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

Perfect Eggplant Parmesan

Nobody needs more than one recipe for eggplant parmesan, any more than you need multiple methods for perfect scrambled eggs or a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Problem was my eggplant parmesan recipe, acquired years ago from an Italian-American cook, wasn’t perfect. The eggplant slices were brushed with oil and broiled. It contained ricotta as well as [...]

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Wed, March 8 2017 » Eggs and Cheese, Fruits and Vegetables, Italian food, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized » No Comments

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

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