Toni Lydecker's Tavola Talk Blog

Sampling Umbrian Wines and Olive Oil at the Source

A few years ago I spent a day visiting Sagrantino wine producers with Alessandra Mallotti of Discovering Umbria. That taste of a unique varietal in its glorious country setting brought me back to sample some of the region’s organic wines and olive oil. It hadn’t occurred to me that last year’s earthquakes in Umbria (also [...]

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Wed, May 24 2017 » Italian ingredients, travel, Umbria, Uncategorized, Wine and Beverages » No Comments

Tagliata con Rucola (AKA Italian Steak and Arugula Salad)

Rosy slices of grilled steak on a bed of dressed arugula, with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and a few ripe tomato wedges. in 2016 that dish sounds pleasing but hardly surprising. In the summer of 1985,  though, during a sultry July in Tuscany, it seemed fresh and new. Suddenly this steak and arugula salad was everywhere. [...]

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Sat, October 8 2016 » Italian ingredients, Italian lifestyle, Meat, restaurants, salads, Tuscany, Uncategorized » No Comments

Pickled Vegetables, Especially Giardiniera

Pickling isn’t just for cucumbers anymore. It’s a huge trend, whether taking the form of traditional mixes like Italian giardiniera or the wildly creative combinations of someone like Ilene Sofranko, owner of Urban Canning Company here in St. Pete. Their exuberantly flavored offerings include chili and fennel Brussels sprouts, sraracha peppered okra and ginger-spiced beets. [...]

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Fri, September 2 2016 » Fruits and Vegetables, Italian food, Italian ingredients, Uncategorized » No Comments

Making Ricotta at Home–Worth the Trouble?

Homemade ricotta had been on my “to do” list for awhile. Not a big deal: three ingredients and maybe 10 minutes of active attention. So I can’t explain why I didn’t get around to it. But one fine afternoon…ricotta making rose to the top of the list. Ricotta means “recooked” and for a cheese maker, [...]

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Fri, November 6 2015 » Eggs and Cheese, Italian delis, Italian food, Italian ingredients, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized » No Comments

Giardiniera: Vegetables, Lightly Pickled

Reading an article about the “farm to jar” pickles and jams made by Tampa Bay entrepreneur Illene Sofranko reminded me that I had squirreled away several jars of her delicious Urban Canning pickled okra and Brussels sprouts in my pantry. And also reminded me it’s time to make the Italian-style pickled vegetables known as giardiniera. [...]

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Tue, September 29 2015 » Fruits and Vegetables, Italian food, Italian ingredients, Italian lifestyle, Uncategorized » No Comments