I love planning trips online. You never know what adventure will pop up. This year we found a centuries-old farmhouse, Il Bellini, recently updated on a hillside in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Anticipating a culinary adventure, the farm’s spectacular view of olive trees from ancient chestnut-framed windows (and updated kitchen!) were the first hints that expectations would be soundly satisfied. Forget the complimentary toiletries–a cruet of fresh olive oil harvested from olives picked on the farm graced the kitchen table.
Tuesday was market day in the medieval town of nearby Figline Valderno. We were astounded by the outdoor stalls, groaning beneath springtime’s largess. We skipped the local trattorias–the market inspired dinner. Selecting two lovely fish, fresh fennel and asparagus, we chose a local Spalletti Chianti. We purchased baby artichokes, proscuitto and freshly baked bread for a simple antipasto.
Dining “al fresco” was a given on this beautiful evening. We started a fire on the grill and bathed our fish with recently pressed olive oil. Stuffing the fish with lemon slices and rosemary sprigs picked nearby, we grilled the seafood with fennel and asparagus. Canopied by an inky night littered with twinkling stars, we devoured the simple feast with gusto; tossed the fish carcass to vagabond cats, and slept like farm animals.
This morning I woke up from a nightmare. I was the cooking wench for the House of Stark in their ancestral castle of Winterfell, located in Westeros, the northernmost province of the Seven Kingdoms. I had just pulled these birds from the pit as winter fell, promising to linger for many, many years. Yes, indeed. The weather is a … Full recipe post »
Happy Memorial Day! Perhaps the long weekend will offer you more time to relax and fire up the grill, and the following recipe for Hot Slaw and Shoulder Sliders has been a family favorite for generations. My millennial son, Zan, is getting married to Lucy in 4 weeks, I’m hosting a party the night before the wedding, the boy wants mama’s … Full recipe post »
Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
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