June 21, 2011

Happier Notes- Tomato Season is Here

pomodori fiorentini- from Sicily

My two loves go hand-in-hand. Florence and Sicily.

The first lovely ripe tomatoes we get are from Sicily, land of volcanic soil and sun.
These funny pumpkin shaped tomatoes are called Fiorentini and are the BEST for making a simple fabulous tomato sauce, Pomarola.

The inside of the tomato is mostly pulp and not seeds.

All you need to do is remove the stems and crush with your hands into a pot.
Add a pinch of salt, cover and cook until they are soft.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill, which removes the skin and seeds.

Boil to reduce to a thicker sauce, adding some basil.

This sauce can be saved bottled or frozen.

We tend to wait until the prices drop in August and make enough to last us through winter.

Funny how the summer soltice makes me think of sauce!

This year my own tomatoes are just barely forming, we had a cold wet spring.


June 14, 2011

Addio to La Contessa

My mom, La Contessa, as she was known in Italy, passed away Friday night.

She will be missed.

Services will be held Sat June 18th at 11am 
St John Vianney Church
Walnut Creek, California

Drink a limoncello in her honor! Celebrate life-- and live it to the fullest everyday.

I adore making limoncello and all the variations. My mom had a lovely lemon tree which has gone crazy with lemons and she so enjoyes making limoncello for her friends. She made several bottles for my sisters 50th birthday party which was in Feb, where the above foto was taken.

I suggested that for her funeral service instead of depressing memorial cards- we print out the limoncello recipe and make a recipe card with my mom's foto on it. Hope they do that.

My nephew came and harvested my mom's lemons and they are making bottles in her honor for the memorial service.

Years ago I had a artist friend of mine in Florence, Angie Brooksby, illustrated a small pamphlet on Limoncello- I sent some of the illustrations to my family for the card.

Make a bottle in my mom's honor and party!


Soak the zest of 5 organic lemons in 2 cups whole grain alcohol for 3 days. 

Make a simple syrup by heating 2 cups of water and 1-1/2 cups sugar. 
Mix together and strain out the lemon peels. 
Keep in the freezer. Enjoy!

Note: I can find Everclear ( whole grain) at Bev and More in California.
It is 75% alcohol which is 151 proof.

Cutting it in half with 2 cups of simple syrup, takes it to a 35% alcohol, you can add even more simple syrup to taste to lighten it up.

When the alcohol  level is high, it won't freeze, but rather thickens and pours out icy.

If you can't get everclear, you CAN use Vodka, will take longer to make and you don't need as much simple syrup as the 100 proof vodka is already drinkable.

June 2, 2011

Our Angelo in Cucina

Angelo Pumilia. Executive chef at the Foresteria Planeta in Menfi has been our guardian angel in the kitchen.

Here are the dishes prepared today, a meal fit for a King.

Our arancine production

Filled with four cheese and peas.

Our Timballo, with eggplant filling

Rolled stuffed sardines, beccofico

Served on a tomato,onion,string bean salad with eggplant pesto.

The Cassata

Light and not too sweet!

Mille grazie Angelo!

Sicilian Specialties

Sicilian ice cream sandwich

Crisp Rose at sunset

We Made fresh eggless pasta

Our marinated sardines - with onions and vinegar, sweet and sour

Angelo's new twist on salad, melon fennel, green apple

Women do not live by food alone, ceramic shopping at the masters.i