Stew as the Wife of the Cordoban Farmer Would Make It

This delicious winter stew from Córdoba in Andalusia is called olla cortijera de Córdoba in Spanish and is long simmered cabbage and chickpea stew. Andalusians are quite fond of cumin as a spice. The plant was brought to Spain from North Africa and entered the cuisine. The famous Spanish Arab agronomist Ibn al-‘Awwam, who flourished […]

Puntarella Chicory Arrives!

Chicory is an herbaceous wild biennial or perennial found all over the Mediterranean. The leaves of chicory have a basal rosette of runcinate leaves, that is, with lobes are deeply incised and recurved at the tip. The heads are large with loose, dark green leaves that taste bitter. The flowering stalk emerges out of this […]

Spinach is the Queen of Vegetables, Captain of Leafy Greens

Spinach is an annual plant with dark green leaves that enjoys cool weather.  There are two kinds of spinach, prickly-seeded and round-seeded.  Most spinach on the market is derived from the round-seeded kind.  Spinach is also classified by the shape of its leaves.  Again, there are two major types, smooth-leafed or crinkly-leafed.  Spinach produces dioecious […]

“Oh, Wonderful!” Sicilian Eggplant

The Sicilian expression—although little known among contemporary Sicilians—sciàtara-e-màtara, is an exclamation of wonder–or contempt!  It might be said like “Oh, wonderful!” or contemptuously as in “God! Great merciful God!”  The expression derives from the Arabic shātirū yā mā tāra as in “oh, the cleverness that you see!” which Arabs say sarcastically when someone from whom […]

Mashed Butternut Squash, A Simple Thanksgiving Accompaniment

Thanksgiving side dishes can be a challenge for the host who wants to serve an impressive meal. It’s tempting to get carried away and choose something too complicated when a simple dish, such as a straightforward mashed butternut squash, can make a Thanksgiving dinner elegant. Sometimes the too-complicated culprits are regional specialties such as the […]

3 Italian Zucchini Recipes for a Bumper Crop

If you’ve ever grown your own zucchini, then you know how prolific the plant’s fruit can grow — so plentiful you can’t give them away. There are many uses for this versatile summer vegetable overshadowed of late because of the faddishness of other vegetables. Don’t ignore the noble zucchini only because it’s so familiar. What […]

Spring is for Snap Peas–in an Italian Style

In Italian this preparation is called mangiatutto con pancetta e pomodoro which are snap peas cooked with pancetta and tomatoes.  This recipe is a specialty of the area around Rome and to the south in the region of Lazio where in the springtime new snap peas are picked young and eaten raw.  Mangiatutto means eat […]

Sicilian Frittedda: A Riot of Tender Spring Flavors

In the springtime in Sicily a simply named dish reveals an explosion of flavor that belies its satisfying complexity. It is a dish special with spring vegetables — fava, peas, scallions and artichokes — and called frittedda (or fritedda). In western Sicily, where frittedda was born, it is served as a grape ‘u pitittu, a […]

Go Green With 3 Bright, Simple Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is surely a time for gastronomic excess, but at the same time, unless your children are adult cooks as mine are and the work is joyfully parceled out, the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner can become burdensome and stressful. But dinner, especially the Thanksgiving sides, shouldn’t be stressful. When I was a kid, I […]

4 Antipasti To Capture Bell Peppers’ Peak Of Perfection

Eating seasonally has been the rule of thumb for cooks for millennia. But if you were to read the food blogosphere, you would think that it was just discovered. And now that we are in the early fall, there are certain foods you can tell are in season because they’re inexpensive and abundant at the […]

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