Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Most Gratifying Day

Anyone who can tell me what my title is quoting gets a goodie!!!

I'm currently struggling to write a paper on the role of the Tarantella and tarantism in Italian society. I can't take the mental strain it's blog time!!

It is Thursday. And Thursday means...COOKING!! Thursday is the one day that I don't feel the desperate need for a morning nap after Italian because I get so jazzed about going to class. It's really great. And speaking of great...
Blueberry-chocolate oats. I hope I'm not boring you too much with all my oat pictures - 'cause I sure ain't getting tired of eating them!

On to the real show. We had our first quiz today on the film Super Size Me, which was relatively easy. And when we finished, our teacher had coffee made for us. I'm pretty sure that's what all quizzes & tests should finish with, don't you agree?

*sizzle sizzle*
What could that be?

The menu today was:

Home-made ravioli with a ricotta-spinach filling in homemade pesto (Yes, we made the ravioli dough in class.) I can't even begin to describe how much better fresh pasta is than the regular old out-of-a-box stuff. It's just something everyone should experience. Holy yum. And the pesto sauce was wonderful - so fresh but not overpowering! And very easy. As with all our recipes, our teacher showed us how to reduce the calorie-count without taking away any of the flavor - in fact, it probably tastes better than the super-high-fat kind! A lot of people are very judgmental I think about recipes that are "lightened", but it is my experience that those people have usually never given it a real chance. I'm not talking about sugar-free fat-free "food-like" things mostly made up of chemicals just edible enough for the FDA to let pass - I'm talking about REAL. FOOD. It tastes good. If you don't believe me - invite me over to cook for you sometime!

Next up: 
Penne alle Vesuviana.

The penne wasn't fresh but MAN this was so good! Very simple, but that is so often what tastes best, ya know? It was all about the sauce - garlic browned in olive oil and then added with 3 colors of bell pepper (SO pretty!), cherry tomatoes, olives, and basil. You can also add capers if you like; our teacher advised against it because he finds the saltiness of the capers to add too much complexity to the dish. We trust him.

I was in the dessert group - I was a little sad I didn't get to make the ravioli, but I'm pretty this was just as much if not MORE fun to make:
Oh yes. It was good.

It is kind of like tiramisu, but not quite. We wanted to avoid the use of raw eggs (used in the traditional tiramisu recipe), and the thick, sogginess of the soaked lady fingers to create something with a similar flavor but lighter. We put some water in a double-boiler and when it was simmering, we took it off and beat egg yolks and cane sugar together. Doing this over the almost-boiling water heats the yolks enough to kill any bacteria in the raw egg without cooking the egg itself. When it was beaten into a very creamy pudding-like texture, we set that to cool and brought the water in the double-boiler back to simmering. We then beat the egg whites over the double-boiler (for the same reason - no salmonella in this baby!) until it formed peaks and set it to cool. We next folded marscapone cheese into the yolk/sugar cream - called zabaione - and then folded in the egg whites. We also whipped up some cream and folded that in, but you don't necessarily need to do this step. We poured this creamy amazingness into ramekins, topped with 2 amaretti (little cookies with intense and wonderful almond flavor) that had been soaked in coffee, sprinkled them with mini chocolate chips and coffee powder, and then set it in the fridge to chill.

HOLY WHOA this was SO GOOD. It was kind of like a cross between vanilla ice cream and vanilla mousse. Next time I make this I think I am going to add a little cinnamon and perhaps some coffee to the cream. I really wanted the coffee flavor to penetrate a bit more - really gave it that good tiramisu feel. I'd probably also sprinkle it with cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips; I really think the cocoa would make the chocolate flavor more present. The chocolate chips added nice texture but the flavor wasn't as good because you have to bite into them to get to the chocolate and let's face it, this is dessert - instant gratification is what it's about!

Came home and have been "writing" this paper since then. There have been countless bouts of procrastination, frustration, and eating. Dinner was a mish mosh of snackiness, nothing particularly photo-worthy. But...

Tomorrow me and the roomies are off to VERONA!!! As in, fair Verona. As in, 'deny thy father and refuse thy name' Verona. The four English majors are going to a holy land. So. Freaking. Excited.

The paper seems to be beckoning me back...blast. I will return in a couple days with pictures - and maybe if I get lucky, a Romeo?




  1. Your title is quoting that thing. What's the goodie that I get now?

  2. Magnificent MaggieMarch 15, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    From one of the Janes? Emma?

  3. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty says it after she leaves Prince Philip locked in her dungeon. <3!