Saturday, August 23

Plum Perfect: A Bumper Crop Mean Farm to Table is a Group Effort

This year's plum harvest was surely a bumper crop/season if I'd ever seen one. Tree's that have never fruited were heavy with diverse varieties of plums this year! We discovered we had over 4 different types of plum trees from plump sweet yellow (susine) ones to deep purple plums I remember eating as a kid.

We ate them by the bucket load- yes, bucket! In about 5 minutes you could easily pick 5 kilos or more and barely make a dent in the tree. Of course we ate them in every way... So with plums too many plums to eat we picked we happily shared our bounty with friends. (And begged the guests to pick and eat as many as they like!)

"Farm to Table" is a group effort - We're happy to grow the plums & our dear friends at Gelateria Artigianale Makì make marmalade, sorbet & beautiful gelato! This is a great article on how this tini tiny amazing gelato shop is truly artisan & they personally know the producers/growers of the fruits they use!

Here's a fraction of what we delivered (a good 30+ kilos)...

And they made this...

 How cool is that?!
 Here are a few photos from my instagram page of more homegrown plums:

that's it...just a bunch of plum pics.

Wednesday, August 13

How to Cut Fresh Pasta by Hand {Video}

Learn how to cut fresh pasta by hand! A glimpse of our Fresh Pasta & Sauces Class at La Tavola Marche, filmed on an iPad LIVE during a summer cooking class in Le Marche, Italy! If you can't make it to Italy for one of our cooking classes in person, enjoy this "Taste of Italy" snippet/cooking class quickie!!

"Taste of Italy" is our webseries of shorts (under 2 min.) of life on our farm in Italy, the food, cooking classes, garden and more!  Here's a few past videos:
Episode 11: How to Cut Pasta by Hand
Episode 10: Pappa al Pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup)
Episode 9: L'Orto - Garden (400 + Tomato Plants) Part 1

Hand cut pasta from our cooking class students!
Fold the pasta in a serpentine to cut

Wednesday, August 6

3 & 4 Night Fall Gourmet Getaways in Le Marche, Italy

Crisp cool nights with the fireplace ablaze in a 300 year old stone farmhouse, trees colored red & burnt orange, fresh pressed olive oil & hearty vegetables from the garden - Autumn in Italy! Taste the flavors of fall in the Italian countryside at La Tavola Marche with a cooking class, five course feast & mushroom hunting in the woods!

3 or 4 nights in a stone farmhouse
Make yourself at home in a cozy apartment with wood-bean ceiling perfect for two - one bedroom, one bathroom & a kitchen stocked with the essentials. Any three nights in October.

cooking class & mushroom hunt
Wake early & head into the woods to collect porcini & other local mushrooms with our expert guide! Back to the house in time for a caffe & nap. Later return to the kitchen & create local seasonal dishes with vegetables from the garden & the wild edibles you have collected in the woods. Take home a handmade apron as a gift to remember your holiday.

cucina povera
Prepared with fresh ingredients from our garden enjoy antipasta, primo, secondo, dolce, digestivo & caffe by candlelight with home-bottled wine from a local vineyard.

Flavors of Fall TOTAL ~ 360 Euro Per Person 
3 Nights Accommodations in Apartment Pesca (Open to dates of your preference)
Welcome Bottle of Prosecco
Breakfast Daily
Mushroom Hunt & Aperitivo
Half-day Cooking Class with Meal and Handmade Apron
Five Course Welcome Feast (Based on double occupancy in low season)
Other Autumn Packages/Possibilities:
Add a "Taste of Le Marche" to your holiday! 4 night minimum = 370 Euro/person + accommodations

1 Half Day Cooking Class with wine, meal & custom hand-made apron, Friday in Apecchio Market Tour, Beer Tasting & Lunch, Wine Tour & Cheese Tasting with lunch & transportation, Five-course Welcome Dinner with Local Wine

“Feel like a Local Friday” in Apecchio - Meat & Cheese + Craft Beer = 75 Euro/person
Market trip & tour of meat and cheese warehouse, porchetta tasting and travelling market walk, visit to Collessi for award-winning craft beer tasting & tour, finishing with lunch at “the hunter’s hideaway!”  (Special price for families and groups of four or more.)

4th Annual Forage, Slaughter and Butchery Course 
28 October - 2 November AND 4-9 November 2014 (5 Nights) 
= 925 Euro/person
If you call yourself a "foodie," pig lover, wine-o, gourmet or gourmand this culinary holiday is for you! A carnivore’s delight - whole hog butchering course, sausage making, chicken slaughtering with hands-on cooking classes, mushroom hunting, wine tour & cheese tasting with lunch and truffle festivals.  Includes: 5 nights accommodations, welcome five course feast, two full day cooking classes, wine tour & transportation, mushroom hunt, 2 butchery classes, pig-farm tour & lunch, breakfast daily, three lunches, four dinners, evening snack, wine with meals, heating, all taxes. (Based on double occupancy. Special discounted rate for group of 4 or more.) 

Click here: to book your culinary holiday in Italy

Monday, August 4

The Perfect Lemon Tart

This truly is the perfect lemon tart.  The puckery lemon custard delivers a pure lemon flavor, perfect ending to any meal!

This is a throw back to culinary school days when we would practice making this tart endlessly. When done right, it's fantastic. I usually play it loose with the recipes but this one you must follow precisely. Not that it is difficult, just several steps involved...but  well worth the effort.
 Look for this one in the Autumn when we start back up our LIVE from ITALY: Online Cooking Classes!!

 It can be made as a large tart or as individual tartlets.

Shortbread Dough (Pâte sablée)
255 g flour, sifted (9 oz)
150 g butter (3.5 oz)
90 g confectioners sugar (3 oz)
few drops of vanilla
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons ice cold water

Sift the flour onto the work surface and make a well in the center.
Dice the butter and place it in the well, then work it with your fingertips until its very soft.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar on the the butter and add the salt, working it into the butter.
Add the egg yolks and mix well. Gradually draw in the flour and mix until completely incorporated/amalgamated. Add the vanilla extract.
Give the dough a turn or two.
Briefly kneed the dough and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. (Dough will keep well refrigerated for several days if necessary.)

When well chilled (an hour or so), roll out on your board. Transfer to an  8 in. tart ring. Blind bake at 375 F / 190 C

Lemon Cream
175 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 oz) - about 5-6 lemons
150 g unsalted butter at room temperature (3.5 oz) - cut into pieces
200 g sugar (7 oz)
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks

In a stainless steel pot, heat the lemon juice, butter and 150 g sugar over low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a gentle simmer (about 2 minutes).

Using a wire whisk, beat the eggs, egg yolks, and remaining 50 g sugar until the mixture is pale and light (about 4-5 minutes).  Slowly pour half of the hot lemon juice mixture into the egg/sugar mixture to temper, beating until blending and fluffy. 

Return the mixture to the saucepan containing remaining  hot lemon mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon, until the mixture nearly starts to simmer - about 3 minutes.

Transfer the lemon cream to a metal bowl and place over a water bath to cool. (If not using immediately, lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream.)

When cool, spread the lemon cream evenly into the pastry shell. Smooth the top with a spatula. Place the tart back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes to set the filling slightly without coloring it.

Carefully remove the tart if made in a ring pan and let cool on a wire rack. Place in the fridge until the tart until the filling is firm. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving.

Garnish with compote of wild berries or candied lemon zest!

Saturday, August 2

Podcast from Italy: Gluten Intolerant...Intolerant

After a month or so of radio-silence, we've fired up the mics for a bit of rant on 'gluten-free' after reading a great Huffington Post article and posting on our facebook page - the response was overwhelming on both sides. We had to record the episode twice, cut & paste so things wouldn't get too heated so this is the pieced together podcast. Here's a link to the original article that we mention: Gluten Intolerant...Intolerant by Marc Vetri on the Huffington Post Blog. And for a good laugh, the great Jimmy Kimmel asks 'gluten-free' people "What's Gluten?" and the answers are priceless:

That's not the only thing we talk about - of course there's an update on the farm & 400+tomato plants and a fox keeps sauntering into our house!!

Thanks for listening!! "Podcast from Italy" #77: Gluten Intolerant...Intolerant available to download on iTunes and stream on Stitcher Radio!

...just in case you'd like to rant back about gluten, feel free to direct all emails to:
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