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Slow Food Diary -Study in Italy

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#1 Ore

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 04:20 AM

Ciao,

My name is Ore and I am starting this web blog to help express my self and the things I have found throughout my study at Ital.Cook, the Slow Food cooking school.

The proper name for the school is:

Slow Food – Master Italian Cooking
ITAL.COOK.
Istituto Superiore Di Gastronomia
Scuola delle Cucine Regionali d’Italia
School of Italian Regional Cooking

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The website for the school is:

Ital.Cook.

and the web site for Slow Food is:

Slow Food

More about me –

I am 22 years old. I grew up in Tarzana, California and at 18 moved to Hyde Park, New York to attend The Culinary Institute of America. I graduated from the CIA with a Bachelor’s degree in October ’03 and stayed on for a fellowship at the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici until the middle of April ’04. In June I left for Italy and I have been here ever since!

Please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions!

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Now…on with the POST!

Prior to starting school:

I learned about the Slow Food school through a chef at the CIA. Francesco Tonelli was my Skills chef and is the U.S. representative for the school here in Jesi. The school offers a scholarship that I saw in a financial aid bulletin and since then, the school had always been an option.

While doing my fellowship at the CIA I was almost positive about going to France – just to go and cook. I really mean just go too!! I didn’t have any set plans and personally I look back and see how ignorant I was. I didn’t have a stage lined up and surely would have had VISA problems!!
That is when I started looking at Ital.Cook. in more depth. This school offered a short, 10 week course and then the possibility of doing a stage for up to one year, and best of all, they provided all the papers necessary for a study visa, which was granted to me – for a whole year!

The cost of the school I feel is quite reasonable – although I did have to get help from Dad…Thanks!!

The first wire transfer to Italy was for the amount of one thousand Euros. Then, when I got my Visa, the final wire amount of seven thousand five hundred Euros was sent. Unfortunately the dollar is much weaker than the Euro so it cost a bit more than I would have liked to pay!


Well...

Ciao for now - will post more shortly!

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Ore

Edited by Ore, 11 July 2004 - 06:08 AM.


#2 divina

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 04:38 AM

looking forward to seeing how you like it!
Auguri!

#3 Ore

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 06:27 AM

Ciao,


Just finished lunch!!! On with the 'blog'

Okay...the way the program works:

There are a miximum of fifteen students at one time for the program. Till date, I don't think there have been fifteen yet, but I know that the course starting in October will have fifteen (a first...I believe).

My class has eleven students in it, including me. There are two students from the U.S., one student from India, one student from Brasil, one Canadian and six Japanese.

This program is designed for people who are familiar with the rest. industry - it is not a place to come and learn how to slice an onion, or dice carrots (the Brasillian should have of known that before she came :angry: ).

The average age I would say is about 25.

The school is set up with a President, a Director, two office assistants, a kitchen supervisor and a sommellier. There is also a translator available for Italian/English translations. I am positive that this isn't everyone though - so sorry!

The people who work at the school are looked at more like family then administrators. They really take great care of us and are all really awesome to be around.

The school has a few apartments in the city of Jesi and all are about a 10 minute walk to the school. In the tuition price our housing is included. Also included is food for the house (shopping list each week!!!) and high speed internet (among many other minor things) :cool: !


Usually, we have class five days a week - some weekends are devoted to class projects like private dinners, etc.

I am now going to go into the way the school formats our week - so far, this upcoming week will be my 6th of 10 here in Jesi.


Ciao,


Ore

#4 Ore

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 06:58 AM

Ciao,


WEEK 1 -

Started on a Wednesday...we were oriented with the school today - we went over the rules and regulations - we met all the people invloved and we spoke about Slow Food and where everyone was from.

NOTE: It is suggested that all students foreign to Italy take a one month Italian course prior to the school's start. The school provides housing - but that is about it! I did not opt for this because I took '2' years of Italian at the CIA - and now that I look back, I feel I made the right decision!

Thursday we started cooking.

REGION: MARCHE MEAT DISHES (as opposed to Seafood)

Our uniforms were not in yet so we cooked in our street clothes today - we were wondering if this was normal - for the school to be kinda unorganized like that - but it is not normal - something happend with the delivery man and our whites were here by the end of the day!

Us and the Chef, Marco, learning about Marche meat dishes.
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Friday was our second day with Marco - usually each region will get two days of class - leaving one day in the week for a wine tasting or field trip.

Friday we made some interesting dishes. We made this really cool (kinda weird tasting) pasta called Cresc Tajat con sugo finto (pronounced Kresh Taya) with a pretend sauce.

This dish has peasent origin and was made to use up the left over polenta from the side and bottom of the pot. We simply made some polenta and added it to flour and water - like making any other pasta - the 'pretend' sauce was made with guanciale and mocked a meaty, rich sauce without any meat but the guanciale.

That day we also made Sfogliata Primavera (below), along with Vincisgrassi (similar to a lasagna), frascarelli di riso, many preperations with cicerchia (a Slow Food presidium) and the famous Passatelli in Brodo.
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We ended the day with a group picture and began our free weekend. I spent mine just simply wandering the city and eating gelato!
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Ciao,

Ore

#5 Ore

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 07:33 AM

Week 2

Monday was our first wine tasting with Alessio, an Italian sommelier. We spent time on the production of wine and tasted 3 great bottles - all Marche and all good!!!
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In the afternoon we had our first Olive oil lesson with Dr. Renzo Ceccacci. He has written many articles on olive oil and sits on the DOP panel of tasters - a very awesome, brilliant man!

Tuesday we started on UMBRIA with Chef ENEA BARBANERA
Enea was a young chef (late 20's) that was really smart and really knew his kitchen technology.

It was really shocking to me but almost all the kitchens here in Italy (that I have visited) have both blast freezers/chillers and cryovac machines - and these are kitchen staples! That's HOT!!!

back to Umbria - Enea brought with him some typical Umbrian products. Olive oil, special red onions from Cannara, special pecorinos from Umbria among other interesting ingredients.

Olive oil from Umbria
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This Agnello Farcito con Battuto e Patate Arrosto was great - the leg of lamb boned out - then a mixture of lard and herbs was robot couped and spread on the meat - rolled up, tied, more lard mixture on top, and roasted in the oven with potatoes on the side to cook in the drippings. Sliced and served!!! YUMMMMMMMY!
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You cant visit Umbria without some 'Porchetta' so we had some of that brought in too!

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Actually, Enea knows one of Italy's most well respected 'Porchetta' makers and him and Chef Tonelli made a video about 'Porchetta' for Slow Food (i think).

One of my other favorite dishes was a very simple 'scrambled eggs' - Stracciata con cipolla rossa di Cannara - a sweated red onion scrambled egg dish which was very simple yet amazing. The onions were very sweet and savory at the same time - the eggs were cooked perfectly, still a bit runny - and yummy!
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Finally - at the end of our two days - we took a photo with Enea (bottom right corner between Nori and Elizabeth)
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Ciao -


Ore

#6 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 07:47 AM

In the photographs, you refer to "we" and "us".

Will you tell us which one is YOU?

And thanks for inviting us into your world... always wanted to go to Italy. :raz:

#7 Ore

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 11:08 AM

In the above photo of the group - I am between the chef (read post to find him!) and Elizabeth (the blonde) - in the back row (short hair!)

Ciao,


Ore

#8 Pan

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 02:41 PM

Ore, I'm enjoying this. Please continue to post on your experiences.

#9 Craig Camp

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 03:00 PM

Thanks Ore! Ore is posting his experiences here at my invitation and (to pat myself on the back) I see I had a very good idea.
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#10 Jim Dixon

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Posted 11 July 2004 - 08:18 PM

Ore,

Thanks for taking the time to do this...now we can attend the Instituto without leaving home (altho' I would much rather be in Italy). Could you toss out a few simple recipes, like the eggs with red onion, and maybe tell us about the town, too? (All this in your 'spare' time, of course.)

graize mille

Jim
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Real Good Food

#11 docsconz

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 10:41 AM

Ore, Thanks for doing this. This has the potential to be a fabulous blog. I am very interested in Slow Food and expect the school to be very succesful. I am looking foprward to following this blog closely. I will second Jim's request for recipes. Those scrambled eggs looked particularly suitable for transfer to non-Italian shores, although the eggs are somewhat different there.
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#12 Ore

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 09:32 AM

Ok - to clarify where Enea (the Chef from Umbria is - he is in the bottom LEFT corner of the 2nd group photo - not the bottom RIGHT as I posted earlier)

Sorry for the confusion!


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*\/* = is pointing to me!

#13 Ore

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 10:22 AM

Ciao -

I ended the last blog post with the first part of the second week, Umbria. The second part, Thursday and Friday, were devoted to Campania, where Chef Antonio Tubelli showed us around!

We made some great regional dishes - riso bruciato, grate di peperoni, coniglio all'ischitana, fagioli alla maruzzara, lombatina di agnello in salsa d' uova, parmigiana di melanzane, gatto di patate, and the sweet baba alla crema.

This dish is a regional classic - the lamb chops here in Italy all seem to be really fatty and with lots of CT - I would like this dish more with a US or Aussie chop - it is simply seared and roasted in an oven.
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The sauce is made by deglazing the roasting pan of the meat with vermouth - adding fresh chopped spring onions - cooking them until soft. In a seperate bowl combine egg yolks, parsley and lemon juice - then temper the yolks into the hot vermouth - and place back on the heat to thicken slightly - don't let your eggs cook!


Campania has great cheeses - the most famous probably mozzarella di buffala but here is a picture of its competitor (or cousin) the fior di latte (what the US mostly calls fresh MUZZ!
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There was also fior di latte fumicato which is the smoked version - I didn't care for it too much - very very smokey. Caciocavallo and Provolone del Monaco were also tasted in class!



Here is a quick shot of the class and of the Chef hard at work! He was a good guy - smart and joked around a lot - he wore a different colored hat each day!
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Quick fact:

- Until about the 1940's - olive oil was not common in Campania - it was mostly butter and lard that was used!

- Although Campania lies on the coast, it is a mostly land based cuisine.

- Tomatoes only became a HOT item about 150 years ago - Campania is world famous for theirs, the San Marzano, although Emilia-Romagna produces much much more - actually, they produce 25% of world production - 2nd only to California!

- Provolone del Monaco (monk) is named that because the dairy farmers who used to make the cheese would wear large cloaks like monks do when transporting their cheese!


Campania also is very famous for its Baba alla crema or baba alla rum - this dessert has origins in Austria but is most famous from Campania. It's name was given by the French. It is a dessert made similar to brioche - the dough a bit more wet - filled into little tymbals and baked - then dipped in an alcoholic liquid and served with a crema sauce (very similar if not the same as a zabaglione). Check out the pics'
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That ended our week - Friday again! I can't recall doing much this weekend - I think I was at the beach in Senigallia on Saturday with my friend Luigi from the CIA - who was in a previous course here in Jesi.

He went back to PA two weeks ago to help his parents out in their deli/grocery store for Italian products.

The group picture!
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Ciao,


Ore

#14 Ore

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 11:40 AM

WEEK 3 VENETO & MARCHE SEAFOOD

Monday was another wine lecture and tasting in the morning - again, really nice wines - we do our wine tasting and oil tastings downstairs in the cellar of the school which has been transformed into the regional Enoteca.

The Enoteca proudly boasts all the wines that are made in the Marche region and offers some select tastings as well!

Monday afternoon we had another olive oil lesson. I love the fact that Renzo would pass five defected olive oils around the room - we then went over them - I really feel sorry for myslef because it seems that most of the olive oil I have been using smelt more like the defected stuff then the good stuff - Mostly Rancid and oxidized memories!!!

Tuesday was Day 1 of the Veneto region. The chef, Galdino Zara, and his Chef de cuisine, Stefano, were from a restaurant between Padova and Venezia.

They brought with them many local products including eel, soft shell crabs that are on the Slow Food Presidium called Moleche, they also brought the presidium Gallina Padovana which is a special game bird that has a white featherd body and a very pretty flower looking featherd head(hard to describe).
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This first day was reserved for the seafood aspect of the region - we made lots of things with stoccafisso (stockfish - dried cod) and baccalla - (salted and dried cod). We also made many things 'in saor' like sardines, radicchio, eggplant, and squash.
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A dish that still stands out on my palate was the Savor di Gamberi. Because Venice was a major trading post, there were many different spices available for cooks to use. This dish in particular seemed a lot more Indian than Italian because the spices really resembled a curry mix.

The dried herbs included: Ginger, Turmeric, Saffron, Corriander, Cardamom, Star Anise, Pimento, Curry, Salt and Pepper - these herbs were added to shrimp shells that were sauteed in a pan with EVOO - deglazed with brandy - and then cream added to that. The sauce was strained, put back in the pan, almonds added to the sauce, as well as the shrimp and some shallot - in 2 minutes the shrimp were cooked and we ate it all!!! Here is a picture!
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We cooked the eel on the first day in a really traditional method. In a large terra cotta dish, we put down a thick layer of bay leaves, then the cleaned, portioned and seasoned eel, and then another thick layer of fresh bay leaves - then baked in the oven until done - not too bay leavish but interesting!
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Here is a photo of the Moleche prepared with some white polenta. Half of the crabs were deep fried as is - just tossed in flour - the other half were able to 'eat' egg yolks prior to meeting the hot oil. The egg yolk purged a lot of the liquid from the crabs and kinda puffed up the crabs - cool idea!
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Risotto is a staple of the North - and Veneto has many styles to choose from. This risotto was made with fresh peas.
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The plate is garnished with a pea puree as well as a squid ink sauce.


A shot of the class getting a demo on cleaning squid - and trying to keep the ink sac intact! Lots of fun, especially if one bursts all over the place - or even better, if you accidently stab the squid and get shot with ink!!!
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By far, this preperation was my favorite - unfortunately the chicken meat was a bit dry to eat plain but the brodo (broth) it made was amazing. Check out the picture!
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The gallina is stuffed with aromatics like onion, tomato, carrot, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, garlic clove, placed in a bag and a bamboo shoot placed directly into the cavity of the chicken. The bag is tied around the shoot - like a chimney, the chicken cooked for about 3 hours in a pot of boiling water that was covered with foil - to let the chimney 'smoke'. In the bag was the chickens natural juices - the richest 'stock' I have had in such an easy method - only prob. was that each chicken needed its own pot! The broth was reserved and we made tortellini with a simple prosciutto, ricotta and parm filling...YUMMY - cooked in the brodo and served in a bowl!
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So - all in all the Veneto region was one of my favorites so far! The quality of the food was great and I lerned a lot!

The famous group picture!
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Look forward to the post on MARCHE SEAFOOD - another one of my favorites!

Ciao,

Ore

#15 docsconz

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 12:35 PM

Once again, fantastic!

Some questions:

Have you tasted Oasis degli Angeli, the wine from The Marches? Great stuff.

Your pics are super. I have a question about the chicken broth. Was it all cooked within the plastic bag? Was it sous vide? How did you keep the bag from melting? In what way is this brodo different than the brodo from Emiglia-Romagna?More details on this please? Ok, that was more than one question.

Moleche are fantastic! I had them in Venice last November. What exactly did you do to get the egg yolks into the crabs?

What is "gatto di patate"? It sounds like potato cat to me. Certainly Campania is meat based unless you are right on the sea. Then it is wonderfully seafood based. Did you get to try any fresh mozzarella di bufala? Great stuff.

- Until about the 1940's - olive oil was not common in Campania - it was mostly butter and lard that was used!

Fascinating, but is that really true? My mother's family came from Campania in the 1890's. Olive oil was always important to them. Was it more a function of socio-economic status?

- Provolone del Monaco (monk) is named that because the dairy farmers who used to make the cheese would wear large cloaks like monks do when transporting their cheese!

My understanding is that the cheese was originally made by monks on the Sorrentine peninsula, although I must admit my memory is not what it used to be and I'm not absolutely confidant about this.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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#16 Ore

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for the fascination Doc! As for the wine - I have not had it yet, to my recollection - but I will look out for it now!

The chicken broth was all cooked in the plastic bag - the bags were very simmilar to the Reynolds oven bags you might use to roast something in. No worries about melting - don't forget that the bag is immersed in a pot of boiling water - so the temp cant really reach more than 100 or so degrees ©. Not sous vide as I think that refers to something cryovacked (?) and cooked - but maybe so - although there is a steam vent (the bambu!). This is the first brodo I have seen cooked in this method - the addition of water to the bag is minimal - that is why the brodo is soooo rich - almost too rich! Don't forget brodo simply means broth...or stock. We are studying Emilia Romagna for the next three days and I haven't caught up yet but our Chef today was a Michellin Star chef from Parma - he started his brodo in the traditional manner - cold water - place to large pieces of beef in the water, and half of a chicken (feather ends burnt off). He says that after you remove the first skum is when you should add your veg. and aromatics - so the veg. flavor will be a bit cleaner! Never heard that one before!

The crabs were still kinda alive - not really but you can see they were just caught a few hours ago and driven down to the Marche! Some were still happely crawling around! For 1 kilo of the crabs the chef just added 3 egg yolks with a touch of salt. He said they are attracted to the salt - and them eating the yolky salty stuff purges them of a lot of exess liquid - it was true - the dish they were in, with the yolk mix clearly had a puddle of juice in it as opposed to the dish with just the plain crabs, and it was much more liquid than the 3 yolks would have added! Also, by the crab eating the yolk, when it is fried, you can notice the presence of the rich yolk inside the crab!

I totally agree with the Cat and Potato thing!!!!

It is simply a potato torte - prob. gatto taken from the french term for cake(?)

Basically - you cook and rice some potatoes. To the potatoes you add butter and cheese, eggs, pepper and parsley. You prepare an oven dish by buttering the surface, then sprinkling the dish with fine bread crumbs. We then spread part of the potato mix onto the dish, cubed some fior di latte and salame and sprinkled that over the center. Then spread the remaining pot. mix. More bread crumbs and then baked at 150 C for about 30 min - golden brown on top. Pretty tasty and simple to do at home!

I was able to have the buffala - quite different than I would have expected - very tangy and the texture was quite liquidy - but deff the good stuff - the Chef said they made it the night before for him!

I honestly do believe that the EVOO statement about Campania is true. Yes, today they may have some good productions but back then it was not very common for the normal person to use it. It was deff. a status symbol and from what I have been taught here - the EVOO usually went to the higher ups because they would PAY for it!

My understanding is that the cheese was originally made by monks on the Sorrentine peninsula, although I must admit my memory is not what it used to be and I'm not absolutely confidant about this.


That statement is almost true!!! The cheese was made on the Sorrentine Pen. but from my understanding, the farmers would transport their cheese by boat, wearing these large cloaks - there by being refered to as monks but not really being monks - the cloaks prob to keep dry and warm as I do recall them transporting the cheese only at nite!


Well - do keep me busy...I do enjoy it!

Ciao,


Ore

Edited by Ore, 13 July 2004 - 03:53 PM.


#17 docsconz

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Posted 13 July 2004 - 05:08 PM

Ore, Thanks for the well thought out response. I will be looking forward to your posts and following this blog closely. The egg and crab information is very interesting. I wonder if that would work with soft-shell blue crabs?
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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#18 Craig Camp

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 12:26 AM

That would be gateaux not "gatto" - they often use the French term in Italy.

for example...
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#19 albiston

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 01:08 AM

That would be gateaux not "gatto" - they often use the French term in Italy.

for example...

Well, gateaux is certainly the correct term, but most Neapolitans call it (and write it) gatto' di patate. It is a dialectal expression but it isn't wrong, and if you used the French expression in Naples people would probably think you're being pretentious :raz: .
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#20 Craig Camp

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 01:13 AM

That would be gateaux not "gatto" - they often use the French term in Italy.

for example...

Well, gateaux is certainly the correct term, but most Neapolitans call it (and write it) gatto' di patate. It is a dialectal expression but it isn't wrong, and if you used the French expression in Naples people would probably think you're being pretentious :raz: .

Ha! Love those dialects. Here in Lombardia and in Piemonte where the dialects have a strong French twinge I think they would think you were serving them a pet for dinner if you called it gatto di patate.
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#21 albiston

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 01:28 AM

Ciao -

I ended the last blog post with the first part of the second week, Umbria.  The second part, Thursday and Friday, were devoted to Campania, where Chef Antonio Tubelli showed us around!

Ore,

thanks for the great posts. It's a pleasure to read them, and in the case of chef Tubelli a walk down memory lane for me.

Chef Tubelli and his brother have a very nice shop called Timpani e Tempura in the city center of Naples (vico della quercia, don't know the number but the street is quite short) serving a few of Tubelli's signture dishes, to eat on the premises or take away, and a lot of delicious cheese, salumi and preserves from around Italy. If anyone plans a trip to Naples it's a handy address to have.

Tubelli used to be the chef of Il Pozzo a very interesting and unique restaurant in Naples, specializing in Neapolitan cooking from the XVIII (or was it XVII?) century. It was the first restaurant I went to as soon as I earned my first paycheck and I still remember it fondly.

Campania also is very famous for its Baba alla crema or baba alla rum - this dessert has origins in Austria but is most famous from Campania.  It's name was given by the French.


I actually always heard the story that baba' was invented by king Stanislaw of Poland who also named it baba', in honour of Ali Baba, and that the french changed the name to savarain. Anyone else?
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#22 albiston

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 01:36 AM

Ha! Love those dialects. Here in Lombardia and in Piemonte where the dialects have a strong French twinge I think they would think you were serving them a pet for dinner if you called it gatto di patate.

There's one little accent between a cat and a cake :wink: :laugh: :laugh:

Actually eating cat was probably more common than people think. Fabrizio de Andre', the great Italian songwriter from Genova, sang of a levre de cuppi (roof tiles hare :wink: ) dish in his song Creuza de Ma, and, if the prejudice is true, in Vicenza probably no one would be too surprised if they got a gatto on a dish, at least not the old vicentini.
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#23 Ore

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 12:22 PM

Ciao,


So...the last BLOG post was of the region CAMPANIA. The next region – done on Thursday and Friday was MARCHE SEAFOOD. Because the school is in the Marche region, it seemed necessary to go a bit more in depth with this regions food – that is why there were two days of MARCHE MEAT and two of the seafood.

Our chef was Chef Massimo Bomprezzi. Massimo normally teaches at a Hotel and Restaurant school in Senigallia and does a lot of private events. From what I understood, the school he works at is more like a high school than a college, but I may be wrong.

So, I remember Thursday quite clear. The kitchen table was filled with white boxes of varying seafood. There were things I have never before seen – or even never thought of eating!

Most of the seafood we used was not anything expensive. We were replicating traditional regional dishes and most of the roots of the dishes come from peasant times.

Some of the main dishes of the region include:

Brodetto alla Fanese, Brodetto all’Anconetana, acciughe marinate, stoccafisso all’Anconetana, minestra di pesce, tagliatelle con lo stoccafisso, vongole alla poveraccia, calcioni, biscotti al vino, Brodetto di S. Benedetto, Brodetto di Porto Recanati, sepia con fagioli ed erbe aromatiche, raguse in porchetta, pesce alla griglia, biscotti con le mandorle, and cavallucci.

Yes, I know, that is a huge list and we did it all in two days – I enjoyed almost all of the dishes – some were quite interesting and I can honestly say that I have never seen any of these dishes before – in their true form at least!

Since I have been in Italy, I haven’t really enjoyed any of the stockfish or baccala recipes I have eaten – the stuff we get in the states, in that small wooden box, I like a lot more – the fish here is just so fishy smelling – I have heard some say that it isn’t the season but it is a preserved fish – it can’t really go out of season! What is cool though is that the fish is pretty much whole when you buy it, as opposed to the small 1 kg. wooden boxes in the US. Here, it is just a hanging, dried fish – fins, bones, and all!

Ok – so – pictures…lets see what I can come up with.

The first picture here is the acciughe marinate. You can see that we don’t mess around with plate presentations! These were very fresh and delicious!
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This next photo is of one of those ingredients I said earlier that I never knew existed. These, I think, are called Mantis Shrimp in English. I didn’t care too much for them as there wasn’t much meat in them. They do look cool though, a definite plus for any paella or seafood plate where the seafood is left relatively whole.
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Cozze or mussels are very popular in Italy. For the most part they are taken out of the shell but once I did see them served as I more commonly do in the states, in the shell! These mussels were removed, tossed in seasoned bread crumbs with olive oil and chopped shrimp, and other seafood, and then stuffed into the shell. They are baked till golden brown and served with lemon. Yummy!
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The vongole - clams above were also very simply prepared – without any water in the pot, they were just slowly steamed open. When done, they were splashed with a touch of white wine and some garnish! (Note to George: Don’t add any more salt!)

This dish below, sepia con fagioli ed erbe aromatiche is just that. It is seared squid that is then slowly braised in a tomatoish sauce for about an hour. Towards the end, cooked cannelini beans are added to thicken and give body to this dish. Very tasty!
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There is almost always a pasta dish for ‘pranzo’ – lunch. This was the sauce that we tossed our handmade pasta chitarra in. It was basically all the seafood we had in the kitchen, put into a large pot with EVOO, a bit of tomato sauce and some pepperoncini!
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Sea snails are very common on the beaches of the Adriatic. These snails were blanched quickly, picked out of their shell with a pairing knife, and then placed back into a pot to simmer away. The snails simmered in a rich tomato and fish-brodo liquid and when done, were very soft and tender!
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Now we are getting into the more controversial Brodetto. These are soups or stews that make up a single village. Almost all the villages/cities that lie on Marche’s Adriatic have their own version of Brodetto. As a staple, most have 13 different species of seafood in them, ranging from fish, to squid, to shelled fish, etc.

Saying has it that these stews were started by fishermen out on sea who were trying to use up all of the ‘un-marketable’ pieces of seafood they caught. Note that it is un-marketable, not un-edible…huge difference! They would use pieces of broken fish, etc. and would start this large pot and add to it ass they worked.

In general – you follow the simple rule that you start with the seafood that takes longest to cook, then gradually add the rest in due time. At the end, you should have a perfectly cooked fish stew!

The two I am showing you are my two favorites from the Marche. The first is the Brodetto di San Benedetto. This stew is probably the most famous of them all, it appears (to me at least) the most in cook books and on menus in the US. It is identified by its not so intense red color, more yellowish actually then red, and its pieces of bell pepper, a signature ingredient.
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Of the two, I liked the one below a bit more! This one, Brodetto alla Fanese…from the town of Fanno is very rich and flavorful. It has a distinct tomatoee flavor because its signature ingredient is tomato PASTE. You should never see a fresh tomato in the Fanese version. It also has a bit of a piccante side to it!
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I do hope you enjoyed your time here in the Marche Seafood section. As always, I will close with a group picture. The chef here is in the center with the black apron! Feel free to write back with any questions!
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Ciao,

Ore

#24 docsconz

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 01:58 PM

One of my favorite things to do in Italy is to visit and photograph the seafood markets. They present a dazzling array of shapes and colors.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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#25 Pan

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 04:01 PM

Ore, I just want to once again compliment you on this diary. I look forward to each new installment!

#26 divina

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 01:44 AM

Ore.. if you get a chance to go back to Senigallia.. you must go by ANIKO', it is a little bar at the beginning of town ( away from the beach side) that is by Moreno Cedroni, the head of the JR ( young chefs organization in Italy)

his restaurant is out of town... Madonnina del Pescatore ( michelin star) fabulous!and then he also has another place Clandestino below Ancona on the beach!!!

his specialties are fish SALAMI's.- smoking and aging fish.. also has some great preserves... oils etc!

how much longer are you there?

#27 Ore

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 09:04 AM

Ciao,

I will be in Jesi until the middle of August. I am actually renting a car and going to Nusco...vicino Avellino in Campania tomorrow...Saturday morning. I am going to check out the restaurant I will be staging at. Locanda di Bu. So, I will post again on Sunday night or Monday!

Ciao,

Ore

#28 docsconz

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 09:35 AM

Enjoy!
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

#29 Ore

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 11:39 PM

Ciao,

So, I am first going to write about the weekend that just past, then more about the course.

Friday evening (July 16) I rented a car for the weekend. It was not the easiest thing to do! I needed to learn how to drive ‘stick’ in one day! In the US, we aren’t really big on manual transmissions!

‘Giussy’, the kitchen manager at the school, was nice enough to take me out on the road both Thursday and Friday so I can get this new technique down. It wasn’t easy but I managed!

Come Friday night I was doing great. One incident involved a really steep hill but I am still here writing so that’s a good thing!

Friday night I ate at Uliassi in Senigallia (Marche). I am almost sure that Uliassi and La Madonina are the two ‘hottest’ restaurants in the area. This Thursday I will be eating at Madonina!!!

The meal was great; I dined with a fellow student of the Slow Food course who will be doing her stage at Uliassi when we are done here in Jesi. Keep in mind that I am not the greatest of writers and I am recalling all of the following menu items from memory! Here we go!

Uliassi, the name of the chef, is a nice restaurant situated on the beach front boardwalk at the north end of Senigallia. When we walked in, we were greeted quickly and met the chef’s sister who runs the FOH.

The restaurant was fairly busy, only a handful of tables free but they were sat later on in the night. Our reservation was for 9 PM which I think was a perfect time. The sun was setting but it was still bright enough to enjoy the sunset!

We started off quickly with an aperitivo. This was some sort of sparkling wine, I am almost sure it was prosecco and then the AMUSE came out. By far the largest amuse bouche I have ever eaten! It was a rectangular plate with five little bites to begin a great meal.

From left to right I started with a 2 cm long corn flour ‘cone’ that was filled with a delicious cheese filling. The next tease was a small square piece of mozzarella and anchovy, about the size of a chocolate truffle, breaded and deep fried – served on the tip of a long skewer. It was garnished with tiny brunoise of bell and picante peppers. Going along, the next few bites were of a round formed shrimp skewer. The shrimp (must have been a fairly large one) was pounded flat, but perfectly round, breaded and fried again on the tip of a long skewer. There was a ginger mustard(?) sauce on the shrimp. The next taste was of three parmesan crisps served in a shot glass. Finally, the last taste on the plate was a mint sorbetto served in-between thinly sliced mango to look like a tortellini. All were very tasty and went great with the sparkling wine.

We were presented with the menu and wine list. The wine list was well written and thorough. The menu was interesting. There was a tasting menu where the chef only used stockfish or baccala for all the items on the menu. Very interesting. We chose the ‘normal’ tasting menu and sat back waiting for the next dish to come out.

We were presented with a ‘raw’ calamari with seaweed sauce. Basically the dish consisted of eight or so little, quarter sized, squid bodies laid out on a thin, narrow plate. The salsa di algae (seaweed sauce) was pleasant and refreshing. There was also a hint of sesame oil on the plate.

Next we were given a square dish which held two cappuccino cups. They both started with the same ingredients. There was a round piece of raw fish (couldn’t make out the species in the waiter’s extremely fast Italian!) and a piece of poached shrimp in the bottom of both cups. Then one had a Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho garnished with basil, the other, more interesting had a pickle (tasted like pickling liquid) sorbetto and a crunchy puffed tuille for texture. Both were great and my favorite dish for the night. The Pickle sorbetto was brilliant – sweet, salty, just like eating pickles, minus the pickles!!!

In an oversized bowl we were served another raw fish course. It was a carpaccio of some other fish species I again couldn’t make out. This time it was served with an amazingly well balanced Coconut sauce. The coconut flavor was exquisite and very well presented. In a separate little dish to the left of this dish was a small cup with a piece of raw fish under a small cube of Uni Sorbetto. You heard it right…Sea Urchin Sorbetto – and it was good too!!!

Next was a more familiar dish. It was a seared tuna with a Balsamic Soy reduction sauce. The sweet/sour was a great match with the fish. There were also small cubes of pineapple to add contrast and sweetness as well as a bed of roasted red peppers which the tuna sat on.

The next bowl was of Red Mullet, 2 filets, with a melon soup, cubes of avocado and foie gras. This dish was interesting but not one of my favorites. The melon soup wasn’t very flavorful although the foie gras cubes were right on point.

One of the ingredients I mentioned early on in this blog as me not liking were mantis shrimp. I am going to take that back, but they still aren’t my favorite! The square plate had two pieces of Mantis Shrimp on it, sitting above an ice cream scoop of tomato panzanella (bread salad). The panzanella was flavorful and moist – they way I like it. The mantis shrimp were already peeled and cooked well – to garnish the plate a poor stagier had to julienne celery – they were perfect juliennes too! To the side of this dish was two pieces of watermelon to cleanse our palates for the next course.

Following the Mantis shrimp was the Secondi for the night. In one corner of the square plate was a perfectly formed mound of tagliatelle with sea snails. The pasta was a bit undercooked for my likings but the snail pieces were perfect. There were two skewers stabbing a piece of quail breast in each. The quail was cooked perfectly and was the only meat we saw all night. The quail was roasted and then braised with the liquid used as a sauce. In the sauce there were also three little black olives that were cooked in the sauce and they were great!

To once again get our palates ready for dessert we enjoyed a Gorgonzola foam that rested above a celery sorbetto. The celery flavor was extremely strong and I am almost sure he used celery root to make it although the color was quite green. The foam was very well done and actually brought out the good parts of gorgonzola that I like (mostly the sweetness).

The dessert was in an oversized bowl which contained bananas (not from Dole – they actually tasted like banana!) and a curry gelato with a very thin piece of granita made from wild summer berries. Overall a nice dessert but could have been more complex.

To finish we enjoyed coffee which came out with three little sweet teases. A cube of tiramisu gelato, a coffee flavored mini crème brulee and a fried piece of dough filled with pastry cream!

All in all the experience was wonderful. The food here was great, the quality was even better and I would definitely recommend you try this place if you are ever in the Ancona area!!!

I will post more about the weekend shortly – sorry but I don’t have any pictures for this one.

#30 Ore

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 11:40 PM

Okay…So back to the course (after this post I will post about the rest of the weekend).


We ended last with MARCHE SEAFOOD – a great area to dine and explore. The next area in the course was FRIULI

The chef’s name was Germano Pontoni. He was a very gentle man, very knowledgeable man well educated in his field. His main focus is geese and he has even gone as far as writing books about them and the cuisine they created in northern Italy.

The week started off not in the kitchen but on the beach. Monday morning we went to nearby Portonovo for a lecture on Mussels and then a Mussel feast! In Portonovo the mussels or moscioli as opposed to cozze are protected by being a Slow Food Presidium product. These mussels grow wild and are hand harvested by divers. Some locals do hunt for themselves but there is a 5 kg. limit per person (Italians don’t usually follow this law :angry: ).

Portonovo is a secluded bay protected by high mountains and cliffs. It is not very easy to get to but all the locals know about this jewel. There is an exquisite hotel in Portonovo that was once a military fort – supposedly a very luxurious place too!

We were lucky enough to see a boat come in with the mornings catch. The scuba diver who picked these mussels was much older than I thought he would be but did a great job anyways. Along with the mussels the fisherman also picked up some sea snails as a personal snack for him later!

Here is a picture of the bay of Portonovo – as you can see – not a very large place.
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This second picture is of the boat landing near the fish house (where all the fisherman and divers hang out). That morning I think they harvested roughly 300 kgs.
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This last photo from Portonovo is after lunch! All we ate were mussels! No no, actually we had mussels and spaghetti! The mussels were de-bearded and placed in a large pot over a flame. In about 10 minutes the huge pot started to show some opening mussels. Half of the mussels were taken out of the shell for the pasta and half were served as a first course. No water, salt, nothing was added to their cooking – just extremely fresh mussels – and they were AMAZING!!!!!!! (I am on the far right with Bart in the center and Dan on the left)

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Tuesday we started on Friuli. Mostly what I remember from the lecture that morning was that Geese in the North played a huge role in the Jewish areas of northern Italy. They made all of their salumis out of goose rather than pork and the goose was one of their main sources of protein and fat. I also remember the chef saying that during the Roman Empire, the Romans brought Egyptian slaves to force feed the geese and make the famous foie gras. They used to force feed the geese with sweet figs! Yummy – why don’t they do that anymore!?! One class day was solely for the use of geese and duck, the other solely for river trout. The trout was mostly reddish in color – due to the diet of the fish. There were normal sized trout, smoked trout, and even a large trout that I thought was salmon at first but the chef insisted it was a trout!

Here is a photo of a salad dish made with smoked trout – shaped in the form of a rose and served on top of mixed greens and radicchio.
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This next picture is of a classic preparation using this large trout. An incision is made along one side of the trout and then the meat opened out like a book. The center bone is cut at the head and near the tail and gently pulled out – what you have left is a large cavity ready to be filled. This trout was stuffed and then roasted in the oven. It is ideal for a banquet or tableside service.
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These small bites were made as an aperitivo prior to lunch (pranzo). All are on crostini and include a smoked trout with cherry tomato, a trout cheek, an acidified trout slice (gravlaxish) with parsley, and a trout roe with lemon segment.
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Finally, here is a small sample of the different salumis geese and duck are used for today. There are many others that are all very tasty.
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This next picture is of the chef slicing some mortadella of goose on a traditional slicer.
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We only had two days for Friuli. Monday was spent in Portonovo, Thursday we were at two wineries, Caprai and Lungarotti. Friday was dedicated solely to baking.

Lungarotti was the first winery we visited. I have seen their wines in many places in the states. Their Vino Santo (not the classic Vin Santo) is sold way too often in the US as Vin Santo – shame. Here is a photo.
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We ate lunch with the Lungarotti rep. and it was a great meal. Then we went to the Lungarotti olive oil museum and saw many ancient and new age artifacts pertaining to food and olive oil. Very interesting. Both the wineries and the museum are in UMBRIA.

We then were off to Caprai. Caprai made some very good red wines and I enjoyed them all. Parker somehow helped them out by scoring one of their wines really well – so they are quite busy now – we had a private tasting (photo) and a tour of the winery.
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As I mentioned above, Friday was dedicated solely to baking. We baked with an Italian baker who is on the Olympic team for Italy.

The chef’s name was Giuliano Pediconi and he was a great teacher. He brought in his own flours, his biga and some special paprika his wife brought for him from Turkey. That day we baked a Pane con le olive nere e paprika, Pane al pomodoro e ricotta, Pane al mosto, Pan Carre, as well as focaccia and ciabatta. It was a great day.

One of my favorite breads baked that day was the Pan Carre. It was very similar to a brioche in taste and texture – here is a pic.
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Also, the ciabatta that we made was very good too. The chef said it could have used a bit more proofing time but we all liked it!
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Finally - I am going to close with another group picture. This one with the group and Giuliano, the baker. Thanks for reading!
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Ciao,


Ore





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