July 30, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Opponents of the Vermont Gas pipeline staged a sit-in protest at the Williston staging area Wednesday morning, attempting to stop work on the pipeline extension project. Look for the story in tomorrow’s Observer.

Everyday Gourmet


Secrets of the Tuscan kitchen

Oct. 21, 2010

By Kim Dannies

Piano, Piano, Pieno (Slowly, Slowly, Full) is a lovely Italian phrase that captures the essence of Tuscan cuisine. Food that slows us down and fills us up is the stuff of life; a proper meal, at a proper table, with wine, surrounded by loved ones. I recently indulged in this delightful routine while eating my way through Tuscany — a seductive place of lavender infused hillsides rimmed with olive trees, grapevines and sunflowers all bathed in extraordinary coffee-colored hues.

I talked to chefs and did a little cooking, too, and learned some “secrets” of the Tuscan kitchen, things we’ve all known all along, but sometimes forget to practice.

Cibi locali: Local, seasonal food. Italians know no other way; there is no locavore fad to embrace, they’ve lived it forever. What they do with a neighborhood pig is mind-boggling: vast selections of salamis, roasts and sausages right on down to a simple whipped lardo on toast — it’s a gastronomic marvel.

Ore: Time to spend, not save. Time to chop tomatoes, zucchini, porcini mushrooms. Time to mix flour and boil water. Time to read; “The Silver Spoon” is Italy’s cooking bible.

Dolci: Great desserts. Vin Santo wine, paired with Biscotti, is the perfect endnote to a meal; hazelnut studded panforte with a cappuccino is a must for morning fortification, and several almond ricciarelli cookies complement teatime.

Controni: The essential side dishes. Passion, respect, culture and love are ingredients that will never be found on a menu or in a cookbook, but they transform our everyday lives piano, piano, pieno.

Ricciarelli (reach-a- rell-ee)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grind up 6 ounces of blanched almonds and pour into a prep bowl. Add 1 cup confectionary sugar; fold in 1 tablespoon of flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Beat 2 egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract and blend until a soft paste forms.

Place some confectionary sugar on a clean, dry surface. Form 1 tablespoon of dough into a small ball; roll in the sugar, then place cookie on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Repeat. Flatten each cookie lightly with a fork. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Yields 16 cookies.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three 20-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

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