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Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

Bontà

San Marzano tomatoes dry the old-fashioned way in the hot Pugliese sun on cane pallets.

San Marzano tomatoes dry the old-fashioned way on cane pallets in the hot Pugliese sun.

We never cease to be amazed by the sheer quantity of produce that springs forth from Pugliese soil. Perhaps more impressive than the quantity, though, is the quality or bontà. From season to season, Pugliese fruits and vegetables go from strength to strength in a yearlong parade of color, texture and flavor that is a wonder to behold. Yesterday we spent the day at an especially productive organic farm down by the Adriatic coast near Ostuni, returning to Martina Franca with boxes of treasures almost too beautiful to eat. But we ate them anyway. Read more

Salute

Artichokes are still plentiful in the markets here. They're high in antioxidants, great for the liver and may reduce cell proliferation in some cancers.

Artichokes are still plentiful in the markets here. They’re high in antioxidants, great for the liver and may reduce cell proliferation in some cancers.

Like the rest of the overindulged world, our thoughts have turned to the virtues of simplicity in the wake of Italian holiday season excess. We had a wonderful time during the constant round of parties, friends and multicourse meals, but there was way too much of all of it. While starvation is a daily reality for so many, I just learned that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980. Stunning. So now we’re moving into a more contemplative moment, trying to figure out how to live with all this exuberance while maintaining some semblance of sanity in terms of our salute (health) and diet. The answer? We’ve turned to the elderly here who are still tied to the old ways that gave rise to the much-heralded Mediterranean Diet. Read more

A Winter Palette

The winter fruit and vegetable market in Martina Franca is a revelation.

The winter fruit and vegetable market in Martina Franca is a revelation.

After seventeen years of summertime visits to Martina Franca, we always knew what to expect at the weekly market. In July, the rows and rows of fruit and vegetable stalls are overflowing. Tomatoes of every imaginable variety, slim, tender green beans, bunches of basil as big as a bouquet of flowers and luscious, vibrant stone fruit all shine in the sun. We want to buy it all, then rush home to cook it, overwhelmed by the sheer excess of it all. So when we decided to live here year round, we resigned ourselves to slimmer winter pickings. It gets cold here, after all, and fields must lay fallow waiting for the spring. Instead, we’ve discovered that it is a different, but equally bounteous landscape. We are overcome with the urge to dive deeply into the season. Read more

A Hot Pasta for a Cold Day

The best cold weather warm-up pasta I know . . . fast, easy and deeply satisfying.

The weather is changing in Martina Franca. While we’re not swimming in flood waters like the unfortunate residents of Venice, our skies are grey and the wind is whipping down our cavernous city streets, prompting a spontaneous show of woolly scarves and winter coats. There’s only one thing to do: make pasta. Read more

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