January 2014


As a nut for all things almond-y, I wondered where I might find the very best almond syrup. It’s comforting to know the answer is right in your very own kitchen! All you need is sugar, water and almond extract or bitter almond oil.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with almond extract. LorAnn bitter almond oil is its bolder, much more concentrated cousin! Bitter almond oil is truly almond flavor to the extreme and must be used sparingly. Abandon all thoughts of “heaping” measurements here and keep in mind a little goes a long, long way. Take it from someone who ruined a whole pan of bread pudding learning that lesson the hard way.


1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon bitter almond oil or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine sugars and water in a small saucepan. Stir as you bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add almond flavoring (oil or extract). Let syrup cool, then store in the fridge.

Now, what delicious things shall we almond up? I love an almond latte, but I also have an orange marzipan tea that the syrup complements purr-fectly. You can add it to seltzer to make an almond soda. In fact, I mixed it with Polar coconut cream seltzer–talk about almond joy!

I leave you now to get cookin’ and get nutty on your own. You’ll be so glad you did! Because homemade almond syrup is…the kat’s ass! 😉


fried Italian long hot peppers

It’s been a while since Jimmy sent some hot peppers my way. I figured it might be time I make my own and return the favor…even if he did call me stupid last week for not buying a car here in town. But I digress.

Here’s a recipe that’s really more common sense than a recipe. Ready?

1. Put on a pair of disposable kitchen gloves. Ahh, perfetto!

2. Rinse a half pound of Italian long hot peppers. Note: if you don’t like heat, stop right here. Just use bell peppers instead because long hot peppers are no joke. They’re fire, and for the hardcore among us. If you’re not coughing while you’re slicing them, you bought the wrong kind! They don’t call them the Russian roulette of peppers for nothing–some are hotter than others!

Italian long hot peppers

3. Remove the stems, cut each pepper in half, then in half the long way.

4. Remove pith.

5. Thinly slice about half a medium-sized sweet onion.

6. Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil.

7. Turn the burner up to medium heat.

8. Add peppers and onions.

frying Italian long hot peppers

9. Toss and turn the peppers and onions as they cook.

10. Peel two good-sized cloves of garlic.

11. When the peppers and onions are almost finished cooking, push the garlic through a press and add to the pan for one last minute or so of cooking. You know the drill: don’t let it burn!

12. Remove from heat.

13. Time to eat! How about a pepper and egg sandwich? Maybe with your favorite hot Italian sausage–mine is Longhini.

pepper 'n egg grinder

How about a nice Italian combo? Try Genoa, prosciuttini and provolone. Or add to your favorite sandwich to heat things up.

I’m feeling smarter already. And I’ll share, Jimmy is the same man who recently told me, “I hope you live to be a hundred–and I never die!” I’m 45 years old. He’s 82. You do the math. Gotta admire the man’s spirit. And he does make a mean batch of hot peppers. These are just as great as his. 🙂 CENT’ANN’, Jimmy!

Janey & Jimmy

Janey & Jimmy

Jimmy Mosca

We'll love you forever, Jimmy

We’ll love you forever, Jimmy. I miss sharing hot peppers (and so much more) with you. Gone, but never forgotten.

Buon appetito!