July 29, 2007

Brutto ma Buono

Brutto ma Buono....Ugly but good

Heirloom tomatoes are not always pretty

but they are pretty good! Rich and almost meaty!

Today's Cuore di Bue ended up in a riff on a traditional summer salad
lightened up.

Insalata Russa , russian salad, is a classic, made from tiny boiled veggies,
usually peas, carrots, potatoes and string beans
cut into tiny pieces and then dressed with tons of mayo.

Today I had zucchini, string beans, potatoes and some of the tomato, red onion, tuna
and capers dressed with extra virgin olive oil,
fabulous vinegar from France I got in Torino at Slow Food and sea salt!

Another great salad is Tonno e Fagioli
Tuna and tuscan beans, dressed in olive oil with thin slices of red onions.

Many of these salads travel up and down the coast between Italy and France, changing ingredients as they go.

In Liguria they do potatoes and string beans, dressed in pesto.
But the last time I was in France, what I thought was an Nicoise, lettuce with tuna, tomatoes hard boiled eggs , potatoes, string beans, anchovies, olives and onions, almost got me slapped!

Here is the real thing.. in Nice.

So have fun, break the rules and don't use a recipe.
Be creative!

July 28, 2007

Small World - Getting smaller every day.

My local farmer Benedetto

Saturday's market in Certaldo is where I now gather new recipes.
What better place than from who grows the food I eat!
Along with recipes, come tales.

Today I was asking for recipes for making rennet for cheese making from the choke from artichokes, a lost art.
Benedetto knows how to make it from the " milk" from the fig tree!
This led to finding out he had 350 sheep when he lived in Sicily.

I was recently a guest chef at Jasper's restaurant in Kansas City, owned by the Mirabile family, Jasper, his brother Leonardo and son Jasper III.

The Mirabile Dynasty, comes from Gibellina in Sicily, a small town near Trapani. The old city was destroyed during a huge earthquake in the last 60's and the city has been rebuilt nearby.

Today while buying some fabulous tomatoes from my local farmer, we were exchanging recipes and found out that Dad, Benedetto , is from Gibellina!!!

I will be touring with Jasper to Sicily in 2008 with the Kansas City Slow Food Convivium and Gibellina is one of our stops.

July 27, 2007

Sweet Summer Gifts

Sweltering heat.... sweet summer gifts!

Shopping at the local vendors we found summer in full swing, not willing to wait for tomorrow's weekly market here in Certaldo, I am finally over my jetlag and needed to cook!

Fresh peaches, still warm from the trees turned into a Peach Crumble.

We also found Cuore di Bue tomatoes, as large as a bull's heart, which they are named for these meaty tomatoes where right from the garden.

Tomorrow's trip to the market promises more gifts to inspire me!

Look for local farms to get your summer gifts from, ask for the closest CSA group near you!

I can't tell you how incredible fruits and vegetables taste that have not been refrigerated. Can you remember from your childhood?

I was lucky enough to have heard David Mas Masamoto, author of Epitaph for a Peach speak at an IACP convention years ago.
Farmer-Poet..... when you eat a peach.... you will think of him!
Read his books.
Buy Local... Celebrate the Seasons.

July 18, 2007

Let's just say I have been technically challenged this visit to the states.
Couldn't get my wireless setup expect one day....
Had problems using the cell phone chip my brother left me...

Spent too much time working..as usual!

Can't wait to get home to rest... from these vacations in the US

I am sitting in the Cinncinati International Airport, waiting , as my flight to NY was cancelled.
They very nicely and smoothly rescheduled me to take off at 7pm direct to Paris and connecting to Pisa, so only arriving 2 hours after I was originally scheduled to land.

Had a fabulous three days in Kansas City with Slow Food members, Jasper, Marci, Mariann and their friends and family.

Mariann picked me up and took me to my hostess, Marci, with her darling puppy Greta ( she almost came home with me in my carry-on, but Marci was watching!

Sunday we toured, ate and got ready for a dinner Monday: reunion dinner party for the Slow Food members who came on the tour last fall to Torino Salone del Gusto and then to Tuscany. ( next year Sicily!!!)
Tuesday am was TV, making salami dolce and limoncello on the morning show, then that night we attended a great dinner / book signing at Jasper's .

The next day was a rushed shopping... then lunch at Micheal Smith's new place ( we tured together 10 years ago) lovely lunch! Great space....

Then off to taste Christopher Elbow's Chocolates.. and off to do Live! from Jasper's Kitchen RAdio show.

It will be aired Sept 1.. and I will link to it.

Badk to the restaurant to prepare dinner for 50 with Jasper's great Staff

Marv was my main man!!!