Food Adventures

Monday, July 17, 2006

As many of you know, I really like my coffee and I am becoming quite particular about it. So, even in Italy, where it’s hard to have bad coffee, I prefer some coffee shops to others. On the weekends, I tend to go to a coffee shop close to the apartment that uses the same brand espresso maker (Rancilio) as our espresso machine at home. I am partial to my Rancilio Silvia and now I enjoy visiting her much bigger relative and testing the coffee. They have not disappointed me yet although they look at me strangely when I ask for my second cappuccino. What can I say, one is just not enough. They don’t even know that after my two cappuccini I usually have a macchiato before 9 am.

I am very happy it’s Monday today also because I had not had a bombolone in 2 days: on Saturday morning, I went to the usual pastry shop, but it turns out they don’t make bomboloni on Saturdays. Since they are closed on Sunday, I was forced to go to a different place and, of course, the bomboloni are not nearly as good. So, as you can guess by now, I suffered some because of that and could barely wait to get out of bed this morning to have a bombolone. the barista was surprised once again that I wanted a second cappuccino, but no one bats an eyelash when the two ladies who are there every morning have 3 pastries a piece and then take several more to go. One morning, the barista was saying to one of them that she was going to get sick from all the pastries she eats and she said, “I will worry about that if I get sick.”

Last night, I was at the school until 9:30 or so, helping out with a class for a group of about 50 American high school students and their teachers. It took a while to get the students to actually do work, but they were very excited about rolling out the pasta, so they ended p really enjoying their dinner of tagliatelle with tomato sauce, Italian meatloaf (with hard boiled eggs inside) and a Florentine schiacciata. They said it was the best meal they had had since arriving. I think part of the appeal was one of the chefs, who they considered good looking. Everyone wanted a picture of him or a picture with him and he was graceful enough to humor them all.

Anyway, the menu for the day consisted of some pretty delicious things: the morning started with asparagus risotto and duchess potatoes (mashed potatoes piped though a pastry bag into different shapes and then baked). I am disappointed to report that even though I make risotto on a regular basis at home and make it quite well, this time it did not turn out o.k. It was the worst risotto I had ever made and I choose to blame the silly electric stove and the fact that the temperature is never quite hot enough. The instructor pronounced the rice boiled and he was right, the consistency was just not right. The good news is that the seasoning was perfect, so we did something right. I am the only person in the group who likes quite a bit of salt, so no matter who I work with, we always have a discussion about salt. And of the most points Andrea makes most frequently is that there isn’t enough seasoning. Andrea also mentioned that in Italy food is salted more than in any other European country (or the U.S.). So now, my cooking partners let me salt the food and we do well. More luck with the risotto next time.

Also on the menu today a lamb dish from Lazio (the region where Rome is) and gnocchi alla romana (discs of semolina flour cooked in hot milk with some butter and parmesan; the discs are layered in a pan, sprinkled with more parmiggiano and butter and baked). What a wonderful lunch! For dessert: flourless chocolate cake as it is made in the chocolate shop of our teacher. One group made it plain and the other with hot peppers, rosemary and salt. Both were absolutely divine!

Well, I must get to bed now because tomorrow morning will be here very soon and there is a world of bomboloni and cappuccino waiting for me out there.


At 9:35 AM CDT, Anonymous amy themer said...

VT! VT! I'm missing you! I'm missing you! That flourless chocolate cake sounds phenomenal, and you seem to be enjoying yourself immensely, so I'm very happy to read your posts. Keep cookin' sister!



At 3:20 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

At 6:27 AM CDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks nice! Awesome content. Good job guys.


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