Saturday, December 26

A Tuscan Christmas Gathering & A NEW Blog!

Over the rivers and through the woods passing thru Le Marche and Umbria along the way, to gather by the roaring fire & meet new friends,  to share a festive table & eat a gorgeous meal. We poured endless red, ate too much and returned home late into the night, thankful for a whimsical afternoon...

The photos and story are posted on my NEW blog for our NEW venture NO HALF MEASURES (consulting & social media/marketing, sustainable tourism)

Sharing stories of travel, food and sustainable living through films & photography hoping to inspire others to live life to the fullest!

If you've been following us since the beginning (THANK YOU!) - don't worry, you can follow us & keep in touch at our new blog No Half Measures LIFE. In the next month or two you will start to see the transition into 2016 - new owners, new posts, new property - same farm to table traditions!

Wednesday, December 23

Cappelletti: A Christmas Story

Year after year I have posted and reposted the recipe for cappelletti in brodo - the most famous typical pasta dish eaten on Christmas Day! This year I recorded a short timelapse video of making kilos of this handmade pasta but the best part is it's narrated by Dr. Gaggi!


Christmas celebrated in Le Marche, Italy is not complete without a heart-warming bowl of cappelletti in brodo or little stuffed hats in broth. I was once told is a dish served for only those you love because it takes so much time & patience to make!  In our area this dish is traditionally served on Christmas day for lunch and New Year's Eve for dinner.
Take the time and make it from scratch, buy the freshest eggs (it will make the color of the dough nice & golden) and enjoy this homemade pasta the way it was meant to be eaten - surrounded by family. (Plus they freeze well so you can have them on-hand, at the ready all winter long!)

Cappelletti in Brodo
 1 whole chicken in pieces
1 beef bone
1 tomato
2 stalks of celery, chunked up
2 carrots, chopped in chunks
2 large onions, chopped in chunks
sprig of parsley
healthy pinch of salt
In a large stock pot add all ingredients and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skim the fat and impurities that come to the top.
Then lower to a very low simmer.
Simmer for 3-4 hours.
Strain stock - discard vegetables.
Now you have a delicious stock to be used in an array of dishes & soups.

Pick the meat off the bone & use in the soup, chicken salad or any other dish.
(Stock will last a week in the fridge or you can freeze in usable portions.)

Pasta Dough Recipe:
(serves 4)
400 grams of flour (type 0)
pinch of salt
4 eggs
To make the dough - follow our recipe - click here
6 oz. lean beef cubed
4 oz. pork loin, cubed
half a chicken breast, cubed
1 sausage, without casing, cubed
1 carrot, diced finely
salt & pepper
a healthy pinch Nutmeg
handful of grated parmesean cheese
1 egg
pad of butter
glug of olive oil
salt & pepper

In a pot, melt the butter & toss in all the meat & carrot.  
Cook over medium heat, until meat is cooked & 2/3 of the liquid is reduced.
Set aside & let cool.
When the meat is cool toss it into the food processor & pulse until it resembles ground beef - not a paste.
Add the egg, salt & pepper, nutmeg & cheese - mix with your hands.  (It will hold a ball when squeezed together, but not wet)
Roll out pasta dough into about 2mm thick sheets.

It may help at this point to watch this clip on youtube (fast forward to about 6 minutes in): How to close your cappelletti:
Cut into 1 inch squares.  Place a pea size amount of filling in each square.
 Fold the square into a triangle - making sure to seal the edges very well! (Super important)
This is when it gets difficult to explain...Then take legs of the triangle & pinch them together.
Make sure not to over-stuff your cappelleti & to seal them properly - otherwise they will burst when you boil them.
Boil in brodo (broth) until they float - if they are fresh about 2-4 minutes. Jason suggests that when they start floating - try one.
To freeze for later: Let the pasta sit & dry overnight in a cool dry room in a single layer with parchment paper underneath.


Saturday, December 19

Podcast from Italy: Roasting Chestnuts While Podcasting & Periscoping!!

Homemade Cappelletti
Today's podcast is a little different - we woke up early to simultaneously record a podcast & LIVE! Periscope video! Thanks to everyone that sent us your questions - both ahead of time and while the periscope feed was live! Jason showed and explained how to roast chestnuts in an open fire while I complained about Christmas in Italy! We announced big new about La Tavola Marche and what's next for us and the business!!

Thanks for listening!! And if you'd like to watch the periscope feed (only available for the next 24 hours...) or follow us for future broadcasts:

Listen on iTunes or Stitcher!!
Rolling the dough for Christmas cappelletti

Saturday, December 5

Podcast from Italy: #83 - Travels to Spain, France & Sicily...

Agrigento, Valley of the Temples - Sicily

Thank you to all the fans that emailed us to continue the podcast - we were overwhelmed by your kind words!! After our longest hiatus we are back with hopefully a weekly podcast for you about our life in Italy and travels beyond. This week we catch you up on our last season, give you a Dr. Gaggi update, talk about the Holidays and of course what's happening in the garden. Then we get into our autumn travels to Spain, France and Sicily. Thanks for listening!!


Saturday, October 10

Apples & Pears

 Each year during our apple harvest I post a handful of apple recipes - this year simply enjoy the photos from an afternoon of picking our trees... I love autumn!

Tuesday, October 6

Apecchio's White Truffle & Local Craft Beer Festival

White truffle season has officially begun in Italy, as usual the festivities kick off at Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco Internazionale in Apecchio. Apecchio (our neighboring villages) is located in the "Truffle Valley" of Le Marche, the festival marks the 'unveiling' of the white truffles and talk begins on how the season will unfold.. Unfortunately due to a hot hot summer with little rain, the white truffles were...almost nonexistent compared to years past. One vender had only 300 grams going for 3,000 Euro/kilo and even he shook his head, hanging low and said 'they are not worth it, there is barely any smell...'

 There's still hope though, the season just began!

The truffles may have been lack-luster but the beer was flowing with countless local craft beer stands from Collesi to Venere, the cantina's were fully stocked and ready to pour.

We wandered the music filled streets hypnotized by the Indian Summer air - 

Nibbling and drinking along the way - just the way I like it...we finally settled down at Cantina Wine-bledon (ran by the local Tennis Association) for a hearty plate of polenta with white truffles & sausage - Jason opted for the go-to festival classic, grilled sausage piadine. We both scored and to top it off - the polenta master himself Franchino stopped by to say Ciao! (He was born in our house!)

 Late into the night the band played on, after my last bag of roasted chestnuts was been long gone,  the warm inviting glow of the cantina drew me in for another round of locally brewed blonde.

Visit Le Marche, Italy

Monday, September 28

Potato Harvest

We harvested our potatoes a few weeks ago but in the summer into fall rush, the time slipped away for me to post the photos. With Dr. Gaggi and Basilio (our neighbors) lending a helping hand with their tractor we harvested hundreds of kilos of white potatoes (perfect for mashed potatoes)...

But this is Italy, so first, before we work, we enjoy a caffè under the shade of a nearby tree with the veteran farmers!

Now the potatoes are stored in the cantina (a cool, dark, dry spot) and plucked from the baskets as needed thru the winter!

Monday, August 31

Join the Hunt...Autumn in Italy: Mushroom Hunting + Seasonal Cooking Class

 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!

Fall Foraging Special from 360 Euro/person
3 nights accommodation with breakfast, prosecco upon arrival, five course dinner with local wine, wild edibles walk & mushroom hunt and half day cooking class (class includes meal, wine & gift apron). Price based on PESCA apartment (double occupancy)

3 Nights in a stone farmhouse
Make yourself at home in a cozy apartment within our 300 year old stone farmhouse, with wood-bean ceiling perfect for two - one bedroom, one bathroom & a kitchen stocked with the essentials. Any three nights in September or October.

mushroom hunting
Head into the woods with our expert hunter for an off the beaten path hunt for local wild funghi. 

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)

Click here: to book your culinary holiday in Italy

Sunday, August 16

Easy like a Sunday Morning...Photos & Video from the Garden in August

Happy Sunday - enjoy the sunrise from our farmhouse in the Marche countryside! Playing with my gopro and working out the timelapse settings...

It's been a hot hot summer this year! The garden is much happier than last year, especially the tomatoes (blight from wet weather & cool mornings) but nothing's doing better than the varieties of cherry tomatoes we grow: ciliegini, egg yolk & datorini. Picked daily and added to salads, pasta & pappa al pomodoro - we're eating kilos of tomatoes! But not everything likes the heat and the zucchini, pumpkins - basically the squash family is suffering.

After all these tomato photos, you may be craving a little Pappa al Pomodoro (Rustic Tuscan Roasted Tomato & Bread Soup):

The view looking back up at the house in the evening light at the end of the day...
Have a great Sunday and I'll be sure to post more garden photos next week!

Saturday, August 8

5th Annual Forage, Slaughter & Butchery Course in Italy

 Travel deeper this Autumn...
If you talk the talk, then this is your chance to walk the walk! We raise it, kill it and cook it - every October at our farmhouse La Tavola Marche, sharing with our guests the full circle of the food we eat.

5th Annual Forage, Slaughter and Butcher Your Meal 
27 October departing 1 November 2015 (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.) 

Book Now - Space is LIMITED since this is our LAST SEASON!!!

Thursday, July 23

Better Late Than Never...Garlic Harvest!

This year's garlic has come up late - but the old saying is true - 'better late than never' because these alliums are amazing!!

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