Italy The Beautiful

I have just returned from the most incredible eating experiences of my life. For the last 8 days I was on a culinary tour of Lucini Olive Oil groves and attending Terra Madre, a convention held in Turin, Italy once every two years by Slow Food International. To say that this experience was a treat and a revelation is an understatement of gastronomic, I mean, astronomic proportions. I have been volunteering with Slow Food Miami and I was graciously invited to accompany a group of members on this pilgrimage. I feel blessed and full to say the least.

This first few days of the trip were dedicated to Tuscany. We imbibed in reigonal food and wine and above all…we had a personal and heartfelt tour of one of the Estates of Lucini Olive Oil.

Areal view of one of the Lucini Estates


Ahhhhhhh the VitaMix…

Chef Amber Antonelli with her Vitamix

Somehow I ended up on a bit of a cleansing kick this week…could be from a bit too much wine that led to a spoon in a jar of Nutella (and eventually an empty jar). I normally do not eat the stuff…read the ingredients and you will know why, but the wine made me do it I swear! This led to feeling like crap the next day…liquid food was on the menu. I have been wanting to write about my love affair with my VitaMix for quite sometime…but somehow words just do not describe. When asked by one of my students – a man who might not cook much and has a quite dry sense of humor – “So what’s so amazing about this VitaMix anyway?” I was almost at a loss for words.

UPDATE: We now make our own “Nutella” in the Vitamix! Check out Cooking Class Menu “Rev Up Your VitaMix #3”…watch for it on the Cooking Class Schedule in Austin and Miami or book a private class or cooking party with some friends!


“REAL” food for the masses

The summer months here in Miami are said to be slow…pretty sure that not much around this electric blend of cultures and lifestyles could ever be called “slow”. However when the temperature and humidity climb many people head for destinations less sweltering making Miami slower. My business on the other hand is anything but slow (except my food of course)! While the cooking classes have calmed down a bit (a welcome reprieve for a short time as they are fabulous but require a lot of energy!) I have been blessed with some wonderful and very interesting new clients. (more…)

Raw Nori Rolls with Spicy Coconut Dipping Sauce

These rolls are the perfect snack, or even a light meal if you add something on the side. They are raw, full of super foods and incredibly delicious…one of my all time favorite recipes. I have requests from clients and for cstrings all the time and you will find the fixins in my fridge quite often. The best part is that you can get the veggies ready (except for the avocado) and roll to order, they will keep for 2-3 days covered with a damp paper towel and some plastic wrap.

Raw Nori Rolls
2 small carrots, julienne
1 medium zucchini, julienne
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienne
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin the long way
1 large avocado, cut in half seeded and sliced the long way
About 2 cups red cabbage, thinly shredded
About 4 green onions, julienne
1/2 cup pickled ginger
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves and stems, ends trimmed and picked into smaller pieces
nori sheets
Dipping sauce (recipe below)

Makes about 6-8 rolls

Fill a small dish with filtered water and set it next to your work station.Arrange all of the veggies on a plate or a cutting board. Lay the nori sheet (shiny side down) on a counter or cutting board with the wide side closest to you. Arrange veggies in a long line across one sheet of nori; starting with the carrots and moving down the list so that the ends of the veggies are hanging off the side of the nori wrapper.

Roll the nori up like a burrito while using your finger tips to pull the veggies toward you to keep the roll tight. When you get almost to the end; hold the roll with one hand and dip your finger in the bowl of water and wet the end of the nori sheet and quickly finish rolling. The water will make the sheet stick together.

Allow the roll to sit while you repeat with the remaining veggies. When you are finished; cut each roll into 6-8 pieces using a sharp knife. Turn them on their side so that the inside of the roll is facing up. Serve with the dipping sauce- recipe follows.

Tips & Notes:

Change up the veggies and cilantro and use some shredded lettuce, sweet potato (cut with a vegetable peeler) or red bell pepper.

Substitute the cilantro for some mint or basil.

If you do not plan to eat them all at once you can store the cut up veggies in a container in the fridge and then just grab a bit and quickly roll one up when you’re hungry! Cut the avocado at the last minute.

Nori~ is rich in vitamin A, protein, B vitamins, calcium, and iron…Yay!


Spicy Coconut Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup coconut oil
4 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 Tablespoons ginger
1 medium clove garlic
4 medium dates or 2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon nama shoyu, soy sauce, Tamari, or amino acids
1 heaping Tablespoon white miso paste, optional
1 Tablespoon water
splash of Siracha or a bit of fresh chili pepper

Place in a blender and blend on high until smooth and serve as a dipping sauce or a salad dressing.

*Gluten-free folks: Please make sure the ingredients you are using note “gluten-free”. Items to watch for are the nori sheets, miso paste, and Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce).


cooking classes

I am pleased and honored to announce the cooking classes that I began holding few months ago here in Miami. I have been teaching throughout my career but this has become a weekly event that is getting some attention. Check out the little blurb on Tasting Table Miami last week! This is a new culinary adventure that I am excited about and I look forward to seeing what comes of it.
I have connected with some wonderful people here who are also dedicated to real food and where it comes from. Slow Food Miami is a non-profit grass roots organization that is committed to raising the awareness of how food effects our communities and our lives. They donate all of their fundraising events and donor contributions to build local school and community gardens. Some of the people on the board have become some of my best students and they share so much with me as well! I look forward to helping them with events coming up.They have been instrumental in helping spread the word for my classes and I am eternally grateful!

I am also thrilled and blessed that Lucini Italia  has sponsored the classes by donating some of their amazing, delicious and highest quality products to use and to give away during the classes! Renee Frigo Graeff (the president of Slow Food Miami) and her husband Daniel Graeff created Lucini with the commitment to working with small regional farmers, celebrated chefs, health and wellness experts makes their products unsurpassed and their company admirable. THANK YOU Lucini…I LOVE your stuff!!! Look for their products on line and in retail stores, you will not be sorry!

If you know anyone in Miami who loves food, good company and fun send them this way!



the latest…

I have taken a rather long hiatus from posting. Truth of the matter is that although I really enjoy writing…I love cooking WAY more. I have been rather busy with cooking classes as of late and spending quite a bit of time writing recipes (love it!!) and in the down time it is tough to bring myself to spend even more time in front of a monitor…so shoot me!

What I can say is that I have been cooking a TON and it makes me really happy! Food is medicine, both for the body and for the soul and I feel blessed to be able to weave it into the fabric of my life on such an intricate level. That said, is there anyone out there who would like to do my dishes??? The whole saying “leave work at the office” does not apply in my life anymore. But I cannot and will not complain…I make my own schedule, answer to no one, I interact with wonderful people and I eat pretty damn well…so shoot me! (more…)