Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Honeymoon Part I: Italian Culinary Highlights of Rome, Alghero, and Positano

We have returned from an incredibly delicious honeymoon filled with beautiful sites, culinary endeavors, and local wines. We traveled to Rome, Sardinia, Pompeii, Positano, Capri, and Paris.  Each city had so many delicacies and I spent much of my time ooh-ing and aah-ing over the smallest bite. I consumed so many memorable meals that I could write a new blog to cover all of the food I tasted. Instead, I will devote two blog postings to the trip: one to Italy and the other to France.
In Rome, we stuck with the basics: pasta, pizza bianca, cappuccinos, and gelato.  One of our most memorable dinners was at Campana. I had the fettucine with cream and black truffles. As you can imagine, this dish was incredibly decadent. I never have had such amazing truffles in my life. Every bite enlivened my senses. Make sure to get your share of truffles next time you're in Italy.
For lunches, we explored the sinuous streets and found two restaurants that we loved. 
One was Il Bocaro, a tiny restaurant situated on a cobblestoned alley. We stuffed our faces with homemade burrata like we've never tasted and rigatoni with crispy sage, bacon, and Parmesan cheese (let me know if you have a recipe for this dish as I need to recreate it). 
We also explored the Jewish district, which had interesting food.  We feasted on eggplant Parmesan and fried artichokes prepared in a Jewish style at the famous Giggettos.  
I have never tasted fried artichokes like these. The artichokes were the perfect balance of crunchiness and saltiness. Every leaf was a pleasure to consume.
In Alghero, Sardinia, we dined on local seafood. One of our most memorable meals was at Il Pavone, where I had an amazing sea bass served in a gratin style with crispy potatoes and fresh local spinach. Every bite was fantastic and you could certainly taste the freshness of the fish that was caught earlier that day.  Even my husband said it was one of the best seafood dishes of his life.
In Positano, we went to Lo Guarracino, a pizzeria that came highly recommended by friends. We sat on a cliff that over looked the sea. For 12E we sipped on a liter of local red wine while we gobbled down a 14E pizza topped with mozzarella, caramelized red onions, and local ham. The pizza was so delicious that we actually considered returning for dinner, instead we went to Next2, which featured local farm food. During our stay, we also ate sublime bruschetta with toasted bread that was rubbed with fresh garlic and topped with local Italian tomatoes and mozzarella. 
And that wraps up my Italian culinary highlights. If anyone is going to Italy soon, please let me know as I have many restaurant recommendations. Stay tuned for a Paris post!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rosh Hashanah

I apologize for my recent quietness the past few weeks. As many of you know, I am getting married this weekend. So as you can imagine, I've been a bit preoccupied. Before I depart for the festivities and honeymoon, I wanted to share this delicious dinner my fiance and I made for a casual Rosh Hashanah dinner party.  

The menu consisted of Julia Child's Roasted Chicken served with Saveur's Savory Kugel, Food &Wine's Roasted Beets and Celery Root with Goat Butter, and a side of arugula and raisin challah from Zabars.

The chicken was quite on point.  For this particular roast, I decided to go a little rogue and added fennel stems in the roaster and also placed half a lemon and tarragon leaves inside the cavity. I always feel a need to dress my chicken to the fullest--I just can't resist! I also like to take a few tablespoons of melted butter and massage the outer and under-layer of the chicken skin. I promise this will lead to crispy and delicious chicken skin. 
As for the kugel, I usually go with sweet, but this savory version may change my tune. The crispy noodles were a perfect complement to the sauteed onions and rich cheese mixture.
The Roasted Beets and Celery Root recipe intrigued me for several reasons. I have never cooked with celery root and was excited when Fairway had the vegetable in stock. I simply sliced off the outter skin and chopped the vegetable like I usually do for kohlrabi.  I was also intrigued by goat butter. Unfortunately I couldn't find the butter at Fairway, but luckily I have Zabars at my finger tips. 
I really loved this dish; it was relatively easy to make and the goat butter adds a decadent consistency.

So now I must bid you adieu. Looking forward to sharing my food photos from Italy and France in just a few weeks! Ciao!