Toni Lydecker's Tavola Talk Blog

Ribollita, Tuscany’s Divine Bread Soup

I learned to make ribollita many years ago from Livio, the gardener of an elegant villa in Florence. At the time it housed a center for advanced Renaissance studies and while my husband attended seminars, I was likely to be in the garden, talking to Livio. The recipe was actually his sister’s and probably his mother’s before [...]

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Tue, January 24 2017 » Soups and Stews, Tuscany, Uncategorized » 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

Asparagus, Ham & Ricotta Pie: Beats Quiche

Even though we can get them anytime, foods like asparagus, ham and eggs still trigger thoughts of spring. That’s also when quiche gets its annual rebirth, at brunches and such. But here’s something better: this Italian asparagus, ham and ricotta pie, a variety of torta salata (“savory pie”). The ricotta stands in for cream and, [...]

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Wed, April 16 2014 » Baked Goods and Sweets, Eggs and Cheese, Italian food, Italian ingredients, Meat, Tuscany, Uncategorized » No Comments

Panbriacone, Italy’s “Drunken Sweet Bread”

I’ve given and eaten many a Christmas panettone, and always cross my fingers it won’t be dry. No chance of that with Panbriacone, a sweet bread with an eggy panettone base, all natural ingredients and a whopping 15-18% alcohol content. The name is a shortened form of pan dolce ubriaco, roughly translated as “drunken sweet [...]

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Fri, December 13 2013 » Baked Goods and Sweets, Italian food, Italian ingredients, Italian lifestyle, Tuscany, Uncategorized, Wine and Beverages » No Comments

Italian Spa Day, with a Big Salad

Italy is a geologically active country with lots of warm thermal springs, prized for their therapeutic effects on skin, body and state of mind. Hotels and spas congregate around these termi, and often there are clinics attached, where Italian clients present a doctor’s prescription for consultations, physical therapy and other interventions. I have an Italian [...]

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Tue, July 16 2013 » Italian food, Italian ingredients, Italian lifestyle, salads, Tuscany, Uncategorized » No Comments