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

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

Chilled Tomato Soup with a Smoky Undertone

I adore chilled soup when the weather is warm (as it is more often than not in Florida).  But the variations on gazpacho and vichyssoise that abound in restaurants, as well as my own kitchen, can get boring. So I got excited about a creative soup special at Brick & Mortar Kitchen & Wine Bar–cold [...]

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Wed, June 8 2016 » Fruits and Vegetables, Soups and Stews, Uncategorized » No Comments

South Florida’s Black Sturgeon Caviar

Caviar. Not an everyday thing for most people, including me—but for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or a milestone birthday, caviar is pretty much guaranteed to set off a giddy feeling of celebration. Assuming you serve it with plenty of Champagne or prosecco. My go-to caviar hors d’oeuvre consists of steamed fingerling potatoes, their insides [...]

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Mon, December 28 2015 » holiday foods, Seafood, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized » No Comments