Curious Appetite

What’s in Season

Cooking in Florence: Pasta with zucchini flowers

 

note the mask over ear;)

“Life is unpredictable” was used in the last blog post entered before COVID-19 hit Italy on my then reflecting on having started to split time between San Francisco and Florence. Famous last words, you could say.

Long story short, I came to some difficult conclusions and here I am in Florence. C‘est la vie. I’m trying to roll with life’s punches while clasping to gratitude for what I do have. I’ll explain a little bit of what it feels like being back and conclude with a quick summer-themed pasta recipe. Continue Reading

3 easy recipe ideas for artichokes

photo by Tracy Russo

In Italy artichokes are a big deal. They are beautiful, delicious and full of amazing health benefits and are extremely versatile culinarily-speaking.

Roman cuisine probably gets most of the diva attention for their thistles, and rightly so. They have plenty of culinary uses in Roman cuisine, the most famed being from the Roman Jewish repertoire, carciofi alla giudia (Jewish deep fried artichokes, traditionally served after Yom Kippur but eaten joyously by all when in season). If you are in Florence and love carciofi alla giudia, Club Culinario da Osvaldo in Santa Croce pays them due justice even if outside of Rome. Worth knowing is this artichoke currently experiencing some controversy as Israel’s chief Rabbinate declared the dish non-kosher. 

In Florence, artichokes may not have fascinating recipes steeped in deep cultural history like Rome’s, but they are nonetheless present and important to Florentine and Tuscan cuisine. They are commonly found in traditional trattorias quartered, battered and fried with a squeeze of lemon. At home they are made into sughetti (sauces) for pasta, carciofi ritti (upright artichokes doused in lemon, herbs, pancetta and garlic) and are cooked along with a variety of meat dishes, such as involtini (meat-rolls), arrosta in crosta (crusted roast meats), etc. Continue Reading

How to use truffles in the kitchen

truffles. lots of truffles.

Besides just going at it and stuffing your face with these aromatic, umami nuggets of gold- I have a couple ideas for how to use truffles in the kitchen.

Last weekend, I headed over to the truffle festival in San Miniato with Girl in Florence, her hubby-to-be and met up with one of our foodie idols, Emiko Davies. Wow, that’s a lot of name dropping but I must give cred since Emiko and her sommelier master hubby (sounds like a team!) organized a rather decadent day for us and it wouldn’t have been possible without either of them for the truffle-y goods I got my paws on. Continue Reading

What’s in Season Fall 2015 (Florence, Italy)

It’s so fun to peruse outdoor markets and I personally love the change of seasons, smelling tasting and exploring the new goodies on the block.

I usually hit up the Sant’Ambrogio market for just about everything. Especially meat from the butchers inside the market and fresh, dirt cheap veggies. It’s also not very touristy thanks to uber-touristy, kitschy Mercato San Lorenzo that keeps Sant’Ambrogio pretty real. I do love San Lorenzo for cheap eats and the foodie oasis within- just not my cup of tea for produce shopping. Although the Sant’Ambrogio market is starting to be inundated with vendors and not farmers, you can still experience a slice of Italian life with a shop through this market. There are some farmers still around (and definitely none at San Lorenzo) and it’s a modest reminder of how Italians live and eat in normal circumstances. Continue Reading

What Foods are in Season Now in Florence (Spring 2015)

It sounds a bit strange to say what’s in season in Florence since produce that comes into Florence comes from farms and gardens around Tuscany. I suspect that one market in Florence may differ from a market in the Maremma in southern Tuscany. And since I am here, for simplicity’s sake- we will stick to Florence.

Why is it useful to know what is in season in Florence? Well, if you are traveling in Florence this may help your dining decisions. I’m a huge fan of “when in Rome” and eating what is traditionally around.

Also- just a few notes. Continue Reading

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