“Après la tempête, je veux être le nouvel souffle.”
(After the storm, I want to be the new breath)
Legend of a poster shown in Sentinelle, a Netflix Original film
Tonight we decided to prepare a simple dinner: tagliarini with a dollop of olive oil, butter and parmesan cheese. Being a little blasé from all those fancy sauces preparations and photographic montages to present our pasta creations, we decided to go back to the incomparably sweet and tender memories of our Mother Gladys’ cooking.
This is exactly how she prepared the pasta in a simple yet nutritious way to rightly feed her husband and children.
Muchas gracias Mamita querida!
Watching the publicity of a supposedly new “travel and cooking program about Italy”, we could not help chuckle. The presenter, an American of Italian roots that kept his distance from the untidiness of the kitchen, watched as deli owners and chefs presented him with a sample, which triggered his farcical gestures and exclamations. A fallacy.
We have relatives and friends in the Italian Peninsula that own, or used to own, gastronomical enterprises that are now almost bankrupt, trying to survive with less traffic, the changing pandemic regulations and little financial relief. This kind of silly fantasy about a long gone pre-pandemic world, designed by the perpetually-behind-the-curve gurusof Madison Avenue, is pure falsehood. Once the pandemic restrictions are over, many of these establishments will be gone and , what is much worse, the general public will be more suspicious of sitting down in tight indoor spaces and will have less disposable income, especially if they have kids. Those that emerge out of the seclusion will be changed.
The Post-Pandemic world is right upon us and it calls for a more simple and practical lifestyle for educated people. We will continue to patronize the local restaurants maybe once or twice a week with take-out and delivery, besides sitting down a Saturday night or a Sunday lunch with the family or a “significant other.” We will resume our travel expeditions but there will be less visits to overpriced restos and more cooking in our Air BNB accommodations. Moreover, there will be slightly less emphasis on what’s inside your plate and more consideration for your partner.
We will push a new breath of kindness, sweetness and, pour quoi pas, some old-fashioned romanticism in our lives.
We must assume the drastic changes that the 2020 pandemic brought upon us and then build a new, better world.
Good morning. Thank you very much for all the expressions of sympathy and encouragement we have received in the past few days, including a very nice message form Ms. Sarah, one of the Happiness Engineers at WordPress. Slowly, yet steadily, we are recovering our lost mental and physical strength as a consequence of a febrile-articularsyndrome after receiving the two dosages of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. However, we are still praising the medical, psychological and social advantages of vaccinating against the lethal SARS-C0V-2 virus. If our children would not have gotten us the appointment in Jackson South Hospital, we could not have survived a random infection with it.
When we were kids, both our “French” and “Italian” grandmothers (they were both born in Uruguay but faithfully followed the cultural guidelines of their country of ancestry) would invariably prepare a good soup to fix an ailment. Had a fever, get a soup. Had a toothache, get a soup. Had sadness, get a soup, etc. We were literally over-souped. Therefore, following family traditions, we prepared this soup with plenty of potatoes, veggies and arborio rice. Voilà!
We have fixed a serving of our concoction. Just by being surrounded by its bewitching aroma, we are feeling better.
Please join us at our humble table for this time-tested remedy against all bugs and plenty of conversation. Enjoy it!
-“Dad, I really didn’t like that Alfredo sauce you bought in the store….Can you prepare a fresh white sauce for me?”
Good morning. Yesterday we were hoping not to dabble in the kitchen, except to just boil some pasta and serve it. We were counting on the leftover pink sauce we had prepared the weekend before last with that a small addition. However, life is never that easy, as you may all well know. Faced with the request of our son Gian Luca (the very best friend that we could ever have in Life) we started to rummage our freezer for alternatives and some inspiration. When we spotted two bags with some enticing sweetbreads, we casually asked Giani: “Have you ever tasted this?” You know the answer, don’t you? As proud Italian-Americans, we heard the commanding clarion call from Antiquity.
Rimboccare le maniche! (roll up your sleeves)
In order to tenderize the sweetbreads, first you must boil them in a thick broth with veggies for at least one hours.
The second step is to grill the sweetbreads for at least half an hour in our homemade rotisserie machine. Great buy.
The sweetbreads should have a crispy exterior, while maintaining its inner juiciness. This is how they will look like.
With our Japanese knife, we sliced the sweetbreads into smaller pieces, as well as the grilled sausages (chorizo)
Now we are ready to prepare the Bechamel sauce, for which you should consult our previous article on this process. After adding the sweetbreads, sausages and walnuts, the sauce should look like this: creamy but without clumps.
We boiled the pasta separately and then laid it on La Bestia, before slowly adding the sauce and parmesan cheese.
Allow us to introduce you a dish fully imagined and conceived in our humble kitchen: Pastaciutta alla Gian Luca.
Our son said that it was one of the best pasta dishes he tasted. As he wolfed down two full plates, we believe him.
Chers/Chères lecteurs/lectrices et blogueurs/blogueuses:
Bon jour. Aujourd’hui le jour s’est levé férocement grisätre dans le Sud de la Floride, remplaçant la merveilleuse clairté et gaieté que souvent nous entourent doucement dans ce coin privilégié de la planète. Voici nðtre patio.
Que faire pour écarter cette froideur qui peut lentement mais inéxorablement tremper nötre pauvre, solitaire esprit?
Une bonne soupe campagnarde pleine de pommes de terre et de légumes , comme préparaint nos chers aïeux. Quand le soleil commençait a tomber dans les champs verts du Pays Basque, ils rentraient leur moutons dans l’enclos et marchaient lentement vers la modeste chaumière avec une cheminée vomisssant de la fumée blanche. Une fois qu’ils entraient, leurs fidèles compagnes claquaient une bonne bise dans leurs joues, si punis par le froid. Et alors is voyaient avec bonheur le contenu d’une marmite qui se rassemblait a la photo d’en haut. Du paradis même!
En hönneur de tous nos ancêtres Basques (et des Italiens aussi) nous gardons la tradition familiale de la belle soupe.
La bouffe est servie dans notre simple table. Si vous voulez nous joindre, vous êtes le/la beinvenu/e. Allons-y!
Restez à la distance. Restez en sécurité. Restez de toute beauté.
Good morning. Today we woke up with an extremely acute syndrome of Transgression Now (have you ever felt those symptoms?) and we decided to forgo our traditional simple breakfast of some bread with a little cream cheese plus some fruits to really, really hit it hard in the kitchen, we decided to prepare the “perfect burger.” So this marvel of grilled burger plus onion, tomatoes,peppers, mozzarella cheese and a fried egg on top came into being.
Alas, as always, we have tried to encompass more with our eyes than our mouth could ever accept. Our dear father Mario always called us ojo grande, which translated literally into Spanish means “big eye”, referring to that habit of trying to hoard much more food on the plate than we could possible eat ( we always saved it for later in the fridge)
We ate only half of it and we washed it down with a lot of mate amargo: the other half went straight to the fridge. Moreover, we have to gracefully acknowledge the passage of time and include this “big-time eatery” in the long list of earthly pleasures that we have been obliged to give up: grilled meats, red wine and the company of fair women.
As we said in our previous article, we are preparing today a pasta with a mixed Bechamela-Pomodoro sauce, which we will dub as Dotta Rossa because the addition of meat (turkey in this case) qualifies it as a Bolognese sauce. You surely already know that the city of Bologna is known as “La Dotta” in Italy due to its prestigious university, which is the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere, after La Sorbonne in Paris. Moreover, for many decades. almost all the local administration was dominated by leftist parties, which added the “Rossa” (red) soubriquet to the name.
Very important concept – This simple utensil is perhaps the most important one for healthy cooking: the colander. Early on in our cooking adventures, we learned that many residues of cooking oil tend to accumulate in sautéeing. We try to use only olive oil , which has the lowest proportion of polyunsaturated fats (the good guys) However, after they reach the cooking point, all oils start to degrade and produce toxic residuals. Therefore, you must get rid of it.
The choice of turkey (tacchino in Italian) instead of beef was done because it has less calories with a lot of proteins. The first step is to cut all the veggies, including the ginger, on our cooking board and have it ready for sautéeing. Put a dollop of olive oil on the skillet and dump the veggies; carefully stir the whole mixture with a wooden spoon.
In order to counteract the acidity of the juice coming out of onions, we recommend adding a little sugar or honey.
After the onions turn slightly brown, it is time to dump all the veggies on our loyal colander to drain the residues.
Now we repeat the same procedure with the minced turkey. This is the roster of seasoning we use. Little or no salt.
After putting a thin film of olive oil on the frying pan, we put the meat; we season it and stir with a wooden spoon.
Once it is well cooked, we repeat the same cleansing procedure with our loyal colander. Do not cut any corners!
Set aside the veggie and the turkey meat in different bowls and proceed to prepare the sauce. We already carefully explained how to prepare a Bechamel sauce (salsa blanca) in a previous article and we encourage you to review it. In order to jazz our sauce a little bit more, we added some of a dehydrated mix with four cheeses made in Argentina.
Don’t forget to grate a little bit of nutmeg on top of it (this is a Brazilian brand I love) which gives it a unique flavor.
Once the Bechamel sauce is ready (fluid and without any lumps) it is time to add the tomato sauce. Slowly!
Once you add the tomato sauce, you will have a white sauce “laced with red streaks”. Just like this picture shows.
Slowly whisk the mixture until you arrive at a nice, uniform pinkish color like this picture shows.
Once you feel confident that the sauce does not have any lumps, you can add the veggies, like this picture shows.
And finally it is time for the meat of the precious birds that fed those hardy Pilgrims in the harsh winter season.
You can add nuts on top of it; we chose to add shaved almonds. Do you like the looks of our Dotta Rossa sauce?
Now we will cook the pasta separately (always) and once it is ready, we will start layering everything on The Beast.
Note– There is nothing than enrages us so much than watching cooking TV programs and videos where the cook nonchalantly dumps all the elements of a pasta dish on the pan, without taking the time to use the colander. They claim it’s “the tradition.” Of course Italians used to cook like that. But thankfully, they (specially the ladies) are slowly changing their habits to take into consideration the toll that Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease take on their health. Altri tempi!
Now it is time to turn the heat at medium intensity and to prep the ball of Burrata by slicing it cross-like so it melts. Once the Burrata cheese melts and you mix everything well, turn the heat off and let it stand for a few minutes.
Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served. Please join us at our humble table for a nice dish and plenty of chit chat.
Good morning and Happy Sunday to you all. Sincerely we were planning not to cook today and take a little break. However, one of your loyal lady readers sent us an e-mail yesterday provocatively posing a most critical question:
“Doctor, can you mix the two sauces… the white and red ones you had taught us how to prepare?”
Of course you can in a pink sauce that is becoming much more popular in Italian and Neo-Italian cooking.
It never fails. You are having a good time and there comes a woman along to ruin everything. Troublemakers.
We are getting the ingredients ready in our work station and we will, God willing, prepare a pasta with a pink sauce.
A few days ago, we dreamed about one of the most beautiful, pristine, and in certain ways primitive regions of France, which contrary to a widespread belief has many wilderness preserves. The Massif du Vercors is a mountainous area in the Southeastern part of the country that straddles the departments of Isère and Drôme, to the east of Le Dauphiné (site where the famous gratin dauphinois was invented) and in its eastern boundaries arriving at the city of Grenoble; situated in the French Pre-Alps, it is surrounded by dense forests, which are teeming with wild animals like deer and boar, and has few urban settlements. Precisely that roughness of the terrain has seared its mark in the collective imagination of the French citizens who are overwhelmed by city life. Moreover, during World War II, it was one one of the favorite hiding places of the maquisards (members of the French Resistance) who eventually created a “free zone” called La République Libre du Vercors in June 1944. That name derives from the Vertamocorii, the local tribe famous for its ferocity and agility in inhospitable terrain; after the Roman conquest, many of those tribesmen were recruited for the imperial legions that fought in Germania. We believe that this potage with rice,lentils, veggies, chorizo and bacon would have been enjoyed by the Vertamocorii.
First line up all the ingredients and make sure that once you start, you don’t have to pause (even though we confess that we had planned to do it yesterday but we were too tired after reviewing the final proofs of our new book)
The first step is to grill our sausages and bacon in our splendid Nuwave Air Frier, which healthily cooks all meats.
You must be very careful not to overcook you sausages as you want the outside crispy and the inside juicy. Like this.
Then we will proceed to cut the onion and red pepper in small squares; you can also add the ginger at this time.
Whenever you are cooking rice in a broth ( like we normally do in a risotto) we must keep in mind that as we are adding the ingredients, the liquid is being slowly evaporated, which has the effect of slowly densifying the mix. We must consider the risotto, and similar preparations, as a thick soup where the ingredients absorb much of the broth.
In order to get ready for the cooking, we must prepare a thick broth with the ready made cubes or from scratch.
Prepare some extra broth because there is nothing more annoying more than unexpectedly coming short of it.
Don’t panic. We will continue to hold your hand and we will do the cooking together, as if we were family already.
Now we are putting some olive oil and a little bit of butter on the saucepan to slowly melt it. Just like this.
Once the mix melts, start to slowly add approx. 100 grams of Arborio rice (or whichever type you have available) The idea is not to fully cook the ice but to toast it slightly so during cooking it will not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once the rice is properly toasted, start to slowlyadd the broth from the side, little by little, with a scoop. Be careful!
Warning – One of the silliest major accidents that occur in professional kitchen happens when an overworked chef off–handedly orders one of the assistants to add some broth (or other hot liquid) to a pan cooking with oil. The sudden interaction of those two liquids can produce a temporary combustion that spews hot liquids up in a cloud.
After you submerge the rice completely with 4 or 5 cups of broth, let it simmer for a few minutes (no more than 5)
Next add 100 grams of lentils. which are one of the few kind of beans that do not need a previous hydration step.
Let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Then it is time to add the San Marzano tomatoes and all the veggies. Like this.
Now comes a tricky part. How do we season it? You might already know that, bowing to the realities of our frail human nature, we hardly ever use any salt in our dishes. But this one calls for a little pinch of Sodium Chloride. You might want to add some Granulated Garlic, Oregano and Black Pepper (remember that the latter is aphrodisiac)
Finally it is time for the meats, i.e. chorizo (the kind we eat in Argentina and Uruguay) and the Canadian bacon. sadly, we did not above any boar in our fridge but we promise, O Spirits of the Vertamocorii, to fix that affront.
Super important concept.
The next two steps are crucial for a successful outcome. Fist cook at medium intensity fire for 20 minutes. Like this:
Are you listening? Now, are you really listening? Now comes the crucial final step that most people avoid in the rush to finish. Turn the oven off. The evaporation process is still in full swing and you have to put a lid on the pan.
Let it stand for at least twenty minutes or even half an hour. Then slowly open it and catch the full aroma of this:
Can you see the difference of this picture with the previous one? That dish was soggy and this one is perfectly juicy.
This whole process might take approximately one and a half hours from the beginning to the end. But it is worth it!
Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served. Please join us at our humble table for a nice dish and a lot of conversation.
Good morning. On our family table (especially on the Italian branch) a dish of soup was always present, usually for consumption at the end of the meal for digestion purposes. When our grandmother or mother laid it on the table, we judiciously picked up the spoon and started eating it in silence. No complaints. No controversies. No fuzz.
We all grew up healthily and are now very grateful for the healthy eating habits that they instilled in all of us. We just prepared this peasant’s soup of casarecce pasta ( a smaller version of the fucilli) potatoes, veggies and corn. As a permissive allowance to our decadent spirits, we dropped a dollop of Parmesan cheese on top of it to jazz it all up.
A nutritious soup is the best culinary defense against any of the foreign invaders that threaten our bodies. As a physician we know that , besides the critically important drugs and procedures that Modern Medicine has to offer, a good diet is still of paramount importance to help the convalescence of sick patients and to ward off infections.
Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. Today we prepared a very simple dish of fettuccine with a San Marzano tomato sauce with veggies, minced meat and walnuts galore. It is just a variant of the famous Bolognese sauce that we nicknamed as “alla Dotta” because that is how the city of Bologna is referred as in Italy: it has the second oldest functioninguniversity in the Western Hemisphere after Paris) Besides, it has some of its very best cooking with big variety of meat, sausages and pasta. To study well, you need to eat well.
What you see in the middle is a big ball of Burrata cheese, which will implode as we heat the dish for a few minutes and deliver all its creaminess to turn it into really sublime.
Just imagining what a delicious dish it will be, has made our spirit (and the picture) turn on its head…Being mindful of your feelings, we will not post the final product’s view.