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Cooking at Home

Artichoke Festival Continues: Fried Baby Artichokes

Baby artichokes aren’t snuffed out before they’ve had a chance at a full life, they’re just the little guys, lower down on the stalk. These babies come into their full flavor potential when they are deep fried, with a tender, light coating, a crunch of salt and a zing of lemon.

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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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Rustic Sausage & Peppers

Some flavor combinations are classic; and sausage and peppers fall into that category.

Remember the old cartoons where the vapor would rise from the dish, and then beckon you to eat? That’s what happens when you saute peppers and sausage.
This dish is perfect just as the weather turns cool, and the last of the tomatoes are still on the vine.
Keep this dish simple, ok? Just be sure to use some good, fresh Italian sausage.

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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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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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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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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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Shooting Our Next Cook Vook

We’re on the move again; this time back to NYC to shoot the video for our next cook Vook. I hope we have half as much fun shooting this as we did last summer. At least this time, if a light bulb blows out it won’t be catastrophic. After three days of working perfectly, with a major converter box, the main lights blow. In four minutes we went through our entire stash of back up bulbs. It’s just like watching cash burn.

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Faro Salad

Faro Salad

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Kung-Fu-Zen-Grasshopper Cooking or How I Learned to Banish the Recipe

t’s time to banish the recipe as GPS and tune in to the Kung-Fu-Zen-Grasshopper (c)
technique of cooking. It is time for us to cook in the ways of our ancestors, by using our senses. It is also time to cook in the modern way, which is so, like, totally, about self-indulgent self-pleasuring by making exactly what you want.

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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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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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