• 7 Breakfast & Eating Tips for Vegetarians with PCOS + Gluten-free Quinoa Granola

    7 Breakfast & Eating Tips for Vegetarians with PCOS + Gluten-free Quinoa Granola

    WATCH THE VIDEO FOR THIS RECIPE!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9zOXHJBBtk NOTE: All the Weck jars in this post were kindly provided by MCM Emballages! Thanks! IMPORTANT NOTE: this is my personal experience and, even though all people with PCOS I know had a ...
  • How to Have a Vegetarian/Vegan Easter + Cappellacci with Aromatic Herb sauce

    How to Have a Vegetarian/Vegan Easter + Cappellacci with Aromatic Herb sauce

    I remember my Easters as a child very well: about 15 loud relatives of ours would gather at the long wooden table at my grandma's house, the early spring sun shining on our table through the windows, almost as if to highlight the food. The dinner was heavily meat-based:...
  • An Apple Cake for Afternoon Break, and Memories of March {with video!}

    An Apple Cake for Afternoon Break, and Memories of March {with video!}

    WATCH THE VIDEO RECIPE HERE! The tiny dishes were gently provided by DishesOnly! ------ 'Come. I found a nice thing today.' My grandpa headed into the woods, his hands in his pockets, as a 10-year-old me joyfully followed along. Amidst the fields, painted golden...
  • Cauliflower Chickpea Veloutèe Soup, and a Story from a Writer’s Life

    Cauliflower Chickpea Veloutèe Soup, and a Story from a Writer’s Life

    'I made a veloutèe soup with chickpeas and cauliflower yesterday, but I think I did something stupid in the process,' said Enrico. 'What happened?' 'Well, I forgot to take out the lemon peel from the soup and I just blended everything. It tastes like lemon much more t...
  • How to: Jar your own Legumes!

    How to: Jar your own Legumes!

    Imagine the scene: when my family was still all living together (and I'm talking about 15 people under the same big farmhouse) and the garden had legumes too, the women would gather around a table with basketfuls of freshly picked legumes, ready to shell each pod and to...
  • Stories from an Old Italian Farmhouse: Pasta & Chickpeas with Cabbage

    Stories from an Old Italian Farmhouse: Pasta & Chickpeas with Cabbage

    When almost all of the cows we owned at the farm had been sold, and rabbits were the only animals left for the season, they all fell sick with a contagious sickness. In the stable of our farmhouse in the Marche, my family of farmers fought every day against an incompreh...
  • Natural beauty: how to make a purifying clay face mask

    Natural beauty: how to make a purifying clay face mask

    There are a couple times throughout the year when my skin - I am guessing due to stress, decides to suddenly get weird and turn oily and dry at the same time, and constellation-like breakouts decorate my face as if I were going through that not-so-pretty adolescent phas...
  • An Hearthy Lentil Stew, and a Word for the New Year

    An Hearthy Lentil Stew, and a Word for the New Year

    “As I unclutter my life, I free myself to answer the callings of my soul.” - Dr. Wayne Dyer I do not like New year's resolutions. I think that time is a flow, and it is always the right time to do or start something good. In fact, there is no better time to have good...
  • A Guide to Making Infused Oils and Ointments

    A Guide to Making Infused Oils and Ointments

    Happy 2015, everyone! How did you celebrate? Any goals for this new year? I stopped and thought about many nature-related things a soon as the new year kicked in for some reason. Living in a farm, especially in the Italian countryside, where there is something to har...
  • Edible gifts: Vegan Spiced Cookies & Hortus Christmas Menu!

    Edible gifts: Vegan Spiced Cookies & Hortus Christmas Menu!

    Note: Again, the super pretty dishes you see in this post are courtesy of DishesOnly! They ship worldwide, in case you need some Christmas gift ideas! Christmas Is all about cookies and cookie swaps, cute cookie cutters, and kids smothering icing all over your house....
  • A Vegetarian Christmas: Chickpea & Rapini Pizza Roulade

    A Vegetarian Christmas: Chickpea & Rapini Pizza Roulade

    NOTE: The super pretty dish with flowers I used in this post is from DishesOnly! If you're in Italy, check them out for some Christmas gifts inspiration! NOTA: Il piatto adorabile con i fiori mi é stato mandato da DishesOnly! Date un'occhiata al sito per della buona is...
  • Gifts of Late Fall: Chestnut, Farro & Porcini Soup with New Olive Oil

    Gifts of Late Fall: Chestnut, Farro & Porcini Soup with New Olive Oil

    When I was younger, I used to think of November as one of the most boring months of the year. The rain that stuck orange leaves on the ground was just a nuisance that I later had to clean off the the bottom of my shoes and from the mats of the car. As I woke to the pale...
  • A Walnut, Rosemary Chestnut bread from Lunigiana, Tuscany

    A Walnut, Rosemary Chestnut bread from Lunigiana, Tuscany

    When God created Tuscany, he must have been in a particularly good mood. It is a region I always loved with a passion, and going back to visit is always a pleasure. Along the eastern border of Tuscany, which is connected to both my regions - Le Marche and Emilia Romagn...
  • A Menu For the Day of the Dead, & a walk through Le Marche

    A Menu For the Day of the Dead, & a walk through Le Marche

    On November 1st, all the people who have any reason to visit a graveyard, will go and bring some flowers to the dead. Though I am not a fan of those religious occurrences where you do this and that only once a year, this November we have been blessed by beautiful weath...
  • A Tale of Soup, Legumes and Chanterelles

    A Tale of Soup, Legumes and Chanterelles

    NOTE: The linens in this post were very kindly provided by STITCH NY. They are handmade by a cool NY-based design student - definitely check her work out! “I’m leaving next month,’ said one of my coworkers in April. “I want to go back to teaching.” We could not be...
  • A Vegan Baked Boscaiola Pasta (Peas, Mushroom & Truffle) for Earthsprout

    A Vegan Baked Boscaiola Pasta (Peas, Mushroom & Truffle) for Earthsprout

    October tinges this land of warm, watercolor-like hues. This unexpected, but welcome, pleasant sunny weather delays dreams of cozy afternoons spent indoors, like a sleepy snooze to our fall alarm clocks. Time stands still like the oak leaves that a re surrendering to t...
  • Wine, Grape & Fig Ciambellone (Roll Cake)

    Wine, Grape & Fig Ciambellone (Roll Cake)

    I remember what fall in New York smelled, felt, and looked like. As you walked along the East River, falling leaves would land at your feet and you could step on them, hearing that heartwarming crunch sound. Shops smelled like cinnamon and oatmeal, and pumpkin Frappucc...
  • A walk Through the September Countryside, and Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini

    A walk Through the September Countryside, and Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini

    NEWS! [ita/eng] Il mio blog per il Corriere Cucina, 'Dall'Orto', é online! C'é ancora tanto da sistemare, ma andate a dare un'occhiata e lasciate un commento o un parere. Sono felicissima di poter condividere la bella cucina mediterraneo-incontra-vegetariano anche con ...
  • A trip to Veneto, and a guide on making the perfect Polenta

    A trip to Veneto, and a guide on making the perfect Polenta

    NOTE: See more pics on my story about Veneto on Steller! Veneto is a very interesting part of this beautiful country. Its architecture, landscape and traditions are absolutely unique. They are the only region in Italy currently fighting for independence (yes, you rea...
  • A Birthday Chocolate & Pear Ricotta Cheesecake

    A Birthday Chocolate & Pear Ricotta Cheesecake

    September is my favorite month of the year. There is just something about the light. The haze of August fades, but its bright sun lingers on. Smells change, the air crisps up, The sky is so incredibly blue. Dusks have amazing colors. It was a dusk of a year ago that...
  • A Summer Vegetable Stuffed Pizza Pie

    A Summer Vegetable Stuffed Pizza Pie

    When we were kids, we knew that, by this time of the year, our favorite activity - which was swimming and splashing into our filthy but joyful pool of water that is the Adriatic, would be hindered by one of the most important days of the Italian year. Every year, on  A...
  • Vegan Breakfast: a Story About Healing, and 3 Recipes

    Vegan Breakfast: a Story About Healing, and 3 Recipes

    I would like to share a story that has a lot to do with breakfast. I usually don't like to talk about such things, but I think this post could be of some help to others who lived through similar struggles. Last week, something amazing happened: I got my period. N...
  • Salads, Cookies, Collabs and Veganizations

    Salads, Cookies, Collabs and Veganizations

    This is going to be a bit of an in-between post. I am waiting for something to come in the mail (!) and I am preparing a big post to end this vegan month. It is one of those moments when things are happening all at once, so I am working on a lot of stuff that is going ...
  • Italian Vacation, Vegan Eating: Tips, + 2 Vegan Salads for the Outdoors

    Italian Vacation, Vegan Eating: Tips, + 2 Vegan Salads for the Outdoors

    August is approaching, and this time of the Italian year means only 3 things: blistering heat, traffic, and people desperately trying to get away for some vacation. So, if you happen to be visiting this pretty country for the summer, and you're a vegan, things might ...
  • How to Recognize Good Ingredients: Pasta. And a 3 Tomato Garlic Pasta Recipe

    How to Recognize Good Ingredients: Pasta. And a 3 Tomato Garlic Pasta Recipe

    Pasta is for Italy what strings are to a violin, or what Manolo Blahniks are to Carrie Bradshaw. It is the very heart and soul of Italian food, and, although data says that Italians are eating less and less of it, it is still the most loved food on our table along with ...
  • Gatherings: How to Assemble a Vegan Antipasti Spread

    Gatherings: How to Assemble a Vegan Antipasti Spread

    Today I went biking after work in search of inspiration. I think of a lot of things while I bike, mostly stupid things. But today I stopped by a thrift shop that I love and hadn't been to in a while, and I found a pile of old cooking magazines from the '90s, which are o...
  • Chickpea and Barley Stuffed Onions for Hortus Vegan Month!

    Chickpea and Barley Stuffed Onions for Hortus Vegan Month!

    Today's harvest: white onion, yellow onion, red onion, garlic, green beans, eggplants, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, basil, parsley, sage. It's official. Inspired by the amazing Josh from Culinary Bro-down (who is a knowledge-drop...
  • Summer Pasta Bowl with Dried Tomato Pesto, for a special event.

    Summer Pasta Bowl with Dried Tomato Pesto, for a special event.

    There is a song by an Italian artist I like that is called ‘Dear Valentina’. Yes, that is my name. In this song, there is a phrase that I always perceived as very true: People who fall in love should not need to talk about it. Don’t you hate that feeling you get ...
  • A Sicilian Inspired Salad

    A Sicilian Inspired Salad

    Today's harvest: Zucchini, lettuce, basil, parsley, tomatoes, fresh herbs. "There was this stupid game everybody had to play as soon as they entered the military," said my dad with a smirk on his face. "It was called the juke-box." "The juke box?" "Yes, the juke-bo...
  • Cookbook Review: Frankie’s Spuntino, and an Oniony Vinaigrette

    Cookbook Review: Frankie’s Spuntino, and an Oniony Vinaigrette

    What is it that you’re cooking up if your ingredients are two bearded guys with an Italian last name and a book written in a witty prose? Well, sounds like a great recipe for Brooklyn, if you ask me. In fact, it seems only appropriate that I first saw Frankies Spunt...
  • A Drink. To the City of Angels, to the Angels of the City.

    A Drink. To the City of Angels, to the Angels of the City.

    Have you ever seen the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama? It is a room of vertigo-inducing shimmering lights that surround you as if you were in the middle of a spiral of stars. Sometimes, I think of how I'd like to walk through my life with the same heart-shakin...
  • Introducing the new Italian Food Guides: Recognizing real Ingredients for a Sustainable Market

    Introducing the new Italian Food Guides: Recognizing real Ingredients for a Sustainable Market

    Because of my belief that a natural, sustainable way of eating derives from our ability to choose natural, sustainable ingredients, I decided to start a series of guides on how to recognize authentic Italian products, and, in the lack of those, how to consciously shop f...
  • A History of Risotto: Rules for the Perfect Italian Rice Dish

    A History of Risotto: Rules for the Perfect Italian Rice Dish

    As the sun started to set Veneto’s fields on fire with its first faint rays of sunrise, the line of women at the gates was already very long. Those who got there first would get the job for the day. The girls, whose dresses poorly reproduced flowers looking as withered ...
  • Three Roses Strawberry Pistachio Bavarese

    Three Roses Strawberry Pistachio Bavarese

    I used three kinds of roses to decorate this cake. Three are the people I dedicate this post to. #1 - To my Mom I hate it that I yell at you, get angry at you, and that I only recently learned to not leave my stuff where it shouldn't be. I hate it that living toge...
  • How to Make Artichoke Hearts Preserved in Olive Oil (Carciofini sott’Olio)

    How to Make Artichoke Hearts Preserved in Olive Oil (Carciofini sott’Olio)

    Back when the luxury to keep things you don't need did not exist (as useless things themselves did not exist at all), the idea of storing something plentiful in preparation for times of scarcity seemed almost a war strategy. In spring and summer, when products of the ea...
  • Easter: Crescia, Tiramisu and Rebirth.

    Easter: Crescia, Tiramisu and Rebirth.

    I realize that Easter, which is to be regarded as a moment of renewal, means nothing to many people. I do not mean to talk about religion, but I would like to mention some symbols that belong to this moveable feast. Here in Italy, Easter has always represented the...
  • Palm Sunday Eats, and other Celebrations

    Palm Sunday Eats, and other Celebrations

    Today's harvest: Wild greens, Chard, Lettuce, Wild Asparagus, Artichokes, Parsley and other Fine Herbs I am back from a brief trip to Milan, only to find out about my Saveur's BFBAwards victory. I am stunned and honored. I cannot believe you all candidated me, and I...
  • Asparagus & Ricotta Chickpea Crespelle – Glimpses of April.

    Asparagus & Ricotta Chickpea Crespelle – Glimpses of April.

    April. The weather is extraordinary, and everything is in bloom. The light, sporadic rains feed the greenery like some sort of enchantment, end everything gets more luscious by the day. There is really not much to say, when the feeling of renewed spring breeze and the...
  • Millet ‘Meatballs’ & Eggplant Wrap, and Saveur happenings

    Millet ‘Meatballs’ & Eggplant Wrap, and Saveur happenings

    I have many thanks to give.  Hortus is twice finalist in the Saveur Food Blog Awards, both in the best new blog category, and in the best photography category. I am, of course, extremely happy. But, even though I have always been a fierce fighter when it comes to co...
  • Italian Sundays: Spring Vegetable Lasagna, and a Vegan Spring Ragù

    Italian Sundays: Spring Vegetable Lasagna, and a Vegan Spring Ragù

    It was March when they got married. The almond trees around their house were loaded with pale flowers that washed all of the countryside with their delicate scent. But there were none in the bride's hands. Her wedding gown was a long, thick black coat that warded off ...
  • Vegan Ravioli Pockets With Herbs – The Art of being Frugal

    Vegan Ravioli Pockets With Herbs – The Art of being Frugal

    Today's harvest: Mustard greens, baby spinach, chard, basil, parsley, mint, stinging nettles Virgilio was a man of few words. He had no education, no money, and no freedom of speech. He had little bread, and very few teeth to eat it with. His bed was a bunch of ha...
  • Braised Crumbed Artichokes, Romagna Style.

    Braised Crumbed Artichokes, Romagna Style.

    It is interesting how, as soon as you start talking with Italians from regions that are not the one you grew up in, you find out that the recipes you grew up with are little known, if at all. It is the case of the Romagna style breadcrumb topping. It is a mixture of ...
  • Vegetarian Pasta Filling – entering Lent

    Vegetarian Pasta Filling – entering Lent

    It's Ash Wednesday today. As you might have noticed, I completely skipped posting anything about Carnival and Mardi Gras. The reason is simple: Italian 'Carnevale' is all about sugary, fatty, deep-fried foods. And, since I hate anything sugary and deep-fried, I felt ...
  • A Healthier take on Granola: Toasted Muesli

    A Healthier take on Granola: Toasted Muesli

    When I first landed at Whole Foods, one of the things that struck me the most was granola. Since it was something completely unheard of in Italy, I approached it with interest. I especially loved the pecan and and maple syrup versions, two ingredients that are pretty mu...
  • Moufflées – Soufflé Frittata Muffins, and a post St. Valentine Something

    Moufflées – Soufflé Frittata Muffins, and a post St. Valentine Something

    Today's recipes is one of my favorites. It is simple, but it requires that little extra effort that turns it into something amazing. They puff up marvelously. I guess something within me is a little puffed, as well. Isn't it strange how simplicity is very likely the...
  • Cauliflower Crust Pizza. And what about Tomato Sauce?

    Cauliflower Crust Pizza. And what about Tomato Sauce?

    Today's harvest: Cauliflower, broccoli BEHOLD! The garden has produced a cauliflower! After days and days of my garden being dead, this newborn baby deserved a real celebration. Of course, a special recipe was in the works. This is one of the recipes I've been mo...
  • Baked Tuscan Kale Leaves/Chips with Spiced Salt

    Baked Tuscan Kale Leaves/Chips with Spiced Salt

    "If there's one thing even a total kitchen dummy can get right, that's kale chips." That's what one of my roommates said, as she produce a big dark green speckled tray from the oven. I never had kale chips before she made that batch for us, and, as everything baked i...
  • Yet Another Purée Soup, Straight out of Childhood

    Yet Another Purée Soup, Straight out of Childhood

    Today's harvest: Pumpkin - kindly offered by my awesome neighbor! Every blogger or food website present on the net probably has a Pumpkin or root vegetable purée soup amongst their most-clicked recipes. The variations are countless: spiced, with spiced veggies added...
  • An Edible Gift: Flavored and Dipping Oils

    An Edible Gift: Flavored and Dipping Oils

    Every year, when Christmas approaches, I am the only person I know who does not worry one bit about christmas gifts. I am of the very strong opinion that Christmas presents are either something you really care about, or something that can be skipped altogether. I se...
  • Fare i Cantucci, e i loro Fratelli Americani

    Fare i Cantucci, e i loro Fratelli Americani

    Raccolto di oggi: Mandorle, Nocciole Quelli che sono stati a Firenze ricorderanno che, in una via non meglio identificata e che ora non ricordo, vi sono delle statue dall'espressione livida, che guardano in cagnesco in una direzione precisa. Uno del posto mi disse ch...
  • A Variation on Biscotti, and a Story behind Their Name

    A Variation on Biscotti, and a Story behind Their Name

    Today's harvest: Almonds, Hazelnuts If you ever go to Florence, you might notice, on a specific road I can't precisely remember, statues with quite a livid expression on their faces, all looking at the same direction. Those statues look towards Siena, as rivalry betw...
  • Incontri: Focaccia Patate e Cipolla, ad Alta Idratazione

    Incontri: Focaccia Patate e Cipolla, ad Alta Idratazione

    Ora, non che io voglia trasformare questo posto in un blog sui lievitati, ma è Dicembre, la stagione ufficiale delle feste! Quel magico periodo nel quale cerchiamo tutti di bilanciare le nostre vite tra biscotti e insalate è davvero cominciato. Tutte le donne si guarder...
  • Gatherings: Roman Spelt Focaccia with Onions & Potatoes

    Gatherings: Roman Spelt Focaccia with Onions & Potatoes

    Now, I don't mean this site to turn into a baking blog, but it is December, the official holiday season! Now that magic period in which we all try to balance our lives between baked goods and salads has officially begun. We girls all look at our butts in the mirror and ...
  • Come Fare la Ciabatta: Lentamente.

    Come Fare la Ciabatta: Lentamente.

    “E non stare davanti alle porte del treno,” mi disse Jon la prima volta che uscii dalla metro, a Grand Central. “La gente qua ti spinge via. Hanno fretta, non hanno paura ti toglierti di mezzo a gomitate.” E quelle erano: le regole del Vangelo Secondo New York, che m...
  • How to make Ciabatta Bread, the Slow Food Way

    How to make Ciabatta Bread, the Slow Food Way

    "And don't stand in front of the train doors," said Jon, the first time I hopped off the metro at Grand Central. "People will just push you away. People are in a rush here, they won't mind elbowing you out of their way." That was it: The rules of the Gospel According t...
  • How to make Country Bread: A Basic Guide to Bread Making

    How to make Country Bread: A Basic Guide to Bread Making

    Making your own bread is probably going to be one of the most interesting, time consuming and rewarding things you will ever do inside your kitchen. Unfortunately, good results when making bread are heavily influenced by so many factors that only trial and error will ev...
  • Triangoli di Fillo alla Siciliana, e sul Cucinare senza Ricette

    Triangoli di Fillo alla Siciliana, e sul Cucinare senza Ricette

    Raccolto di oggi: Broccoli, Spinaci, Bietole, Erbette di campo, Lattuga romana, Finocchio, Olive, Mandorle, Noci. Ci sono due cose che posso dir per certo della cucina italiana: tutti amano mangiarla perché é buonissima, e tutti amano cucinarla perché é semplice. ...
  • Sicilian Broccoli Triangles, and on Cooking without Recipes

    Sicilian Broccoli Triangles, and on Cooking without Recipes

    Today's harvest: Broccoli, Spinach, Chard, Wild Herbs, Romaine lettuce, Fennel, Olives, Almonds, Walnuts. Two things I can surely say about italian cooking: People love to eat according to it because it's good, and people love to cook according to it because it's sim...
  • Farrotto al Cavolo Nero e Funghi: un Autunno Toscano

    Farrotto al Cavolo Nero e Funghi: un Autunno Toscano

    Raccolto di oggi: Cavolo nero, Cipolla rossa. 'Farro' mi fa venire in mente la Toscana, insieme al pane olio e pomodoro e le castagne. E quanto, quanto é bella la Toscana? L'abbiamo scelta per tre anni di seguito per delle piccole fughe primaverili nel weekend. ...
  • Farrotto: a Risotto made out of Spelt Farro, with Tuscan Kale and Mushrooms

    Farrotto: a Risotto made out of Spelt Farro, with Tuscan Kale and Mushrooms

    Today's harvest: Tuscan Kale, Red onion. If Tuscany could be wrapped up in a dish, this would be a perfect example. Whenever we, among friends, needed to decide where to go for our spring weekend vacation, we'd always pick Tuscany. In fact, we picked Tuscany three...
  • Ritrovarsi: un trionfo di bruschette

    Ritrovarsi: un trionfo di bruschette

    La Bruschetta ha un significato che scalda il cuore ad ogni italiano: Significa ritrovarsi. Con gli amici, con la famiglia. ritrovarsi. Cosa c'é di piú semplice ed efficace delle bruschette, ad aprire un pranzo o una cena insieme? Per lo stesso motivo anche gli ame...
  • Gatherings: A Bruschetta Feast

    Gatherings: A Bruschetta Feast

    Bruschetta has a heartwarming meaning for every Italian: It means gatherings. What is simpler, tastier and more versatile than bruschetta, to open the way to a party between friends or relatives, and to a wonderful time together? Whenever we’d host dinners at...
  • Dolcetti al Vin Santo, per il Giorno dei Santi

    Dolcetti al Vin Santo, per il Giorno dei Santi

    Ho trovato questa scartoffia tra gli appunti di mia madre, in un'agenda ereditata da mia nonna. La mia speranza era di trovare una ricetta per le Fave dei Morti, dal momento che il primo di novembre si avvicinava al presente come i vecchi al forno. Invece, ho trovato t...
  • Vin Santo Cookies, for the Day of the Saints

    Vin Santo Cookies, for the Day of the Saints

    I found this scrap of paper amongst my mom's notes, in a notebook she took from my grandma. I was hoping to find a recipe for the Fave dei Morti, as the 1st of November was approaching and the elderly of my family are used to buy various kinds of baked goods for the day...
  • How to make Fresh Pasta: The Basics and the Dough

    How to make Fresh Pasta: The Basics and the Dough

    Making fresh pasta at home is a very rewarding experience. I find that all preparations that demand a little more of your time than usual are. This is why pasta was usually made in every Italian home on Sunday mornings, when everyone was off work and could dedicate the ...