Buon compleanno, mamma!

August 30 is a very special birthday, for one of the most special people in my life, my mom!

Happy birthday mom!

If I had been in Reno, I would have made my mom a delicious birthday dinner. I definitely would have made my mom a salad because she LOVES vegetables. So, to show my mom how much I love her and how thankful I am that she’s my mother, I made this fig, arugula & pecorino salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette.

Arugula, fig & pecorino salad

To make the salad: 

  • Throw together as much arugula, quartered figs with stems removed, and Pecorino shavings as your heart desires!
  • I chose Pecorino Pepato because it’s one of my favorite cheeses, but I think any hard white cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or even Manchego would be delicious!

To make the vinaigrette: 

  • Combine 1 tsp good quality honey (I like Mountain Forest Raw Honey from Whole Foods) with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and a dash of olive oil. Mix very well with a whisk.

The honey and balsamic vinaigrette brings harmony to this salad, balancing the tanginess of the cheese, the bitterness of the arugula, and enhancing the sweetness of the figs.


I’ve never really eaten figs before, except in Fig Newtons, because they were never readily available in my hometown. I tried a fig for the first time recently and was so smitten that I got a little overzealous last weekend at Costco and bought a huge container. I don’t know what I was thinking because there’s no way I could eat a big box of figs by myself before they go bad. I’ve been putting figs in everything since.

I told my mom my idea about making a birthday salad with figs, and the next words out of her mouth were, “figs would go well with arugula and Parmesan.” SHE READ MY MIND! Like mother, like daughter!

Good taste in food is just one of the reasons why I love my mom.

While I was growing up my mom worked full-time as an RN (and still does!), but she always put her family first. I remember we always had a healthy home cooked meal no matter what. I don’t know if I realized it as a kid, but what a blessing that my mom never allowed soda, candy, or sugary processed treats into our home! Thanks to my mom, healthy eating comes naturally.

In addition to healthy living, my mom has also inspired me by her love of all things Italian.I love that my mom and I say “ti amo” instead of “I love you” ever since I studied in Italy in 2005. Learning Italian and visiting Italy makes me feel connected to my heritage, and I’m so happy that my mom and I had an opportunity to explore Italy together. I’m looking forward to our next trip!

Thank you mom for your abundant generosity, I am so grateful for all that you do. Ti amo!


Hi, I'm Kelly!

I invite you to join me as I document becoming a dual U.S.-Italian citizen, my travels in Italy to discover the best of regional food & wine, and my progress learning Italian, mostly through cooking & wine tasting!

WSET Level 2 Certified Wine Blogger

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