Real Talk


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First of all, let’s have a chat about how hard it is to type on an iPad while your left ring finger is bandaged. I had Clumsy Moment #5789 today in the kitchen; I tripped over my own feet while carrying a cheese grater and kept myself from falling by propping myself up on a table with said cheese grater, sanding the top of my finger in the process. Let’s also talk about why it’s always a good idea to wear open toed and open faced shoes (or none at all) in the kitchen. Everyone loves a good oil burn on the top of their feet. Similarly, there are no oven mitts in this place, so semi damp hand towels have been taking their place. The hot water kettle gets calcium deposits and dumps boiling water on me daily. I’m learning nothing!

Here’s the Real Talk: my diet. It’s a thing. I don’t mean the “let’s get fit,” kind of diet. I mean the Constantly Eating, Free Range of the Kitchen, Taste Everything Twice (or Three Times), Grazing kind of Diet. The kind that involves Constant Consumption of Cold Cuts (only the weird ones) on Ciabatta. I’m really seriously addicted to bologna and salami. I was “hungry” today while I was cooking the beans, so I got mozzarella out of the fridge. And then I dipped it in the butter I was clarifying on the stove. And it was GOOD. It’s a good thing I don’t have the required materials for baking because then I’d really be in trouble. There are plenty of tea time cookies in the cabinet, though, that I have Yet to Pilfer.

The picture at the top of the post is of the wine Giacomo and Dean went to fetch from Sienna. They got five or six eight-liter barrels (I forget). In the picture Dean is siphoning the wine from the barrel into the eight individual liter bottles. It’s quite the process, but results in quite a delicious table wine at dinner. I’ve never liked red wines before now, but I’m drinking a glass with dinner and I’ve been enjoying it. I think it pairs well with the strong Italian garlic taste I find myself creating quite a lot.

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Here’s dinner last night. I made Penne col Sugo di Tonno e Peperoni (tuna pasta with peppers) and Arrosto di Maiale al Latte (pork roasted in milk). I also made some fried, breaded zucchini. Paul helped me a lot with the egg based dip they went in before being breaded and fried. (I swear, the jig is almost up.) It turned out well! The professor complimented my pork and it’s Not Overdoneness. The thermometers did their job.

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This was tonight’s dinner. It was Pesto, Il tapūlon di borgomanero, and Fagiolini alla Lionese. I forgot to take a picture of the pesto, but it was delicious. I looked up online how to make pesto properly and found out that Real Italians chop the basil and other ingredients by hand instead of putting them in a food processor. I did both. I chopped all the tasty young basil leaves and processed the tougher older leaves with the garlic, pine nuts, and oil and then mixed the two by hand to meld the flavors together. It came out quite well! The other pictures are of the beans, obviously, and of the tapūlon di borgomanero. The dish is basically ground beef with cabbage cooked in red wine with spices. It’s meant to be served over polenta, but I overlooked that detail and improvised with a blanched cabbage leaf underneath like a serving boat. When eaten together the taste was quite fine. I’m not a fan of eating straight ground beef, taco style, so the cabbage leaf was a welcome change in consistency. Sep took the picture of me grinding pepper over the final product right before I served it. I like the motion it conveys. My kitchen is always in motion.

Tonight there are no soccer matches. There are no after dinner drinks. There are no trips to the beach to night swim, and there are no people interested in playing cards. So there will be a movie night. Dean is showing us Seven Psychopaths, which is apparently a comedy. Okie dokie, I say.

Tomorrow I’m shopping for the 4th of July. Anyone who reads this and wants to comment with a good easy crowd-pleasing side dish recipe will be my Best Friend. I’m planning on making potato salad, cole slaw, and a fruit crumble. I have been instructed to buy potato-chip-like munchies. I want to do kebabs, but the tiny grill will be taken up with burgers and hot dogs. Any good ideas? This island has no sweet corn, which is a Bummer.

Buonanotte! Tomorrow I will photograph breakfast.

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