Posted in April 2013

Could you live below the line?

John Placko is a Toronto gourmet chef who specializes in molecular gastronomy. So it was rather odd to see him on stage at Nella Cucina last month simmering dried split peas with water flavoured with a quarter of a stock cube for lunch and tossing instant ramen noodles with mini meatballs for dinner. But it … Continue reading

Get ready for spargel season

Toronto Star, April 19, 2013 While we quietly await the start of the Ontario asparagus season, expected around Mother’s Day, the rest of the world is celebrating these tasty spears with gusto. Residents of Stockton, California, are gearing up for the city’s annual asparagus festival starting April 26. Last year, cooks in Asparagus Alley deep-fried … Continue reading

Papaya 101

Papaya 101

ripe papaya Published in Fresh Bites, Toronto Star April 5, 2013 I met Homero Levy de Barros on a lava-scorched plantation on Hawaii’s Big Island, where we gazed at rows of scrawny trees, green papayas clustered at the top like pendulous breasts shaded by a parasol of splayed palm leaves. I was a papaya newbie … Continue reading

Letters from Italia – Arrivederci

All of Agrate knows when I come to visit. I’m the stranger who sets the dogs barking when I walk by their gated homes. Most of the time I don’t even see them until there’s a sudden surge of furred energy toward the gate and the roar begins from some Doberman or mutt, lab or … Continue reading

Letters from Italia: On the road

We left first thing in the morning and set the Tom Tom for Borgo d’Ale, home of asparagus. At 130 km an hour and hardly any traffic, we arrived in 35 minutes via the autostrada. The 5-euro toll was a bargain Toronto should consider. We passed perfect rows of fruit trees and grapes, perhaps table … Continue reading

Letters from Italia: radicchio to riso

Letters from Italia: radicchio to riso

As I ate breakfast, at a lazy 9:30, Remo was already busy preparing lunch, chopping leftover cooked veal for his tomato sauce and wandering out to the garden to collect a firm savoy cabbage and leaves of dark red radicchio, chopping them in a fine julienne for salad. At 10:30 we had our first cappuccino … Continue reading

Letters from Italia: Pasqua to Pasquetta

Another cool grey day, but the forsythia are blooming and the magnolia buds are swelling, so spring is definitely in the works. We did make it to church in yesterday’s glorious sunshine. The streets flowing into the central roundabout turned into a parking lot and every pew was filled, though there can’t be more than … Continue reading