One of the main piazzas in Vicenza where I used to shop with my Nonna Norma
Now I must say that Tuesday started VERY well. I awoke this morning, staggered to the coffee pot and curled up on the couch with laptop on my knees trying to convince my eyes to open
They weren't listening to me
Am I still sleeping and dreaming?...
It's a note from Michael at Designs by Gollum (now you all already KNOW that Foodie Friday is a favorite weekly event of ours)!!
Well, she was letting me know that we WON one of her fabulous Blogiversary Giveaways!
Oh, my! The copper pot that I was drooling over and trying to convince my husband was an absolute necessity is now on it's way to me!!
Ummm, well, Allie seems to feel it should be put away for HER, but...ummmm, no.
It will be put to good use and if she's a good girl, I MAY let her touch it, :)
Thank you, Michael. You made 2 newbie bloggers VERY happy
Now before you start thinking I'm being a mean old mom, I have to tell you that this has been an amazing week for us (I NEVER win anything!- my husband is shocked!). Allie was also the winner of a giveaway at Three Men and a Lady- an adorable pair of vintage marble owl bookends which she immediately proclaimed as HERS. Michelle, you gave her the first pieces for the room redo she's been nagging about! Thank you so much!
Tonight's post has to be a quickie as I'm trying desperately to finish a bid for a job I'd REALLY love to get- keep your fingers crossed for me, please.
I thought I'd answer a couple of questions I get on a regular basis either from this blog or in the cooking classes I sometimes teach. I'm often asked about some of the small tools I use frequently and that can usually be found floating around my kitchen.
This is probably my most treasured kitchen possession
Understandable, right? I AM the mother of 6 , 5 of whom are VERY rowdy boys
Actually, it's my Nonna Norma's mezzaluna. It's at least 60 some-odd years old and the wood handles fall right off when you pick it up
I've reluctantly replaced it recently, but could never part with it
Mezzaluna means "half moon". Makes sense now, right? Every memory I have of my Nonna cooking includes that mezzaluna, if not in her hands, then on her countertop on the wooden butcher block that was ALWAYS there.
I even have a mini version for small quantities which never leaves MY countertop
Hmmm, time for an oiling...
There is no other knife or tool that can mince herbs, or garlic, or nuts as evenly and finely as the mezzaluna
And it's FUN!
I always see surprised faces when I pull out my mortar and pestle
Am I the only ancient that still likes to mash things? (Good thing you can't hear Allie's response. She's grounded!)
This makes the best rubs and flavored pastes and butters!
Finally- this is Ray's favorite
There's something about men and fire
which explains why my torch remains hidden from the boys in this house.
I thought I'd show it to you because I use it all the time to brown the tops of casseroles and dishes that I don't want to overcook in the oven, but need the browning for a beautiful presentation.
This is my Nonna Norma on her honeymoon
She was always the epitome of style
Tonight's dessert was thrown together quickly for my chocoholic husband and daughter. My Nonna LOVED custards and pudding type desserts. She frequently made her interpretation of a Crema Anglaise or a Crema alla Brulee, so this chocolate version is one she would have greatly enjoyed
Crema Brulee alla Cioccolatta
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (can also use bittersweet)
3 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Have 4 small ramekins in a heavy baking pan ready. Boil a pot of water.
Combine, cream, sugar and chocolate in a small saucepan. Heat till just simmering around the edges- remove from heat and stir with a whisk to melt chocolate and make a smooth mix. While cream is heating, beat egg yolks and vanilla at medium high speed (I use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer should be fine) till light. While beating, slowly pour in chocolate/cream mix until blended. Divide among ramekins and put in oven. Pour boiling water in pan till about 1-1 1/2 inches up the ramekins. Cover the whole pan with a sheet of foil and bake for about 25 minutes till set. Remove ramekins, cool and refrigerate for 2 hours. Sprinkle some sugar on top of ramekins to cover (about a tablespoon). Using a cooking torch, caramelize the tops till the sugar is melted- serve immediately or refrigerate
Buon Alimento, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie