Apr 19

1⁄2 lemon, juice only
4 baby artichokes
6 slices speck
1⁄4 c. grape tomatoes
extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare the artichokes: Combine the lemon juice with water in a large bowl. Remove the tough outer leaves and, using a sharp paring knife, peel the outer layer of the artichokes, including the stem, until you reach the whitish inner layer. Trim off about 1⁄2 to 1 inch from the top of each artichoke. Slice the artichokes in 1⁄2 lengthwise and slice or scoop out and discard the hairy choke. Thinly slice the artichokes lengthwise and place the artichokes in the lemon water to prevent discoloration. 2. Arrange the speck slices on a large platter. 3. Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Arrange in a circle in the center of the speck slices. 4 Slice the tomatoes in 1⁄2 and arrange in the center of the artichoke circle. 5 Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper. Serves 2

Replace: speck with prosciutto

Medium-bodied red wine, such as Rosso di Montalcino

Apr 15

1 oz. of maraschino liqueur
orange juice
2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 lemon juice

1. Fill a tumbler halfway with ice. 2. Add 1 oz. of maraschino liqueur, fill with freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice and the juice of 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 a lemon. 3. Shake or stir to combine and garnish with lemon slices and maraschino cherries. Makes 1

Apr 5

In Italian biscotti means twice baked. This term refers to the method in which the cookie is made. First logs of dough are baked in the oven then the logs are allowed to cool. They are then cut into diagonal pieces, about 1⁄2- inch long. Finally the pieces are arranged cut-side down on the baking sheet and placed back in the oven, until they are lightly golden. Biscotti are commonly made with anise or nuts and are often dunked in coffee or dessert wine, such as Vin Santo.

Mar 29
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a specialty typical of Florence that can be found there during the first months of the year, especially during Lent. This cake is the quintessential Florentine dessert because it is based on olive oil and is simple and healthy.
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This recipe is from my mother and, like every recipe, hides some little secrets. This one has three:
1. It must be baked on a very ordinary iron oven tray, not an aluminum one.
2. As soon as you have prepared the mixture and have laid it out, put it in the oven, immediately!
3. Make sure the oven is at the right temperature before you start cooking because the preparation only takes a few minutes.
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This cake is simple to make but the decoration is what makes it impressive: an egg with a bow if you do it for Easter, or with a Lily of Florence on any other occasion. The Easter egg design you see here may look hard, but it’s as easy to do as the schiacciata!  Just click here to download the stencil.
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Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons

extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra
2 eggs
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1⁄4-ounce package instant yeast
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
confectioners’ sugar
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Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly brush a 9-by-13-inch pan with olive oil and sprinkle with flour. Shake the flour around the pan so that there are no spots left uncovered and tap to remove any excess. Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk until well combined. Add the olive oil and milk in a slow, steady stream and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix until a smooth batter is reached. Pour the batter into the pan and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the schiacciata is golden and springs back when touched. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, using a stencil, if desired, and serve. Serves 10
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