I remember making Madeleins for the first time when I was a kid and my parents would drop me off at my grandparents for the weekend while my dad was traveling for work. Madeleins were one of the first things we baked together. My grandmother was one of the classiest women I know and had a thing for elegance.
Italian cookies are the crown jewel of the kitchen. Recipes pass from generation to generation. Some are closely guarded secrets, while others are shared with the world. Whatever the case may be, your own mother’s are always the best. There is a special kind of comfort found in having a cookie and a cup of tea, whether alone curled up on a couch, or at the table with a loved one. The cookies can only be made more delicious with the perfect cup of tea. Like pairing the perfect wine to a meal, a special cup of tea can bring out the flavors in a cookie.
To be honest, Italians don’t care about salad. It is usually seved as a side and never, ever ordered instead of pasta or steak like they do here in the states. This salad is an easy way to make something typically boring more appetizing. My mom used to badger me to eat my salad when I was younger. I needed my vegetables, you know the drill. When I grew up, her nagging stayed with me and I came up with a tasty salad that I actually enjoy eating. This is fresh and has a wonderful taste.
This is the very first recipe that was birthed out of my recipe hunter project. Because I haven’t developed the show yet, I thought I would design an episode for Season 2 of Extra Virgin. The idea is to reconnect people to their family history through their families’ traditional dishes.
Eating dinner with my family at Harwig’s in Steamboat Springs, CO, a restaurant famed for its wine list and multiple Wine Spectator awards, I asked the sommelier to suggest a bottle. “What do you like?” he replied. “We like Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel,” I answered, “but we love to try new things.”
This is something I always ate in the small trattorias around Tuscany while growing up. When my dad, brother and I went for motorcycle rides on the weekends, we would always end the day with a pitstop in one of these tiny eateries and indulge in a hearty bowl of duck ragu. I personally never made it until I moved to the US. I can credit learning how to make it from Gino Angellini here in Los Angeles. He showed me the proper way and I tailored it to my tastes.
I love string beans. It’s probably one of the first vegetables that I have ever worked with and there is one very good reason why. I grew up with them, more specifically, cleaning them. My mother hated cleaning the tips off the beans, so in exchange for being allowed to vegetate in front of the TV, she set me up with 3 big baskets.
Welcome home, Gabriele and family. Can’t wait to see the next season of Extra Virgin!
Now that you’re back and living in Brooklyn, I thought I’d make a few local beer suggestions to chill out with. I’d of course start with a beer or three from The Brooklyn Brewery. As an aside, you should try to eventually meet the Brewmaster there, Garrett Oliver, if you haven’t already. He is an expert at pairing beers with food, which of course fits in nicely with you being a professional chef. Anyway, back to the beers. Continue Reading…
This s a traditional dish of my area. Raveggiolo is a cheese produced locally in a farm ten miles from my home in Tuscany. My father, brother and me would always stop at the farm on our way home from our motorcycle rides and bring cheese back to my mom. It is a fresh cheese, very similar to ricotta, but slightly denser and the perfect consistency for stuffing pasta. Continue Reading…
Though I am an enthusiastic scholar of red wine, and I drink it about 90% of the time (full disclosure: I am drinking Petite Sirah as I write this), I love white wine in summer. This love affair began in college, when I first had the opportunity to taste something beyond the low-quality, oaky California chardonnay that was available to me at the time. Continue Reading…