First of all, we want to thank you all for all the lovely comments wishing Allie luck at her cheerleading tryouts. Your good thoughts went with her and.......
SHE MADE IT!!
Allie is now officially a Varsity cheerleader for her school!
And guess who got volunteered to do the first team pasta dinner.
They say it's a bonding experience.
"They" being 16 teenage girls.
Give me strength.
It's been HOT here in NC the last couple of days and the plants have been a bit droopy. They're feeling very happy now
It's raining! A bit of thunder, some lightening, and a much needed dose of water
A bit gray right now, but our flowers are definitely looking happier
I remember sitting on my Nonni's terrazzo (the terrace outside their dining room) on rainy evenings. My Nonno would stand and point out the lightening across the river in the distance and my Nonna would be fretting that we would traipse over her rugs with wet feet :)
"La terrazza" holds many memories for me. As our regular readers know, my Nonno was a very well known soccer player as a young man. "Calcio" (soccer) was a huge part of his life, and as baseball is the all-American past time, soccer is worshipped in Italy. My grandparents lived directly across the street from the soccer stadium in Vicenza, and I spent many evenings with my Nonno sitting on the terrace cheering on our team. Nonno was always hesitant to take us to the actual stadium for a game as he worried about how "rowdy" the fans sometimes got. It didn't matter to us as we had the best seats in the house!
This is a postcard that I was fortunate enough to find on Ebay. The white house in the lower left hand corner was where my grandparents lived. Their third floor apartment had prime views of the field.
In Italy, it's common to own your apartment, much like co-op or condo living here.
If you look under the stadium at ground level, you see what looks like arches. Under the arches were a row of small stores- a butcher, produce market, etc..The dirt field to the left was the practice field.
As I was making tonight's dinner, Allie commented that I was using Lazaro's "challenge ingredients". Well, what do you know? I WAS! So we're linking up again to Lazaro Cooks!
The challenge is to present a dish containing avocado and Feta cheese. I had actually bought more than I needed at this week's Farmer's Market (that is a dangerous place for me!!) and was trying to use up a couple of very ripe avocados and some herbs that were calling my name. Since this was sort of done on the fly, and since I hadn't intended to post it, and since I think I sunburned my brain in the garden this week, I didn't actually measure anything. Soooo... use your judgement- you really can't mess this up. I tried to ballpark the amounts and my youngest helped by writing down what I called out. Thanks, Timmy!
Also, you will note that I used Ariosto Seasoning. In general, I tend not to use many dry seasonings as I prefer fresh herbs. That being said- this is GOOD stuff. Ariosto mixes fresh herbs with Sicilian sea salt. They have mixes specifically made to complement meats, vegetables, to season tomato sauces, and to roast potatoes. I sometimes mix Ariosto seasoning into bread crumbs for cutlets or stuffing.
I'm often asked where I get my Italian products and the truth is I have many sources. I am so fortunate here to be within a driveable distance from a fabulous distributor of Italian products and they recently started selling online! Yay! I'm working on a post listing some of my other sources, but if you're interested in the Ariosto, it can be found at Capri Foods Be sure to try some on roasted potatoes-YUM!
Tell them Pattie at Bramasole sent you.
They won't have a clue who that is (unless they happen to remember the last time we were there and the slightly embarassing incident with my sons and a salami....)
Ummmm, never mind- maybe you shouldn't mention me!
By the way, a little disclaimer here. Any opinions are strictly my own- I'm not being compensated for them. I've been asked to review several different products recently and am happy to do so, but only with the understanding that I will give my honest opinion.
And Ariosto products are something we really do use at Casa Bramasole.
Here goes Lazaro! Enjoy! Tutti a tavola!
Chicken with Avocado/Feta Salsa and Pepper/ Mint Risotto
(you might want to change that name!)
Whole chicken, cut up OR parts as desired. ( I made some drumsticks for the kids and a boneless chicken breast which I sliced for me)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic – crushed & chopped
1/2 cup Olive oil
Ariosto seasoning- about 1-1 1/2 tsp.
2 large-ish avocados - diced
1-2 TBLSP key lime juice
about 3 cups of mixed tomatoes (grape and heirloom cherry) – halved
1/2-3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 yellow onion, cut in eighths, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes
1 large roasted pepper chopped
3 cloves of garlic – chopped
1 handful capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of cilantro and mint mixed – chopped coarsely
5 thin slices of pancetta, chopped and sauteed in a bit of olive oil till crisp (set aside to cool a bit)
Preheat oven 375 degrees if you plan to roast chicken.
Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the chicken. Marinate for an hour in fridge, turning once after 30 minutes, and then let come to room temperature while you roast onions and saute pancetta. If you're grilling, preheat grill. Grill or roast the chicken till done
Mix all the salsa ingredients and stir gently
Serve with the chicken and risotto. Garnish with more Feta and chopped mint
2 Tblsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated to a very low simmer
1/4 cup chopped roasted pepper
2 Tblsp chopped mint and basil mixed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Melt butter in large pan and saute onion till soft. Add rice and stir and saute for 2-3 minutes till translucent. Add wine and cook till absorbed. Start adding simmering stock one ladleful at a time. Allow rice to absorb the liquid before adding the next ladle. It should take 20-30 minutes to completely cook the rice and use all the liquid. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, roasted peppers and herbs. Serve topped with chicken and salsa.
For this presentation, I spooned the risotto into the ring of a springform pan which I sat on the plate. Smooth the top and lift off the ring. I also do this for individual servings using mini spring forms or even biscuit cutters.
Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie