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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Torta Quattro Quarti al Vin Santo

Torta quattro quarti in Italian, pound cake in English. Either way, this is one of my favorite cakes to make and to eat. There is something magical about a cake that rises so beautifully without added leavening, producing that deep golden brown, slightly crunchy crust and those dramatic cracks that allow a peek into the […]

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Zucchini alla Scapece

Last summer it was these peppers; the summer before, rice-stuffed tomatoes. This year, I can already tell that the season’s MVP ~ the one dish I make more than any other ~ is going to be these zesty fried zucchini coins marinated in garlic- and herb-spiked vinegar. In Italian it is known as zucchine alla […]

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Giardiniera-Stuffed Eggs

Once upon a time when I was a girl I dreamed of opening an egg-themed restaurant. It would be called “EggSquisite” and every item on the menu would feature eggs in some way. The doorway would be egg-shaped and, of course, my restaurant would be located in a mall ~ I did grow up in […]

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(Not) My Mother’s Easter Bread

(Hat tip to my friend Joann Condino, whose beautiful hand wood blocked linen tea towel serves as the backdrop for this photo.) * * * * * Good recipes have a way of returning to us, even if they have been lost for awhile. Take this one for toasted coconut bread from a restaurant in […]

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Food Writing Workshop in France

That’s right ~ I am venturing outside of Italy for a change. I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Jamie Schler, author of the award-winning blog Life’s a Feast and the forthcoming cookbook Orange Appeal, for a food writing workshop in France. Jamie and I will be hosting a four-day writer’s retreat from December 6-10 […]

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