We moved to the East Coast a couple of years ago, after more than a decade spent in sunny Southern California, and arrived at the end of August, just in time to catch the tail end of a very hot and humid summer.
Relocating from a California home into a Brooklyn house has been quite an adjustment (read “shock”) for all of us, dog included, but now that a few seasons have passed I can honestly say it feels we have settled down, at least for the moment.
We have left behind our pizza oven and a gargantuan barbecue that had more knobs and controls and pieces than anything I had ever seen before moving to America. I felt violated, especially when I realized there was no way I could have a pizza oven in the backyard of my new rental home. I never particularly cared for the spaceship barbecue, as I truly believe that once you have fire to cook on, you are set; there is no need for extreme accessorizing or overcomplicating the simplest way of cooking that a live fire is.
Continue Reading How Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar Throw a BBQ
Cooking Tuscan is all about simplicity, freshness and, ultimately, generosity. It is about working very conscientiously in the kitchen, inspired by the necessity of caring for the ones you love. Cooking is pursuing a bond with people around the kitchen table, and food is the medium by which this is achieved. “The cook” in this equation is just a catalyst — sometimes in the form of a mother or grandmother, and sometimes in the form of a restaurant chef or a farmer.
The Tuscan kitchen reflects this sentiment abundantly. Nothing is more important than the table; it should be the right size and should feel warm and familiar, something that facilitates the celebration of a meal together.
Continue Reading Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Pantry Staples for Cooking Tuscan-Style
As a family we love taking road trips, especially after having moved to Brooklyn, where we feel a bit constricted by the “concrete jungle.” It’s fun to load up the car, punch a few digits into the nav system and go explore what surrounds the city: Long Island and the Hamptons to the east, Upstate New York to the north, Pennsylvania to the west and south.
Tradition wants that we never leave for a road trip without a couple of bags loaded with food, and possibly a cooler with drinks: When traveling with kids, it’s always better to be ready rather than to all of a sudden become slave to a tantrum because of an empty stomach. Therefore, whenever we embark on a new road trip adventure, we never leave without our mortadella or prosciutto sandwiches, the absolutely necessary slices of pecorino cheese to eat with some fruit, and the occasional yogurt, cereal bar or bag of cookies. What we carry along with us goes into our “first-aid kit” in case of hunger; otherwise we usually have tons of fun trying to figure out what to eat locally and where. We ask people on the side of the road; we read every sign posted; sometimes we even track down smells. Imagine driving on a late-summer afternoon and smelling barbecued meat and fresh corn. Wouldn’t you stop the car to smell the air and adjust your route?
When we travel across Italy it is extremely easy and safe to rely on the local Autogrill, a fantastic chain of highway pit stops where the food is prepared on the spot by cooks from the area.
Continue Reading Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Road Trip Eating Tips
We run a Tuscan kitchen: Our pantry is usually always full but extremely humble. As far as feeding a family in a budget-conscious way, we believe that some staple foods, like canned beans and tuna, rice, pasta and canned tomatoes, and obviously the basic condiments like extra virgin olive oil and a few spices should always be available for a quick meal on the go. We shop for vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy on a daily basis, after we decide what we are going to eat for dinner — a decision that is usually made at breakfast. Knowing what is in your fridge is a great way to save money, as it helps you plan meals and consume what is available; limiting the amount of food that ends up in the garbage is a great step toward saving a lot of money.
We are big fans of leftovers. We recycle whatever vegetable is left from the evening before into a pasta sauce or a frittata, and we shred our leftover roast to make tacos (not really Tuscan but darn cheap!). We find our way to eat everything we have in the house, most of the time.
Continue Reading Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Tips on Eating on the Cheap
It has certainly been a while since Debi and I served you up new stories, new recipes and new family adventures. We’ve missed you, too! But your patience is about to be rewarded. We’re back on Wednesday night at 10:30pm ET / 7:30pm Pacific, and we’re bringing you a whole new season full of laughs, guests, and, of course, food; all that you’ve come to expect from your favorite Tuscan American-blended bunch, but there’s also been some changes, too…
Continue Reading Debi and Gabriele: Back for More
I am an unlikely person to share with you a delicious recipe for cooking octopus. You see—in case you missed an important detail about my culinary upbringing—I grew up in a Kosher home!
My father is Jewish, and needless to say, his personality truly reflects his heritage and upbringing. A surgeon, my father Leonardo is strong, opinionated, heavy at times, and always Kosher. For me, as a kid growing up in Tuscany of all places, keeping kosher was kind of a problem: “What, no Prosciutto Sandwich allowed? Ever?”
Continue Reading Octopus Is Not Quite Kosher
First order of business: Let's eat!
Welcome to my home! Let me introduce you to the family… ‘Mamma’ Annalisa, who taught me to cook most of what I feed my family. ‘Nonna’ Lola, who taught my mother. ‘Babbo’ Leonardo, who one day got me in from of the fireplace and said “Ok, let’s cook dinner!” And my brother Fabio, the very first person I ever cooked for.
It is not easy to describe how I feel each time I go back home to Tuscany, now that I have spent about a decade in the US. Tuscany is actually not my home anymore, wherever Debi and the girls are, that is my home now… in this sense I truly feel like an immigrant!
Continue Reading Welcome to Tuscany!
Summer is just around the corner! That is, if you think in brewing terms. You see, this is the time to start thinking about preparing a delicious batch of Limoncello that will be ready in time for summer.
Limoncello is probably the first hard alcohol I ever tried in my life, and my grandfather is the one responsible for this acquired taste. Traditionally enjoyed after summer meals, this not-too-sweet fruit liqueur is a staple in any Italian kitchen freezer.
Continue Reading Make Your Own Limoncello!
It is nice to get out of your house and have an intimate date at a cozy restaurant. Your palate deserves something special, every now and then. Dinner and a movie (or a concert!) with my wife—yeah that’s the kind of date I like. Usually there is room for negotiations: “You want to watch a chick flick? Then we’re having steak for dinner!” Or … “You want to try a new vegetarian restaurant? Ok, but then we see a movie where at least two dozens of cars explode!”
But now with kids, and no nearby family to watch them, when Debi and I go out, it is usually for a spontaneous lunch date, when our children are in school. We make time for ourselves when we can, and considering we don’t have a 9 to 5 kind of job, the middle of the day works really well for us. The evening though, the evening is tough!
Continue Reading Date Night, in Your Kitchen
I still remember it as if it was yesterday, even though it was 30 years ago! In Italy, school runs six days a week—yes we attend classes on Saturday morning too, a real bummer. But Sunday is revered as the “Day of Rest”… unless you live in the country!
Yes, if you lived in the Italian countryside until a few decades ago, you really could not sleep past 7 am on any given Sunday during fall and winter, and not because your grandma forced you to go to Mass! What actually got us out of bed was the herd of hunters and dogs that roamed our property, anxious to find their lunch for the day. It was like New Year’s Eve fireworks, as shotguns broke the morning silence and loads of pellets sped through the mist and landed on our farm’s roof… tic, tic tic, one after the other. The message to me was clear: “We are here and we are hungry. Stay in the house and forget about your bicycle ride… at least until after lunch time.”
Continue Reading Where the Wild Things Are