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Have you ever eaten fregola? The little toasted rounds of pasta look like Israeli couscous–relatively large, dried balls of semolina flour baked until golden. They get that color not just from time spent under heat, but often a bit of saffron. Fregola’s home base is Sardinia, one of those Italian islands in the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll find this imported pasta at specialty markets or high end grocery stores. Although fregola is not the most inexpensive pasta on the shelf, it is worth at least one round on your dinner table. Fregola is the base of this salad perfect for your end of summer cookouts or grilling parties, including the quickly approaching Labor Day weekend. Bring the fregola, and your guests will be impressed.
First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving! Without a doubt this is our favorite holiday of the year. There are no presents to buy or any gifts to wrap. All you’re expected to do is show up and enjoy delicious food with delightful people. What’s better? Anyhow, as you’re roasting the turkey and slicing up that pie, here’s a Guest Test Kitchen from our dear friend Tari. Over a year ago, our friend James made a Grilled Summer Squash Salad for his test kitchen feature. Tari and James just got engaged, so it’s only fitting that she have her turn at bat. She made also picked a squash dish for her own guest post. This one is perfect for the cool weather. Here’s Tari with the rest.
Are you caught up on Top Chef: All Stars? Not only is the show madly addictive, but also this season is the best season of Top Chef yet! We both love some good reality television–sometimes the trashy kind too– as much as the next person. Incorporate food into it somehow, and you got a hit in our book. A few episodes ago, the contestants were challenged to create a traditional Italian dish for New York’s exclusive eatery, Rao’s. The judges and celebrity guests wined and dined family-style at the infamous restaurant, enjoying creation after creation from the skilled chefs. Watching all of this clearly had mouths salivating with a ravenous appetite. I swear I could smell Fabio’s Chicken Cacciatore through the television. Plus, the fun everyone dining appeared to be having was highly penetrating. You could feel the joy and passion emanating from each person as these large platters overflowing with Italian delight were passed around the table.
As soon as the episode ended, plans were already formulating to have an Italian feast. Unfortunately, Chrystal was teaching all day, so she could only be there in spirit. The …
By the time this month’s exploration came around, we were for the first time at a loss on what to make. What region of the world should we explore this month? The answer didn’t come quite as quickly as in the past. After some lengthy deliberations, we honed in on Italy. Chrystal did just return from a marvelous New Years vacation in this renowned country, and we loved the idea of finding something different to make in a familiar genre of food. So, boom, it was decided. This month we explore the Italian peninsula—dilemma solved! Well, not quite…
When life gives you tomatoes and cornbread, make panzanella. Panzanella, you say? Yes, panzanella. It’s not just for the Italians. We love to try Southernized versions of dishes, and we’ve seen several versions of cornbread based panzanellas out there. It was time to give it a try. This is the summer bread salad of all summer bread salads, especially if you have a pint of cherry tomatoes that are just waiting to be used for something good. If you’re asking why cornbread, we’re sure you’ll have no doubts once you take a bite. The Southerner in us says thanks to whoever came up with the idea.