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March 19, 2012

La Festa di San Giuseppe

March 19th marks La Festa di San Giuseppe, or the Feast of Saint Joseph. This Italian Father’s Day is celebrated with parades and altar decorations dedicated to San Giuseppe, especially in cities with large Italian-American communities. Traditionally, St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated with a table full of elaborate, delicious, and largely meatless foods. Here’s one of my favorite St. Joseph’s day recipes: St. Joseph’s Fig Cookies, or Biscotti ai Fichi di San Giuseppe.

st. josephs fig cookies
March 16, 2012

Happy birthday to a special family member – by Tanya

You have met most of the family by watching my mom–Lidia’s show–but this one member who turns 20 this month has never been on the show (although she is illustrated in Nonna Tell Me a Story).  Rica was born in a castle courtyard in Fiesole (just above Florence), her mother a Persian and her father the local ruffian cat.  My friend, who had been my art history professor while I was studying abroad at Georgetown’s Villa Le Balze in Florence, Linda Reynolds, gave me Rica and her cousin Frog, both fur ball kittens at the time.  Frog has since passed, but Rica celebrates her 20th birthday this year.   She has purred her way into the hearts of Corrado, Lorenzo, Julia and myself.  Join me in wishing Rica a few more cat lives.

March 15, 2012

Introducing Cody’s Midwestern Garden

Chef Cody Hogan of Lidia’s Kansas City loves what his garden brings to the table.

“Now is the time when I start to get really excited about cooking.  My April garden already has fava beans (started inside in January), all kinds of baby greens like the chicory that Grandma plants (Zuccherina di Trieste), arugula, dandelions, Minutina, spinach (planted last fall), and Swiss Chard.  The radishes are just days from picking and wild fennel sprouts promise that I’ll have the seasoning that I love for the perfect porchetta later this summer.  The beet and turnip greens are up, so if I can’t wait for the roots, I can always start cooking with the greens.  Our warm spring has encouraged me to start a number of things that I would normally wait a little longer to put in the ground like carrots, cardons, and potatoes. Now is the time to start warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant indoors (if you can).  With all of these great ingredients to look forward to, I know–weather willing–that I have three good seasons of cooking to come.”

If you’re in the KC area, be sure to pick up a copy of SPACES Magazine to read more about Cody and his delicious spring garden cooking!

Looking for seeds near KC? Cody loves GrowItalian.com, which specializes in Italian seeds.

March 15, 2012

Grandma’s Garden: What to Plant Now

Erminia is planting onions, leeks, Black Krim tomatoes, Green Zebra tomatoes, Valencia tomatoes, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, Prosperosa eggplant,  Ortolani Arugula, Ramolaccio radishes, Flamboyant radishes, Bionda di Lione chard, Mixed Colors chard, Italian parsley, and Genovese basil, (of course!).

Try to source your plants from local growers! Dates and varieties are zone specific, so if Grandma’s seed choices won’t thrive in your area (you can learn more about this here), choose something that will.  Once you’ve selected your seeds, you will find that the seed packets have all the information you’ll need written on them.

March 8, 2012

Congrats, LCA!

Congrats to

Lidia Celebrates America: Holiday Tables and Traditions

for winning a Silver Telly Award!

With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films.  Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

For its 33rd season, The Telly Awards once again joined forces with YouTube to give the public the power to view and rate videos submitted as part of the People’s Telly Awards.  In addition to recognition from the Silver Telly Council, the judging panel that selects the Telly Awards winners, the Internet community helps decide the People’s Telly Awards winners.

A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents.  The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work – entries do not compete against each other – rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit.  Less than 10% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Silver Telly, our highest honor.  Approximately 25% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Bronze Telly.

“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards. ”

To find out more about the Telly Awards visit www.tellyawards.com.

March 7, 2012

La Festa Della Donna

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, which in Italy we call La Festa Della Donna. International Women’s Day was said to have begun in the early 1900′s. Since then it has grown into a global day of recognition and celebration across the world.

Many organizations have observe this day by hosting large events to honor women and their achievements throughout history. The symbol of this day is the yellow mimosa flower, and in Italy, men are encouraged to give these flowers to all the important women in their lives. Of course, men should show their love to the women in their lives every day of the year, but Italian women like to have a special day to celebrate themselves and their fellow women. As you all know, here in the United States we dedicate the entire month of March to Women’s History Month.

To celebrate this special day I recommend you make a traditional mimosa cake, an Italian lemon-flavored sponge cake layered with a cream filling. Enjoy!

March 6, 2012

Wine Pairing 101

Many books have been written on the subject and listings and tables have been created, but when I pair food with wine I look for the most intense qualities of one or the other and then try to bring them into balance. For example, if there is a fatty component in the food then an acidic wine will balance it. If there is an intense complexity of herbs and spices with meats, then a complex red will counterbalance that complexity. If there is a pristine fresh fish preparation, then a crisp, fruity aromatic white will do. With a robust tomato pasta sauce, a robust fruity Chianti will be just fine.


Do not amplify or accentuate the same dominating qualities in food by choosing a wine with the same qualities. You can work backward if you have good wines in your cellar, then choose the food to complement them. Of course, the better the food, the better the wine and the better the experience.


To do just a pairing, you need to have tasted the wine before so that you can best match it. Can wine be enjoyed without premeditation of food? Yes—I love a good Brunello with a hamburger.


February 22, 2012

Skiing in Val Gardena

Having lunch on the slopes at a baita with Tanya and the family. Val Gardena is a beautiful valley in the Dolomites–it’s worth visiting year-round.

Horse and buggy rides at Val Gardena

Snowshoeing with friends in Val Gardena


February 21, 2012

Italy in February: Venice and Bologna

Celebrating Carnevale and my birthday in misty Venice with Joe and my grandchildren

Traditional Carnevale costumes in Venice

View from the top of San Petronio in Bologna

A little shopping in Bologna

Il Sassolungo from Val Gardena, where I'm meeting up with Tanya and the family

February 17, 2012

Goats: My Gift to My Mother – by Tanya

My mother is the easiest person to buys gift for.  She appreciates whatever gift you give her, from the classic silk scarf to the practical nightshirt.

I usually begin thinking about what to get her shortly after the new year.  I try and be creative, sometimes succeeding and sometimes falling back on the old staple: Her perfume. It’s the same one she has worn for the past 45 years.  In fact, anywhere in the world, when I smell that scent, she immediately comes to mind. I even know if she has made it to a meeting before me by her perfume scent leading the way.

This year I was lucky enough to stumble across the perfect birthday gift for my mother.  While watching Ellen Degeneres this past week, I was able to watch the rescue story of six beautiful goats by a wonderful organization, the Gentle Barn.  Goats are probably my mother’s favorite animal.  Growing up she always had pet goats and even today has a goat back in her hometown that she enjoys visiting with and milking.  I knew immediately that helping to feed and care for these goats would be the perfect birthday gift.  Hopefully she will get to visit them.

The Gentle Barn rescues many wonderful animals and I highly suggest visiting their website, the animals are gorgeous and sweet.

Food Books and Dvds Tableware

Lidia's Italy in America
Lidia brings viewers on a road trip into the heart of Italian-American cooking.
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Lidia's Pasta and Sauces
Enjoy Them Now!
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Lidia's Stoneware Collection

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