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Melinda's Garden Moments
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 18:44

Delicious Discoveries: perfect pesto!

Today I’m taking you in the Kitchen for an easy recipe for perfect pesto! Pesto is such a classic Italian sauce and is super versatile. Its uses are endless really. You can use it not only as a delicious and simple sauce for pasta, but try it in stews, or as a marinade for seafood and meat, or even rub it over vegetables before you roast them in the oven. It is delicious and so easy to make. I try to keep a container of pesto in my freezer at all times because with it on hand I always have the makings for a great meal in no time.  


This recipe is from my cooking app “Cook Italian with Daniella Malfitano”. You can download my app today on iTunes at the app store. And if you like this recipe you will find over a hundred more delicious recipes when you download the app on your iPad. The app has many great features and functions including hundreds of beautiful color photographs, and step by step videos all narrated by me in a special techniques section. With this app you also have the ability to add recipes to a favorites list to create menus, e-mail recipes, and even create shopping list and menus with dinner invitations. Download my app today and try this delicious and easy recipe for classic pesto as well as all of the other recipes with this fun new kitchen companion “Cook Italian with Daniella Malfitano”



Basil Pesto


3 cups fresh basil, leaves only

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup extra virgin

4 garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra kosher salt, to taste



Place the chopped basil leaves and toasted pine nuts into a food processor. Add about one third of the olive oil and puree until smooth. Pulse in remaining olive oil, minced garlic, freshly grated Parmesan and season to taste with salt.

Published in Delicious Discoveries

Today I’m taking you in the for a spring time picnic recipe! It’s time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and why not go prepared with some food on hand for a day time picnic with your family or some friends. Try my recipe for a Pepper Jack Cheese and Market Vegetable Frittata. This quick recipe is simple and easy to make. All you’ll need is just a few basic ingredients you might already have in your refrigerator like eggs, vegetables, and cheese. After you bake the frittata, let it sit out to come to room temperature before you cut it into slices or squares. Once it is cool pack it into a container for the picnic. To make it even more delicious, bring along a few avocados and serve the frittata topped with a few slices of avocado along with some salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

Pepper Jack Cheese and Market Vegetable Frittata


12 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, diced small 
2 ½ cups chopped zucchini
2 ½ cup chopped yellow squash
2 red bell peppers, diced small
2 cups broccoli, diced small
2 cups spinach

1 ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs and generously season with some salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, zucchini, squash, peppers, and broccoli and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and toss in the spinach and continue to cook just until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and fill each cup halfway with the vegetable mixture. Pour in the beaten egg, filling each cup to the top. Sprinkle each individual frittata with some shredded cheese and place in the oven to cook. Bake in the oven until it is set in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and pack into a container for the picnic!

Published in Delicious Discoveries

Today I’m taking you in the Kitchen for a Mother’s day breakfast delight! Tomorrow morning wake up a whip up a batch of these tasty Lavender Lime Scones to bring to your Mama! They are very fluffy and full of flavor and are a perfect morning treat with a latte or cup of English tea. Your mother will definitely appreciate this thoughtful surprise!

Lavender Lime Scones


1 ½ cups AP flour
¼ cup sugar, granulated
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt, kosher
zest and juice of 2 limes

1 ½ teaspoons lavender, dried
5 tablespoons butter, diced into bits
½ cup + 1 tablespoon milk, whole


Preheat oven to 375° F. Blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda,
salt, lime zest and lavender. Using a fork mix the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles a butter bits the size of small peas. Mix together the lime juice with the milk and add to the scone mixture. Mix just until dough just comes together. On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a disc shape about 8-9 inch in diameter. Using a long chef’s knife slice the disc into eight even sized pieces and place the scones on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Brush with remaining tablespoon of milk and sprinkle the tops lightly with some coarse sugar. Bake the scones for about 20 minutes or until they are just slightly golden on the top. Serve the scones with some butter and honey, and make it a light breakfast with some fruit salad and yogurt.


Yield: 8 scones

Published in Delicious Discoveries
Friday, 04 May 2012 13:50

Delicious Discoveries: Cinco de Mayo

Today I’m taking you in the kitchen for a festive Cinco de Mayo feat! Always celebrated on the fifth of May, Cinco de Mayo is a festive and fun holiday that is celebrated not just in Mexico but largely throughout the United States as a way to honor and remember the first day of Mexico’s independence. Since cooking and food is such an important part of Latin culture, why not celebrate this Cinco de Mayo by preparing this great recipe for your family and friends.


Try my recipe for Two Chili, Chicken and Cheesy Enchiladas 


Two Chili, Chicken and Cheesy Enchiladas


15 large tomatillos, outer paper skin and top stems removed then washed

2 jalapenos, top stems removed

2 poblano chilies, top stems removed

8 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 yellow onions, quartered

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons salt, kosher

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless

3 limes, juiced

1/8 cup white vinegar

¼  - ½ cup warm water

2 cups Monterey jack cheese

12 whole wheat flour tortillas, preferably corn and flour blend


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven warms up, peel and wash your tomatillos and remove the stem from the top. Place the tomatillos on a sheet tray along with the jalapenos, poblanos, garlic cloves and onion pieces. Drizzle with some of the olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Place the chicken breasts in a small baking dish and squeeze the lime juice over the chicken, and then drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cumin.
  Place the vegetables and chicken in the oven and roast both at the same time until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are browned and softened, about 35 minutes.

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the oven and let cool slightly for 10 minutes. Once cool, shred the chicken using two forks and set the shredded meat aside in a small bowl. Next place all of the vegetables in a blender with the vinegar and blend to puree. If the mixture needs some liquid add warm water a little at a time, blending aftereach addition of water. Once a smooth salsa consistency is achieved pour this delicious green enchilada sauce in a shallow dish. To begin rolling the enchiladas, coat the bottom of a (11x13) glass casserole dish with a few ladles of the enchilada sauce to cover. Dip one tortilla into the enchilada sauce to coat completely then place on a plate and sprinkle the inside with a bit of shredded chicken and a bit of jack cheese, and then roll it tight and place it inside the casserole dish. Continue filling and rolling the enchiladas and layering them in the casserole dish until the dish is full and you’ve used all of your tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle a line of cheese down the center of the enchiladas. Bake these in the oven for 25 minutes just until they are warmed through and the sauce and cheese is bubbly on top. Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

Published in Delicious Discoveries
Friday, 27 April 2012 14:07

Delicious Discoveries: Sweet Springtime

Today I’m taking you in the kitchen for a sweet springtime recipe using this seasons most beloved fruit, sweet Bing cherries. Cherries are in season during the late spring months and both yellow and Bing varieties can be easily found at farmers markets and grocery stores in and around your neighborhood. When picking yellow cherries, look for a firm plump exterior with a red blush to them, whereas the Bing varieties should have a deep, dark red almost black color to their flesh. Do not be afraid to ask for a taste at your farmers market or grocery store. Cherries are available from April through June.

Try my recipe for Individual Brown Butter Bing cherry Sweet Quiche for a sweet, tangy treat to share with family or friends. 

Individual Brown Butter Bing cherry Sweet Quiche

Flaky Pastry Crust:

2 ½ cup all purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

4 oz cream cheese

4 oz mascarpone cheese

½ cup cream

In a small bowl combine the sifted flour with the salt and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine the butter with the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Mix together until light and fluffy then slowly pour in cream and mix again to combine. With the mixer on low speed slowly add the flour and salt mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. Kneed the dough lightly to hold the dough together then cut into two portions and flatten each portion into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour minimum before using or up to 2 days.

Quiche filling and assembly:


4 tablespoons butter

2 cups Bing cherries, pitted

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and continue to cook until it begins to brown. As soon as the butter begins to get frothy and browned add the pitted Bing cherries to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes just until the fruit begins to soften. Add the nutmeg and sugar and cook one minute longer. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl to cool. While the cooked cherries cool, remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a ¼ inch thick oval. Cut in half and using each half per ramekin begin by pressing the dough into the bottom and sides of the ramekin, leaving about an inch hanging over the side. Fill the ramekins full of the cherry mixture then fold the overhanging sides of the dough over the fruit to seal the quiche, leaving a small opening in the center. Place the quiche on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, just until the pasty is browned and slightly puffed. Serve the quiche warm right out of the oven.

Yields 4 individual sweet quiche

Published in Delicious Discoveries

Today I’m taking you in the kitchen for a healthy and delicious recipe inspired by the spirit of Earth Day!


Officially known around the world as the International Mother Earth Day, this fun and festive celebration is celebrated in over 175 countries every year on April 22. Earth Day is a day of awareness and appreciation for planet Earth’s amazing environment. It has since become a day to inspire global awareness about climate change and how to preserve the Earth’s many wonderful resources by way of political, social, environmental, and cultural change. And one small way to contribute to this positive celebration and cause is to become aware of the foods that you prepare and consume on a daily basis. Preparing and enjoying a plant based, meat free meal full of grains and vegetables from your local farmers market is a small yet important step in the right direction towards eating better, eating locally, and ultimately more sustainably for your body and for the planet.


Try this delicious recipe for Brown Rice, Eggplant, and Red Russian Kale Fried Rice. It is so simple and so satisfying and is perfect for lunch or dinner either at home or to bring along on a day hike or picnic.  

Brown Rice, Eggplant, and Red Russian Kale Fried Rice


1 cup brown rice

2 ½ cups water

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup carrots, diced

1 large eggplant, skin removed and diced

1 bunch Red Russian kale, stems removed and rough chopped

1 cup peas, frozen

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce



Begin by combining the rice and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook rice for 40-45 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and cooked through. After the rice cooks begin preparing the vegetables. In a large wok or saucepan heat oil over a medium flamethen add the carrots and eggplant. Cook these vegetables for 5-6 minutes until the carrots begin to soften and the eggplant begins to caramelize.

Next add the chopped kale to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes just until it begins to wilt. Toss in the frozen peas then add the cooked rice and cook for 2-3 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan and slowly add the beaten eggs to the well whisking using a heat proof spatula to create egg curds, or small scrambled eggs. As soon as most of the eggs are curdled pull the rice and vegetable mixture to the center of the well to incorporate all of the ingredients together. Season the fried rice with salt, pepper and soy sauce and mix one last time to ensure everything is properly seasoned. Spoon the fried rice into deep bowls and enjoy this simple and healthy meal for lunch or dinner!

Published in Delicious Discoveries
Monday, 09 April 2012 18:07

Delicious Discoveries: Soups and Stews

Soups and stews are a perfect comfort food and easy dinner idea that can be prepared in advanced and reheated in a jiff. Try this recipe for Acorn Squash, Kale, and Red Lentil Stew that is easy to make, tastes delicious, and freezes and reheats well for your convenience. And the best part about this recipe is that you can make is with any winter squash variety like delicata, butternut, red kuri, hubbard, or kabocha squash which are abundant during the cold winter months at a farmers market in your neighborhood. Now you have an excuse to purchase any of those beautiful winter gourds you have always wanted to try.

Acorn Squash, Kale, Red Lentil Stew

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
¼ cup onions, diced
1 acorn squash, skin on and diced small
6 cups kale, chopped
1 cup red lentils
8 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

In a medium pot heat oil and sauté the garlic and onion together for 6-8 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Next add the diced squash and chopped kale to the pot and sauté another 5 minutes, just until the kale has wilted. Add the lentils and the stock to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to boil. Once the stew boils, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Ladle the stew into serving bowls and sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese. If made in advance store the stew in a freezer safe plastic container for up to 2 weeks.


I have provided for you list of farmers markets that sell year round all throughout the great state of California. Find a market close to your home and explore the fruits of your local community through its food!


Tuesday Berkeley Farmers' Market

Derby St between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Milvia St.


2:00 - 7:00 pm


Island Earth CFM - Emeryville

Haven St. between Park Ave. and 40th St.


12:00 - 6:00 pm


Centerville Farmers Market

Fremont Blvd @ Bonde way


9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Jack London Square Farmers' Market

Broadway & Water Street


10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Chapman Food & Fitness Festival

1010 Cleveland St.


2:00 - 6:00 pm


Fire House CFM

3515 Myers Street


11:00 am - 3:00 pm


Pinole Farmers Market

Pear Street & Fernandez Street


9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Market on the Mall

Mariposa Mall - to S/W of Fulton Mall between EOC& Plasa Blvd

Wed & Friday

10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Brimhall Market

9500 Brimmhall Road (at Calloway)


9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Brentwood CFM - Sunday

741 Gretna Green Way


9:00 am - 2:30 pm


Marin Country Mart Farmers Market

Sir Francis Drake Blvd. & Larkspur Landing Circle


9:00 am - 2:00 pm

San Rafael

Thursday San Rafael

Veterans Memorial Auditorium Parking lot, Civic Center Dr., Memorial Dr.


8:00 am - 1:00 pm


Willits Farmers Market

Willits City Park, Humboldt & State Streets


3:00 - 6:00 pm


Original Merced Co. Farmers Market

Parking Lot SW Corner, 19th & N Street


7:00 am - 12:00 pm


The Old Monterey Market Place

Monterey - Alvarado Street between Pearl and Delmonte Streets


4:00 - 8:00 pm


Seal Beach Village Certified Farmer's Market

13904 Seal Beach Blvd, Westminster Blvd & Seal Beach Blvd


9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Rancho Cordova

Sunrise Station CFM

Light Rail parking lot - Sunrise & Folsom Blvds


8:00 am - 12:00 pm

San Francisco

Associated Students All Organics FM

San Francisco State University (near Tapia Dr.)


11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Arroyo Grande

Arroyo Grande Spencers

Spencers parking lot, 1464 E Grand Avenue, cross street Courtland


8:30 - 11:00 am

Los Olivos

Los Olivos Farmers Market

2900 San Marcos Avenue


9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Milpitas Farmers Market

India Community Center, 525 Los Coches Street


9:00 am - 1:00 pm


Jolly Giant CFM

6719 Eastside Road

Saturday, Sunday

8:00 am - 3:00 pm


Fillmore Community CFM

Main Street at intersection w/ Central Ave.


3:00 - 7:00 pm


Davis Farmers Market

Central Park, 4th and C St


8:00 am - 1:00 pm

Published in Delicious Discoveries
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 09:14

Delicious Discoveries: Welcome


Hello and thanks for logging onto my blog Delicious Discoveries with Daniella Malfitano! As this is my first introduction to you, I’d like to introduce myself. I am a Chef, Traveler, and Lover of all things food and I am pleased to meet you! Log onto this blog every week to read about my many Delicious Discoveries where I will share a recipe with you, give you a great cooking tip, or even feature my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets to feed your curious culinary appetite.

This week I’d like to share with you how I have come to love food and the world of culinary arts as a whole.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to taste and experience food in a way that has changed and evolved throughout my lifetime. My love and passion for food came about at a very early age as a result of two defining elements of my life: that is my ethnic family heritage and the fact that I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. These two factors have shaped me more than anything else and are the two most important characteristics that define who I am. Being raised in a Sicilian American family in the San Francisco Bay Area has been a very wonderful upbringing full of history and rich in culture.

My educational background began at DePaul University where I earned a degree in International Studies with a concentration in Food and Culture. For two years I worked alongside a group of professors, chefs, and the City of Chicago through the Department of Cultural Affairs in order to better understand the world of food through cooking, culture, nutrition, politics, and education. For the final phase of my Bachelor degree I conducted a community assessment regarding the availability of healthy food resources throughout Chicago. My field work research illustrated the availability of organic food resources and provided community health statistics of the different marginalized urban districts of Chicago explaining the results through sociological trends and evidence.

After completing my undergraduate studies at DePaul and getting my feet wet at many restaurants in Chicago, I moved to New York to continue my educational experience at The French Culinary Institute. The intensive culinary study program of this professional school earned me classical training and technique from some of the most distinguished Chefs in the industry.  While a student and after graduation I worked at Prune Restaurant and Per Se Restaurant in New York City. I graduated from the French Culinary Institute with a Grand Diploma degree in the Classic Culinary Arts program with highest honors.

Throughout these experiences I have become fully aware of my deep passion and love for food, and cooking which has provided for me a deep understanding of genuine human connection. I can’t think of a career that is more linked to all humans and daily life than a profession dealing with food, the essential element of life which feeds the world with nourishment and pleasure simultaneously, day after day.

I am attracted to this industry simply because culinary service is intrinsically linked to several disciplines, that is socially, politically, economically, and anthropologically, just to name a few. The power and necessity of food for humans is endless making this industry vital for the state of the world today and very influential for the direction it will take tomorrow.


Published in Delicious Discoveries
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