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Cooking and Cuisine of Piemonte and Val d'Aosta


Kevin72
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I also agree that we should stay in the north for the winter and thus my vote is on Lombardy. As opposed to Piemonte, my knowledge on the food of Lombardy is not that deep. It would be interesting to do some research and explore that region a bit more.

Christofer Kanljung

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Agnolotti technique, try this: long strip of pasta, maybe 1 3/4" wide, pipe a small thread of filling down the center of the pasta strip. Fold over, then pinch the agnolotti shut on the sides. Its quicker than the individual dot kind and you can get them smaller.

Thank for the tip Hathor! It really seems to be a handy way speeding up the agnolotti making. I was thinking of piping individual dots but in the end decided to form small dots with my fingers. I would never thought of piping a continous thread.

Christofer Kanljung

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How'd you make the brasato? What wine did you use, cut of beef, how long did it cook, etc?  Contorni?

I mostly followed the recipe from Culinaria, but the brasato probably wasn't the best, as I really cheaped out on the ingredients. The carbonada that I made last week was similar, and rather pricey, as I used dried beef and a nice Barbera. So for the brasato, I used chuck roast and cheap cabernet that I'd purchased awhile ago. I braised the meat until it was tender, about three hours and then further reduced the sauce. The meat was fine, but the wine flavor was not very strong even though I marinated the whole thing overnight. Actually, the leftovers last night tasted better. Overall, the dish was less rich than the carbonada. I guess that the lesson is not to scrimp on all of the main ingredients in a dish at the same time. Culinaria suggested mashed potatoes as a side, much to my husband's delight. Somewhere I foggily recall reading that the Piemontese were fond of eating wild mixed greens dressed with walnut oil. Around here at this time of year, that means a bag of "mixed spring greens" from the grocery store, tossed with a vinagrette made with walnut oil. The meal bore an uncomfortable resemblance to typical mid-western meat-and-potatoes fare.
Those cookies look fantastic, I love the shapes you got out of them.  Far more pastry skill than I could muster!

They were both squeezed out of a cookie press, which is far more fun and simple than having to roll out dough for cutting cookies. And you don't give your pastry skills enough credit. The calzones that you did last month, for instance, were great!

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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April's voted before on one of the four left out from the other thread: Lombardia, Sardinia, Trentino, or Molise, and now again on Friuli or Lombardia.

I didn't mean to stuff the ballot box! I just wanted to make sure that those four regions didn't get left out this year.

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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I mostly followed the recipe from Culinaria, but the brasato probably wasn't the best, as I really cheaped out on the ingredients.  The carbonada that I made last week was similar, and rather pricey, as I used dried beef and a nice Barbera.  So for the brasato, I used chuck roast and cheap cabernet that I'd purchased awhile ago.  I braised the meat until it was tender, about three hours and then further reduced the sauce.  The meat was fine, but the wine flavor was not very strong even though I marinated the whole thing overnight. 

Do this technique I picked from a >ahem< French cooking show: add more wine into the sauce right at the end off the heat after you've reduced the braising liquids.

And hey, no accusations on ballot box stuffing here! Just reiterating everyone's votes to date.

Edited by Kevin72 (log)
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I am of two minds. 

If we all feel ready to go on to a new region with the beginning of a new month, I agree.  We should stay in the North. 

However, I just started cooking Piemontese dishes now that the month is drawing to a close, and you guys, as much as I appreciate the wit of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", I am no Julie Powell. Tonight I did find a second great source on Piemonte at the library and am eager to try more...in spurts.  Roberto Donna's cookbook has a flawed text, but is quite engaging, personal and offers recipes I haven't seen elsewhere, including a chickpea polenta that is made with cooked legumes versus ground dried ceci. If I am brave, I may even try one of the items with pig ears.

If others are ready for a change, really, that's okay.

Well, welcome to the bittersweet world of doing this project. At month's end, there's always that lingering look back on dishes you didn't get to, but then it's balanced by excitement for a new region. And, hey, there's always NEXT year! :raz:

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April:  Your basket of baked goods looks scrumptious! 

It must have been in the back of my mind when I made a reference to Julie Powell whose book I have just completed.  In Julie/Julia, she mentions delivering a batch of cornmeal cookies to the box office when attending a play that stars a crush of hers.  After the performance, accompanied by her husband, she sees the actor standing outside the theater munching her cookies, but does not identify herself as the woman whose cake he's moaned over years and years before.

I feel the same way you do about cornmeal. 

Are you planning to try the noodles made with a mixture of cornmeal and regular flour, sauced with leeks?

Thanks. I really need to read Julie/Julia, but I can barely keep up with my other reading. I hadn't gotten to that recipe in Matt Kramer's book yet, but I how can I pass it up?

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Dinner last night was Brasato.  It wasn't very photogenic. 

April

Non-photogenic food is totaly welcome here! You could put a picture of a rock next to those cookies and we would still all be drooling.

I officialy vote Trentino /Alto Adige next. My local wine shop just announce a tasting of wines from the region mid-month which is good enough reason for me. My second place vote goes to Lombardia.

Thanks, Nathan. Would you be willing to share your notes on the wine-tasting with us even if we don't do Trentino-Alto Adige next?

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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Well, welcome to the bittersweet world of doing this project.  At month's end, there's always that lingering look back on dishes you didn't get to, but then it's balanced by excitement for a new region.  And, hey, there's always NEXT year!  :raz:

Indeed.

But, then, think of the OTHER possible themes to cover for annual explorations!

Zucchini & zucchini blossoms for June 2007?

:smile:

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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April, those cookies look delicious!

A simple dinner here yesterday.. Risotto with beef in the style of Alba:

albarisotto.jpg

Not pretty but delicious.. there's pancetta, beef, sage, red wine, garlic, and lots of butter. Marcella Hazan says to use Barolo.. well I didn't .. I used a cheap barbera instead.. well it least it was from Piemonte :smile:

Hazelnut cake, from Claudia Roden's book.

hazelnoottaart.jpg

Elie I don't know how this differs from the recipe you used, but mine was not dry at all.. maybe it helped that I was worried about your comments that yours was dry, so I undercooked it a little. I had forgotten how good hazelnuts can be, I tend to use almonds, walnuts etc. much more often..

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April, those cookies look delicious!

A simple dinner here yesterday.. Risotto with beef in the style of Alba:

albarisotto.jpg

Not pretty but delicious.. there's pancetta, beef, sage, red wine, garlic, and lots of butter. Marcella Hazan says to use Barolo.. well I didn't .. I used a cheap barbera instead.. well it least it was from Piemonte  :smile:

I think it looks pretty as well as delicious!

The issue of substituting barolo has popped up a number of times during this month. I would also substitute Barolo in any recipe that contains it. You could probably use any full bodied redwine as a sub. If you would want to stay true to the region, barbera is a good substitution, which I've also used from time to time. Another wine you could use is an "ordinary" nebbiolo from the Langhe region which could be had for the same price as a cheap barbera. These are wines that are made from grapes grown in vineyards that doesn't belong to the DOCG regions of Barolo or Barbaresco. In fact, many of the recipes in my book of recipes from the osterie of Langhe calls for just nebbiolo instead of barolo.

Christofer Kanljung

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I have to agree about visual appeal. Chufi, I also think your entire meal looks delicious.

I have a butcher in the neighborhood who promised to split some bones for me since there's a recipe for the same risotto in Kramer's book that includes beef marrow.

I love how much this region uses sage! (The leaf on top of the risotto is a lovely touch.)

P.S. In the Food Section of The Washington Post, one of the staff writers published a photograph of this Bagna Caoda set. It is available locally. I am tempted, though I may try to be more resourceful with things I already own.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Chufi, that seriously looks like a great risotto. I think it looks great as well.

I will review the Roden cake and see what the difference is. BTW, I made some Zabaglione to go with the rest of the hazelnut cake and it worked out wonderfully (I took a pic and will post it later). Also the "dry" cake is excellent with espresso for breakfast :smile:.

Fruili or Lombardia sound good to me too. Not terribly familiar with either, so more to learn.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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I would even go as far as suggesting that Hathor and Keving come up with a quarterly calendar of sorts. This way we have even more headway into researching the regions. For example:

Q1:

JAN - Piedmont

FEB - Fruili

MAR - Lombardy

Q2:

APR - Alto

MAY - La Marche

JUN - Liguria

and so on...

Just a thought. We are all enjoying this and I am pretty positive that no one will have major qualms with any of the suggestions. I sure don't.

Am I applying too much of my day to day office job to this thing :smile:?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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I would even go as far as suggesting that Hathor and Keving come up with a quarterly calendar of sorts. This way we have even more headway into researching the regions.

Just a thought. We are all enjoying this and I am pretty positive that no one will have major qualms with any of the suggestions. I sure don't.

I like this suggestion. The order as given is fine. We can always change the order of the regions later on if the need arises. I appreciate the the opportunity to do more advanced research. Perhaps this would be the time to start working on the Italian Food Bibliography, to use it as a resource for this thread.

April

One cantaloupe is ripe and lush/Another's green, another's mush/I'd buy a lot more cantaloupe/ If I possessed a fluoroscope. Ogden Nash

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I think it looks pretty as well as delicious!

Chufi, that seriously looks like a great risotto. I think it looks great as well.

I have to agree about visual appeal.  Chufi, I also think your entire meal looks delicious.

I love how much this region uses sage!  (The leaf on top of the risotto is a lovely touch.)

well, thanks everybody! I just think there's something about dull-pink risotto that makes it look weird and like it should be in a gothic novel.

That sage leaf was the very last one and I just put it there for the pic. I then removed it so husband and dinnerguest would not feel left out. I'm officially an EGullet food-nerd :sad:

About the next region: I really don't care. I will be happily cooking along no matter where you all go :smile:

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1) Me, too, on quarterly system. I'm having fun doing the research.

2) I REEALLY would like to get the Bibliography thread established as a database.

I have been wishing there were one while learning about Piemonte and think that as we progress from region to region, all our citations are just going to get lost. (Look how long the thread is already and there are 2 weekends & 11 more days left to the month when I know I'll be rushing to make more.)

I had been cheer-leading (and nagging and sending PM's) as much as I could. It seems that if a database could be established for Recipe Gullet or images, a simpler version could be made for our needs, and as I've said in that thread, I am sure other regions would be grateful, especially since the Asian fora seem to create many, many cooking projects where a resource such as this would be appreciated.

Calling all diplomats, lobbyists...

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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All right, so, how about this:

Q1's obviously shot. But at the beginning of the last month before the new quarter, we start voting for the regions we want for the upcoming quarter. Then we'll just go by what got the most votes, second most, and third most votes and go from there.

So, for the rest of this quarter, Lombardia has the most votes so far so that'll go up in February. Friuli and Trentino, I believe, are neck and neck for third, so whichever of those two comes out on top will be up for March. At the beginning of March, we then start voting for the regions we'll be wanting for April, May, and June.

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Also, and I hope he doesn't mind me doing this, but NathanP ran an interesting proposal by me: A new thread each month. As Pontormo pointed out, just one month is already at 6 pages and will likely hit 8-10 by the end of the month. By the end of the year, the thread could be a 120 pages or more at the same rate! So we just start a new thread each month, that way everything can be kind of succinct and relatively confined.

Edited by Kevin72 (log)
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1) Excellent idea regarding separate threads for each month!

I'd like to invite the professional chefs to participate, or contribute comments and suggestions as we move along.

2) As one who wishes to turn to Lombardy next, let me add that I was thinking as a traveller and someone who's visited its cities & knows its cultural history if not its culinary traditions. I would be happy to postpone the region were a F/VG supporter to prove full of conviction.

Fruili/Venezia Giulia is a complete unknown for me. I write while consulting Del Conte's Gastronomy (1st vs. rev. ed.) which suggests it also would be a good choice for a wintery month: lots of "poverty" foods such as polenta, good soups & beans. It's also, of course, rich in fish and seafood. Luxury items include the prosciutto di San Daniele and Austrian-influenced desserts. (Were it spring, asparagus; summer, peaches and cherries.)

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Thanks for chiming in as I was away from the computer, Kevin. I think the single thread is fine while we cook, but considering the amount of great information that is coming up regarding the meals we cook, online sources, books, mail order sources, etc.. it would be very handy to have each regions info available simply. Plus that way if some kind soul gives you a bottle of Barbera in 6 months , you have the perfect thread to showcase the meal you cooked around it. I also like the quarterly approach to give time to track down rare food items and books.

Alright, enough red tape- I'm off to go truffle hunting....

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