May is guest chef, cook, and foodie month. This month I will be featuring guests on the blog who are sharing their stories and recipes. I’m very excited to showcase my esteemed guests and what they have to offer.
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My first guest is Antimo Cimino, an amazing chef (yes he will cook fabulous dishes for you in your home! [when it is safe to do so]), a cookbook author “Food You’ll Make Love To: Ah, Those Italians!”, CEO and Experiential Travel Expert of VoomaGo and principle of Cultural Global Labs, a Leadership and Wellness organization offering workshops for professional development.
Antimo Cimino holds a Masters of Arts in Intercultural Relations from the Intercultural Communication Institute. He has twenty years of experience in event planning and program management. He spent nine years working in leadership development for Mercer, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm. Antimo also worked for the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, Oregon for eight years, planning and managing conferences. Seven years ago Antimo’s passion for diversity, leadership development, wellness, travel, and languages culminated in the launch of VoomaGo, a company specializing in experiential and intercultural travel, and multi-sensory transformative experiences abroad.
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We’ve put our travel plans in Antimo’s capable hands for years and enjoyed many adventures together in several countries. We’ve cooked, eaten, and drank wine from the north to the south of Italy! This year our trip was to be in Spain and Portugal. Antimo had a fabulous itinerary planned, but the coronavirus showed up and all our travel plans were canceled. We’re hoping to make it next year.
A few photos from our travel adventures with Antimo:
Making biscotti with Anna (Antimo’s mamma) in Manduria, Italy, supervised by Vincenzo (Antimo’s dad).
Antimo, hubby, and I enjoying a fabulous lunch by the lake in a quaint Italian town.
That’s not coffee in those mugs – it’s wine of course!
Artichokes featured in Antimo’s recipe.
Antimo and his artichoke plants in his countryside orchard in Puglia.
Here’s Antimo’s story for this recipe:
During the months of February, March, and April, the fields around the countryside of Puglia are filled with mustard greens and artichokes. My mom and I are both crazy about artichokes. In our orchard, we always had an abundance of them; my parents are in their late seventies now and are still looking after the two rows of artichokes. During April, I often go home for a visit. When I call my mother to let her know what time my plane arrives, she asks me what I’m craving. I always ask her to make her artichoke dish.
I have shared this story with you because it points out a very unique cultural difference between the North and the South of Italy. In all of southern Italy, when you visit your parents before any logistical questions are addressed, your mother will always be preoccupied with feeding you some “mamma’s food”!
Tips: Trader Joe’s artichokes, while a little smaller are the best kind. If shopping anywhere else for artichokes look for the variety that shows some purple in the leaves.
- 4 globe artichokes with stalks
- 1?3 cup shallots, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1?3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1?2 cup parmesan cheese, grated Pinch of saffron powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
- 1?2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1?2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 1 Roma tomato, chopped
- Prepare a bowl of water with the juice of 1 lemon (leave the cutout lemon in the bowl). Cut the long stalks from the artichokes at the base of the flower. Peel the bitter part of the stalks, cut them into 2-3- inch-long pieces, and place them in the bowl with the lemon juice. Start taking off some of the artichokes petals until the fleshy yellow ones start to appear. Cut off the thorny points about half an inch in. With your fingers, open up the center, loosening the petals. Leave them resting in the lemon water.
- In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, finely chopped parsley, saffron powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix well, add in the eggs, and continue to mix. Set aside to rest. In a pot on medium-high heat, add 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil, the chopped shallots, and garlic. After 2 minutes, add the carrots, artichokes stalks, and tomato. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. When everything is nice and warm, add in the white wine. Let it evaporate for 30 seconds, then turn down the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.
- Take your artichokes, and, with your hand, stuff them with the mix, making sure that it is in the center and all around the leaves. Place them into the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Add a glass of warm water, drizzle some olive oil on the top, cover with a lid, and let cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Serve with garlic mayonnaise, if you please.
To purchase a copy of Antimo’s cookbook, “Food You’ll Make Love To: Ah, Those Italians!” email Antimo directly at firstname.lastname@example.org ($33 including postage).
Antimo’s artwork and tiled furniture can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/antimo.cimino.7
And if you’d like to start thinking about your next travel adventure (when it is safe to travel again), check out VoomaGo’s website. Antimo is always happy to speak with potential travelers about their destination desires and help them plan their trip of a lifetime.