Let me start by saying that this title might be grammatically incorrect. Surprisingly, being in Italy has yielded little opportunity to learn Italian. However, I might leave fluent in French. Today I spent the majority of the day reading reports in French, who knew I still can read it… but google translate helps… On to Sunday… Domenica!
A new tradition has started. Well, at least, I hope it’ll catch on. Inspired by the Biscotti Queen and her family, the grad students and I have decided to start a Sunday Dinner tradition.
My roommate and I both love to cook. So it sorta works out. Plus, he’s Sicilian and doesn’t fool around.
Now this wasn’t your average Sunday Dinner. It started around 3:00pm and ended around 8:00pm, and it was amazing.
It started with an unorthodox, antipasti. Not meats. Instead, cream puffs.
Nancy and I love sugar and she stopped at a bakery before arriving. They were amazing! Some were filled with lemon cream and others with a chocolate cream.
To die for. So while Nancy and I munched on cream puffs and waited for the others to arrive, Joe started making primo piatto.
Once Lis, Kyla and her friend Giuseppe arrived. We were ready.
Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare
After some sitting and chatting, I made secondo piatto. It ended up being some strange version of saltimbocca. Thinly pounded chicken breast, rolled with prosciutto and sage, cooked in a butter wine sauce.
Not bad. For contorno, rosemary roasted potatoes.
Nancy and Lis both brought dessert. However, I only remembered to photograph what Nancy brought (other than the cream puffs):
Some sort of delicious crostata! I was pleased.
After dessert and coffee, we were sufficiently full and basically ready for the night to be over.
Next time, I want to make primo and leave the meat making to someone who knows what he’s doing.
Forget the pink and red.
Today has been all about green.
Pasta e fagoli con pesto e rucola
Translation: Pasta with cannelini beans and pesto with arugula
It was delicious, but honestly, it’s been a rough day.
I really wanted gelato. Not far from my house is a gelateria… why not?
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Being in Italy, does not give me license to eat Nutella like it’s going out of style.
I ate this jar in about 5 days.
The entire container was 200g. Each serving is 15g, meaning there were about 13.3 servings in this little glass container. That would mean I ate a little less than 3 servings per day.
While that’s not terrible, let’s not forget the first two ingredients: zucchero e olio vegetale.
Translation: sugar and vegetable oil.
Transitive Property: No more Nutella for me.
Anyone else go crazy for Nutella?
I’ve probably mentioned this before but I’ve never been a big fan of pasta.
It just was never that exciting.
UNLucky for me, I’m spending the next few months in the land of pasta.
But as the saying goes… When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
So I’m trying, and here’s my experiment. Pasta alla Puttanesca, which I guess literally means “whore style pasta.” It’s not a Roman recipe originally, and I like to think I’m not a whore, but why not give it a shot. While I’ve never been a big fan of pasta, I’ve always loved sauce (or “gravy” as they call it on The Sopranos) and more importantly I love olives.
I have no idea if this recipe is anywhere nearing authentic, but I read the basic ingredients of Pasta alla Puttanesca, took a quick trip to the grocery store and came up with this:
To be honest, it was delicious. And to be even more honest, I didn’t measure these things. So these are estimates of how much I used. If you give it a try, add stuff and keep tasting and adding more until you like the flavor. After all, who cares about authenticity if it doesn’t taste good to you? (At least in your own home)
Puttanesca (ish) Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced (apparently the original version doesn’t include onions)
2 gloves of garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried basil
1 cup sliced olives
3 tbsp capers
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of fresh italian parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a large pot, add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add tomato puree, tomato paste, basil, olives, capers, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, then stir in parsley. Simmer for another 15 minutes or so, really the longer you simmer it the better. If your sauce is too thick, add a bit of water.
Serve over pasta and enjoy!
And enjoy I did, standing at my window, admiring the view
Off to Florence for the weekend! Be back with pictures!
Who doesn’t love toast?
Luckily, I have a toaster in my apartment.
Looks normal right? Well I spent the better part of 10 minutes figuring out how it works. I pushed down, pulled, turned nobs. Finally I figured out how easy it is. Slip the toast in, turn the dial and when it’s done, pull it out.
I could have sworn I bought some jam, but apparently I didn’t. So instead I had cheese on my toast with a side of yogurt and green tea. I don’t know if I was just hungry, but this cheese tasted amazing!
Strangely enough we don’t have a coffee maker. As much as I love coffee, this just means I have to go to a bar/caffe to get coffee. I’ll survive.
After a getting ready and going to the Cornell in Rome campus to print some internship stuff, I decided to wander.
I walked around aimlessly, and it was great.
After a while, I picked up some lunch:
and sat in a piazza to enjoy.
Great view, right?
The did some more wandering.
Finally, when a borderline creepy Italian man hit on me, I decided I was tired and headed home.
Now, I’m going to do more internship prep to see how soon I can start!
As much as I hate to admit this, being at my parent’s house was driving me crazy. For some reason, being there makes me the most sedentary person on the planet.
Example: I watched every episode (5 1/2 season) of How I Met Your Mother in the nearly 3 weeks I was home. Hilarious show! But that’s wayyyy too much TV.
The truth is, I feel better when I’m more active. I like walking places and working out. It just makes me feel better about myself.
So now that I’m in Ithaca, I’m trying to find ways to feel better about myself and my health… despite this:
I won’t lie. The weather here can be terrible. I walked to meet up with some friends and my toes were numb even though I was wearing tights, thick socks and snow boots.
But to keep myself moving, I present to you, my home gym:
Real state of the art, right?
Lately I’ve taken to doing circuits while watching episodes of last season’s The Biggest Loser.
Circuit 1: 25 Step ups
Circuit 2: 20 crunches
Circuit 3: 25 jumping jacks
Circuit 4: 20 bicycle crunches
Circuit 5: 25 bunny hops (back and forth over my computer charger)
Not the most exciting work out ever but definitely better than sitting and doing nothing. I’ve also recently discovered ExerciseTV online!
I made another discovery. It’ll revolutionize lunch (or dinner… for me, at least). Okay so I didn’t really discover it. Rather, it’s new to me.
Who knew it could be so delicious.
What you need:
- Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, etc.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- baking sheet
- oven preheated to 400F
Combine broccoli, other vegetables, olive oil, balsamic vinergar, salt and pepper. Put it all on a baking sheet like such:
Roast at 400F for about 25 minutes.
Makes a wonderful side dish. I’m so pleased! Last night I went and bought more broccoli just so I could have it again.
Definitely recommend it if you haven’t tried it.
Off to try to get some work done, or at least move myself a bit. Have a wonderful day!
Well, maybe not. More like Remix to Curried Kale with Lentils and Mango.
Somehow that doesn’t sound as good as Remix to Ignition. I’m going to stick to my day job… err that is searching for one…
Anyway, I remade curried kale with lentils and mango. I made a few changes, I only used 1 tsp of olive oil, omitted the shallot and used 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar instead of lemon. Everything else stayed pretty much the same.
Take that R. Kelly… or something…
Speaking of day jobs. I’m off to work on some job applications. Wish me luck!
I left Ithaca where it was a chilly 10F for California, where countless friends and family members had been bragging about the warm weather.
The second I landed, the weather turned rainy and cold. It’s been raining for 5 days straight. I have the worst luck.
So since I’ve been stuck at home, I
worked on the never ending report! made a cake (among other things).
Okay really I made 2 cakes. Both were mistakes. My brother asked me to make a cake for a party he’s going to. For some reason I thought his party was on Monday December 20th. Nope, it’s on Thursday December 23rd.
Clearly a cake made on December 19th would be no good by the 23rd. So instead, I took one to a party, and another was made for family friends.
Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and frosted with raspberry whipped cream.
I didn’t try it, but I can only imagine it’s good.
Facebook wall confirmed.
Now, you know everyone favorite part of making layer cakes… leveling off the top?
Well I had a lot of leveled off cake tops after making 2 layer cakes. So instead of stuffing my face, which ordinarily is my favorite thing to do. I decided to make something exciting.
Chocolate Rum Balls
1 1/2 cups crumbled chocolate cake
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dark rum
1 tbsp honey
Extra powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or melted chocolate
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Any good Guatemalan household has Guatemalan Rum…
Use your hands to form it all into a mass. Break off pieces and roll into one inch little balls.
Then you can roll them in powdered sugar, cocoa powder or dip them in melted chocolate. Refrigerate for a few hours and serve!
My brother gave one to my niece; she wasn’t a fan.
Me on the other hand… I’ve eaten about 5 today… Clearly I hated them.
Now I need to figure out what cake to actually make for my brother’s gathering.
In the meantime…
Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Around 11pm, after a while of tossing and turning, I decided to just get up and have a glass of wine. Because really, wine makes life better.
Around midnight, while I sipped on wine and did everything BUT read about the global food system, I decided this was a good time to start baking. So I made tart dough, since the idea for a pear almond galette had been brewing in my head for a few days.
adapted from Joy of Baking
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sugar
1 stick butter, cold and cut into pieces
about 1/4 cup ice water
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or knives or your fingers, blend butter into flour mixture. Gradually add in ice water and mix using your hands until you get a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours (I refrigerated over night).
Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to about a 12-13 inch circle. It doesn’t matter if it’s a perfect circle.
Put the rolled out dough, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then put it in the refrigerator while you make almond cream (frangipane).
adapted from Joy of Baking
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Next, beat in egg and almond extract until smooth and sorta runny. Blend it one tbsp flour. Lastly, add almond flour and continue to blend until smooth.
Take the dough out of the fridge and spread the almond cream onto the dough, leaving a inch or two border all around.
Next, take some pears. I had some raggedy old ones that were on their last leg…
Peel, core and thinly slice. I used two but I wish I had used three because they definitely would have fit.
Arrange the sliced pears onto the almond cream part of the galette.
See I could have fit 3 pears… Oh well. Next fold the edges up over the top. Trim any excess dough.
Take one tablespoon of melted butter and brush it onto the assembled galette.
Then sprinkle it with sugar.
Bake at 375 for 45-55minutes. (Mine took about 50 minutes but start checking it around 45).
Allow it to cool. If it’s 28 degrees outside like it is here, putting it next to the window speeds up the process.
Once the galette has cooled
Sprinkle it with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream or creme anglaise.
Now I just need to figure out who to feed this to… Shouldn’t be that hard to find a worth recipient, right?
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person with a sweet tooth the size of mine.
I can pretty confidently say that I would almost always choose something sweet over salty, and if I could, I would eat only dessert and never eat a real meal.
Okay maybe I’m exaggerating, but I love sweets.
Regardless, sometimes we all need a break from our dear loves.
Sugar and I are taking a break. Not for long. For two weeks, until Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, I bid sugar farewell by making some Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies for my class this past Wednesday.
Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (Note: I used all plain white sugar)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
zest of 3 oranges
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla, eggs and orange zest. Add dry ingredients (except chocolate chips). Mix until combined, fold in chocolate chips.
Chill the dough while you preheat the oven to 350F. Bake tbsp sized amounts of dough for about 9 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Pretty tasty. They were gone in about 5 minutes! I say that’s a good sign.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!