The Pop Up Chef!

This month is Italian heritage month (my heritage of course) and I am making a trek to various locations across country to my family where I will pop up and prepare a delicious meal and pair it with a fabulous wine.

My first stop on my pop up chef itinerary is San Francisco,  the Alameda side where Cousin Laurie resides in a scenic home on the bay.








Here you can find the freshest local ingredients at the farmers market and seafood shoppes as well as an abundance of wine everywhere!









Today I am preparing Cioppino!

Cioppino- Italian seafood stew Paired with a Beaujolais or Sangiovese wine










  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28-oz)
  • 3 large fresh tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 cup red wine (a nice one)
  • 10 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • Dungeness crab (about 2-lbs), cracked and cleaned      or snow crab or lobster
  • 2 pounds white fish fillets, cut into 1-in slices
  • 12 large prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 clams
  • 1 half pound scallops
  • 1/2cup Italian parsley, chopped


  1. In a large pot, on medium-low heat, the olive oil and sauté the celery and onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic sauté about  two minutes then add the red wine reduce it to half and add the canned tomatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and the rest of the seasonings. Reserve the seafood, butter and fresh parsley. Simmer the sauce on low, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
  2. Add the crab, white fish, and simmer covered another five minutes. Add the mussels, clams, also covered and simmer for 3 minutes more, lastly add the scallops, shrimp and butter, stir gently and simmer for about five minutes . Turn off the heat, and sprinkle in the Italian parsley.
  3. Serves 6.Serve with fresh sourdough bread and your favorite bottle of red.
  4. Chef Fran’s is a bottle of Sangiovese!

After an enjoyable visit in California I am onto my next family popup chef location, Chicago the windy city where I take in the cites with my cousin Pat and cook up a yummy meal Chicago style in her fabulous town home.












Chicago is noted for some of the best beef so off to the butcher shoppe to buy some tender prime beef, a chuck roast which will be the main component in our Italian Pot Roast Bolognese.









  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 1  cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 4tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth or stock
  • 3lb chuck roast cut and trimmed into pieces
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fettuccine or any pasta you like
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and cook for 1minute. Add the wine, stir to deglaze the pan, and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and cut up beef, stirring occasionally, over medium  heat until the sauce is thickening and the beef is becoming tender about an hour. Stir in the half and half and parsley, cook for another 30 minutes on low heat until the beef is very tender  and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.


Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook till al dente. Serve the Bolognese over the pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese.







Pair with a Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah or Cabernet Sauvignon.



On to my third and final pop-up destination, my birthplace of New York where a majority of my family and friends reside. I arrive at my sister’s house in Pawling, New York greeted with lots of hugs and  a lovely glass of Sauvignon Blanc!

Most of the relatives are on their way as well so I am ready to get cooking.









This dish is Chicken Scaloppini one of my favorites and easy to make. It can be paired with a lovely Chardonnay or Pino Grigio.










  • 6-8 chicken breasts ½ inch thick
  • Flour seasoned with salt and pepper to dredge chicken
  • Oil for sautéing chicken about 4 oz.
  • 12 0z fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1can artichoke hearts quartered
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 oz pancetta
  • 4 oz capers drained
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 12 oz chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 oz butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped parsley to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1lb pasta cooks choice (I use angel hair)


Dredge chicken in flour and add to hot oil sauté till lightly golden on both sides remove and place in a roasting pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

In the same pan that you sautéed the chicken in sauté sliced mushrooms and pancetta for about 3 minutes.

Add garlic to the pan sauté 1 minute then add white wine and reduce by half. Add chicken broth and reduce that by half. Add butter, artichokes, capers and lemon salt and pepper to taste stir, cook for about 3 minutes until butter is totally melted and sauce is smooth. Pour sauce over chicken

And bake uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Cook and drain the pasta add 3 tablespoons olive oil to pasta and toss to coat then place on a serving platter. Add the chicken on to the pasta and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 8…. of course I triple the recipe for the fam!

Buon Appetito!