Monday, January 23, 2017

Sitting In My Local Bar, Thinking Food


That’s what we say in Italy for let’s eat!  
The food is so good in Italy you never run out of new things to try.  Every region has its specialties.  One bite and you are hearing Luciano Pavarotti.

One region uses more butter, another only olive oil, one region has smoked cheese another has wonderful parmigiano cheese.  It’s eating at every level. You never tire of sitting down to something new.  It’s always a challenge to read a menu for me.  After all, it’s not all pizza!

The good thing about living here in the north of Italy is that we are near other countries, and so that makes life twice as good!  Croatia, Slovenia and Austria are within a few hours drive and so they make for a fun weekend.  Even though only a border separates these countries from Italy, the food there is quite different.   
I am putting together a small cookbook of things I like to cook at home, things that I have discovered and the tricks to make them work.  Meanwhile I want to try and encourage readers to think about trying to make something different than their usual fare.  If something below causes an interest, you can find numerous videos on Youtube on how to…..So be brave.  This is not a fearless cultural exploration of foods, you have nothing to lose.
Casey Stengel (do you remember him?) said, “Without losers where would the winners be?”  Every time I try something new, I learn, and the next time I do better.  

Different Cheese Displayed
There are so many of us out there, you know the ones taking photos of the food.  We do that when we go out.  I enjoy looking at the presentation and then using that at home.  I think food tastes better when it looks better.  Here are a few examples from Italy and nearby countries. 
A simple cheese plate is made more separates with decorative cherry tomato, a red pepper, green olives and some sliced pickles.  This is a typical appetizer plate in Italy featuring some different cheeses.  There is nothing difficult in making this at home.  

How about a change in the weekend breakfast!  Take a look at the typical hotel offering in Turkey for breakfast.  Colorful and good for you.  You can’t miss copying this one! 

Sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and some cheese of different types.  Throw in a pepper and some parsley to dress the plate up.  

Let your imagination go!

Something simple things you can make could be bruschetta.  (pronounced broosketah, not shh in the middle).  Soak some sliced tomatoes in a little bit of lemon to help them be more tasty before you add oil with garlic flavor.  Toast some Italian bread on a grill, or even in your toaster.  Brush with oil and add the tomatoes.  You can’t beat that for taste and simplicity.

served on handmade pasta
Have you tried making goulash?  You can find this in the Alps of Italy, and in the countries north of Italy.  Each one has a different style but all are hearty, and are great on a cold winter’s night.   We have seen goulash served with pasta, polenta, potatoes or as a soup. 
Goulash is not difficult to make, kind of a set it and forget it recipe.  You won't have any plate smashing temper tantrums over this one.   Here is a Viennese recipe easy to follow and they even provide a video on their website.  You can’t miss!  

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The clock on the wall tells me I must go home and put together dinner.  If you think we always eat Italian here, you think wrong.  We actually don't eat much pasta.  Tonight is chicken enchiladas night!   Those of you who have access to corn tortillas--APPRECIATE THAT!    We cannot get them here.  So tonight is a special night.     Ciao!

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