Saturday, March 30

Happy Easter - Buona Pasqua

 
Buona Pasqua - Happy Easter
 
We took the day off for Easter this year opting for a low key Sunday and an Easter Monday Pasquette with friends (an old-school style brunch with all the fixin's at our friends pig farm - I'm already fantasizing about the menu.)  I'm planning to take tons of photos, get recipes and shoot some film - so be sure to check back.

This year, enjoy an Easter flashback:
You just never know what will happen at our farmhouse... During Easter pranzo (lunch) one of our guests, Zio Albi was so inspired by the food, company & setting that he couldn't contain himself any longer & had to sing opera! After the roaring applause, he continued to sing until his throat was hoarse. He asked for gelato, but alas we had none so he happily accepted the grappa & continued to entertain us all. 
 
Enjoy this clip of the impromptu Easter concert in our dinning room - 
 

Tuesday, March 26

Spring Truffle Hunting with The Perennial Plate


 Ciao tutti! This week's podcast Jason & I chat about having our first guests arrive for the season, the amazing filmmakers from The Perennial Plate. We served as 'fixers' hooking them up with local artisans and taking them (interpreting/translating along the way) truffle hunting & pasta making with neighbors while they were filming one of their food-travel documentaries. We are BIG fans of their work so we were thrilled to help (seriously check out their work on youtube or vimeo & you will be inspired - not to mention they just were nominated for a James Beard Award!) The weather held out and we were able to spend a few hours in the spring sun above Apecchio searching for Bianchetto truffles with Alessandro Rossi & his uncle Piero (plus of course the dog!), finishing with a delicous lunch - a truffle filled fritatta & home-brewed beer. (Alessandro gave us a freakn' ton of truffles to take home that day too so dinner was truffle rich as well!) 

Back to the podcast, we also answer your questions, including a rewind-clip from a past episode about Gaggi. Jason gives out a great spring recipe - peas & pancetta!  Plus a very special offer just for our podcast listeners.....
Keep the questions coming & thanks for listening (especially as we work out the audio kinks) 

Monday, March 18

{Podcast from Italy} #45 - Preparing for Easter & Recipes Ideas


During a blustery windy day Jason & Ashley test out their new audio equipment and chat about 3 days til guests arrive, corned beef for St. Patty's Day and starting seeds for the garden (Watch our *VIDEO*: How to Start Heirloom Tomato Seeds) all the preparations, festivities & food for Easter. Jason offers a few suggestions for recipes with lamb and vegetarian options. 

Send us an email with week with your discussion topics for a chance to be chosen for a skype call to be recorded for the podcast (our lame attempt at phone-in questions) - info@latavolamarche.com
Thanks for listening! 


Friday, March 15

VIDEO: Starting Heirloom Tomato Seedlings, Spring in the Garden

In our latest video we show how to start seeds from a packet. Jason & our friend Caroline start heirloom tomato seeds (about 12 varieties) for our farm in Le Marche, Italy.  The music is by my super talented cousin, Spencer Dahl.

Thanks for watching!!








Tuesday, March 12

Spit Roasted with Flaming Pork Fat...Do I have you attention?!


"Your house smells like campfire pork fat. I like it!" my girlfriend Theresa recently told Jason and I. Well it's one of the best compliments you can hear as a Chef! It could be we are always grilling and cooking in the kitchen fireplace. The spit roaster (girarrosto) is a quintessential cooking tool in an Italian farmhouse - especially since in the winter there is a fire always going in the kitchen. Its as simple as pulling out some hot coals and laying them just in front of the meat you will spit roast. Here we spit-roast quail, pigeon, all types of wild small birds, chickens, sausage, thick slices of pancetta and even eel.  The best part of how we spit roast comes at the end... with a fiery blaze of melting pork fat!!

Before
After


Spit Roasted Pigeon with Pancetta Recipe
Piccione al girarrosto
serves 4

4 small pigeons cleaned (you can use any small bird you like, up to a chicken it will just take longer to cook.)
4 thick slices of pancetta
juniper berries
sage
garlic
salt and pepper
olive oil
nice piece of lardo or pork fat wrapped in butcher paper


Start a fire.
Clean and dry the pigeons. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the cavity along with a few torn up sage leaves, a pinch of rough chopped garlic and 1 or 2 juniper berries. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the birds, sprinkle with salt & pepper and rub it all in.

Now prepare the spit.

Using a single skewer spit roaster:
Pierce the pigeon through the rib cage, underneath the breast. Do a bird, piece of pancetta, bird, pancetta, etc. If you like you can also put a piece of bread in between that will soak up all the delicious fat.

If you have a double spit roaster (with two levels) you can have some real fun! Put sausages on the top level and the birds underneath so as the sausages cook the fat drips below, basting the birds.

To cook:
Make a line of coals from the fire about 6 - 8 inches (about 20 cm) away from the birds, in front of the spit roaster. Plug it & let it go!

It takes about an hour so don’t rush it. If the birds start to color right away there is too much heat, pull it back.  After about 50 minutes to 1:10 depending on the size of your birds they should be done. You can check this by gently pulling on one of the legs - if it falls away, you’re good.

Now for the fun part! 
Crisping up the skin: With you pork fat wrapped in butcher paper like a nice package, spear a long bbq fork through the center and light it in the fire.  As the paper burns away, the fat will begin to melt and drip down (staying slightly ignited). Drizzle the melting fat over the birds at the very end to crisp up the skins. (Turn out the light and it looks pretty cool!)

Take the birds off the fire and allow to rest for a few minutes - then enjoy!
Serve with roasted potatoes.

Friday, March 8

Lavender + Orange Cake = Love at First Bite

The perfect balance of orange & lavender makes for an absolutely heavenly cake that it is quick & easy to make!



Each year I add a few more lavender plants around the pool but never really knew what to do with the fragrant flowers. Sure, I dried them & placed them in the guest apartments but to be honest I was afraid to cook with them at risk of making a lovely dessert taste soapy! Well this year I was determined to try - Jason made the first attempt with lavender short bread cookies - they were amazing & eaten in one sitting. I was inspired and my taste buds were salivating for more... The perfect opportunity arose when a we found ourselves with extra yogurt in the fridge and I thought -great, I'll make a lavender yogurt cake. I actually made two - orange & lavender cake and rosemary cake with lavender glaze and they are both to die for!

Thursday, March 7

3 Recipes for Sicilian Blood Oranges


The best part of winter in Italy, gorgeous Sicilian blood oranges! When they cost about 3 Euro/kilo we buy them by the case. Who ever wakes up first starts the caffè and starts squeezing!! The flavor is sweet and almost like a smoothie, the color brilliant & bright and they are only here for about 2 short months and then gone until next February!

A few of our favorite recipes include:
Arancello (Blood Orange Liquor) - if you like Limoncello, you're going to LOVE this!
 Orange Lavender Cake - for breakfast and/or dessert!


 

Tuesday, March 5

Smarter Travel: 10 Athentic Ways to Travel Like a Local

Pizza Night at La Tavola Marche, a mix of locals & guests from around the world dine together under the stars.

 Smarter Travel: 10 Athentic Ways to Travel Like a Local
You don't have to be a twentysomething couch surfer or a youth hosteller to travel like a local. Here are 10 places and authentic ways to experience them, from island hopping on a mail boat in the Bahamas to driving cattle to their winter range in Nevada to cooking/foraging/gardening at La Tavola Marche in Italy! Read the full article here: SmarterTravel

(Thanks for including us & Dott. Gaggi!!)

Italy: Take a Cooking Class
"Need a lesson on slowing down and savoring life? Head for rural Italy and stay at a small family-run organic farm, inn, and cooking school in Le Marche. Set on 250 acres of rolling hills and farmland, La Tavola Marche gives you the chance to mingle with locals and Italians on holiday for an authentic farm-to-table experience.

Down in the garden, guests pick veggies for the day's class under the watchful eye of the Italian farmer, a lively character who also guides guests into the surrounding forest during the fall for mushroom hunting. Thursday is the inn's pizza night, when locals from the farming village (who speak little to no English) join guests around one long table for a family-style meal.

If You Go: You'll stay in the 300-year-old stone farmhouse with wood-beam ceilings and stone fireplaces. Five-course feasts are served either in the rustic kitchen, the dining room, or outdoors in the garden terrace. Doubles start at €80 (about $105) per night."
-SmarterTravel

Saturday, March 2

{Podacast from Italy} #43 - Recipe for our Beloved Blood Orange Liquor & 2013 Calendar of Events at our Cooking School


 Recorded on March 1st- the opening day of "Gelato Season!"  This week Jason & Ashley pimp their packages & upcoming classes/courses from foraging for wild edibles in the Spring, market trips and artisan beer tastings/tours over the summer, a yoga retreat in September and our annual butchering program in October, we are busy at our little farmhouse! 2013 Events at La Tavola Marche
 
Ashley explains how to make Arancello the blood orange version of the famous Limoncello -  Arancello Recipe. They touch on the state of Italian politics and have 20 days before guests arrives!

Listen to Podcast from Italy on iTunes or Stitcher!

Thanks for listening!
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