Summer of the Spritz

I began seeing them in Rome; orange-colored drinks in the hands of the beautiful people sitting at sidewalk cafes. But I had just arrived in Italy; I was in the mood for red wine and Moretti beer.

There were fewer of the drinks in Tuscany, where a really big red wine is required alongside the region’s giant steaks. It was when we arrived in Venice that they were unavoidable; an orange drink in every hand, the perfect foil to the heat and humidity in the world’s most magical city: the Aperol spritz.

A gondolier takes a break in the heat of the Venice afternoon

A gondolier takes a break in the heat of the Venice afternoon

Many years ago, when I lived in Santa Monica with my sister Laura — a globetrotting model, ex-Rod Steward girlfriend and drinker of fashionable aperitifs — I gained an appreciation for Campari and soda. The Aperol spritz is the sweeter, less bitter, more refreshing first cousin to the Campari and soda. More

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The Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Venice — The Rialto Fish Market

I first came to Venice, the most magical city on earth, more than two decades ago. And every time I have returned, I’ve always wandered through the spectacular Rialto fish market with one thought in my head: “I wish I had a kitchen.”

This time, I have a kitchen.

The Rialto fish market

The Rialto fish market

We met up with our friends, the Schneiders, at the fish market to get stuff for dinner. As much as I wanted to purchase everything I saw, I nearly had to physically restrain my pal, Donnie, from cleaning the market out. More

Crispy Shrimp Risotto Fake Out

I’m a big believer in the ol’ saying, “If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” I often spring it on my children when something hasn’t gone the way they were hoping, and they roll their eyes at me.

One lemon that life keeps giving me over and over again is burnt rice. About one out of every three times I make sushi rice, I space out and forget to turn it off and it burns.

Crispy shrimp risotto fake out

Crispy shrimp risotto fake out

If it isn’t too burned, I’m able to salvage most of the rice and it has a nice woodsy nutty smoked taste that works well with sushi. Also if it’s not too burned, the “burnt” part comes off with a wrist twist of the spatula in crusty golden brown strips. If you put it in a 200 degree oven for 40 or so minutes, it dries out and becomes the hard stuff the Chinese fry to drop into sizzling rice. More

The Treasures of the Lagoon — a Guest Post

When my neighbors, Chris and Glennis, told me they were renting a flat in Venice next to the Rialto bridge — and more importantly, the famous Rialto fish market — it was all I could do to contain my envy and jealousy joy for them. I’ve always wanted to have a kitchen in Venice so I could cook the wonderful and exotic things at the Rialto market. Glennis has one of my favorite blogs, Doves Today. So I made her promise to take lots of photos and do a guest post on my blog. Without further ado, here is her richly documented contribution. Enjoy!

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The Treasures of the Lagoon

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“In Venice even ordinary sole and ugly great skate are striped with delicate lilac lights, the sardines shine like newly-minted silver coins, pink Venetian scampi are fat and fresh, infinitely enticing in the early dawn.” – Elizabeth David

In Venice, our flat faced the Grand Canal at the Calle di Boteri, just down from the Rialto Mercado. Here, the great mercantile center of Venice has operated since the 16th century, with the Erberia, the produce market, and the Pescheria, the Fish Market next to one another beside the canal. More

What’s the Bigoli Deal?

Oftentimes when I have a specific ingredient I want to cook, I’ll have a vague recollection of a wonderful dish I had once, read about or made myself that uses said ingredient. And then I’ll set out — sometimes successfully, sometimes not — to remember what it was and find it.

Venetian bigoli in salsa

That was what was happening on a lazy Sunday afternoon as I contemplated what I was going to make for dinner. I felt like Italian, and moving jars, bags and boxes around in the pantry, I discovered a forgotten bag of whole wheat spaghetti. More

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