Sweet Potato Tian

•January 29, 2016 • 1 Comment


I’ve been a little harried since we moved to Washington, I will not lie. With all of the moves that I have experienced, back and forth from Italy, experiencing a new kind of culture shock each time, this may have been the worst. I can’t pinpoint what it is, our first move here as a couple was childless, so we could explore the world with a lot more freedom. Our move to Puglia came with a lot of perks, a fancy hotel for the first few months, a great preschool for our eldest and the joys of seasonal eating in southern Italy. Moving to the suburbs of Seattle has been the biggest culture shock of all, and I’m completely stunted by it. It doesn’t help that my 6 year old is constantly reminding us of how much she misses Italy, her friends, the food, “the old times”. She longs for it, in true Neapolitan fashion. She may be bi-cultural, but her heart is Italian, romantic, creative and melodramatic.

The introduction to this post has very little to do with the actual content, sweet potatoes, though the point is that this was a dish that I made for Thanksgiving, it is January 29th and I am just now getting around to posting it. Harried.

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Sweet Potato Tian

from Epicurious

  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 6 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, sliced into 1/8″-thick rounds
  • 2 pounds parsnips (about 3 extra-large), peeled, sliced into 1/8″-thick rounds4 cups apple cider1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Special equipment: A 4-quart casserole dish or braiser, preferably round

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°F. Bring cider to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, add butter, thyme, Aleppo, and 2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until butter is melted. Let cool slightly.

Place potatoes and parsnips in a large bowl. Pour cider mixture over and toss to coat. Stack a handful of slices about 3″ high, then place vertically in casserole dish. Using a measuring cup or small bowl, keep slices standing up as you go, working around the perimeter and then into the center, forming concentric circles. Continue arranging slices in pan until tightly packed (you may have some leftover). Pour in cider mixture to come halfway up sides of dish; discard remaining cider mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tsp. salt and cover tightly with foil.

Bake, covered, 1 hour. Remove foil and brush pan juices over tops of slices with a pastry brush. Increase oven temperature to 425°F and bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top, 35–40 minutes more.

Do Ahead: After first round of baking at 325°F, let cool, then chill for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature, then bake, uncovered, at 425°F for 40–50 minutes.

Cooks’ Note: If you have a mandoline, use it to slice the sweet potatoes and parsnips—it will help you get thinner, more even slices in less time than by hand. The number of potatoes and parsnips you need to fill your casserole dish will depend on their width, so buy extra just in case, and try to seek out parsnips that are as close as possible to the width of your sweet potatoes.


One Year Ago: Il Gateau di Patate

Two Years Ago: frittelle di cavolfiori e baccalà & Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Three Years Ago: Baccala’ alla Vicentina con Polenta & Stuffed Squid

Four Years Ago: dalla nostra terra, a walk in the country & Gli antipasti della Lanternaia

Five Years Ago: Potato-Mushroom Cake with Braised Lentils, Meatloaf & Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, Saffron and Red Wine

Seven Years Ago: pesce all’acqua pazza & An interpretation of La Genovese

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

•January 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Late! Late by 21 days, or 2 months! I’ll let you be the judge. These are my New Years Day black eyed peas, because like any true Southern Girl, I have my hoppin john and my greens a stewin’ early New Years Day. The hoppin’ john was actually this gorgeous black eyed pea salad, because the truth of it is that I don’t really care for black eyed peas, but if they are dressed up with lots of herbs and spices they shine in a new way.

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I can’t say that I have stuck with this tradition throughout the years, I go back and forth between the Italian tradition of lentils and the traditions from my south. After a lovely Christmas vacation in my home city of Atlanta my southern roots needed to bring a little warmth to this dark and damp part of the world.

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Black-Eyed Pea Salad

from the New York Times

  • 1 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 3 large garlic cloves, 2 of them crushed and left in the skin, 1 of them minced
  • ½ onion, intact
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, in season only, diced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb (about 1/2 pound), trimmed, quartered, cored and sliced very thin across the grain
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • cup chopped fresh dill
  • cup chopped chives
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled

Place the black-eyed peas, whole crushed garlic cloves, halved onion and bay leaf in a large, heavy saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender but intact, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and allow the black-eyed peas to cool for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the onion. Remove the garlic cloves, squeeze the cooked garlic out of the skins and back into the black-eyed peas, and drain through a strainer set over a bowl.

Transfer the black-eyed peas to a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, minced garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the beans. Add the remaining ingredients except the feta and toss together. If you want a bit more liquid with the beans, add back some of the broth (I found the dressing to be sufficient). Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve.


One Year Ago: Umbria, Rugelach, Scarole Imbottite & Gamberoni al Vino Bianco

Two Years Ago: Merano / Meran, Alto Adige / Südtirol, Marketing for our Christmas Feasts, Panettone Gastronomico & Pollo alla Cacciatora

Three Years Ago: Francavilla Fontana Thanksgiving, Risotto with grated Fennel, Monkfish and Pistachios, Pranzo di Domenica, Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms, Latkes, Creamy Carrot Soup with Poppy Seeds, Rigatoni with Octopus and Artichokes, La Vigilia di Natale, Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins and Olives, Polipo al forno con le patate & Pasta al Forno con Funghi Pleurotus e Spinaci

Four Years Ago: Fettucine alla Crema di Carciofi, Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Almonds and Couscous, Mushroom and Fig Risotto, Classic Meatloaf, Pasta al Forno with Collards and Baked Eggs, Risotto with Salmon, Chanterelles and Chives & Relais Histò

Five Years Ago: Cappuccino Cheesecake, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Apple Puree, Turkey Tetrizzini, Brasato alla Birra, Torta di Riso e Zucchine, Risotto ai Funghi Porcini, Spaghetti With Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Olives, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Risotto with Pumpkin and Olives, Lentil Stew With Pumpkin, Zuppa di Pesce, Farfalle with Portobello Mushrooms and Arugula & Herb Crusted Pork Loin,

Six Years Ago: Grilled Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Pomegranate Glaze, Blackbean, Pumpkin and Leek Soup, Focaccia, Linguine con Finocchio e Sarde, Swedish Meatballs, Penne alla Boscaiola, What to do with Leftover Meatballs!, Maple Pear Upside-Down Cake, Nasi Goreng & Spaghetti e Vongole

Seven Years Ago: Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Anchovy Vinaigrette, La Sicilia I, La Sicilia II, La Sicilia III, Fusilli with Swordfish and Pistachios, Salsicce sulla Pietra Ollare, Sfogliatella, Cotolleta alla Milanese, Polpo alla Luciana, Calamarata with Octopus Heads and Clams, Ligurian Shop Windows, Puntarelle, Ristorante in Lavagna, Spaghetti with Calamari and Artichokes, Cornetto Salato with Prosciutto di San Daniele, Panettone, Alici Fritti, Roasted Fennel Gratin, Zucchini Quiche & Polpo Affogato

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

•November 20, 2015 • 2 Comments


Never again will a deviled egg go unpickled in this house. What started as an aesthetic curiosity has now become a cult following, I am that cult, a cult of one. Beet-pickled eggs, wow, I saw a pretty picture on epicurious and had to try them out. What I didn’t realize was that a night spent in vinegar and beet juice would not only make my deviled eggs beautiful, but it would take them to a whole other level of deliciousness, a level that I really would have never imagined possible.

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I first made them with a traditional deviled egg filling, classic southern deviled eggs, can’t go wrong with that. They were delicious, of course, the beet-pickled gave them that tang that simple deviled eggs sometimes need. I used a recipe that my friend Regina gave me the 2nd time I made them, this has become my favorite way to make deviled eggs, with a filling of spinach and bacon, truly decadent. These friends, fellow Atlantans, scarfed up those eggs in a few minutes, licking their chops and their fingertips with satisfied pleasure, I must say that it was a proud moment for me. I love someone who can really appreciate a good deviled egg as much as I can.


Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus a pinch, divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch, divided
  • 1 small red beet, peeled and halved
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup cooked spinach, chopped
  • 6 oz. bacon, cooked and broken into bits
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp relish or chopped pickles
  • 1/4 tsp horseradish
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • paprika for sprinkling

In a medium pot, mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups water. Add the beet and bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour into a large heat-safe jar or bowl (including beet). Add eggs, stir, and refrigerate at least 3 hours (stirring occasionally) or overnight for a darker shade of pink.

Remove eggs from liquid. Halve eggs lengthwise, and carefully scoop out yolks. Place yolks in a bowl, and mash with a fork. Mix the remaining ingredients in with the yolks. Fill each egg white with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the egg-yolk mixture and dust the top with paprika.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

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One Year Ago: Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno, Polipo alla Pignata & Curried Lentil, Rice and Carrot Burgers

Two Years Ago: Lentil and Escarole Soup, Turkish Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt, Tagliatelle con speck, funghi e panna & White Bean, Fennel and Barley Stew

Three Years Ago: Casareccie with grilled zucchini, pancetta and pine nuts, Orata al Cartoccio con i Finocchi Arrostiti, Risotto di Pesce a l’Aroma di Limone, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Pasta, Patate e Provola & Roasted Vegetables with Rosemary and Fennel scented Fish

Four Years Ago: Spaghetti di Ettore, Roasted Figs, Seed Crusted Pork Loin, Zucchini and Smoked Salmon Spaghetti, Carolina Gold Risotto with Pumpkin and Oil Cured Black Olives & Pureed White Bean and Winter Squash Soup

Five Years Ago: Orecchiette, Snapper alla Matalotta, Risotto with Snapper in a Saffron Broth, Farfalle with Calamari and Yellow Tomatoes, Risotto with Pattypan Squash, Kale and Grilled Sausage & Summer Squash Curry

Six Years Ago: Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions, Anchovies and Toasted Bread Crumbs, Kale and Potato Soup, Pumpkin and Kale Risotto, Apple Pancakes, Pasta e Zucca, Spanakopita, Peanut Butter Brownies, Polpettone & Phyllo Sweeties

Seven Years Ago: Roasted Ricciola on a bed of Fennel, Pizza for Lunch and Pizza for Dinner, Marco’s in Riviera di Chiaia, Napoli, Fried Sole with Mache and Pear Salad, Babà, Melanzane alla Lina, Orata alla Ligure, Pizza Bianca Farcita, Ziti with a Seafood-Fennel Sauce, Fruit Tart with Crema Pasticciera and Shortbread Cookies, Farfalle alla Nerano, Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Renella, Pizza, Zucchine alla Scapece, Obama!!, Linguine with Artichokes, Cicoria Saltata in Padella, Lunch in Anzio, Mezze Maniche alla Checca, Squid Ink Risotto with Cuttlefish and Artichokes, Mezze Maniche con i Broccoli Romani, Braised Lentils With Spinach, Fish, Zucchini and Potato Gratin, Mushroom and Celery Salad, Risotto alla Milanese & Ricotta and Spinach Pie

Ceci Neri con le Seppie

•October 16, 2015 • 1 Comment

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7 years! It is shocking that another year has gone by and we find ourselves on the opposite end of the world, again. Italicious has served in some ways as a log for the past 7 years of my life, it has travelled with me through our first few years of marriage, through my first go at motherhood, through some serious heartbreak and then through the joy that came from the birth of my youngest daughter. It has travelled with me through the last few months of our life in Rome, with that dimly lit kitchen and warming up to writing my own recipes. It moved to Charleston where I became part of such a rich food community as a board member of Slow Food Charleston and just soaked up the awesome food culture that thrives there. Then on to the rich agrarian Puglia where every trip to the market uncovered a new treasure, every knock on the door from a neighbor with something homemade that they wanted to share with us, I miss those orecchiette that Domenica would bring us. Now we find ourselves in the Pacific Northwest, this Southern-East Coast girl and I still don’t know what to make of it. I can’t wait to look back on this a year from now and see how far I’ve come.

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This is one of the last recipes that I have left from our life in Puglia, it is a very traditional recipe, taken from a wonderful Slow Food restaurant in Ceglie Messapica, Cibus. Black chickpeas are fairly easy to find in those parts, and even though they take twice the amount of time to cook, they are much nuttier in flavor and pair so perfectly with seafood. I tried this recipe at Cibus with baccalà, salted cod as a soup, it was creamy and delicious, when I came across this recipe in my Puglia cookbook, I knew I had to try it at home.

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Ceci Neri con le Seppie

adapted and translated from Ricette di osterie della Puglia. Mare, erbe e fornelli Slow Food Editor

  • 1/2 kilo (1 lb) of black chickpeas (gniur)
  • 2 cuttlefish, the recipe includes the ink sack, but I avoided the mess and left it out, cut into strips
  • 200 grams (about 1/2 a pound) of ripe cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of shallots, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Soak your chickpeas overnight, then rinse them and cook them in salty water. Use whatever you find works best, pressure cooker, crock pot or just a slow (2 hour!) cook on the stove, the recipe just tells you to boil them!

In a heavy bottomed soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the shallots and the celery, cooking them until they become transparent. Add the cuttlefish and the ink from the sacks, if you are using them, stirring everything. Add the tomatoes and the cooked beans, strained. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for 20 minutes and if necessary add vegetable broth. Serve with crusty bread.


Three Years Ago: Alici Indorate e Fritte

Four Years Ago: Cold Asparagus Salad with Sesame Seeds

Five Years Ago: Frittura di Funghi Porcini

Six Years Ago: Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake & Pasta e Ceci

Seven Years Ago: Cuttlefish over Spaghetti with a Tomato – Olive sauce & Pasta e Fagioli

Farfalle with Roman Beans, Tomato Confit and Salmon

•October 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment


The hiatus has been too long, the blog world must be worried that we aren’t eating here in Seattle, or closer to the reality, eating poorly. I can’t say that we have been excited by the food here. Sure, I’m happy about the plethora of good Asian restaurants and enjoying a few things that I missed when we were in Italy, but we are generally disappointed. We’re mainly disappointed in what we’re finding at the grocery store, from your general American supermarket, to Costco to the fancier shops. We don’t eat out as much as we used to, because even though I’ve mastered eating with one hand, holding my youngest in the other, I can’t say that I enjoy it, so we do most of our eating at home. After living in such a rich agricultural and fishing culture we are having a really hard time. Culture shock.


Of course there are some wonderful markets, their only problem is proximity, we don’t actually live in Seattle, we are deep in the burbs, so a jaunt to Pike Place market, or the Ballard farmer’s market is an all day outing and who knows how that fish is going to smell on the way home. I’ll stop my whining, these things take time, and we need to give it its due time, either we will adapt to mediocre or we will find our gold mine… time.

We did find these gorgeous romano beans at Pike Place market when we brought my sister to see it, they were being sold at one of the flower stands. The vendor was excited that we knew what they were and had never thought to cook them with pasta, I was excited to actually find them and that they were being sold alongside gorgeous dahlias!

One last thing… salmon, it is amazing here, no doubt, but this girl is over it and I’m still on the look out for those fresh octopus.

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Farfalle with Roman Beans, Tomatoes Confit and Salmon

for the tomato confit:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 stems of fresh thyme
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 275F. Clean your tomatoes and cut them in half, distribute on a baking sheet, sprinkle the sugar, thyme and salt evenly over the tomatoes. Drizzle on the olive oil. Place in the center of the oven and roast for about 2 hours, checking to make sure that they don’t dry out too much.

  • 1 lb romano beans
  • 1 clove of garlic, squished, peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 lb fresh salmon (smoked will also work, though the flavor will be more intense)
  • 1 lb farfalle
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Clean the beans by snapping off the ends and rinsing under cold water, shake the water off of them and dry off with a clean kitchen towel. Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add the clove of garlic. When garlic starts to sizzle add the romano beans, saute until the beans start to blister and wilt, lower the heat and add the tomato so that the flavors start to meld. Add the salmon to the beans when you have added the pasta to the water, you don’t want it to cook for too long, it can become very dry.

In the meantime, fill a large pot with water for the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. When the pasta is perfectly al dente, turn up the heat on the sauce and drain the pasta. Without shaking all of the water out of the colander pour the pasta into the pan and toss it with the romano beans and the salmon. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper to taste.


One Year Ago: Acciughe Sotto Sale, Tiella Barese con Cozze, Riso e Patate, Vegetable Lasagna “in bianco”, Pomegranate Chicken, Spiced Brisket with Leeks and Dried Apricots & Risotto with Calamari and Zucchini Blossoms

Two Years Ago: Merenda Napoletana, Stuffed Eggplant, Ziti con le Sarde e Cicoria & Provençal Orecchiette al Forno

Three Years Ago: Fusilli Bucati alla Puttanesca, Casareccie with Green Beans and Ricotta, Holland, Cappelletti con Salmone Affumicato e Fagiolini, Chilled Zucchini-Yogurt Soup, Risotto with Sausages and Green Beans, Herb Baked Fish, Moroccan Beet Salad, Aunt Lois’s Challah, Zucchini in Israeli Tomato Sauce, Crunchy-Topped Whole-Wheat Plum Cake, Caprese Pasta Salad with Grilled Eggplant, Roma, Insalata di Seppie con Paté di Olive, Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake & Fried Calamari

Four Years Ago: Blueberry Basil Vinegar, Pasta e Patate, Summer Squash with White Beans and Tomatoes, Ricotta, Tapenade and Cherry Tomato Pizza, Spaghetti con Acchiughe, Erbe e Limone, Mediterranean Green and White Bean Salad, Zucchini and Rice Tian, Pasta alla Norma di Zucchine, Salade Niçoise, Snapper al Sale, Risotto al Pesce, Farfalle alla Vodka & Flounder in Saffron-Tomato Sauce

Five Years Ago: Greek Stewed Green Beans and Yellow Squash With Tomatoes, Gemelli with Grilled Sausage and Scamorza, Pan Seared Wahoo over Grits with Fresh Puttanesca, Porcini Trifolati, La Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco, Pizze Fritte & Luchin

Six Years Ago: Banana Blueberry Muffins, Lincoln Park Farmers Market, Chicago Il, Risotto agli Asparagi e Zafferano, Crochette di Riso, Parmigiana di Zucchine, Meat Tzimmes, Sweet Carrot Coins, Rice Pilaf with Golden Rasins and Pistachios, Challah, Apple Cake with Honey, Garganelli with Sausage Ragù, Lentil Pottage, Swiss Chard With Raisins and Pine Nuts, Supplì & Gnocchi with Sausage Fennel Ragù

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