Simple Summer Salad

As we are now in the heart of summer and the weather is warmer we look for simple refreshing and light options for meals. I am back cooking with Giada’s Italy cookbook and this salad is a perfect light meal for warm weather. This summer salad is super easy and so refreshing served by itself or beside some grilled chicken and a crisp Rose.  This is quick and can be done ahead of time.  I put the corn on the bbq the night before so it was charred and sweetened from the grill.  In the morning I cut the corn off the cob and set it aside.

The ingredients are simple: (adapted from @GiadasItaly)

  • 1 nectarine, 1 peach cut into small wedges
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 fresh Fresno or serrano chile, thinly sliced (I did not have fresh chiles so sprinkled on 1/4 tsp. chili powder)
  • 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 ears of corn, barbecued cooled and cut off cob
  • 4 oz. burrata drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
  • Rustic Italian Loaf

In a medium bowl combine cut up fruit, basil, chili powder, white balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Salt lightly and toss gently to combine.  Let sit for an hour in the refrigerator.  Then toss in corn. To serve, spoon mixture on a platter add torn up burrata and pistachios and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and olive oil.  Serve with warm crusty bread.

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I’ve added chicken to this salad as well for a meal for lunch.  The combination of sweet, salty,and spicy is a perfect blend and light for those warm summer days and evenings.  Delizioso.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

 

 

 

Adventures in the Pugliese Kitchen

Day 15:

Last full day of this absolutely incredible vacation. Today we venture even further south, to Gallipoli. Gallipoli is a coastal town in Apulia, southern Italy. The historic center, on an island off the mainland, shelters churches like St. Agatha’s Cathedral, with its ornate facade. Nearby, the Church of St. Mary of Purity has a maiolica tiled floor. Gallipoli Castle includes the Rivellino tower, standing apart from the main building. Across the bridge, on the mainland, is the Greek Fountain, dating from the Renaissance.

We meet for a day of cooking with Anna Maria.

We go to the market to select the ingredients for our class and then proceed straight to the kitchen for a hands-on cooking lesson. I’m in heaven. Here our new friend shares the secrets for preparing some of Puglia’s most beloved dishes.

We prepare a dessert with custard which is a traditional salento cake. This has to sit and chill before going into the oven.

We cut up zucchini and cherry tomatoes for our antipasto. The zucchini sautes in a pan of garlic and olive oil.

Natalie loves fresh zucchini.

The calamari and tomatoes for our appetizer.

We mix semolina flour and water together and roll our dough into a ball where it will rest

Once rested we roll and cut into orecchiette.

Dessert out of the oven.

Now that the meal is prepared it is time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and olive oil.

We sit together to enjoy our beautiful meal and some outstanding local wines to accompany our lunch. Buon Appetito!!!

Love and light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Sea Caves of Polignano a Mare

Day 9

This morning we are headed to the striking cliff top town of Polignano a Mare which hosts the annual Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship. This event will be LIVE on September 23 at 12:30 PM CEST (10:30 AM GMT) on http://www.redbullcliffdiving.com. The birthplace of Domenico Modugno, writer and interpreter of the world famous song “Volare” (flying), is part of the province of Bari, Puglia, and inhabits just a little more than 16,000.

A modern skiff (boat) takes us into the spellbinding sea caves where many a smugglers traveled. The beauty of mother nature of water and wind that have created these caves. We experience the colors and light that play off the water.

The smell of the ocean water and breeze that blows into these caves settles into my mind and heart and great gratitude of being able to see this magical spot. I thank God for allowing me to see this and many other special places I have visited on this trip.

We are able to stop and dive into the beautiful Adriatic sea and cool off before boarding the boat for a glass of Prosecco and some snacks.

We return to explore this quaint town and eat more pizza and pasta. Wow its all so good.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

A day at the beach in Puglia, Italy

Originally we were set to go on a boat ride to see the sea caves but the weather was not cooperating this morning, rain had fallen last night and the wind was still bringing in a chance for rain so we postponed our boat ride for tomorrow.

So off to the beach we went. We went to the White Beach club, set up our lounge chairs and enjoyed a sunny day. At this beach the sand is a mix of tiny shells, a bit tougher on the feet and to enter the water you need to be careful as the shore is spiky lava rock. We enjoyed watching a little school of fush scurry through the water and crabs hide from us under rocks. We gathered shells along the shore, which I love to do at every beach I visit .

We enjoyed pizza at the restaurante

and tonight we had dinner at Grotta Palazzese, set in the cliffs.

This place has a spectacular view, is a romantic spot BUT THE FOOD WAS HORRIBLE! Not even edible and expensive too. So disappointing. We had heard the same reviews but were told there was a new chef so decided to try it. I dont usually give bad reviews but this restaurant needs to step up there game and get a chef that can cook.

The town itself is vibrant with lots of cute boutiques, restaurants and gelato shops everywhere. There was also a vendor street fair and the whole town seemed to be enjoying being out on a Sunday. Definitely worth going to see this cute town but skip the Grotta Palazzese please!

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Truffle Hunting in San Giovanni d’Asso

Day 4:

We start today on a shuttle to the 14th century Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore which is still inhabited by Benedictine monks.

We explore the monastery which was founded in 1313 by a group of Sienese (a native or inhabitant of the Italian city of Siena) merchants attempting to escape the temptations of city life. We gaze at the cloisters to see some of the best Signorelli frescoes in Europe, considered masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance for their lifelike figures and use of perspective.

We then hike to San Giovanni d’Asso. We stop at Chiusure along the way to view the dramatic views of the abbey and the crete senesi (chalk hills) of Siena. Once we arrive, we learn more about the elusive – and coveted – truffle from a local tartufaio (truffle hunter) and savor a multi-course, truffle-themed lunch. Buon Appetito!

Then back into the van to check into our hotel Alberge de Terme, in Bagno Vignoni and the rest of the afternoon on our own.

Tonights our festive dinner includes the usual cured meats, bruschetta, and dskad followed by the secondi dish od rich bistecca alla Fiorentina (T-Bone steak grilled rare over charcoal, lightly salted with olive oil drizzled over the top). Served with cannellini beans.

Hiking options today: Chiusure Route: 3.3 miles; San Giovanni d’Asso Route: 4.3 miles; Castel Verdelli Route: 9.1 miles

Love and Light,

Jeanine On the Scene