Climbing to the Sky

While in Caltabellotta, Sicily, we hiked up to the highest peak. The view was tremendous, from La Chiesa della Madrice to the ocean and everywhere in between.

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Italy: Storybook Land and Dante’s Inferno

IMG_1194This is the amazing view from Castello di Monteriggioni in Toscana.  As the sun set after a long day of touring, wining and tasting we settled in at the Fattoria, Castello di Monteriggioni near Siena. Before dinner we walked all around this little town where there are no autos allowed.  Built in the early 1200’s, Monteriggioni is an excellent example of a medieval walled town. You can find mention of this fairyland in Dante’s Inferno.  Photo taken in May of 2012.

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Sunset, the Arno and Me.

IMG_2031 Sunset on the beautiful Arno river in Firenze in May 2012.  On one of our the last nights of our tour in Tuscany we headed across the bridge to the Oltrarno district and had a quick dinner at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, which was quite good.  We made it a quick dinner because we wanted to get back over to the Arno river to take pictures at sunset.  The restaurant was in a perfect location, right off the river – so we were perfectly positioned to get our prized snaps.

Somewhere in Tuscany. Doing what I love.

nfquibekypomunzpftqq8rTuscany has to be one of the best photographic experiences.  I would say “the best” but  cooking ranks up there somewhere, right?  So grab your camera and your plane ticket, Tuscany awaits you!  If you are looking for tour recommendations, check the main page of my website,  http://www.italyandme.com  I have some links to different tours and such listed.  See what you think.

I will make Orecchietti

IMG_1355 This summer when I travel to Puglia I hope to learn to make orecchietti. They are shaped like little ears. The name is derived from the combination of orecchio (ear) and etto (small).   Chances are, the next time you travel to Italy and take a cooking class,  you will be given the opportunity to learn how to make the local pasta specialty.  But, until then, here’s a step by step guide on how to make orecchietti from from Deborah Melle over at Italian Food Forever.  Buon appetito!

Vegetables, Fresh Vegetables

IMG_1207 What is biggest reason that food just tastes SO good in Italy?  Fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s right, you heard me. Think about sinking your teeth into ripened tomatoes garnished with basil and balsamic vinegar.  Go ahead and gobble down fruit that tastes like a childhood memory of ripe freshly cut peaches.  Now more than ever it is time to leave behind the plastic fruit and tasteless vegetables that have become part of the American pop culture and delve into a truly Italian culinary experience.  You don’t necessarily  need to go to Italy to eat great produce. Although, if you can travel there, I heartily recommend it. Here in California and in other places as well, it is as easy as seeking out your local farmer’s market. It may mean you have to get up early on Saturday, but I promise, it will be worth it.

The original fusion food: Sicilian – CSMonitor.com

My first cookbook review has been published by the Christian Science Monitor under the food section “Stir it Up”  To say that I am excited is an understatement.  Here’s a brief intro followed by a link to the full review:

Sicily is a long way from California where I live. But one can travel through food and that’s what I did with the new travel-worthy cookbook Sicily from the editors of Phaidon Press Limited.The book is a compilation of more than 50 recipes with narrative text by noteworthy chef Pamela Sheldon Johns. Recipes are accompanied by gorgeous full-page Edward Park photographs. The preface of “Sicily” provides a short but insightful history into the island explaining that many different cultures have been master to her culinary puzzle. Arab influence can be found in savory couscous dishes and sweets draped with marzipan. A heavy reliance on almonds and toasted sesame seeds also came courtesy of the Arabs. Greek rule brought eggplants, oranges and apricots. The cookbook calls it the original fusion cuisine. I think that’s right. To understand Sicilian history is to understand her food. It should never be called Italian. It is SicilianMore Here