Pasta sauce exists in myriad variations. TERRA DI TOSCANA is produced by a young friend, Alex Del Guerra, here in Sacramento according to the recipes of his Lucchese region born mother, Edda. Made from Sacramento Valley grown, true San Marzano seed, tomatoes, fresh vegetables, olives, and in one instance, porcini mushrooms, TERRA DI TOSCANA sauces are made in small batches and have a rich, thick consistency. There are four types: Pommarola Toscana (a variant of the southern Italian sauce), Pommarola Piccante (with hot red pepper), Sugo di Pomodoro con funghi (with porcini and basil), and Sugo di Pomodoro con olive (with black and green olives.) These are all in 16 oz. jars, enough to dress ample pasta for 6 people. TERRA DI TOSCANA sauces are perfect for harried holiday cooks, for the unexpected holiday guests, or to add variety to leftovers.The TERRA DI TOSCANA sauces are uncompromisingly good. I think their very thick consistency makes them appropriate for large format pasta cuts. Thin cuts may be overwhelmed by the density of the sauce.
BARBARA TROPP-- A PETITE LADY YET A GIANT IN COOKING
On Friday October 26, Barbara Tropp lost her battle with
cancer. She had been a friend ever since she arrived on the West Coast, almost
thirty years ago. Now her great light in the world of Chinese cooking has
been extinguished. My sister Illa and I had lunch with Barbara in mid July
and she wonderfully signed all of the copies I had found in our storage of
her 1982 masterpiece, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking. The several cartons
of books had never been opened. She was amazed that we still had them, as
was I when I found them. They had gotten lost in our move from one location
to another. My favorite photo of Barbara is on the back jacket of this book.
It was taken in the kitchen of my paternal grandparents' home in San Francisco
where Barbara once lived.
Corti Brothers is offering these remaining copies, in perfect condition, signed by Barbara in both English and Chinese, at the original price of the book,
These monies will go to the scholarship fund established in her memory enabling young female chefs to explore the cooking and culture in China first hand. It is the Barbara Tropp Memorial Fund, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, 304 West Liberty St., #201 Louisville, Ky 40202. Attn: Melissa Mershon.
In July of 1999, the last time Barbara was in Sacramento, we had just received some exceptional "Donko" shiitake mushrooms and I gave her some. In return she sent a recipe for them braised with tofu. Corti Brothers will send the recipe to whoever asks us for it. Hopefully, you will also remember Barbara's fund.Barbara had asked to be remembered by opening a great bottle of Champagne and enjoying it with a loved one. Here's to you Barbara.
Australia is the world's best producer of dessert Muscat wines, period. Having said that, I can easily demonstrate it since Australia is unique in having stocks of aged Muscat wines that are virtually unfindable elsewhere. Most of these come from Rutherglen, the warm vineyard area of northern Victoria. It is also proof of the mettle of a winemaker to show how he can blend old stocks with some younger material and create a harmonious and complex blend. These muscats must be blended. They also need judicious refreshing to keep them from becoming too ponderous and weighty and not showing varietal character or age to the fullest.The McWilliam's Show Reserve Liqueur Muscat is one of the great Australian Muscats. It sports more medals than a Gilbert and Sullivan general. Blended from old reserves of top wines, this is the kind of wine for snuggling up with after dinner together with a good book. The Show Reserve Liqueur Muscat will accompany practically any dessert, especially holiday ones, and, in fact, could be dessert all by itself.
Interest in these old wines in waning slightly in Australia itself, and one day they may not exist in their present form. However, while we can, we should enjoy them and winter is the best time.
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