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Cooking at Home

Love in the Spring: Asparagus 4-Ways

You have to like asparagus if you are in Italy in the spring. There is no escaping the spears, they are in every mercato, every supermarket, on every menu. Occasionally you’ll spot an exotic white or purple asparagus display, but for every day eating, it’s green asparagus.
In our mercato, you get a tightly rubber banded “mazze” or bundle of asparagus and it has spears from slender and tender to stocky and woody. Which means you can’t cook them all at once, on the same night, in the same dish, because each spear of asparagus deserves to be treated according to its girth.

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In a Pickle

Short days and cold nights mean it’s time to shut the orto down for the season.
No more happy wanderings over to the garden to see what I can scrounge up for dinner. No more sun warmed tomatoes; instead there are soggy plants with green tomatoes that need to be picked.
I could be sad, but I’m not; I love the changing of the seasons.

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Pickled Everything!

What do you do when your garden is onions all needed to be picked at once, the peppers are crazy…

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Eating Alberto Il Magnifico: from beak to tail.

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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.

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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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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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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.

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Dinner Power & A Beer Can Chicken

While our son was growing up, we worked crazy long hours. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. One other fact of our life is that we always ate dinner together. Even if it meant me riding my bike home from Gleason’s Boxing Gym like a mad woman to get to Gourmet Garage before it closed, then making dinner by 9:30; that’s what happened at our house most every night.
I don’t think any of us ever really thought about it too much; it’s just the way it was. We watched a movie together while we ate, checked to make sure homework was done. Regular stuff.
Dinner has always been our connection time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Recipe for Wonderful: Summer Shrimp & Zucchini Spaghetti

What is a summer shrimp? It’s shrimp that are eaten when the sea is at your doorstep, the air is hot, and the wine is chilled.

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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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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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Faro Salad

Faro Salad

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