Sunday, January 28, 2007

Catch up

I'm woefully behind in blog posts and recipes AGAIN. The following should bring my posts into the present, even though the laundry list of events hardly gives due to the wonderful friends and memorable experiences it includes.
  • Natale a Macerata: I was so grateful to Jackie and Antonello for including me in their Maceratese Christmas. Like family, they welcomed me into their home and even had a stocking with my name on it. Christmas Day dinner was a pitch-in feast with new and old friends, including uncommonly moist cornmeal muffins alle americane. Jackie and I discovered that we liked cornbread made with a fine polenta flour even better than the cornmeal versions back in the states. So the mini-recipe for this event? Try replacing cornmeal with a finely ground polenta in your favorite cornbread recipe or one of the variations from the National Cornbread Festival.
  • New Year's in Parma: Alida, Sharin', and Shilo -- lifelong friends from the States -- came to visit bell'Italia for the first week of 2007. Along with trips to Ravenna, Bologna, Firenze, Cremona, and several Emilia-Romagna towns in between, we enjoyed a traditional capodanno dish: lenticchie con cotechino. Our steaming plates were filled with cotechino from a butcher just down the street here in Parma. The lentils, though, were a special gift from Jackie and Antonello. Lenticchie di Castelluccio di Norcia are an IGP product and many Italians eat them to bring wealth in the new year since the little legumes look like miniature coins. It's not too late to get in on this New Year's tradition. You might try a version like this one.
  • Courses after the Christmas break brought most but not all the UNISG class of 2007 back to Parma and Colorno. Our group was in a pretty sad state with car accidents, surgeries, pneumonia, slipped disks, and all manor of life's challenges. We celebrated being together again and toasted everyone well with a multiple birthday party for the end-of-December and January birthday folks. The Grande Dames of Via Bottesini played hostesses for this "black and white" event. Buon compleanni!
  • These are the tortelli that forgave Carlo Petrini. The founder and leader of Slow Food arrived more than 30 minutes late to meet us, the UNISG class of 2007. In addition to his inspiring and thought-provoking presentation, he begged forgiveness by telling us about a necessary stop he'd made for the region's famous tortelli and salumi at Nonna Bianca in Trecasali. Taking his cue, we made a reservation. The perfect tortelli d'erbetta, among five other delicious courses, I'll remember for a long, long time. Carlo's tardiness, on the other hand, is forgiven and forgotten.
  • While my classmates and I joke about "fish week" at ALMA (and the sometimes questionable dishes we're offered for lunch that week), we enjoyed what might be called our "pork week." Over the three days of last week's stage, we visited producers, farms, and restaurants dealing with prosciutto di parma and culatello di zibello.
  • The Colts are in the Superbowl! And along with the team, another representative from Indy will head to Miami. Both Jackie and I worked with the incredibly talented Chef Greg Hardesty at Elements, an award-winning Indianapolis restaurant. Greg will be paired with Earl Morrall for the Taste of the NFL, a food and wine tasting event to raise awareness and dollars for hunger-relief organizations involved in the effort to end childhood hunger in the United States. Go Colts!
  • My first Parmigiano snow came on Friday. We rode the bus from Colorno back to Parma, watching the big, wet flakes hit the windshield, and then let the flakes melt into our coats on the long walk for a couple glasses of wine and a slice of pizza before a late, warm bedtime.

So that's the abbreviated version. In honor of catching up, here's a recipe for homemade ketchup (and even a way to find a pick-your-own farm near you).



At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Cyn said...

Parmigiano snow? It was snowing cheese???? I am totaly going to move to Parma!


At 3:38 PM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

You got it, Cyn! Cheese snow on a city MADE of cheese...aka Heaven. :-)


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