Ok, I did a bad thing. Well, not really bad...semi-bad, if you will. I was unable to go to bed early as planned last night (long story), and when I did finally get there, sleep was not happening. I can not even begin to articulate how frustrating it is to be beyond exhausted and NOT be able to fall asleep. Ever happened to you? GRR!
ANYway, my alarm went off at the usual 6:50 AM (yes, you see where this is going), and I debated for a good half hour whether or not I should go to Italian. I could have gotten up, forced myself out the door, struggled to keep my head off the desk and been generally miserable for the stupid 50 minutes of class...but it just wasn't worth the fight. I knew I would only prolong the exhaustion for another day and only feel worse, which often leads to sickness, and that is even more inconvenient than missing one class. Sorry, but health has to take priority over perfect attendance. Not even my perfectionism can go so far as that. So, I closed the shutters, reset my alarm for 10, and fell into a sleep coma. Totally worth it.
I ended up getting up at 11 and having a light breakfast before heading out for some errands - most notably Mercato Centrale and LUNCH (of course).
I will admit, I find the mercato rather intimidating. I often find myself disappointed because the vendor sees me and immediately switches to English, or just nervous in general about how much to ask for, where to go, etc. It's very confrontational and I am...well, not. BUT, I refuse to buy my cheese anywhere else, and the produce is generally better and cheaper. It's such a Florentine institution, and sometimes it makes me feel like I'm just not part of the club yet. Well Florence, I got news for you - I'm here for the next few months, and I WILL be a card-carrying member by the time I leave. Now get me some spinach!
After our shopping, we went to lunch at Sergio's, the same place as last Wednesday. I have deemed it my Wednesday lunch place. They will know me well there. I ordered soup again, this time ribollita! I have been waiting for the perfect place to try this because it is a staple Florentine winter dish and I wanted my first time to be authentic, not touristy-fake. And BOY, this was worth the wait:
No, soup does not make for the most aesthetically pleasing food photography, but the smell and taste more than compensate.Ribollita is a thick soup made with white beans, various veggies and stale Tuscan bread, which makes it thick and amazing. Olive oil is drizzled on top to finish. Forget Campbells - THIS was the definition of mm, mm BUONO!
In complete contrast to yesterday, it was rainy, cold and generally dreary today, so not much more went on other than computering and various bouts of snacking.
I was not sure what to do about dinner; all I knew was that it needed to involve the spinach, tomatoes, and pecorino I bought at the market today. I turned to one of my old stand-bys I make almost daily when I am home, which is essentially a crustless pizza. I take a piece of foil or parchment paper and throw spinach, tomatoes, a little olive oil, and whatever else I want - tonight it was a garlic clove, fresh(ish) basil, oregano, white beans and my pecorino - throw it in the oven, and bake it until the spinach is wilty and the cheese melted. I made some toast with it, because no meal in Italy is completely without good bread. Piled it into a bowl and got...bruschetta? Yep. And oh MAN was it good.
As my inner foodie has come to take me over, I have often pondered what my favorite recipe is. Not just individual food or ingredient, but what recipe I could make any given day and be instantly brightened. Tonight, it hit me: I. Love. Bruschetta.
I mean, what's not to love? Fresh vegetables (and fruit - tomato!), good bread, yummy herbs. Pretty poi-fect in my book. I have had it SO much since coming here (the best so far in my cooking class), and I have every intention of making it. Think of the possibilities: so many veggies, so many spice combos! And then there is the dessert potential...fruit, nutella, jam...oh man. I have a feeling Summer 2010 = Summer of Bruschetta. Bring. It. On.
Speaking of dessert...
Chocolate makes any rainy day better. I promise.
By the way, if you want to see more/all of the pictures I have been taking, you can check out my Photobucket account here --> http://s32.photobucket.com/home/NorbertsShiksa. Just thought I'd mention it!
Ok, shower time for this signorina. Buona notte!