One of the fun things about being an author and blogger is that I get sent lots of book to review - and I mean lots. On all different topics. I can't possibly read them all, nor do I want my blog to turn into book review central, so I am extremely choosy about which books I ultimately do decide to review. Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from our Tuscan Kitchen was a no-brainer.
I love Italian food, and especially love northern Italian food. Tuscany is known for its olive oil, wine, fresh ingredients and simple farm to table preparation. Tuscan food generally isn't fussy or difficult to prepare, relying on fresh ingredients for flavor and texture more than anything. That's not to say the recipes included here are run-of-the-mill by any means; these delicious offerings are easy enough to prepare for your family midweek, but also impressive enough to serve at a dinner party.
One of my criteria of what makes an extraordinary cookbook, even before I start trying any of the recipes, is that it has to include gorgeous, glossy color photographs. Not of every recipe, but of most. This cookbook delivers on that. I spent an entire evening leisurely flipping through the pages, just enjoying the photos and the playful banter and personal musings between Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele in the text that accompanies each recipe.
Then I went through again more slowly and stuck post-its on all the recipes I want to try. Good thing we have lots of post-its! Can I just say that from eggplant parmesan to pesto, blood orange salad to homemade pizza, tuna tartare to fried squash blossoms, biscotti to tiramisu, it's going to be difficult trying to figure out what to make first! There are soups, salads, panini, pasta and sauces, risottto and of course main dishes and desserts. (Did I mention the Lemon Brule Tart?)
I love that Ms. Mazar mentioned several times going outside to pick fresh herbs to infuse their flavor into her cooking, I love that she keeps chickens and encourages the use of fresh eggs. I really love this cookbook....can you tell! If you add only one cookbook to your collection this summer, I recommend this one.
From the publisher: DEBI MAZAR and GABRIELE CORCOS are ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. In Extra Virgin,food, family, and style come together in a celebration of the pleasures of the rustic Italian table with 120 recipes for simple yet exquisite meals that are accessible, full of fresh flavor, and easy to prepare. Gabriele is a traditional Italian with a big heart, and Debi is an outgoing, brash New York City girl. Their sassy and playful exchanges illuminate what’s important in everyday life: good food and a lot of love. So flag these recipes, get sauce on them, let splashes of olive oil mark the pages—and invite Debi and Gabriele’s charisma and passion for cooking to spill into your kitchen.
So, who wants to enter to win a copy of this cookbook? Please leave a comment below telling me WHY you would like to win - and one lucky person will win a copy of Extra Virgin of their very own. US addresses only please, 18 and older to enter. Winner will be chosen at random from all comments left by midnight on Tuesday, August 12th.
If you don't feel lucky, this is he Amazon Link to purchase the book HERE.
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book for review at no cost to me, however my opinions are in no way influenced by the gift and are entirely my own.
I would love for you to join me here...