Late post today! But here is my second week of WIAW. This time, the Italian edition.
For the past year I have been volunteering each week at an Elementary school in preparation for my application to the Teaching Program. I hope to start it in September. It has been a great experience working in the classroom and getting to know all of the students. I was in a grade three classroom for the end of last year and since September of the beginning of this school year. It was fun to help them with their work, marking assignments and corrections, teaching them cursive and new math skills. The kids were all very sweet and it was sad to say goodbye yesterday, my last day, as it was the last Tuesday before their Spring Break, and when they return I will begin my final exams and projects. I would defininitely vist them again, as Adam’s cousin is also a teacher at the school! Bonus. I would love to get a teaching job in the same district.
The children surprised me with a giant thank you card. It was so sweet! I will definitely miss them too.
I did not spell check these haha- and apparently they still need a little help with their spelling ;)
And apparently I am also married according to some of them ;)
From Peas and Crayons!
Breakfast was early Tuesday. Thanks to Daylight Savings time. My 7 am wake up, was more like a 6 am wake up. Not cool. The usual, Rice Krispies with Almond milk – as per my allergy diet.
The school is in my hometown, where I lived before I moved in with Adam, and where my brother and Nonna still live. So, every Tuesday I see my Nonna for a visit or lunch, or dinner. Depending on when I make it to her house, and my schedule in the classrooms. Yesterday was lunch.
When I’m at Nonna’s, I tend to throw the allergy-diet out the window. I just can’t say no.
First course, Pasta. My Nonna said she sauteed peas in oil, with artichokes and garlic, and then poured it over the pasta. It was so light and delicious. I love oil, all kinds, and this was simply delicious.
Second course was Salad, a simple oil and homemade red wine vinegar. Note the homemade white wine also. It was noon. Nonna likes a little vino with lunch.
There was also tomato, I can assume only freshly picked from Joe’s extensive vegetable garden (her live in boyfriend/companion since my Nonno is no longer with us) Joe also makes the red wine vinegar and wine. Topped with fresh mozzarella, bocconcini with basil and more delicious oil.
I ate these by themselves and atop some crackers. I probably ate about three, before being told to “eat more!” and to “finish, finish.” Thus, I ended up eating about half of the plate of cheese and tomatoes. I was fine with that.
Dinner was the usual right now, yam/sweet potato topped with black beans, goat cheese and cranberry sauce with lettuce drizzled with oilve oil, and a non-appealing looking piece of chicken breast. The yam was the best part.
Do you participate in WIAW?
Did you eat anything delicious yesterday??
My Nonna is a fabulous cook. No doubt about it. Anyone who has been lucky enough to try it would agree with me. As a kid, my brother and I attended Catholic School once a week, usually a Wednesday night. On those days my Nonna would pick us up from regular school, bring us to her house, make dinner and then drive us to the Church in Ladner. Eating at Nonna’s was always a treat. She can cook pretty much anything. Every Christmas Eve we have our Seafood feast, no meat, and I can remember her making Calamari from scratch, with the sink filled with tiny octopus. She is definitely not afraid of cooking, or eating, anythign. A typical European diet, we like food. Period.
We would usually also go to her house on Friday’s for a family dinner with my dad, mom and brother. My Nonna would make dinner, while my Nonno made comments and critques from the couch in Italian. The man never spoke a word of English in my entire 13 years of knowing him. He passed away when I was younger. One thing she made well, besides the amazing homemade pastas, sauces, polenta and other various Italian dishes, was soup. She still cooks, but I get to eat it on a less often basis. This soup reminds me of my childhood. The presense, taste, texture, smell of Romano Beans brings me back to my 12 year old self, sitting in my Nonna’s kitchen with my brother and Nonno devouring a large bowl of soup, my favourite is Pasta E Fagioli, or, pasta with beans. Usually a tomato-ey soup base, a hint of ground beef, romano beans and ditalini pasta, like penne cut up into tiny pieces, but smooth. With a glass of milk of course (Before I realized I had an allergy..) And usually topped it off with a heaping spoonful of freshly grated parmesan cheese. This soup closely resembles my Nonna’s, though nothing will ever replace her cooking. I should really video-tape her one of these days so I can save her recipes for later, though I don’t think she follows a recipe. All by memory, and years of practice.
Soup is a great fall meal, it’s easy and quick to throw together, doesn’t require too much looking after, and can feed a lot of people. Or, in our case, two. We literally ate almost the entire pot in one night. I had three bowls.. It’s all veggies though so it’s ok, right?? Thought so.
Notes: According to Lidia Bastianich, the queen of Italian cuisine, cavolo nero is the traditional green used in Tuscan Ribollita, a hearty vegetable soup thickened with day old bread. Ribollita is Italian for “reboiled.” Ribollita was originally peasant food, invented to stretch leftover minestrone. The soup was so delicious and satisfying, Ribollita eventually morphed into a dish in its own right. Ribollita is a true pantry supper. It begins with soffrito, the Italian base of sautéed onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Canned tomatoes provide depth of flavor while cannellini beans are a cheap but tasty source of protein. The blistered leaves of cavolo nero contribute texture and a nutty, slightly bitter flavor. Chunks of stale bread added at the end of cooking absorb broth, thickening the soup. This is not a long-cooking soup, but adding ingredients in stages helps to develop flavor.
I left out the bread.. I don’t remember my Nonna putting bread into any of her soups, but they were certainly served with a slice or two. And I added Romano beans instead of Cannellini, and I added white kidney beans as well.
This is definitely a soup that eats like a meal. Hearty and nutricious!
adapted from here: Food52
Serves 6 Or two really hungry people..
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
- 28 ounces (1 can) plum tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or Italian spices
- 1 potato, peeled and diced
- 1 bunch of Kale
- 15 ounces (1 can) Romano Beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces (1 can) White Kidney, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups water
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, onion. Sweat the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Toss in the carrot and celery with a pinch of salt and sweat the vegetables 10 minutes.
- Crush the tomatoes with your hands in a bowl.
- Pour the tomatoes (and their juices) into the pot with the thyme, potato, and 3 cups water. Bring the soup to a simmer, turn the heat down and partially cover with the lid. Keep the soup at a low simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Toss in the kale with another cup of water, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper, I also added ground garlic spice. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the canned beans and continue to simmer the soup 5 more minutes.Serve hot, or warm. It tastes even better the next day!
The best thing about living in B.C is the local produce. Every summer I look forward to baking and cooking with fresh produce and fruit grown locally.
I have already visited Krause Berry Farms and sampled some of their delicious fruit and products. This past week my mom was in Osoyoos, the interior of B.C and Keremeos is also known as ‘fruit stand capital of B.C.’ There are tons of local farm markets you can visit and sample all the fresh and delicious fruit. Oliver is also the wine capital of Canada, an entirely different kind of fruit product ;)
When she came home, she said she had bought lots of fruit and was going to give me some. She brought back Peaches, Cherries, Transparent Apples, and green and yellow Zucchini.
The apples were very different than I had seen before, they felt as though they were made of foam! Very light and sponge like. She said they would probably be good for baking with. Translation: Make Pie.
I happily took home the veggies and fruit, and decided that I would make a pie to bring over for dinner the next night.
A Crostata is an Italian style pie. I have never made one, but thought since I’m Italian, I had better try it! :) Another pie I really want to try before the summer is through is a lattice-top :)
There are a couple differences for Crostata from a traditional pie dough. First, the addition of eggs. More specifically, egg yolks. Also, sugar. Lots of sugar. This creates an almost ‘cake-like’ pie crust, as Adam put it. It is more dense, but just as flakey and tender. It is really good! You could definitely serve this with a scoop of ice cream, or whipped cream. I simply sifted some icing sugar on top. You can serve it warm or cold, I had mine at room temperature and it was delicious!
Now, the apples I used were definitely not ‘hard’ apples. They were quite soft. So in the baking process, when you cook the apples first before baking it in the oven, they got extra soft. I think If I used a softer apple next time I might skip the first cooking process, and just bake it in the oven.
I also made my dough the night before, and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
I will definitely be making Crostata’s in the future. Maybe even mini ones! I think this would be great for Easter, or ‘Pasqua’ in Italian ;) I’m sure other fruits would be delicious as well!
Recipe Adapted from Martha Stewart’s New Pie’s and Tarts
- 3 Tbs. Butter
- 6-7 medium/large Granny Smith Apples, or Green Apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
- 1 1/2. Tsp. Lemon Zest
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Sprinkling of Cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups Flour (WW or AP)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 sticks plus 1 tbs. butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tbs. ice water (use as needed)
Also: sanding sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling, and one egg for egg wash
- To make the crust, mix flour, sugar, and butter on medium speed until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the yolks; mix slightly. Add ice water one tbs. at a time. Mix until just combined. Form dough into disk; wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- To make the filling, melt butter in a large pan on high heat. Add apples, and zest stirring until coated. Sprinkle sugar, and saute, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, liquid has thickened, and apples are almost golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet, and let cool to room temperature.
- To assemble, flour surface lightly. Roll chilled dough into a 1/4-inch-thick circle. Place dough on cookie sheet ( I used a pizza pan!). Mound cooled apple mixture in center, leaving a 3-inch border. Fold edges of the dough on top of apples, overlapping and leaving about a 6-inch round opening. Feel free to ‘tear off” any large amounts of excess dough. You can trim it with a pizza cutting as well before placing on baking sheet. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush edge of crust with egg, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30-40 minutes, up to 50 minutes if needed.Ciao~ Enjoy :)* I think the dough really makes this Crostata, but I may just use a regular apple pie filling next time, without the additional cooking, and butter. I also used two who eggs instead of four egg yolks this time, as I did not want to waste four egg whites =)
Lainey was helping too, of course. =)