Monday, May 4, 2009


JOANNA JENKINS! Congratulations Joanna! If you will please send your mailing address to becky.lane(at)vownet(dot)net, I will pop this into the mail to you.

Joanna is receiving a book that is very dear to my heart - Under The Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes. It is the one that brought it all together for me. As you know, I've spent my life reading books about people who are "living the good life", but it wasn't until this one that I fully understood that common thread that runs through all of them: that thing that keeps our lives balanced and interesting, instead of dull and monotonous; that thing that speaks of the sense of place, the sense of taste, and thus, the taste of place; that thing I call seasonality!

"Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave." -- Frances Mayes

If you have only seen the movie, then you know nothing about this book, for the only thing they hold in common is location. And if you have read this only once, years ago when it first came out, read it again. Then head to the farmers' market, pick up a few things. Come home and cook up some slow food, and while you do that, think about where you have ended up, why you are there, and the things that your soul craves. Happy reading, and eating!

Though her book includes many fabulous recipes, this one comes from her datebook that my niece gave me, after finding out how much I loved the book:

MINESTRONE - "Even better the next day, when you can turn this minestrone into a ribollito by adding hunks of country bread as you reheat it."

1/3 c. olive oil
3 onions, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
Handful of Italian parsley
Handful of fresh thyme
1 bunch red or green chard, chopped
8 c. chicken stock
1 c. white or red wine
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
3 T. tomato paste
1 c. oven roasted tomatoes
Heel of a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 potatoes, peeled, cubed and steamed
1 c. cooked cannellini beans
salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, saute' the first five ingredients for 5 minutes. Add the thyme and chard and mix. Then add the stock, wine, and the tomatoes, tomato paste, and oven-roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil. Throw in the heel of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, then reduce the heat to low so the soup barely bubbles for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and beans. Serves 12.

P. S. Many thanks to, for the above image of the real Bramasole.


Joanna Jenkins said...

AWESOME!!!! Thank you so much! I never won ANYTHING BEFORE! I can't wait to read the book. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Polly said...

Congratulations, Joanna! You will love that book. And Becky, thanks for the recipe. I can't wait to try it.

Hill Country Hippie said...

You are most welcome Joanna!

Polly, how do you say Bon Appetit in Italian?