From her stove in Bellingham, Samantha Ferraro has cooked up a gourmet selection of Mediterranean dishes highlighting world cuisine and cultural favors. Her recipes have found their way to her widely followed food blog, and now to a new cookbook coming in July.
From Brooklyn to Hawaii to Southern California to Bellingham in 2016, she has tasted flavors from across the country. She draws inspiration from her travels and from her cultural heritage of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewish roots. With her diverse background, Ferraro has developed a passion for blending cuisines of all different cultures to create new, fresh recipes.
That passion led her to begin writing her food blog, “The Little Ferraro Kitchen,” in 2011, and on July 24 her rst book debuts, “The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen: 80 Authentic, Healthy Recipes Made Quick and Easy for Everyday Cooking.”
Ferraro’s travels came about, not through big career changes or other uncontrolled circumstances, but from a desire to explore. After spending most of her childhood in Brooklyn, she and her mother moved to Hawaii. “She just kind of asked me, ‘Do you want to move to Hawaii?’” Ferraro recalled. And so they did. After meeting her husband in Hawaii years later, he asked her if she’d like to move to Southern California. And so they did. Ten years later, their move Bellingham was much more purposeful. They wanted to get out of the big-city lifestyle, escape the constant sun, and and a local-friendly economy and community. Bellingham became their home in April 2016.
Long before the book, the blog, and the travel, Ferraro grew up eating foods most kids would push away. Her mother showed her how to make stuffed grape leaves, a classic food of Sephardic Jewish culture. For her sweet tooth, she was given rugelach cookies, which are crescent- like cookies constructed around a lling. “I took all these memories and put my own twist on them,” she says.
Her blog, “The Little Ferraro Kitchen,” features dishes for every occasion that are inspired by the places she has lived and her Jewish heritage. Many of the recipes readers will and online are the result of a weeknight dinner she recently cooked. “Last night we had goat cheese and sun-dried, tomato-stuffed chicken breast,” she says. Beyond weeknight meal ideas, Ferraro’s blog caters to seasonal foods and upcoming holidays. One of her biggest lessons from moving to the Paci c Northwest was how to cook seasonally, which she admits she is still figuring out. Now, much of her blog cooking relies on the farmers market to keep her ingredients fresh, local, and seasonal.
Her work can be found online at littleferrarokitchen.com and, and in her paperback book published by Page Street Publishing Co. She also teaches cooking classes at downtown Bellingham’s Community Food Co-op in the Connections Building.
Her new book features recipes inspired by her heritage, like saffron cauliflower soup with paprika oil. Also included are chopped salad with farro, and shakshuka with lamb and spices.
Ferraro perfected each over this past summer. She invited friends and family to taste and test them, and she spent the long Pacific Northwest summer days in the kitchen finalizing each of the 80 recipes. Ferraro says her goal is to introduce readers to exotic flavors. “I want them to as excited as I am to try something new and not to get intimidated.”