Take it Slow by Lynn Dugan

Savor – Relax – Reflect – Connect – Cherish – Celebrate – Delight – Share

lynnblog1These words are often compromised in our fast-paced culture.  But last month, when I had the opportunity to visit my Great Aunt Angie in Italy, I was reminded of how important they are to remember to prioritize in our busy lives. Angie and my Uncle Gino used to own a neighborhood restaurant in Chicago.  After Uncle Gino passed, she returned to Lammari, her small Italian hometown in Tuscany.  In August, I was able to see her for the first time since she left Chicago twenty years ago!

Angie lives on a property that she shares with her sister Renatta, Renatta’s grown children, and their families. They invited my oldest daughter and I to their homes for dinner and we had the chance to meet and share a meal with Angie’s extended family for the first time.

We spent several hours at the alfresco dining table, surrounded by all of the family, greeting each other, eating, talking, laughing, and reminiscing. In fact, if it had not lasted several hours, we would not have been able to enjoy all of the delicious food they prepared for us. The first course was a hearty lasagna followed by a pair of salads – tomato with red onions and leafy greens. Next we were served plates of thinly-sliced roast pork and roast beef with gravy, and sides of oven-roasted potatoes and a zucchini frittata. Of course we enjoyed local wine and to top off the feast, we indulged in almond tart and coffee for dessert.

lynnblog3It was magical to be part this multi-generational meal; everyone brought a plate to the table that they had prepared in their own kitchen.  There was a little competition between everyone’s dishes, a little teasing of the presentation, but lots of love. It was remarkable to see the way they lingered at the table, even the young children, all enjoying each other’s company. There was not a single distraction during dinner from any electronics. I treasured the culture surrounding the meal and hope I can bring this Tuscan experience into my own family by slowing down at mealtime, allowing more time for conversation, and taking time to connect, relax, reflect, and celebrate.  Although an experience like this cannot be fully recreated, even a little change towards taking it slow would make a big difference. And now that my own kids are getting older, this is more doable than a few years ago!

As you try to do the same, enjoy this recipe for Renatta’s Zucchini Frittata.  Even more recipes from Tuscany will be shared at Marcel’s Midday “Tuscan Country Kitchen” that I am teaching on October 26th.   I hope to see you there!

Renatta’s Zucchini Frittata
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 5 large eggs
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  4. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  5. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 1 large onion, diced
  7. 1 pound zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and into 1/4–inch slices
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Crack and beat eggs in a bowl. Add grated cheese and season with salt and pepper, set aside. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté onion until it begins to caramelize - about 5 minutes. Add zucchini to the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until zucchini is tender but not soft, and excess liquid is cooked off (drain off any extra liquid if present when zucchini is finished cooking). Add parsley and basil. Drizzle remaining olive oil around pan and heat while evenly distributing pan contents.
  3. Give eggs a quick stir and pour into pan. Immediately reduce to low heat and cook until eggs are just set, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. To finish the cooking, slide pan 6 inches under broiler until the top is golden (1-2 minutes). Please be careful not to overcook.
  5. The frittata can be slid onto a serving plate after edges are loosened with a knife. Serve warm or cold, cut into wedges. Enjoy slowly, just as Renatta, Angie, and all of my family in Italy would do!
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

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