All posts by Valentina S.
Today's harvest: Spinach, Cress, Eggs, Walnuts "It was my favorite sandwich ever," says my mom, layering curdles of egg on a piece of toasted bread and topping them with another slice. "As the kids of not-so-wealthy farmers, we only had a handful of options for our school lunches: Bread with oil and vinegar, bread with tomatoes and cucumber, and if we were lucky bread with ricotta and sugar. But the frittata sandwich - oh, it felt like a feast to me." My mom's words sound so anachronistic in a world in which, if we stop and think about it, we have way more than we need and want. There she is, a woman who, during her childhood, only had clementines and walnuts wrapped in aluminum foil to...Read more →
Italy has never been much of a muffin place. This might be the reason why I have never been interested in muffins. Upon my arrival to the United States, I was able to realize two things: one, that the cupcake icing was something I did not want to eat again, and two, that muffins would be really good if it weren't for all the butter. I started to think of all the possible ways to make muffins moist and soft without resorting to butter. Baking is but a work of chemistry, and anyone who knows the basics of the chemistry behind baking should be able to guess their own recipes pretty easily. Still, for some reason, I thought these would turn out to be a cmplete disaster. But I was glad to tas...Read more →
Today's harvest: Green Beans, Walnuts, Basil. Back when I was in high school, there was a tiny hole-in-the-wall take out Ligurian place that made all sorts of local dishes. Their forte was definitely the pesto pizza and Stracchino focaccia. Each bite was heaven. I have always wanted to visit Liguria, and passing in front of that shop made my food fantasies each time more vivid. I love pesto. If it weren't so fatty I'd eat it every other day. Still, all the things contained in pesto are actually really good. You get healthy fats from the nuts and olive oil, good protein without the lactose from the Parmigiano (provided you are using the real stuff that has been aged for 36 months) ...Read more →
Today's harvest: Green beans, Zucchini, Onions, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Swiss chard, Sage, Rosemary. One day, my dad came home and started telling about how he had talked to a person who, he could swear, had the same exact smell of a very important baron of some sort he had talked to when he was a kid. "I could probably describe every single thing that was in the room just by thinking of that smell," he said. "It’s crazy. I could have never remembered anything before I met this guy today. But now I could probably describe the carpet, the curtains, the furniture, and everything else was on that room that day." This Baron event made me think about how, in the days before leaving for the US...Read more →
Today’s harvest: Green beans, Zucchini, Hazelnuts Italians need to re-discover the love for salad. There is way too much gorgeous produce in this land not to take advantage of it. Right this moment, this gorgeousness is properly represented by our green bean bushes. The abundance of green beans in the garden these days is astounding. Their luscious plants, flecked with tiny lilac-colored, butterfly-like flowers stand in their rows like emerald dressed soldiers, and they grow, they grow, they grow. Right next to them sits a hazelnut tree, that keeps dropping its fruits on the ground like drops of water. I picked a bucketful, and they practically begged to be paired to their gree...Read more →
This dish is one of those things that makes me think about how amazing and wonderful the produce of this land can be. Every year, my aunt goes to Lampedusa, an islet just south of Sicily, for her vacation. Every time she brings back delicacies such as fennel liquor, fresh capers and local flavorful seasonings. But my favorite gift are always the pistachios. These bright, brilliant green and purple speckled pepitas sparkle like gems in your hands, and the real fresh Bronte pistachios have the unrivaled aroma that is always far superior to anything you could find on a shelf. I figured the best way to take advantage of this precious gift was to make pesto. Here I use it on...Read more →