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We are here to bring you our life through food. Especially Italian food. You can learn more about us here.


Eat Like a Iaciofano — Toby

Toby was my first pet, if you don't count the occasional goldfish. I found him on from this photo:

I could talk about the kind of dog Toby was, but as this is a food blog I feel that it's most appropriate to do this by telling you what he liked to eat.

It might be easier to numerate the things he didn't find appetizing. Toby was a stray, so he always behaved like each meal was unexpected - scarfing down his dog food in big gulps, barely breathing or chewing.

Just like a Iaciofano.

When I walked Toby, I would have to scan the streets for anything remotely edible, lest he injest something really unsavory. Sometimes I want to follow The Box around in this manner, shaking a finger and exclaiming, "Ah-ah!" just as some questionable morsel is about to cross his lips.


In spite of Toby's penchant for "street food", he was a dog of some refined tastes. His favorite by far were French fries. He once turned up his nose at a batch of imposter toaster fries. He wanted the real thing.

Perhaps because of this food preference, I started referring to Toby as, "M. Pamplemousse," and speaking for him in an atrocious French accent. "M. Pamplemousse" means "Mr. Grapefruit." It's the only French word I know. Interestingly, I never investigated as to whether or not Toby actually liked grapefruits.

Another favorite were apples. He especially enjoyed these in his later days, taking slices gingerly from my hand and trotting off to eat them in a private corner of the Iaciofano TV room.

Blueberries were another fruity preference. A week before he died, I baked him a special batch of tiny blueberry muffins which he very much enjoyed (recipe at the end of this post).

He liked to lick an empty ice cream bowl (who doesn't?), always received his own small portion of Iaciofano family holiday dinners,

developed a taste for Italian cured sausage and provolone cheese (thanks to The Box), and once tried to launch himself on a candy-apple Thanksgiving turkey that I made for Thanksgiving.

Toby and I were together for 14 of his 16 years. Even though he was 16 and his kidneys were declining, I never expected him to leave me. To say that I miss him very much is an understatement. I miss not only the actual dog that Toby was — his energy, quirky personality, piercing PTSD-inducing bark — but also what he represented: a companion that embodied a childlike playfulness and enthusiasm for the world.

I've taken this last piece of Toby and translated it into a character. His name is:

Pecorino is the ultimate trusty sidekick for my own character:

Zaza is a ten year old version of myself. Together, Pecorino and Zaza travel the world, searching for the Perfect Pie. 

Pizza, that is.

I'm hoping the two of them will have many adventures together, small dog and little girl, ever curious and looking to paint a little magic into their lives with pizza.

I'm also hoping you'll be able to follow their adventures very soon.

Rest in peace, Toby. 

Recipe for Mini Blueberry Muffins, Suitable for Small Dogs and All-Sized People


1-1/2 cups almond meal

½ cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

3/4 cups turbinado sugar

1 pint blueberries

3 eggs

½ cup almond milk (you may need more)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Colavita)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat your oven to 350°F.

Place the blueberries in a blender with the almond milk and puree until very smooth - so smooth you could drink it. I reserved a few blueberries to press into the tops of the muffins, but this is optional.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and turbinado sugar. Mix all dry ingredients together.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract.

Add the puréed blueberries to the egg mixture and mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. If the mixture seems dry, add some more almond milk. Coconut flour tends to absorb a lot of liquid, so adding more milk is totally fine.

Prepare a cupcake tin by lining with cupcake paper or greasing with non-stick baking spray.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tins and press any remaining blueberries into the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. If you are using mini muffin tins, you only need to bake them for about 12-15 minutes.

Allow the cupcakes to cool.

Share them with a small dog near you.


Elana's UnFood Journal

This isn't food related. Or is it?

This is a phases of the moon chart. It's made from a music book salvaged from the trash (yes, I occasionally dumpster-dive for art), water color, parchment paper, and ink.

I don't really know why I wanted to paint the phases of the moon. Perhaps it's because in NYC, I feel slightly divorced from nature. Perhaps I just liked the colors. Perhaps I was sick of painting food.

Either way, perhaps we can just take it as what it is.

Sweet dreams.


Elana's Food Journal - Week 2

As part of a 40 day yoga challenge I'm undertaking (at Lyon's Den in TriBeca), I must maintain a food journal. 

This should be easy for me, yes? Hmmm.... 

Writing down what I eat is easy for me. But I felt as though there was an opportunity in this project to challenge myself.

Challenge is the very reason I signed up for this challenge. You following me? Thought not. 

Lately I've been feeling that I am relying on old tricks. For recipes, for social interactions, for career moves. FOR LIFE.

Like if I could just sous vide instead of sauté, I might have a break through. Or what if cardamom is the difference? I've often felt it is, but when I try to sprinkle it on myself instead of in my almond milk chai, nothing happens. Cardamom is not fairy dust, people. Mental note.

Anyway. With this food journal, I wanted to challenge myself to be creative every day. To paint my food. Or think about it visually in a different way than just photographing it. This is the result. 

It's not fabulous. It's not meant to be a masterpiece, but a place where I can play, not be too serious and see what works.

Just like my kitchen!


Elana's Food Journal - Taking a Break. Or Two.

What does it mean to take a break or even a step back? Both phrases have a negative connotation for me, as they suggest that whatever I'm doing might be in excess or require re-evaluation.

Historically, I'm not a break-taker. I like to keep the huskies mushing, believing (or being trained to believe, perhaps?) that all motion—regardless of direction—is progress.

But now, I believe this is not the case. By the above model, I (or you) would turn into the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil version of productivity—limbs (mental and physical) flailing in all directions at once, making it impossible to discern a left big toe from a right ear.

At a design studio I used to work at, we had a phrase for this: PANTS ON FUEGO. The intentional mis-combination of English and Spanish was meant to convey with even greater urgency how really ON FIRE your pantaloons were in that moment. 


Or mucho.

Readers of this blog (all 5 of you!) know that I've been a bit reflective lately. Years of operating "on fuego", some unfortunate athletic mishaps, and a complete career regeneration seem to have spurred this. Or else there is something in my water.

To encourage my reflective phase, I recently had two "breaks" which yielded some unexpected results, both artistically and gastronomically.

I spent a week at Iach HQ babysitting my dog while my parents were on vacation.

I thought I would be lonely. I was not.

I thought I would hate getting snowed in with no escape. I did not.

I thought conversations with the dog would get old. They did not.

The literal space this break created allowed me to asses my life from afar, like reading a recipe and deciding what subtractions, substitutions or additions I would make to make it taste better.

What's my new life recipe? I'll be constantly rewriting that. And it will never be perfect, but most likely lumpy, like an heirloom tomato. Those tomatoes always taste better...I think those might be flavor lumps.

Here is an excerpt from my Food Journal for Lumpy Life Heirloom Tomato Salad:

My next "break" was in Puerto Rico - a real vacation! No computer. I brought a set of travel watercolors (pictured at the top of this post), a few Sharpies and a sketchbook. I meant to draw and paint on my own but what happened instead was a series of painting sessions with the children (ages 3-10) that were in our group's number.

Every day we found time for painting together.

Sometimes we painted food.

Sometimes the three year old commandeered my sketchbook for excessive rainbow application.

And sometimes we painted animals.

By Max Philips, Age 10We made sure to keep everything drippy and unprofessional.

I didn't think I would enjoy this. I was wrong.

I didn't think I'd be running to the local school supply store for more art supplies two days into the trip. I was.

I didn't think the kids would be giving ME ideas. They were.

Here is the remaining pages of the notebook I kept, complete with a few loosely constructed recipes. This notebook is a combination of my works, rainbows by the youngest student and additions by the twins (aged 10).

I didn't think the book would be better with their help. It is.


Sensible Squash Soup

I've been painting and cooking. Cooking and writing. Sometimes painting with what I'm cooking. But never cooking with what I'm painting....or am I?

I emerge out of this in a cloud of smoke, just as confused as you are. Oh yes. Confusion sets in. And disappointment too.

Disappointment? Yes. The other day, I painted squashes. Then I painted orange things. And more squashes. And I looked at it all and I said, "OK, great, Elana, but what are you going to do with it?"

So I made some butternut and acorn squash soup to make it all make sense. Because if anything makes sense, it's soup. Especially of the orange variety.

But it still didn't quite. Make sense, that is. Even after eating most of the soup, which was quite good with a little quinoa for protein, crispy baked mushrooms and fried sage.

So I sat down, belly full of soup, and thought. 

"Huh. What now?" I said to myself. "I know! How about I pour the rest of this soup onto this tiny white table and paint with it? And then work it into these here watercolors to see if I can match it up?"

ASIDE: This was happening while there was a snow storm a-brewing outside. John and I were staying at Iach HQ while Marmo and the Box were enjoying a vacation. It was about this time that John walked in to inquire the whereabouts of our snow plow man when he saw me, manic gleam in my eye, painting with my food. If there was ever a doubt as to who is the "odd duck" of the family, rest assured, it is obviously John who did not see the merit in such activities.

But, you, fair reader, certainly do! I can smell it. Just like I can smell the maple syrup saturating the squash as it roasts in the oven at 400°F. 

As before, I am leaving you specific instructions. Just these images from which you can certainly, if enterprising, cobble together a similar sensible soup. You can even paint with it, should you like.