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NONNA ANNA'S AUTUMN MUSHROOM CROSTINI

Posted on
September 29, 2016
in Recipes

NONNA ANNA'S AUTUMN MUSHROOM CROSTINI

Everyone in my neighborhood affectionately calls her Nonna Anna, because it sometimes feels like she is everyone's grandma. She's actually my neighbor, Antonella's mom and Anna's grandaughter is my daughter's "amica del cuore", literally "friend of the heart" which is the Italian way of saying "best friend". Nonna Anna is one of those amazing Italian grandmothers: she's always got a pot simmering on the stove and something baking in the oven. She hustles her grandkids around with a sweet yet authorative manner and everyone has unwavering respect for her. She shows up at 7:30am at her daughter's home to help the family start the day, stays in after everyone's gone to school and works to tidy up the house, hauls their laundry to her house... >>

HEALTHY HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE: LA POMAROLA!

Posted on
September 26, 2016
in Recipes

HEALTHY HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE: LA POMAROLA!

It's that time of year again! September in Italy means the tradition of mammas and nonnas stirring at the stove, pots of steaming homemade tomato sauce ready to be stored away for use during the long winter months when tomatoes are no longer season. In any farmer's market in Italy in September, you will find crates and crates of juicy ripe (almost too ripe!) tomatoes at ¤1 per kilo...the cheapest you will ever find them during the year. This is because this is the end of the tomato season -- a vibrant season that starts in the spring and continues through the hot, colorful summer months marked with so many different kinds of varieties of tomatoes -- from the pop-in-your-mouth popcorn-like grape tomates to the great, gnarly... >>

Kale, Garbanzo and Barley Soup

Posted on
December 09, 2015
in Recipes

Kale, Garbanzo and Barley Soup

Tuscan cuisine comes from centuries-old peasant traditions and is full of delicious hearty soups and stews with lots of grains, legumes and seasonal vegetables at its base. No time is better to delve into my favorite Tuscan cookbook than this time of year when the morning frost makes it harder and harder to roll out of bed in the morning! Here is another recipe using one of my favorite veggies - Tuscan kale. Combined together with savory garbanzo beans and barley grains, this dish can be considered, what they call a "piatto unico" in Italy - a complete dish containing whole proteins (an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids), carbs and greens. So enjoy this stew on its own or add a side of winter veggies! >>

Tuscan Kale Crostone Recipe

Posted on
November 12, 2015
in Recipes

Tuscan Kale Crostone Recipe

It's November and we have now stepped in full swing with Tuscan kale at farmers' markets and on the Tuscan table. One of my favorite recipes, and so simple to prepare, is the "crostone di cavolo nero", or, Tuscan kale toast (sounds more appetizing in Italian though!). This is a perfect appetizer and in Italy, can often take the place of the first course pasta dish. This Italian heirloom vegetable is extraordinarily nutritious: it is an excellent anti-cancer food, is among the most antioxidant-rich foods on Earth and provides plenty of carotenoids. The leaves are tall and narrow and it has a sweet and delicate taste with an earthy, deep almost nutty flavor. >>

Grandma's Sicilian Pizza Recipe

Posted on
October 01, 2015
in Recipes

Grandma's Sicilian Pizza Recipe

My husband's family is originally from Sicily and this is the family recipe for Sicilian style pizza that has been passed down for the past 3 generations (at least!). Although I live in Tuscany and love the Tuscan thin-crusted, crisp pizzas, I must say that this soft and fragrant version della nonna, "grandma's" as it is referred to here in our house, is my absolute favorite. It's the combination of chopped garlic, freshly ground Sicilian oregano that my in-laws bring to us from the south, and anchovy fillets that makes this so irresistible. This pizza is best when it is prepared about 30 minutes beforehand and then stacked and covered with a dishrag so that it is eaten when it is still warm and soft, but not piping hot. >>

Cacio & Pepe: A Quintessential Italian Dish

Posted on
September 16, 2015
in Recipes

Cacio & Pepe: A Quintessential Italian Dish

After reading the article When in Rome, Learn to Cook Italian, by Tara Grescoe on the NYTimes Travel section, I became inspired to cook up the simple and unassuming traditional Roman pasta dish of cacio e pepe. I have never ordered it at a restaurant, much less thought of making it myself at home...perhaps because I live in Tuscany and it is not a regular item on Tuscan menus. But after reading this article I realized that all these years, I've probably been missing out on one of those quintessentially Italian experiences, particularly Italian in its simplicity... and what I love most about Italy is its simplicity in all things (except politics!). Here is the most classic of classic dishes, consisting in basically only 3 ingredients. >>

Truffle Delights

Posted on
September 08, 2015
in Recipes

Truffle Delights

It's that time of year again...Autumn in Tuscany when the landscape releases a brilliance of colors and the land is ripe with the fruits of a year's worth of love and labor. Harvest festivals abound in Tuscany from September through November, showcasing new wine, new olive oil drizzled over hot grilled bruschetta, specialties featuring chestnuts and porcini mushrooms... and the most treasured and aromatic protagonist of all: the truffle. This subterranean mushroom makes even the most seasoned foodies swoon. In Tuscany they grow plentifully in the countryside making October and November some of the best eating months here. >>

When It's Just Too Hot Outside, Caffe Shakerato!

Posted on
August 10, 2015
in Recipes

When It's Just Too Hot Outside, Caffe Shakerato!

These days it is just too hot outside to even poke your head out the door. The problem is, unless you're a super savvy techy and you've got one of those innovative cold-air shooting inventions in your home (known as air-conditioning, a rare find in Italy!), it's been way too hot even to keep your head poked indoors! This year is on its way to becoming one of the hottest summers ever in Italy and I've been cooling myself off the Italian way...with my daily dose of a smooth, creamy and mellow caffè shakerato, at least once every afternoon. >>

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