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Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen
by Gabriele Corcos
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DEBI MAZAR and GABRIELE CORCOS are ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. In Extra Virgin, food, family, and style come together in a celebration of the pleasures of the rustic Italian table with 120 recipes for simple yet exquisite meals that are accessible, full of fresh flavor, and easy to prepare. Gabriele is a traditional Italian with a big heart, and Debi is an outgoing, brash New York City girl. Their sassy and playful exchanges illuminate what's important in everyday life: good food and a lot of love. Ranging from traditional antipasti and soups to their spin on entrees, pizzas, and desserts, recipes include Pecorino and Honey Dip, a sweet and salty way to start a meal; tangy, luscious Grilled Apricots with Goat Cheese Ricotta, inspired by wild Tuscan apricot trees; and Sausage and Beans, which offers hints of fennel in a Tuscan red sauce. Here, too, are Braised Artichokes softened in guanciale-infused oil, Breakfast Pizza, and Coffee Granita just as Italians make it. So flag these recipes, get sauce on them, let splashes of olive oil mark the pages--and invite Debi and Gabriele's charisma and passion for cooking to spill into your kitchen.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)641.59455Technology and Application of Knowledge Home and family management Food And Drink Cooking, cookbooks Cooking characteristic of specific geographic environments, ethnic cooking Europe Italy Tuscany
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What I loved about this book:
The story telling by both Debi and Gabriele. They talk about their upbringing, how food and cooking shaped their childhood, how they met and their love affair with all things culinary as well as their marriage and family. I like a cookbook with a story.
The photos. Not just the photos of the delectable food but the ones featuring Debi and Gabriele. Turn to the first page after the table of contents (p.8-9) and then to page 10. Tell me that doesn’t look like a snap from a 1940’s movie. Especially the one with Debi in the kitchen looking at her man. Photos of Gabriele cooking over a grill or the ones with his children are just smoking hot. Not just because he’s nice looking Italian man but it’s the passion with which he is engaged in the cooking process.
The food photography jumps off the page, making you reach for a bite. It’s not only colorful but you can see the textures of the bread, the juicy slices of tomato and the glisten of the sauce. The recipes are well laid out and easy to follow. The photo of Gabriele’s family estate is breathtaking, A dream for anyone who harbors notions of touring Tuscany.
Just about everything is covered in this book:
Appetizers, Pastas and Sauces, Risotto, Soups, Salads, Meats, Seafood, Vegetables, Pizza, Panini, Desserts and Drinks. Yes, drinks!
What I didn’t care for:
Only because of personal dietary issues I would have to say the section on Paninis was of no use to me. We have a wheat intolerance and while I can substitute a gluten free pasta for any of those dishes, the breads are straight out for us. If you are not in the minority of folks with wheat or gluten issues, this chapter will make your mouth water.
Overall, I could offer no criticisms for this book – it’s perfect! In the list of kitchen and pantry essentials they mention we need an immersion blender. Almost any cookbook mentions this but this is the cookbook to sell me on one! I want one now…very much!
So many recipes to try, perhaps the next risotto I prepare will be the one with squab and mushrooms. For now, I will share a home cooked meal, prepared with love. Grilled pork, potatoes and squash. Liberal use of olive oil, garlic and butter! We didn’t have the Tusvan kale (from the book) but this modification doesn’t take away from the meal at all.
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