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Cooking at Home

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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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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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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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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Everyday is a Holiday Fennel Gratin

What’s gorgeous enough to serve at a holiday gathering, but easy enough to indulge in whenever you feel like it?
It’s that time of year again, lots of parties, potlucks and bring-a-dish moments, when you have very little time to be messing around in the kitchen.

Fennel gratin to the rescue! It can be easily transported, made ahead of time, and did I mention delicious??

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Grappa Grab: Cooking with Grappa

I cook with grappa and I’m proud of it! Drunken quail with garlic chips and crispy saffron rice. Intoxicated mushrooms.

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Chili Scented Zucchini Flowers with Pickled Onion Sauce

When I presented Jeff with the latest zucchini flower incarnation..he openly scoffed, until he took a bite. (Those are his fingers in the photo…he just couldn’t wait…!) Neither one of us are fans of stuffed zucchini flowers; either the filling is so hot and steamy it burns your tongue, or the filling oozes out, or the flavor of the stuffing overwhelms the flower. And if it has a big, thick coating to hold in the stuffing, it gets extra demerits in the fried flower ranking system.

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Artichoke Festival: Pork Stuffed Artichokes with Lemon Sauce

All good things must come to an end, and this is the finale for the Aroma Cucina Artichoke Festival. But we’re going out with a delicious bang: pork stuffed artichokes with a lemon sauce. It was the last of our big, globe artichokes and I think they were properly honored and devoured!

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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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Cooking Simply the Italian Way Video

Cooking Simply Intro

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12 Cookbooks Good Enough to Give

‘Tis that gift giving season again, and nothing warms a cooking person’s heart like a new cookbook. Here is my completely subjective list, in no particular order, but arranged by delicately nuanced categories, of favorite books to give to deserving friends.

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Lemony Spring Asparagus Soup

Asparagus are everywhere. Wild, cultivated, in the market and in grocery stores; there is no escaping asparagus at this time of year.Let bygones by bygones, and let’s get on with the soup recipe! This is a soup you can have as long as you have fresh asparagus.

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