Oct 212014
Pumpkin on a stool outside a shop in Charleston, N.C. | Photo: ©Nathan Hoyt

Pumpkin on a stool outside a shop in Charleston, N.C. | Photo: ©Nathan Hoyt

With pumpkin season upon us, I was reminded of a delicious recipe for pumpkin baklava that a Greek chef, Martina Colombotos, made for me some thirty years ago. It was so good that COOK’S magazine ran a story I wrote about Matina and her baklava in their October issue all those years back.

The late Matina Colombotos, by portrait photographer Richard Bowditch, reprinted from COOK'S, 1981

The late Matina Colombotos, by portrait photographer Richard Bowditch, reprinted from COOK’S, 1981 | @Richard Bowditch

Here’s the recipe, written up in a Halloween piece I wrote for Zester Daily for a grown-up Halloween treat.

Matina Colombotos' Pumpkin Baklava | Photo: ©Tom Hopkins

Matina Colombotos’ Pumpkin Baklava | Photo: ©Tom Hopkins

My husband and collaborator, Nathan Hoyt, carved up a pumpkin for Halloween. Thanks to him, and to Richard Bowditch and Tom Hopkins for the original photos. Happy Halloween to everyone (grown ups, especially!).

Jack-o'Lantern by Nathan Hoyt. | Photo: ©Nathan Hoyt

Jack-o’-Lantern by Nathan Hoyt. | Photo: ©Nathan Hoyt


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Oct 082014

In my recent article for Zester Daily, I wrote about the gelato explosion. One thing is for sure, gelato is on the move from its Italian home base as more and more entrepreneurs set up shop all over the world using Italy’s state-of-the-art equipment, designed for small-batch, artisan production. Following up on my last post about Rimini, here’s the scoop about why I was in that famous beach resort last month. No, it wasn’t to sunbathe or take in the nightclubs. It was to join the World Gelato Tour which, after circling the globe and picking finalists along the way—including [...more...]

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There's Good News in the World, Too: Gelato Explosion!
Oct 042014

To professor, author, food policy expert, environmentalist and gardener; my friend, my mentor, my neighbor, my children’s honorary godmother, American hero, Joan Dye Gussow, on your 86th year!   As for my keeping on keeping on, I do believe that we are in serious trouble—maybe fatal trouble, that is, maybe it’s too late to stop the express train we’ve been riding on—but as I say to my students, suppose it’s too late? What are we going to do? Lie around reading novels and eating bonbons? I think we should all try to live responsibly because it’s the right thing to do and it’s what’s [...more...]

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Happy Birthday Joan Dye Gussow!
Sep 262014

After four days in Rimini for the Gelato World Tour Grand Finale, about which you will soon get a full report, my companions and I headed for Bologna. Ravenna is about midway between the two cities and we decided to stop here overnight. If its cuisine is overshadowed by those of other cities in the region—Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Parma—certainly its art is world-class. The seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, and of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century, Ravenna’s 5th and 6th century mosaics are considered the finest in the world outside of Istanbul. Early Christian mosaics [...more...]

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Feast for the Eyes in Ravenna
Sep 242014

….Not from the Rimini museum where I recently photographed them, but from Facebook. I’ve been trying to post a story I wrote about the drawings from his dreams yesterday, but Facebook has been blocking the link. Could it be because of his surreal images of naked women? To get to the post, click here.

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Fellini Drawings Disappear
Sep 222014

This is where the Gelato World Tour landed after sweeping through four continents. I’ll be reporting on the results of the contest that brought me here for the “world’s best gelato” in an upcoming post, but here’s another side of this splashy seaside town on the Costa del Sole than its appetite for gelato, famed night life, and nine miles of beaches. Rimini is where the  journalist, illustrator, script writer, and finally, legendary film director, Federico Fellini, was born. He never forgot this ancient Roman town on the Adriatic, and it never forgot him. Everything from the airport to the piazzale, [...more...]

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Rimini. Falling into Fellini
Aug 242014

Pickling hasn’t been this hot in America since covered wagon days when being able to preserve food for the long cold winters meant the difference between life and death (remember “Little House on the Prairie”)? Besides anything else, pickling is downright fun. If you know how to, you’re ahead of the game, but if you don’t, did you know that you can “quick pickle” in the time it takes to boil water and vinegar together? Here’s my latest article in Zester Daily for doing just that with the one crop that everyone always seems to have too much of, zucchini. Why [...more...]

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Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Pickle, in Ten Minutes
Aug 102014

The recipe in my last post for a quick and easy steak and potato dish (read here) seemed to be especially popular, and some of you sent me comments and variations. I’m passing some of them along here. One more thing…do wash it all down with a nice Pugliese red. Salute! Great recipe, Julia–reminds me of Tuscan tagliata di bistecca. And perfect for a no-nonsense meal on a hot summer night. You reminded me that the great teaching chef Bill Briwa from the CIA (you know which one of those I mean) experimented with beef and olive oil and found [...more...]

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Readers Write: About that Peppery Steak Salad Scented with Olive Oil...
Aug 022014

After my recent travels to Puglia, Italy’s southernmost region, I’ve had its big, bold olive oils on my mind. The province of Bari, founded well before the 8th century BC when it was absorbed by Magna Graecia, has lived on olive oil for millennia. Today the area still makes most of Italy’s olive oils. Drive past places with names like Cassano delle Murge, Bitetto, Bitonto, Bitritto, and Binetto, and you see nothing but forests of olive trees and billows of sky, interrupted now and then by towns undisturbed by tourism. But where once, production was geared toward quantity to meet Europe’s [...more...]

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Steak and Potatoes Take on New Meaning Doused with Bold Olive Oils