Monday, July 24, 2006


lately there is a lot of talk about the heat and about thirst quenching salvations, i.e. pimm’s, rose’ and iced latte’s. we don’t really have a strict summer drink rule in our house. it just has to be cold, refreshing and have some sort of alcohol in it! however there is usually a dominating theme to our summer drinks. last year it was pimm’s and, i have to admit that, vodka tonic is a year round staple. the theme this year is the venetian spritz. traditionally spritz is an austrian cocktail. when the austrian’s occupied venice, they introduced this cocktail to venetians which has become something you can get anywhere and everywhere in venice. in fact, venetians aren’t big on cocktails, and generally won’t serve up anything other than a glass of wine or a spritz! the base of a true spritz is red or still white wine and seltzer water. the venetians stick to the white wine and add a choice of aperol, bitter campari, select or cynar. in some areas of the veneto they skip the seltzer water and still wine all together and simply use prosecco - a sparkling white wine. and that’s how we serve ours up, with the addition of ice and a green olive. you can also add a slice of lemon, lime or orange. we use lemon and lime, mostly because we always have them both in the house. this spritz goes down like water, so beware: you just might find yourself wobbling home! but in venice that isn’t a problem. since they don’t have cars, they walk home! i suggest you do the same........

basic spritz recipe:
1/3 bitter of your choice (aperol, bitter campar, select or cynar)
2/3 parts prosecco.
plenty of ice
a slice of citrus of your choice
an olive on a long bamboo skewer


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Monday, July 17, 2006


everytime someone leaves a comment on a post i am thrilled, i really am. it makes me so pleased that someone actually enjoyed the post enough to leave a comment for me! so, a few weeks ago when i was approached by a journalist who wanted to interview me for one of her articles, you can imagine my joy! only problem is, i am not japanese. let me explain. the name kishko threw her off. she was profiling the japanese experience in italy and assumed, as many do, that my name was japanese. so i thought maybe i should do some explaining, hence the added details to my “profile” and this post. kishko is a nickname that derives from a combination of my first and last names. this is not the first time i have been mistaken for a japanese woman. actually, i have also been mistaken for a japanese male! when i ran an academic exchange program all of my correspondence with professors and students was via email, so there was no voice to match to my mysterious androgynous name. when the students and professors would show up for the beginning of the academic year they would come to my office and ask for me, not believing that i was me! most people thought they would find a japanese male in my office. i do apologize for any disapppointments i have caused! but i do hope you will still continue reading and leaving comments!

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


only a fool would turn their oven on in this weather.
i would be that fool.
i had to make a dessert. it had to be quick and easy but seem like i had labored over it! the easiest one i know is an apple tart i make that is the combination of about 5 different recipes. the method: slice, stir, bake and serve. it couldn’t get much easier than that, no? this time i also added an almendra para helado - almond sugar designed to be used for ice cream - i bought in mallorca, spain. it is 50% sugar and 50% ground almonds so it was a perfect addition to my creation. when the tart is still warm, i serve it up with fresh whipped cream that i spike with cointreau and cinnamon. it is also tasty with ice cream. and then there are those who choose to eat this tart with both ice ream and whipped cream! i’m not lying.

For the recipe, click on the Read more link below.

3 apples, sliced papert thin
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 T butter
3 T cointreau
1/4 cup sugar
puff pastry - enough to cover the baking dish you are using, rolled out to 2mm thickness

peel, core and slice the apples paper thin and put into mixing bowl. add lemon juice, nutmeg, cointreau, sugar, 1 tablespon of the butter broken into small pieces and mix well. Sprinkle the remaining butter on the bottom of baking dish and cover evenly with apple mixture. cover with puff pastry and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 30 minutes. remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then flip over onto serving dish. serve immediately (you can wait to serve but the puff pastry absorbs all of the liquid from the apples and does not mantain a crunchy texture).

optional: i covered the bottom of the baking dish with a light coating of the almendra para helado that i had. and i added cinnamon to the whipped cream

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


do you know what kind of gastronomical product this little guy chasing a chicken is promoting?? salt! i am addicted to salt flakes. my prefered brand has been maldon salt. i haven't been able to find it here so i stock up when i am in the u.k. or, i get a friend to stock up on it for me when he/she is off to the british isles. my last request was filed with a scottish friend. however, maldon salt was no where to be found in "scottie", so i was presented with a beautiful black box of cerebos salt flakes as an alternative. i haven't tried it yet, but the white crystals look like enormous white snowflakes, so it has to be good! have any of you tried these tiny bits of goodness yet?

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

MINI GUINESS (sort of)

coffee is a very personal beverage. some like it at the bar, some prefer it at home served up from a coffee press or from a “moka” machine. in italy you can enjoy coffee in countless variations. for example:
espresso normale (single espresso)
espresso doppio (double espresso)
macchiato freddo (with a drop of cold milk)
macchiato caldo (with a drop of hot steamed milk)
lungo (or “long” meaning that they let extra water filter through the coffee)
corto (or “short” meaning a small espresso)
in vetro (in a glass)
cappuccino caldo (very hot cappuccino)
cappuccino tiepido (luke warm cappuccino)
caffe' latte (you all know what that is!)
latte macchiato (“stained” milk, which is milk with a drop of coffee in it)
and the list goes on and on, offering something for absolutely everyone! my idea of the perfect coffee is the kind you can drink straight out of a shot glass, no sugar, no milk. when the coffee is so pure and smooth that it just doesn’t need anything! it might sound strange, but even in italy (i should specify: northern italy, otherwise the southern italians, who pride themselves on their coffee, will boycott my blog!) i find there are very few places that actually make such a divine nectar anymore. i often go for a cappuccino when i am not familiar with a venue. however, when i become a regular somewhere, then i know exactly what i want and how i want it: caffe’ normale in vetro with a rich and thick head on it resembling a mini pint of guiness!

bar bellini
san lorenzo mercato centrale

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Monday, July 03, 2006


it is not so easy to get good reads in english when you need them here in florence. don’t get me wrong, there are some decent haunts, like the paperback exchange and some newsstands carry a good collection of books and magazines in english. not cheap, but good. but whenever mr. e. or i make a trip to the u.k. or to the states we come back with piles of “rags” (better known as magazines) and books. last week, mr. e. was in london on business and i was the lucky recipient of brand spankin’ new eye and brain food.

here they are:

the perfectionist, by rudolph chelminski
this book has been popping up on my screen for months every time i go to visit pim. it is about the life and death of the geat chef bernard loiseau. i haven’t finished it yet, but at 150 pages into it, i am hooked. ANY food blogger will enjoy this read.

les halles cookbook, by anthony bourdain (a signed copy!)
written in true bourdain style, he manages to express smells and flavors through his words. and, he always saves space for a good laugh. the introduction opens with: “this is not a cookbook......i will assume only that you can handle a knife with reasonable competence, without being a danger to yourself or others....”

food & wine magazine, july 2006 issue
interesting review of the best new chefs of 2006 and an article on “the state of french cuisine” featuring francois simon from le figaro.

cook’s illustrated, august 2006 issue
i have always read this on line and only purchased copies when i am back in the states. i have finally splurged on a one year subscription. this is definitely my favorite foodie magazine (saveur takes 2nd place). void of advertising, they are free to write what they want to, when they want to and however they want to!

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