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Posts Tagged ‘italiano’

Guido e Luisa;

UPDATE: To see the meal we enjoyed while watching 8 1/2, click here.

As I mentioned last week, on Saturday we decided to base our meal around the movie we were to watch that evening, 8 1/2. For anyone struggling in the creative process, it’s a fantastic film to indulge in, as the lines between Guido Anselmi’s memories, fantasies and reality were so thoroughly smudged as to make a very strange narrative that anyone who appreciates A Christmas Story would instantly love.  While not as immediately comedic for anyone not fluent in Italian, the frustration of its main character are immediately apparent to anyone of an artistic disposition.  To write with authority on this topic requires more than one viewing of the film–one of the reasons why it’s now on my media shelf as well as why I am not trying to expound on its deeper themes.

The visual style of the film struck a more primal aesthetic reaction from me, both in how Fellini filmed his surroundings as well as how he dressed his actors–it’s immediately stylish in a haute way, but it is inspiring in embodying an impossibly cool mid-20th century European “look”.

You look at these screenshots and say you don’t want to recreate them in your mind (or in your wardrobe):

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I’d like to mull more over this film and its more cereberal aspects–but that is another day and another viewing (which will be soon).

As for the food we enjoyed, well that will be revealed in good time.

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I apertivi;

One small part of Piemontese life that we didn’t experience extensively was the bar culture–specifically, the before-dinner-drinks, or apertivi.  Most of our time spent in town (or in Torino) was in the afternoon and we were content to sip on either a beer or a glass of wine with a slab of pizza to tide us over before the dinner hour, and having some amazing wines completely at our disposal meant that cocktails weren’t given much consideration.

In the months since we’ve returned, though, I’ve taken to flipping through the completely gorgeous book Autumn in Piemonte, a shower gift from a dear friend, and I recently caught a section that described aperitivi and some of the traditional libations that accompany this oh-so-elegant alternative to American happy hours:

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I tend to use orzo often when making pasta dishes because it’s just so versatile–it works well in soups, pasta salads and even in faux-risotto dishes–and it also doesn’t necessarily need the giant pasta pot that long noodles require if you’re only making pasta for one or two people.  The original recipe that this is an adaptation of calls for spaghetti, but when we substituted orzo the lemony sauce coated the pasta much more evenly and the parsley added a bit more of a bite than the basil does, especially for this time of year.

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I know I’ve been away from the blog for a while–my mind is very much in job-hunting mode and that, along with the holidays, have zapped me of inspiration.  But tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and the husband and I are going to celebrate as we usually do–making lots of food, drinking wine, watching movies and playing board games–and we’re going to add a new player to the lineup:  a homemade focaccia loaf.

With the exception of two cookie baking episodes, our Artisan stand mixer has laid primarily dormant, mostly because I hate baking sweets (because then we have to eat them).  But our journey to Italy opened me up to the wonders of a simple focaccia, and since we’ve been back I’ve made well over five loaves, including one we brought to a Christmas party a few weeks ago.  It’s an insanely easy recipe that I’ve adapted from an Emeril recipe, and the results are fabulous:

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See what I mean? (more…)

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One of the last pieces of information my then-brand-spanking-new-mother-in-law relayed to me over the phone as I was scribbling down the directions to Baur B&B was “there will be a bottle of wine waiting for you two.”  And when we arrived late that morning, that was an understatement.

We lugged our bags up to the room, and after some showers (I had to get out all of the gross hairspray and other products from my bridal hairdo, plus wash myself of plane), we ambled over to the kitchen where we had this waiting for us:

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Focaccia, tomatoes and basil, figs, Genoan salami, goat cheese (I think), olives, carrots and proscuitto.  And a bottle of Barbera d’Asti.  In other words:  heaven. (more…)

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I know I’ve been remiss in continuing to recap our Italian adventure, but this last week wasn’t terribly inspiring for me–frustration in other quarters drained me of the urge to write anything at all.  That said, let’s get back to things.

When we were still planning some of the details of our trip, I thought I knew that I wanted us to spend a day in Milan and maybe do some serious Italian shopping.  As the time drew closer though, I wasn’t quite into it–I hadn’t had the urge to shop in a while, and the idea of spending a day shopping was seriously losing its appeal.  When Diana suggested Turin as a closer, more culturally-rich alternative, my interest was piqued and settled our decision.  She suggested driving to Asti and then taking the train from there as it would be a shorter trip (and we’d have more alternatives for departing trains) than just taking a train from Acqui.  Armed with her directions, we set off late in the morning to give it a go:

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Our first full day in Acqui lured us to the open-air market, and entailed us exploring the city in a completely different way compared to our first evening. What was quiet, closed-up and sleepy had turned into a cacaphony of trailers, fruit and vegetable stands and tractors. And that was only in the parking lot across from Galassia, where we parked for the day.

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Michael taking it all in.

Walking further into town, we encountered a second food-specific section that boasted one of the most amazing fishmonger stands I’ve ever seen:

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(I didn’t want to get closer at the risk of potentially bothering other customers) (more…)

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