood sugar levels and can lead to diabetes/cardiovascular disease.
  • When choosing a protein, limit red meat and instead eat more nuts, beans, chicken, and fish.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables- this will reduce your chance of many different cancers!
  • Alcohol in moderation is a good thing : )
Like I say, having smaller portions or tastes of rich food isn’t a bad thing…but follow the above guidelines for your day-to-day meals and you will be getting healthy in no time ! You can find this week’s HEALTHY recipes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@fabioviviani), and Pinterest.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

It is one of my favorite American holidays of all-time..THANKSGIVING !! I hope you have been enjoying all of my Thanksgiving recipes so far this month. You have no excuse not to have plenty of dishes to pick from for your meal on Thursday : )

I thought long and hard about what this week’s blog should be about…and I finally landed on exactly what to write !! What’s one ingredient that is in almost everything we cook but isn’t thought of as a MAIN ingredient ?? I’ll give you a hint…it goes with pepper. Yes, you’ve guessed it- SALT !!
Many times you hear people say “add a pinch of salt here,” “add a dash of salt there.” Yes, it’s great for food !! But did you know that salt can be used for so much more ?? Here I tell you a bunch of do-it-yourself easy things that just need salt and a few other ingredients:
1) Kill ant nests- Boil water, mix in salt to make a strong solution, and pour it down a nest. Repeat this over 3 days and pour the solution over the surrounding areas as well to prevent ants from rebuilding the nest.
2) Bathroom mold remover- Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup salt in a spray bottle- shake well before use ! Then spray !
3) Homemade oven cleaner mix- Spray oven with water. Mix together 1 cup baking soda with 1/3 cup table salt and sprinkle it over the water. Spray again with water over the mixture. Leave this overnight and wipe it out the next morning. Finally, scrub oven with hot soapy water.
4) Cracked egg cleanup- The next time an egg lands on the floor, drizzle salt generously over the egg. Wait a few minutes until it’s dry and then it will all sweep up easily ! Make sure not to leave the salt too long- especially around metal parts.
5) Citrus air freshener- Pack salt into a citrus shell for a great fresh scent !
6) Wicker furniture cleaner- Scrub the furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm salt water. The salt will keep the wicker from turning yellow : )
7) Clean grout- Mix 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup vinegar. Rub the mixture into grout with a sponge, leave it for a minute, and wash it clean.
8) Copper cleaner- Clean copper with a mixture of lemon juice and salt.
9) Brass cleaner- Pour vinegar on a clean cloth, sprinkle it with salt, and rub it into the brass.
10) Fern plants reviver- Revive your ferns ! Water them with 1/2 teacup of salt added to six pints of lukewarm water.
Next time you see salt, you’ll now think about how much more you can do with this magical ingredient besides just using it to flavor your food !! Put your salt shaker on the table this Thanksgiving and share your new knowledge with your family and friends. Impress them with all the DIY things you learned : ) Check out my final week of Thanksgiving recipes on my Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Join in on the conversation this week with the hashtag #ThanksgivingByFabio. Enjoy !!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 2 comments

Veteran’s Day is a very special day, it’s a time where we honor all of those in the Armed Services. Yes, I realize this is an American holiday…and while I may not be from America, I love this country with all my heart. Everyone has accepted me for who I am and I have been able to make a life for myself here and truly live the American dream. Thank you for everyone who fights hard for this country and for everyone’s freedom. You all don’t just deserve just one day to be honored and celebrated- every day should be Veteran’s Day.
I know you’re probably thinking, “wow Fabio..so serious !!!” I need to make sure I get this point across since this holiday is a very important one to me !! But don’t worry…I will take this blog into a funnier direction starting…NOW. So we’re celebrating those who fight for America, and what’s more American than American cheese ?? Okay maybe there’s A LOT more American than that…but we all could use some information on one of the greatest cheese categories. A lot of people think there’s just one American cheese (that orange processed one you find in plastic wrapping), but there are many different varieties- and some you already know ! Here is a list of American cheeses, and some that go well with your Thanksgiving meal:

 

Brick- This cheese is molded into a brick shape, made from cow’s milk, and is semi-hard with small irregular holes and an open texture. It is mild, sweet, and buttery tasting when it is young, but it can become spicy and very pungent when it is left to ripen.

 

Cheddar- One of the best known cheeses out there ! It varies greatly from natural white to a very deep orange color. When it’s young, it is smooth and mild…but as it matures, it gets more crumbly in texture and sharper in taste.

Colby- This cheese is made from whole cow’s milk and has a mildly sweet (not savory) flavor. It is best to eat this cheese right after purchasing it, and it is very popular for sandwiches, cooking, and snacking.

ColoRouge- This is a washed rind cheese made from pasteurized whole milk of Jersey and Holstein cows. It develops a unique red-orange-white mottled ring. The inside of the cheese though is soft and creamy and has mild, buttery overtones. As it ages, it becomes more spicy ! Goes great with an American microbrew before or after a meal.

Crowley- This is the only remaining original Vermont cheese ! It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and is much smoother and creamier than Colby/Original Cheddar.

 

Evalon- This is a firm cheese made from goat’s milk. It is sweet and it does NOT have the sour kick at the end that usually turns many people away from goat’s milk cheese. It instead has some hints of chestnuts and mint. Great for Thanksgiving!

 

Frere Fumant- This is a firm sheep’s milk cheese and is smoked, so it is full of herbal flavors and a maple sweetness! This is a another great cheese for your Thanksgiving cheese plate.

 

Grayson- This is a washed-rind cheese from Virginia. A washed-rind cheese is aromatic and pungent. It has a messy orange rind and a dense, sweet flavor. It goes well with Thanksgiving at the end of a big meal & before dessert : )

 

Green Hill- This cheese is very Camembert-like, but it is from Georgia! It is a soft ripened cheese and is full of plant-like flavors which makes it perfect for your Thanksgiving cheese plate.

Jack Cheese- This cheese is buttery and semi-soft and is also knows as Monterey Jack, California Jack, or Sonoma Jack. It can be made from whole, skimmed, or partially skimmed cow’s milk. Unaged Jack is mild and high in moisture and is good for melting. Aged or dry Jack is hard, rich, nutty, and fruity and is used for grating cheese on pastas and salads.

 

Maytag Blue- This cheese was actually made from the son of the Maytag washing machine founder! It is a cylindrical-shaped cheese and is moist yet crumbly in texture. It has a tangy, spicy flavor with a bit of a lemony finish. This cheese is perfect for crumbling into dressings and salads.

 

Purple Haze- This is a light, flaky, and flavorful goat’s milk cheese. It’s seasoned with fennel pollen and lavender- which explains the name. Add this one to your Thanksgiving meal as well!

 

Now that you know some of the cheeses that are native to America and some that are good for Thanksgiving, go out and do a taste test to see which you like !! Maybe even pair it with some great wines (check out my Wine 101 blog). Tweet me your favorite cheeses and how YOU are honoring #VeteransDay today. As always, my recipes for the week can be found on Facebook , Twitter , and Pinterest.

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

Hello America !! This blog is dedicated just for YOU on this election day. Today got me thinking…what if I ran for president ?? Just forget about the rule that you have to be born in this country and have to be 35 years of age. I can’t help that I’m Italian and so young !! Okay maybe I have only one more year to go until I meet the age requirement. If I ran this country I would enforce that everyone eat nutella at least once a day, and cilantro would be completely banned from entering this country !! Only in a perfect world…

 

Chefs live by certain rules, in order to maintain a little bit of sanity in our CRAZY lives. Many people don’t know these rules and I think it’s important for EVERYONE to know them. Here are some chef RULES that all would live by if I became president !! I think that all chefs agree on this set of rules, no matter what political party they belong to ; )

 

Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we !!

 

If we ask what is wrong with your food and you say nothing….we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

 

If you ask a chef a question that you don’t want an answer to…expect an answer you don’t want to hear !!

 

Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are ready to talk about topics such as sex, food, or vacation ; )

 

Chefs are NOT mind readers : )

 

When we have somewhere to go for dinner, ANYTHING you wear is completely fine. Seriously…we will focus mostly on the food.

 

You can ask us to either cook something or tell us how you want it done…NOT both. If you know best how to do it already, then DO IT YOURSELF !!

 

Sweat pants are not a turn on, unless they are REALLY tight. However, pork belly is ALWAYS a turn on.

 

Yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question when we’re in the kitchen. We’re allowed to keep it SHORT.

 

Crying in cooking is blackmail !!

 

Anything we said to you while cooking 6 months ago DOES NOT COUNT in an argument. Any comment made after just two days is null and void !!

 

Cooking is not a hobby and we will NEVER think of it that way.

 

When we cook, it’s a no talk zone- just let it be.

 

We truly do not care about what’s happening with your love life. As long as you’re happy, it’s all we need to hear.

 

If something a chef said can be interpreted two different ways and one of those ways makes you sad or angry….we meant the OTHER one !!

 

If you follow these simple and easy rules, everything will be OKAY in a chef-run country !! When voting today, make sure you keep #FabioForPresident in mind ; ) My recipes this week start the beginning of all my Thanksgiving dishes- I give you one a day until Thanksgiving arrives. So you have NO excuses for not having enough recipes to choose from : ) You can find all my recipes this week on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Nov 2, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 4 comments

Hello to all the ghosts and goblins out there ; ) It is the week of a very spooky holiday…HALLOWEEN !! We don’t have this holiday back in Italy, but I do enjoy scaring my friends and getting to dress up — speaking of which, I don’t have a costume yet !! What should I be ?? Maybe I can dress up like my best friend Richard Blais : )

 When you think of Halloween, 2 things come to mind…the color orange because of the pumpkin and lots of CANDY. My recipes this week are very orange-focused, like carrots and pumpkin and all of that. But, I thought I should give you the lowdown on the temperatures for making your very own candy since it is such an important part of this holiday. Maybe this will just be for yourself on Halloween or maybe you will go to the extreme and be the best neighbor on your block with your very own professionally made candy for trick or treaters. Either way, homemade candy is DELICIOUS !!


You must first make sure that your candy thermometer is accurate or else your candy won’t turn out right !! Place your thermometer in boiling water- it should read as 212 degrees F or 100 degrees C. If the temperature is reading differently, just take the difference into account when you take the temperature while making your candy.


THREAD STAGE: Binding agent for fruit pastes
Will form a fine, thin thread when drizzling a spoonful of sugar over a plate. 223-234 degrees F (106-112 degrees C)


SOFT-BALL STAGE: Fondant, Fudge
Will form a ball that flattens immediately when you press it between your fingers after you drop a spoonful of sugar into ice water. 234-240 degrees F (112-116 degrees C)


FIRM-BALL STAGE: Caramel Candy
Form a ball that stays firm and pliable but is still sticky between your fingers by placing a spoonful of the caramel dropped into ice water. 244-248 degrees F (118-120 degrees C)


HARD-BALL STAGE: Marshmallow
A spoonful dropped into ice water will form a ball that is sticky, yet won’t be pliable. 250-266 degrees F (121-130 degrees C)


SOFT-CRACK STAGE: Taffy
Once dropped into ice water, the syrup can be pulled between your fingers and separated into elastic strands . 270-290 degrees F (132-143 degrees C)


HARD-CRACK STAGE: Barley Sugar
Syrup will solidify when dropped into water. 300-310 degrees F (149-154 degrees C)


LIGHT CARAMEL STAGE: Glazes, coating agent
When poured onto a white plate, the syrup will be a honey-golden color. 320-335 degrees F (169-170 degrees C)


DARK CARAMEL STAGE- Glazes, coating agent
When poured onto a white plate, the syrup will be a deep reddish amber color. Up to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)


Hope you enjoy making your own candy for Halloween this year !! Join in on the conversation about this week’s blog and recipes at @fabioviviani with hashtag #HalloweenByFabio. Make sure to tweet me photos when you make my dishes, I love seeing them !! You can find this week’s recipes on Facebook, @FabioViviani, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

Wednesday, October 24, is United Nations Day !! Because of that, I give you my recipes that are inspired by other countries…some people don’t always like Italian food every day (although I don’t know why they wouldn’t…) !! We will explore the foods of India, America, Spain, Africa, Ireland, and the Caribbean…BOOM.


A few of the dishes I feature this week include a protein I haven’t talked much about…LAMB !! Do you know all about the different cuts ?? Lamb really can be made so many different ways, but sometimes people don’t really know what each way is !! Here is my easy guide to explaining the different lamb cuts so that you can become the top chef in your house ; )


Lamb Shoulder Square Cut Whole: square shaped cut which contains the arm, blade, & rib bones- you usually roast this cut


Lamb Shoulder Blade Chops: cut from the blade portion of shoulder and have the blade bone & backbone – you usually braise, broil, grill, panbroil, or panfry this cut


Lamb Breast: part of the forequarter and contains ribs- you usually braise or roast this cut


Lamb Breast Riblets: cut from the breast & contain ribs with meat and fat in layers; long and narrow cuts that are usually braised or cooked in liquid


Lamb Rib Roast: contains rib bones, backbone, and thick, meaty rib eye muscle; the fell (thin, paperlike covering) is usually removed – usually roast this cut


Lamb Rib Chops: contains backbone and sometimes a rib bone; the chops have a meaty area which consists of rib eye muscle; the outer surface is covered by fat but the fell is removed- usually this cut is broiled, grilled, panbroiled, panfried, roasted, or baked


Lamb Loin Chops- contain part of the backbone; muscles include the eye of the loin and the flank; kidney fat is on the top of the tenderloin & the outer surface is covered with fat but the fell is removed- usually broil, grill, panbroil, or panfry this cut


Lamb Leg Whole:  contains the sirloin section with hip bone and the shank portion with round bone; outside is covered with fell- usually roast this cut


Lamb Leg American-Style Roast: whole leg with the sirloin section removed; contains the same muscles & bones as lamb leg French-style roast, but with the shank removed, the meat folded back into a pocket on the inside of the leg, & fastened with skewers- usually prepared by roasting


Lamb for Stew: consists of meaty pieces of lamb with a small amount of fat, cut into 1 to 2 inch squares- usually braise or cook in liquid


Ground Lamb: contains lean meat and trimmings from the leg, loin, rib, shoulder, flank, neck, breast, or shank- usually prepared by braising, broiling, grilling, panbroiling, panfrying, roasting, or baking


Well there you go !! I impart all of this knowledge onto you so you can go on to do GREAT things with lamb !! Stay tuned for a few of my lamb recipes throughout the week. Go international this week !! Try new things !! Let me know how the recipes turn out…you can tweet me photos anytime @fabioviviani. Check out this week’s dishes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 0 comments

When you think classic Italian food…what do you think of ?? For many, they think PASTA !! And it’s National Pasta Day on Oct 17 !! It is the best comfort food to me, and it always takes me back to when I was a child and learned to cook from my mama and grandmother. We all know I very much love my pastas- whether it be gnocchi, penne, linguine..you name it, I probably LOVE it !!

My recipes this week all center around yummy Fall recipes, many of which are pasta. So in my blog for this week, I cover everything you need to know about this amazing food : )
First, there are SO MANY pasta types and names !! So many time I hear people asking their waiter: “what is the difference between rigatoni and penne? linguine and spaghetti?” There needs to be an end to this !! So here are my quick tricks for knowing the different pastas like the back of your hand:
Bucatini- thick spaghetti shaped pasta that is hollow in center, like a straw

Capellini (Angel Hair)- very thin & delicate pasta, like fine hairs

Farfalle (Bow Ties)- shape of a bow tie!

Fusilli- long, spiraled pasta, look like twisted spaghetti

Linguine- flat pasta that is wider than spaghetti, but not as wide as fettuccine

Penne- short tubes

Ravioli- square pillows that are stuffed with things like cheese & meats

Rigatoni- tubes with ridges, slightly bigger and wider than penne

Spaghetti- probably the pasta that comes to mind first, long and thin shape

Tortellini- ring-shaped pasta that is usually filled with meat or cheese
Now we must cover how to COOK your pasta !! You must cook it perfectly to make it as good as possible ; ) Here are my tips for cooking the perfect pasta !!


  1. Use a LARGE pot with lots of water- more than you think you need! You want your pasta to have lots of room. For every 1/4 pound of pasta, use 1-1.5 quarts of water.
  2. After you bring water to FULL boil, add a splash of oil (not always necessary) & a few shakes of salt (I like this).
  3. Add your pasta & make sure it is COMPLETELY covered by boiling water- if it’s not at a full boil, it won’t be good !
  4. After you add pasta, stir well so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pot…and then stir again after 2-3 mins. NEVER cover your pasta with a lid !
  5. Start checking your pasta at the minimum time the package suggests- test it yourself ! If it is slightly firm but tender & not crunch/hard in the center, then you are GOOD TO GO. If it isn’t, check every minute until it’s ready !! Every second counts !!
  6. Once pasta is ready, remove it from the heat and drain in a colander. Shake the colander to get rid of all extra water, and you don’t need to rinse.
  7. Enjoy !!!!
Check my #PastaByFabio recipes for this week here: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in blog, Fabio Viviani's Kitchen Academy Blog | 4 comments