November 16, 2011

Switching Gears to a New Year

I am getting re-energized by the incredible morning light. Although I am not a morning person, I cannot help but wake up to enjoy all the light available now, since by 5:30pm it is dark.

Catching up on emails, dreaming about 2012 and filling in my calendar with the weeklong programs already booked is a pleasure.

I dream a lot and many of these dreams do come true. If they don't, it is ok. I just need to have goals.

I am offering more tours to Sicily as one of my dreams is to move down there. Taking things slowly.

In May, I am hosting Savory Spoon Cooking School in Sicily.

Am looking at being a guest chef in Puglia in June.

Returning to Sicily in September with a group that met on one of my Tuscan Weeks and wanted to tour Sicily with me too, I have customized my west coast  Sicily tour for them and created a coast-to-coast  10 day tour.

In October I have my program with Ecole Chocolate in Lecco for the chocolate masters program and my Kansas City Slow Food tour to the Amalfi Coast.

When that ends, there is the Salone del Gusto in Torino.

I am not going to be offering my Market tours anymore, I will be passing those on to one of my Florentine friends that has lived in Florence longer than I have and is part of the San Lorenzo "hood" too.

I am working on completing my Divina Cucina's Food and Wine Guide to Chianti.

If that is not enough, am also starting to work on my next cookbook.

Other dreams include:

offering  my Secrets of My Tuscan Kitchen as an e-book
starting to do cooking videos from my new teaching kitchen

oh yeah, take more time off!

Just so you don't think I am not cooking, here is a recipe we just learned at Becchini Olive oil Estate in Castelvetrano for a shortbread cookie made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Biscotti al Latte

500 grams hard wheat flour ( semola rimacinata) 
150 grams sugar 
130 grams EVO
15 grams ammoniaca* ( used in italy like baking powder to make cookies crisp and rise some)
10cc milk ( or however much you need to make the dough stick together)
the zest of one lemon, grated
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the flour and sugar together with the ammoniaca and zest.
(* bicorbonata di ammonio is the official name for ammoniaca, here is the link from Wikipedia) so you can substitute a more traditional mix of baking powder and baking soda.

Make a well and place the EVO and milk with the vanilla.

Work the flour slowly into the liquids.

Knead the dough until smooth.

You can extrude the cookies as in the foto, or roll out the dough and use cookie cutters.

I adore learning the old ways. I am now on the look-out for a meat-grinder with a cookie extruder attachment! Thanks Zia Enza and Gabriella for sharing.

I can do private culinary tours for small groups, let me know if your dream is also coming to Italy. 

My day classes are offered all year long, ( except when I am on the road) for one, two or three days or a custom week with touring as well as classes.

Stop by my site Divina Cucina for more information. 

Updates coming in January.


  1. can you post the recipes with american measurements? i might like to try this one for our festivus

  2. @liz Probably easier to just buy a scale-- it really helps for pastry!
    but will weigh my flour-- to see what 500 grams is, normal flour is about 125 grams for a cup- 500 grams is half a pound.
    probably about 3 3/4 cups of flour( the hard wheat flour may weigh more)

    a cup of sugar is 200 grams- but I think these could be sweeter so say 1/2 cup sugar?

    and the oil is about 1./2 a cup

  3. Sounds like 2012 will be a Fantastic year for you....and because of you, mine will be too! Our tour of Sicily is the highlight of my New Year. I am already dreaming of all the wonderful things we will see, do and taste.

    You are the Best!

  4. What a great recipe. My mother made this a lot when we were kids, this brings me back to my childhood. I am first time on your blog and I am your new happy follower. Thanks for sharing. Great blog, gret photos.

  5. Could you explain what is it -EVO?

  6. @elena Extra Virgin Olive oil

  7. Many thanks! I have yet found this add. in your other post.