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Posts Tagged ‘wine’

L’illusionista;

Since we decided to go to a party on Valentine’s Day to mix things up a bit, Saturday will be our designated night of staying in and making dinner, our normal way of marking the holiday.

I proposed to add a twist to the festivities, however–using a rewards certificate from Amazon.com, I managed to get a copy of Fellini’s 8 1/2 after seeing how much we both enjoyed watching La Dolce Vita a few months ago.  Given that it was filmed in and around Rome, we’re going to try some Roman dishes and sip on some Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (which, by the by, is becoming more prevalent here in the States and is an extremely well-priced Italian red compared to others, but that’s another post).

Here’s the original film trailer to set the mood:

Some initial thoughts for meal ideas include Roman-style lamb, bucatini alla’amatricana, and stracciatella alla Romana, but other suggestions are  more than welcome in the comments.

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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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Until I was flipping through my dad’s Weekend section of the WSJ last weekend, I had no idea of the historical signifcance of today:  it’s the 75th anniversary of Repeal Day, or the day that Prohibition was legally reversed here in the United States.

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The Box Wine Chronicles, Part  I:

Back in February during my unexpected long weekend in Oak Brook, tucked away in the suburbs of Chicago, I was fortunate as my hotel was linked to an upscale outdoor mall that happened to boast quite a few restaurants from the Lettuce Entertain You company, which boasts restaurants featuring everything from French bistro to Italian American food.  Given that I had my meals covered for me for the weekend (no one could help the heinous, and only, snowstorm of the 2008 winter season in New York falling that weekend) I was able to sample a number of these restaurants, and my last meal prior to waiting for my shuttle to the airport was at the only outpost of Antico Posto, the company’s “authentic Italian” concept with a heavy emphasis on wines, especially wines kept in pressurized containers and poured out via taps instead of bottles.

I was intrigued by the concept, and my lunch that Sunday was delicious–veal tortellini with pan-drippings and butter, accompanied by a nice glass of Sangiovese.  And when I had to do some reading up on alternative wine packaging a few months later, I remembered this restaurant and its approach to preserving the vast quantities of wine they store on-site, especially when exploring the scourge of the wine industry:  box wines.

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Almost a year ago I picked up a copy of Food & Wine magazine that touted “Italy’s Best Recipies.”  touting some of each main “food” region’s best specialties.  This led to us making Piadina with Ricotta, Proscuitto and Arugula, which is freaking delicious, but it also left us with a tub of ricotta cheese that we somehow had to use up.

Being one who hates wasting food if she can helps it (especially when it comes to cheeses), I took inspiration from the original recipe and started with a lump of ricotta that was lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and then I added a dash of Herbs de Provence for good measure.  Adding some warm pasta and Parmesan, I ended up with a delicious, super-easy-comfort dish that is perfect for those nights when you’re cooking for yourself and you don’t want to dirty a lot of dishes in order to make a meal:

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Contrary to the title of this segment, I am generally not a fan of California wines.  Not because they aren’t tasty, but because they often seem a bit…overpriced.  Thanks to a much wider, global market to source wine from it’s so much easier to find a decent bottle of wine for less than $10, much less $15 or $20, and just going by what I find in both my local shops as well as the state stores in PA, California wines tend to not have that value per bottle.

Except for one that we found over a year ago:  Red Truck.

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The sudden turn for the chilly has made me want to seek out comfort food in a serious way.  Saturday marked the first day since we’ve been back in the States that wasn’t lovely and temperate, and prompted me to lobby for a warm, rich sauced pasta for dinner that night in lieu of one of our normal lighter dishes.  A few minutes of Google searching yielded a lovely recipe for a ragu that originally called for venison, but that we turned into a lamb version:

 

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