With a reputation for being passionate about everything from exquisite art and ancient architecture to opera and breathtaking scenic coastlines, Italians have much to say about enjoying “the sweet life.” This is especially true when it comes to sharing a good meal with friends.

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Tomato Mashed Potatoes

(Serves 6 to 8)

This rustic mashed potato recipe is so unusual, you probably haven’t tried it before. The combination of tomato puree and mashed potatoes is a delightful variation of two of the most popular vegetables in the world.


  • 4 medium waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. Place the potatoes in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a large pan, heat the tomato puree, olive oil, paprika, salt, and red pepper over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  3. Peel the potatoes, and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a potato masher, and then use an electric mixer to blend until the texture is smooth with no lumps.
  4. Stir the mashed potatoes into the tomato mixture until blended. Serve hot.


For a dramatic presentation, press the mixture into an oiled pie plate or medium-size bowl. Invert the mixture onto a serving platter and cut into wedges.

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Roasted Cauliflower With Capers and Raisins

(Serves 4 to 6)

Roasting the cauliflower adds a slightly crisp and caramelized texture to this sweet and savory dish.


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Preheat oven to 425 °F. In a large roasting pan, toss together the cauliflower, onion, olive oil, and salt. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the vegetables at least twice until they are nicely browned.
  2. While the cauliflower is roasting, cover the raisins with warm water and soak them until they are plump. Drain.
  3. Add the raisins and capers to the cauliflower, and roast for 5 more minutes.
  4. Mix the lemon juice with the honey. Drizzle over the cauliflower, and toss lightly. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Fresh Berry Salad

(Serves 4 to 6)

This refreshing salad dessert pleases the eye and the palate, a worthy grand finale to any meal.


  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam (may substitute any kind of jam)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together jam, lemon juice, orange juice, and vanilla (if using).
  2. Add the berries and stir gently to coat the fruit. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving. May be served chilled or at room temperature

Nancy Kyte Now retired, Nancy Kyte served for 10 years as the marketing director of the Office of Adventist Mission.