Pienza, Pinconning, Santa Monica

evolution of man

“I don’t like the word cheese,” my wife says.

We’re driving home from the grocery store, where we have just bought a couple mozzarella balls to slice and lay over tomato slices at lunch today.

I am surprised and delighted. Forty-two years of marriage and I never knew this about her. I tell her cheese seems like a perfectly good word.  

She shudders just a little.

One syllable, it must have Anglo-Saxon roots, I think, also considering the ch in the word.  “Cheese,” I say out loud, testing it. In Italy, I’ve heard groups of people lined up to have a picture taken together, everyone saying “cheese,” in English.  I remind her of this. “Cheese has caught on in Italy,” I say.   Continue reading “Pienza, Pinconning, Santa Monica”

Pass the Oil, Please

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The truth of the matter is, much of what I’m eating today is an excuse to consume olive oil.  Salads with spiral-cut zucchini and arugula and tuna–it’s a dish that wants a generous anointing with extra virgin olive oil.  Fava beans with chopped tomato–oh, yes, let there be oil. On a steak or a slab of fish, oil provides a definite enhancement. Last night, snacking lightly, I ate a chunk of bread leftover from lunch, giving it a drizzle of olive oil to soak into those dried dimples and crevices, topped with a few slices of mozzarella and leftover scraps of zucchini spirals. Continue reading “Pass the Oil, Please”

A Reading at Hannan House

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Happy to be reading at Hannan House, 4750 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan on September 16, 2018, 2-4 p.m.  Music, open mic first. Then the reading.

They say, “He’s funny, warm, and peevish.” Yup, that’s me.

 

Il Sentiero

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If it’s agriturismo, it’s got to be good

Above, a local delight called cassone.  The flat bread they make in the Marche and Emilia-Romagna, called piada, is folded over mixed greens or tomato and mozzarella or onion and sausage or mixed grilled vegetables, then grilled and cut.  You can make a meal out of cassone. Often, however, they are served as a little appetizer with apperitvo. Shown above, an exceptionally good cassone from Il Sentiero, an agriturismo in the Marche region. Continue reading “Il Sentiero”

I Malardot

the room

I Malardot–local dialect for malridotto–those who are in bad shape

The drive, the ambiance, the food–all well worth it at I Malardot.  Start with the food. We’ve eaten at I Malardot 4-5 times now.  With confidence, you can begin with a tagliere, mixed sliced meats and cheeses. For primo piatto our current favorite is artichoke ravioli with fosse cheese.  That might well qualify as a desert island food for me.  I could never tire of eating it. Continue reading “I Malardot”

Cantina del Buonsignore

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In Brisighella–breathtaking views, breaktaking food

A sign along the road outside Brisighella says: “A town on a hill between Florence and Ravenna.”  That makes it sound pretty lonely. There are a lot of hills between those two towns. Continue reading “Cantina del Buonsignore”

Pasta with Young Poppy Leaves (le Rosole)

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It’s not the same, but almost. And mind-blowing good to eat.

In Santarcangelo, where legend has it the Sangiovese grape gets its name, my wife and I have lunch and dinner at Trattoria del Passatore. We go there for many things, chief among them ravioli served with a rosole sauce.

Rosole, also known as papavero in Italian, are young poppy leaves. You see fields of poppies in Italy, with their brilliant red flowers. The leaves are harvested and used in a pasta sauce, well before the plant flowers. Continue reading “Pasta with Young Poppy Leaves (le Rosole)”

Pomodori gratinati al forno (tomato, oven, heaven)

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Wait ten minutes and your kitchen smells like heaven.

For the longest time, I thought of this as a summer dish. Perhaps because I was conditioned to seeing my mother-in-law bring in a haul of tomatoes from her garden and work her magic on them. Then I saw the error of my ways—the utter foolishness of denying myself the pleasure of pomodori gratinati al forno–oven-roasted tomatoes–in the off season.  Continue reading “Pomodori gratinati al forno (tomato, oven, heaven)”