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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Whew!

Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken Cacciatore

Second midterm was defeated, destroyed maybe even obliterated. Admittedly, I don’t feel quite as good about this one as I did about last week’s (the difference between ancient art and Renaissance, I suppose) but I still feel pretty good.

Came home after the exam, took a nap, went to work at the library, came home and made myself penne pasta with pesto and grated pulverized Pecorino (a lot of ps, no?) while the girls made the chicken cacciatore, featured above. I’m not a big fan of dark meat, so I chose not to join them, but the stew itself tasted (and smelled!) amazing!

We’re heading to Chiesa Nuova tomorrow and I am so excited. Not for the Federico Barocci, or the Rubens altarpiece, or even the Caravaggio – no. I’m excited because next door (attached, really) is the oratory of the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri with the facade redesigned by Borromini! Cannot wait to see it!

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Culinary diversity

Gnocchi con Pancetta e Salvia
Gluten free Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage, baked in a Pecorino Romano-Cream Sauce

Today was another gloriously lazy day- we started studying for our second midterm on Tuesday, this time emphasizing ancient art and architecture. Gina and I both needed a few things from the market, so we ventured downstairs in the early afternoon – returning home quite successfully. I may not have mentioned it, but Maria bought a basil (bay-sel) plant last week and named in Basil (bah-zil), a popular 19th century British name. As it were, I needed sage to make my gnocchi recipe for tonight, and the cheapest way to go about it was actually to buy the plant – so I did, and now Basil has a friend: Sergio the Serbian Sage (It. Salvia). That’s right, we’re personifying our herbs – is that a problem?

Oh this gnocchi recipe. It was wonderful, amazing, delicious – I can’t stop thinking about it. And better yet, I don’t have to because I have leftovers (sometimes there are serious advantages to cooking for one). Now, I have never cooked gnocchi before and, as much as I would love to tell you that I made it from scratch, that would be a terrible, terrible lie. I bought it from a Norcineria of all places, and it is guaranteed gluten free and, in my excitement at seeing senza glutine I bought the small bag of larvae-like dumplings without a recipe in mind. Fortunately for me, my roommate brought not one, not two, but three Italian cookbooks with her and they are available for public consumption – thus, my gnocchi was reborn after weeks of sitting in the pantry.

This particular recipe calls for boiling the gnocchi, then baking with crispy pancetta matchsticks, sage, heavy cream and freshly grated Pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese. It is to die for – I mean really, with pancetta, cream, cheese and herbs, how can you possibly go wrong?

I’ll post the recipe soon, so check in at GlutenFree Seattle next week and I’ll see what I can do (once I finish my leftovers, of course!). And, I’ll warn you, the pictures are unfortunately deceptive – I hate our octagonal black plates, but with nothing else to work with, this is all I can do. So, the gnocchi did not photograph well (not for lack of talent on their part) but I shall endeavor to try again with better results in the future.

Gnocchi con Pancetta e Salvia

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Glorious Sunday


Dabney’s Bruschetta

Today was a glorious, lazy day. I wish I could have slept in a little longer (we didn’t get home until 3h00 this morning, remember, and I was up before 9h00) but it’s not a big deal. I set myself up at the kitchen counter and worked on photos for all of you, did some research for my thesis and finished the readings for tomorrow. All in all, I was incredibly productive – albeit, housebound. That being said, this is really the first day since moving to Rome that I have honestly done nothing but take care of myself. It was glorious.

Earlier in the evening, four of us from the apartment decided to cook dinner together: Pasta Carbonara and Insalata Greca. While Greek salad is pretty straightforward, I had never made Carbonara before and it was an interesting experience cooking a split batch: half gluten-free tagliatella, half whole-wheat spaghetti noodles – in different pots, of course- and using the gluten-free pasta water to both cook the egg and add starch to allow the sauce to be, well, a sauce.


Gluten free pasta carbonara!

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Cucina Romana

Antipasti
Antipasti of ciabatta, olives, local cheeses and salami

We kicked off the day bright and early with an 8h00 tour of the Campo with professional chef and American ex-pat, Bill Guion, who took us on his “best of the Campo” tour, including a butcher, a fish market, a creamerie, a bakery, and a norcineria (pork butcher who specifically sources meat from Norcia, a small town in Umbria known for its pork and butchers). We learned how to ask about different cuts of meat in Italian, how involved the EU is in the import/export and general production/sale of food products (did you know corn tortillas are effectively contraband and cannot be imported because the EU has a ban on GMO foods, namely the corn from which these tortillas are made?) and where is the best place to find what.

We took a short break and reconvened for another field day at 9h00, walking to Piazza Venezia and taking a bus to Santa Costanza and Sant’Agnese fuori le mura (Saint Agnes outside the walls). Sta. Costanza, originally built in the mid-4th century for either Emperor Constantine or his daughter, Constantina, contains original mosaics of vintage scenes (think vintner not Sally Jessy Raphael). Scholars are still debating whether or not this building was originally built for Constantine (or his family) as a Christian structure, or if it was initially a Bacchic temple before being converted into a Christian mausoleum.

After class, we returned to the apartment and finished cleaning up in anticipation of tonight’s group dinner. Chef Bill, Profs. Lingo and all 22 students will be packed into our apartment tonight to learn how to cook a Roman meal.

The Menu

Antipasti – Local cheeses, mixed olives and Norcia salame with ciabatta bread (“None for me, thanks!” was my line for the antipasti) as well as fresh Fava beans and Pecorino Romano (local sheep’s milk cheese)

Insalata – Sliced Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

Primo – Penne all’Arrabbiata (“Angry Penne” because it’s so spicy! – and Bill was nice enough to bring a separate bag of GF pasta just for me, which was totally unexpected and truly above and beyond – what an amazing guy!)

Secondo – Pork Tenderloin Braised with Balsamic Vinegar, Red Onions and Fresh Rosemary

Dolce – Panna Cotta con Caffe (Coffee flavored Panna Cotta)

Bibite – 22 bottles for 22 people. Wait, what?

Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

Penne all'Arrabbiata
Penne all’Arrabbiata

Balsamic Braised Pork Tenderloin
Chef Bill carving the pork tenderloin – my only picture because it was devoured… alas, as was also the fate of the Panna Cotta con Caffe

Norcineria
La Norcineria on the Campo, family owned and operated for over 100 years

Fresh Spinach
Fresh Spinach at the Campo market

Santa Costanza Mosaics
4th century mosaics inside the ring vault of Santa Costanza: birds, horns of plenty and various kinds of produce signal the bounty of the afterlife

Santa Costanza Mosaics
More mosaics: three male figures are stomping grapes…

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Ooh, biscuits! Again?

biscuits, cast iron, gluten free, buttermilk, cheese

I know, I’m kind of sick of looking at them too, but we had friends over for dinner and these biscuits are just SUCH a crowd pleaser, I couldn’t deny my guests this opportunity – right? Right, I thought so.

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Wait, where’d it go?

cast iron, butter, browned, gluten free

I know, I wish had a more interesting picture for today, but alas, this meal was devoured before it even occurred to me to take pictures! Here, butter is browning in the cast iron skillet, almost ready for a dash of balsamic vinegar to make it blackened butter. This amazing concoction would top crispy sauteed capers and pan fried filets of Dover sole – sound amazing? It was (sorry).

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Mmm biscuits!

biscuits, cheese, buttermilk, cast iron, Curtis Stone recipe

I. Love. These. Biscuits.

Admittedly, they take an unbelievable amount of cheese and require the use of a nifty pastry cutter, but da-amn, they are amazing. Crispy-crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey (with cheese, not dough!) on the inside- wow. Cooked in the cast iron, they are just amazing. They use sharp cheddar, goats cheese, parmesan/asiago, and mozzarella, all rolled into a buttermilk biscuit dough. Now if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will! The recipe can be found here, I substituted Jules GF flour once again, and really, that pastry cutter is kind of essential.

On a side note, it’s February. Midterms are coming up, papers are due, etc. all icky winter things. On the bright side, the quarter is halfway over – whoo!

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