Ramp Risotto ~ Alpine to Appalachian

Spring is here. But it isn’t spring in my Alpine wonderland of Valle d’Aosta, Italy.  Instead I’m watching the world come to life in the mountains where I was born, in Asheville, North Carolina. A little more than a year ago, I moved back to the US. Gianluca followed about six months later.  It was […]

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Autumn Harvest in the Alps

The seasons are changing. My garden is preparing itself for a long winter’s sleep, fresh snow has dusted the glacier capped Alps, and the cows have returned from the mountaintop pastures.  Also, it is really cold.  I realized the other day that I wear a winter coat eight months out of the year. Eight. Months.  […]

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Wear your polenta and eat it too: polenta hat crackers

No, I haven’t lost my mind. Or perhaps I have.   Maybe I have found my true calling as a polenta hat top model. I surely know how to rock a polenta hat, even if I am otherwise sorely lacking in the style department. Yesterday we were making polenta with Nonna Rita, my friend Cinzia’s 80 […]

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I am officially an Italian lady

It’s official: I’m no longer an American writing about living in the glacier capped mountains of Italy.  On the first day of autumn I legally became an Italian citizen.  Given the fact that the economic and political situation in Italy is in a continuous spiral downwards, I can’t help but think that the date is […]

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Roasted beet, orange and kale salad with lifeguard olive oil

   I always thought I hated beets, until I got a craving for them last winter.  In Valle d’Aosta, Italy, you cannot buy fresh beets. They just don’t exist here. You can get a vacuum packed steamed beet from the grocery store, but that just doesn’t appeal to me.   So I planted a few kinds […]

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Red currant, lime and chambord gelato

I have been posting far less often than I intended… it turns out I’ve been so busy doing fun things, and haven’t had any time to write about it!  I’ve been interviewing elder Alpine folk about their food traditions, selling my soaps at markets, gardening, foraging for mushrooms and wild berries, and I taught old […]

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Fresh porcini mushroom risotto

Last week, my husband went for a hike up one of the nearby snow capped mountains, and stumbled across some beautiful porcini mushrooms.  Because we seemed to have skipped straight from winter to fall, porcini mushrooms are just starting to pop up, and they are a very special find!  Not being mushroom experts ourselves, we […]

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Crispy fried mozzarella balls (gluten free)

This year I discovered that fried food is tasty. Yes, apparently I hadn’t heard the news. I never really liked fried foods before and wasn’t much interested in them.  But then my husband had me taste  fried mozzarella balls and I saw the light!  We used to get them from the frozen food section of […]

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Yes, your polenta should be be that thick!

Whenever I make polenta with Americans I often hear the same question…. “Isn’t it done yet? It looks too thick!” People usually say this when the polenta still needs to cook another 45 minutes or so.  And here’s the answer: “It ain’t done… it shouldn’t be that thick, it should be thicker!” Polenta isn’t grits. […]

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War Cheese

Last weekend I was selling my soaps and other body care products at a lovely market in Bard, which is an ancient village at the foot of an enormous fort.  The very fort that Carlo Tassi (of the wonderfully weird scrap metal museum) claims his mother was born in.  It is a magical village where […]

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