I never understood that cheesy saying “If life gives you lemons make lemonade”. What is so bad about lemons in the first place?! If life gives me lemons Im a happy camper. We have a lemon tree that we planted in our backyard here in Sicily and the thing has been struggling since day 1. We even have occasional gardeners that have done their magic with it, but years went by without any growth let alone a single lemon. Last year the tree had a breakthrough and finally produced! We got 3.5 total lemons and they made me so happy that I didn’t even pick them at the proper time. What was really funny is that all 3.5 lemons all showed up on the same branch, so that particular branch limb was awkward and weighted down. Im sure that there is some scientific reason that the tree did that.. unless it was just trying to be funny.
We are surrounded by groves of lemon trees in our area ( which made our lame tree all the more interesting). In Sicily there is a very good chance that every meal has a lemon involved somewhere. I have gotten into the habit myself, squeezing lemon wedges over grilled meats and sausages, pastas, and of course all types of seafood. Continue reading “Sicilian Limoncello Recipes”
How many tomato sauces have you tried? I don’t even want to know how many different things I have tried over the years. Its pretty crazy how there just isn’t a standard recipe for tomato sauce after centuries of practice. When talking food with my Italian friends, I like to bring up the fact that tomatoes originated in the Americas and were exported to Italy. They never Continue reading “Tomato Sauce Recipe – The Secret Sauce”
I think that I have written about the blood oranges of Sicily (Arancia Rossa di Sicilia). They are one of my favorite foods in Sicily. During the orange season we keep a regular supply and I eat at least one per day. All of the fruit and veggie markets have huge containers full of them. There are a few different varieties as well. My favorite are the Tarocco. The blood oranges of Sicily are IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta), which basically Continue reading “Are Sicilian Blood Oranges in the States?!?”
Went to our local farmers market yesterday and couldn’t resist picking up one of these massive Sicilian cauliflowers. They are in season right now and I have been too intimidated by them over the past few years because they are quite the commitment with their size. What on earth can I do with this thing?? It has been sitting here in the kitchen for a day just mocking me. Continue reading “Help!!! Need a Recipe for Sicilian Cauliflower”
If I had to choose a vegetable to represent Sicily it would be the Eggplant. They love this strange vegetable here. They have multiple varieties and for this recipe I prefer the “viola” which is a short and stout light purple eggplant. You can see a picture of it below. Im not sure if they have this varietal in the States …let me know!
The seafood in Sicily is something a seafood lover dreams of. Fish markets are everywhere with huge varieties of fresh fish and shellfish. Almost every restaurant has a big display case filled with fresh selections for the day. I think Sicilians are born with a taste for seafood. Literally in the grocery stores you will find baby food jars of Spigola (bass), Salmon, and Tuna. We started Luca off with these and Continue reading “Sicilian Recipe – Pasta alle Cozze – Pasta with Mussels”
Today I was able to sort out the Marinated Artichoke recipe.
What you’ll need:
½ Cup extra virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic unpeeled
3-4 oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and julienned
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
big pinch of salt
smaller pinch of pepper
½ cup water + a bowl of cold water
To keep the artichokes from discoloration I make a bowl of cold water and squeeze the lemon juice in. set aside.
Snap off tough 3 or 4 layers of outer leaves from artichokes until pale yellow tender leaves are reached. Dip in the lemon water.
Trim away dark green areas along base. Trim off end of stem. Cut artichokes lengthwise in half. Using edge of small spoon, scoop out fuzzy choke. Its weird that this little section is called the choke, but being the nerd that I am I found a picture showing the anatomy of an artichoke (below). 🙂 Artichokes are a very odd vegetable… and its sad how little of the artichoke is actually edible. Add trimmed artichokes to bowl of lemon water.
In large skillet combine oil, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and ½ cup water. Drain artichokes and add to pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and cook until tender when pierced with tip of a knife. Your kitchen will smell great at this point.
Put the artichokes into a bowl or dish and then put the oil mixture right over top. Let cool and pull the rosemary sprig, bay leaf, and garlic if you want. Usually I can’t wait for them to cool…. believe me they are good warm too.
Below are some glamor shots along the way and the anatomy of the artichoke that I promised. Buon Appetito!