Archive for May, 2011

Italian Potato Salad

Italian Potato Salad

  It’s a little known fact the many Italians enjoy American style “junk food.” Specifically, and I’ll use an anecdote to describe the phenomena, during our summer trips to Italy my Italian relatives would beg my mother to bring over US style foods such as: pancake mix with artificial maple syrup, Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, Ritz crackers, etc.  In fact, our family would arrive [...]

What Makes You Happy: The Environment, Feeling Good, and an Italian Photographer

What Makes You Happy: The Environment, Feeling Good, and an Italian Photographer

(photo: by Piero Morello. getting confirmation on the body of water, but I believe it’s the Stretto di Messina) One of the most satisfying moments associated with the warm weather months is the immense existential euphoria or perception of sun (temperature and sight), wind (hearing and touch), and scent (smell).   Take today, for example, it’s 83°F and sunny in the northeastern [...]

Tomato, Gorgonzola, and Hot Sopressata Panino, Plus a Columbus Salame Giveaway

Tomato, Gorgonzola, and Hot Sopressata Panino, Plus a Columbus Salame Giveaway

(photo: Columbus Artisan hot sopressata sliced by hand) Peperoncini and Salumi If there’s one food item that the southern province of Calabria is famous for it would be peperoncini (or red chili peppers). Peperoncini are used in pasta dishes (Penne all’Arrabbiata, for example), cured meats and vegetables (including the trendy salumi spread, ‘Nduja), soups, and an eggplant stew dish called [...]

Amaro Averna: The Rock-star Sicilian Aperitif

Amaro Averna: The Rock-star Sicilian Aperitif

(photo: Averna on the rocks with a slice of orange) Averna, the amaro and aperitif/digestif from, and still produced in, Sicilia, is a bona fide rock-star.   Yes, like Bono, Freddie Mercury, or Roger Waters, Averna makes you tingle all over and has you wondering how anything can be (taste) so damn good.   For those of you not in the know, [...]

Italian Pot Roast Recipe

Italian Pot Roast Recipe

One of the most widely successful ways to cook meat on the planet is via the braising method.  The Chinese, French, Moroccons, Italians, and Swiss, for example, all have “pot roasting” traditions (Italian Pot Roast Recipe).  Braising typically involves first searing a cut of meat (usually one containing lots of tough connective and fibrous tissue like collagen) and then using liquid and [...]

Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and Peppers

As Clifford A. Wright, the author of the wonderful book A Mediterranean Feast, writes: The daily consumption of fresh meat began to decline by 1550 as the population was now fully recovered from the Black Death of two centuries before, and, as a result, more land was devoted to the more labor-intensive agriculture rather than stock rearing. As fresh meat [...]

How to Make Pizza Sauce

How to Make Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce Recipe I’ve always stuck to the claim that you can make pretty good pizza at home.  My critics argue that making “pizzeria” type pizza in a home environment is impossible given that a home stove cannot reach the 900+ degree Fahrenheit temperature a proper wood burning stove can and, moreover, impart the appropriate flavor and heat to pizza dough.  I [...]

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Mussels in spicy tomato sauce is an Italian restaurant stand-by and one of my favorite seafood dishes.  The dish, however, can be easily ruined with foul seafood, thick sauces, and overcooking.  Mussels should not be rubbery, smell bad, or be covered in gelatinous ”sauce.”  Our version of mussels starts with the highest quality seafood you can find, so develop a relationship with a [...]

Villa Cappelli Sun-Dried Tomatoes Cured in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Villa Cappelli Sun-Dried Tomatoes Cured in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

(photo: close up of a few Villa Cappelli sun dried tomatoes in olive oil) One of the most important aspects of a product claiming to, in fact, be “sun dried tomatoes” is that the tomatoes are indeed dried by the sun.  We’re so adamant about proper sun dried tomatoes because we produce our own variety cured in extra virgin olive [...]

Italian Children’s Book: Colors Italiano by Sonya Caruso

Italian Children’s Book: Colors Italiano by Sonya Caruso

Our 22 month old son Tommaso has been on a frenetic streak over the last 6 months, that is to say, he has both the energy and ferocity to take on any task including doing full fledge sprints with theatrical spins and twirls, pooping dramatically, greeting family members and complete strangers ad nauseam, separating his parents from a warm embrace and kiss [...]