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Kevin72

A year of Italian cooking

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Haven't you heard? Everything has a Moorish influence.

Kevin - sorry for the off topic (you) stuff. Nice plates.

yes, i'v heard that. :wink:

seriously though flatbreads are pretty ancient and to smear something on it....


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Hey, Algeria's close to Calabria, and the Spanish did rule there at one point, so . . .

Your link took me to the beginning of this thread. :smile:


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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yes, i'v heard that.  :wink:

seriously though flatbreads are pretty ancient and to smear something on it....

We actually got into a conversation Saturday night about where the flatbread for that meal would've come from. My brother and my mom both commented that the flavors all seemed very Greek. So, ideas?

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Flat breads in various forms are the most likely the oldest cooked grain dishes there is, other then gruels. They most likely have developed independently in many locations, but although this doesn't exclude the possiblity of a localised origin of a specific product.

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yes, i'v heard that.  :wink:

seriously though flatbreads are pretty ancient and to smear something on it....

We actually got into a conversation Saturday night about where the flatbread for that meal would've come from. My brother and my mom both commented that the flavors all seemed very Greek. So, ideas?

Well the Saracens (Moors) also conquered Sicily. :wink: And then later the Sicilians came with the French colonizers. Way before that the Phoenicians set up trading posts along the Tunisian and Algerian coast (ever heard of Carthage?)....

Seriously though. While I was putting together my collection of Algerian bread recipes I took side notes on different flatbread preparations from other cuisines.

I'm not interested in who invented what, I'm more curious about the variations and how ingredients and preparations traveled.

I'm working on a little piece about it like I did for couscous.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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[

I'm not interested in who invented what, I'm more curious about the variations and how ingredients and preparations traveled.

'Cause obviously the Algerians invented it right? :wink:

more like we never forget anything.

another project that I'm working on is combing through that medieval cookbook to see how many preparations are still being made in A L G E R I A.

:smile:


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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On another thread I said "In modern Italy it is fun to observe the number of Renaissance high end food items that have ended up as feast/festival foods of the people, for instance.".

I wonder if this is true of Algeria as well? How much of that Court cooking is now festival food?

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Let’s tour the new house, shall we?

Kitchen:

gallery_19696_582_58123.jpg

gallery_19696_582_18931.jpg

Yep, that’s a gas stove! Double oven was just installed to replace a single oven/micro combo.

Living room (the color idea is not stolen from Adam Ballic, I assure you)

gallery_19696_582_68802.jpg

Back yard:

gallery_19696_582_43475.jpg

Fig tree:

gallery_19696_582_43070.jpg

Peach tree (peaches were all over it when we first looked at the place at the start of June):

gallery_19696_582_25918.jpg

Nice little patch that will next spring be used as the basis for a vegetable garden:

gallery_19696_582_55714.jpg

Is there a Garden Gullet? I'm going to need lots of advice on how to de-bug the fruit trees and what to grow for vegetables.

Cookbook collection, per Nathan P’s request:

gallery_19696_582_124570.jpg

gallery_19696_582_96362.jpg

gallery_19696_582_65079.jpg

The dining room will probably be repainted as well, so that will be snapped later.

That’s pretty much all that matters, right?


Edited by Kevin72 (log)

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Geez, I thought I had Italian cookbooks. BTW, your bookcase has significant deflection.

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On another thread I said "In modern Italy it is fun to observe the number of Renaissance high end food items that have ended up as feast/festival foods of the people, for instance.".

I wonder if this is true of Algeria as well? How much of that Court cooking is now festival food?

or how much of festival food became court cooking?

I'm working on posts about that. One was a ten day feast on our family farm is Setif and the other was a wedding in Oran for my friend who is a doctor, his family is well to do.

following are obligatory remarks so that Kevin does not think I am hijacking this thread. :raz:

Honest, really Italian food is in my list of top five favorite cuisines. I'm so glad you did this thread you foodie nutter.

I don't know what deflection means either.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Thanks for the book photo, I have to admit I am a bit jealous!

Nice fig tree- great thing to have for someone who loves italian food. If you look around I am sure you can find some cool italian vegetables for next season. I have some big yellow corno di toro peppers I am waiting on here in northern California, genovese basil, and a white/purple rosa bianca eggplant. Probably too hot for artichokes there? Next year I'd like to track down nepitella and something to replace the round italian summer squash which wont produce a squash as big as a golf ball :angry:

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Fascinating thread that I just found today. Kevin your meals look absolutely delectable. Made me want some caponata and low and behold my neighbor brought me a lovely eggplant. :biggrin:

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I'm guessing "deflection" is referring the bowing of the shelves under the weight of the books? That poor thing.

The vegetables I'll be growing are pretty straightforward at first. Peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini for sure. Maybe favas or eggplant. Yes, it's too hot for artichokes; I'd gladly give up by whole back yard to grow those if I could.

Thanks for the compliments, 'Zadi and Barbara. What caponata recipe do you use, Barbara?

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Even though we haven't even unpacked and are still living out of boxes, I was chomping at the bit to get friends over for dinner and show off the new place this weekend.

Saturday night's primo was Murseddu, "Version 2", this time taken out of the write-up in Culinaria: Italy. This version is baked in an unleavened crust to make more of pie-like dish. The stuffing was the leftover murseddu mix from last weekend's meal, but now I combined it with chicken livers to give it a more organ-y flavor in a nod to the true dish. I also used some Mexican chorizo, which is a soft sausage, not the cured kind found in Spanish or Portugese cooking. I seem to be "blending" alot this month, throwing in Mexican flavors to go with all the peppers Calabria and Basilicata are so famous for.

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The secondo was pollo arrabiatta, chicken braised with dried chilies and vinegar. I used only leg-thigh quarters for this dish to stand in for the game birds or rabbit that the recipe originally called for in some forgotten cookbook I was reading once at a used bookstore. The vinegar dominated the dish and unfortunately, not much of the sweet dried pepper flavor carried through. Also wasn't as spicy as I wanted it.

gallery_19696_582_86848.jpg

The contorno was eggplant and potatoes with basil.

gallery_19696_582_79904.jpg

Dessert was watermelon granita, one of the most refreshing things you can ask for in summer.

gallery_19696_582_35890.jpg


Edited by Kevin72 (log)

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Sunday night's meal was largely improvised and based on remembered glimpses of Calabrian specialities I've seen elsewhere. I'm really not doing a good job with strict regional interpretation this month, am I?

We started with olives marinated in orange peel. red wine vinegar, garlic, chilies, rosemary, and olive oil. The second antipasto is inspired by reading about rosemarino on Alberto's website a few weeks back. Rosemarino is a spread made of peppers and whole baby fish, and appears to be generating some controversy for its potential ecological impacts. To make mine a little less controversial and at the same time blow out the no doubt refined, subtle flavors of the original dish, I used sardines (I'm only about halfway through that container I bought for Sicily), blended with reconstitued sweet chilies, sundried tomatoes and pecorino. Pungent and spicy, highly addictive.

I don't know how, but it completely slipped my mind to take a pic of the antipasti.

We then had homemade spaghetti with tomato sauce "two ways": first I simmered sundried tomatoes, garlic and chilies in olive oil until the oil was a deep, rust red. At the last second, I added chopped fresh tomatoes and seethed them a bit. I love the vivid descriptions I've read of tomatoes drying on mats in the sun, a common sight beginning at this time of year all over Southern Italy, and that's the inspiration for this recipe.

gallery_19696_582_35485.jpg

The main was another dish I read about in Rustico, roasted pork loin glazed with orange, chilies, and honey. Very evocative of Calabria, at least in my limited understanding of the cuisine. The contorno was braised broccoli rabe and escarole with lemon.

gallery_19696_582_70752.jpg

Dessert was the only recipe I actually followed for the whole meal: Mustaciolli Calabrese from Cucina di Calabria. These are a highly spiced cookie made with ground almonds, chocolate, honey, and coffee.

gallery_19696_582_10799.jpg


Edited by Kevin72 (log)

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I'm jazzed! I'm pretty sure I saw one of my cookbooks on your shelves!

Yay! :biggrin:


Pamela Sheldon Johns

Italian Food Artisans

www.FoodArtisans.com

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I'm jazzed! I'm pretty sure I saw one of my cookbooks on your shelves!

Yay! :biggrin:

Actually, I have two: Parmigiano is on the upper shelf and isn't part of the close-ups. I've used many salads from that book, and the Swiss Chard custard has become a Christmas staple. Food Artisans is a recent aquisition that I regrettably haven't had time to read through in its entirety, but now I will!

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Ciao Kevin!

The August onslought of guests has finished, the sheets are washed and ready for the next batch of visitors, and finally the computer is mine again! (by way of explaining why I haven't been around much).

Your new house looks lovely, complementi! auguri! And an orto! Ortos are a wonderful thing. Do you think you can find SanMarzano tomatoes to plant next year? We've had such a good time with our first experimental orto this year, and the giant patch of artichokes went in last week to replace the onions and carrots. I'll think of you as they grow. :rolleyes:

I want to try and find some unusual varieties of vegetables for next year, and of course we are already planning on enlarging the orto... its addicitive.

Back to Calabria: it all looks very, very good to me! Can you paraphrase that chicken arrabiata recipe? I'm kind of a weinie when it comes to chilies, but everyone I cook for likes their food spicy.

And what's for dinner tonight??

p.s. I love the color of the dining room! If I wasn't on dial up I'd post a photo of my 'pumpkin bisque colored kitchen! Beige is just sooooo....beige, you know! :laugh:

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Wohoo...finally got through this amazing thread! Kevin, I would like to add my compliments for all your work in the past 8 months.

I loved reading through it and getting inspired. Currently I am shopping around and would like to get a couple of books about Sicily specifically. Three books caught my attention Heart of Sicily by Anna Tasca Lanza , Foods of Sicily and Sardinia and the Smaller Islands by Giuliano Bugialli and Cucina Paradiso by Clifford Wright.

I would like to add something to the homemade Ricotta discussion from ...June is it? Anyways, I've made it using lemon juice and using vinegar and both impart an unwanted flavor. So,my favorite way is the buttermilk way. Boil about a gallon of whole milk with a quart of buttermilk. Once a soft curd forms strain it through cheese cloth. It makes for an excellent sweet Ricotta-type cheese.

It seems that your Central Market in Dallas carries fresh Sardines pretty often. I've only seen them once at my Houston store.

I will be looking forward to see more of this thread.

BTW, the meal I cooked today was very much inspired by this thread, I just had to have Italian!

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Wohoo...finally got through this amazing thread! Kevin, I would like to add my compliments for all your work in the past 8 months.

I loved reading through it and getting inspired. Currently I am shopping around and would like to get a couple of books about Sicily specifically. Three books caught my attention Heart of Sicily by Anna Tasca Lanza Foods of Sicily and Sardinia and the Smaller Islands by Giuliano Bugialli and Cucina Paradiso by Clifford Wright.

I would like to add something to the homemade Ricotta discussion from ...June is it? Anyways, I've made it using lemon juice and using vinegar and both impart an unwanted flavor. So,my favorite way is the buttermilk way. Boil about a gallon of whole milk with a quart of buttermilk. Once a soft curd forms strain it through cheese cloth. It makes for an excellent sweet Ricotta-type cheese.

It seems that your Central Market in Dallas carries fresh Sardines pretty often. I've only seen them once at my Houston store.

I will be looking forward to see more of this thread.

BTW, the meal I cooked today was very much inspired by this thread, I just had to have Italian!

Elie

Thanks for the compliments, Elie.

I'd heard of the buttermilk version of the pseudoricotta (hi kellytree!), but I just can't bring myself to try it. Not much of a fan of the flavor of buttermilk. There's also versions that call for a drop of rennet to set it up, but even that may make too firm a product, or stirring the mixture with an artichoke stem or cut cardoon, both of which have enough acid to curdle the mixture, albeit slowly.

I've noticed that about the Houston Central Market, as well. For being so very much closer to the water than Dallas is, there isn't much in the way of choices. Whole Foods picks up some of the slack there, and then there's Champions Seafood Market, near my parents in the 1960 area.

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Just as we began the month with a meal from Basilicata, so we end it. A couple of recipes from Marlena di Blasi’s Regional Foods of Southern Italy. Curiously, Mario Batali did almost identical dishes for his shows on Puglia.

The primo was spaghetti with pan-toasted fennel seeds and sheep’s milk cheese, “pasta alla pastore” for the shepherd who could whip this up easily with what they had on-hand. While recipe calls for an aged pecorino, I like to use the rather un-Italian sheep’s milk feta instead. It’s one of my favorite cheeses and a good stand-in for a semi-fresh ricotta or young pecorino, neither of which are widely available here.

Get a sauté pan very, very hot, add olive oil, ample fennel seeds, and garlic in quick succession. The fennel seeds brown almost instantly and impart their flavor wonderfully into the oil. Then take this mixture, still warm, and pour it on top of a pile of sheep’s milk cheese and fold it all together. Boil pasta, drain, and stir it into the sauce, along with a jot of the requisite olio santo to liven it up. While the fennel seeds, now a dark brown or black, do rather unpleasantly resemble gnats, it’s a an appealing, full-flavored dish. The slight bitterness of the toasted seeds cuts the richness of the cheese.

gallery_19696_582_26608.jpg

The secondo were whole branzini (aka striped sea bass, aka sea wolf, aka loup de mer . . . ) stuffed with olives and wrapped in pancetta, then laid atop slices of orange. Finally, they are wrapped in foil and grilled. Served with, as usual, one of the best accompaniments for simple fish dishes, a nice arugula salad with lemon and rich, fruity olive oil.

gallery_19696_582_56078.jpg

So that wraps up Basilicata and Calabria. Again, the limited number of dishes prepped this month are in no way a reflection of two cuisines that are unfortunately largely undiscovered here in the U.S. Further apologies for the rampant experimentation and non-Italian embellishments this month, but with so many varieties of peppers flying around, the Tex-mex impulses ground into my DNA took over.

Edited fish names after reading Adam's thread.


Edited by Kevin72 (log)

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