January 2010

Four Favorite Markets in Rome

January 27, 2010
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I love markets. I love the beautiful array of produce, the gleaming fish, the wet floors, the smell of meat and flowers. There’s something about a local’s market which can put me in touch with a culture more than any museum, monument or religious structure.

Rome is filled with many options for buying food; large wet markets, both indoors and out, small supermarkets, and speciality food stores. There’s no shortage of beautiful vegetables and fruit, meats and cheeses and one can eat well, and cheaply, without ever setting foot in a restaurant, should you choose (though I’m not recommending you skip out on the city’s fantastic ristoranti ). Below are my favorite markets in Rome from my visits in the last two years.

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Glazed Meyer Lemon and Poppy Seed Cookies

January 23, 2010
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I’ve come to the realization that prolific citrus trees are like summer zucchini; you find yourself using them in every dish possible and then leaving sacks of them on your neighbor’s doorsteps in the middle of the night. I’m not saying I did this, but I know someone who has….

We have an gnarled old Meyer lemon tree in our back yard which is about as wide as it is tall, and considering that it’s shorter than I am, could almost qualify as a “Meyer bush” if such things existed.
For the first few years we lived here we got sporadic lemons and thought that the tree might have been so old it was dying. Then, a couple of years ago I gave it some citrus food and extra water and suddenly the lemon angels were singing “hallelujah!” and we had a tree which while still stubby, was …

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Japanese Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers (Gyoza)

January 18, 2010

They say that men have better spatial ability than women. The feminist side of me (yes, I just used the “f” word) says “bosh!” to that theory. Ok the feminist side of me would never use a word like “bosh“, but you get my meaning… Anyway, every time I do something which requires reading a diagram and I get frustrated, my husband likes to remind of this fascinating tidbit. It just infuriates me further.

In my previous life as a chef I made many pot stickers, these little savory packages filled with meat and vegetables, which are both fried to give a nice crispy texture to the bottom, and then steamed to complete the cooking. However, I’m sure I did not use an authentic folding method to create them and it’s been almost a decade since I made them from scratch. Armed with a recent gift of Andrea …

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We have a winner and other announcements

January 13, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Bacon
Did you leave a comment on the Gemelli with Butternut Squash post? If so, you might be the winner of Giulianno Hazan's latest book, Thirty Minute Pasta. I asked you to tell me your favorite pasta or one you'd like to learn and many of you said pesto, ravioli or home made pasta so you can expect I'll be posting some of those things on the blog in the future. I used the Random Number Generator, discarded any comments by me or family, and the winning comment is..... Karen Babb who said, "Favorite pasta is Pesto Pasta Salad and I would love to have a copy of this book. Thanks for posting the contest."

. In other news, if you're interested to hear some of my thoughts and tips on travel, I was interviewed on the Style & Inspiration Blog this week. . Finally, have you noticed there is now a brand spankin' new Fan Page on Facebook? You can click on the widget and become a Fan if you're on Facebook. I'm trying to get readers involved with daily questions, news and interesting food tidbits, so check it out, leave a comment, ask a question or just say "hi!"

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Customize your own Chocolate Bars with Chocri Chocolates

January 11, 2010


Custom-made Chocri chocolate bars.

About a month ago, I received an email from a company called Chocri originally based in Germany and now in the US, asking if I’d like to try their custom-made chocolate bars. Even though I love chocolate, I was busy and put off looking at their web site for a few weeks. When I finally logged in to their test site and checked out, I was overwhelmed with choice; their claim is 10 Billion (yes, billion) flavor combinations! 

Here’s how it works; choose your chocolate (dark, milk or white, all organic and Fair Trade) and then choose up to five toppings to go on top. You get to create a name for your bar and it’s printed right on the package. The toppings range from the normal; candies, fruits and nuts to the unusual; spices, grains and candy decorations. There’s everything from roasted almonds, to goji berries to …

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Gemelli with Butternut Squash and Bacon and Review of “Thirty Minute Pasta” by Giuliano Hazan

January 5, 2010

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Bacon

Giuliano Hazan is a member of Italian culinary royalty. His mother, Marcella Hazan, is credited with bringing authentic Italian cooking to the United States. In fact, even though I grew up eating my grandmother’s Sicilian-American food, Marcella’s cookbook, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, was one of the first Italian cookbooks I owned which talked about Italian food beyond tomato sauce. Giuliano Hazan has certainly taken to the “family business”; he is well-respected regardless of name, writing several cookbooks of his own, appearing on TV, winning awards, and running a cooking school for part of every year in Verona Italy. 

His latest book, Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta: 100 Quick and Easy Recipes is filled with simple, elegant, and appealing recipes meant to be accessible to busy cooks. Most can be assembled in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta.
I like his approach to recipes …

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