Shrimp Tortellini

Hot or cold – I love shrimp tortellini.  Normally, I serve cold as a salad.  It’s perfect for summer picnics and potlucks.


Shrimp Tortellini
Author: Once Upon A Tine
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Shrimp tortellini is great hot or cold.
  • 9oz package of uncooked, cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomato halves
  • 1/2 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 basil pesto
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 lb shrimp (peeled, cooked)
  • 1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook tortellini according to package directions.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside in large bowl.
  3. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then since into 1/4 inch pieces.
  4. Add zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, shrimp, and cheese to bowl of tortellini.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, pesto, and garlic. Mix well.
  6. Add mixture to tortellini bowl and gently mix into ingredients.
  7. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Roman Recipe

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I love vintage things – even ancient recipes.  The site Dusty Old Thing, is a favorite for antique enthusiasts.  Among other things, they posted a link to a video about an ancient Roman recipe.  On the 24th of August AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven.  Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum.  The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live from the British Museum.

Herculaneum was a wealthy town neighboring Pompeii, both of which were devastated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.  Unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum was affected by pyroclastic flows that preserved the wooden objects such as roof tops, building beams, beds, doors, and even food.  The ancient city can be seen in almost its original splendor.  Although Pompeii is more well known in present day, Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses, and far more lavish use of colored marble cladding.  If you manage to make this recipe, you can say that you have dined as the Romans did.


Pompeii Bread
Recipe Type: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Once Upon A Tine
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 servings
  • 400g biga acida (sourdough)
  • 12g yeast
  • 18g gluten
  • 24g salt
  • 532g water
  • 405g spelt flour
  • 405g wholemeal flour
  1. Melt the yeast into the water and add it into the biga.
  2. Mix and sieve the flours together with the gluten and add to the water mix. Mix for two minutes, add the salt and keep mixing for another three minutes.
  3. Make a round shape with it and leave to rest for one hour. Put some string around it to keep its shape during cooking.
  4. Make some cuts on top before cooking to help the bread rise in the oven and cook for 30–45 minutes at 200 degrees.
Dine like the Romans did when you try this ancient Herculaneum bread recipe from AD 79.


What Actors Eat When They Eat

What Actors Eat When They EatTwo things that I love:  cookbooks and Cary Grant.  Put them together and I’m in ecstacy.  That’s what happened when received What Actors Eat When They Eat.  It’s a vintage cookbook, published in 1939, which features the favorite recipes of movie stars from that era.  Cary Grant loved barbecued chicken.  Who knew?

What Actors Eat When They Eat is officially my favorite cookbook.   Each recipe is accompanied by a photo and bio of the actor and the actor’s comments about the dish.   The comments are cheeky.  It’s an enjoyable read even if you don’t care to try the recipes.  To be honest, I’ve tried a few and they aren’t that tasty, but they are interesting.

The recipes are quite different than what we would probably have from actors today.  Back then there was no concern for gluten free, kale infused, low carb food.  Recipes used ingredients like…fat pork and calf’s head!  You can read about Lucille Ball’s Brazil nut stuffing, Clark Gable’s hunters breakfast (made with 12 doves), Betty Grable’s watermelon rind pickle, Humphrey Bogart’s cocoanut Spanish cream, Gene Autry’s little pigs in zucchini, and Jack Benny’s shrimp salad a la Benny.  The fact that Boris Karloff has steak and kidney pie is just creepy to me.  The fact that Al Jolson is shown in black face and his recipe is fried rabbit is a reminder that some things need to stay in the past.  Nevertheless, What Actors Eat When They Eat is a delicious piece of Hollywood memorabilia.

Black Friday Panini

thanksgiving sandwich

Holiday 2014 is the year of the Thanksgiving sandwich.  I have seen all sorts of variations of turkey sandwiches dressed up for Thanksgiving.  Everywhere from the local tea house to the draft house has one.  I couldn’t resist trying them all.  It’s the perfect thing for a day after Thanksgiving leftover meal.  The basic recipe will be really simple and can be tailored to suit your taste.

Black Friday Panini
Cuisine: American
Author: [url href=””]Once Upon A Tine[/url]
Prep time:
Cook time:
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Serves: 1 serving
The Thanksgiving sandwich transforms a turkey sandwich into a holiday leftover favorite.
  • 2 slices of bread
  • turkey slices
  • cornbread dressing or stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  1. Layer turkey, dressing, and cranberry on a slice of bread.
  2. Top with the other slice of bread to make a sandwich.
  3. Place sandwich in a sandwich press or grill in a frying pan to toast bread on both sides, then remove.
  4. Dip the tip of the sandwich in the gravy as an au jus while eating.


Let’s Forego the Food Porn



Have you ever held your nose to swallow something undesirable without tasting it?  Smell affects taste.  The prevalence of food porn (visually appetizing, perfectly plated morsels) would indicate that sight affects taste too.

This food blog is filled with food porn.  Most food blogs are, because food porn attracts visitors.  I’ve made the mistake of going to food blogs with “pretty pictures”, only to be disappointed by a recipe that looked a lot better than it tasted.  I’m a repeat visitor to food blogs that have so-so pictures, but amazing recipes and interesting content.

Despite my personal experience, I still feel the need to dish out food porn for my own food blog.   I love creating recipes, but I am challenged to produce quality photos that display my dishes well.   I’m not a skilled in the fine art of food staging and photography lighting.  I rely on Photoshop, stock photography, and luck to create a nice platescape.  I have learned a few tricks along the way, about natural lighting, garnishes, props, and camera angles.  On occasion it all comes together.  I took the photo of the charcuterie featured in this blog post, which for some is no big deal, but for me it was a magnum opus.

We see food and immediately start creating a sensory image.  The actual dish may or may not live up to the expectations we have created with our mental palate.   In reality, not seeing food may actally heighten the sensory experience.  Here’s some food for thought:  Dining in the Dark is an event in which guests have dinner in total darkness and take a peek into the lives of the visually impaired. Each guest is on their own to taste, smell, and even feel the food to figure out what you are eating and drinking.  It is touted as an unforgettable experience.  If you don’t have a Dining in the Dark opportunity in your area, create your own.  You can do it on a small scale as a dinner party idea.  Forego the food porn and focus on making a fabulous meal!