Thursday, September 25, 2008

Out Of Order

Sorry, my friends, but it looks like our home computer decided to leave us, at least for a while and I won't therefore be able to update my blog until it comes home.
We took it to the "doctor" and it seems like that's where it's going to be for a while.
I'm still cooking though. Will tell you all about it as soon as "we" are in a better shape.
For my "so-called-students": please contact me by phone for booking your lessons, as I can only seldom check my email. Thank you.
Ciao ciao,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Am Stuffed!

Ravioli, tortellini, cappelletti…I love stuffed pasta. It offers a million possibilities for the filling, from the traditional to the most daring and experimental ones, and many possible shapes too. Plus it is fun to make. I did not say anything like “quick” or “practical”. I said fun. Actually, I must correct myself on the second one: if you decide you are going to spend an afternoon making ravioli and you make a good quantity and freeze what you do not eat right away, the day you will pop the bag out of the freezer and amaze your guests with your own homemade ravioli, ready in 5 minutes from freezer to plate, you will secretly tell yourself they’re “practical” too.

I recently had a cooking lesson with a group of ladies and we had a lot of fun making three different types:
· Some traditional “ravioli di magro” (ricotta cheese and spinach) with a light cherry tomato sauce
· Some filled with “salsiccia e mascarpone” (sausage and mascarpone cheese) topped with some “funghi al verde” ( sautéed mushroom with garlic and parsley)
· Tomato, mozzarella and basil inside, Mediterranean sauce made with shallot, capers, anchovies and pine nuts
I am not particularly fond of those with a sweet filling (some use pears, amarettos …) while I especially love those with seafood and/or vegetables. If I had to make my own hit list, it would see “scallop ravioli with brandy and pink pepper sauce” on top, but the very simple eggplant ravioli will follow right after.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A trip to Texarkana, TX - where everything meets everything: states, roads, people and even food

From the “visitors guide” of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce site:

"Although many have contended for the honor, it's not known officially who gave Texarkana its name. One popular version credits a Colonel Gus Knobel (…) who marked the name "TEX-ARK-ANA" on a board and nailed it to a tree with the statement, "This is the name of a town which is to be built here." It was believed at the time that the Louisiana boundary was just a few miles to the south (actually it is only 25), and Colonel Knobel, in selecting the city's name, derived it from TEXas, ARKansas, and LouisiANA. "

Most of my husband’s family lives in this town in northern Texas with this particular name. I always love to go there, mainly because I sincerely love those people, but not only that. The atmosphere is great and this idea of a place where three states meet has always fascinated me, maybe because our own family is quite an interesting melting pot itself, so what better place to have us all merging together?

This side of the family can definitely cook and when I go there I always have a lot to learn. During this trip in particular we cooked one dinner together, a “tex-alian” dinner you might say, mixing what we know and what we like and the result was definitely satisfying for everybody, if you can measure that from that one sentence everybody would say as soon as they walked into the house: “Boy, it smells good in here!”

There were some perfectly smoked pork loins going hand in hand with broccoli and sausage farfalle pasta, traditional cornbread sitting by baked cauliflowers in béchamel sauce and much more. Of course I had to make my beloved Miscati

I know I might be boring repeating one more time that cooking basically means “love” to me: the love that you find, breath, smell and taste in a family kitchen where people are happy to be right where they are, among those few faces that really make a difference in their lives.