As I drank my tea this morning I heard some nutcase outside singing "O' sole mio" at the top of his lungs. He was pretty good actually. I can't see out my windows since the spring has blossomed all the leaves in front of all my windows so I just sat
there and listened.
Yesterday around 4pm he sang "vesti la giubba" - the opera where Canio cries "ridi pagliaccio" when he is forced to perform even though he has just found out the his wife has been cheating on him. Which I think quite ironic because the old guy downstairs
sings these songs while walking down the street with his wife and when he stops to sing for the kids at the park in front of my house she leaves him there and keeps walking like she has no idea who he is. Aha! Pavarotti il Falso is more like Canio than we
My neighbours are doing some work on their house and when my Pavarotti Falso ended his aria this morning all the construction workers started cheering and clapping for him.
I like Italy on days like these. The sun is shining between scattered thunderstorms rain, very Italy, and the birds are chirping, etc. etc anyway. Everyone is smiling, I've had one or two of my kids home with various ailments but nothing too serious. School
is almost out...the European elections are coming up so I've stopped listening to the news completely. Ahhh how nice Italy is.
Last night when I was re-arranging my kitchen I found a 250g bag of hazelnut meal. When and where I bought it I have no idea. I don't even like hazelnuts. They are big here. My kids eat nutella in kilo jars. I've begun limiting them to one jar a month.
They hide it in their rooms out of fear I'll confiscate it or their siblings will eat it. I don't eat Nutella because I don't like the overpowering taste of hazelnuts (also I can't figure out why I need to eat hydrogenated oil, cocoa and nuts). My kids
eat hazelnut gelato when they go to get gelati with their friends. But not me. Obviously, I saw the gluten free sign on the package and bought it thinking that I might use it somewhere along the way.
So, asking you wonderful people on the buzz I received lots of help of how to use it. Fittingly, Hazelnut herself recommended a hazelnut cake. Semigourmet suggested using it to "bread" chicken which I set aside a bit to do that tonight. Then baking
nana suggested this: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/aglio-e-olio-alla-fremont/detail.aspx A few more of you helped out too and I thank you all.
The cake looked easy, so I opted for that sweet. The chicken breading idea I liked immediately. Then there was the spaghetti. Frankly, it scared me, it interested me and intrigued me. I thought about how I make walnut pesto all the time (walnuts, parmigiano
reggiano, oil). I eat most all those ingredients separately, had them all in my fridge, so...but something made me diffident. I'll sleep on it and see how it strikes me in the morning.
I had left the eggs out last night ready to make that Hungarian hazelnut cake this morning and in fact did. I made a half portion seeing that I wanted to try one sweet and one savoury dish and only had 250 grams of the ground hazelnuts. While letting
it cool I ran to the grocery store the minute it opened to by some cream cheese and made cream cheese frosting for the cake and had that for my second breakfast. Delicious, I suggest each of you make that cake, especially those who claim to not like hazelnuts.
It is scrumptious and will change your mind about hazelnuts.
I even told myself to make it because if anything hubby will be home tomorrow and he'll eat it as he loves sweets and torte and such. Now I'm wondering if there will be any left when he gets home...;-)
I kept looking at the spaghetti recipe and couldn't figure out if I wanted it because it sounded good or if I felt sorry for it. I opted for the latter. It pulled at my heart strings, not my appetite. I'll be honest, the guy in the photo didn't help.
But the fact that he missed this dish at his local restaurant when his family "had" to leave Seattle hit me square in the heart. I "had" to move from Seattle when I was a little girl. Dad worked for Boeing then moved on to different horizons so back to
Dallas it was. I left my best friend, my school, the rain and cool, the big lush trees and weekend trips to Mt. Rainier. I get this guy. Comfort food equals memories and nostalgia. No picture, no reviews, just this poor guy saying he loved this dish and
missed it. I even looked and he has a picture of it on his personal photos. I felt weak. So, I figure I'll make a half portion and give it a try.
I read the instructions and they didn't read well to me. I'm going at this all wrong. I was being propelled by some other force. When I cook I can't wait to see the result. I was sure this would be horrible and wasn't putting positive energy into it.
The description says "in true Roman style..." and we all know how I feel about true Roman style, (eyes rolling) so it was yet another obstacle to overcome. I asked around to friends and colleagues if anyone had heard of this dish. Crickets. Not one
person has heard of these ingredients in one dish. Hmmm...but each said "tell me how it goes, it sounds good.". Hmmm. To Italians this sounds good. I'm more intrigued.
I cooked it up and even the smell put me off. I put it in the plate and my daughter (who is home today not feeling well) made the sign of the cross then said "good thing I'm sick, don't even try to ask me to eat that". I'm surrounded by help here.
I took the first bite.
What a strange flavour. What a good flavour. It's also the texture that gets you. The sun dried tomatoes and the nuts are weirdly wonderful together. It made me think that next fall when I serve cheese, nuts and honey I'm tossing in some sun dried
tomatoes. That is good stuff. But I try not to get excited after the first anything, beginners luck right? I don't even like writing reviews unless I've tried a dish at least twice.
Keep calm and eat your spaghetti.
Next bite. This time I got an olive in there. Yum. Ok, I think I can say this is good.
My daughter who is the pickiest eater in the world started noticing my face. She was eating Don's "Spanish Tortilla" - which to me is just a frittata but her favourite. I said "you know it's not that bad". Usually I try to make her taste it. I knew
there would be no way she would so I didn't bother. She said "looks gross". I said it had smelled gross when I was cooking it, but it tastes good.
I finished it off and even my picky daughter said "if you make it again, I might try it". I told he that if I make again, she'd better hope I make enough for her to taste it.
So, my courage paid off. I wanted to try this faceless, review-less dish because it had been suggested by a nice person, shared by a nice guy it seems and seemed totally neglected. I took that first step. I hope all of you give it a try, it's worth
it. I still don't know where it comes from or if it is an original recipe or tweaked along the way, but it doesn't matter. It's passed the test.
Maybe I'll offer some to Pavarotti Falso after his next performance! Then his wife can sing "Figaro"!
I just wanted to say a big THANKS to all of you who helped me find out what to do with my hazelnut flour/meal.
Best to all and Buon appetito, Melanie