It’s no secret I’m no fan of winter. One of the only things I like about it is the hearty meals, which I why I make a lot of soup (like this one with onions, or mixed legumes, cauliflower, or butternut squash, or using my own chicken stock), lasagnas and pasta baked in the oven, and of course risotto.
Risotto is one of those things which can be intimidating at first (when is it done? how much liquid do I add? how long should I be stirring?) but after you do it several times, you get a sense for all of these things. Practice, practice, practice. And a lot of tasting. Not sure? Stick a spoon in there and taste, especially for rice ‘doneness’ — you want it firm (‘al dente‘) but not undercooked. Not overcooked, nor undercooked. Got it? :)
So while I can see the back of winter approaching (so long, sucker!), I’m starting to use these last chilly days to get in my favorite winter meals before everything becomes fresh & light once again.
Sautéed mushrooms in wine are one of my favorite things to make. I can easily eat a whole bowl of them by myself and I used to sneak them from the bowl my mom would set them in while she was making the main entree they would accompany. I love taking those mushrooms a step further and incorporating that deliciousness into a risotto. For a little simpler fare (or vegetarian), you can omit the sausage but I think the two go very well together.
[Read more →]
Tags: Entree · Food · Italy · Recipe
December 10th, 2013 · Tags: Food · Holidays · Tips
It’s high time I did a gift guide for coffee lovers since I have a book for coffee lovers! Most of the things on my Italy Gift Guide are still good choices, but here are some more specific recommendations for the coffee lover.
Here’s what I think is essential:
A Moka pot
Bialetti moka espresso makers are your best bet. There are a lot of moka pots! I wouldn’t get smaller than a 3-cup unless you live alone and plan to never have company :).
Alessi moka pot — from one of my favorite design brands. Sign me up.
I love love the look of Pantone espresso maker but I can’t vouch for its coffee-making abilities. Beautiful colors though.
These will count as one item, but let’s just spend a little time on it. There are so many options. And you could use more than one set at home, anyway. If you want to be fancy, you can even serve non-espresso in demitasse cups…
Perc ~ Cafe [sic] + Espresso Cups by Frank Criscione [site / shop] — I have been stalking these since the Kickstarter project! I love the idea of serving espresso or cappuccini in cups which resemble moka pots.
Pantone espresso cups. So many color combinations, so many possibilities.
Le Creuset makes espresso cups, too and I love the colors which make their cooking ware.
Bodum Pavina Espresso Cups. I love Bodum (I have a bigger glass set I’ve used with desserts) and the double-wall means you shouldn’t burn your hands!
I love color and these POP coffee cup and saucers are beautiful.
Coffee Mug and Espresso Cup Designed After the Caffeine Molecule.
I like these very rustic espresso cups in ceramic stoneware.
A seriously spiky espresso cup will make others think twice about putting their hands on it.
These Bormioli glass espresso cups are one of the sets I use at home.
More espresso cups and some styles on Fab and Etsy, too.
I never drink this much liquid myself (unless it’s tea) but I love the idea of an OFF and ON status in this color-changing cup.
Love the idea of using a Pantone color guide on the inside of a cup to determine how much milk you want in your My Cuppa Coffee Mug.
Serious stirring spoons.
I love Illy’s “Ombra” spoon design, and I love how when you set them down, they don’t roll off the saucer! Illy. Amazon.
A coffee container
Some people keep their beans in the freezer, but if you’re not keeping your coffee in an airtight container you’re doing it a disservice. You can get some pretty decorated ones easily, and the stainless steel look is always a classic.
A coffee grinder
I get my beans ground at our local torrefazione (coffee roaster), but grinding your own beans is great and I love the pre-brewing odor you get from grinding. There are a lot of coffee grinders, Krups is a great choice.
A book about coffee
*ahem*. You knew this was coming. Why not give them a nifty little guide to ordering Italian coffee correctly? I hear the author knows what she’s talking about.
Coffee note cards and Coffee Art
I’ve actually made both postcards & greeting cards from my espresso photos & I’m considering making sets available for sale (interested? let me know in the comments & I’ll send 2 of you a few blank ones):
Until then, I’ll just admire others’ art, like this watercooler note card set of moka pots from jojolarule.
Who wouldn’t love this Exceptional Expressions of Espresso poster?
I love this schematic coffee poster from Pop Chart Lab on Fab or Etsy.
What will you get the coffee lover in your life?
Disclosure: Some links are Amazon affiliate links where I earn a small percentage on a purchase. Thanks for helping support the site!
Tags: Food · Holidays · Tips
November 5th, 2013 · Tags: Blog Event · Me
Are you a subscriber to my newsletter? I’m also on Twitter @rosso, on Facebook Ms. Adventures in Italy, and rossosara on Instagram.
Do you like secrets? Most people like hearing them. I don’t mind keeping them — bad secrets are uncomfortable to keep, but good secrets are even more uncomfortable because you wish you could just shout it to the world!
I’m excited to announce, finally, a project I worked on last year with Moleskine!!
It’s no secret I’m a fan of Moleskine notebooks, and I have been for years (check out my archives!) When they contacted me about collaborating on a Passions Journal, their subject-specific notebooks, I knew the Moleskine Passions Dessert Journal was exactly what was needed. After all, desserts are social, they’re made to be shared, and you definitely need a place to record your sweetest hits!
What’s inside the Moleskine Passions Dessert Journal?
[Read more →]
Tags: Blog Event · Me
Last month I was lucky enough to head to Japan for work, to speak at a WordPress conference in Tokyo. Though it was my first time in Tokyo, it wasn’t my first trip to Japan.
Almost 20 years ago, I headed to Japan with my high school choir (yep! I sang regularly for about 15 years). The trip with my choir wasn’t random — we had sent the choir a few times over the past decade or so, and our sister city was always ready to welcome us. The experience was surreal — singing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on national television, signing autographs, sliding down a mountain on a sled, eating lots of interesting food that was new for a teenager who was used to pizza, Chinese, and Mexican food (yes, even California has changed).
This time I was glad to go back as an adult with fewer performances expected of me (just 2 this time), and with mature taste buds ready for anything Japan could throw at me. I looked forward to the bitter, the pickled, the textures, and the smells which I’m now interested in and excited about which I couldn’t appreciate when I was younger. I think part of this is not being exposed, but I think mainly due to our taste buds maturing and our desire for stronger & more complex flavors.
So I was ready for Japan.
Here are 20 of my Japan moments — if you’re following me on Instagram you’ll have seen a few of them, but not all!
I narrowly missed a typhoon hitting Tokyo (filed under: definitely not on my Life List), and one of the days it was close, it was crazy windy and rainy. This was a sunrise from my hotel room, which thanks to jet lag I woke up in time to see!
My first meal in Tokyo, and a memorable one. I sat in a busy restaurant full of Japanese and ordered one of my favorite dishes, tendon (a shrimp tempura rice bowl).
[Read more →]
Tags: Discovering Food · Food · Travels Abroad
Two months ago I had a quick trip to Paris.
And now, I can’t stop thinking about a chocolate chip cookie.
A chocolate chip cookie? Not a macaron, a croissant, or a lovely little tart? In France?
I had good intentions in France, I really did. I went in search of a buttery, crusty croissant or a pain au chocolat with sticks of chocolate tucked inside. That was my goal when I saw Eric Kayser’s La Maison Kayser (various locations around Paris, one in NYC, and in Asia, too), but when I saw the chocolate chip cookie, I couldn’t resist. I know David would have told me to get some bread (he talks a lot about Kayser on his site), but I couldn’t fit a loaf in my day bag. :) [Read more →]
Tags: Food · France · Travels Abroad