Classic Italian ButtercreamBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterClassic Italian Buttercream is light, fluffy and not too sweet. It's easy to make and can last for several days refrigerated and may also be frozen for several months. You can make it just about any flavor by using extracts and concentrates. The recipe is easily doubled for larger cakes or cupcakes. Temperature is key. Be certain that the sugar syrup is up to 240℉. For best results meringue should be at room temperature prior to adding the room temperature butter and you will always have better and consistent successes if you use a scale for measuring ingredients.Fiori di Sicilia Gateau with Orange Custard FillingBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterI've recently started using and have fallen in love with this amazing floral citrusy essence called Fiori di Sicilia. Each bite feeds your sense of taste, aroma and that funny thing that taste and smell can do sometimes to just make you happy. The cake is rich, moist and light and not overly sweet. The addition of the orange and lemon in the filling adds a bit of tartness and balance. It's optional, but I like a sprinkle of chopped candied bitter orange peel over the top. It adds crunch and just another dimension to the flavors.Espresso Cake with Coffee Custard and Italian ButtercreamBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThe Espresso Cake is rich, not too sweet with delicate espresso flavors throughout. Moist layers of cake, creamy coffee custard between the layers, and light and airy Italian Espresso Buttercream all around combine to give varying levels and textures of flavor. This cake involves a bit of time, but is so worth it. Finishing it with crunchy candied almonds adds just another layer of flavor and texture. My recipe for this was inspired by a young man who wanted it to be part of the special day he proposed to his girlfriend..and yes..she said "yes".Classic Danish PastryBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterMy Dad made some of the best Danish pastry that I have ever tasted. In all my travels, I've tasted just a few that have come up to his standards. This recipe does take two days to complete, but it's worth it. The end result is a rich, buttery, flakey pastry with a touch of sweetness taken further by the fillings or additions you choose. I'm particularly fond of almond, but there are so many variations from which to choose. Preserves, custard, raisins and nuts are some that come to mind.Italian Cream & Rum CakeBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterWhile the Italian Rum Cream Cake has a long tradition, it's like many other Italian recipes in that there are hundreds of variations. My version, from my Northern Italian heritage has whipped cream, a bit of espresso, crunchy walnuts, rich chocolate, and of course, more whipped cream combine to make this a rich, multi-flavored dessert. A small piece goes a long way, and this will easily serve 10. It will stay moist and flavorful for several days.Chocolaty Chewy Frosted BrowniesBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterI loved my Dad's brownies. They were in the "chewy" category, with just a hint of "fudge", and full of toasted walnut pieces. To add even more chocolate, they were frosted with a rich topping that was somewhere between chocolate fudge and chocolate buttercream. These are great any time of the day. Have one, or two with coffee or tea, a glass of milk, or after dinner with a bit a red wine or Port. Oh...and did I mention they are super easy to make. The batter can be mixed in one bowl, and by hand. Covered with plastic wrap, or in an air tight container stored in the refrigerator, they will last up to 10 days.Ginger Cilantro Asian NoodlesBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis simple Asian Noodle dish is delightful. The combination of the flavors of the ginger root, cilantro, green onions, paired with the soy, sesame and oyster sauce gives as much to our sense of aroma as to our taste. It's very good hot, but you can also serve at room temperature. It's an easy, quick meal, or side dish and great served at room temperature for a light lunch.Chicken Wings in Asian Master SauceBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterCrispy, tasty finger food that's easy to make. Master Sauce sounds impressive, but actually is a very simple sauce that originates from Eastern China. Every family seems to have their own version, but classically the sauce contains Star Anise, ginger root and Szechuan pepper, along with the soy. This simmering sauce is used for chicken as well as pork, and often the braised meat is eaten just over rice. This version of the chicken wings adds an additional step of creating a glaze from part of the sauce and crisping the skin of the chicken wings, either under a broiler or on a grill. The sauce can be reused many times. Simple allow it to cool, strain out the solids (the star anise, ginger root, peppers), skim the fat from the top and freeze. In the past, in China, they simply used it very often and brought it to a boil to kill any bacteria, but I suggest freezing just to be on the safe side.Mu-Shu PorkBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterIn the 1970's I became quite interested in Asian Cuisine. I read all I could find, and took several classes that were offered in San Francisco. By the late 70's, I incorporated this ancient, amazing cuisine as part of the curriculum, along with Italian and French in my cooking school. This is among my top favorites, and I hope you will enjoy making it. If you live in an area where fresh Shitake mushroom are not available, the dried will work, and Clouds Ears can be found online. If you don't have time to make the Mandarin Pancakes, you can use thin, flour tortillas, just brush them lightly with toasted sesame oil prior to heating. This dish is equally delicious using chicken.Apricot Tart Crispy ToppingBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterStone Fruit has arrived and tangy apricots are wonderful for all sorts of desserts. One of my favorite uses are tarts and pies. This simple recipe uses a buttery crust, ripe apricots and a crispy oatmeal topping. You could easily substitute peaches or nectarines and it would be equally tasty. Serve with a scoop of ice cream to round out this seasonal treat.Arugula Pesto Cold Pasta SaladBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterArugula pesto can be used in so many different ways, but this is one of my favorites. Adding a few cups of the whole Arugula leaves at the end adds additional flavor and texture, along with color. You can also change it a bit by adding walnuts instead of pine nuts, and a nice firm goat or sheep's milk cheese instead of the mozzarella. The salad will keep for several days, and is a great addition to any summer meal, or summer picnic.Mediterranean Farro SaladBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterFarro falls into the category of Ancient Grains and refers to the grains of three different wheat species and is processed several different ways. There is whole farro, which like dried beans, must be soaked overnight prior to cooking. This by far has the most nutrients, but prep time is longer. You can also find semi-pearled or pearled. The more processing, the fewer nutrients, but the easier to cook. In most stores you will find the pearled, although the label is likely to show just "farro", but the directions for cooking on the back will give you an idea. Any form you choose will still yield a lovely, nutty, chewy grain that works for both sweet an savory. Mix with fruit and yogurt or cream, use instead of rice when making risotto, or enjoy in this easy salad recipe.