March 25, 2007

Florence's New Year's Day!

March 25th... 9 months to the day to Christmas..

The Annunciation
by Leonardo da Vinci
which is in Japan at the moment!

My husband says that is why it was celebrated as Florence's New Year's Day celebrating the conception of Jesus... I tend to go more along the pagan rituals.... rites of spring, equinox etc.

That is my reason to celebrate. The arrival of Spring.

But time flies and it was just a little over a year ago that I went "Hog Wild" with my friend Kate getting ready for the IACP presentation we did on pork with Fergus Henderson of St. John's in London.

We had several samples for the group to taste, Adam a the W in Seattle did my Soprassatta recipe, using pigs trotter's and a roasted Pancetta from Fergus Henderson's recipe with lentils.

The best pork item I found though was the Bacon Brittle at The Grateful Palate
thanks to I Heart Bacon.
I was reminded of it my the newsletter
from my favorite Grill Girl, Elizabeth Carmel.

She had sent out the recipe for " Pig Brittle" this month.

Kate and I were going to blog about Pork again this weekend and I was doing the Bacon Brittle.. and she is doing a Bacon and Prune Tart.

I used the Peanut Brittle recipe from Fanny Farmer in an old copy that is falling apart I brought with me when I moved here in 1984,
the sugar-coated pages are the sign of my weakness.. or passion for desserts!
I make what I call " Croccante Piccante" for the holidays, spicying up the peanut brittle with some chili pepper.
So I left out the peanuts, added the bacon.. and chili pepper.

To me this Bacon Brittle give me the same pleasure as when my sausage or bacon hits the maple syrup from the pancakes or waffles on my breakfast plate, a dish that makes my Italian husband cringe!
But he goes for Bacon Brittle in a big way!

lovely crispy bits of smoked bacon in a spicy brittle... hold the peanuts for me!

But man doesn't live by sweets or Pork, alone...and the vegetables in the market call out to celebrate Spring

This still life inspired a dish from Lucca called Garmugia

A Spring Stew from Lucca- Garmugia

Artichokes, trimmed and cut into 6th's
Fava beans, shelled
Asparagus, I use the delicate tips and part of the stem
Tiny shelled peas
New "green" garlic, only the white part, sliced thin
pancetta ( Italian aged pork belly, an unsmoked bacon)
olive oil

Cut the pancetta into thin strips.
Saute in pan with sliced garlic.
Add the prepared vegetables.

Lightly sprinkle with salt.
Stir to mix and add a cup of water.

Let stew until cooked.

Italians love the veggies, really cooked.
I think that the "over-cooking" is really the secret to the meatiness of the flavor of this dish!
Sometimes it is served really soupy on top of toasted bread as a first course.

Celebrate the arrival of Spring...
Celebrate Daylight Savings time...
Celebrate the Equinox.....

Celebrate Florentine New Year.....

or anything

Just Celebrate Life!

and if you want to keep celebrating the HOG!
go back and see our SOME PIG Blogging Event from last year

and if you want to cook with us this summer, stay tuned for more info on our


  1. Anonymous4:43 AM

    Add David to your June program with Kate and I would be in HOG HEAVEN with my 3 favorite bloggers.
    Best, Mariann V.

  2. I wish he was available, but he is doing his GELATO book tour then!

  3. Bacon Brittle...I never would have thought of that. But now that I know I definitely want some.