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Cooking at Home

Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese

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Never Eat the Same Gazpacho Twice

We’ve slid off the spatula of our searing African weather, into the low boil of Italian summer heat. After the abrupt shift to summer, we’re now getting the chance to become adjusted to our new life style. Which means we barely want to eat anything more than prosciutto and melon, or gazpacho. Gazpacho with caviar. Cucumber & pistachio gazpacho.

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50 Shades of Salt

Let me see a show of hands. Are you a sweet or a salty person? Potato chips or gelato? And for the smug amongst us who are voting for umami..sit down. That’s a story for another day.

I’m salty. I’ll take a good pickle over a pastry anytime. Which is a good thing because living in Umbria, you better like salt.

Good sea salt is about 20 cents a kilo in Italy, so we
use it with wild abandon. You can pour an entire kilo onto a baking sheet to roast a fish and not blink a parsimonious eye. Which also means you can take salt for granted, and not pay attention to all the flavor possibilities.

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The Mediterranean Del Verziere Lifestyle Diet

Introducing our version of the Mediterranean Diet; it’s called the Del Verziere Lifestyle diet! If followed properly, it will lead to an increased level of personal satisfaction and well-being, maybe a longer life, and possible weight loss.
The Del Verziere Lifestyle Diet goes like this: eat fresh food instead of prepared food, preferably food from your garden, drink red wine, put olive oil into everything, and volunteer for anything that will keep you engaged in your community. And ladies, you should also learn how to walk in high heels on cobblestone because if you can do that, you can live to be 100…with great legs and a firm behind.

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Cooking with Mangoes: Crispy Chicken & Mango Salsa

Rich, sweet, silky mango paired with chile spiked, crispy skinned chicken. It’s a perfect study in contrasts: sweet v. salty, crispy v. silky, sweet v. sour. It’s not a knock down, it’s a love fest.

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Addicted to Love & Eggplant

TeenBrideWe have a plant in our orto that I call our “Teen Bride”. She keeps having babies, is totally unsupported, and when you pluck a fruit from her, she shudders as if to say, “Thank you!”. Then she stands a little straighter, brazenly sprouting even more fruit.

I like eggplant, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t LOVE eggplant, until recently. Now, we’re addicted. But this eggplant dip is the cause of our addiction.

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More Mushrooms Than You Can Imagine

As I’m walking into our local grocery store, the Euro Spin, AKA “The Spin”, an elderly, hunched over lady is staggering out of the store lugging a massive flat of white mushrooms.
Of course, I’m thinking, “What the hell is she going to do with all those mushrooms??”

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Kitchen Confidence at an all time high!

The results of our Kitchen Confidence survey are in! There are some surprising food and cooking trends: 23% of you use your microwave as a butter melting device, and no one buys bottled salad dressing. Oh, really now…. ?

Here are the delicious details:

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Summer Delight: Cold Poached Shrimp

The gods have flipped the summer switch ON in Italy. The first day of summer came in right on schedule with full on summer heat.

It’s already hot enough that I want a cold lunch and cold shrimp seems like the perfect way to go.

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Let the Season Begin! Oven Roasted Tomato & Onion Pasta

My man knows the way to my heart.
Yesterday I came home to the peace and quiet of Montone, and there were stunning roses in the living room and a full sideboard of vegetables in the kitchen. I haven’t had time to go to the grocery store yet, so it meant putting something together with what was on hand. The first decent tomatoes of the season were sitting there, just begging to be roasted, along side some of those onions, so it was pasta with roasted vegetables for lunch.

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A Few Hot Tomatoes

And the canning season begins.
A walk over to the orto to get some basil and I’m hit with the realization that there are a ton of ripe tomatoes that need to be dealt with…NOW.
On one hand a kitchen garden is forgiving; if you don’t need any onions, you can leave them in the ground for a few days and no harm done. On the other hand, there is a use it or lose it urgency to ripe tomatoes.

So much for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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When to Eat A Caprese Salad

When the tomatoes are ripe on the vine and you bring them home still warm from the sun.

When the buffala mozzarella is so fresh that each slice of the cheese releases a creamy surge of goodness.

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