Wednesday, July 26

The BEST Peach Crumble, Trust Me!

Trust me,  I've eaten my way through years of berry & peach pies, cobblers, tarts, crumbles, you name it! Growing up in a "pie family" with roots in Oklahoma and baking with lard & Crisco, I like to think I know what I'm talking about on this subject. Thanksgiving Eve is known in our family as "Pie Nite" where my aunts and uncles stay up late baking almost a pie a person for Thanksgiving, over the years it's grown into it's own holiday. (Jason & I even had two dozen homemade pies at our wedding instead of cake!) As much as I love a good flaky crust, I'm a sucker for a simple crumble because in the summer heat it's just so easy to make, versatile (use what you've got) and barely any time needed in oven.

I know this is not an Italian recipe but the stone fruit is local and off the charts sweet and juicy and just begging to be baked! Jason has tested and I have tried numerous crumble recipes through the years trying to find the perfect, crispy, crumbly, sweet topping I remember as a kid. Some were too buttery, some too sweet, some...just didn't come out right at all. That is until we turned to good ol' Martha Stewart. She has a ton of versions on her site but this one makes a finer crumble than others and creates the perfect crunchy top  We can't take credit for "Mrs. Kostyra's Streusel Topping" whoever she is her streusel topping makes the BEST crumble! (UPDATE: I was kindly sent a message that Mrs. Kostyra is Martha's mom! Well no wonder - !)

A peach/stone fruit crumble is perfect for two or a group of twenty for breakfast and/or dessert!
By the mix of photos you can tell we make this often at our farmhouse! I love the presentation in the individual mini pots but I must say carrying out the gorgeous oval copper gratin to the table and presenting it to the guests is a show stopper and serving it straight from the pan creates an instant feel of finishing your meal with family!

Crumble Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

Using hands, squeeze together most of the mixture to form large clumps. The topping can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Peach Crumble
Peaches (and or any stone fruit)
lemon juice
cinnamon if you like

Slice the peaches and place in bowl with a little sugar and lemon juice and tiny bit of cornstarch. Add cinnamon as well if you like. Toss together & put in whatever you like: pie plate, individual pots, etc.

Top with crumble/streusel

Bake about 35-45 min. at 350/180 degrees until bubbly in the middle.

Let sit and cool. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or gelato or a big spoonful of fresh whipped cream!

Monday, July 24

Sunday Evenings in the Garden + Growing Heirloom Tomatoes, The Old School Italian Way

It was a quiet Sunday evening with a pleasant breeze and gorgeous light so we slipped on our clogs and happily spent the next hour together in the garden - collecting dinner, watering & taking photos with the cats playing at our feet.

This summer it's been hot! Hot and dry. Jason spends about 3-4 hours each day in the garden watering, pruning and picking. It takes a lot of work and dedication to keep it looking this good any season let alone one without any rain. The peppers love the heat but everything else is starting to suffer or grow slightly stunted. Each year its a new adventure and lesson in the garden!

I think today will be our first real tomato harvest and tomorrow we will begin jarring! Here's a look at a few of our 400+ tomatoes in 18 varieties - just amazing! Keep scrolling to the bottom of the post to watch our Facebook LIVE video we filmed at sunrise earlier in the week with a garden/tomato update and old school Italian growing tips!

Here's the video: Sunrise in the Garden

Jason explains it in detail in the video but this is the old school Italian way of growing tomatoes (Gaggi approved - actually it's considered the only choice) crossing bamboo and training the tomatoes up the poles, tying them as they grow.

How's your garden growing??
Next year we plan to do raised beds and have a drip water system - Jason's already busy planning the next garden...for a kid that grew up in the suburbs without a clue which way to plant a seed, he sure has taken to this country living and loves every minute of it!  His next big idea...a milk cow!

Thursday, July 20

Podcast from Italy: Thoughts on Fine Dining in Italy

 We went to Madonnina del Piscatory in Senigallia for a fancy fish lunch with guests that after many years, visits & Facebook messages, have become dear friends that were passing thru town. The company was perfect the view amazing and the food...well you'll just have to listen to the next podcast to hear what we thought about upscale fine dining in Italy.

Thanks for listening! Podcast from Italy #105 - Thoughts on Fine Dining in Italyl Plus the continuation of the Book - Porchetta Passion Dowload/Stream on iTunesStitcher or Podbean

A few photos from our lunch:

Tuesday, July 18

An Edible Autumn in Le Marche, Italy: Festivals, Truffles, Foraging & Cooking Classes

This Autumn, fall in love with Le Marche, Italy. From harvest & truffle festivals each weekend in medieval villages to the leaves of the trees and vines turning golden hues to the smell of wood burning fireplaces - Le Marche is truly lovely in Autumn!

Spend a few nights this fall in the Italian countryside foraging for mushrooms, cooking by the fireplace in our rustic 300 year old kitchen, visiting the local Truffle festivals and drinking gorgeous reds from the region! Autumn is the perfect time to visit Italy, the crowds are gone and kids in school yet the harvest festivals are just underway. Here are a few of our popular 'gourmet getaways' (we can always create a custom package for you as well based on your dates) alongside a few of our favorite local autumn festivals in the area to help you plan your trip to Le Marche this fall.

 Hope to see you in the kitchen -
Please note - this list of festivals is not absolute, I did my best to search out the information & websites however,  dates may change/cancel, etc. - this is Italy. Be sure to double check! We might even run into at one of these festivals....


Sagra del polentone
Piobbico, Pesaro e Urbino
8-10 September

Il Palio della rocca
Serra Sant'Abbondio, Pesaro e Urbino
8-16 September

Festa della Patata e del Tartufo Nero del Monte Montone
Montecopiolo, Pesaro e Urbino
9 September

Mushroom Festival: Festa Del Fungo
50^ Mostra Micologica Regionale
Da Sabato 23 Settembre a Domenica 01 Ottobre 2017 - dalle ore 19:00
San Sisto - Piandimeleto (PU)

3 Night Gourmet Getaway

Arrive to our five course feast, the next day join the Chef & feel like a local on a tour of the hidden meat & cheese market of Apecchio (with a little porchetta along the way), a craft beer tasting & tour followed by lunch at the ‘hunter’s hideaway’ and on Saturday enjoy a half day cooking class including wine, meal & our custom hand-made apron! Includes accommodations. Price based on PESCA apartment (double occupancy). *Add extra nights if you'd like!!
SEPTEMBER thru NOVEMBER Arrive any Thursday departing on Sunday
 from 750 Euro/COUPLE

White Truffle Festival & Products from the Woods - Mostra Mercato Tartufo e Prodotti del Bosco
Apecchio, Pesaro e Urbino
1 October

Chestnut Festival - Sagra delle castagne
Lunano, Pesaro e Urbino
1 October 
I want Autumn - Voglie d'autunnoUrbino, Pesaro e Urbino
3 October 
October Market of Grapes & Wine - Fiera d'Ottobre dall'Uva al VinoMonte Porzio, Pesaro e Urbino
7 October 
Sausage Festival - I giorni del baccanale & SausagesCASININA, Pesaro e Urbino
7 October 
Bio/Organic & Artisan Goods Fair - BiosalesUrbino, Pesaro e Urbino
7-8 October 
54th Annual National White Truffle Show - Mostra del Tarufo Bianco NazionaleSant'Angelo in Vado, Pesaro e Urbino
7-29 October  
39th Motorcycle Rally & Truffle Festival - Motoraduno Internazional del Tartufo
Sant'Angelo in Vado, Pesaro e Urbino
14 & 15 October  
National Fair of White Truffles - Fiera Nazionale del tartufo BiancoAcqualagna, Pesaro e Urbino
29 October

3 Nights & Fall Foraging

3 nights accommodation with breakfast, five course dinner with local wine, wild edibles walk & mushroom hunt followed by apertivi and half day cooking class (class includes meal, wine & gift apron). Includes accommodations. Price based on PESCA apartment (double occupancy) *Ask about including a TRUFFLE HUNT!!
SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER from 360 Euro/person


National White Truffle Festival of Aqualagna
Aqualagna, Pesaro e Urbino
1, 4, 5, 11, 12 November

Flavors & Smells of Autumn - Sapori e aromi d'autunno
Fano, Pesaro e Urbino
1 November

Antique Fair of San Martino - Antica Fiera di San Martino
Sassocorvaro, Pesaro e Urbino
10 November

We know you don't always have time to see & taste everything so here is a quick 2 night stay option at our farmhouse & cooking school below. (And, if you can stay longer let us know, we would love to create a custom package for you!)

Arrive to a bottle of Prosecco waiting in your cozy apartment and enjoy our famous five course feast (all hand made and from our farm), sleep in our charming 500 year old farmhouse and join us in the kitchen the next day for a full day, hands-on cooking class!  We will start the morning at 10am and tie on our aprons to start making fresh pasta (with eggs from our hens): tagliatelle & ravioli along with two seasonal sauces. After our pasta lunch, a nap is necessary (or explore the area) and meet back in the kitchen that afternoon to create a full meal dinner party!

Includes: Prosecco, Welcome Dinner, Full Day Cooking Class with Lunch, Dinner, Wine & Snacks, Breakfast Daily and 2 Nights Accommodations = 720 Euro COUPLE

Just want to make it a Half Day Cooking Class? No problem!
​Includes: Prosecco, Welcome Dinner, Half Day Cooking Class with Meal, Breakfast Daily & 2 Nights Accommodations = 575 Euro COUPLE

Don't forget about our 7th Annual Forage Slaughter & Butchery Course 25-30 OCTOBER 2017!
 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.

The Annual Forage, Slaughter & Butchery Course at La Tavola Marche yet again asks brave culinary travelers to forage, slaughter and butcher their meal… while on holiday in Italy. Inspired by Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma the farm teaches students from around the world how to forage for mushrooms, slaughter (& butcher) a hen and then butcher a whole pig with knife-in-hand classes! This fall experience Italian farm life first hand with this unique holiday.

CONTACT:'s an oldie but classic: Autumn in our Valley

Thursday, July 13

Dark Chocolate Cake with Pine Nuts

Inspired by having a fridge full of salted butter from France (a gift from friends/guests) and a cupboard stocked with dark chocolate - Jason knew what needed to be done.  It was too bad we didn't have any gelato (a warm slice of this cake with a scoop of vanilla!)  but we made due a little fresh whipped cream on the side.

As it was cooling on the windowsill before dinner, I couldn't help but do a little "quality control" and sneak a slice.

I posted the photo above with this question yesterday on Facebook: " you think anyone will notice?!"

The comments were hysterical & creative on what I should do to hide the evidence or who I should blame (the chickens!) and many of you asked for the recipe. So here is the ridiculously simple recipe to this rich dark chocolate cake.

The better the chocolate - the better the cake. We used a mix of 100% and 72% dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Pine Nuts

4 eggs
125g sugar
125g butter
125g dark chocolate 72% or greater
75g flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
125g pine nuts (toasted)

Beat eggs & sugar until foamy. Melt chocolate and butter then once cool, combine with the egg mixture.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder. In a few strokes, mix into egg mixture.
Just before the flour is fully incorporated toss in half the nuts.
Butter and flour a spring form pan. Pour in mixture and top with the other half of the pine nuts.

Bake 175C or 350F for 30-40 minutes

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