Panzanella

Summer! A magical land of flip flops, sunshine, rock & roll, olive oil, zinfandel, barbecues, sunflowers, golden sunsets, the laughter of children, hummingbirds, wild salmon from Alaska, zucchini blossoms, sand stuck to your feet, pink wine, watermelon, baseball, baby deer in the park, cold beer, and, most of all, tomatoes.

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Summer makes me think of Tuscany. Once, while strolling through Florence with my sister Andrea on a blazing hot summer day, I was wishing I had some sunglasses. The very moment I had the thought, I glanced at a trashcan we happened to be passing, and there sitting on top of a pile of refuse was a pair of almost-new, round John Lennon-y sunglasses. And, they were rose-colored glasses! Tuscany is sort of magical that way. More

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Yeast of Eden

A frequently heard lament around my house is our inability to locate a good and authentic Parisian baguette anywhere in the city.

Fresh baked bread, Parma butter and speck

I’ve driven hours, all over the city, in search of the elusive loaf. Any time I see a French bakery, I stop and purchase a baguette. Some are decent, most are bad… but none are great. All of which led me to the conclusion that perhaps if I wanted a good baguette, I should be making it myself. But after researching the equipment and time required, and guessing that the result would likely be no better than anything I’d encountered in my Ulyssean travels about town, I realized I would not be adding the baguette to my baking repertoire. More

All You Knead is Love

I recall when I worked in pizza joints as a pimply kid, big beachballs of pizza dough churning in cavernous steel bowls beneath a massive metal Popeye arm. Industrial mixers made quick work of enough flour, yeast and water for 100 pies. But if you’re a home cook, why deprive yourself of the meditative pleasure of kneading?

Fresh savory rustic bread, just out of the oven

I sometimes see TV chefs mixing their dough in a Cuisinart. While this works perfectly well, your dough will never have that intangible mojo the best food has — the love that comes from a human hand. More