Wednesday, June 30

Podcast from Italy

Our latest podcast is up! Click here to download via iTunes!
We're up late recording this one after a long day & recount the wedding & the week.
Thanks for listening & subscribing!!photo: Kyle Johnson

Friday, June 25

A Vegetable Garden Planner for the Home Garden

Have you thought about starting a vegetable garden?? But don't know where to begin - check out this great site: EZ Garden

We used lived in Brooklyn with only a few herb pots on our roof & that was the extent of our 'garden;' we now have a 2 acre organic farm. But if you have the space (and not much is needed) then start a veggie garden at home! It will be one of the most satisfying things you do. The pride in picking your own veggies & then serving them for dinner is out of this world! If you are like us & had no idea where to begin (and don't have the watchful eye of Doctor Gaggi) then look no further!
The garden planner is designed for growing vegetables in the home garden. Based on your local climate, vegetable preferences, and desired servings of vegetables, the garden planner generates a garden design and planting schedule that fits your family perfectly. Garden maintenance is a breeze with the planting, maintenance, and harvesting instructions included in the vegetable garden plan.

Whether you are experienced at planting a garden or have never planted a vegetable garden before, the EZ Garden planner has something for everybody from planner, design, maintenance & harvest.

Now enjoy farm fresh veggies all year round with Easy Garden Planner

Tuesday, June 22

Fresh Fava with 3 Easy Recipes

We've picked nearly a TON of fava (or "broad bean" as our British friends call them) out of our garden/farm - most likely if you have stopped by in the past 2 weeks you have either been given a bag of fresh picked fava to take home, shelled 'em and/or eaten them!

So what to do with a crate of fava...from crudo (raw) & crostini and even in pasta here we share a few of our favorite "Farm to the Table" fava dishes:

1. With the sweet spring flavor of shelled (double shelled) fava we simply pair it with a hunk of fresh pecorino cheese for the ultimate in simplicistic antipasta & country/peasant cooking.
2. Another great antipasta is fava crostini - the color & crisp flavor on crunchy bread - how can you only eat one?! Jason's fava crostini recipe:
Fava (Broad bean) Crostini:
Serves 4

1 cup of double shelled (outer pod & inner shell removed) fresh fava or broad bean
couple glugs of olive oil
garlic clove, skinned, whole
squeeze of lemon
shaved parmesan
salt & pepper
baguette or crusty bread, sliced & toasted

Throw the fava in a pan & cover with water & a little salt. Bring to a boil & lower to a simmer. Cook a couple of minutes until the fava are tender. Drain.

Return the pan to the heat. Pour in a couple glugs of olive oil and the garlic clove. Fry the garlic until browned. Then discard garlic.

Toss the fava into the pan & sautee for a minute or two. Then begin mashing with the back of a wooden spoon until you form a paste. If you need to add a bit of water, do so.

Remove fava paste from heat & season with salt & pepper add a squeeze of lemon.

Toast slices of good bread & rub warm fava mixture & top with shaved parmesan. You can drizzle a little really good quality extra virgin olive oil as well if you like.

3. For a fresh light pasta dish try Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Vedure di Primavera (Pasta with spring vegetables). A bright mix of fava, peas, asparagus & artichoke!

Thursday, June 17

Medieval Summer Salad with Farro, Chickpea & Arugula

Enjoy this fantastic, simple, delicious & healthy summer salad recipe that is one of my favs! We first devoured this at a medieval festival in Piobbico & have been recreating it at home ever since! Farro is a medieval grain the Romans ate to stay full & fight battles. More info on the history of farro - read our previous post here: Farro medieval grain.

Farro, Chickpea & Arugula Salad
Insalata di farro, ceci e ruccola

6 ounces farro or spelt
2 ounces chickpeas or garbanzo beans (soaked over night)
a bunch of arugula
juice of 1/2 lemon
parmesan (wedge to shave ribbons)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In plenty of cold water biol farro until al dente (cooked but with a bite).
In a separate pot do the same with the chickpeas.
In a bowl toss together farro & chickpeas once cooked, add a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper and olive oil.
Taste & check your seasoning - adjusting salt, pepper & lemon. (If too lemony add a bit more olive oil).
Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Before serving toss in arugula & shave ribbons of Parmesan.
Mix together & serve.

For more recipes with Farro try our Farro & Leek Soup Recipe!

Tuesday, June 15

Podcast from Italy: Cow Herding, Chicken Wrangling & A big Italian Wedding!

Listen to our latest podcast episode! This week on our Podcast from Italy we chat about La Transumanza (cow herding, Italian style), a flower festival in Piobbico, the word of the week and how we are gearing up for a big Italian wedding this weekend! Our goal is to have 10 subscribers & comments on iTunes!
Listen to our Podcast from Italy on iTunes

more photos to come from the flower festival -

Thursday, June 10

Chicken Wrangler: Raising Happy Free Range Chickens

So I thought chickens would be super simple & for the most part they are. However everyone has different advice about what to feed them. Some say - "Oh no problem chickens will eat any food scraps you give them."
Then others are more particular - "Rinse the lettuce first and you must soak the stale bread, make a soup for them & they will like it better." (Note: These are the same people that literally boil pasta for their dog with extra virgin olive oil & toasty bread)
And of course there is the hardware-store that says their organic feed is just enough & balanced perfectly.
So it seems even feeding them is confusing especially when we want nice bright yolks for making pasta. But they have started eating everything - even dry crunchy stale bread and they are loving the cherries!
Our coop is fantastic (read all about building it) but the 12 fowl (chickens & roosters) are bigger now & ready to explore which is something we have been nervous about as there are many predators out here just licking their chops for a bite of our tasty chickens - well get in line, so are we! Their house is located in semi-dense brush & woods so a fox can easily wait to make its move. Determined to have happy free-range chickens I started wrangling them! (I have taken on the chickens as Jason has soooo many other projects around the farm). I have no clue what I'm doing as I've never had chickens before. I started letting them out of the coop & herding them about the yard with a long stick training them to stay out of the deep brush. The hysterical part is they follow me for the most part - there's always one that goes rogue! It doesn't hurt that I try to do a little chicken-chat with them - brrrrkaaaa!
You may laugh, but its working!
They now know where their "area" is & come flapping & running to the door of their coop in the early morning as I coo "Buon giorno, ciao my chickies, come va?!" they eager to explore & start pecking about. Then in the early afternoon they head back in themselves! They have since doubled in size PLUS we found our first 3 eggs! Granted 2 of the 3 were too soft but still - they are starting! Chicken 'experts' say they are still abit young to produce everyday & the soft shell is normal. Since the first laying we have yet to see another but those yolks - dark bright yellow/red are pasta perfect!!Thankfully they showed a little love and have received a stay of execution as Jason proclaimed (sounding a bit like my Grandpa) "If they don't start laying soon they'll be soup!"

Looking good my little chick-a-dees, looking good! Keep it up!

Sunday, June 6

Podcast from Italy - Now on iTunes!

Listen to our latest podcast from Italy - now available on iTunes!!This week we talk about the Festa della Republica, updates on the chickens, garden & more happenings at the farmhouse with the return of the ever-popular "word of the week!"

You can now easily subscribe via iTunes so you won't miss a thing & add it to your ipod!
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