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Prune Blueberry Jam with Rosemary

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Prunes, Blueberry and Jam

Above us only sky
~ John Lennon, Imagine

Somewhere I read that if we lay down on the grass every night for ten minutes to really contemplate the sky and the stars, many of our problems would vanish like soap bubbles burst in the air, and the whole world would take little by little a different turn.
This has little or nothing to do with the jam, but it seemed too beautiful to not say it. And then I thought for real about this thing, and the first occasion in which I found a meadow with stars in my hands, I wanted to try it for myself, and I decided to share it like this, in my own way.

Prune Blueberry Jam

Prune Blueberry Jam
with Rosemary

for 6-7 medium size jars
prunes, net 1 kg e 1/2
blueberries 1 kg
sugar 850 gr
lemons 3
rosemary 2 sprigs

Wash the prunes, remove the pit and cut in pieces. Add 500 gr of sugar, the juice of two lemons and mix well. Rinse blueberries and mix them with the rest of the sugar and the juice of one lemon. Cover and let macerate the fruit separately overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, cook over medium heat, separately, until the jams reach the desired consistency (blueberries may need less time than prunes, especially if the latter are a bit watery).
About half an hour before they're set, mix the jams together and add the sprigs of rosemary, whole. Finally, discard rosemary and pour the jam when still hot into previously sterilized glass jars. Seal them with their lid and boil in water for about 20 minutes to form the vacuum.

Prune Blueberry Jam2

Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato Bread Soup) with Grilled Eggplants, Black Olives (and Feta)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Pappa al Pomodoro

ma è meglio poi un giorno solo da ricordare
che ricadere in una nuova realtà sempre identica...

but it's better a single day to remember
than falling into a new reality that's always the same...

~ Francesco Guccini, Sirocco

It was a warm evening in August, the wet and deserted city populated only by tourists in love, tired old men and cats in search of masters. The two of us sat on the river bank to fiddle with our gaze; we were waiting for the wind and for something to change.
You had asked me to go back there, to that outdoor table where I looked at you the first time, tanned and shy with your veil of lipstick. Stifled by useless memories and legitimate fears, words and sentences remained suspended, motionless in the air dense of silence that had been gathering between us. There were one man and one woman too many, two lives already started and too big of a morality.
It was a warm evening in August, that night when we let ourselves grow up. We were still in love with each other in our own way, yet we no longer loved each other.

Pappa al Pomodoro*
with Eggplant, Black Olives (and Feta)

for 4
day old Tuscan bread 200 gr
ripe tomatoes 800 gr
garlic 4 cloves
tomato paste 2 tablespoons
eggplant, small 1
black olives 1 handful
crumbled feta 2-3 tablespoons
salt, pepper, olive olio, vegetable broth, basil as needed

Baby Eggplants

Slice a shallow cross into the bottom of the tomatoes and place them in boiling water for a few minutes. Peel them and pass them through the mill. Cut bread into cubes. Sauté garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed, in a little olive oil, add a few basil leaves, and then the bread. Sauté for about 10 minutes until it takes on a beautiful amber color. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste (optional), salt, pepper and stir well. Cover with broth and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes until the bread is reduced to a puree.
Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into slices, grill them on both sides and cut into small cubes. Pit and coarsely chop the olives. Serve the pappa al pomodoro garnishing each bowl with grilled eggplant cubes, a handful of chopped olives and a sprinkle of crumbled feta.
It goes without saying that feta is not approved by the vegan police. So then just forget it, and voila, wv <3, lunch is served.

*Room for a small self-celebration: the recipe above was published this month in the Corriere della Sera, in the section Racconti di Cucina (Tales from the Kitchen), along with three others of my recipes with tomatoes as the main star.
If you're curious, you can find the link to the newspaper's archive and read the main article of that page here. And in this regard, as if it were the night of the Oscars, I want to thank all those who have shown me great affection and who have posted and reposted the photo of the page on my facebook wall. Thank you!

Tomato Peach Bruschetta

Monday, August 12, 2013
Tomato Peach Bruschetta

summer's here to stay
and those sweet summer girls
will dance forever...

~ DMB, Dive In

What could be better than bread and tomato under the sunlight?
Bread, peaches and tomatoes.
Trust me, I take full responsibility.


Tomato Peach Bruschetta
for 4

yellow peaches 2
cherry tomatoes 10-15
balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons
garlic 3-4 cloves
salt, pepper, fresh basil to taste
country bread slices

Peaches and Tomatoes

Peel the peaches and cut them in small cubes. Mix them with the cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut into quarters, season with salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chopped fresh basil. Cover and let rest for at least an hour.
Toast the bread in the oven for a few minutes, and then brush it still warm with the peeled garlic cloves. Spread bruschetta over the bread slices, sprinkle again with some basil and serve immediately.

Bread and Bruschetta

Tuscan Bread

Thursday, August 8, 2013
Tuscan Bread

Negli angoli di casa cerchi il mondo
nei libri e nei poeti cerchi te...

In the corners of the house you're looking for the world
in the books and the poets you're looking for yourself...

~ Francesco Guccini, Another Day Went By

Take a summer afternoon. Fresh and quirky as the afternoons hooded with fog on the North Pacific, or those pissed off with rain in August up in the mountains. Take a dough of ancient times, lazy but exciting as a poker match on a wrinkled, flowered tablecloth. Add the tenderness of a freshly baked loaf, and that scent so similar to the loaf that they used to give you at the corner, in those fantastic sunny mornings when you had the time to slide in front of the counter for 100 Liras worth of Coke-shaped candies.
Fresh bread, jam and a violent layer of butter were the perfect world, when you really believed in God, and you imagined Him smiling and walking around the clouds, although maybe He got a bit sad if He happened to look down here. You were able to inhabit the stars and the planets with your imagination, arguing with your classmates over the ownership of Alpha, Beta, and the Pole Star, as well as a share of Saturn and the absolute dominion over Jupiter. And everything would last forever, the house on a tree, the daisies, the board games, bread&nutella and the afternoon tea. Because it was easy to take each other by hand and slip into the night, without thinking what it will be, where it will be, tomorrow.

Short note: I'm pleased to announce that this recipe is part of the August 2013 issue of Threef, a photography & food magazine; it's a special issue dedicated to Time, the time that passes, that stops or that you dream of, and also the time that never comes back.
If you weren't judge me biased, I'd recommend you browse it, because it's really worth it. But I won't say anything, because I'm not biased.

Tuscan Bread and Jam

Tuscan Bread*
for 1 loaf

fine ground flour 300 gr
water 180 gr
fresh brewer's yeast 5 gr

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until the dough is well blended, but working as little as possible. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 20-24 hours.

Second Rise 105 gr
fine ground flour 100 gr
water 50 gr
fresh brewer's yeast 2 gr

Dissolve the starter and the yeast with the water and knead briefly with the flour, then cover again and let rise for another 20-24 hours.

fine ground flour 250 gr
water 150 gr ca
fresh brewer's yeast 2 gr


Place the flour on the work surface, make a well in the middle, then crumble in the center the fresh yeast and the starter. Dissolve with water and when you get a well-blended mixture, add the flour and knead by hand, working as little as possible. Shape the dough into a loaf, push it down and lay it vertically in front of you. Lift one edge and fold it toward the center, place your thumbs on the folded part and press until you reach the surface of the table below. Keep folding in the same direction until you completely roll the dough. Place it on a kitchen towel, well dusted with flour, with the fold underneath, dust with more flour, wrap it with the cloth, squeezing a little and sealing it as if it were a package, and let it rise for at least half hour. When ready, there will be cracks all over the surface. Sprinkle some flour on the back of a tray, grab the towel and position the bread on your forearm, then transfer it on the tray placing the fold underneath without any abrupt movement. Slide it on a baking stone or a baking sheet already hot, bake it in a preheated oven at 430 for 10 minutes, then lower to 350-375 approximately for 40 minutes.

*I took the recipe from the infallible bible of the Simili Sisters, Pane e Roba Dolce (Bread and Sweet Things). A must-have for all food fanatics and food bloggers out there, bakers and not, since the dawn of time.

Bread and Jam

Grilled Peach Panzanella

Sunday, August 4, 2013
Grilled Peach Panzanella style=

... tanto doveva prima o poi finire lì
ridevi e forse avevi un fiore
ti ho capita, non mi hai capito mai

... sooner or later it had to end there
you were laughing and maybe you had a flower
I understood you, you've never understood me

~ Roberto Vecchioni, Lights at San Siro

Do you remember? Remember when we were twenty? I know what you'll say, with that slow, misty stroke of sadness that has been hitting us for hours: you'll say that now you're feeling it as well, all that nostalgia that you didn't understand back then and yet easily blamed me for. Do you realize instead, today, the way it makes your voice shiver and your gaze drop? And the way it makes you smile a little, because this whole encounter looks like a tedious cliché, an honest déjà vu, a movie that is narrated by others, that's already been lived, suffered and sung.
And you knew, I'm sure, that our talking now would go into reverse gear. Because what you're doing now, what you did yesterday or how was your life ten months ago, that doesn't matter to me, and I already know it. I imagined it all well back then, in our time together: to you everything seemed already written, in your words, in your studies and in the clippings you were accumulating from newspapers; you, so determined to stalk reality, while, with my uncertain future, I'd waste days interrogating mirrors, looking in vain for a response at the intersections and inside the pockets of randomness.
But remember? Remember when we walked together that night at the end of summer, drunk just right? From the boredom of a party we found ourselves in a dream, holding hands, walking around those reflections amidst the scent of an unexplored lake, forever ours. And then, all those times when you kept laughing at me when I said I'd rather die like Francesca, sinful and in love, rather than find myself one day trapped in the spectrum of everyday life.
Remember? Remember when you said that's enough, and the illusion of eight years crumbling between our hands, one love slipping away and a mystery still open. We've often asked ourselves what's left of what we had, and perhaps we can grasp the answer only tonight, in a slow and silent hug, hidden in the fog of a new, far-off city.
I was walking by; I know, it's been so long, how are you? I, yes, sorry, I thought that maybe we could... dinner, a walk, only a coffee; just like that, to talk a little.
It's eight o'clock, it's still light outside of this bistro. I'll make the order, trust me for once. You go ahead, I'll listen.

Grilled Peach Panzanella

Grilled Peach Panzanella
for 4 people

yellow peaches 2
rustic bread 2 thick slices
cherry tomatoes 600 gr
arugula as needed
shallot 1
lemon 1
honey 3 tablespoons
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, basil as needed

Bread, Peaches and Tomatoes

Brush bread slices with olive oil and grill them on both sides. Mix honey with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, drizzle over sliced peaches and cook them on the grill about a minute each side. Cut bread in pieces, mix them with cherry tomatoes, cut in half, and thinly sliced shallots. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chopped basil, and let stand at least one hour. Before serving, add arugula and grilled peach slices.

Summer Basket