Summer holds so many great food memories from my childhood in Italy. One of my favorites is the smell and taste of a ripe tomato right off the vine. Everyone in our town had a vegetable garden, and no matter its size, there were always lots of tomato plants. After all, the gravy (sauce) that we canned had to last for a whole year of pasta meals.
My nonna loved to harvest the plum tomatoes. She cut them in half, squeezed the seeds and liquid out, sprinkled them with salt and placed them on a white sheet in the sun to dry. While helping nonna, I got to taste them as they grew progressively dryer and more intense in flavor. Yum!
My mom did the rest of the work with the tomatoes. She blanched them and ran them through a food mill to remove the skin and seeds, and then put them in jars. It was a time consuming task that was repeated a number of times during tomato season, and well worth it.
In South Philadelphia, bottles of homemade wine flow freely as hostess gifts and gracious thank yous from friends and family. Most of them have three things in common:
- The gifter thinks highly of you to share their precious stash.
- You must be incredibly grateful for their generous gift and enjoy it, or at least pretend to love it.
- It will almost certainly be more palatable as salad dressing than wine.
Jules Esposito, Jr. is determined to change the perception that homemade wine is nothing more than glorified vinegar. Jules is our cousin, and far from the average twenty-something. By day, he works alongside his family at Esposito’s Porchetta (1627 S. 10th St., Philadelphia, PA 19148). You may have enjoyed their sandwiches at any number of festivals in the area. In his free time, he crafts delicious homemade wines. Read the rest of this entry »
Gleeful squeals coming from the coffee bar are a sure indication that Fante’s Granita is back in season! This homemade specialty is pined for year-round, and not a day goes by that someone doesn’t request it. Alas, Granita season is short lived – from the Italian Market Festival in May until the weather cools in the fall. But fear not… we have crafted a copycat recipe so that you can enjoy a similar Granita treat at home, anytime you choose. Read the rest of this entry »
Is there anything better than a beautiful fruit tart full of fresh, seasonal fruit? Well, maybe just that delicious buttery crust that can become the vessel for the fruit.
Tarts are relatively simple to make, and can have a dramatic presentation on your dessert table. The secret to a perfect fruit tart is to wash and strain your fruit in a colander, and then to pat it dry with a towel to remove any extra liquid in the fruit.
We are going to take you step by step through two tart recipes that are perfect for spring. And remember, tarts are playful and fun! Feel free to use either crust and filling together, and any of your favorite fruits and jellies to glaze. Read the rest of this entry »
Italian Peach Cakes are light and sweet desserts reserved for special occasions. They present beautifully and are fairly easy to bake and construct, if you have the right tools. The cake and custard are simple and flavored with Peach Brandy.
Our Fante’s recipe was developed by Jeanne Fante. In this post, we included a different method of decorating that involves a little less work and a little more liqueur! “Decorating” the peach cakes is done with Alkermes liqueur, granulated sugar and a peach leaf. You, too, can make beautiful and delicious peach cakes to impress guests at your next special event!