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Food, wine and wanderings from our beloved Italy

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Eat Your Beets! Roasted Beets and Carrots with Gorgonzola and Beet Vinaigrette

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in Food, Recipes, Vegetables, Side Dishes | 0 comments

Eat Your Beets! Roasted Beets and Carrots with Gorgonzola and Beet Vinaigrette

Many of us grew up being forced by our well meaning parents to eat certain vegetables.  For me, this form of parental torture was evident whenever my Mom served her dark red, slippery beets. (sorry Mom!).  In the lowly beet’s defense, it packs one heck of a nutritional punch – potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, vitamin A, B and C. And the health benefits continue – cleanses the liver, boosts your mental health, gives you energy. The ancient Romans even used them medicinally as an aphrodisiac. (Oh, those Romans are so cute.)...

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Got Tomatoes?? Fabrizia Lanza’s Beautiful Salsa Pronta

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Food, Our 'Regione' Series, Recipes, Sicilia, Vegetables, Side Dishes | 0 comments

Got Tomatoes?? Fabrizia Lanza’s Beautiful Salsa Pronta

How I love the sight of fresh picked tomatoes from my garden. It tickles me to no end to think that I grew these little treasures – absolutely one of life’s simple pleasures for me. It warms my soul through and through thinking of all the generations before me, whether in America or Italy, that tended to their gardens as I do now and how they also must have spent their hot August days surrounded in a sea of tomatoes. Ok – so I got a bit carried away again this year with the tomato plants in the garden. But I have an excuse – I just can’t kill...

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Duck Duck Risotto!

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Food, Pasta, Risotto, Breads, Recipes | 0 comments

Duck Duck Risotto!

Risotto—rice cooked with broth to a creamy consistency—is a blank canvas, perfect for creating a dish that has your unique fingerprints. But with all the things I can imagine adding to risotto, I can think of nothing better than DUCK: duck legs, duck breast, and DUCK FAT! Even better than truffles or squid ink or butternut squash. Duck is slightly tricky to cook, but a classic risotto makes matters easy. Duck legs need to be cooked long and slow (think duck confit). But for duck breasts, you must slowly render out the duck fat from the skin...

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Vibrantly Tasty: Beet and Mascarpone Sorbetto

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Dolci, Food, Recipes | 2 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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