Cooking at Home
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Alberto Il Magnifico was a capon, raised with loving care and surrounded by our growing appetites.
In case you are wondering, a capon is a castrated rooster. According to Wiki, the Romans ‘invented‘ capons as a way to get around grain rationing for chickens. Those crafty Romans would snip the little testicles off their roosters, feed them grain and they would grow to be twice the size of a chicken. And here is your word for the day: caponization. Yup, that means snipping off of the balls. Now, use it in a sentence and report back.
‘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.Read More
A pork chop is like a blank canvas. Seasoned with a sprinkle of salt and a twist of pepper, it’s the perfect foil for creating a meal of the moment, or as zee French say, “a la minute”. That’s an expression that has fallen out of style, but I wonder why. What is more contemporary than making a quick sauce from ingredients you have on hand, in the same pan you cooked the pork chop? Quick, economical, inclined to be seasonal; I say it’s time we resurrect ‘a la minute’ cooking.Read More
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.
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.
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.
Is it any wonder, when the world feels baked to a crisp, why three showers a day might not be enough, and the urge to howl at the full moon seems like a perfectly good idea, that a walk to our garden, and a chat with friends, seems like a mini-vacation after the torrid heat we’ve endured?
We’ve reached the harvesting point where lunch can be made by just visiting the orto, our kitchen garden. It’s so deliciously easy now, to walk over to the garden, with no plan in mind, just a “let’s see what needs to be eaten” attitude.
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!Read More