Things to do in Tampa Bay Florida: Mazzaro’s Italian Market Murals in St. Pete

Continuing the series of inexpensive daytrips near the Tampa Bay, Florida, area, this week I present the murals on the Mazzaro Italian Market buildings in St. Petersburg. When you have out-of-town visitors and don't know what to do with them, treat them and yourself to an interesting, photographable destination that is cheap and uncomplicated. Plus, buy my books and blog gear to fulfill your holiday shopping list!

Artisan Pizza Dough and Focaccia Tutorial

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I was hoping to announce the official release of my book this week, but, alas and alack, technical difficulties arose. I am hoping to make the announcement within the next two or three weeks, though. I truly want it available for holiday shopping because it would make a great gift for people into traveling or cooking. Keep your fingers crossed! BTW, here’s a sneak peek of the cover: I’m so pleased with the way it looks! A bit more about the book: It has over 50 authentic Bavarian/Franconian recipes. Most of the recipes are from my German “mom” Hilde, who taught me much of what I know about the food and cooking methods in the area. Several of the recipes and stories in the book you may have seen in some form or other as part of various blog posts. So, it’s a cookbook, yes, but it’s more. I have surrounded the recipes in the book with my photos and with stories about what I’ve learned traveling and living in Germany, including the culture and language. Here’s the back-cover blurb for the finished book:

“Traditional food of any region is integral to its culture, and so it is with Bavaria, Germany’s southernmost state, and Franconia in the north of Bavaria.

American writer and photographer Karren Doll Tolliver is an avid home cook, and she has collected numerous family recipes from real-life home cooks in Germany. Here she presents their recipes, variations and insider techniques.

Drawing from her years of living in Germany, Karren describes local cultural points, history and language through personal stories that provide a tradition-rich framework for each dish. read more

Classic Easy Pesto alla Genovese Recipe and Instructions

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Short and sweet this week: a classic pesto recipe for the handmade pasta I gave you instructions for a few weeks ago. At the beginning of October, I had to bring in my plants from the balcony in anticipation of the cold weather, which, as of today, hasn’t arrived yet. Anyway, I harvested my basil:

And ended up with this much (a couple of cups):

And this:

I’d always wanted to try making pesto but was a little intimidated by it until I heard Lidia Bastianich on one of my favorite podcasts, America’s Test Kitchen. She explained that “pesto” comes from an Italian word meaning “mash”, “grind” or “beat”. Therefore, pesto isn’t cooked; the ingredients are mashed and beaten in a mortar and pestle or blender. Sounded easy.

FYI, there
are many types of pesto from different regions of Italy. For example,
traditional Sicilian pesto has tomatoes in it.

The version I describe here is pesto alla Genovese and is the most common one in the States. It’s the creamy green one you’re probably thinking of right now.

Additionally, there are
thousands of variations for each version, such as using walnuts instead
of pine nuts. Fortunately this gives me a lot of delicious homework to
do for this blog – I’ll keep you posted. read more

Meatless ‘Sugo Finto’ (“Fake”) Pasta Sauce

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If you have followed this blog for the past few months you’ll know I spent some time in Tuscany last December at wine estate Fattoria di Corsignano. I can’t say enough good things about this place! You can find a few of those good things in my blog post about the trip.

Here’s the dining room that greeted us each evening:

You may also remember that my friend Cyndie and I took cooking lessons at the estate. One of the dishes we learned to make was a meatless pasta sauce with red wine and tomatoes that surprised us with how good it was! read more

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