Tuesday, December 31

Free LIVE Online Cooking Class from Italy, January 5th


We are back at it again! 
La Tavola Marche is excited to invite you to our second ONLINE - LIVE - Cooking Class from our farmhouse & cooking school in Italy on January 5, 2014! 
 
It's more than just watching an episode of a cooking show on television because this is not only live but interactive! Students will have the chance to ask questions along the way, plus the class will be recorded so you'll have access to it whenever you like. (How cool is that?!) Watch the class on your computer, mobile device or tablet.  Once you are registered for the class you will receive an invitation to the site, recipes and ingredient lists.
Our online cooking class will run about an hour in duration, covering techniques, tips and three recipes - including a chocolatey Nutella dessert!
Without leaving the comfort of your kitchen, join us in ours! 

Here are few photos from our kitchen & the kitchens of those participating from across the globe sent in via Facebook! Thanks to everyone that joined our first class on the 29th of December we had a great time, technical difficulties and all!
The Menu:
Veal Scallopini, Scallopini di Vitello (Note: This dish can be made with veal, chicken, turkey, pork loin or beef - the choice of protein is up to you!)
Potato Cabbage Mash, Lesso di Patate e Cavolo (Note: This is MUCH more than just making mashed potatoes, trust me!)
Chocolate Nutella & Walnut Cake, Torta di Nutella e Noce

Class Details:
Sunday the 5th of January 2014
Join La Tavola Marche's FREE Online Live Cooking Class from Italy in two time slots to fit your schedule, depending on your location.  Once you are registered for the class you will receive an invitation to the site, recipes and ingredient lists.

 Europe: 19:00 CET
Early Broadcast: 1:00PM EST/10:00AM PST
Late Broadcast: 4:00PM EST/1:00PM PST

Sign Up:
Hurry!! The class is open to the first 25 students in each time slot that email to reserve their spot: info@latavolamarche.com
LIVE, Online, Interactive and FREE straight from our cooking school in Le Marche, Italy!
La Tavola Marche
Chocolate Nutella Walnut Cake

Monday, December 30

{Podcast from Italy} Oh F@#%! I Have to Get My Italian Drivers License…And No Mustard on My Mortadella!

This Podcast from Italy we recap 2013, give a behinds the scene chat on our first online LIVE cooking class & all the kinks along the way. Jason delves into his trials and tribulations of trying to get his Italian drivers license!! The song of the week is "La tana de re" by Adriano Celentano....and apparently someone is NOT in-favor of putting mustard on mortadella!
Thanks for listening, sharing or telling a friend!

Stream on Stitcher Radio and download via iTunes: Podcast from Italy, Episode #63

 photo from our December 29th online, LIVE cooking class!

Thursday, December 26

Italian Comfort Food for New Year's Eve: Stewed Lentils with Sausage

photo: Simply Recipes
I love good comfort food, chicken noodle soup when your sick, meatloaf and mashed potatoes that remind me of being a kid, you know the classics. But the longer I live in Italy, the more I love Italian comfort food and wish I had been raised on passatelli in brodo, potatoes and cabbage mash or pasta norcina. Another classic Italian comfort food - stewed lentils with sausages. Lentils are very Italian and found in many dishes across the boot, but they are eaten most during the holidays. On New Year's Eve it is best to eat a few spoonfuls of stewed lentils with your cotechino to ensure fortune in the coming year! But the best lentils in Italy are from the tiny mountain top village of Castelluccio di Norcia on the Marche-Umbria border.  The tiny greenish/brown legumes are not only known for their soft skin & creamy texture, but the beauty of the fields in May-June when the lentils are in bloom! (Read this past post for photos and more about Norcia.)

Stewed Lentils with Sausages
lenticchie in umido con salsicce

Serves 4

6 Tablspoons/80 ml Olive oil
1 carrot small, diced
1 onion small, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
2-3 leaves of sage
250 grams/a little over a cup of lentils left to soak in cold water for a few hours
4 sausages
200 ml or 1 cup of passed tomatoes (pomodoro passato) or pureed tomatoes
2-4 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
salt & pepper

In a heavy bottomed pot on low heat add olive oil and gently sweat the garlic, celery, carrot and onion with a crack of salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are soft, turn up the heat a bit adding the sausages. Cook the sausages on all sides just to get them started.

Add in the sage leaf (you can add or substitute any herbs you like). Drain the lentils, then add them to the pot along with the tomatoes. Pour about 2 cups of stock (or 400 ml) into the pot and bring up to a slow simmer.

Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, adding a little stock if it begins to look too thick.

To finish, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, fish out the sage and garlic if you like.
Drizzle good extra virgin olive oil and serve with crunchy toasty bread.


Tuesday, December 17

Join our Free LIVE Online Cooking Class from Italy!


La Tavola Marche (Farm, Inn & Cooking School) is excited to announce our first ever ONLINE - LIVE - Cooking Class from our farmhouse & cooking school in Italy! 
Without leaving the comfort of your kitchen, join us in ours! 
 
It's more than just watching an episode of a cooking show on television because this is not only live but interactive! Students will have the chance to ask questions along the way, plus the class will be recorded so you'll have access to it whenever you like. (How cool is that?!) Watch the class on your computer, mobile device or tablet.  Once you are registered for the class you will receive an invitation to the site, recipes and ingredient lists.

Our online cooking class will run about an hour in duration (give or take, its the first one!) and include three winter dishes perfect to serve on New Years Eve or Capodanno!

The Menu:
Chicken Liver Crostini, Fegatini Crostini
Stewed Lentils with Sausages, Lenticchie in Umido con Salsicce
Chickory Salad with Anchovy Dressing, Insalata di Puntarelle alla Romana

Class Details:
Join La Tavola Marche's FREE Online Live Cooking Class from Italy in three time slots to fit your schedule, depending on your location.

Sunday the 29th of December 2013
 Europe: 16:00 CET
East Coast of USA: 4:00PM EST
West Coast of USA: 10:00AM PST

Hurry!! The class is open to the first 25 students that email to reserve their spot: info@latavolamarche.com

As I mentioned, once you are registered for the class you will receive an invitation to the site, recipes and ingredient lists.

LIVE, Online, Interactive and FREE straight from our cooking school in Le Marche, Italy!

La Tavola Marche - Farm, Inn& Cooking School

Sunday, December 15

Cornflake Cookies - Biscotti ai Cereali


Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin, Classic Chocolate Chip and...Cornflakes?! Cornflake cookies are an easy to make, not too sweet dessert, perfect not only for the Holidays but any of time year! I had never seen/eaten these before we moved to Italy, though after a quick recipe search they are found all over from the States to Australia.
A cookie so simple, even I can make it! 
Buon Natale!


 Cornflake Cookies
Biscotti di cereali

makes 30 cookies

250 grams of flour
2 eggs
100 grams of sugar
100 grams of butter
4-6 tablespoons of raisins
tablespoon of vanilla extract
16 grams of ‘lieveto per dolci’ or baking powder
(handful of toasted pine nuts optional)
Corn Flakes

Preheat oven to 175 Celsius or  345 Fahrenheit.
Cream butter and sugar. Then add eggs and vanilla and blend. Sift flour and baking powder/lieveto.  Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Fold in the raisins and optional pine nuts.

Make small balls of dough and roll in Corn Flakes.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes.


Friday, December 13

{Podcast} Marche Wine Expert Interview & The Rising Costs of Living in Italy



This week we interview Marco Candi from Marco's Way Wine Tours in Le Marche, Italy. We ask him about the different varieties of grapes found here, the future of organic wine and much more! We also discuss the rising costs of living in Italy from gpl (heat), milk and even the garbage tax! The song of the week is a classic festive choice - Thanks for listening & Happy Holidays!! 



Sunday, December 8

{Video} Buona Giornata! Episode 1 of "Life at La Tavola Marche"

This is how we start the day on our farm - 


A 35 second film (shot on an iPad) of my favorite part of the day - letting the chickens out of their coop! This winter, I'm editing short clips we've filmed of our day (from the market, garden, guests & cooking classes) to bring you a fun web series "Life at La Tavola Marche"! This is our first episode and we hope you enjoy a slice of life from our farm in Le Marche, Italy!

Thanks for watching & Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

Wednesday, December 4

{Podcast from Italy} What to Look for When Buying a Rural House in Italy and How to Pack for the Move!



This week's podcast we share an all to familiar story of country living - problems with water! A recap of our lunch at Beltrami's for the unearthing of his famous formaggio di fossa (more photos on Facebook) and it snow's in time for Thanksgiving!  Our immigration saga continues as we renew our paperwork for next year just as boxes of fluffy panetone show up in stores across Italy.  We answer your questions about moving to Italy - how to pack and our three very important tips for finding an agriturismo or rural farmhouse.

This week's song of the week: Buona Sera Signorina by Fred Buscaglione

Download via iTunes, stream on Stitcher or listen on your favorite podcatcher!
Vittorio Beltrami, the Italian Einstein of Cheese
Aged 2 years, formaggio di fossa from Beltrami  with Special reserve craft beer from Amacord for dessert

Monday, December 2

The "Little Surprises" of Living in Italy...White Truffle & Wild Pheasant for Dinner


We always say, it's the little surprises throughout the day that remind us that we live in Italy. You can never have a set schedule or even menu because you just never know what may happen or unexpected adventure will unfold on any given day. People pop-in, plans change quickly...Today is no different. We were just running into town to pick up milk and the newspaper for Dr. Gaggi. The plan was to have a nice simple dinner of cabbage soup (since Jason seems to have a knack for growing massive cabbage & the garden is still full of them). As we arrived at Gaggi's country house, we passed a pheasant on his drive-away and Jason slammed on the brakes. "Dinner," he said a bit too matter of factly for a guy without a gun.

Jason alerted the Doctor and minutes later Gaggi came charging out the front door with Tom his hunting dog by his side. This was a man on a mission. A single shot was fired and Jason returned with wild pheasant for dinner. But before we could leave Gaggi wanted to thank us for picking up the newspaper. Wrapped haphazardly in white paper towel, he handed me the most fragrant white truffle I have seen/smelled all season! "Buona cena" Gaggi smiled as he closed the car door and we headed home.

"Well, I guess we'll save the soup for another night and I'll edit/post the podcast later because now I've got a pheasant to clean and cook!" Jason said with the car full of the musty earthy smells of the truffle.

"Ohhhh and tagliatelle con tartufi, looks like you're also making fresh pasta when we get home, grazie mille!!" I was thrilled, dinner's gonna be good tonight!

(Here's the classic recipe for Tagliatelle with White Truffles)

....reason No. 375 why I love living in Italy, deep in the Marche countryside!

Sunday, November 24

{Podcast from Italy} New Episode #59: Bentornati and the Truffle Mafia


Welcome back to our "Podcast from Italy!" After short hiatus during our busy season, we are now back recording our podcast from our farmhouse in Le Marche. This week we recap the end of the season and our annual Forage, Slaughter & Butchery Program (full blog post & photos to come), share stories from our vacation and answer your questions - including the "Truffle Mafia."  We are also starting a new segment on music - this week, we play L'Italiano by Masi & Fatone. Enjoy!!

Thanks for listening and your patience in-between episodes - Podcast from Italy, stream on Stitcher or download for free on iTunes: Click here to listen!

Thursday, November 7

What to do with Escarole? Braise it with Pancetta!


 A hearty fall lettuce in our garden is escarole. Escarole is a variety of endive whose leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family.  Escarole is delicious in salads, but to really enjoy its flavor, cut into thick chunks and braise it with pancetta! This makes a beautiful fall/winter side dish or antipasti. We made this in our last cooking class of the season, so cheers and enjoy!

Braised Escarole and Pancetta Recipe

1 head of escarole
5-6 thin slices of pancetta or guanciale, prosciutto, speck
half a glass of white wine
2 cloves of garlic
couple of stems of thyme - leave in tact & no need to chop (it makes it easier to remove)

Start by cleaning the escarole. Cut it into six wedges, leaving the core intact. With a piece of kitchen twine, tie the wedges into bundles to prevent them from separating.

In a pan, rosalare or lightly brown 2 cloves of garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Raise the heat, add the escarole and a crack of salt and pepper.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the greens begins to wilt. Then give everything a turn. Add in the thyme sprigs and lay the slices of pancetta over the top. In goes the white wine. Cover with parchment paper, lower the heat and allow to braise on the stove top or in a 350/175 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the escarole is tender.

To serve, cut off the twine, remove the thyme and cloves of garlic and discard (unless you love them).

Thursday, October 31

Celebrating Halloween with 4 Pumpkin Recipes


Happy Halloween!! This festive ghoulish holiday is not really celebrated much in Italy (instead they go all out for Carnevale). But at our farmhouse in Le Marche we are still American expats at heart and love to grow tons of varieties of pumpkins for roasting, soups & pastas. We even grow a few "big yellow American pumpkins" as our neighbors call it for carving (even though Dr. Gaggi thinks its a waist to grow something we're not going to eat!)

Here are a few of our favorite fall pumpkin/squash recipes:




Monday, October 28

Pumpkin Stuffed Ravioli with Sage Butter & Pine Nuts


Fall on a plate - creamy sweet pumpkin with a hint of nutmeg stuffed into delicate handmade pasta tossed with rich butter and sage. It doesn't get much better than that!  This years pumpkin harvest was our best yet so Jason has been using a mix of different colors and sized pumpkins for his ravioli. (Be careful which pumpkin you use for filling ravioli. A dryer pumpkin is better than one where the meat is filled with water.)


Crisp cool nights with the fireplace ablaze in an old stone farmhouse, leaves colored red and burnt orange, fresh pressed olive oil and hearty root vegetables from the garden - Autumn in Italy! With Halloween just days away this will make the perfect festive dinner on the 31st of October and all throughout fall!


Pumpkin Ravioli Filling 
1 hard squash -we grow ugly or Turkish squash. You can also use butternut, sweet pumpkin, etc. the firmer the flesh the better.
sheep’s milk ricotta
olive oil
salt
nutmeg
parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

Slice the pumpkin in half, clean out the center, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and crack of pepper.  Roast at 350 /175 degrees until pumpkin is soft.
Allow to cool.
Scoop pumpkin out of its shell into a bowl. Add a spoonful or two of ricotta, a handful of grated parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt & pepper. (If you like you can add ground cloves or ginger - any spice you like to give it that fall feel.)

Mix it all up - use to stuff cappelletti, tortellini or ravioli.
Can also be served as a side dish without the pasta.

The Pasta
You can either buy pre-made pasta sheets or better yet, make your own pasta using our "Down & Dirty Pasta Dough Recipe" - Click here!.

To stuff your ravioli ~
  • Roll out a sheet of pasta to about an 1/8 of an inch thickness -the thinner the better.
  • Evenly space out small mounds of filling.
  • Lay another sheet of pasta over the top.
  • With your fingers gently smooth out any air bubbles.
  • Cut out ravioli - either squares with a pizza knife or ravioli cutter or a shot glass for circular ravioli. Most importantly making sure the sides are closed.
  • Freezes well: place in a single layer on a sheet pan, then transfer into zip lock bag.
     

Cooking
Once pasta is filled, throw into salted boiling water until they float to the top.

Ravioli with Sage Butter
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
couple sage leaves
salt & pepper
handful of toasted pine nuts

Melt the butter and olive oil together in the pan. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the sage leaves. Do NOT allow the sage leaves to fry.

Once the pasta is cooked, return the pan to the heat. Toss with pasta and a spoonful of pasta water. Sprinkle with a small handful of parmesan if you like and the pine nuts. I also like to add a handful of arugula/ruccola/rocket over the top for color and bite of pepperyness!

Happy Halloween and Buon Appetito!

Sunday, October 20

Nothing goes better with truffles than...motorcycles & bikers!


This year marks the 35th anniversary of what seems like an unlikely pair: truffles and motorcycles.   Every October in the village of Sant' Angelo in Vado (Le Marche) Italy they marry perfectly!  The cobblestone streets fill with hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of motorcycles from around the world, all converging on this tiny town to celebrate two things: bikes and white truffles!


Sure the truffle festival lasts all month in Sant'Angelo, but the night to go is the night of the 'Motoraduno' when Italians dress in their leathers, firing up their engines and indulge in the finer things in life - wine served to you in a ceramic mug on a string and fragrant rare white truffles.  The bikes range from old classics to Moto Guzzi's & Ducati's...and of course outrageous showstoppers.


Last night I pulled on my black jeans and boots (trying my best to blend) and we headed into town. The weather couldn't have been better - a warm October evening meant the streets were packed with revelers.



Put away the stereotypes of the big bellies and aggressive behavior - young & old, everyone is here to have fun, and most end up singing in the streets arm in arm!

the next generation of Italian bikers


The old cantina's in town open their doors to serve cheap wine, homemade goods and pump house music.  We ducked down an alley and made our way to the roasted chestnuts and spiced wine (an annual tradition of ours!) and enjoyed the sounds of the river and revving engines as the sun set and the full moon was rising!



...until next year!


Saturday, October 12

Gathering Walnuts in Le Marche - 3 Fall Recipes



It's that time of year when via Candigliano is filled with fall foragers looking mushrooms, truffles and fallen walnuts. Dr. Gaggi arrived at our door with a basket full of fresh walnuts ready to dry. (You can see in the photo below there are a few still green. However most of the walnuts split open on their own.) They won't last long in our house! As you can see though, this years trees yielded small nuts so we've got a lot of crackn' to do!


Here are three of my favorite walnut recipes:





We love le noci delle Marche!

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