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ekscrunchy, koreaprincess and franco invite you to join them expanding on the secrets of Italian cuisine

ekscrunchy, koreaprincess and franco invite you to join them expanding on the secrets of Italian cuisine

Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:06 AM
  #121  
fooslover
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Thanks. I was chagrined to find out that my 48 years of enjoying radicchio have been a total waste because I didn't eat it in Venezia in winter! I mean Come on!!! Good that some of you bring a balance here with your simple pasta with canned oil-packed tuna and some parmesan reggiano on top recipees!
 
Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #122  
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Ok, I promise not to bother anyone further with any opinions on ingredient quality, so there won't be any further need to balance anything with tuna-plus-parmesan - it's really amazing what an amount of aggression is being aroused by the simple notion that an ingredient isn't available everywhere and anytime. I mean, this thread was meant for fun and entertainment, and not for slitting throats (neither your own nor anybody else's)...
I'll just make a last attempt to make one point clear: fooslover, you may love radicchio with or without canned tuna, you may love Belgian radicchio, that's all a matter of personal taste - but not what we were talking about. The point here was just that hausfrau had a radicchio dish in Italy (and obviously in winter) that she liked, and wanted to repeat at home, and I was trying to tell her and everybody that radicchio elsewhere is simply not the same vegetable. Of these two different vegetables, maybe you'll even like the non-Italian variant better than Castelfranco or Tardivo di Treviso (yes, mvor, that's the one), I repeat, that's a matter of personal taste; what nobody can negate, though, is that Venetian radicchio (yes, bought there and of course in winter only, or does it already incite your anger that vegetables still do have seasons?) and any other radicchio have not much in common, and that trying to repeat elsewhere (and at another time of the year) a dish once made with Italian radicchio in Italy in winter might end in disappointment.
Ok - happy cooking everybody, hopefully without being further disturbed by wanna-be food experts.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:05 PM
  #123  
 
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franco, no hard feelings. We're just having fun. I definitely understand your feelings about radicchio. It's just that most of us don't have the resources to make a trip to Venice every year. I haven't been there yet, so I won't know what I'm missing until I get there, right?

I've only been to Italy twice, so most of my enjoyment of Italian cuisine has been accomplished from the other side of the pond (namely, in California and Michigan). That's just the way it has to be! Fortunately I'll be going back to Rome for a brief visit with my mom in June and will be able to take these fabulous Fodor's threads with me.

I think it's important not to discourage people who are just starting to explore the wonders of Italian cuisine, and fine food and cooking in general. After all, you have to start somewhere.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:28 PM
  #124  
 
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Well said, Hausfrau, That having been said, I will just add "Are we having fun yet?". Franco, this will make you laugh. I
was a bit surprised to discover you don't live in Italy. That has been my impression, with your wonderful expertise on the foods and wines. So somehow, I was picturing you looking like Kevin Kline and speaking with an Italian accent as he did in a funny movie with Traci Ulman! How wonderful that you have the resources to make so many trips a year to Italy. So let's all agree to meet in one year in Venice for a convention on radicchio! Wouldn't it be fun? We'll all wear red carnations and carry heads of radicchio and meet in St. Marks Square! I know we would have some fabulous meals. My past experiences food-wise in Venice were not memorable, unfortunately.
So, everyone, and I see some new people have joined us: let's eat, drink, and keep posting! Principessa
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:45 PM
  #125  
 
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Posting on website boards is like writing a book where everybody gets to be editor - or a critic ... that goes for OPs and responders alike. It's part of the online reality, and the less time spent stressing over it the better.

Everybody back in the pool!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:01 PM
  #126  
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Well said. Koreaprincess you didn't like food in Venezia because you obviously ordered radicchio in summer. That is wrong! Now you know. tomassocrocante, I want franco to lead me to the pool

franco, I merely meant radicchio, as you see it in Venezia today, is an outgrowth of a laboratory experiment by a Belgian agronomist. I don't have a preference for Belgian radicchio. Waffles may be but not radicchio.

Now what were we talking about fresh versus stale flavors from using sparkling prosecco?
 
Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:41 PM
  #127  
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Is franco is a man?! If so I think I will go in the pool myself!
 
Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:54 PM
  #128  
 
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I have not enjoyed radicchio much here in the states because of the bitter edge it almost always has. Before reading this thread I probably would have avoided ordering anything featuring radichio on my upcoming trip to Italy, but it does sound like the radichio in Italy, particularly Venice, may be a totally different experience. I will be sure to try it and report back. Thank you Franco, again, for your wise input that I know will help this trip be a culinary extravganza.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:21 PM
  #129  
 
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Franco, I'm glad to see that we can get that beautiful radicchio here in the U.S. (for some lucky people).

Now let's move on to simpler questions like:

Why is Thursday gnocchi day in Rome?

(BTW, if I had my way every day would be gnocchi day!)
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:39 PM
  #130  
 
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Bye for awhile, everyone! I am leaving Korea for LA, then NY and finally Italy. Radicchio and gnocchi here I come. And I'll be washing it all down with sparkling prosecco! Arriverderci! The Princess
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 06:27 AM
  #131  
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You're all lovely, thank you. Princess, if you still happen to read this, enjoy your trip, and your radicchio convention is certainly a nice idea, we'd just need a kitchen!!

Let me clarify that I don't think I'm having issues with online reality, rather, I feel quite at home online, and I even dare saying this is the first example of true democracy since ancient Athens What I'm having issues with is that the inhibition threshold to go aggressive seems (sometimes, at least) far lower online than in real life.

mvor, sorry, I have no idea about gnocchi thursdays, and have been wondering about that myself. But please don't ask me, ask the public!! Hopefully, somebody will be able to solve this mystery for us.

A last word on radicchio, since I realize that I could have explained it much, much better: you know what's sitting on my shelf since my visit to the Christmas fair on Campo S. Stefano in Venice last December? A pot of RADICCHIO JAM. It certainly has a tart note, but clearly less tart than British Orange marmalade... And from the same producer, I also bought a panettone, stuffed with spoonfuls of this radicchio jam; it was the very best panettone I've ever sampled in my life. No, I'm not kidding: look here - http://www.radicchiocuoretrevigiano.com, that's the producer (after the intro, the site is available in English, too). So everybody can put the locally available radicchio to a simple test: if you can envision making jam and panettone with it, go on and prepare Italian recipes; if not, you might be happier in the end if you prepare something else.

What might be worth discussing here, in fact, is the modern delusional idea of universal product availability, since that's something else I'm having issues with (and I'm ready to admit I'm impatient about that). Yes, this IS Italian-food related - Italy seems to be among the very last countries where this idea is hardly known yet, and if Italian cooking has been teaching me anything, then it was that I can't have everything I want everywhere anytime. In Venice (the Rialto market is my favourite market, that's where I really learned food shopping), they don't simply sell whatever is not in season, and they perceive tourists as silly if not outright mad if they're asking for vegetables (or seafood! every fish species, too, has its seasons!) that are not available at that time of the year. Yes, this has been tough learning, also for me... I remember needing a single, tiny hot pepper, never mind if chili or another variety, just a hot pepper, in Venice in summer. It was unavailable because the season began about three weeks later, and I recall vividly being gazed at with that certain poor-sap-look by every vendor on the market... Seasons for hot peppers, doesn't that seem strange to most of us? Equally, Italians don't care much for any product grown elsewhere, and "elsewhere", in Italy, would mean in the neighbouring region. Wherever you are in Italy, the aristocratic title for every fresh product is "nostrano", i.e. "ours", meaning locally grown, or fished e.g. If you read the signs on the Rialto market, they DO make a difference between "nostrani" and "italiani" products!! Italiani, that's the rest of Italy; nostrani, that's where the quality comes from. (From abroad, they have almost nothing at all.) Of course, in every other Italian region they're doing the same, and they're all convinced that THEIR prodotti nostrani are the very best (and often, they're even right with this claim). What can we learn? To use local products, i.e. fresh products, and to prepare recipes apt for these precise products. We non-Italians can cook far more Italianate if we DO NOT try to achieve one-to-one copies of Italian recipes - the radicchio problem will occur more than once, we won't find the same quality that made us love Italian cuisine when we had it in Italy, and we'll end up disappointed with our meal... For me at least, this is far more discouraging than having to do without something because I simply can't have it. (Just to comfort poor arabianjedi: what you can have and we cannot is chicken stuffed with ghaff leaves - a plant of the Arabian desert! Though I have no idea how it tastes, I'm dreaming of this dish for years already, just because it's so exotic for me. There are specialties everywhere, and it doesn't make sense if we want to prepare just those belonging to the far end of the world.) What I'm trying to do, hence, is inventing my own Italianate (i.e. Italian-inspired) recipes that I CAN prepare with my local ingredients, and that I cannot repeat in Italy, "Italian" as they are, because I don't find the necessary products there... or going to Italy and cook there, yes, I plead guilty. It's not that dramatic, though, foodlover - I'm going to Venice two or three times a year anyway, with or without radicchio; the radicchio is just responsible for my timing one of these visits in winter...
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 07:24 AM
  #132  
 
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Franco, the concepts of local and seasonal produce have gained a lot of ground in the US (in some areas) in recent years. Thankfully. Still, you can order a burger in August and it will be served with a pink tasteless tomato just like in January - never mind that seasonal, red, sweet and luscious tomatoes can be found anywhere about then in great numbers.

We have good prepared food importers in NYC, of course - Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market is among the best. I'll check to see if they have any radicchio jam - it would be the prefect surprise for some of the good cooks I know. Maybe they can even get the panettone for us.

My friends the Morgantis from Rome come to NY every summer for the Fancy Food Show (a remarkable trade event that is NOT open to the public) and I get to attend as "an employee". It is out of this world fun. I'll be looking for things radicchio while there, you never know ...
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 10:19 AM
  #133  
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I realize what is really mean, and part of online reality as well: this time, I actually did use the preview function to edit the novel that I've been writing above, and guess what? The system simply swallowed all corrections I had made, and the unedited version is online. (foodlover instead of fooslover, the impossible grammar of the penultimate sentence - sorry, but I had corrected all this, and more!!!).
What I also meant to say in the edited version: fooslover, yes, I'm a man, that's another of my vices.
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 10:55 AM
  #134  
 
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franco, I noticed also (while posting my Switzerland-France trip report) that the "edit" function has not been working properly! After hitting "preview" and then going back to "edit" it does not accept your changes! So yes, we all have to watch what we say! ;-)

Anyway, you are absolutely right about the seasonality issue - we shouldn't expect to get every peculiar (or even mundane) fresh ingredient we want at any time of the year, radicchio included. I have several seasonal cookbooks that I really enjoy because they focus on ingredients that you can typically find locally-grown, in-season in the U.S. Unfortunately that means sometimes waiting 6 months or more to satisfy a craving!
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 11:24 AM
  #135  
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franco, I understand your opinion and know where you are coming from. Except why is being a man a vice? And can I ask what sort of an employment you have? hausfrau, Compared to your last post now you have changed your colors and are trying hard to fit in. That is sad.
 
Old Apr 4th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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Leaving for airport, and I just want to add: fooslover, why are you getting all antagonistic on us? This is about the love of culinary pursuits only, and we shouldn't be criticizing each other. TC, I once went to the Food Show in San Francisco and it was fab! Bye for awhile.kp
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 12:49 PM
  #137  
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I give up! No more posts on this thread. Enjoy culinary delights.
 
Old Apr 4th, 2007, 02:33 PM
  #138  
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People people! Lets get back to food delights and not it all personally! Moving on: I have a question related to Gnocchi. I ate Gnocchi with tracchino, parmesan reggiano and porcini mushrooms with a healthy dose of garlic and I thought some wine base. First one to post a recipe gets my thanks!

Trivia-Did you know Florentines call them topini (field mice), because the home made ones vaguely resemble mice in size and shape?
 
Old Apr 4th, 2007, 02:40 PM
  #139  
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Do you mean with stracchino? If so, this sounds terrific, and no, I have no recipe for it (I wish I had!!). If not, can you please explain what tracchino is?
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Actually a lot of vegatables and fruits are imported to Italy from Africa. Not all are native to Italy anymore especially the produce in the supermarkets.
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