Toni Lydecker's Tavola Talk Blog

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

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

Belgian Chefs Who Know Their Veggies

Yes, I enjoyed sampling Belgium’s famous beers, chocolate and, of course, frites. But what really blew me away on a recent visit were the things Belgian chefs are doing with vegetables.                   My education began at JEF, a small but acclaimed restaurant in Ghent. Marinated fresh herring, [...]

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Mon, August 3 2015 » Fruits and Vegetables, Uncategorized » No Comments