I totally have a guilt complex that we don't update more. We've been really concientious about taking pictures of almost every meal we make at home (to the point where I'm sure we're starting to get a well-deserved reputation for being a little eccentric), and there is quite a backlog at this point.
So, when Laura pulled me aside during Sushi New Year to ask why I hadn't blogged the dinner we had with them after we got back from Florence, well, I hope she understands that my screech of "I"M ONLY HUMAN!" followed by my uncoordinated stompy flouncing in some random direction, leaving behind a trail of wasabi and tears, had absolutely nothing to do with her and everything to do with me.
All that aside, let's get to that meal, shall we?
We brought back a ridiculous amount of ingredients back from Florence when we went over Thanksgiving break. In fact, had we not borrowed a fairly large carry-on suitcase from the Husbear's parents, I don't think there would have been any way to get everything back with us!
I hadn't wanted to post this picture until after the holidays, as there are a number of gifts on that table - but I would like to point out that this is actually only the food we brought back - there were other non-food gifts we came back with for friends and family as well. Yeeeeaaaah.
Husbear took some of these ingredients to put together a meal, to which we invited laura, steve, and jod-y. It was a whole lotta fun - having people over to eat is always a good time! See?
Hi! Now you're on the internets!
So, we started with some antipasti...
For the antipasti, we had a simple tomato bruschetta (no picture, for some reason!), a chunk of the young pecorino you can see vacuum-packed in the bottom of the photo, and some of the best olives EVER, these bright green monstrosities that were only lightly brined. The pecorino was luscious (that seems like an odd word to use regarding cheese, but work with me here!) - when it was cool, it had a very brie-like quality, with maybe a little more of a tang; but as it warmed, it became wonderfully oozy, and a deeper flavor came out - like a grassier, earthier note. I want MORE. NOW.
Eventually, Husbear tore the cheese away from me, and we sat at the table for our primi. (Primi, according to the Silver Spoon, traditionally fall into two categories - minestre in brodo, or soups in broth, and minestre asciutte, or dry soups - like pasta. Oh, and blah blah blah blah-blah.)
He made two kinds of primi:
Cocoa noodles, from Vestri (and they had really, really good hot chocolate, too!), with fresh mozzarella made by the Husbear from curd, and herbs (parsley?), with parmagiano-reggiano grated on top - very good, with an interesting bitter chocolate note;
and homemade gnocchi (potato pasta dumplings) in a gorgonzola-arugula sauce. This was an extremely good rendition of what appeared to be a traditional Florentine way to serve gnocchi. On the Amalfi Coast, everywhere had gnocchi alla sorrentina - gnocchi in a zesty tomato sauce. Good, but eventually you want it a different way. So, gnocchi alla sorrentina : the amalfi coast :: gnocchi alla (al?) gorgonzola : Florence. I don't know if it was the time of year or what.
It is a really tasty way to serve gnocchi, though, and the Husbear's version was very good. Awesomely good, even. That man really has a way with the gnocchi. No, really.
Then, on to the secondi. (I was completely full by then, but played gamely along.) Usually, secondi are pretty meat-centric, but we went against the grain for this one.
Our vegetarian secondi was crespelli, or italian crepes, filled with mushrooms and asparagus in a light stockbased sauce. It was much lighter than the primi, which was a good thing, since I was nigh-on exploding by that point.
About an hour later, we shared like three vestri chocolates for dessert between the five of us. A huge meal, but an immensely satisfying one as well.
Gawd, I'm lucky!