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Cooking at Home

Memorial Day: It’s a Wrap!

First things first, take a moment and give a prayer of thanks to everyone who serves or who has ever served our country. Memorial Day isn’t just about going to the grill, it’s a time to remember those who have protected the United States. We also grilled, made paella and enjoyed our friends & family!

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Crackling Prosciutto Wrapped Potatoes: Perfect for a Party

“What can I bring?”
It is the holiday season after all! As the words are coming out of your mouth, your brain is flipping thorough your stockpile of recipes. Crackling Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Potatoes to the rescue. Tasty, simple to make, pretty and transportable. What more could you ask for?

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Summer Confetti Pasta: Bawdy, Colorful, Sexy, Italian

Warm weather arrives and suddenly the kitchen color palette shifts from the tender greens of spring to vibrant reds, purples, deep sea green. In Italy, the men are tan, the women wear spectacularly high heels, and everyone struts their stuff. It’s an irresistible, seasonal call to go out and play.

It’s a perfect time to experiment with textures, temperatures, colors. Not serious cooking, but light, fun and flavorful cooking.

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Umbrian BBQ

Umbrian BBQ

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Faro Salad

Faro Salad

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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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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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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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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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A Few Hot Tomatoes

And the canning season begins.
A walk over to the orto to get some basil and I’m hit with the realization that there are a ton of ripe tomatoes that need to be dealt with…NOW.
On one hand a kitchen garden is forgiving; if you don’t need any onions, you can leave them in the ground for a few days and no harm done. On the other hand, there is a use it or lose it urgency to ripe tomatoes.

So much for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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Steak Tagliata

Steak Tagliata

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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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