Sunday, August 29, 2010

Experience Capri Like a Local--Travel Tips, a Menu and Recipe from Chef Titna

If you're headed to Southern Italy any time soon, stop by Capri Flavors and chat with Chef Titina, or send a email to her husband Costanzo about their home island of Capri.

They will send you to Restaurant Gemma, where you will sit high above the ferry crowds and enjoy the island's best seafood plus a great blue on blue sky and water view.

They will tell you to spend the night on the island so you can stroll and enjoy the soft, easy evenings. And for the best views, skip the small packed buses and take one of the vintage convertible cabs to Anacapri and then a chair lift to the top. You'll come home with pictures like these and great memories of a most beautiful place.

If you're not traveling anytime soon, consider the Capri Menu Titina is cooking this week (and again later this fall)


Limoncello (Lemon Liquor)

Spaghetti Sciue’-Sciue’ (Spaghetti in Marinara)

Aragosta Marinara (Lobster in Red Sauce )

Carciofi e Patate (Artichoke and Potato Saute)

Torta di Capri (Almond and Chocolate Cake)

Capri Dates Monday: 8/2, 8/30, 9/27, 10/27 Friday: 8/6, 9/3, 10/1, 10/29

All the dishes are classics from the her family restaurant on the beach at Capri.

Limoncello is the signature drink of the island. It's sold in gift shops and stores all over Capri and the nearby city of Sorrento. But Titina says the best Limoncello is homemade.

Here's her recipe from an earlier blog post. It's great to have in the freezer for special meals and deserts. Limoncello also makes wonderful holiday gifts, so why not make a batch next month.

Titina's Limoncello

¾ Liter of pure grain alcohol (Everclear)

8 lemons very fresh and a little green

1 ½ Liter water

1 cup of sugar

Makes : 2 ¼liter limoncello

In cold running water wash the lemons well. Dry them and peel them very thin, being careful not to peel the white of the lemon. In a glass container big enough for a 2-Liter minimum, pour the alcohol and add to it the lemon peels.

Close the container and keep it in a cool place for 15 days. After the 15 days have elapsed go back to it and add the following mixture: boil in a pot the water and the sugar and let it boil for 10 minutes. This mixture must be left to cool.

Once cool, add the sugar/water to the container together with the lemon peels and the alcohol that have marinated. Close the container and let it stay for another 3 or 4 days after which remove the lemon peels and pour the liquid in bottles ready for drinking.

I prefer to keep it in a freezer and to drink it ice cold. It is a nice digestive and ends the dinner with a beautiful taste.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Classes off to Great Start--With Meat and Potatoes Italian Style

Good things are happening in Titina's kitchen lately--Those classic ingredients tomatoes, basil and eggplants are in season and after a summer break, Titina is teaching more people the joys of cooking (and eating) Italian style. This week the menu is from Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and the leading city of Tuscany. Last week, it was meat and potatoes Italian style.

While everyone knows pasta, few people outside of Italy know gnocchi, a star of Titina's popular Sorrento menu. These tender little potato dumplings have ancient roots and qualify as Italian comfort food. Here's a link to an earlier post on this classic, including Titina's recipe.

Gnocchi has few ingredients but technique is important. If you've never experienced this dish, take a class or get your feet wet with the already cooked Emilla Gnocchi sold in the Capri Flavors store. It is very good.

The meat in the equation is Braciole is another Southern Italian classic. Titina stuffs these tender rolls of beef with cheese and pine nuts. Then cooks them until fork tender. Delicious.