- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
Bunkycooks got a sneak peek at Lidia’s recipe for Sole Meuniere from her forthcoming book, Lidia’s Favorite Recipes. Not only do the photos look good enough to eat, this blogger muses thoughtfully on taking time to savor your food, memories of Italy, and Julia Child’s 100th birthday. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.
Read the review and get the recipe here!
I’ve said before that extra virgin olive oil—the really wonderful, flavorful, murky stuff—shouldn’t be heated. I’m happy to change my stance on the subject in light of a surprising amount of evidence that has recently been found to support cooking with extra virgin olive oil.
The polyphenols (which give extra virgin olive oil its superior flavor), vitamin e, and stable monounsaturated fatty acids present in high quality extra virgin olive oil actually act as a buffer when heated. The polyphenols break down first, sacrificing themselves to protect the healthy fatty acids.
What about regular olive oil? It’s certainly less expensive, but you really get what you pay for with olive oil. Regular olive oil doesn’t have the polyphenols (heat protection) or fatty acids (health benefits) of extra virgin olive oil.
Unfortunately no matter what oil you use it will lose some of its flavor when heated. If you’re paying a lot for a really tasty oil, it’s best not to heat it at all. When I do cook with olive oil, I like to finish the dish with some cold oil to make sure the flavor is fully expressed.
If you decide to cook with extra virgin olive oil (or any oil, for that matter), you should always avoid cooking it until the point of smoking.
Blogger Gwen Pratesi of Bunkycooks visited Friuli (the region of Italy that’s home to the Bastianich Winery) to “experience a little bit of this beautiful region which has become known as Lidia’s Italy through her books and television series.”
Gwen captured the spirit of this special region in both her photos and her descriptions. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Read Gwen’s blog post here.
I have a wish that my children visit every region of Italy and this year the new region was Puglia. The drive from the western coast of Italy diagonally down to the heel of the boot took us about 6 hours and through territory I had never even been to.
At one point I felt like we were in Kansas, driving through undulating waves of grain as far as the eye could see in Italy’s breadbasket. I kept thinking about all the different shapes of pasta that would come of the wheat. Then, just crossing into Puglia from Campania, my mouth started to salivate as I saw the sign for Cerignola, think of the briny, meaty, large green olives.
As we continued on, we weaved our way through the small streets of Savelletri di Fasano and our destination, Borgo Egnazia appeared like a mirage. A white oasis that we would not want to leave. The resort is built in the all white local stone surrounded as far as the eye can see by the rich red earth of Puglia and row after row of secular, massive gnarly olive trees. We were in and out of the salty blue Adriatic like seals at play. The main piazza of the resort was a hub of activity in the evening with games for the kids and one night even a typical wedding.
The food was amazing. Every grilled zucchini tasted sweeter than the one before it and each tomato a burst of sunshine as it squirted into my mouth. Lorenzo and Julia were occupied every evening with ping pong and an outdoor kids dance party. My mom kept Julia company and probably had a dance or two herself. Corrado and I were left to leisurely sit and enjoy the evening sounds of the Puglia countryside.
The garlic crop was a complete success this year. The only thing I will do differently next year is plant more. Lots more. The garlic bulbs are planted in the fall. Other gardeners have told me that the largest bulbs produce the largest heads of garlic, but the cook in me tends to go for the largest bulbs when I’m cooking because you don’t have to peel so many, leaving the small ones for planting, so I’ve never been able to test this theory. The bulbs are planted about an inch deep. They send up little green shoots and overwinter in the ground. Then, in the spring, they pick up right where they left off and continue growing. They send up scapes (which can be cooked, but I often just put them in a vase in the kitchen because they look so nice) and then eventually the leaves and stalk turn brown and topple over. At that point I carefully dig them up and let them dry in the shade for a few days. Then they can be braided into garlands or cleaned up and stored for later use. – Cody, Lidia’s Kansas City
I am ever grateful that my husband Corrado does not mind driving long hours. It allows me to plan summer itineraries up and down the Italian peninsula that are chock full of things to see, waters to swim and things to eat. This July we landed in Rome and stopped for a quick homemade lunch with my father-in-law Gianfranco and Nonna Anna.
She always knows what the kids love and this time was no exception; potato meat pie, rice stuffed tomatoes, panzarotti (delicious mini fried calzones) and crunchy, super sweet cherries. With our bellies full, she sent us off with some fruit juice and water bottles. We headed south down the old Pontina towards Sperlonga and Gaeta.
View Larger Map
Sperlonga juts out into the Tyrhenian Sea and is wonderful to stroll through after a long day at the beach with gelato in hand. For the runners that are reading, there is a great trail for a quick run from Tiberio’s Villa, where he lived until 26AD when he moved to Capri. We always stop by this area as my husband’s grandmother, Nonna Lisa (of the infamous Nonna Lisa’s Tiella), lives in Gaeta.
The coast is frequented mainly by Italians with very little outside tourism, leaving aside those from the American Naval Base in Gaeta. The coast-hugging, winding road leads down to the beautiful, sandy half-moon beach. The water is warm, clear and family friendly; you have to walk a good 4 minutes before the level of the water reaches your waist, which is so great for families with children.
The artichokes (Imperial Star, from www.seedsofchange.com) have been extremely productive lately. As you can see, they send up a single large flower bud (that’s the artichoke that you eat—if you let it keep growing, it will eventually open up to be a beautiful purple flower). After you harvest the first artichoke, it sends out smaller but still delicious buds. If I could only eat them in one preparation, it would be in Lidia’s shaved artichoke, celery and Grana salad. The clean flavors of this salad really showcase the fresh-from-the-garden artichokes! - Cody, Lidia’s Kansas City
Welcome, ladybugs! Grandma introduced these helpful critters to her garden this month, hoping to curb the population of plant-eating insects.
The tomatoes and peppers are beginning to fruit, and the cucumbers will soon start to climb. Take a look at Grandma’s garlic–you can tell it’s getting ready to harvest because the lower leaves are beginning to yellow. This was planted way back in November!
The Santa Rosa and Shiro plums have just finished producing their fruit–around 100 pounds of plums off each tree! The Santa Rosas are my favorites with their intense flavor and color. They make beautiful and tasty ice creams and sorbets. The yellow Shiros are delicious eaten out of hand, but they make nice preserves as well. Quite a few of both varieties went to the restaurant where Danica has been making them into her delicious desserts. My 4th of July afternoon was spent canning plum jam and plum-orange marmalade, and making a plum candy (preserves that are more concentrated and dehydrated like fruit leather). – Cody, Lidia’s Kansas City
From one of the most popular cookbook author/chefs at work today: her most accessible—and affordable—cookbook to date, a gathering of the recipes that have become her go-to meals: the best, the most beloved, the most delicious dishes in her repertoire.
Lidia Bastianich gives us a fresh look at her favorite dishes, the ones that have made it to the table time and time again: more than 100 of her signature recipes, revised to be more concise and clear, but just as soul-satisfying as ever. From Baked Clams Oreganata, Marinated Winter Squash, and Spaghetti with Quick Garlic Tomato Sauce to Braised Beef Rolls, Shrimp Scampi, and Chocolate Bread Parfait, each recipe includes new information about the affordability, seasonality, and nutritional value of the ingredients. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, Lidia’s Favorite Recipes will give both new cooks and longtime fans something delicious to celebrate.