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Cooking at Home

Making Food Videos: All Bright Lights & Glamour

Feeling restless at 4:00 am, I get out of bed and step on… a huge pile of grit. What on earth…it’s everywhere! It feels like kitty litter embedded on the soles of my feet…only…wait a minute! It’s cous cous! The floor is literally covered in cous cous. What??

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Love in the Spring: Asparagus 4-Ways

You have to like asparagus if you are in Italy in the spring. There is no escaping the spears, they are in every mercato, every supermarket, on every menu. Occasionally you’ll spot an exotic white or purple asparagus display, but for every day eating, it’s green asparagus.
In our mercato, you get a tightly rubber banded “mazze” or bundle of asparagus and it has spears from slender and tender to stocky and woody. Which means you can’t cook them all at once, on the same night, in the same dish, because each spear of asparagus deserves to be treated according to its girth.

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Cannelloni Crudo

Get your mind out of the gutter. Crudo means raw.
And no, the cannelloni wasn’t raw, the sauce was. Actually the fresh tomato sauce was almost raw or “quasi crudo” as they would say in Italy.
The story goes like this: it’s summer, no one wants to spend extra time in the kitchen, and we have tomatoes coming out of our ears.
And thus, I’ve learned inspiration and abundance make excellent cohorts.

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THE Perfect Lunch

It’s one dish you shouldn’t mess with. No foams, no vacuum sealed marination with lovage shoots. It’s not improved by a precision presentation, because then it looks like you are aiming for distraction, instead of palate satisfaction. It’s simple and it should remain simple.
Yes, it’s time for my annual ode to prosciutto and melon.

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Fish, Flowers & the Art of Frying

Fried fish tastes goooood.
Fried flowers taste goooood.
I know fried food has a bad rap, but it tastes so good. Would it be alright in moderation? Would it be alright when there are sparkling fresh little tiny fishes in the market and the zucchini flowers are prepubescently perfect?

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Memorial Day: It’s a Wrap!

First things first, take a moment and give a prayer of thanks to everyone who serves or who has ever served our country. Memorial Day isn’t just about going to the grill, it’s a time to remember those who have protected the United States. We also grilled, made paella and enjoyed our friends & family!

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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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Summer Elegant Italian Parmigiana

In the US, ‘parm’ comes in four generic flavors: chicken, veal, meatball, or eggplant. Usually heavy, goppy and greasy, it’s an overweight distant relative of the sleekly elegant Italian parmigiana. Think Jersey Shore versus the Amalfi Coast.
In Italy, a parmigiana is made from vegetables like eggplant or zucchini, or even combined with some potato. It can be a light main course, or a contorni (vegetable side dish). In the summer, a parmigiana served at room temperature, along with a chilled white wine, is pretty much the perfect hot weather meal.

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Dinner Power & A Beer Can Chicken

While our son was growing up, we worked crazy long hours. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. One other fact of our life is that we always ate dinner together. Even if it meant me riding my bike home from Gleason’s Boxing Gym like a mad woman to get to Gourmet Garage before it closed, then making dinner by 9:30; that’s what happened at our house most every night.
I don’t think any of us ever really thought about it too much; it’s just the way it was. We watched a movie together while we ate, checked to make sure homework was done. Regular stuff.
Dinner has always been our connection time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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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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Border Crossing: Summer Shrimp Soup

Who cares if it’s a soup or a salad? Or if it’s a salad with soup on top? It’s summertime, so why not cross the border between the unexpected and the delicious.
A clean, hot seafood broth, with small shrimp, poured over fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and a lot of herbs, served with a side of fresh hot chili sauce. Sounds like summer to me.

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A New Love Affair: Pickled Onions

I came away from Austin with a new love: pickled onions. OK, I did flirt with a fried pickle, but it was just an infatuation. I think my love of the pickled onion has staying power.

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