Monday, November 24, 2008

Misticanza di Lattghe from Franchi Seeds of Italy

Misticanza di Lattughe. A fantastic mix of greens from Franchi seeds of Italy. I would say it was about 4 weeks from sowing until I could pick some outer leaves to eat, of course I ate them as I picked, cool and crisp from my garden. Something every person should experience is to have access to fresh food from your own garden you've grown yourself, so simple, yet so satisfying. I prefer to have fresh salad greens dressed with as little as possible, on their own they have so much flavor and can very easily be masked. I remember my Grandma would make a salad of Greens, avocado and tiny shrimp, dressed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil seasoned with salt and fresh ground black pepper served with crusty Italian bread and butter. What else did it need? Nothing, it was complete in it's simplicity, each element of the salad complimented the other without any unnecessary additions. This salad is a perfect example to tell the story of the style of food preparation that I prefer and one that I learned from my grandmother, Marie Dellaragione Ruggless. She was raised in a family of very poor Italian immigrants and had to learn to do for herself and most importantly make the most from the least. So when it came to food this adversity served her well as well as our Family, all eager for her cooking. She could truly make something out of "nothing" and when I look back and think about the small selection of spices and herbs she used you would never think it could be as great as it was. Salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic and good olive oil and not much more, she didn't need much to cook as good as she did. What she did have was technique, she knew how to prepare food to enhance what she had to work with and make it the best it could be, like tasting tomatoes before any seasoning is added, because what went into one sauce doesn't work for another, if your tomatoes are particularly sweet or maybe acidic the next time you will need to account for this. She understood what would correct these subtle difference in the ingredients she worked with to make the most of what she had. The only way I know to learn what she knew is to cook often and to really pay attention to the food to be prepared and the subtle differences that will guide you. I look forward to sharing more of my experiences and food from my cooks garden.

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