The ‘Portugy’ & The Italian Our Family of Trees Babies!

Blossom's Blossoms

Blossom's Blossoms

Last March 2010, I wrote about Our Family of Trees. I expressed my longing for Blossom, our orange tree, to bear fruit. (http://www.farmtablefresh.com/?p=184 The ‘Portugy’ & the Italian Part III Orchard Vineyard Our Family of Trees) She has Read more…

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Easter Pie 2011 ‘Tradition, Tradition!’

 

IMG_2938convertedSee Nancy on KSEE 24

  http://www.ksee24.com/features/central-valley-today/Love-120287689.html

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Another Rite of Passage Connor & Kris’ Easter Pie session

Conner & Kris a right of passage begins

Conner & Kris a right of passage begins


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Rite of Passage, Easter Pie

 

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My youngest niece

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Meat-a-ball! Quest for the Best

Ever since we saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Rick has lusted for spaghetti and meatballs. Since, we have been on a quest to find the best in Fresno. Hate to admit it, but after the movie no Italian restaurant was open. We did find one, Appleby’s, open until midnight. Rick found a semblance of pasta and meatballs but sadly, fettuccine with a combination of Alf redo and red sauce. Italian grandmothers’ were rollin’ over in their graves. Actually, the pasta dish was adequate; not that bad, not authentic Italian, but what is at Appleby’s? Since, we have tasted spaghetti and meatballs at Vini, Vidi, Vinci, a special I hear from the locals that I sat next to at the bar. Meatballs made from Angus beef, not bad. Spaghetti, cooked al dente and a red sauce rich with flavor. The next version, Piazza del Pane, soared with taste, flavor and preparation. Perfectly cooked, perfectly balanced red sauce and meatballs. Really good. 

On to the next: Another restaurant we frequent due to the hours of operation (open until 10PM) is Yukon Jack’s, located at the Herndon/99 exit. The food is good and the price is right. Spaghetti and meatballs? On the edge, I tasted a bit of Chef Boy-ar-dee in the sauce. A bit too fresh or quickly made in the kitchen; without melding the flavors that a great sauté or the time to improve the sauce would accomplish. The meatballs, not bad. The pasta was not al dente, but not terribly overcooked, all in all actually decent.

So far, we tried spaghetti meatballs at places we frequent. Now that we are on the quest, we will also check in on DiCicco’s, Ovidio’s and a recent local favorite in Clovis, Andiamo, the real thing. 

Anyone know of great spaghetti and ‘meat-a-balls’ in town? Please comment. I would love to hear of your favorites. You could save me the tasting calories tryin’ to find the best in town! 

Love and Garlic, Nancy V Mindful that every supper could be our last. Mangia bene.

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MEET FRIBA MY FAMILY OF LOCAL BUSINESSES

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COOKING SECRETS OF THE LAZY V ‘Cuccaz’

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Last day of August, last days of summer; home gardens are bursting with produce.  About a week ago, our friend Lisa called. “Whatcha doin?” I answered, “We’re at work!” She asked, “How long ya’ gonna’ be there?” “At least until 7”, I answered. Well, I’m gonna’ come by.” “OK, we’ll be here.” About an hour later, Lisa pulled up in her RV. She opened the back hatch and pulled out a?  I couldn’t see what she had retrieved from the back of her van. In a minute, she entered our sales office. She was carrying a giant, over grown zucchini, practically the size of an infant! “Cuccaz!” I exclaimed. “What are you talking about? she said.

When friends came bearing gifts of large vegetables at the end of summer, Mom would say, “Cuccaz”. I’ve heard this term all my life. I’d ask, Ma? She would respond, “What?” I asked, “What do you mean when you say ‘Cuccaz’?” clearly dialect for some Italian word referring to squash or zucchini. Mom would continue, “If you don’t mind, don’t bring me these big overgrown hollow vegetables full of seeds. If you want to bring me a gift, bring the little tender vegetables not these, ‘Cuccaz’! She would say.
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COOKING SECRETS OF THE LAZY V “STILL CANNING”

Every year, well into the ‘pick and pack’ season of our Central San Joaquin’s Westside, I would call my Mom. “Ma!” she immediately knew I was calling and would respond, “What?” I inquired, “How are you? Dad?” She would start in, “You know your Dad, he can’t stand to see the fruit left on the ground.” (or the vegetables left in the fields). Since the 40’s, Dad knew most of the Westside farmers. He could go into any orchard or field and pick after the harvest: apricots, plums, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, melons and more. He was famous for 5 gallon white plastic buckets with handles and would always say to me when he delivered his pick which I too would can, “Be sure to return my buckets!” Mom would continue, “Last week your Dad and I canned tomatoes. This week he came home with…”  Mom would inventory his pick. “Even now”, she continues, “we’re canning!” I could count on it. What Mom would say when I called mid August and asked how she was? One response, “We’re still canning!”

Here is one of Mom’s tried and true yearly canning recipes for Dad’s Westside pick of the crop:
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FARM TABLE FRESH FIG FEST 2010 THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE!

1500 fig lovers strolled the big lawn at Fresno State tasting figs prepared in every way. Restaurateurs, Food Purveyors, Associations, News media and judges reveled in the qualities figs provide, culinary and health, the most prominent. I tasted figs filled with maple, dipped in chocolate and nuts and finished with sea salt, fig ice cream, brisket with fig bbq sauce, Kurabuta pork with fig chutney, cous cous with figs and more. Our fig offering: fig flan with our signature fig balsamic glaze. Our Chef, John, came to me on Thursday to suggest we serve Fig Flan with our signature Fig Balsamic glaze. This would be the first year we would serve sweet rather than savory. John prepared the flan ‘dulce de leche’ style, deep dense custard flavors blended with white dried Calimyrna figs. Delicious, we nicknamed the flan, Juan Flan.  We were selected as The Peoples’ Choice for best fig food 2010! 

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The ‘Portugy’ & The Italian Our Family of Trees Part VI Meet the Figs Newton & Vilomina

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 NEWTON

Newton was a gift from our friend and neighbor, Chip. Chip not only has nursery genes, figs are a part of the Radoich Family heritage. Black Mission is the first fig of choice in my orchard. It’s been easily ten years since we’ve had Newton, center of the orchard, peaceful and productive. I am a lover of late bloomers. Newton just birthed his second production of full purple colored fruit, sagging slightly, perfect flesh for a fig. I bit into one today, jam in a bundle. When eating a ripe one, figs taste like jam, oozing with natural sugar, sweet, plump and delicious, a Last Supper bite. 

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