Dec 312011
FOR THE NEW YEAR: Lentils for Luck and Sausages for Plenty, Infused with Holy Oil

Put them together for the quintessential Italian New Year dish, lenticchie di capodanno (lentils for the new year). Lentils, round and copper-colored, should remind you of money; pork shouts fatness and increase. And the olive oil? Nectar of the gods. “A drop of olive oil on the head, a drop of wine on the lips” remembers writer Bill Marsano, was an infant’s blessing in Italian households. It anoints the breasts of monarchs at their coronations and marks the foreheads of the dying in their final breath of life. In your food, it’s no less a benediction. New Year is an […more…]

Dec 152011
Piero's "Better Than Balsamic," Postscript with Pictures

Frost has snuffed out the last breath of Indian summer in New York, but warm up with these images of Sicily.  From Piero Catalano, the artisan food producer and master vinegar maker I met in Trapani province this past September (see “A New Vinegar is Born,” 26 October post), a postscript in pictures.  Next, go make yourself some stracotto (Italian extra slow-simmered meat stew) with aged vinegar…stay tuned for the recipe…. Piero Catalano’s sun-dried tomatoes and other local products on the shelves in his Trapani shop, KusKus. The most precious item is his vinegar. Since then he has picked all […more…]