Archive for category: products

Philips Saeco Syntia Automatic Espresso Machine

Philips Saeco Syntia Automatic Espresso Machine

We have a love-hate relationship with super automatic espresso machines such as the Philips Saeco Syntia Automatic Espresso Machine (Type HD8833).  On the one hand, we love the idea of a big black box grinding, tamping, and brewing a true shot of espresso (something like a ristretto), yet in our heart of hearts we know there are no short cuts to [...]

Pancetta and Red Onion Risotto (Acquerello Riso Carnaroli) with Pan Fried Skate

Pancetta and Red Onion Risotto (Acquerello Riso Carnaroli) with Pan Fried Skate

One of my favorite ways to eat is to simply head to the market and pick out items that look fresh, tasty, and don’t break the bank.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not heading to the market every other day (like Nonna and Mamma did/do) but I usually reserve a mid week shopping trip to supplement my usually Saturday shopping [...]

The Scrumptious Pantry: Durum Wheat Rigatoni and Farfalle,  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

The Scrumptious Pantry: Durum Wheat Rigatoni and Farfalle, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

(photo:Italian durum wheat pasta made by Carlo) When it comes to reviewing Italian products we’re pretty blunt and we’ve, unfortunately, offended a few Italian product manufacturers with not so positive feedback.  In fact, when companies approach us to review already prepared products we often turn them away for fear of writing yet another negative review.  In turn, many of our favorite [...]

The Gracious Gourmet Spreads and Tapenades

The Gracious Gourmet Spreads and Tapenades

Over the last few years there’s been renewed interest on the topic of what makes people happy (or happiness studies).  ”Renewed” is probably the wrong word since humans have been chasing fulfillment and happiness since we picked up traits such as language, consciousness, and the need to write things down and keep records.  The interest in happiness I’m talking about [...]

Why Italian Food is Not Simple and a Pasta and Olive Oil Challenge Giveaway

Why Italian Food is Not Simple and a Pasta and Olive Oil Challenge Giveaway

  (photo: spaghetti chitarra with tomato sauce, ricotta, and peas; see below for recipe) The now immortalized copywriter turned French cook Julia Child remarked once that, “anyone can make a bowl of pasta but it takes a skilled chef to put out a fine French meal.”  You can imagine my reaction to the quote and my thinking on Child’s comment; namely, [...]

2010 Sangaspano Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2010 Sangaspano Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  (photo: Sangaspano extra virgin olive oil from Messina, Sicilia) On the morning of December 28th, 1908 a massive earthquake and associated tsunami hit the western province of Calabria and moved across the Stretto di Messina into Sicilia destroying city after city (including Reggio Calabria and Messina).  In Messina alone 60,000 people were killed and in Calabria our family lost many [...]

Cento Italian Pantry Giveaway

Cento Italian Pantry Giveaway

  (photo: some of the items in the Cento Italian Pantry Giveaway, including pasta, olive oil, hot peppers, etc.) Last summer I espoused the virtues of the Italian pantry and the concept of being prepared to cook and eat well every day of the year regardless of access to “fresh ingredients.”  Specifically, I suggested lovers of Italian food keep a [...]

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, [...]

Grilled Chicken and Fennel Salad with Feta

Grilled Chicken and Fennel Salad with Feta

(photo: grilled chicken, fennel and feta salad, a few pieces of good bread and a bottle of Brooklyn Pilsner) We eat tons of fennel during the winter months and usually consume it in a salad or immediately after a meal (as a digestivo).  Recently, we put together a fennel salad comprising of a simple vinaigrette and lots of good feta cheese [...]

Easy Espresso at Home: MyPressi Twist Review

Easy Espresso at Home: MyPressi Twist Review

  (photo: very good crema and taste profile, including notes of chocolate and hazelnut with very little bitterness)  When it comes to making great food at home you have two options in my view; namely, 1. try and replicate the same process that takes place in great restaurant kitchens irregardless of time, money, ingredients, and skill and 2. buy the best, and most available, ingredients [...]