Italian Torte

Italian torte by Wendy IngorvaiaItalian torte is a unique and interesting mix of pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese, which is formed into a torte-like dome.  It isn’t a “traditional” Italian dish, but it’s delicious, and a good bit of fun.  Here is how you can make it, based off a recipe I found online:


3 oz sun-dried tomatoes

16 oz softened cream cheese

1 minced clove of garlic

10 slices provolone cheese

8 ounces pesto



Bring a small saucepan of water to boil

Turn off the heat and place sun-dried tomatoes in the water and cover for 5 minutes before draining and finely chopping

Mix cream cheese and garlic in a medium bowl

Line a medium bowl or loaf pan with a large piece of dampened cheesecloth and layer with ⅓ of the provolone cheese

Spread with half the pesto and pour in one half of the cream cheese/garlic mixture

Layer with half of the sundried tomatoes

Layer with ⅓ the provolone and remaining pesto, cream cheese/garlic mixture and sun-dried tomatoes before topping with the remaining provolone cheese

Pull the cheesecloth around the layered mixture and gently press into a bowl to mold and remove any excess oil

Chill in the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours, remove cheesecloth and turn the torte upside-down onto a large dish to serve

Brooklyn’s Best West Indian Food

Immigrant food has been a part of New York’s culinary heritage from the very beginning: Dutch settlers in the 17th century brought donuts, hot dogs come from the Germans who arrived in New York in the 19th century, while pizza, bagels and pastrami have their origins in the Italian and Jewish immigrants who came through Ellis Island in the early 20th century.  Yet in the past 50 years, New York has seen an influx of immigrants that have changed the city’s culinary tradition even more.  Out in Brooklyn – Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy and Flatbush in particular – West Indian immigrants are leaving their mark on the culinary scene with their spicy, exciting food.  I recently came across an article that featured some of the best Caribbean restaurants in Brooklyn, listed below:

Gloria's Caribbean Cuisine

Gloria’s: For over 40 years now, Gloria’s has been serving countless loyal customers authentic Trinidadian food.  The key in their success lies in diversity: Gloria’s is just all-around good, making it a great spot for both novices and experts of West Indian food.

The Islands Brooklyn

The Islands: A quintessential hole-in-the-wall a block away from the Brooklyn museum, The Islands offers good food at a reasonable price and in huge portions.  You can choose between two portion sizes, but despite the name, both of them are gigantic; a “large” meal can easily feed two people for a whole day.


Glady’s: While the neighborhood around Glady’s has fallen victim to gentrification and Glady’s itself has seen a massive makeover, it remains standing, offering cheap Caribbean fare.  There are the standbys like jerk chicken, as well as such less-known items like pepper shrimp, jerk lobster and a whole variety of sides.

Ali's Trinidad roti shop

Ali’s Trinidad Roti Shop: Trinidad’s strong Indian influence means that here the name of the game is rotis, curry chicken in particular.  For the full experience, get a bottle of Ting grapefruit soda to wash everything down.

Peppa's jerk chicken

Peppa’s Jerk Chicken: If you’re a purist who wants a dish done right, then look no further than Peppa’s spicy, flavor-packed jerk chicken.  Cooks grill, slice and serve the restaurant’s signature title dish in huge amounts every day to crowds of locals and visitors alike.