Tag Archives: cookbook

The Twisted Soul Cookbook

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Dare I say that Chef Deborah VanTrece is my Rizzoli soul sister?!  Well heck, I am going to say it. I am so excited for the latest Rizzoli NY cookbook from a local Atlanta chef. This cookbook is not only a visual treat, but it is also an amazing collection of recipes that infuse Deborah’s vast travel culinary experiences and her Southern soul. Her restaurant, The Twisted House Cookhouse and Pours is a landmark in the community. I was excited to meet her in person at her cookbook photo-shoot in Atlanta last January. We share the same Rizzoli NY cookbook editor, which makes us sisters for sure, right? I was invited to meet her and appear in her cookbook while enjoying a meal. Needless to say, trying a multitude of her recipes all in one sitting was a treat.

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My 5 questions for Deborah:

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Do you have a favorite recipe in the book?

There’s no particular recipe I favor more than another in this book. Each recipe has a personal meaning to me.

Tell me a bit about the inspiration for the book, and the recipe.

This book is inspired by the great soul food cooks of the past and present. It expounds on old traditions by exploring new combinations of ingredients by interchanging cultures and techniques. It is intended to uplift the idea of “comfort food” across all cultures and showcase the impact of the humblest cuisines in our souls and our hearts. 

When did cooking become a passion and then a profession? Was this your path, or was it different? 

As far back as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by food and the fellowship around it.  Being an only child, sometimes I felt so alone.  It was always celebrations, that included food and drink, that erased my feelings of loneliness and created an atmosphere of joy that I wanted to last forever.  Because of this, I developed a passion for cooking, often sharing my creations with friends and family.  I became an international flight attendant, and the exposure to other cultures only increased my hunger for learning how to create new dishes. I finally enrolled in culinary school and my professional journey in the food world began.

How have you been able to pivot your restaurant during Covid?

My pivots with Covid are an entire book within itself. I have adjusted my business model several times to keep in line with safety protocols, as well as government mandates. It hasn’t been easy, but we are still standing, and for that, I am grateful.

Who most influenced you in your cooking?

My family has been most influential in my cooking. From my mother and father to my aunts, uncles and cousins, they have all helped in constructing my culinary foundation. Good food is a part of my history and recipes handed down through generations are so important to my story. These recipes showcase the existence of my ancestors and motivate me to continue the story by adding recipes of my own.

 

Thanks so much, Deborah! xx

 

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July Recap:: Lots of things and offerings

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Ciao All! I hope you are all well and staying safe. I wanted to update all of you about happenings in July. There are lots of things and offerings to discuss…

Offerings: La Fortezza Workshops and Retreats Update

The reality of Italy banning Americans caused us to postpone our SOLD OUT workshops. All of our attendees could not have been more understanding, and for that we are truly grateful. We will have a great time in 2021; I am optimistic about that! As a result of the workshops’ success, we added an extra week with each of these sold out instructors. First, the wonderful and talented stylist, and photographer, Ros Atkinson of “her dark materials”, and then the iconic photographer and incredible instructor Bill Abranowicz. Both will be with us an extra week to conduct workshops. Since their workshops sold out so quickly and had so many inquiries, we decided that we would add another opportunity for everyone to experience these amazing workshops. Check the 2021 La Fortezza Workshop Schedule. It’s really going to be lots of fun.

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Things: New Construction at La Fortezza—our swimming pool

We are finally finishing up the construction of the swimming pool at La Fortezza. It will take a few months to shape it up to get it ready for our guests next year. I am excited to welcome everyone to our pool area next year with Aperol Spritzes under the pergola.

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Things: COOK Corriere 50 Influential Women in Food

I was super honored this month to be included in Italy’s number 1 food publication. COOK- Corriere della Sera. It is the national newspaper’s foodie special interest publication. I was one of the 50 Influential Women in Food celebrated on the cover and inside. I loved the wonderful illustration. Super fun and very humbling. It was a surprise which made it all the more special. The women featured are impressive. They are women I admire, and I even work with some of them, so you can imagine how pleased I was to be included. Definitely a bucket list goal achieved. I will be participating in a virtual food conference with COOK in the fall, too. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer.

 

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Offerings: Italy is My Boyfriend is NOW available in an audio version

July has had lots of surprises. My memoir, Italy is My Boyfriend, came out this month on Audible on Amazon. No, I did not narrate it, as some of you have asked. I wouldn’t have done as well as Devon Sorvari, a trained actress, does. It’s the perfect download for your road trips this summer.

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Things: La Fortezza Cookbook update

I am continuing to work on my upcoming cookbook, La Fortezza Cookbook (Rizzoli NY).
I have been writing and testing recipes all year. I will be shooting it with David Loftus, an English Photographer. He also happens to be Jamie Oliver’s Photographer. I will have an Italian chef and styling team, but it will be a small team considering the times. I am excited to start photographing it. I leave soon to begin the shoot! As a side note, some of you may wonder how I can enter as an American. Because we own a home in Italy, I am an Italian resident, and I live there most of the year. Most likely, I will not be back stateside for some time.

Lastly, I am so sorry that no one from the US is able to join us in Italy this year, but this too will pass. Please wear a mask, stay distant and wash your hands. Let’s squash this thing. We are all in this together. One World, one cause.

xx Annette

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Eating Rome :: A Lovely Roman Morsel of a Book

eating rome I feel like I’ve known Elizabeth Minchilli for many years. Her book, “Restoring a Home in Italy”, was literally my bible when I built our home here in the states 15 years ago. You can imagine how thrilled I was when we started communicating about 7 years ago right about the time I started living in Italy in the summer. In 2010, Elizabeth’s book, “Italian Rustic”, was releasing, and she needed help arranging a book signing in Atlanta. It’s a long story, but I will just say that lucky for me, her Florida book signing fell through. I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person, and since then we have become friends.

I sat down this weekend to read her new book, “Eating Rome” (St. Martin’s Griffin). It’s a fun read! Even if you’re not planning a trip to Rome, it’s filled with sweet childhood recollections, and current observations about the changing landscape of the food culture in Italy.

I had a similar experience since my childhood was spent in Hungary every summer with my grandparents, and because of that experience, the changes in lifestyle all over the EU really resonated with me. Elizabeth touches on the fact that as the world becomes smaller with the internet, more “American” style supermarkets and shopping habits are becoming more common in Italy. The small vendors are being forced to close which to me, is a very sad state of affairs.

Like me, Elizabeth experienced a different Italy when she was a child of 12: a foreign way of life that was both exciting and exotic. Those days are pretty much over as the processed food aisles in super-mercatos become larger in Italy. The mom and pop shops are disappearing, even in the small town I live in on the Italian seaside. It’s what’s good and bad about the information age. Like Elizabeth, I love blogging and interacting with my social media friends and fans, however the cost of this worldwide web of communication may be the downfall of what we held so dear in our childhoods. For right now, though, there is still enough of the old school culture in Italy to keep us sustained.

I was lucky enough to get a little tour of Rome from Elizabeth last summer. When I arrived, she greeted me at her office in her neighborhood, Monti. We dropped my bag and headed to her favorite cheese shop for a cheesy lunch. I was quite surprised actually since I expected a lunch with several courses Italian style. But she ordered a lovely wine, and we had a great conversation over delicious, runny cheese and bread. Like my lunch, her book Eating Rome, is not what you’d expect. First off, it’s a small paperback book, perfect to throw into your suitcase and take along when you travel to Rome for the first time. It’s a handy guide book as well as a cookbook; it’s filled with Italian etiquette tips and quirky stories that will keep you entertained. It’s a knowledgeable and honest account of an American girl who fell in love with Rome. For all of you that write and ask me about where to eat in Rome, the short answer is to get this book. It’s obvious that Elizabeth’s love affair with Rome is still going strong. Eating Rome is a sweet love story packed with delicious information. Brava Elizabeth!

xx

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Picture Perfect Parties now available for pre-order!


Since we’ve been discussing some of my favorite cookbooks every friday, I thought it only appropriate to mention that my first cookbook, Picture Perfect Parties, by Rizzoli NY is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Excited is an understatement. There really are few greater moments than seeing your book come to fruition (well maybe your baby coming into the world). I am so thrilled to be able to share little bits and pieces leading up to the October 1st release. Please feel free to pre-order your cookbook, and I am excited to see all of you this fall on my US book tour… can’t wait to meet all my virtual friends on the road!!!  Creating this book was a pleasure and a career highlight, can’t wait to share all my effortless entertaining recipes and stylist tips. Let me know what you think of the cover?!

Have a great weekend everyone. So much to celebrate this week! Speaking of babies… my daughter Alex is graduating from law school this weekend (!) and my son Levi is coming home from his freshman year in Austin TX. We will all be together as a family!!! We’ll certainly be doing many toasts. So proud. xo

Of course I want to thank Hugh Acheson for the amazing foreword as well as Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP for her kind words on the back of the book. Wait until you see the amazing book trailer. It should be up on the blog in a few weeks! How’s that for a teaser?

Buy my book here

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Tear Sheets: Sweet Auburn Cookbook


Last week I mentioned the fabulous Sweet Auburn Desserts Cookbook. We shot this book in my home and it was such a treat to not only get to work with Sonya, but also to get to sample all of the amazing recipes. I’m telling you, working on a cookbook is not diet friendly! My friend Deborah shot the book (she’s also shooting my book for Rizzoli!) and she did an incredible job. It was such a fun team. You can pick up your copy here.

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