Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Poetry & Food: Poem Hunger Published

Thanks to Leah Umansky for choosing my poem Hunger, as a part of a special section in THEthe Poetry, from the Red Room Company.

Leah writes in the introduction:

Being a Woman in the 21st Century has its charges. It depends on the decade and the day. (…) It is glorious, despite what drags us often down. We rise. The difference, now, is the verve with which we arm ourselves -- that is what makes the 21st Century Woman. (…) Chloe Yelena Miller’s “Hunger,” focuses on food, smell and the past – a poem about the maternal and memory, but also a poem about the domestic.

Hunger first lists fancier foods, and ends with my grandmother’s ziti before introducing my grandmother. That is to say, a list of things that I hunger for.

My paternal grandmother would bake ziti in a wide pan with marinara sauce and lots and lots of mozzarella. My favorite parts were the drier ziti on the edges that became just a little too crispy in the oven. As you can see, it is impossible to separate food and cooking from my poetry.

For more on my writing and poetry, I invite you to read my blog, Chloe Yelena Miller

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pink Himalayan Salt Block: Super Salty

I fell for the hype. I bought a much-discussed-Himalayan-Salt-Block. I found one on sale and purchased the heavy, lovely pink stone. In fact, after heating it on the grill, the colors shifted slightly and it was even lovelier. And it was still just a slab of salt.

After reading this salt block cooking guide from salt experts at The Meadow, we started simply. I placed two fresh mozzarella balls on the chilled salt block. We sliced the mozzarella on the block and then tasted the slices. They were quite salty.

Then my husband grilled calamari and peppers, including a few pieces on the salt block (we purchased a small block that wouldn't hold very much.) Again, the result was very salty. Very, very salty.

I suppose it is quite obvious that the foods cooked or served on a salt block would be very salty. I'm not sure what I was expecting.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to store this salt block that needs to be kept cool and dry for best results. It is currently taking up room in our refrigerator. I'm not sure I need any more results, but I hate to throw things out and admit defeat.

Maybe I need a very fancy tool to crush the salt block for, well, salt?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Farmer's Market in Portland, Oregon

Summer's not over yet. I know that because our Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA continues through October. Here are some August memories from the lovely Farmer's Market in Shemanski Park in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Founding Farmers Restaurant in D.C. and Laico's Restaurant in New Jersey: Straw & Hay Pasta

Founding Farmers' Stray and Hay 

When I was a kid, my grandparents used to take me to eat at Laico's Italian Restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey. I would always order the "straw and hay" pasta. A ginormous dish of pasta with a creamy sauce, bacon and peas would come out and I'm pretty sure I always ate the whole thing. 

Founding Farmers Restaurant in Washington, D.C., offers a delicious version of this dish with homemade, wide noodles. They add in some vegetables for good measure: asparagus and mushrooms. While a heavy pasta dish isn't a recommended hot-summer's-day meal, it was worth a taste of childhood. 

To prepare your own Stray and Hay pasta dish, you might try Wolfgang Puck's recipe, with or without the two types of pasta (two types seems a little fussy.) I think I'll be returning to my childhood the next time I'm in New Jersey for Laico's (updated?) version of "Paglia e Fieno" with shrimp and scallops and some vodka thrown in for good measure. 

Photos from our Founding Farmers brunch:

Deviled Eggs

Super spicy Bloody Marys and Beignets with three sauces 
(raspberry, chocolate and caramel)

Eggs Benedict

Red Velvet Cake