Bringing Tuscany Home by Frances Mayes

I am sure you are familiar with Mayes from Under the Tuscan Sun. This newer book is rich in photographs and luscious recipes from her life in Italy and San Francisco. It’s wonderful to float through the pages, dreaming of what it might be like to live like that. My favorite part, written by her husband, Edward Mayes, tells about his obsession with what he calls “the jars.” On Saturday mornings he cooks and fills his jars with delicious concoctions to last the rest of the week. Examples: artichoke pesto, roasted garlic, tomato sauce, olive salsa.

Last summer I did my own version of this concept. After coming home from the farmer’s market, I would cook up whatever we had bought: roast some beets, bake a crostini with the fresh fruit, cook up some easy jam. I guess I should continue doing it in the winter too. Seems like a lovely way to spend a rainy Saturday morning.

A recipe:

Baked Olives with Garlic and Citrus Zest

2 cups mixed olives
4 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
A few flecks of dried red pepper
½ teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients and bake in an earthenware dish for 15 minutes.

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