I have been enjoying cooking in my own, well-functioning kitchen since I’ve been back. This is not a fancy kitchen–we have laminate counter tops, for god’s sake, and, except the refrigerator, which I hate (that’s another story) these are all the original appliances. We moved in 20 years ago and everything’s still kickin’.
Last night we made a little informal dinner party for our good friend, slow-traveler, almost Italian citizen, Lyn. Her husband Antonio brought a beautiful, bountiful, platter of fresh-from-the-garden, grilled veggies and another of fabulous Italian cheeses. The big hit was a little “bar” of something called cotognata which they brought home from Ascoli Piceno. It is dried apples and quince pressed together. Eating it with the sharp Italian pecorino was a real treat! I love those uniquely Italian flavor combos. We drank Prosecco with all of this.
Our first course was fettuccine with gorgonzola, pesto and sundried tomatoes. I had been thinking about trying it for a few days and I think it really worked. the simple pino grigio worked well with the richness of the sauce. Luckily I didn’t make to much–just one pound of pasta for the 8 of us was perfect.
For the main course, we had another fuller-bodied white wine which Anthony had from Ascoli. It was great with the grouper I put on the grill. I had made some lemon infused olive oil earlier this week and used it to season the fish. Our friend Tandy made a huge salad which we ate with the fish and this foccacia which I had fun making in the afternoon:
I used one dough for two kinds–one with onions and cherry tomatoes and the other with just grated parmesean cheese.
For dessert I did the Bluberry Coconut Tart from Dolce Italiano, page 150. If the Sunday Slow Bakers missed this one you’ve go to go back and try it. It was absolutely fabulous. We are in our last week or two of the local blueberry season and they are just yummy! I love feeling the connection to Gina through the recipes.
After some coffee we all flopped on the couch! Anthony was the first one asleep (so, what’s new?) I was really feeling staisfied with the whole meal!


Italy inspired coking — 4 Comments

  1. Your dinner sounds (and looks) fabulous. I’m so glad you posted about the Blueberry Coconut Tart. I kept looking at that recipe and wondering if was very good. Don’t have local berries yet, but bought a big box at the store a few days ago and have been eating them on salads and my morning oatmeal. Might have to make the tart.

  2. You had me at the photo of the cake! I’m definitely making it.
    Sounds like the perfect dinner party.

  3. The apple-quince bar is made at the ristorante Laliva (Piazza della Viola 13, Ascoli Piceno)–restaurant recommended to us by Valerie Schneider and we enjoyed it very much.
    Your description of the dinner at your house is wonderful…but I’m really fortunate I got to be there and actually taste it all! What a great birthday dinner celebration!