Cook

Cooking at Home

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.

Read More

When to Eat A Caprese Salad

When the tomatoes are ripe on the vine and you bring them home still warm from the sun.

When the buffala mozzarella is so fresh that each slice of the cheese releases a creamy surge of goodness.

Read More

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.

Read More
Steak Tagliata

Steak Tagliata

Read More

Linguine & The Art of Vongole

Twenty years ago, Napoli Restaurant was a classic spaghetti joint on the corner of Spring and Sullivan streets in Soho, NYC. Actually, it was ‘our’ spaghetti joint back in the day when we were living cheap and going out didn’t require a mortgage to buy a bottle of wine.
Flash forward to the new enlightened us who live in Italy and have eaten many clams, preferably picking them up at the port from the fisherman, with a cold bottle of local wine in the shopping bag. Here’s the time warp part: eating linguine alle vongole at the Italian seaside is probably cheaper than those dinners at Napoli. See, life isn’t always cruel.

Read More

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.

Read More
Faro Salad

Faro Salad

Read More
Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

Read More

Kitchen Garden Lunch: Spaghetti Ortolana

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.

Read More

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??

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More