Italian syrups are taking center stage in coffee shops throughout the country where they are used to create flavored coffee drinks and added to mineral waters to make Torani "Italian Sodas." Now, The Torani Cookbook by Lisa Lucheta and Ann Rudorf will put them at the center of your table with a variety of recipes ranging from drinks and entrees, to salsas, sauces, and desserts—all using these popular syrups made from fruit extracts.
For those not familiar with the Torani phenomenon, the company has grown 1,000% in the past five years with ten million servings of Torani syrup poured each month. According to food trend analyst Phil Lempert's report on NBC's The Today Show, Torani Syrups were "one of the best new food products of 1995."
With all due respect to Lempert, Italian sodas and syrups have actually had a long history in this country. In 1925, Italian-American Rinaldo Torre paid a return visit to Italy and brought back to America the recipe for Italian flavoring syrups from Lucca. He and his wife Ezilda were the first to produce and sell these syrups in America. Working from his shop in San Francisco's North Beach, they boiled and pressed fruit, nuts, and spices, blended the concentrated extracts with pure cane sugar and water, and fine-tuned the flavors until the syrups tasted just like those of Lucca. For the Italian community of North Beach, these syrups were a taste of home. Today, R. Torre & Company is still family-owned by the second and third generations, Harry Lucheta and his daughter Lisa and son Paul.
The syrups were catapulted into nationwide popularity when the revolution for strong, rich, whole-bean coffees, brewed in espresso machines, took the U.S. by storm during the 80s. When some Torani Mandarin Orange Italian syrup was steamed with milk and blended with espresso in Portland, Oregon, a new drink—the flavored latte—was born. Torani flavored coffee drinks are familiar to coffee bar habitues today, as witnessed by the bright bottles that line the walls of many coffee houses.
The Torani Cookbook reveals that the syrups can be enjoyed in an assortment of drinks and dishes, and best of all, they are fat-free, caffeine-free, and naturally flavored.
The first chapter of the book, Caffe Lattes, Cappuccinos, Mochas, and Steamers pays homage to the Torani coffee creations, including Raspberry Truffle Latte and Hot Apple Pie Steamer. Tips on steaming milk with syrups, and how to create the perfect espresso drink, are also noted.
In the second chapter, Italian Sodas, Iced Teas, Smoothies, and Freezes, you'll discover flavorful beverages that include both twists on classics such as Cream Soda, and delicious new creations such as Mango Smoothie.
Torani chef Ann Rudorf consulted on the next three chapters dedicated to food rather than drinks. Chapter Three provides recipes for Salsas, Sauces, Marinades and Dressings, including a Caramel Barbecue Sauce and a Black Currant Zinfandel Sauce.
Chapter Four, Menus for Entertaining, includes a Caribbean Menu, a Cafe Grill Menu, a Holiday Menu featuring Roasted Stuffed Turkey with Spiced Peach Glaze, and a Breakfast Menu.
Chapter Five, Desserts, present sixteen recipes from Raspberry Poached Pears to Blueberry and Mascarpone Tart.
There are over fifty Torani flavors to choose from. The Torani Cookbook will inspire you to use them all in over 100 delicious recipes, and to create a few signature specialties of your own.
About the Authors
Lisa Lucheta is an avid cook and is the granddaughter of R. Torre. Aside from her responsibilities at the family-owned company, she also owns the Perfect Palate, a catering business in San Francisco. Ann Rudorf, executive chef of the Perfect Palate and chef and culinary director at Torani, was trained at the California Culinary Academy and cooked at the renowned Square One Restaurant in San Francisco and Pirosmani in Seattle.
This entree may be served hot or cold, and works equally well with Ahi tuna or swordfish. Serve with Mango Salsa.
Combine the marinade ingredients. Coat the salmon with the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes.
Grill the salmon until done to your liking, quite pink in the middle, California-style, or more well done if you prefer.
Note: Attention must be paid to the cooking of this tender, sweet fish. The coals should be burned rather low before placing the salmon on the grill. If the fire sizzles too hot, spray a mist of water on the coals. To test for doneness, "push" on the fish at its middle. The fish is cooked when it gently flakes away from your finger.
Native to Southeast Asia, mangoes are dense and juicy and provide a refreshing component in many foods. Fruit salsas are unsurpassed for their freshness and flavor. Try them with a variety of dishes, especially grilled salmon, tuna, or swordfish.
Makes 2 cups
Toss all of the ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl and serve.
The Torani Cookbook
Lisa Lucheta and Ann Rudorf
Photography by Brent Lindstrom
Ten Speed Press
7 x 9 inches, 144 pages, full color
Publication Date: May 15,1996
Reprinted with permission.
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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