My cookbooks  

Preserving Italy Cookbook Cover book-ciao-biscotti Glorious Vegetables of Italy Glorious Pasta of Italy Big Night In Glorious Soups & Stews of Italy Rustic Italian Book Cover

Baci di Dama al Caffe

As a child I liked American cookies better than Italian ones. You know: chocolate chip, peanut butter criss-cross, brownies. Yawn. Eventually, I saw la luce and began to appreciate the incredible versatility and inventiveness of Italian cookies, from delicate, crumbly crescents to crunchy, dunkable biscotti. Baci di Dama, aka ‘lady kisses,’ are my current Italian […]

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Chiacchiere ~ Fried Pastry Ribbons

I’m not sure what appeals to me more about these fried sweets ~ the way the ribbons of dough puff up so exuberantly when they hit the pan of hot oil, or the many colorful names Italians have for them. In Abruzzo they are called either “chiacchiere” ~ which translates loosely to “chatter” or “gossip” […]

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Quadrucci ~ Making Homemade Pasta Squares with Antonietta

In January, once the kids head back to school (one to Vermont, the other to Michigan) things slow down just a bit in my kitchen. On cold, overcast mornings, I watch from the window as the cardinals and finches vie for space on the backyard feeder. I flip through cookbooks new and old, tagging recipes […]

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Lucky Lentils for the New Year

An end-of-year confession: For many years I have snubbed the Italian tradition of serving lentils on New Year’s Eve in favor of a pot of Hoppin’ John, the Lowcountry classic good luck dish of rice and black-eyed peas. It’s a tradition I picked up when I was living in Detroit. My friend Robin, then the […]

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A Trip to Chinon, and a Recipe for Chocolate-Orange Madeleines

This year’s Dicembre Dolce features a French recipe ~ Chocolate Orange Grand Marnier Marbled Madelienes, from Jamie Schler’s new cookbook, Orange Appeal. * * * * * * Christmas came early for my daughter and me, in the form of a trip to France this month. The visit was work related; I went to teach […]

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Falling for Persimmons

Our mom tried to introduce my sister and me to persimmons when we were little. She bought a couple of egg-shaped hachiyas ~ known for their astringency ~ and let them sit in a bowl on the kitchen counter until they were fully ripe. She sliced one open and gave us each a sliver of […]

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Figs, Chocolate, and Spice

I thought my little fig tree was done for. Three or four years ago it suffered severe die-back during a particularly cold winter. By mid-spring the branches still showed no signs of life, no leaves unfurling, no baby fruits. I thought about yanking it out and starting over. A friend who knows a lot more […]

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Join Me in Liguria in 2018

Abruzzo owns my heart, it’s true. But a few years ago while on vacation, and then while researching Preserving Italy, I fell in love with another region: Liguria. This rocky arc of land that fans out from the Mediterranean Sea on Italy’s northwest coast, is dazzling in its beauty ~ saturated with color, full of […]

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Greek Village Salad

I’ve been to Greece once, on a family trip one long-ago summer. I was a distracted teenager then, and even though I enjoyed it I was also counting the days till I was back on the beach in Italy with my friends, so my memory of the trip is sketchy. But a few details still […]

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