A classic…Spaghetti and Meatballs-My Mother’s are better than yours! :) LOL and Mom’s Tony Bennett story


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A classic…Spaghetti and Meatballs for lunch today…
This is one of my favorites…and the recipe will be in my upcoming cookbook…

I can eat this anywhere and I like it..even at the worst pizza joint around…lol…you can’t go wrong…but…
No one…and I mean No one…. makes meatballs better than my Mom! :)lol
I know….every son or daughter says this…don’t we? We all think our Mom’s or Grandmother’s Meatballs and/or sauce is the best….but I’ll tell you…I’ve eaten all over…from fine 5 star restaurants to friends and family’s houses to out of the way dumps and dives and every place in-between …and it’s true….my Mother’s are the best!
Just ask anybody that has had one! 🙂 lol All the women in the family over the years even know and acknowledge this…theirs are good…they are certainly delicious…but my Mom’s are better! 🙂 LOL…
They are simply magic I tell you! LOL And objectively..and not as a Son…I have to say…my Mother is one hell of an awesome cook!! 🙂

A little anecdote…
When my Mom was young…before she met and married my Father…she was at  a Tony Bennett show in Connecticut in the 1950’s…a place called Wright’s I believe…he was very well known…and considered famous to those in the know and that liked Jazz and big band music…but not yet world famous as one thinks of him later in his career…he was Italian…and Calabrese…like my Mother’s family, and had heard about my Mother’s cooking through mutual musician friends and the grapevine…and so they were all talking after his performance and he wanted to come over the house to eat with everybody! Of course..my Mother…being very cool…very shy…and a good Italian, Catholic, girl/daughter…said NO! 🙂 LOL
One of my Mother’s closes friends became Tony’s bass player after that night…
And Tony later sent my Mother letters and 2 autographed albums!! 🙂 Even though she said no..he still tried! :)lol
I love this story! And all stories like this in general…So romantic…so old fashioned and such a wonderful small slice of history…it must have been an awesome time to be on the scene back in the day…Of course I’ve always thought I belonged in a different time! 🙂
I’ve heard Mom and other relatives tell this story over the years and it never gets old…and she always says in her words “what a lovely man and a gentleman he was”….

I’ve been making meatballs for a long time now..and they are very good…or so I have been told…depending on the day and ingredients on hand…but they always fall just slightly short of my Mom’s, even though she taught me and I use the exact same ingredients! :)lol
Why is this!? It is one of the great mysteries of life I suppose….

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Hope you all had a beautiful day!
Buon Giovedi a tutti! 🙂



un buon bicchiere di Chianti questo pomeriggio qualcuno?


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un buon bicchiere di Chianti questo pomeriggio qualcuno?  

 I took this pic today in honor of my wonderful friend, writer/author SK Waller who loves Chianti…and as it so happens…so do I…

I had just bought a few bottles the other day and had some with my lunch today- Spaghetti and Meatballs….and I was reminded that it’s her favorite wine from seeing a post she had made on Facebook…so I thought what the hell…do a blog post…

 I love many types of wine…and different Chianti but,  the one that comes in the straw basket, called a “fiasco” (flask) is always the one I remember seeing in the house growing up…it reminds me of my Grandfather…so I like it’s taste and it’s rustic look, the best…

I also want to quickly mention the table you see in the photo…it’s an antique…an ancient, hand made and hand carved part of an altar tabernacle from a church in Italy…it makes a great end table and book nook for those giant coffee table size books that do not fit in a bookshelf and no one knows what to do with! lol  As some of you know or may have read…I love “OLD”..and retro and vintage things…and history….My parents were into antiques..my Mom being an antique dealer and researcher/appraiser… so I guess have inherited the bug too 🙂

 And yes…to answer some of you that have asked on some social media posts of this photo…it is a basil plant 🙂 Nothin’ better than the taste and smell of fresh basil when cooking…though I do not have the greatest “green thumb”…I’m working on it…lol,  I try to always keep one alive! 🙂 lol 


 I hope you’re all having an awesome day!

 Buon Giovedi a tutti!! 




Horace Silver Quintet – Song For My Father


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For you Dad…I miss you terrible today…I was goin’ through your stuff & found & old telegram from 1964 in your Tenor case from one of your oldest & tightest friends Horace that he had sent you on your wedding day…after that, I came online and happened upon a video of this song on a friends page here!
So I guess maybe you must have come to visit!?:)
Hope you’re both up there in heaven jammin’…

Zucchini Parmesan Recipe


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I fried up some Zucchini the other night to make one of my favorites…zucchini parmesan..

Some of you may have seen the photo post on Facebook or Twitter…etc…

I’m just catching up a bit here and working on my website and blogs this weekend so I thought I’d post the recipe today…

This meal with a nice glass of vino & a side of pasta…ahhhh…now that’s livin’! :)lol

 Most people when they think “parmesan” they think eggplant, chicken..even maybe veal….but one of my favorite “parmesan” dishes is made with Zucchini…

 Start by getting your self some nice fresh zucchini…and take your time picking them out…believe me, it makes a difference….not to small….not too big….you want medium to smaller size with a nice shiny skin without blemishes…they have to be just right 🙂 They have to look good…or at least look good to your own personal standards anyway…lol…it matters…really….food and cooking is art…well to me…

 Next, wash the zucchini,  cut off the ends and slice it long ways…

 Add a little olive oil to a deep frying pan and begin to warm it up…

 In a large bowl….crack some eggs….whisk them up a bit…and dip the zucchini…then lightly coat with a mixture of bread crumbs, some grated cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper…I used panko bread crumbs for these…They are excellent and have the perfect crunch…and they do not change the flavor of the zucchini…I often use homemade bread crumbs..or simply some plain or Italian style bread crumbs…use whatever your favorite store bought brand may be if you’d like…or whatever you may have in the house…

 After they’re set to go…just fry them up….not too long…turning a few times…until they just start to soften up a bit and turn a nice golden brown color here and there…see picture below….

 Now…I sometimes just like to do this quick and skip the parmesan/baking part…and mangia!! They are delicious and can be a great meal as is…or also a wonderful appetizer or side dish…

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 But this time I wanted to layer them parmesan style…so, just layer them with some cheese and sauce in a baking dish….a few layers is fine…and bake for about a half hour at 325 or so….see photo below…I prefer to use the leftover sauce from the weekend…whatever sauce I made for Sunday’s meal…it’s perfect for this…but of course you can improvise and/or make a quick, fresh marinara sauce or use whatever you’d like …

 I also like to combine cheeses…and not make it too thick…I used fresh and grated cheeses for each layer…Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago and of course some Mozzarella…the combination is perfect! 🙂

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 They will come out looking like this….piping hot and all melted in cheesy goodness!

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 This is probably enough for dinner as it is….but I like to sometimes serve it with a side of pasta….I chose a capellini for this meal…perfetto!! 🙂 

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 All you need is a nice glass of your favorite wine now…and you can add some more grated cheese and peperoncino (dried hot pepper flakes) to your taste… and you have a beautiful light and very healthy meal!

 I thank you all  for reading my blog…please leave your comments…your thoughts, ideas and favorite recipes for zucchini here…and feel free to share with your friends and family….

 I will definitely have this recipe in more detail and more about zucchini in my cookbook….so stay tuned and subscribe to/follow my blog to stay updated! 🙂

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 You can also make a donation through the Paypal button at the top left of the blog if you’d like to…any amount…it really helps out..and goes towards the costs of maintaing this blog, the cookbook and also music projects….thanks so much to all of you out there that have done so so far and purchased CDs and merchandise…your support is so very appreciated…



French Toast-I mean-Roman Toast-History, Recipe and other ramblings


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Now this was a good way to start off a rainy Monday morning yesterday! :)I made some French Toast…or should I now say “Roman” Toast….hmmm…


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 I love history and food facts and origins, so I did some research some time back on the history of this breakfast favorite…through the many books I have in my collection and then of course a did quick Google search too…and I found out a lot of interesting information about French Toast that I had not known before…

 And yes…I know..some of you may be saying to yourselves…”look it up in “books”? “Why waste the time? Just do an online search!” Well I did eventually…just to find out more information if I could and be sure…But, although you can find out anything these days in a second online…I still like to do research the old fashioned way, and take the time to find it in books…Isn’t that more fun anyway? Doesn’t taking the easy way out so to speak take some of the mystery out of it? The thrill of the hunt…the search..and then the prize of discovering and finding out the answers? Doesn’t it remove the romance from it all? lol Well, to me it just makes life more…well, I don’t know…cool…for lack of a better word….some may call me old fashioned! lol but reading and looking through a bunch of old books is like heaven to some people I guess… and well,  I happen to be one of them…. 

 I was always at the library as a kid…and I couldn’t wait until my Mother and Father’s once a week trip to the library…we’d all go and gather up all the books we could and then couldn’t wait to get back home and read and explore and research our favorite subjects…it was like an adventure to me….and even exciting…My parents were both… I guess you could say…student’s of life…and it’s many mysteries and also very much into antiques…and my Mother was a researcher and antique dealer for many, many years…so I guess it just runs in the blood. 🙂

When going to flea markets and tag sales or maybe I should say yard sales (as I recently learned Tag Sale is perhaps an East Coast , possibly Connecticut term…lol )…. I would always love looking through everything.. but would especially stop and get mesmerized by and lost in the books…The look…the feel, the smell..the discovery….I was in my glory and could spend hours not even realizing what time it was….and usually having to be coaxed and pulled away…lol….I was fascinated with so many subject as a child…from all of the ancient cultures…Egypt, Rome and Greece to The Middle Ages and Renaissance and the well known artists, sculptors, scholars and builders of the time like Leonardo Da Vinci….to World War I and II…I could not get enough and would spend hour upon hour immersed in the past….Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, Anthropology, Archaeology…were some of my favorite subjects and continue to be to this day. I was…and still am…a huge bibliophile…or as we said growing up…simply, a book worm….but I digress…

 So now back to the French Toast

As I was saying..some time back I was making some French Toast one night and decided to look it up….I had enjoyed this savory breakfast classic for years as we all have…but I had a feeling there was more to it…and what I found was somewhat surprising to me..and to what we all have been taught…here in the US anyway…I knew it had its roots in early American history…with the French immigrants that came here popularizing the term…I knew it was a way to make food last and make use of all of the ingredients one had to feed their family of the times…wasting food was never done as it is today…I also knew somewhat, that many cultures make there own version and have their own name for it….a Facebook friend from the UK told me they call it “Poor Knights of Windsor…what I did not know…is that this classic breakfast meal was not French at all…it was made long before France was even a country…originally made in 4th century Rome…so to use the historical idiom…”All Roads Lead to Rome” which is now a common metaphor…it would take it’s true literal meaning in this case..or at least somewhat….lol…

The earliest reference to this meal of soaking bread in eggs and milk and frying it in oil and/or butter dates back to an ancient Roman cookbook written by Apicius and it is thought to even predate this by many years…It was called at the time “pan dulcis” and was basically the same dish as we know it today…with sometimes honey being used as a topping instead of the now longtime popular maple syrup….

This cooking practice spread through Europe through the Middle Ages…and became known as “pain perdu” or “Lost Bread” in France and many other places as well…which it is still called today…but before the French called it “pain perdu” they called it “Pain a la Romaine” or…”Roman Bread”.

All in all, I found this French Toast historical quest for me to be very interesting…especially now knowing that as far back as the 4th century their were cookbooks! I also love knowing that so many cultures over so many centuries have their own wonderful version…and name for it…and no matter who you were or where you were from…we as people all had the same needs and reasons behind doing the things that we did  to survive and showed so much ingenuity…who would have thought that French Toast came about by using stale or day old bread and combining it with the protein of the eggs and milk had that had such deeper meaning…and necessity….besides just simply being an experiment, or accident and just simply tasting so darn good!! It’s awesome really…. knowledge is so great…and I think helps one learn, understand and appreciate so many things in life..and also each other….even with something as trivial as French Toast! 🙂 Or as I now will henceforth refer to it in my house… Roman Toast! 🙂

 On with the recipe…

Here is a pic of my Roman Toast I made below…I woke up Monday morning… as we all sometimes do…with this on my brain…lol…and I set out to make it right away! I’m sure many of you have made it a million times and probably better than me…and it’s delicious…lol…but here’s my take on the recipe…

 I used Italian bread…left over from the weekend…cut fairly thick…but you may use whatever bread you prefer or have on hand at the time….

 The take 3 eggs…crack them in a large bowl…add a splash of milk, a pinch of salt and mix it together. I prefer to use a fork to beat the eggs…not a whisk or blender…it’s just how I was taught as a child…and I think it makes a difference and comes out better this way…lol…but it probably doesn’t really matter….I raise the fork high a number of times during this process to create some air in the mixture….

And then comes a secret ingredient  to be added…which my Mom taught me…and her Mom before that. I have yet to find it in anyone’s recipe to date…well not yet anyway…but I am sure there is someone out there that does do this as well…I think it makes all the difference in the world…But,  I shall refrain from telling it here and  hold on to it and save it’s secret for my cookbook 🙂 

 Put a drop of olive oil in a large frying pan…rub it around to coat the bottom…add some butter or margarine if you prefer….

 Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture…making sure to saturate it completely…and then, fry it up! Make sure it gets a nice delicious golden brown looking color on both sides…

 I topped mine with butter and some Maple Syrup…but you can do all sorts of things….fresh fruit is delicious or even a spoonful of Nutella! Whatever trips your trigger…LOL…of course a must for me is also a nice tall glass of icy cold milk…

Next time I want to try the way of the ancients and use some honey….I bet it’s good!!! 🙂


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I thank you all for stopping by my blog and for taking the time to read this post and for showing such interest and support. Whether it is of me, my music and my food posts and ramblings…it truly is all so encouraging and please…share your own personal thoughts, ideas, stories and family tips and experiences by leaving your comments here…and feel free to pass it on to your friends, family and colleagues if you think they might enjoy…

 I know that I may not  be that seasoned a professional when it comes to the blogging world as of yet…lol…with all the bells and whistles…but, it is a work in progress…and I am learning and getting there…and I hope you enjoy reading…and sharing a bit of our lives together along the way…

 The cookbook I am working on slowly but surely is still in development and is getting there too…I will keep you posted! 🙂 If any of you,  and especially all of my wonderful author friends…may have any inside knowledge, tips, advice or experience in this area and in publishing a book or downloadable e-book, please get in touch….your help would be greatly appreciated!

Have a beautiful new week everyone! 

Don’t forget to follow and/or subscribe to my blog here to stay updated…



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In Loving Memory of my Father…Jazz Musician, Joe Gande – May 15, 1929-April 20, 1998


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In Loving Memory of my Father…Jazz Musician, Tenor Saxophonist,  Joe Gande – May 15, 1929-April 20, 1998…I love you Dad…and I miss you…

I had a dream about him last night…an awesome dream…so I was looking through some old photograph’s this morning when I woke up and came across this one

I love vintage photos and photography…and thought maybe some of you might too…

Today is the anniversary of his passing…

My Father lived on Great Jones Street in Manhattan…in the village for many, many years…and paid 90 dollars a month for his apartment 🙂

Off to a gig, NYC, circa 1950’s…


Here’s an older blog post with a little more about my Dad…


I’m thinking to add a lot of family photos, and share memories and anecdotes in my new cookbook I have in the works, especialy those relating to food & history, Italy…etc…what do you think? Good idea?

Thank you for stopping by and reading…



Joe Gande Winner of Betty Award!


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I am very surprised, humbled and honored to be the proud recipient of an Official BETTY Award from the wonderful Author/Reviewer/Celebrity Interviewer/Blogger/Journalist Betty Dravis!

Please visit Betty’s website and check out her work, her books and all of the awards and awesome recipients & comment & share!
Read more about award winning, best selling author Betty Dravis here….
Follow Betty on Twitter…
 Thank you,
From Betty….
“Hi, dear Joe, Congratulations! YOU won a BETTY AWARD in the musical section. Check it out on my website and then share with all your friends. I will appreciate your Tweeting it from the site and leaving a comment, if you have time. Several of your fave entertainers received Bettys also. Best always, hon! Hugs – Betty”

“Joe, I don’t know you in person, but our personalities meshed and I have a great fondness for you. In addition to having fantastic stage presence you are musically gifted, my friend. You should hit the heights and soar… Hugs – Betty” 


Favorite Musician/Singer



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Palm Sunday…


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Hope you’re all enjoying a beautiful Palm Sunday…

My Nonno used to do this with the palm and he taught me…

I still sometimes forget and have a hard time figuring it out! 🙂

 It’s times like these that make me really miss my family members that are no longer here and also smile, thinking of wonderful memories and traditions…

 In Italy palm leaves are used along with small olive branches, readily available in the Mediterranean climate. These are placed at the entrance of houses (for instance, hanging above the door) to last until the following year’s Palm Sunday. For this reason, usually palm leaves are not used whole, due to their size; instead, leave stripes are braided into smaller shapes. Small olive branches are also often used to decorate traditional Easter cakes, along with other symbols of birth, like eggs…

Here is some more info and also tons of links to make a Palm Cross if youre interested in learning more…


Photo links…


Some excellent  “How To” Videos…


Buona Domenica a tutti!






Shrimp Creole-Inspired by my Father…


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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 peppers….so 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 visit…my 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 influences…as well as general Southern Cuisine…

You can find out more info/background here if you’d like…


and here…




Thank you for reading/subscribing….

Let me know if you’d like the recipe to this dish in my upcoming cook book….

Have a great weekend everyone!!




Joe Gande Interview w/ UK Writer/Author Maria Savva


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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…. 

I don’t do this kind of thing often enough I suppose…though I have been asked…and alsohave 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 answering…it was somewhat interesting & a bit therapeutic to even to myself!:)lol Well…kidding aside…let’s just say..it was fun, and made me think…think about a lot of things I don’t necessarily think about or dredge up that often…you know? Those that truly know me know that talking about me is not my forte really….lol….yeah 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’s a snippet of 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!

Continue to Maria’s blog for more….


Be sure to stop by there to say hello, share your thoughts and check out all of the other awesome and interesting 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…

 Show your support…have a listen and if you enjoy it please pick up a high quality digital download of my 11 track CD…”The Godsend Sessions” here…