Making Ravioli with Chef Josh Campbell

One of the perks of sharing what we’ve seen is being right where the story is happening. My favorite place, hands down, is in a chef’s kitchen. This past February, Ilene and I spent the morning with Chef Josh (of Mayberry) learning the finer points of making pasta by hand and then watching him turn it into a savory combination of Ricotta Beet Ravioli with Prawns and Shellfish Broth.

Below is some of what you’ll see in the mini gazette we created for his story.
Click any of the images to view the full story as well as the full recipes. ~Gina

photography ©Gina Weathersby




Head down the flight of stairs from 6th Street’s Boca, and you enter a whole other world. Sotto, (or below, in Italian) is the subterranean sibling, and more casual dining experience from Chef David Falk and his team. If you’re fortunate enough to be at Sotto for this Monday’s grand opening, you’ll be greeted with one of the warmest, most inviting spaces we’ve seen in quite some time. After many years, Chef Falk’s vision of an authentic Italian trattoria with a menu of comforting, “grandmotherly” type dishes has finally come to fruition.

The former La Normandie is completely unrecognizable, having been entirely transformed; stripped down to its bare bones of wood and raw brick, exuding rustic warmth you could expect to find on a holiday abroad. Small, thoughtful details are evident everywhere, including some of the light fixtures, which were handmade by chef Jono Fries, and the tables, which where all fashioned from re-claimed wood, hand hewn by Cincinnati’s own Brush Factory.

In keeping with the traditional style of an authentic Italian trattoria, the menu is filled with simple, straight forward dishes. Fresh pasta plays a huge part, and indeed there is a pasta prep room complete with viewing window for your inspection. Steaks will be fresh cut and grilled on a de riguer hearth. Authentic bruschetta, fresh vegetable antipasti, fresh fish, and pork round out the rest of the menu. An extensive list of Italian wines, beers, and cocktails will be served. ~Ilene Ross

Here a few peeks from our visit yesterday.

Photos ©Gina Weathersby

Love in a Tortilla {Carnitas}

What to make for dinner tonight? As many tried and true recipes/meals I make…I’m always looking to try something new. I came across this recipe here and was totally inspired. The fact that I had never made carnitas before was a bonus.
Carnitas ~ literally means “little meats,” typically pork, and braised slowly in a combination of juices and spices.
Like most recipes I come across, after looking through the list of ingredients, I pick out what I don’t care for and add in what I do like. This gets me in trouble sometimes with baking or with the first batch of caramels that I made over the weekend…but, that’s another post.
I shared a few ig’s along the way and promised to share the recipe if it turned out. It did. So much so that our family had it for dinner two nights in a row as the recipe made a healthy batch of food and, yes, the pork was even tastier the second day.

I didn’t take any formal picts, so I’ll just share my ig’s. They are not the sharpest, but you get the idea.  The recipe is at the bottom of the post.
As far as the herb/spice mix…add what you like. The same goes for the toppings, add your favorites. I’m on a fennel kick, so fennel landed on my carnitas, as did radishes. Whatever you like. ~Gina

photos © Gina Weathersby

Love in a Tortilla {Carnitas}
Recipe type: Main
Author: Gina Weathersby
  • 5 lb. pork butt (wrapped in twine)
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 med sized onion (roughly sliced)
  • 1 big handful of fresh cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 4-5 fresh thyme branches
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T coffee grounds
  • 1 T toasted coriander seeds
  • 1 T Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3 T kosher salt
  • 1 bottle of beer (your choice)
  • Toppings:
  • Thinly sliced onions, fennel, radishes, red/yellow bell peppers, scallions
  • Manchego cheese (grated)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Homemade salsa
  • Homemade guacamole
  • Lime juice
  • Hot sauce (of choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Take the pork out of the fridge, pierce with a pairing knife in several places, salt and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. In a dutch oven, large enough for your pork butt, sear all sides of the meat with some of the olive oil and set aside.
  4. In the same dutch oven, add the sliced onions and cook a few minutes till a little color is showing.
  5. In a bowl, combine the oj, lime juice, chopped garlic, and all the herbs and spices, slowly adding the remainder of the olive oil while whisking.
  6. Place the pork back into the dutch oven on top of the onions.
  7. Pour the marinade and beer on top of the pork until the pork is almost fully submerged.
  8. Put the lid on and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven.
  9. Cook for 4 hours.
  10. Baste half way through and add a splash of more beer, if needed.
  11. When finished cooking, just pull the meat with tongs and a fork.
  12. Place meat into a heat proof bowl and ladle in it’s juices.
  13. Serve the pork with warm tortillas and your toppings of choice, top off with the fresh salsa, guacamole, cilantro and finish with a generous grating of cheese and, of course, your favorite hot sauce.



G. D. Vajra Wine Dinner at The Mercantile Library ~ Spines, Hart & Air

An extraordinary pop-up dinner collaboration combining the warm, old world atmosphere of Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library, an exceptional six course menu complete with wine pairings colorfully described by one with a most romantic Italian accent, and the gift of a sublime musical performance.
The hosts~Kevin Hart, Sebastien Hue, Gordon Hue, Chase Blowers, Jim Cornwell.

photographed by Gina Weathersby
words & poetry to accompany by Sebastien Hue and Ben Greenberg

A few images before linking below to the full evening spread.

To view entire story, just click the image below:

A new family favorite ~ Grapefruit, Buttermilk, and Poppy Seed Quinoa Pancakes

I’m not quite sure if it’s the crunch of the poppy seeds, the tang of the buttermilk or the nuttiness of the flours used (gluten free, indeed) but these little breakfast treats have become quite the family favorite and a frequent morning request.
Thank you, Gabriella, for looking up food and recipes online, as well as still inside the pages of cookbooks, like your mommy, and finding this one.

photography ©Gina Weathersby

The recipe below is my adaption of the original by Beatrice Peltre from her new cookbook ‘La Tartine Gourmande‘ ~ enjoy! Gina

Grapefruit, Buttermilk, and Poppy Seed Quinoa Pancakes ~ Recipe adapted from La Tartine Gourmande by Béatrice Peltre. Published by Roost Books, 2011.
Recipe type: breakfast
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) sweet rice flour or white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) quinoa flour
  • 2 tablespoons blond cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • finely grated zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for cooking pancakes
  1. In a bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, 1 pinch of salt, poppy seeds, and the grapefruit zest.
  2. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the buttermilk, grapefruit juice, and oil.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. In a third bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of sea salt until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the batter.
  5. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and repeat for as many pancakes as you can make.
  6. Cook until the surface bubbles and starts to set, then flip the pancakes and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes more or until golden.
  7. Serve pancakes immediately with warm maple syrup or honey. Sprinkle with grapefruit zest.


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