Feast of the 7 Fishes | Linguine with Baccalà Sauce

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A lump of salt cod (baccalà) just might be everything. To use the tough, leathery fillet - more hide than flesh - the cod must first be soaked in fresh clean water. Gradually the salt leaks into the water and clouds it. A change of water, then more salt comes out. Several more water changes. A couple of days go by. The cod becomes soft. Mild. Tender. Italians know: these steps cannot be skipped or the meal will be ruined. I find myself sifting around for meaning this year. Did you notice … [Read more...]

Entertaining the Italian way with homemade Balsamic Figs + $50 GIVEAWAY

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A daydream worth dreaming Cobblestone alleys flanked by weathered walls. Hilltop churches. Sunlight warm on fig trees and grapevines.  This is the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Deep in the cellars there's Parmesan, balsamic, and prosciutto aging. They slumber in the dim recesses, the nuttiness and salt growing bolder, rounder. Waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Waiting to become the perfect bite. And by perfect I don't mean fancy. I mean perfectly un-fussed. The Art … [Read more...]

Go Global with 8 Edible Hiding Spots for your Easter Eggs

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An Easter Tradition Easter Eggs are a thing in our house. We dye them. We decorate them. We gobble them up in two's (it's funny how a purple or green shell can make an ordinary egg taste eggstraordinary). When I was little Mom hid these boiled treats in the yard and, after we found them we ate them, still-warm from the sun. Today plastic eggs have taken over - probably because of one too many tummy aches after an overly hot Easter. But the kids don't seem to notice; they scramble to collect … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Italy

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THE SCENE Many things about Italian cooking involve family. Sharing. Loud conversations while laughing over nothing. But this is not always the case. For example, I waited an entire week to tell Keith ....  a.k.a. Mr Picky ... a.k.a. the man with the most hypochondria ever... about the eggs. The raw eggs. In the tiramisu. It was mama's lil' family secret all week long. Hear me out - my logic was sound. First of all, I'd made the thing three times. Each time, it became … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tiramisu

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Makes one large trifle (Serves at least 8) Your day was hard. Maybe you have a party coming up. Or you are out of ice cream. Perhaps your favorite DVD  got scratched. Or your 20 lb cat left a 1lb hairball on your favorite sweater. I have the answer for everything: make tiramisu. Trust me. After a hard day, tiramisu is easy. It's the perfect dessert for fancy parties and casual parties. Plus, you won't ever crave ice cream again. Well... not while tiramisu is hanging out in your fridge. … [Read more...]

Recipe: Homemade Pasta Dough

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Makes 1 large batch. Enough for at least 150 standard ravioli & more noodles than you know what to do with. Slap. Roll, roll, roll, roll. Slap! My great grandmother, Assunta, made pasta dough with the strength of a hundred Italian sailors. Mom, just a kid then, was not allowed to touch. Instead she was told to sit quietly and watch. She remembers how, as Assunta rolled the dough thinner and thinner, it gradually swallowed up the table and heavy oil cloth covering. Eventually, all … [Read more...]

Recipe: My Mother’s Stuffed Artichokes (with Poll)

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As far as I'm concerned there's only one way to enjoy a movie: cuddled up to a plate of stuffed artichokes. I've already managed to brainwash the rest of the clan into agreement. I started young with Ava - at 10 months old she became enamored when I found one the size of her head. Today - at just two years old - she's an artichoke eatin' pro. To enjoy your next movie with an artichoke, you just need three accessories: a giant bowl for the discarded leaves, napkins, and a small bowl of melted … [Read more...]

Recipe: Alfred’s Pork Ravioli

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Makes enough filling for at least 150 standard ravioli I have fond memories of curling up on the basement stairs, hanging over the railing, watching my great-great, very distant I'm-not-quite-sure-how-we're-related cousin, Alfred, make ravioli. I'll never forget the way the ravioli rolling pin zipped out dozens of ravioli in a heartbeat. Alfred lived to 103 and I attribute that partly to the fact that he continued making ravioli two-three times a year, well into his nineties. He'd make a … [Read more...]