Monday, May 18, 2009

Sicily's Capers

I signed up for Kyle Phillips' Food Blog on Italian food and wine in 1998, and have devoured every one of them! He lives in Italy and writes daily. The other day, his blog had a section on Capers. I've used capers for years, I knew they were flower buds, etc. but it wasn't until I traveled to Sicily that I saw them growing, that I truly learned to appreciate the beautiful "zing" of a caper! The Caper plant struggles to emerge from the cracks in rocks! They thrive hanging down out of rocky cliffs. They are amazing, and the bud we call a caper adds a powerful flavor to your food. This is a photograph I took of caper plants growing out of the rocky cliff overlooking the ancient Greek ruins in Siracusa.

I bought them by the pound in the market in Catania, Sicily, and have a few left. They are heavily salted to preserve them, I just rinse them in a strainer and they are ready to enliven your taste buds! The recipe below is one of Kyle's and uses the pickled variety of capers, available in our grocery stores.

Here is what Kyle said.....
Kyle's Italian Food Blog
By Kyle Phillips, Guide to Italian Food since 1996
Capperi! Or, Capers!
Monday May 11, 2009
If you have visited Southern Italy you have almost certainly seen them, green flowery (in the right season) bushes growing out of the cracks in walls or cliffs; what one eats are the buds, which are collected and either salted or pickled; they add a pleasant zesty zing to meats and vegetables, and are also a welcome addition to salads (I especially like them added to a refreshing Insalata Caprese made with tomatoes and mozzarella). I prefer salted capers because the acidity of the pickled variety covers some of the more caper delicate nuances, and also because the flavored salt is nice in salads. Regardless of which you prefer, do remember to rinse them before using them. And what to do with them?

Vitello Tonnato, chilled veal in tuna sauce, is one of THE classic summer dishes, and is also the traditional centerpiece of the Ferragosto dinner in Milano (Assumption Day, August 15). It takes a while to make but is well worth it. To serve 6-8 you will need:
Prep Time: 1 hours, 00 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 00 minutes
2 1/4 pounds(1 k) boned veal, cut from the rump.
3/4 pound (320 g) tuna packed in oil
3 eggs
6 salted anchovies (the canned variety, sold by delicatessens)
A handful of pickled capers
1/2 cup (approx.) olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
A bottle of dry white wine
The juice of a lemon
A rib of celery, thinly sliced crosswise
A few leaves of sage
2 bay leaves
3 cloves (some people omit these)
A few more perfect capers, some lemon slices, and sprigs of parsley for garnishing
Preparation:Put the meat in a bowl with the bay leaves, cloves, sage and celery, and pour the wine over it. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the meat occasionally. The next day place the meat in a Dutch oven. Strain the wine and add it to the meat, then add enough water to cover. Lightly salt the pot and simmer the meat for an hour. In the meantime, wash, scale and bone the anchovies. When the hour is up add them to the pot and continue boiling for another half hour; the liquid should be reduced by half. Hard boil the eggs, run them under cold water, peel them, and extract the yolks (you can discard or fill the whites as you prefer). Rinse, squeeze dry, and mince the capers. When the meat is fork-tender remove it from the pot and strain the broth into a bowl. Transfer the fish filets to a clean strainer and press them through it, together with the tuna and the yolks, into another bowl. Stir in the minced capers, the vinegar, the lemon juice and the olive oil, and then dilute the sauce to your taste with some of the reserved broth. When the veal has cooled slice it finely and lay the slices out on one or more platters (you want just one layer). Spread the sauce over the meat, garnish the platters with the lemon slices, capers and parsley. Cover them with plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator before serving.

Art in the Vines

June 13th 1 to 6:00pm at the beautiful Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery.

Come enjoy and support the work of local artists, a local musician, and enjoy a glass of truly delicious local wine!

Artists: Becky Pashia, painter

Ada Koch, painter

Kristin Goering, painter

Brownie Hayek, floral arrangements

Rich Hayek, pastels

Claudia Tru, painter

Mike Driggs, sculptor

Amy Thomas, jewelry

Marcia Streepy, painter

Diane Boone, painter

Ellen Sweeney, painter

Brian Stewart, stained glass

Winnie Davis, painter

Vicki Johnston, painter

Kristin Howard, painter

and Kay Tucker, painter

Music will be by Kathryn Lorenzen.

There will be Face painting for the kids, Food and Wine, and the incredible views of the vineyard and surrounding countryside.

Somerset Ridge Vineyard is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, please join us.

I want to thank Becky Pashia and all of the staff at ARTichokes Gallery in Leawood for their assistance in the planning for the
1st Annual Art in the Vines.

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker