The lifecycle of creative activity. We've all lived it:

It starts with an idea that leads to a process that becomes a book or a play or a faster computer; a film or the latest trend in teen fashion; a painting or an innovative new way to teach.


Its development spawns many unexpected experiences along the way to realization, and brings with it sufficient highs as well as innumerable lows – doubt, rejection, failed attempts, multiple revisions – before the day it finally falls into the hands of others. Then, it begins to take on a life of its own.

Much to my surprise, this has also been the path of fulfilling our Kickstarter promises, which, now in the rewards creation phase, continues to kick my butt with its downs, elevate me with its multiple ups, and excite and surprise me with its numerous twists and turns.
 

Today, I want to share one of these experiences with you. It proves the old cliché that every problem brings with it an opportunity. It’s a fun story for all, but it's also instructive to those of you who may wish to mount your own rewards-based crowdfunding campaign some day.
 

Now, on with the story…

It's early 2015. My team and I are deep in research mode, learning everything we can about crowdsourced funding. From a Kickstarter insider, I receive the following advice:
 

The best rewards emanate from the campaign itself.

I thought I understood what that meant at the time. But I didn’t, not really. I wouldn't understand until a good six weeks after our campaign when one of my presumed reward donors – a supporter, for sure, but not a member of our team – disappeared without a trace.
 

A Florence-based restaurateur, he’d offered to make us a book of recipes: a four-course menu of authentic Tuscan dishes, one menu for each season. In exchange, I agreed to promote his enterprise throughout our campaign, and to publish the recipe book at our expense for his use forever after.


We offered the book as a backer reward from $50 and up. An amazing 95 people now await our Dining with Michelangelo package thanks to this delectable contribution.


But without any warning, the book was suddenly my promise, and mine alone, to keep. And what do I know of Tuscan cooking? Not a lot.
 

Thanks to our campaign, however, I now have a growing network of Italy-based merchants and Italianophiles to tap into. So I reached out to them, and uncovered a delicious slice of Tuscany hiding out in Sicily!
 

Today, I introduce you to ...

Katia Amore,
now author of our
Dining With Michelangelo
Tuscan recipe book package.

Please join me in welcoming Katia to our merry band!

 

Former Editor-in-Chef of Italy Magazine, a major supporter of our campaign, Katia grew up nurturing a passion for Italian cuisine – including traditional Tuscan specialties – at the side of her mother and grandmother. After living, traveling, and cooking throughout Italy (and beyond) as a young woman, she recently returned to her roots: the beautiful baroque town of Modica, Sicily. There, she founded loveSicily, a cookery school boasting a unique blend of flavors.
 

When I asked Katia if she’d be interested in helping us realize our Dining With Michelangelo recipe book reward, she did much more than simply accept the offer. She seized on it as an opportunity to invite me to her in her ancestral home, where we prepared the book and cooked up some of the recipes, together.
 

So problem solved and opportunity gained. All is almost well that ends well. The book should be ready to go to our Art Director, Beth Lower, next week thanks to the volunteer efforts of ace editor and Italian chef, Robert Marino, who's help us bring it on home. How's that for a winning collaboration!
 

We are so grateful to you, Katia!
 

Here we are together in Modica:


And now for a hint of what's to come: Katia’s recipe for Crostini, a favorite Tuscan treat for ALL seasons.
 

CHICKEN LIVER CROSTINI

Preparation:

Clean and wash the liver. Chop the onion and sauté in olive oil until soft. Chop the liver and add to the sautéed onions. Add the capers, anchovies, and sage.

Then add the stock and cook on high flame, finishing off with the butter, salt, and pepper to taste. In a food processor, finely chop everything to form a paste.

Toast the sliced bread. Spread each slice with the liver paté. Arrange on a serving dish and top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients:

8 bread slices
350g chicken liver
3 anchovies preserved in olive oil
1 spoonful of capers
½ onion
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter
1 glass stock
Salt and pepper
Sage


For the Amore family, food is a social activity: you create it with and for others. Katia’s mission is to keep this tradition alive by welcoming hungry travelers into her beautifully restored home in the heart of historic Modica, where she guides her guests through the culture of Sicilian cuisine with hands-on, relaxed cooking courses. I should know, for I was there!


LoveSicily culinary holidays include visits to local producers, nearby towns, and nature locations. For more information and to book your delectable holiday, contact: www.lovesicily.com.

 

Do you have a favorite Tuscan dish or wine or Italian destination?
Please tell is in the comments to the right.

 

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