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Cooking at Home

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

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Tomato Swan Song with Breadcrumbs

This is my end-of-the-season swan song to the tomatoes in our orto. As the vines wither at the bottom, there are yellow blossoms still sprouting at the top, and green fruit just hanging on in the middle. We spent the cold, wet spring together, you endured hail and high winds, while we worried and tried to protect you. You blossomed in the July heat and produced massive amounts of fruit in August. And now, you are closing down for the winter.
I’ve had a LOT of time to think about tomatoes, and I realized I was not paying attention. Tomatoes love bread, and bread loves them back. They were meant to be together.

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Rastafar-Asian Fusion Confusion

Asian fusion confusion on a pork chop! Inspired by Vietnamese chef Duc Tran, who is the epitome of fusion. The guy has worked in Texas, Latin America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Japan and has two world class restaurants named after Mangos in Hoi An Viet Nam. That’s enough to confuse anyone.

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Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese

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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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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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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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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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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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Introducing the Anchovy

I know. You say you already know anchovies. You say you don’t like anchovies. What if I said, maybe not and maybe you should reconsider? Allow me to introduce you to Chef Maurizio, of Il Maestrale Pizzeria, in the tiny village of Le Forna, on the small island of Ponza.

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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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Roasted Quail & Spiced Peaches: A Recipe from the Gods

Our knowledge of flavor is the sum of all things we have ever tasted. A recipe is not a free standing list of ingredients and instructions; it’s the result of experience, memories, and desire.
You are never, ever alone in the kitchen.

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