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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Strawberries...the Tears of Venus

Spring is almost here and that means the appearance of this beautiful red fruit.

Legend has it that when Adonis died, Venus shed tears that turned into strawberries..for this reason they  were  enjoyed by Romans at feasts held in his name. Shakespeare called strawberries food worthy of  fairies..and King Louis XIV had them planted in the gardens of  Versailles...

Anticipation..anticipation..for Spring and Strawberry season..
Here is a recipe from the Gourmand World Cookbook Award winner The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays &Special Occasions

Risotto alla Fragole (risotto with strawberries)

4 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks chopped finely

1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice

1 tablespoon butter (unsalted)

pinch of salt

1 cup Prosecco, Spumante or dry white wine

10 ounces fresh strawberries, washed and cut in half

Heat vegetable broth till boiling. Place olive oil in large saute pan. Place in chopped leeks and saute till leeks are just about golden. Place in rice and toast till rice is coated with oil and all liquid is evaporated. Add in wine or Prosecco. Stir till all liquid is evaporated. Place in ½ cup of vegetable broth and stir till all liquid is evaporated and repeat placing in ½ cup liquid til evaporated till rice is al dente (approximately 15 minutes).

Puree strawberries. When rice is almost done, place in strawberry puree. Stir in well. Remove from heat. Let stand for 2 minutes. Place 1 tablespon of butter on top and stir till melted. Serve ,top with grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese. Decorate plates with strawberry garnish.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Complete Your Perfect Meal with Perfect Dinnerware

It was  a truly exhilarating experience the first time I remember enjoying a dinner on special dinnerware that I had selected! What a veritable treat combining sensory pleasures of sight and taste together..and so it goes that although we eat with our mouth..we also eat with our eyes..

So when planning a dinner or event be just as attentive to the dinnerware and silverware as you are to selecting the ingredients for your recipes. Make your meal a culinary experience!
Here are some tips for selecting dinnerware:

*Colors do brighten up any table so for a touch of color select plates in colors that can coordinate,they don't have to all be an exact match just an interesting coordination

*Look for quality in your dinnerware, not quantity. Or if you must have more than  one set choose one set  of everyday dinner plates  that are  durable and dishwasher safe and one set that are for special occasions only. This is a great way to create a special occasion of your own and when you feel like making a special meal or want the meal to be a special one-pull out your 'special dinnerware' -it definitely has a psychological effect!

*Remember that the dinnerware you purchase has to have storage space of  its' own in your house. So be sure it will fit somewhere before you purchase it and bring it home.

Silverware.. you can find more interesting facts at Silverware Wikipedia ..but did you know that silverware as we use it today was invented by Leonardo DaVinci??? and introduced to the world by Caterina De Medici when she went to live in France after marrying the King of France she brought her silverware to France and the rest of the world  caught on.

Here are some tips to choosing silverware:
*Choose one set of silverware for everyday dinnerware and another for special occasions.

*Coordinate styles of silverware patterns with dinnerware
Luckily. living in the modern world we can hop over to  Bed Bath & Beyond  and select our dinnerware and silverware in one stop! Not like Caterina De Medici who had to take it all with her!