Friday, October 29

Much to the Gardeners Shagrin, Frost

1st frost of the fall
"That's it. Say goodbye!" I hear shouted from the back door as Jason stumbled in bearing 2 overflowing crates of peppers.  "The garden's done for the year." 

After our first heavy frost of the season all that is left are the leafy greens, cabbages, cauliflower,  brocoli & fennel plants. (Still a hearty bounty perfect for winter soups!) The last of the peppers were quickly picked before they turned black from the frost. I know what we'll be having for dinner tonight... Peperonata.
frosty veggies
 Soon we will turn the ground, cover it in manure & let it rest for the winter....preparing the land to do it all over again next year!

Wednesday, October 27

Photos of Autumn in Italy - Umbria & Le Marche

 Weaving our way along the boarder of Umbria & Le Marche on a lazy Sunday drive took us from the top of Monte Nerone & then south to Camerino. We marveled at the spectacular fall colors surrounding us. Stopping at picturesque villages along the way, stumbling upon a mushroom festival & the discovering best roadside meat sandwiches ever (more to come on that...) it was a perfect day. Enjoy the photos with a hot cup of apple cider (or in Italy - spiced wine):
Monte Nerone

Metallica, Marche

Palazzo Ducale - Camerino, Marche
Camerino, Marche

....more about that pork-wich in the next post.

Sunday, October 24

A Fall Favorite: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

1 medium-large butternut squash, seeded and cut into thick 1 -inch slices
salt & pepper
8 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
1 clove of garlic, sliced paper thin
handful of fresh oregano
pinch of red chili flakes

Wednesday, October 20

The Choco-holics Oktoberfest: Eurochocolate in Perugia

Last week we snuck away from a house full of guests to indulge our sweet tooth at the Eurochocolate Festival and Exhibition in Perugia (the chocolate capital of Italy.)  This was no small event - the police closed the exit off the expressway & redirected traffic up to the medieval town.

We haphazardly left the car in a non-official parking spot and made our way in to the city walls.  It started sprinkling as we approached the first tents & within minutes a full blown rain storm was sitting over us. We pressed on determined to eat of fill of sweet, dark, rich chocolate in all forms....

Saturday, October 16

Meaty Goodness - Spezzatino (Stewed Pork)

There is nothing better on a cool autumn Sunday evening than walking into the kitchen, welcomed by the glow of the fireplace and the rich smells of meaty goodness: a pot slowly simmering on the back burner with stewed meat, falling apart ready to top thick golden polenta. This is a "stick to your ribs" hearty dinner perfect for the fall & winter.


Stewed Pork

Thursday, October 14

Join the Slow Food Movement: Good, Clean, Fair Food

Supporting Good, Clean, and Fair Food
 Slow Food USA is working to transform food and farming, so that all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet. How do you argue with that?! Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. 

Monday, October 11

Fall Harvest on our Italian Farm - Recipes & Photos

Crisp cool air, falling leaves and tall green wellies on suntanned skin with a crate of homegrown veggies hoisted over his shoulder adorning a huge smile on his face - It’s harvest time and Jason knows all that work throughout the spring & summer has paid off! For our sophomore garden we scaled back a bit in respect to last year. That being said, we had 80 pepper plants, beans forever, a few hundred tomatoes, 200 cabbages in 5 varieties, and countless rows of radicchio, lettuces, raddishes, cucumbers, cantelope, watermelons, zucchini, corn, eggplant, herbs, garlic, onions, potatoes, pumpkins....and the kitchen sink!

Photos & recipes from the fall harvest on our organic farm in Le Marche.

Peperoni or Peppers used in countless dishes, but my favorite is when they are simply stewed - Peperonata.

Borlotti or cranberry beans - picked & drying in the sun.

Once the shells are dry we shuck them & pop out these beautiful cranberry speckled beans. Served simply with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or add it to soups to hearty it up a bit.

Jason returns up from the garden, caked with mud, barring dinner not in plastic bags but with an overflowing basket of goods freshly picked for dinner. With the sheer volume of the veggies we are producing we have been freezing, jarring & preserving and braided onions for weeks!

Cipolle - onions. We grow rows & rows of yellow & purple onions because we just can't get enough of their sweet flavor.

Cavolo nero & cavolo verza - cabbages & kale

Dark leafy greens sauteed with garlic & olive oil or topped on crostini. It's great wilted into soups as well.

Turkish or ugly squash makes the perfect stuffing for Pumpkin Stuffed Ravioli with Butter & Sage Recipe

It seems as if every corner I turn there is another case of squash, onions or garlic waiting to be prepared & eaten next...check back for loads of new fall recipes coming!

Thursday, October 7

An Idyllic Summer Wedding in Italy: Italia! Magazine

Don't forget to pick up your OCTOBER 2010 copy of Italia! Magazine, not only to read my monthly column but to feed your appetite for all things Italian!
October 2010 issue 71 Cover

In case you missed it - here is an excerpt of the SEPT 2010 Article written by me - A Wedding in
...We were ready: the house was picture-perfect (not a blade of grass out of place), the pasta rolled paper-thin by hand & the towns people of Piobbico had done their best to help host this American wedding in Italy. On the morning of the wedding Donatella, the local florist hand-weaved luscious garland of bay leaves down the center of the table with vases overflowing with fragrant peonies, the priest was eager to perform his first English-speaking ceremony, the musicians were fine tuning their instruments and Elisa the baker was icing the cake when the sky opened up & a massive summer rain reared its ugly head!....
-Ashley Bartner

To view a few of my favorite photos of the wedding click here:Italian Countryside, Food & Farmhouse Photo Series: Le Nozze

Tuesday, October 5

Pasta of the Month: Pumpkin Stuffed Ravioli with Butter & Sage

Crisp cool nights with the fireplace ablaze in an old stone farmhouse, leaves colored red & burnt orange, fresh pressed olive oil & hearty vegetables from the garden - Autumn in Italy!
Pumpkin, nutmeg & sage - this dish incorporates it all!

Pumpkin Stuffed Ravioli with Butter & Sage

Monday, October 4

Our Winning Risotto Recipe in Print: Best of Food Blogs Cookbook

Holy smokes - we won a recipe contest! Thanks to your votes on, one of Jason's recipes "Heavenly Artichoke Risotto" will be included in a printed cookbook celebrating the best food bloggers worldwide.

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