“Fawkes is a clam, Harry. They burst into flames when it is time for them to die, and are reborn from the ashes.” – Dumbledore from Harry Potter

Hey there!

Boy, I’ve had a busy weekend and will have a busy week to come!  Had a wonderful dinner at Lento with loverboy, I made it to the public market which lately I have been running into my Professor, Alex and I had a “meeting of the families” dinner yesterday on behalf of his Nonna, which turned into an engagement dinner for us, I met with a client and made a commercial for 33 Definitions!  My Gosh, I did a lot of work outs that I have not done is so long!  It all felt great except these like “air pushups”, which destroyed my shoulder.  I have not felt pain in my shoulder like this for a long time and I’m really hoping the pain subsides soon!  One positive outcome: the boxing was really fun and I would definitely like to do it again ASAP!

Saturday, November 17, 2012 was the International Survivors of Suicide Day AFSP is another not-for-profit organization very close to my heart; my uncle took his life in June 2007.  A sudden loss like this, what you feel after is not something I can explain, it’s really something you have to experience (unfortunately).  Some people consider it a crime and the act so selfish but I completely disagree.  I do not understand how someone who is so depressed and thinks so low of them self, is selfish.  It’s just a really unfortunate side affect of severe depression, which is why professionals always urge to recognize the warning signs and seek help right away.  Many do not understand this until they have lost someone they love, but yet many are still blind and stay angry at the person – does not help you nor the one you loved.  This is something people are afraid, or ashamed to talk about – do not be ashamed to talk.  Talking, opening up and expressing your feelings is the best thing you could do for yourself to cope with this type of grief.

After my uncle’s death, becoming extremely ill, seeing a therapist and falling in love with such an amazing man who treats me better than I treat myself, all really have taught me to enjoy my life to the fullest

“We react with shock when we are told that someone we know has taken their own life. We wonder to ourselves why they ‘committed’ suicide. We whisper to each other and use the word ‘committed’ without even considering what that word means. We use the word ‘committed’ in conjunction with the word suicide because we have been taught that a crime has been perpetrated. Even if we don’t hold such a belief, we thoughtlessly use the word because it is what has always been.” – Andrej N. Lah. Director, Catholic Cemeteries Association, Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio.

Anyways, I just have to talk about the dinner I had at Lento restaurant – OMG SO DELISH!  I haven’t been out to a really nice dinner in a while and Alex and I normally go to restaurant Good Luck when we want an expensive dinner out but it is just so hard to get a table on the weekend and this restaurant is only open Wednesday – Saturday, opening at 5p.m. if you are able to get a reservation, it’s incredibly worth it!  It’s not exactly healthy, but everything is fresh and seasonal (hey, when in Rome) BUT they do have this organic mixed green salad with an avocado vinaigrette and I never eat any salad as fast as this on.  I would give anything to know how they make it – I tried once but there was one thing I was missing and I cannot pinpoint it!  (Sorry for my ADD and switching from subject to subject)  When I do try new foods, I always seem to end up finding those foods at Good Luck or Lento (both located in Village Gate), Friday night was one of those nights!

This past Wednesday, I tried a raw oyster for my first time in lab so I convinced Alex to try some at Lento.  The texture is something you definitely have to get used to, but they are so delicious; not fishy at all!  You just really have to get used to the texture, “…it’s the best tasting loogie you’ll ever have…” Chef Brinkman told us on Wednesday.  Yeah, like that’s something I really want to hear when trying a new food…… HA!  It’s best to just chew it twice to get the flavor then swallow – you can’t really chew it into pieces because of the texture.

I do not drink alcohol anymore because my stomach can’t handle it with the medication I’m on, but there seems to be only one drink that tastes oh-so-good and doesn’t hurt my stomach at all – a Gilded Ricky from restaurant Good Luck – Hendrick’s gin, meyer lemon juice, yerba-mate syrup, tonic & topped with a mint leaf.  Lento had a similar cocktail as a special, a pomegranate Ricky.  It was delicious, but still not as delicious as the Gilded Ricky!  It’s weird that my stomach can handle gin, when gin is probably one of the worst liquors for you (but it’s so tasty).

We ordered 4 oysters, three from ME and one from WA.  I gave Alex the advantage and let him have the only one from WA because it was the smallest one.  He said that the one from ME was so incredibly salty compared to the one from WA.  Served with some Asian sauce that I believe overpowered the taste of the oyster but it was still delicious.  They all looked so beautiful….

Next, we had blood pudding with a grilled apple salad.  I know this sounds disgusting, but I’m one of those people who loves to watch Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern and they always talk about how good blood things are.  I was watching the Layover with Anthony Bourdain today he had blood sausage in NYC (I have a secret crush on Anthony Bourdain… what a sex-ay man; sorry Alex).  The blood pudding tasted very similar to pâté but not as strong (I freaking love pâté, so fatty but so good).  This blood pudding was served warm with sliced onions & apples that were grilled & a sherry vinaigrette for the greens.  Everything complemented each other so well I devoured my portion!

For my main course, I ordered a portobello mushroom stuffed with curried potato, cauliflower, spinach & cilantro, topped with a pear chutney… Again, SO GOOD!  I wish I took a picture of this one but I had teared into that shroom so fast I was so sad how quickly I finished it =(

I felt awesome after this meal.  The portions are perfect the perfect size that my stomach felt not full, but just right.  I actually treated myself to a mini mint oreo blizzard for dessert, seeing as though we have a new Dairy Queen in Rochester and I had never had their ice cream.  Alex was expecting it to taste like McDonald’s ice cream (kinda crappy) but it was actually really good!  I was quite surprised, too.

At our trip to the Public Market, we purchased two dozen beautiful, dense, live clams for $5.00.  They were actually $3.00 per dozen but old men love me (no joke).  Flashed a smile, elderly man liked it and gave me a dollar off without me asking, ha!  My uncle that passed used to make an awesome clam dip every Christmas Eve – always will be known as Uncle Joe’s Clam Dip.  I would have loved to make this but it’s so fattening that I try to only make it a holiday snack.  It’s basically canned clams, clam juice with cream cheese & seasonings served with Lay’s ruffles chips.  So, I decided to make some white clam sauce, which is a sauce I have grown up on.  But again, my family had always made this sauce with canned clams.  I have nothing against canned clams, but having the opportunity to make it with fresh clams it makes such a difference.

Linguini w/ fresh white clam sauce


1 pkg. linguini pasta, your preference

2 dozen clams, soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes and scrub them clean under cold water

1 C. white wine, always cook with a wine you would drink

1 baby red onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 of a roasted red pepper, diced

1 lemon, zested & juiced

1 tsp. dried or fresh oregano

3 tsp. dried or fresh parsley

2 pieces quartered marinated artichoke hearts, diced

pinch crushed red pepper

4 Tbs. part-skim ricotta cheese**


salt & pepper to taste


  1. Start the pot of water for the pasta and cook according to directions on the package.
  2. In the meantime, in a pot on medium heat, add enough EVOO to give a decent coat to the bottom of the pot and heat up the oil.
  3. Add the onion and garlic, cooking only for a couple minutes.
  4. Add all except however many clams you would like to keep in the shell and wine.
  5. Bring the heat up to medium high, let cook & reduce.
  6. Once the clams open, remove them from the sauce and continue to reduce.
  7. Remove the cooked clams from their shells, mince and reserve on a plate with the artichoke and roasted pepper.
  8. Once the sauce has reduced by half, add the cooked clams, artichoke, roasted pepper, lemon juice & zest, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano and parsley – cook for a few minutes.
  9. If you think there’s too much liquid in there, reduce the sauce some more, but if not, add the remaining uncooked clams and cover until the clams have opened.
  10. **At this time, you want to taste the sauce.  The clams I purchased were extremely salty and made the sauce so freaking salty I could not handle it, I didn’t even add any extra salt, it was all natural from the clams.  So, I added extra lemon juice and some ricotta cheese to try to balance out the saltiness and it seemed to work.  Depending on how salty your sauce is, this part is optional.  I really wish the sauce wasn’t so salty because I actually prefer it without the cheese.
  11. Once the sauce is finished, toss it with the cooked pasta.
  12. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, a lemon wedge and some sauteed spinach to up your veggies!

Look, how pretty!

These clams were so delicious.  Alex agreed and he is not one that favors shellfish.  These clams had absolutely no grit – I was really surprised!  The man I bought them from must have a really clean farm and really know what he is doing.  Clams are tasty, low in bad fat and high in good fat, a great source of lean protein and they have a low amount of contaminants.  Not only do they have positive nutrition, but what I love most of all – clams are sustainable!  You know how much I love fresh, local & sustainable food =)

Well, I really need my sleep.  My body is in pain and I need to rest up for my week.  I’m spending Thanksgiving with the future in-laws and offered to make mashed potatoes and gravy (I really make an awesome gravy, my mother is quite jealous that I am not making it for her, haha).  Although, Nonna did say that “…we’ll taste and see how she does.”  Gotta live up to the Italian grandmothers expectations!  Haha, I’m not nervous at all, Nonnine is awesome.

What’s your favorite type of shellfish?

Are there any foods that are now a traditional dish for Thanksgiving?

How do you make sure you are purchasing sustainable seafood?

After Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday – what are you doing to support your local small businesses?  If you live in Rochester, NY check out Bernunzio Uptown Music if you’re in to vintage instruments – not only is it an amazing store, but so is the family behind it!



About cookbravissima

Hello there! Thank you for visiting my page! =) ****BLOG UNDER CONSTRUCTION-PLEASE COME BACK SOON**** My name is Maria. I am a babysitter, Our Lady of Mercy graduate, 25 years old and a dietary consultant for 33 Definitions Health and Wellness Education. I started this blog with the intention to share my healthy food creations with the everyday person, like myself! I do not consider myself a Chef. I believe a Chef is someone who went to school for culinary and/or works in a restaurant kitchen. Me, I am not a Chef, just an average person who loves to cook healthy! I am currently majoring in Culinary Arts but I still do not consider myself a chef. In 2008, I was going through a really tough time, physically and emotionally. My depression and anxiety had such a strong grip on my mental/physical health it was taking control. I wasn’t treating myself right in every category; example, not eating all day then having one large meal at night, and it wasn’t a healthy meal. I also wasn’t working out anymore; I used to be such an avid rower, co-captain of my high school team. But I was depressed, I couldn’t drink, eat or sleep. I was dehydrated and eventually lead to my body basically breaking down on me. I lost 40 pounds in just a couple months; my body was forming a substitute carbohydrate which was making me dry heave, all due to not drinking and eating. I thought to myself, how the hell does one throw up from not eating? No idea, but that’s what my doctor told me. I should have been in the hospital hooked up to an IV. Anyway, after I was able to walk without feeling like passing out I scheduled to see a psychiatrist and vowed to treat my body better. I grew up in a house where my mother had a healthy homemade meal on the table every weekday, so I just followed that while doing my research on what exactly is “healthy” food because everyone has their own definition (which is perfectly fine). Being healthy is not a diet, it is a lifestyle! It includes both physical and mental self, which is why I say a diet makes no sense! Everyone has their own lifestyle and many people that eat healthy vow by eating a certain way while others may not agree. Well, I say they’re all wrong! It should be whatever one believes is healthy for them, inside and out but do your research first! If whatever you are doing keeps you healthy and happy, then you are doing something right! #EatFreshCookBravissima
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One Response to “Fawkes is a clam, Harry. They burst into flames when it is time for them to die, and are reborn from the ashes.” – Dumbledore from Harry Potter

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