Bruschetta with Whipped Feta, Tomato, Basil & Lemon Zest

Bruschetta with Whipped Feta, Tomato, Basil & Lemon Zest

Our garden is overflowing with plump vine-ripened tomatoes :: pomodori! 

Bruschetta-with-Whipped-Feta,-Tomato,-Basil-and-Lemon-Zest-4I’ve been cooking up a storm making millet stuffed tomatoes, basil and tomato sauce and these delightful bruschetta with whipped feta, tomato, basil and lemon zest. 

On a side note, for all you Italian language learners out there, my title should really be “bruschette” because you change the “a” to an “e” to make it plural, yet I never know if it’s better to use the real word or the Americanized term so people get what I am talking about. Bruschetta=1, bruschette=more than one. Final note, the real way to pronounce  bruschetta is like this: “brew—sket—ta”. Here’s a trick to remembering this pronunciation: “you are drinking a brew, when out jumps a skeleton from the closet who yells ta-da!” brew-sket-ta. Random, I know, but these little tricks help with remembering languages at the beginning, at least for me. 🙂

Bruschetta-with-Whipped-Feta,-Tomato,-Basil-and-Lemon-Zest-5Back to those lovely little tomatoes I was telling you about.  Italians are experts at growing and conserving tomatoes for the entire year. Some of the most popular ways to conserve tomatoes are CONTINUE READING

How To Prepare a Beautiful Italian Aperitivo + Menu

How To Prepare a Beautiful Italian Aperitivo + Menu

For all you ladies out there, let me ask you a question. Have you ever bought a beautiful dress and a pair of heels that you absolutely love but have only worn once or twice? Maybe you splurged on the items or found them on sale, maybe you bought them for a wedding or a special date. Regardless of how much you love them, they sit at the back of your closet collecting dust while slowly making their way to becoming vintage. It’s a waste that can be avoided. You just need reasons to dress. That tagline is also the blog name of my newly acquainted fashion blogger friend Angie Nardiello (in the black dress) who suggested that we get dolled up and enjoy an aperitivo (aperitif) together.

Summer Aperitivo 1

Photo Credit: A Reason To Dress

Angie is a Canadian expat who I met through our lovely mutual American friend Adrienne (pink dress). Within the first five minutes of meeting her, she suggested putting together this summer cocktail style evening. Adrienne was to host at her beautiful house, Angie was to coordinate our outfits and I was to prepare the menu.

Summer Aperitivo 2

Photo Credit: A Reason To Dress

Here are some tips to executing a beautiful summer aperitivo:

CONTINUE READING

Mashed Purple Potatos with Sicilian Red Shrimp Salad and Sauternes Sauce

Mashed Purple Potatos with Sicilian Red Shrimp Salad and Sauternes Sauce

When I ask a foreigner to talk to me about Italian food, the person almost always tells me about oversized bowls of pasta, wood fire pizzas and the incredible flavor of the fresh ingredients. Without a doubt, Italy has a grand cuisine based on tradition, but not only. You can also find extreme innovation and creativity in the alta cucina, or gourmet cuisine.

Purple-Potato-Pure-with-Red-Shrimp-SaladIt’s difficult to eat poorly in Italy, and therefore during my first years of living in Emilia-Romagna I was never that enthused to spend a lot of money for small portion sized gourmet dishes. In Italy, the fact is that you can eat extremely well spending only a small amount of money.

Purple-Potato-Pure-with-Red-Shrimp-Salad-3 Working as a food blogger, I eat constantly for my job. I create my own recipes, I try traditional dishes and I’ve even had the opportunity to taste gourmet plates. I finally understand why people READ MORE

Baked Brie with Persimmon Sauce, Honey and Walnuts

Baked Brie with Persimmon Sauce, Honey and Walnuts

One of my favorite appetizers is baked brie. It’s simple to throw together, mouthwatering delicious and it’s always a hit at dinner parties.

Baked-Brie-with-Persimmon-Puree-and-WalnutsIt’s a classic recipe that can be adapted in many ways. Some of my favorite combinations include:

-Brown sugar and pecans-

Blueberry compote-

-Cranberry jam and toasted almond slivers- 

-Now adding to this list of favorites is pureed persimmons with Acacia honey and walnuts-

Baked-Brie-with-Persimmon-Puree-and-WalnutsI have a love hate relationship with persimmons: I love the flavor, but I hate the texture. It’s soft, squishy and the occasional “slurp” slips out when you eat a persimmon with a spoon. I despise that noise; for me it’s worse than nails on a chalkboard. How to get around this problem? READ MORE

Parmesan Crisps and Lollipops

Parmesan Crisps and Lollipops

Parmigiano-Reggiano-Crisps-and-LollipopsSimplicity lies in gathering with gratitude the scents and flavors that the ingredient gives us in its natural form. I think about this phrase when I develop my recipes. I try to create simple dishes that allows you to savor the single ingredients in their purity, letting their flavors guide your memory to the past and to their place of origin.

Sometimes I forget that I live in Italy, a country with such incredible origins. How much history is in every grain of dirt as I walk across the lawn towards the vegetable garden? How many words were spoken throughout the centuries under the archways where I walk to get a café macchiato with my girlfriends?

Parmigiano-Reggiano-Crisps-and-Lollipops-2In Italy, everything has a history…especially food. Throughout these seven years that I have lived here, I have learned just how much good food is rooted in the minds of Italians, as daily nourishment and as a cure for illness. For instance, often times the first baby food for Italian children has grated Parmigiano Reggiano mixed into it. And, here in the region of Emilia where I live, when someone is sick they eat “risotto in bianco”, or “white rice” with Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil.

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Bruschetta with Taggiasche Olive Pesto and Feta 

Bruschetta with Taggiasche Olive Pesto and Feta 

Bruschetta-with-Taggiasche-Olive-Pesto-and-FetaYou might be wondering what that weird foreign word is in the title. It’s the variety of one of my favorite Italian olives and is pronounced taj-jas-kay. These small greenish-purplish-brownish olives are cultivated on the rocky mountain slopes :: pendenze of the Italian Riviera in Liguria.

Bruschetta-with-Taggiasche-Olive-Pesto-and-FetaTaggiasche olives have a meaty texture and a slightly tart salty flavor. They are perfect ground up in this pesto or just plopped into various salads or entrees, especially with white fish like rockfish :: lo scorfano.

Bruschetta-with-Taggiasche-Olive-Pesto-and-FetaIf there is one thing I beg of you, it’s to use a good rustic bread, not the store bought sliced kind.  Mr. Italicano and I shot a video this weekend at our favorite bakery :: forno, Forno di Mario, located in Correggio. The video will be coming soon but in the meantime we took home a loaf of miracle bread made with natural yeast and antique grains. This bread was perfect for a light and crunchy bruschetta.

Bruschetta-with-Taggiasche-Olive-Pesto-and-FetaBruschetta-with-Taggiasche-Olive-Pesto-and-FetaThis appetizer :: antipasto is perfect for last minute guests as you can whip it together in just 5 minutes. It helps to have a jar of good quality taggiasche olives in the cupboard for occasions like this.

Bruschetta with Taggiasche Olive Pesto and Feta
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This appetizer is perfect for last minute guests as you can whip it together in just 5 minutes.
Serves: 10-12 bruschette
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces (340g) taggiasche olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (10g) loosely packed Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 loaf of rustic bread, sliced
  • Crumbled feta, as needed
Instructions
  1. Put the oil, olives, lemon juice, garlic, capers and parsley in a food processor or blender and mix until slightly chunky. Add more extra virgin olive oil if needed to arrive at the desired consistency.
  2. Serve with toasted bread, some crumbled feta and parsley.

Here’s some other great recipe to try with taggiasche olives:

Rosemary and Taggiasche Olive Dinner Rolls

 Rosemary and taggiasche olive dinner rolls 

Marinated Feta, Basil, Taggiasche Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Marinated Feta, Basil, Taggiasche Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Baked Goat Cheese with Tomatoes and Olives

Baked Goat Cheese with Tomatoes and Olives

Italian chickpea, sun-dried tomato, pesto and olive flatbread

Italian chickpea, sun-dried tomato, pesto and olive flatbread