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Monday, May 26, 2008

5 Facts about Me

It's been an awfully long time since I've been personally tagged for a meme. I am busy unpacking, sorting the accumulated mail and plowing through email, but since I don't have time for much of a real post this meme is a nice stop gap measure. Thanks to Sarah of Suite Apple Pie for tagging me. 1. Link to your tagger and post these rules 2. Share 5 facts about yourself 3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names, linking to them.
 4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog . I'm sending them direct messages via Twitter instead. 5 Facts (you probably don't know about me) 1. Last week in the Italian city of Benevento I was one of the judges of a student cocktail competition with the theme "Cucina & Magia" which means cooking and magic. The winning cocktail used white rum, Strega, lemon and blueberry juice, muddled basil leaves and was garnished with a spiral of zucchini. Refreshing and light...
Friday, May 16, 2008

Bello Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano

There is good food everywhere. That's my theory and I'm sticking with it. In some places it is easier than others, to find something delicious. Sorrento is a pretty tourist town just a stone's throw from Naples. Orange trees pop up through the sidewalk and the views of the bay are breathtaking, especially at sunset when everything turns shades of pink and blue and grey. The town inspired many artists and poets and their ghosts are felt everywhere in the gardens, the public spaces and the names of the streets. I'm staying at the romantic Hotel Tramontano perched on the edge of the bay. The history of the hotel makes me feel as if I am stepping into a more refined era. So far in addition to a limoncello producer who has a lovely grove of citrus you can enjoy like a park, I also visited a tiny pastry shop singled out by the prestigious "Gambero Rosso" in Italy. The owner is passionate about quality and creativity and teaches other pastry shops to develop high...
Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grazie, Napoli!

It's been twenty years since I've been in Italy and in some ways it feels like I never left. That's why I chose this photo instead of any of the other 200 photos I have shot in the last two days. It somehow captures the timeless spirit of the place. Yes, it's been two days of exploring Naples and Caserta and Sorrento again. This time I am older and my Italian a bit rusty but still it is a joy to be visiting this lovely region with it's sunshine and views of the bay of Naples and the gorgeous and bountiful landscapes with roaming animals and abundant produce. Most of all it is a joy to be experiencing the passion of the residents of Campania again. Twenty years ago after feeling like a second class citizen in Florence I was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers I experienced in both Naples and Sorrento and the same is true this time around. I have eaten paccheri pasta and fresh mozzarella and sfogliatelle pastries more times than I can count and enjoyed it all....
Monday, May 12, 2008

Ciao, Italia!

Today I'm heading off to Italy for a visit to Campania. I will try to post while I'm gone, but since I'll be on assignment I expect to be pretty busy! In the meantime, feel free to check out my posts, there are many of them in the queue over at Glam Dish , and posts from me every Wedneday on KQED's food blog, Bay Area Bites . Ci vediamo! Amy p.s. If you have any favorite spots in Naples or the Amalfi coast, feel free to leave a comment. In the past I've checked out reader recommendations in Hawaii and Japan and have yet to be disappointed with any of your suggestions....
Saturday, May 10, 2008

Orange Mango Smoothie:Recipe

Have you ever had an Orange Julius ? I seem to recall it being pretty popular in the 70's. Founded in Los Angeles, the juice bar chain (now part of Dairy Queen) makes a frothy kind of orange blender drink that is very refreshing, especially if you are running around town. The first Orange Julius opened over 80 years ago and it was the official drink of the 1964 World's Fair in New York. The name comes from how people ordered the drink from the owner, Julius. "Gimme an orange, Julius!" The recipe was and still is secret but there are plenty of copycat recipes online. Some use milk, others include egg white. All of them generally have some combination of orange juice, ice and sugar. Orange Julius makes a "Mango Julius" and while I've never tried it, I did come up with my own version. Mangoes have vitamin A, B and C and are an amazing feel-good fruit. Is it the color? The flavor? The nutritional benefits? I don't know. But I can't get enough ...
Monday, May 05, 2008

Dessert Giveaway!

There's another contest over at Glam Dish today! Win one of three prize packages that each include a signed copy of a Gale Gand cookbook , bakeware and 12 coupons for a product that was named to Time Magazine's list of the 100 greatest consumer products in 1998. It was invented 60 years ago. Do you know what it is? Click here to find out......

Crazy for Conservas

When I think of processed foods the first things that come to mind are newfangled convenience and artificial ingredients. But that's not the case with all processed foods. In Spain, preserving vegetables and seafood is a very traditional craft. Olives, piquillo peppers, anchovies and tuna are just a few of the most common "conservas" you'll find. In Barcelona there is a famous tapas bar called Quimet y Quimet that specializes in using conservas and many shops are filled with precious treasures in cans and jars. I recently got a chance to try some of the products being sold online by AJ Gourmet and was really impressed. The father and son partners are passionate about Spanish foods and import a terrific array of olives, especially stuffed ones. I talked to Andy Weiss to find out how his stuffed olives were different from the more typically available ones. He told me that the stuffed olives you find in most markets are for the most part standard queens, a large varie...