|Tortelloni Primavera with Basil Pesto|
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Creating my own unique dishes- regardless of how simple- always makes me nervous. For one, I hate wasting food..and I think "one bad move and it's $10 down the drain!" Also, I hate to mess up, so when I create something less than tasty I usually have a few dramatic moments where I threaten to never cook again, throw all our plates out the window, and then the next night I'm cooking dinner again. Tonight was a night I was less than hopeful, but determined to do minimal cooking. I was pleasantly surprised, as this salad was light, sweet and refreshing- and the perfect compliment to our simple roasted chicken main dish. My husband said it was "Cheesecake Factory worthy," which is a big compliment in this house (the man loves CF).
So here we go. The best part? It was 5 ingredients! (I cheated and used a pre-made dressing, but this could be easily homemade with a wine vinegar, oil, a pinch of sugar).
1/3 cup Sliced Almonds
3 cups green grapes, halved or quartered (mine were huge, so I quartered)
3 Tbs Crumbled Feta
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
2 Tbs sweet vinaigrette salad dressing (I used Brianna's blush wine vinaigrette)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Toast Sliced Almonds on the stove: heat in a skillet over low heat for 4-5 minutes. NO sprays or oils needed. (I knew mine were done when it started to smell like popcorn.) Remove from heat and set aside.
Friday, August 26, 2011
What did we eat in Tuscany, you wonder? Well, I did some reading before our little weekend getaway- a book that would probably only be interesting to a true food-obsessed person (like myself) with significant time on their hands: A Thousand Days in Tuscany, written by a chef turned food and wine critic turned European traveler who moves to the farmhills of Tuscany to experience true Italian cuisine and culture. Granted it varies depending on region, but thanks to her, I learned that Tuscan food and tradition runs much deeper than good Chianti. I learned about chestnut and olive and truffle harvests, herbs that grow as freely as grass, and the significance of good homemade bread. It's surprisingly not a big pasta region (traditionally), although their local pasta is most likely to be pici (big thick spaghetti-like noodles. One is more likely to find Grigliata Mista (literally "mixed grill"); a dish made up of whatever meats were fresh and available that day. And if in season, you'll find mushrooms on any menu You can also get a good bowl of Fagioli (literally "beans"), which is as simple as white cannellini beans cooked in a tomato sauce. And we saw the sweet treat panforte just about everywhere, and of course had to try it! It's a rich cake made with honey, dried fruit, and nuts (we opted for chocolate with almonds and dried apricots).
|The Rosemary bread rolls|
|Pici pasta with shaved truffles and ricotta|
|Panforte Nero (chocolate)|
|Sampling olives used to make olive oil|
|Of course good wine wasn't hard to find either :)|
Thursday, August 18, 2011
|Some "almost ready" red grapes|
In most parts of Italy the natives will tell you Naples is nothing to brag about-even the Neopolitans will tell you this! While there is certainly much to experience outside of Naples, I think my temporary home has some things to boast about too, and wine is one of them. So boast I will!
|Rows of grape vines|
|Green grapes which will make white wine|
|Steel vessels used in the fermentation process|
|Oak barrels where some of the wines are further aged|
|Viola! The finished product|
|Va bene! A good wine consumer gives it a good sniff first|
|..And make sure you have a good bowl of pasta nearby.|