Archive for August, 2012

Bottarga and a Lesson Learned (Again)

August 31, 2012 Comments off

Our friends, We3, back from 7 weeks in Italy, came over for dinner Saturday night. As it usually happens when we get together, we cooked, nibbled, sipped wine, chatted, cooked another course, nibbled, sipped wine, chatted, and repeated these steps again. Counting the cooking time, it was about a 5 hour meal. Very civilized and absolutely delightful. We3 had brought back a package of bottarga from Italy, and wanted to make one of our courses using it. A lesson that gets thrown at me now and then is the “Don’t assume, or form an opinion, until I give something a chance.” lesson. It was going to repeat itself that night.

 Chris’ description of bottarga was not enticing at all. He described it as salted and dried fish roe sacks. In this case, mullet from Sardinia. If I had read the Wikipedia definition before Chris made the salad, I would have wanted to try it even less than I did at the time.

 Chris whipped together a lovely looking salad with thinly shaved fennel and French radishes, very lightly dressed in some olive oil and lemon juice. He grated the bottarga and mixed it into the salad. As a finishing touch, Chris grated some more over the top of the beautifully arranged mound on the plates. The bottarga, in appearance, reminded me of an orange-yellow tobiko. I looked at the pile of salad on my plate, wondering how, after I politely tried a few bites, would I ever be able to eat the whole thing. Well, I ended up wishing that there was even more of that salad for me to eat. It was absolutely delicious. And, because of the path the bottarga had taken to get to our house, it was so very special. With supreme generosity, the remainder of the bottarga was left for us to enjoy. And we will enjoy, not only another salad, but also the feeling of being in Italy, enjoying with our friends, where that bottarga came from.

Categories: Uncategorized

Discovering Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream

August 20, 2012 2 comments

Early on in our relationship, S. had been telling me about this wonderful ice cream from Swensen’s, a local ice cream shop. Swiss Orange Chip. Didn’t really sound terribly enticing, but what’s in a name? We went to said ice cream shop, and S. ordered two Swiss Orange Chip cones. It did not look like a really dark chocolate, which disappointed me, but I tried to keep an open mind. An open mind, and then an open mouth, and then “Oh, yes.”  It was really wonderful.  Swensen’s is not close to here, so we did not have the ice cream often. It became a destination special treat. While surfing around the net one day, I happened to Google “Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream”. I stumbled across a site where in 2009, someone named Cindy Ruth had been talking about having fond memories of, and really missing, the Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream she used to get at a Swensen’s in Missouri. You can read about her duplicating the recipe on her blog, Baked Alaska. (see link below) I saved the recipe, thinking that perhaps I would have the chance to make it someday. That someday came when I borrowed a friend’s ice cream maker, and we made Cindy Ruth’s version of Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream. She had really nailed that recipe. All  we could say, was “WOW”.  We found ourselves saying “WOW” every time either of us put a spoonful of that ice cream into our mouth. We were eating Swensen’s Swiss Orange Chip, and we did not have to drive across town to get it. Do your mouth a favor, and make this ice cream. See if you find that it has the “WOW” factor. We sure do.

Categories: Ice Cream, Memories Tags: ,

There’s always room for more.

August 13, 2012 2 comments

The first time I made dinner for the wonderful person who is now my husband, I made a big pot of what we affectionately call “Back East” spaghetti sauce. We had talked about the spaghetti sauces that we knew from our youth, which seemed to be area specific. It was your basic Italian tomato sauce with meatballs and sausages. No need to decide between sweet and hot Italian sausage. Of course I used both. Liking the flavor that pork imparts to the sauce, I seared some country-style ribs in a pan, and threw them in also. Well, you really can’t, (or it might just be that I can’t), make just a few meatballs, or brown up just a couple of sausages, or pork ribs. Soon, the meats were filling up the pot of tomato sauce that I had made. I needed to put half of them into a second pot. Of course that meant that I had to start chopping more onions and garlic to make more tomato sauce to cover all of the meat in both pots. By the time that S. came over, I had three huge pots on the stove, two containing all of the meats in tomato sauce, as well as a huge pot of water, waiting for the pasta to be added. S. came in, looked at the stove, went directly into the living room, and looked out of the window. I asked him what he was doing. He answered, “Looking for the fleet.”

And that is how I tend to cook quite often. One thing it does, is assure us of great leftovers, some of which we vacuum seal and freeze. It’s wonderful to have a great meal on a night when there is no time to cook it. Or, if you are ever hungry and in the neighborhood, just stop by, ’cause there’s always room for more.

Categories: Memories Tags:
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