November 29, 2006

Christmas Sweets- Simply Salami

I adore figs.

I have always heard about the Salami di fichi made in Le Marche region of Italy and this year decided to make it!
This is such a simple recipe everyone can do, anywhere.

Traditionally the liquid in the recipe is called Cotto di Fichi, like Vin Cotto, it is a reduction of liquid, the first being the juices from cooking figs, the second from grape juice.

I think both have a very prune juice flavor, but are almost like a molasses consistency from the long cooking.

Salami di Fichi
or Lonzino di Fichi
traditional recipe from Le Marche
1/2 pound dried figs
1/4 cup reduced prune juice ( from 1/2 cup , boiled down to concentrate the flavors)
1/8 cup Anice liquor, Sambuca or similar ( or anice seeds)
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly chopped ( leave some pieces whole)

  • Take the hard stem end off the figs and cut into small pieces. Place in a pot for cooking.
  • Add the prune juice and liquore. Stir to combine well. If it seems to dry, add a tiny bit of water.
  • Cook, stirring to breakdown the figs.
  • Add the walnuts and mix well off the heat.
  • Place the mixture on non-stick baking paper and roll to create a salami like shape.
  • Tie like a salami and let rest a few days in the refrigerator before serving.

  • Then hang the salami, like a real salami, letting it dry some to slice thinly.
    This recipe is often made in September and eaten at Christmas.

    Slice thinly and serve with flavorful cheeses, aged gorgonzola or sheeps milk cheese.

    November 22, 2006

    Mini Vacation!

    Perfect get-away!

    My grandfather was French and I was a pastry chef.
    I tried to love France to live there, but Florence stole my heart.
    If I could I would live at the sea, so a weekend in Nice was really NICE!

    We drove from Florence, stopping along the way for lunch at the sea.
    Most places were aready closed for the seaon, but we found a small village called San Bartolmeo and the only place open. Filled with locals, but looking rather old and shabby,the huge first course were large enough for several people!

    I had a simple potato gnocchi alla sorrentino, which means they melt some mozzarella in a light tomato sauce,perfect and soothing after a long drive through the tunnels from Genova, but HUGE!

    A full tray for me.

    My hubby Spaghetti with clams in tomato sauce and our friend fried calamari and a salad. 32 Euro total with wine!

    Next stop Antibes!
    I would love to go back here. I always assumed it was like Monte Carlo, but we found a lovely village and I scored a fabulous antique crystal jar with lid for some sort of infusions.

    They had an intriguing Absinthe bar.. but we were afraid we would never find our hotel if we met the Fate Verde( green fairy).. as it is called.

    Off to Mougin!
    great off-season deals in hotels and dinner next door at La Mente Douce ( Sweet Mint) was maroccan.... with belly dancing. Fun. Dinner and the show 30 euro a piece.

    The next day off to another market which was more of a garage sale( vide greniers) held in a huge open field with cars parked and people pulling stuff out of their trunks, ( trunk sale?) some fun treasures. After we headed over to Nice to see the vegetable market since it was closed on Monday... which is why we came. On Monday's in Nice is their flea market.

    Monday we returned to where the market was and it had transformed itself into the flea market.

    We toured it all and shopped till we dropped and then met with my friend Rosa for a lovely lunch in a wine bar and then home. Rosa had a lovely pumpkin soup with blood sausge and a red wine reduction drizzled on top. I had a grilled andouiellete sausage with fried potatoes, hubby had the salumi plate.

    The wine Rosa chose for us was lovely with a rich cherry flavor, which they must have used for teh wine reduction.. perfect!

    For dessert I had a fresh cheese ( like made from yougurt) with maple syrup. PERFECT.

    For those of you who were confused like me...

    No Potatoes
    No String Beans!

    What happens to food ... that makes people change ingredients and keep a name?

    Being near the sea makes me not want to live in Florence anymore.

    Who knows where you will find me next?

    November 9, 2006

    Blogging Away...

    Which means I am blogging on another site!
    this week I am the guest blogger on the wonderful food site Egullet!

    Cooking is hard work.. getting the best ingredients.. but is worth it!
    Look at what these girls did!

    Stop by my thread to see what's been happening here!
    ( hint it is truffle season!)

    The weather has been incredibly beautiful!
    can it get better???

    Looking forward to the Indian Summer... Saint Martin's day here when we eat roast goose, roasted chestnuts and the new wine..but that is is so hot!!!
    We will have to wait!

    I'll be back here next week!

    November 2, 2006

    Star's at Salone del Gusto

    The Salone del Gusto was HUGE and I always find it a bit overwhelming.
    As I was walking around in my food daze... I spotted one of my idols.
    Chris Cosentino from INCANTO in SF..

    the bad boy of pork, California's answer to Fergus Henderson.. or Tony Bourdain!

    Next time I am in SF.. that is where you will find me!

    A nice guy with a passion for food...and life!

    1550 Church Street
    San Francisco, CA


    I haven't really quite figured out why they have so much halloween stuff in Italy.
    They don't trick or treat.

    But in Florence there are 35 American university's with study abroad programs, so that is a good reason for a toga party!

    There is so much Americanisms now here.. not all good.
    Being at the Salone del Gusto in Torino, talking about preserving traditions and at the same time seeing the halloween invading the shops... I was puzzled.

    I hope some Italian slow food and slow life also invades the states!

    That would be a real TREAT!
    Treat yourself to some Dolce Vita... the sweet life... by taking time for yourself.. and go for quality.. not quantity.. you deserve it.