Food of the Etruscans?


Italy Magazine’s article about the multi grain pizza led me to their recipe for fig and honey focaccia. I’m a focaccia foodie and have made it every which way in past years to sell locally as a caterer. Now I hear it was invented by the Etruscans??!  My other haunting research topic!? Here is my recipe for fig and rosemary multi grain focaccia. I adapted Bob’s Red Mill recipe using his quality multi grain bread mix. You can up the oven temp if you wish

Use their fantastic on-line website for gluten free recipes, product info and so much more.


for Bread Machine or by Hand

Makes one 17×11” or two 10” loaves

1 c + 1 T warm water
3 T+2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 T fresh (rosemary) herbs, chopped, or 3/4 tsp. dried–divided
1 Pkg. Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Bread Mix.
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cane sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
½ c ch. walnuts
10-12 dark figs sliced or 1 thinly sliced apple.
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Put minced garlic, water, 1 T fresh herbs or 2 tsp dry herbs and 3 T oil into bread machine.  Add package of 10-grain bread mix and salt to bread machine.  Make well in center and pour in sugar and yeast.  Turn machine onto the dough cycle.  If dough is too dry in the machine, add water 1 T at a time.  Dough should begin to clump without remaining dough on sides of pan. Add ½ c chopped walnuts to recipe after dough is first mixed, and mixing.

When complete, remove dough that has already risen once.  Shape and roll, using remaining ¼ c flour, into desired round or rectangle bread sizes, move to prepared baking pans. Before rising again, press fig or apple rounds and additional ¼ c chopped nuts into dough, dimple and allow to rest, covered, for an additional hour.

Preheat oven to 425º with baking stone, if desired.

Dimple the dough with your fingertips.

Combine the remaining oil with the remaining herbs and brush over the top of the dough.  Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden.  Cook on wire rack 15 minutes.

Can be frozen; allow to defrost, reheat wrapped in foil in 250ºF oven.


Little Known Cocktail Trivia


Just short of 90 proof, Angostura bitters is now available on tap in Chicago’s Best Intentions bar (best patio bar in 2015). Who drinks that stand-by dash provision to the Old-Fashioned? By itself? Bartenders world-wide apparently are consistently searching for the new, unusual, best and most creative uses of ingredients to start trends, please customers, become famous and of course, make money


The Italian tradition of aperitivo helped bring The Spritz (a low alcohol mix of Aperol, soda water and prosecco)  to every part of the globe this past summer.  Notorious for their innovative ability in the benchwarmer camp, Italian cocktails have been created by artists, travelers, writers and musicians for centuries. Take one of scores of examples–the Giostra d’Alcol (carousel of alcohol”) – a 1930’s outcome in Turin during the Futurist movement. It featured Campari, Barbera d’Asti wine and a citron-infused soda, garnished with semi-hard cheese and bitter chocolate.

Of course gin-shaking experts are quick to make their own versions, call it something else, and a new drink is born. The Milano-Torino is a 1860’s idea that includes the maker’s birthplace and town that got descended into the Americano (not the coffee drink) but a simple expat answer to the Prohibition of Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water, and more historical than popular.

For more trivia, hard evidence and recipes, go to:

In his website “The Spruce Eats”, you’ll find what to plant, how and why to use different herbs, and what they’ll do for your favorite cocktail.

The Season is FIGS!


Glorious Figs
The parable of the fig tree exists throughout the bible and in other spiritual and fictional works. In Matthew 24:32 it tells us “its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.” Many references of the fig and fig tree are translated over and over and symbolizing many things for many people.

“Figs have a short season in early summer and a main season from late summer until fall. The first crop of the season is called the breba crop, which comes in on the last season’s growth. Spring frost often eradicates the breba crop and the remaining previous season’s growth.

FarmersMktFigsSign      FigBasketClose

The majority of figs produced arise from the main crop, which are generally not subject to frosty conditions. The sweetest types of figs are Black Mission figs and Adriatic figs, which are commonly used in desserts and paired alongside cheese and fresh fruit. Kadota figs and Brown Turkey figs are not as sweet and are usually used in salads or in recipes that include sweeteners.”

Reference as it may, controversy often prevails over figs…. which tastes better, what to do with the first crop if there is one, and how best to use them. People seem to like them or not, not much in between. Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs seem to be the most common at most markets, but a wide range of figs—including striped Adriatic figs and pale green Kadota figs—is increasingly available fresh. While there are subtle differences in flavor and sweetness level, figs do more or less taste like figs, so there’s no reason to be wary of trying a new variety.

Many people are unaware of this culinary delicacy due to its rarety on the grocery aisle.  Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs seem to be the most common at most markets, but a wide range of figs—including striped Adriatic figs and pale green Kadota figs—is increasingly available fresh. While there are subtle differences in flavor and sweetness level, figs do more or less taste like figs, so there’s no reason to be wary of trying a new variety.

Figs are members of the Mulberry family and provide an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium and pantothenic acid. A low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially couple with a high intake of sodium-rich foods (such as processed or fast food), can lead to high blood pressure. Like other fiber-rich foods (apples, dates, pears and prunes), figs are helpful in a weight management program. Each fig has a calorie count of 47, outweighed by its other benefits, which extend to the fig leaf! High in antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs. Dark figs are high in phytonutrients.

Figs are delicate, perishable, hard to transport and available only part of the year: June-through September. Organic dried figs are available year-round, need to be relatively soft, free of mold and have a pleasant smell, and can be substituted in any recipe calling for figs, dates, raisins, and other dried fruits.

Ripe figs should be covered, layered with paper towels to keep them super dry, and used promptly to avoid mold.


Lay whole figs in a single layer on a baking sheet, then freeze in zipper bags up to a year.
Peeling is not necessary, and go well in any baked cake, muffin, cookie, jam chutneys.
Wash right before eating. Keep chilled in refrigerator.
Use as any fresh fruit, with breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Especially sweet due to sugar content – add to any dessert dish, or even meat sauces.
Add sugar, rum or brandy to mashed figs and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Add instant pizzazz to morning cereal with chopped figs and honey.
Skewer figs and alternate with chicken or pork on the grill.
Carmelize onions and mix with figs into any salad mix, pizza, or pasta.
Wrap with prosciutto for a classy hors d’oeuvre.
Spread halves with goat cheese or mascarpone and crown your primavera recipe.

For more super-easy yet utterly delicious ways to make tasty use of fresh figs, see 10 Quick Fig Recipes (these honey-fried figs  are a personal favorite, while these bacon-wrapped figs tend to disappear in an instant at a party).  See next blog article: Glorious Fig Recipes.

The Best, Last, Ultimate Recipe for Hard Boiled Eggs

Here’s a foolproof method for perfect hard boiled eggs. It’s the only recipe you’ll need.



Place 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan with a steamer basket.
Place eggs in steamer basket and bring to boil with lid. Lower heat to simmer.
Steam for 13 minutes.
Remove eggs with slotted spoon to ice water bath for 10-15 minutes.
Refrigerate eggs for future use, or crack shell all around and see how easy they are to

Hard boiled eggs make for an easy, healthy snack. Enjoy.

Image source: Pixabay