Fresh Fruit Photographs

A compilation of fruit pictures: from our garden & orchard, and what I pick up here and there at Italian markets. I love to share fruit photographs so I’ll be adding to this post over time.

You’ll also find fruit recipes on this blog, and much much more on Italian food, wine, travel & culture. With lots of pictures!

Just picked from my garden…

strawberries

A gorgeous lemon on our tree….

lemontree

From our local market; we use them every day for fresh squeezed juice…divine!

Sicilian oranges

 

 

Chicken with red & yellow peppers

Chickenandpeppers2

Traditionally this is a summer dish; it’s one of the wonderful ways to use the abundance of red and yellow peppers from the garden. It happens to be great just about anytime of the year…warm & hearty, it falls squarely into the great comfort food category.

This dish is usually served as a main course, but last weekend I decided to use it as a pasta sauce. Once the chicken is cooked it falls easily away from the bone and can be broken into bite-sized pieces. The tomatoes and peppers are luscious and juicy, and with the chicken bits it made a great sauce for a short pasta like rigatoni.

CHICKEN WITH RED PEPPERS AND TOMATOES

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil, 74 milliliters (5 tablespoons)
Chicken pieces (about 12), skinned, 1 kilogram (35 ounces)
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 red or yellow peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
Canned, peeled tomatoes, chopped, 400 grams (14 ounces)
Dry white wine, 237 milliliters (1 cup)
Fresh Italian parsley, minced, 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Cook chicken until golden brown, without overcrowding the skillet.

Browningchicken
Transfer to a platter.

Brownedchicken
Add onion and garlic to the skillet and sauté until onion is soft, scraping up browned bits (about 4 minutes).
Add the red peppers, tomatoes, and wine.
Return the chicken to the skillet, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the peppers are tender, the chicken cooked through and the sauce is reduced.

Chickenandpeppers

Add the chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper and serve.

 

 

A glance at the FloraCult Plant & Flower Market

Edible Flowers

It was my first time to attend the annual FloraCult plant and flower show. I was expecting something more formal, elaborate and extensive but instead it was more like a country fair. A beautiful, thoroughly enjoyable country fair!

There were flowers, fruit trees and plants from throughout of Italy. A Sicilian producer was selling delicious oranges, avocados and other fruits he produces. The stand next to his, Hortus Hesperidis, had unusual citrus fruits I’d never encountered: a lemon kumquat, an orange lemon tree (lemons that are orange) and a number of fascinating heirloom fruits. My favorite was an heirloom orange tree, the Arancio del Console.

ArancioConsole

There was an abundance of plants and flowers for purchase: gorgeous roses, hibiscus, fruit trees, heirloom plants and many edible flowers…

FloraCultflowers

Heirloom figs…

HeritageFigs

There were also many artisans at FloraCult. Some were making products from plants, and others were making products for plants and gardens. One woman was selling hedgehogs, birds and other animals made from metal and then handpainted for garden decoration. Anna Gabbiano (anna.gabbiani@corbetta.org), a basket maker from the Lombardy region, was making beautiful baskets from olive branches. She learned her basket making technique from basket master Giovanni D’Amico di Khama, at his school on the island of Pantelleria near Sicily. Other artisans had made vases and tables from wood, stone, ceramics and baskets.

HangingBaskets

More baskets, and tables…

baskets

I purchased beautiful cutting boards and salad forks & spoons, all handmade from olive wood, for gifts. Luca, the wood-working artisan is from Tuscany, near Florence (info@tuscanartisan.com).

Olive wood

One stand, Vivi di Sana Pianta, offered cooking programs all day, demonstrating how to cook with herbs, flowers, and all the plants and so-called weeds that grow all over the countryside. They’re located in the Lombardy region.

EdibleHerbsFloraCult

Edible weeds, like this borage

Borragine

 

 

Radiatori Pasta with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Ricotta & Fresh Mint

We’re moving into late spring and pasta dishes are already starting to take on a light and fresh twist. Not too terribly far south of Rome there are already some luscious tomatoes and tender zucchini available. And our mint plants are exploding with leaves, just begging to be used. I picked up some fresh sheep’s ricotta…

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Beyond a doubt eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes, and one I don’t make often enough. It’s simple enough, but not something you throw together in ten minutes. And it does involve frying…at least the way we like it…so that’s why I try not to make it too often. Let’s face it, frying is…

Preserved Lemons

PreservedLemonsInJars2

I first tried preserved lemons last spring in San Francisco and loved them immediately. My sister Carolyn heard about them from her family pastor who loves adding them to tuna fish salad. Carolyn found a recipe for preserved lemons and decided to make a few jars using lemons from her daughter’s tree. What attracted me to preserved lemons…

Roast Butternut Squash & Rosemary Soup

Roasted butternut squash and rosemary soup

Winter calls for warm and hearty comfort foods and there’s nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup to soothe the winter blues. One of my favorites is butternut squash soup. I have quite a few squash on hand, remnants of last summer’s garden. They last the good part of a year and before…

Castagnole di Carnevale

Castagnole di Carnevale

Italian tradition has it that just before the forty days of lent when one feels compelled to give up tasty goodies, is the time to indulge in sweet, fried foods. Castagnole have been part of this tradition since the 17th century, along with frappe and a number of other sweet treats that vary according to the region…