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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shrimp Creole-Inspired by my Father...

My Friday night Shrimp Creole....
This is a wonderful, classic, hot and spicy New Orleans, Louisiana inspired dish with shrimp... onion, celery and bell pepper( referred to as the Holy Trinity ), hot peppers...and/or tabasco, cayenne....and served on rice...

With my roots being in Southern italy...I LOVE hot & Spicy food...Calabria is well known for it's chili it's in the DNA I guess...LOL
My grandfather used to fry his hot homegrown peppers on the weekend and we'd all have to leave the house because our eyes would be burning!:)lol

And though I've yet to knowledge of New Orleans, Louisiana, it's cuisine and especially this dish, comes from my Father...and his many stories...and love for the people and food...he hitchhiked there as a young Jazz musician teenager and lived to tell about it!:)lol and he spent a lot of time in the Jazz scene there over the years...

Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana, US which blends French, Spanish, Portugese, Italian, Native American, and African well as general Southern Cuisine...

You can find out more info/background here if you'd like...
and here...

                                                            Click photo to enlarge

Thank you for reading/subscribing....
Let me know if you'd like the recipe to this dish in my upcoming cookbook....
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Joe Gande Interview w/ UK Writer/Author Maria Savva

   Some time back I was asked to do an Interview for the wonderful and talented UK writer/author, Maria Savva...It was a privilege and honor for me to be chosen to be a guest on her Goodreads blog....
It was posted last Sunday, February 10th, 2013.... 
I don't do this kind of thing often enough I suppose...though I have been asked...and also have been told many times to do so...
I loved doing the interview and answering Maria's awesome questions....she's the best...and I felt very at ease and comfortable was somewhat interesting & a bit therapeutic to even to myself!:)lol Well...kidding aside...let's just was fun, and made me think...think about a lot of things I don't necessarily think about or dredge up that know? Those that truly know me know that talking about me is not my forte I know what some of you may be thinking or saying to yourself.."Shy"?  You!?....Yes...I post on social media websites and know tons of people... and can get on stage and all that jazz...but I actually am very shy when it comes to certain things...and have been that way since childhood...what can I tell ya'? I elaborate a bit about this in the interview :)
We discussed a lot of cool topics..from music to Mannicotti!:) 
Please check out the full interview and leave your thought's and comments on her blog here...would love to know what you think....I hope you enjoy it.... 

You can fInd out all about Maria and her work and check out her books here-

Here is the interview....I hope you enjoy it....

Introducing Musician Joe Gande!

I've been lucky to discover lots of great independent musicians on the internet in the last few years. Today, I'm thrilled to be introducing you to Joe Gande, a very talented musician who has an excellent album, The Godsend Sessions. After listening to his album, I was keen to invite him here to discuss that and also his other projects. 

Welcome, Joe. First of all, congratulations on your album, The Godsend Sessions, I have enjoyed listening to the songs. It seems to be very blues influenced. Who were your musical influences when you were growing up?

Hi Maria, Thank you so much. So glad that you enjoyed listening to my music, and thank you for the opportunity to do this interview; and yes, I guess it is blues influenced in many ways.
Hmmm... let's see... I had so many musical influences growing up. I guess I had many phases. It was an awesome time for music back then, and my father was a Jazz musician -- a tenor saxophone man -- and my mom sang, so I was very lucky to be surrounded by music and the arts. I heard and listened to everything in the house as a child, from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Dean Martin, Jazz and Big Band, to John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Lester Young, and also Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Stevie Wonder... the list goes on! But as I got a bit older I remember listening to and loving my records from The Beatles, John Mayall, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Robin Trower, Bad Company, Deep Purple, Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and probably one of my early favorites, Aerosmith! I even had a phase of The Jackson Five, Sly and the Family Stone, and a lot of old R&B and Soul music from listening to my big brother's records at the time, before moving on to a lot of early progressive rock like Yes, Kansas, and early Journey. But with all that, my all time favorite music constant growing up has to be Lynyrd Skynyrd. Many have found that strange for some reason when I tell them that, but I was a huge Southern rock music fan and would play along with Freebird until my fingers bled!!:)

I love Freebird, too :) You were lucky to grow up in such a musical household!

Tell us a bit about your musical career to date.

I began playing music as a young teenager... always knew I wanted to do my own thing and write my own music... never wanted to do "Covers"... and have not stopped for one day since. Let's just say that I have been so lucky to have met and/or played and/or worked with so many wonderful, talented musicians, and to have played so many awesome clubs, concert venues & bars of all sizes, from dumps to legendary stages over the years, and lucky to survive it all and be still doing what I love to date: music.
How long did it take you to put The Godsend Sessions together? Did you work with other musicians, or did you produce it yourself?
Well… it took about 2 years to fully complete the CD -- or album, as I still like to call it -- My father had just passed away and I just wanted to put together an ultimate collection of songs that I had written and performed live to that point, and I delved into my work head on writing and arranging and deciding the tracks; it was a very creative time for me. I sat down with my good friend and awesome Musician/Bassist/Producer Neal Ostberg, and we put the plans in to motion. We went into a heavy rehearsal schedule, night and day. I don't think I slept more than a few hours the whole time... really. Most everything was done by myself and Neal, with also the awesome work of NYC drummer Kevin Bregande, the truly "Godsend" of "The Godsend Sessions". After auditioning and trying so many drummers he was a dream come true for the project. Then there was the task of finding a professional engineer that would share my vision and also have the talent and capabilities to pull it all off. It was not easy, considering what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, and we were lucky to find two such engineers by the CD's completion that could do it: Joe West to start, and then James B. Gately III. Then it was off to Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, NYC for mastering. Truly a dream come true for me.
Do you have a favourite song from The Godsend Sessions, and if so, why is it your favourite?
That's a very hard question to answer. Each one is very special to me, but I would have to say that,"Brighter Day" would have to be my favorite. I just think it is the most "Me" and unique song that I had written, and was very emotional and captured just the way my mind had envisioned it before hand. Sometimes it's like that for me; I can hear the whole song with all its musical, instrumental parts playing in my head... everything, right down to the smallest cello part, and then I try to recreate it during the recording process in the studio.I also really like the ballad, "Can't See My Life".
I agree that it's hard to pick a favourite from the album! It's full of great songs.
If you could play a gig at any venue, anywhere in the world, where would you like to play?

Being such a longtime New Yorker, I would have to say Madison Square Garden! But it would be wonderful to play so many places around the world. Hmmm... maybe a show in London, England. I have been to and played many places, but never there yet, and it has always been a dream of mine since I was a child.

It would be awesome if you did play in London! I would definitely go!

If you could duet with another singer, or play with another musician (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

Let's see... off the top of my head: Steven Tyler, Bernadette Peters, Dolly Parton, Luciano Pavarotti, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company... oh and Adele. I know, strange mix I guess. And why? Hmmm... Because of their sheer uniqueness and passion I believe.

Great choices!

What kind of music do you like listening to these days and do you have any favourite bands?

Well... to start, I really don't listen to very much music as one might think. I often stay away from listening; especially when in writing mode, although I do seem to get on kicks like everyone else I guess, depends on my mood or the mood I have been in or want to go to. Recently I have been listening to my collection of all of the James Bond theme songs I have!:) 

I revisit and discover old classics a lot too, and I'm always listening to/helping if I can/promoting tons of wonderful Indie bands and singer/songwriters on my travels online.

Do you have a favourite song by another artist, one that perhaps you wish you'd written yourself?

Oh... too many favorites to list, and no not really, oh wait, maybe it would have been great to write Aerosmith's "Dream On"!

I know that you are active on a lot of different social networking sites and you have your own website and blog. Which are you favourite sites for interacting with fans?

I try to be active as much as I can... and yes, too many sites!:)lol And new ones popping up all the time. It's not easy sometimes to keep up with it all, but I do my best and everybody has been so kind and supportive and understanding of that. I have to say that Facebook seems to be the best for interacting. People seem to comment and get involved there the most; not necessarily my favorite site though, but the best I think to reach one's friends, family, fellow musicians, business contacts, and fan base. I tried very hard to make sure everyone is there, although the friend limit they have is driving me crazy lately and I have to say with the new format and changes there, it's very difficult to see everything from everybody timely the way I'd like to. I also have been trying to get into the G+ thing... Very cool, but occasionally it's a ghost town as far as interaction goes lol. And I'm always trying to, of course, keep up with and utilize Twitter as much as I can.
But you know, all the sites are good really, as long as you're smart and safe. It depends on what you want to do and what you're there for. I've met at least a few awesome, sincere music fans, and also fellow musicians that have discovered my music on almost every site I'm on I think. If you have the time and can weed out the phony profiles, spam and, yes -- sorry to say -- delusional wackos!:)lol
I've tried many, but still trying to find an app, program, or website, etc., that will post everywhere at once and let you see what's going on across your networks as well. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!:)

I also struggle with that! So many websites and so hard to keep everything up to date!

It's no secret that you love to cook. I have seen photos of your food on your blog and also Facebook and Twitter. You mentioned last year that you were thinking of putting together a cook book, do you still have plans to do that?

Yes, I do love to cook. I guess it's from wanting to stay close to my family and roots and traditions while away from home for so many years. It's just really good for you, you know? You have to learn to take care of yourself and for pure survival reasons at times, cooking is a must, and it keeps you grounded; and lately I'm even more so into the cooking thing and trying to eat as healthy as possible. Having eaten in so many restaurants over the years, there's nothin' like home cooking':) 
I do have plans to put out a cook book thank you for asking; and I have been putting it together little by little. Everyone has been so responsive and kind about my food posts online and so many people actually have asked for recipes or a book, that I thought it might be a good idea. I have written since I was a child and the first thing I wanted to be when I grew up actually was a writer, until I found a guitar!:)lol, so we'll see how it goes; maybe a downloadable E-Book with recipes, photos, and history/background, and personal stories about the food will be available soon to start. I need to learn much more about the biz and how it's done.

Well, feel free to join me on Bestsellerbound, a community of writers. There is always someone who can help with questions about writing/publishing etc., and everyone there is very friendly!

What's your favourite recipe?

Oh man, so many!:) To eat, or to cook? lol I like a lot of different things, so difficult to say just one. I love Manicotti, and I hear I'm pretty good at making a mean Linguini and clam sauce :)

Such a shame you live so far away or I would be knocking on your door demanding you to cook for me LOL

Getting back to your music, when did you start to become interested in writing your own songs?

I began writing songs at about 12 years old or so, noodling on the piano at first, and then guitar. I wrote a lot of little jazzy guitar pieces on my dad's old beat up nylon string guitar, and then came the Gibson Les Paul and it was all over :) It's funny, when I got my first real Les Paul guitar, they were not "IN" or hip at all at the time, and a lot of friends made fun of me because I had one, lol.

Are you working on any new projects at the moment?

Well, as many may know, I recently have been taking care of some personal business as of late with my Mom being unwell, so live gigs have been put on hold for some time now, but hope to be out there when I can! I am always so busy though, always writing new songs. The newest things I'd say are look for the cook book to be out soon and also I've been going through & compiling thousands of hours of video footage, live studio antics, etc., in order to put out a's almost done.

As an indie musician, do you have any tips for anyone who might be thinking of producing their own music? Have you found that any particular website/social networking platform works better than others for promoting music?

I would say just get your stuff out there, everywhere online possible; you never know where you next fan may come from -- and also by doing shows whenever you can.
Make sure to use Reverbnation and Soundcloud and any other music website where you can share your music and reach people and find music fans; and also network with other Indie musicians, so you can cross-promote etc.

What instruments do you play, and are there any that you don't play that you'd like to learn?

I sing and play the guitar, the piano, keyboards, etc., bass, percussion, and I'm always trying to be better at those instruments. And yes there is; I'd love to be able to play stringed instruments. The cello especially -- such a beautiful, rich, melancholy sound. Or maybe the violin; oh, and the Saxophone.

As I'm interviewing you on Goodreads, it's only right that I should ask you a bit about your reading habits. I know that you have a Goodreads account, so you like to read. Who are your favourite authors?

Yes, I do like to read. I always have been a book worm. So many wonderful authors, it's so hard to say. I do love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and have read and reread the Sherlock Holmes stories over and over again. I love the classics. Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, and also a lot of Non Fiction or historical books. I could go on for hours!:)lol It's just simply too hard to say and name names! Lately, I have been discovering so many wonderful Indie Authors too, and I am always on the lookout for my next good read!

So cool that you are reading books by indie authors! I love hearing that. There are so many great books out there that people haven't heard about.

Do you prefer print books or e-books?

I'll read anything, but I have to say I prefer print books. Since I was a kid I have been drawn to books and collecting and buying them, and have so many I don't know where to put them all!:)lol
I do like the idea of the e-book and it's convenience in today's new technological world, but I hate to think that real print books would be phased out and hope they never will.

I feel the same. I've always liked the look of 'real' books. But I do enjoy the convenience of e-books and the fact that I can now carry hundreds of books with me in one small electronic device.

Where is the best place for people to buy your music? is the best place.

You can also find my music on iTunes, Amazon, and I think like 50 other online retailers; butBandcamp is the best, there is no middleman; it's directly through me and it's the easiest and highest quality you can get, in any format you prefer.

Where's the best place for people to keep up to date with your news?

On my official website you can find and get to everything, but here are some links:

Facebook: and
Google Plus:

Thank you so much for being a fabulous guest, Joe! I look forward to hearing more of your music, and of course, trying some of your delicious recipes when your cook book is released!

I hope you enjoyed the interview. I'd highly recommend Joe's CD, The Godsend Sessions, if you're a music fan. Also, Joe is one of the friendliest people I know online, so make sure you connect with him on one of his sites.

Continue to Maria's blog to say hello and to read the original interview and please comment and share....

Check out all of the other awesome and interesting blog posts too! :)

Thank you all so much for reading/subscribing to my blog!
If you dig it..please share with your friends and family....
Have an awesome weekend!
My Music...
Please show your support...have a listen and if you enjoy the music, please pick up a high quality digital download of my 11 track CD..."The Godsend Sessions" here...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Asparagus and Egg Frittata

One of my very favorites...Asparagus and Egg Frittata...

Actually I love them all...potatoes, onions and egg, pepper and egg....or even potato, onion, pepper and egg!:)lol Get creative...the frittata is one of the most affordable, healthy,  yet simplest and delicious meals or side dishes...
It also makes for a delicious sandwich, hero, sub, grinder etc...etc...

Food like this makes me HAPPY! :) lol
A hunk of Italian bread and a glass wine and you're all set!

I will have quite a few different Frittata recipes in my upcoming cookbook...
Look for it as a downloadable e-book to start...with recipes, photos and personal stories, remembrances, and family anecdotes coming soon!:)

Thank you all so much for reading....and for subscribing to my blog....

Click photo to enlarge

My Music...
Please show your support...have a listen and if you enjoy it,  pick up a high quality digital download of my 11 track CD..."The Godsend Sessions" for $12.99 here...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"What is this thing they call Piadini?" and "Why have I not had one yet?!" :) LOL

Last week's Piadine w/ caramelized onions, spinach, mushrooms & gorgonzola cheese....
My thoughts....
Piadini...Piadine...Piadina....It's all good:)

I had been watching The Food Network sometime last week as I often do when I happen to get a chance to catch it that is...and I heard mention of what they were calling Italian "Piadini" so many times....and I was hearing from various chefs how great they were and how delicious...and getting hungry!:)lol Being Italian...I was a bit surprised that I had never heard of them before...well...not the sense of using the name "Piadini" that is...and I was I said to myself..hmmm.."What is this thing they call Piadini?"!:)lol and "Why have I not had one yet?!" :) lol....

This is truly one of the wonders and beauty of Italy and it's is never ending and creative and everyone has there own takes, versions, experiences and styles of food depending on where you might be from...always something new to discover and to learn....

I thought they looked and sounded pretty much like a type of pizza or "pizza like" variation to listening to the various Chef's descriptions and recipes...and seeing the results on their shows...some of them called them a "Tart" some a "Tartlet" apparently they are all the rage now and Starbucks here in the US has even added their version to the menu!:)lol You ever notice how The Food network sometimes does this and gets on kicks and all the chef's and their shows seem to be mentioning and or making similar things?

I love how things that are basically ancient, traditional,rustic, family meals, turn into a marketing and "Hip" thing and start being exploited all over the place!lol It just cracks me's like this "Cucina Povero" expression you may hear being thrown around nowadays....That's right..."Poor People's Food" and how all the expensive restaurants and well known chefs are calling certain dishes that....and they are all now making and discussing what I simply was taught by my Father to call..."Italian Soul Food"...which are simple dishes born out of necessity....sometimes lack of money and of course what Italian's do best and have been known for for thousands of years...improvising....and artistic creativity and sheer ingenuity and inventiveness...

I immediately had to look them up...first in a few books I have...and then online too....and found out that a "Piadini"...or more correctly Piadine(the true plural form) of a "Piadina" an Italian flat bread...somewhat "Pita Like" you might say...usually made with white flour, lard or olive oil, salt and water...The dough was traditionally cooked on a terracotta dish, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used. Some are very thin and some are a little thicker and doughier...some may be served open-faced or cut in pieces or even filled and folded. They originally come from the Romagna region of Italy...and may be topped and or filled/served with all kinds of goodness..such as cheeses, various vegetables etc....or even with fruits and/or chocolate or evreryone's favorite...Nutella...

As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts... I LOVE learning new things...especially when it comes to food and food I decided to try my hand at making my own homemade Piadine... and this is the result...and although I am very happy to now know about them and found out the truth and have them in my life doesn't matter what they are called or where they are from...they are so delicious...and I would definitely make them regularly now...and so should you!:)

Last week's Piadine w/ caramelized onions, spinach, mushrooms & gorgonzola cheese....

Do you think I should add my version in my upcoming cookbook?

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post...Grazie a tutti!!:)

Please leave a comment...share your thoughts and ideas..."Like", "Tweet" +1 and share, etc...etc...and remember to follow or subscribe to my blog to keep in touch and to stay updated on happenings...thank you!:)



My Music...

Show your support...have a listen and if you dig it please pick up a high quality digital download of my CD..."The Godsend Sessions" here...