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Food, wine and wanderings from our beloved Italy

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Vibrantly Tasty: Beet and Mascarpone Sorbetto

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Dolci, Food, Recipes | 0 comments

Vibrantly Tasty: Beet and Mascarpone Sorbetto

The explosion of vegetables and fruits in summer never ceases to amaze me. I feel like a little kid unwrapping a present each and every time I walk into my garden or into our farm markets, stocked full of fresh brightly colored produce. I am so fortunate to live in a place where the biggest decision on a weekend is which farm-to-table dinner to attend. Tough life out here in the country. I cherish these meals for their simplicity…..small gatherings with tables beautifully yet simply draped with the season’s freshest produce interspersed with...

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Don’t Throw Out That Tomato Water!!

Posted by on Aug 24, 2014 in Food, Pasta, Risotto, Breads, Recipes | 2 comments

Don’t Throw Out That Tomato Water!!

I was totally and utterly WRONG. No doubt about it. I have noticed a few recipes that have, over the past month, called for the use of ‘tomato water’. In reading further, tomato water is simply that red-hued tasty liquid that spills from your ripe tomatoes. Being the skeptical type, I first brushed off the idea of giving it a go as something trendy and fussy. When the summer bounties of tomatoes ripen in the garden, a staple around our house is a very simple sauté of garlic, fresh tomato, and a dash of red pepper over a heap of pasta. Simple....

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Baked ricotta with blueberry compote

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Dolci, Food, Recipes | 0 comments

Baked ricotta with blueberry compote

Fresh local berries are everywhere right now – supermarkets, farmers markets, people’s backyards, even Costco. And I see little point in cooking these lovely little gifts to death or burying them in a complex dessert. So what better medium for showcasing them than simple baked ricotta? This dessert is all about the cheese, so for this recipe skip the Trader Joe’s dairy case and go find some high-quality ricotta. Also, have some fun picking especially flavorful honey. You can make this dessert in the morning and let the ramekins...

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A Magical Silver Thread: Fresh Cod in ‘Potacchio’

Posted by on Jul 26, 2014 in Food, Liguria, Main Courses, Our 'Regione' Series, Recipes | 0 comments

A Magical Silver Thread: Fresh Cod in ‘Potacchio’

Many, many years ago, I imagine our great grandfather, Gaspare Becci, staring out over the baby blue Adriatic sea as he slowly made his way up the gentle hill to Scapezzano in Le Marche.  Was he perhaps returning from a day of hard labor near the sea? Had my grandfather, who spent his days in America as a stonemason, carried on the tradition from his father in Italy? I imagine Gaspare returning home, tired from the long day’s work, to find his wife, Filomena, preparing a simple meal on the fire, as she also tended to her children. Although...

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Eggplant Parmigiana warfare

Posted by on Jul 9, 2014 in Campania, Food, Main Courses, Recipes, Regions of Italy | 0 comments

Eggplant Parmigiana warfare

I hated eggplant as a kid. So did my sister, Michele. And my Mom’s attempts to get us to eat it were met with fierce resistance. Wartime-style subversive resistance. Josie’s eggplant Parmigiana was made by breading and frying the eggplant first and then constructing the casserole dish with tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmigiana cheese (sadly the “green can” stuff because that’s all that was available in the 60s in our town). But as I grew up, I learned that this was a delicious dish. Heavy and richer than eggplant...

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The Stuff of Dreams: Rustic Strawberry Crostata

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in Dolci, Food, Recipes | 1 comment

The Stuff of Dreams: Rustic Strawberry Crostata

  In my imaginary (yet-maybe-someday) life, I live on a little Italian hillside – nestled between the dreamy blue-tinged sea and vibrant fragrant hills of grapevine. Golden hues of sun filter across my gardens, overflowing with the scents and tastes of the season.  Oodles of strawberries tumble across stonewall waiting patiently for me to pick them in the light morning breeze.  I wander happily filling my little basket with these sun-ripened treats (which of course is also filled with a bouquet of freshly picked wildflowers).  Spring...

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A Tasty Kettle of Fish: Adriatic Seafood Brodetto

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Food, Le Marche, Main Courses, Our 'Regione' Series, Recipes, Regions of Italy, Soups, Stews | 2 comments

A Tasty Kettle of Fish: Adriatic Seafood Brodetto

My paternal grandfather grew up on Italy’s Adriatic coast in the small village of Senigaliia in Le Marche.  I remember little of my grandfather as he passed away when I was only six years of age but I do have a few vivid memories – the smell of the cigars he smoked, the smell of concrete on his clothing and his fondness for long drives in the country.  On Sunday afternoons, my two cousins, my brother and I would pile in the back seat of his old station wagon with the little Madonna hanging from the rearview mirror. Before we went anywhere, we...

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Panna cotta with peach compote and pistachio shortbread cookies

Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Dolci, Food, Recipes | 0 comments

Panna cotta with peach compote and pistachio shortbread cookies

OK, first off I have to admit that I totally ripped off the idea of serving this panna cotta in little flip-top jars from my favorite LA Italian restaurant – Sotto, on Pico Boulevard here in Los Angeles. I had all these little anchovy jars around my house that I had saved over the years, so it was a perfect fit. And it’s a perfect fit for panna cotta (cooked milk) because you just seal them up and put them in the refrigerator for storage. The seal keeps the mild panna cotta from absorbing refrigerator odors. And second, making this for...

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Zucchini blossom and ricotta agnolotti (Agnolotti di fiore di zucca e ricotta)

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Food, Main Courses, Recipes | 0 comments

Zucchini blossom and ricotta agnolotti (Agnolotti di fiore di zucca e ricotta)

Summer is here! We’ve had an early start here in LA. I recently went to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market looking for something summery! I made agnolotti with fava beans for Easter but they’re out of season now. Once I spotted, zucchini blossoms, I knew I hit pay-dirt! Agnolotti is a stuffed pasta from Italy’s Piedmont region. It’s like a ravioli but it’s made with just one sheet of pasta and folded over the filling so you only need to seal it on three sides. There’s a variation called “agnolotti del...

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Food Memories: Grilled Swordfish with Chickpea Puree and Salmoriglio Sauce

Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Food, Main Courses, Our 'Regione' Series, Recipes, Sicilia | 0 comments

Food Memories: Grilled Swordfish with Chickpea Puree and Salmoriglio Sauce

With a beautiful spring day in full bloom, I finally had time to plant my new little herb garden – basil, oregano, parley, tarragon, mint, rosemary and more.  As I planted each little plant, I smiled at the various food memories from years past – the overgrown mint patch in my mother’s backyard; basil-scented breezes on a long-ago trip to Cinqueterre; Grandmom’s roasted rosemary potatoes; grilled swordfish with parsley and oregano sauce seaside in Sicily.  Little memories to cherish and build upon as the years pass by. (It’s...

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