At last, after suffering a brutal heat wave for over a week, the weather yesterday was back to pleasant regular summer weather. It was hot but there was a nice breeze that took the humidity away and we could finally breath. And finally we could also cook something again… There is no going near the stove in our household when it’s 38°C out there!!!
So I decided to make peposo and zucca al tegame! Peposo is a traditional beef stew… but I can’t give more details now because I have promised a guest post to my dear friend Letizia so… The recipe will be coming soon!
[UPDATE NOV. 22, 2011 - The recipe and my guest post on Letizia's amazing food blog is here: Gloria's peposo stew.]
Zucca al tegame is also a very typical summer side dish in Tuscany. Zucca means pumpkin but the dish is actually made with zucchini (or courgettes if you are from this side of the pond), and it essentially consists in slowly cooking coarsely cut zucchini, onions and tomatoes in a large pan (tegame) with a lot of olive oil and basil.
But besides the menu itself, the interesting thing (well… for me at least…) is that I realized that I was actually cooking a real “cena a km0″! For those who have never heard of this new “label”, “a km0“, it indicates locally produced ingredients. It’s a quality seal, usually it means that what you are buying or eating is organic, and produced by smaller farms.
In our case, though, the dinner was actually made with ingredients which were produced less than a km away!
The meat came from a farm 200m away from our countryside home. The wine, olive oil, zucchini, basil, onions and tomatoes all came from my father’s vegetable garden, vineyard and olive groves just outside the garden! And of course, we also had some delicious peaches and plums from our orchard!
Isn’t that cool? Ok… the peppercorns were not from our farm. But still, it seemed still very cool to be able to cook a full meal with what we and our friends actually grow and produce!
I always make fun of my dad who spends all his time in the countryside now that he’s retired. But if he didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to have such a wealth of organic products right in our backyard. And the things you produce yourself taste so much better than anything you buy at the supermarket! Too bad you are tied to the seasonal products, and they don’t last long. When they’re finished, they’re finished… But as long as the vegetable garden is in full swing, let’s enjoy it!