Tuscan Women Cook Book Review – An Enchanting Journey Through Tuscany Delights (Recipe)

Tuscan Women Cook, authored by Coleen Kirnan, brings the flavors, recipes, and memories to homes everywhere with this condensed version of the weeklong immersive culinary destination experience Tuscan Women Cook has offered guests for 20 years.

With a forward by Food Network Host Valerie Bertinelli, the soft-cover cookbook takes readers on a journey through the lush landscape of Tuscany, Italy, providing the neophyte traveler access to the hidden secrets of a land that only the locals would know.

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The introduction to the Tuscan Women Cook, walks readers through the Toscana region of Italy, introduces how Coleen acquired the Tuscan Women Cook immersive experience, and of course the nonnas, the grandmothers of Montefollonico, who are paired with the guests, as they spend the week learning the traditions of genuine Italian cooking.

Learning from the nonnas, as anyone would understand, brings a wealth of experience, that recipes don't provide. Sure, the ingredients are listed, but the special touch, the nuances of making the sauce, Sugo di Pomodoro, Sugo di Carne, or Sugo di Campagna, rolling the dough to create the perfect pasta, pici, tagliatelle, creamy risotto, or pizza, and understanding the difference between Tiramisu and Tiramisu Alle Fragole can only be learned by walking through the process with the expert guide.

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"Our local Tuscan women, or nonnas, teach recipes and techniques passed down from generation to generation, truly the great cooks of Tuscany!" says Coleen Kirnan, owners, and hosts of Tuscan Women Cook.  "The women of Montefollonico are all exceptional cooks.  From a Michelin-starred restaurant chef to modest, but incredible home cooks, the women of Tuscan Women Cook delight all who cook with them."

Sectioned into twelve chapters, Tuscan Women Cook offers the apprentice home chef the opportunity to walk through the different courses of an authentic Italian meal, beginning with "Antipasti" (Appetizer), "Zuppe" (soups), "Pasta," "Carne" (Meats), "Verdure" (vegetables), "Dolci" (desserts), "Salse" (Sauces), "Bevande" (beverages), and three sections at the end of the cookbook that provide local resources and catalogues the recipes.

Have you ever wanted to learn to cook in Italy, to participate in Tuscan cooking classes and come home with authentic Italian recipes handed down over generations?  If you can't travel to Tuscany this year, try the next best thing: an easy and delicious Italian recipe straight from the medieval Italian village of Montefollonico in Tuscany.

The concept of seasonal cooking is not new to the women of Tuscany.  Rather, these are methods and concepts that have been passed down and still practiced today. Most of the ingredients used in their recipes are grown in their home gardens with many picked just that morning.  

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At 130 pages, Tuscan Women Cook is a delicious journey, an inheritance for aspiring home chefs everywhere from the nonnas who provide a wealth of expertise, knowledge, and culinary fluency.

Enchanting, luscious, and appetizing, Tuscan Women Cook highlights culinary creativity and deep Tuscany tradition and is available online at https://tuscanwomencook.com/.

Recipe: For your next get-together, try this delicious little coffee cake that can be served with an afternoon cappuccino or after dinner with fresh fruit and gelato.

Recipe adapted by Tuscan Women Cook
Reprinted with permission of https://tuscanwomencook.com/

Ciambellone Toscano
Serves 10 to 12

This flavorful little cake was served to us with afternoon coffee by one of our neighbors, Simonetta.  Simonetta is the daughter of one of our first nonnas, Iolanda, who is a culinary legend in Montefollonico.  Both are natives of the Tuscan village of Montefollonico and this coffee cake recipe has been a favorite of her family for generations.

Preheat oven to 350 F, rack in the center.
10-cup, tube or Bundt type pan, sprayed with non-stick spray.

3/4 cup        unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups   confectioners (powdered) sugar
3 large         eggs, room temperature
3-1/2 cups   cake flour
2 tsp            baking powder
Pinch           salt
1 cup           whole milk
2 tsp           freshly grated orange zest

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1.    In a mixing bowl, blend butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, blending in between each addition until fully incorporated.  
2.    In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Add one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix well.  Add in one-half cup milk and mix well.  Continue adding in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the remaining milk, blending until all is mixed well.
3.    Fold in the orange zest. 
4.    Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges. Place in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. 
5.    Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate. Dust with additional powdered sugar prior to serving.

OPTIONAL: This cake can be served with a scoop of your favorite gelato or ice cream and fresh seasonal fruit.

Title: Tuscan Women Cook.

Author: Coleen Kirnan.

Images/Photography: Sheila Langer, Valeria Aksakova.

Publisher: Tuscan Women Cook.

Length: 133 pages, Softcover.

ISBN: 978-0-57-882518-2.

MSRP: $35.00 (U.S.).

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