Monday, April 1, 2013

Recipes and Dreams: A Tribute to Mothers

I grew up in an Italian/Polish family.  My Nana has lived with us since I was born.  Her food really shaped the way I now think about eating.  For me, food is just as much about the preparation as the food itself.  My Nana always throws in that something extra that makes her food so magical.  Wrongly, or rightly, is has been the women in my life that have shaped the way I cook.  Perhaps that is why I have such a love affair with Tessa Kiros.  She pays homage to those that have shaped her culinary skill.  Her newest book is fitting tribute.  If you have ever been fortunate enough to own or read a Tessa Kiros cookbook, you will well know the magic that lies inside.  From the minute that I opened her newest offering Recipes and Dreams, I was returned to her magical world where food means family, friends and love.  

No one does beautiful cookbooks like Tessa Kiros, and her track record speaks for itself. In Recipes for an Italian Life, much-loved author Tessa Kiros celebrates the heritage of the country she has chosen to call home. This whimsically feminine book is a tribute to the women in our lives–mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers–and the important lessons we learn from them. With accessible, delicious recipes ranging from robust family dishes to quirky cakes and old-fashioned sauces and preserves, this book is a precious heirloom for today. The chapters are based on rooms and items in the home, such as the bread oven; vegetable patch; snack box; pasta pot; meat, fish, and chicken in the dining room; and the ice box. Some of the recipes include: Basil Liqueur, Sweet Pizza, Artichoke and Herb Soup, Potato and Truffle Purses, Roast Rabbit with Grapes, Chickpeas with Prawns, Marmalade Cake, and Cappuccino Ice Cream.

I loved that the book is separated in such an imaginative way.  This is not merely a cookbook, but a journey of stories we the readers take with Ms. Kiros.  Each dish delights the senses and her stories become our own.  From "The Pantry" I made the Rosemary & Sage Sea Salt, which is fantastic on potatoes and roasts.
"The Vegetable Patch" led me to Salt & Vinegar Sauteed Potatoes, which I lovingly served with Pepper Shrimp for "The Dining Room."

My favorite so far came from "The Pasta Pot" with Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino & Avocado.  My Nana has long made Spaghetti Aglio, but not like this.  The avocados and lemons offered a wonderful twist that really explodes with rich garlic flavor.  

 Recipes and Dreams is a culinary journey I encourage everyone to take.  The stunning photography and beautiful stories make this so much more than just a cookbook.  I know I will be gifting copies of this to the special ladies in my life.  

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