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.

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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.

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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.

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La Dolce Vita Veloce

Lazy summer days, flip flops, reading a book until you fall asleep. Is this for real? Life in Italia hurtles by at breakneck speed during the summer. The Italians LIVE for summer, the socializing, the dinners, the festas, the concerts, the film festivals; they all tug at you and say, “Come on! It’s summertime!”

And we’ve been doing our best to live la dolce vita.

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It’s Festa Season in Umbria!

It’s ‘ceri’ weekend in Gubbio, and we do believe it’s the official kick off for all of the fine weather festas in Umbria. For the uninitiated, the ceri (pronounced ‘cherry’) is a race where three enormous wooden, octagonal ‘candles’ are carried upright, on the strapping shoulders of the robust ‘cerioli’ men all the way up to St Ubaldo’s church. Which happens to be so steep, there is a funiculare to carry mere mortals up the hill; and it’s not really a race because they start out in the same order and end up in the same order. That however does not in anyway diminish the enthusiasm of the crowds.

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Bye-Bye City Life

Our nomad urges can no longer be denied; it’s time to go plant tomatoes and other yummy things. So we’re heading back to Montone to open the windows and hear bird song instead of car horns. I’m looking forward to fava beans, artichokes and other spring surprises in the market. But I know I’m going to miss those blueberries and mangoes that have flooded the Chinatown markets.

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What goes on in the kitchen?

It was late into the lunch hour, there was only one or two other tables that still had diners and they were already puffing on their cigarettes, when the gruff, white haired waiter set the platter of grilled sardines in front of me. The gorgeous scent of charred fish skin seduced my palate, the puddle of olive oil invited me to take the first bite. I didn’t know a sardine could taste like that.

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Last Bites

Packin’ my bags, doing last minute stuff, because its time to back to Italia and the quiet streets of Montone. I need to get a grip, our streets aren’t that quiet. They are full of  the noise of neighbors, bells, cats, high heels on cobblestone and the shouts of happy hooligan children doing what kids…

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Cocktails on the roof: 1920 v.1.Italy

I’ve said it before, but its wonderful to have a cocktail guru who comes through from time to time with needed bits of wisdom. That would be my friend Mitch who recently mentioned how good a 1920 cocktail is. The “1920” is a hook up between a Manhattan and a Sazerac and the recipe goes…

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