The holidays are coming and it is time to think about tiny treats. For an afternoon snack, an accompaniment to an after-dinner glass of wine, or tidbits for surprise drop-in guests, these biscotti are perfect. These little cookies bear a distinct resemblance to Sicily’s famous Biscotti di Regina, but they have a lot more going for them. Not too sweet, they are made with olive oil rather than butter or shortening, and they are perfumed with Nero d’Avola, one of my favorite wines. Cinnamon and white pepper provide added warmth and depth of flavor, while accenting the spice notes of the wine. Read the remainder of this entry »
I know. It sounds like Averna amore, but that’s what’s been going on around here. I have been drinking a lot of this Sicilian amaro lately. I am accustomed to consuming Averna neat (undiluted, at room temperature, no ice) or straight up (with ice.) Then I came across a cocktail called a Blackberry Smash, a bracing mix of Meyer lemon juice, ginger beer, orange-flavored vodka, muddled blackberries and Averna. Read the remainder of this entry »
People are talking about fall. But it is not fall in Los Angeles. Not by a long shot. I know this because in gardens up and down my street, tomato plants continue to produce a riot of unmatched end-of-summer color.
With a glorious profusion of red, yellow, and white currant tomatoes, as tiny as your pinkie fingernail, to the slightly larger grape tomatoes, right up to two pound beauties like Gold Medal and Mortgage Lifters of all stripe, the plants continue to produce with remarkable abandon. But the question persists. What to do with all these tomatoes? Read the remainder of this entry »
When a blogger disappears for a while one of two things may have happened. Either she has been engaged to write a cookbook or she has been traveling, trekking through Abruzzo on the trail with five hundred sheep. Oh no wait – that trekking thing, that was my friend Linda of Ciao Chow Linda. And as for the book, no publisher has come knocking yet. Read the remainder of this entry »
Zucchini Crostata with Ricotta-Lemon Filling
When most of us hear “crostata” we think of dessert, and a sweet crust topped with sugary fruit, caramelized and bubbling from its time in the oven. Rustic and free form, these open face tarts are good for main dishes too. Savory crusts topped with cheese, meats, and vegetables make simple, unfussy lunches, portable picnics, and satisfying light suppers.
Start with the crust. Lose the sugar, and you are on your way. Switch out some of the all-purpose flour for something with more character and bite, a little whole wheat flour, or perhaps rye flour or semolina. Add a hint of nutmeg, and seal the deal by substituting olive oil for butter. You are home free and dining savory. This olive oil pastry is the ultimate no-hassle crust. Quick to make, sturdy and easy to roll out, you’ll be glad to have this one in your repertoire.
Here I have used fresh ricotta atop the pastry base. The ricotta, flecked with lemon zest and delightfully fragrant lemon thyme, is dotted with sautéed pancetta and green onions, making a delightful medium for thinly sliced zucchini coins and a generous sprinkling of one of Abruzzo’s finest olive oils, Agrumato Lemon. The lemon scented oil adds bright notes of citrus while keeping Read the remainder of this entry »
These members of the Allium genus are covered with a red parchment-like skin, and their deep purple and white variegated interior is a glory to behold. Read the remainder of this entry »