When I first moved to Buffalo for nursing school I nannied in the mornings before my classes. The woman I worked for remains one of my dearest friends. I learned a lot from her but one thing that really sticks out is her love of cooking, especially for her family. I remember watching her prepare each meal with such care. She loved to try new recipes and would always explain cooking tips and tricks as she diced up vegetables or stirred soups.
Inspired by what I witnessed, I returned home after the semester for summer break and ordered my first cookbook. It was Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘My Father’s Daughter’ and I began trying out her recipes as soon as it arrived. I spent that summer researching cooking techniques as well as teaching myself how to use a grill, make homemade pasta, and braise meats. Some recipes turned out, others not so much. But I fell in love with cooking.
The second cookbook I purchased that summer was ‘The Tuscan Sun Cookbook’ by Frances and Edward Mayes. Frances also authored the famous ‘Under the Tuscan Sun,’ a memoir that has food as its protagonist and the book that inspired me to buy her recipes. Her food is fun to make and I love reading her stories that pair beautifully with each dish. My favorite recipe is on page 106, Ivan’s Pizza Margherita. It remains my go-to pizza dough recipe and I make it often, now, for my own family. The dough is delicious, easy to make, and can be topped with just about anything. “Pizza inspires creativity,” Frances writes. And I couldn’t agree more.
HERE is a link to ‘The Tuscan Sun Cookbook’ and here is a list of some of our favorite toppings:
Mozzarella and Fresh Basil
Mozzarella, Pepperoni, and Prosciutto
Mozzarella, Pepperoni, and Sausage
Mozzarella and Caramelized Onions
Mozzarella, Black Olives, and Banana Peppers
BBQ Sauce, Chicken, Cilantro, Red Onions, Cheddar and Mozzarella
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