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Fodor's Foodies, I need your help. I need to show off with an amazing italian meal tomorrow!

Fodor's Foodies, I need your help. I need to show off with an amazing italian meal tomorrow!

Jul 29th, 2005, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
Mathieu, I love the sound of your aubergine dish : aubergines and gorgonzola are two of my favourite things, but I've never heard of them together before. Must try it.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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cmt: fair enough, each to his or her own. Kate did imply she likes a drink, though

Personally I love a Negroni before dinner, particularly if I'm not feeling sufficiently hungry, as I find it really stimulates the appetite. A Campari & soda or a g&t also help but not as well as a Negroni.

We spent part of our honeymoon on Panarea & the hotel would have an enormous array of too-good-to-resist canapes out on the bar before dinner. A Negroni or two, while watching the sun set & the Stromboli fireworks become visible, enabled us to enjoy the canapes and three courses of the best fish ever, every night
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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Yes, Caroline, try it.
Very easy to make and delicious. The cheese, parsley and good olive oil are a must.
Mathieu is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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My favorite way to make Bistecca:

Marinate the best T-bones you can find in olive oil, wine, and fresh herbs.

Slap it on a hot grill, and grill to your liking.

Serve on a bed of rocket (arugula), so the juices run into the greens. Add big shavings of fresh parmesean, and squeeze a lemon over the whole thing. Put some thin lemon slices on the side.

Let the meat rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
capxxx is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Since you are about to buy a place in Puglia...ask your local wine shoppe for a wine from that area....such as Donna di Rango.
Dick is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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In our home we always make a paste to spread on the steak before grilling:
chopped parsley, garlic, fresh ground pepper, sea salt and olive oil, rubbed on both sides and left to marinate.
I also like it served on a bed of dressed greens with olive oil and a tiny bit of balsamic viniger, the heat of the meat will wilt the greens a bit and the juice of the meat will add to the dressing....
susanna is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 08:15 AM
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bookmarking as I'm hosting a dinner party next weekend
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Aubergine an dgorgonzola1 I just read in Bon Appetit that Sophia Loren says that is her favorite sandwich filling on a good country bread! Seems you are in good company! We tried it and it was delicious!
jody is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Instead of bruschetta, which I find a bit heavy for an appetizer, you could make parmesan crisps - incredibly easy to make and very light. Jut sprinkly good-quality grated parmesan on wax paper on a baking sheet, making little rounds about 2" in diameter, making sure that the cheese is evenly distributed. Pop in the oven at 350 degreees and bake about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly brown and the "rounds" have formed a nice crisp texture.

I also love the idea of baked fish stuffed with herbs and fennel and lemon slices. Roasted eggplant or other veggies as a side works really well.

I, too, wouldn't try the bistecca or the risotto - keep it simple so you can enjoy your guests.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 29th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Proscuitto and melon! Or proscuitto and apple! Please report what you had.
donco is offline  
Jul 29th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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I had a little dinner party the other weekend. One of the biggest hits was the pasta course which was basically spaghetti with a lemon/butter sauce and a little parmesan cheese. Followed by roasted chicken with lemon slices and sage leaves under the skin and a ton of garlic on top. All very nice and light except for the side dish of artichoke hearts wrapped in proscuitto with cream, gorgonzola and parmesan n top, all baked till nice and brown and bubbly. Guess they liked it since it was supposed to be 12 portions and the 4 of us ate it all up. Ended with ice cold glasses of lemoncello. MMMMMMM.
SharonG is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 03:10 AM
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Do come back and post and let us know what you prepared and how your dinner party went!
Kavey is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 04:01 AM
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Buon giorno

LOL Geordieni.

But seriously....

"Drinking to the point where the alcohol alters personality is not "normal" in the south of Italy". It is not normal in any part of Italy. Drunkeness is frowned upon by the Italians.

Another vote for antipasti - salamis hams, olives, cheese and crusty bread.

Try this link for recipes of the Puglia region http://www.italianmade.com/regions/cuisine16.cfm

Try this link for a tiramisu recipe (no alcohol) http://www.ilbargellino.com/recipes.htm

Buon appetito
worldinabag is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 02:54 AM
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Well, Kate ? What did you do ? Looking forward to salivating over it !
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 02:55 AM
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Thanks everyone. Here's a quick run down of the night and what we had for anyone who's interested

With thanks to everyone for their advice and suggestions, and also to Jamie Oliver, always good in a crisis.

I decided to follow the advice here and leave the bistecca until I can get my wood burning grill fired up in Puglia.

As to the alcohol talk, well, we weren't in an italian restaurant, we were at home in London, so I didn't think we had to take Italian culture TOO far.

We served the cocktail that we had at my SIL's wedding in Venice last year. Freshly pureed Strawberries, Prosecco and a dash of vodka. Yum.

A really simple, and delicious, salad of figs, really good buffalo mozarella, Serrano ham and basil leaves, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic. Like all good italian food, this is really dependant on the quality of the ingredients. I served it on a large wooden board in the middle of the table for everyone to dive into. Went down a storm.

Thank the Lord, Borough Market had some fresh clams, so linguine alle vongole it was. So simple to make, and always impresses.

Needed help from Jamie here (does everyone here know who Jamie Oliver is? British chef-megastar, trained in italian food, but makes it with a twist www.jamieoliver.co.uk). Went for an italian 'inspired', if not authentic, dish of medallions of beef with morel mushrooms, Marsala and Creme Fraiche sauce. It's the morels that make the difference here - really smoky flavour. I served this with a classic fagioli side dish and a rocket salad.

I broke all my usual customs and made dessert. Now, I can't remember what this is called, but it's an adaptation of another Jamie recipe. It basically has red grapes, marsala, ricotta and rosemary (yes, rosemary!) wrapped in filo pastry parcels and baked in the oven. Serve with some really good ice cream - I already had some balsamic ice cream I'd made earlier - sounds strange but trust me, it's delicious.

All rounded off with some Vin Santo and digestivos long into the early hours.

Phew. A great success, but remind me never to go into catering. Too much like hard work.


Kate is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 03:15 AM
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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me come to the next one... it all sounds delicious and I am sure your friends must have appreciated it...
Kavey is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 03:21 AM
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Sounds fantastic, Kate. I love that casual "I already had some balsamic ice cream I'd made earlier " !!

What sort of ice cream machine do you have ? I keep wondering if I can justify investing in one of the £300ish ones - I think it's "Gelato Chef" which is usually recommended ? And where did your balsamic recipe come from ?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 03:32 AM
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"I love that casual "I already had some balsamic ice cream I'd made earlier " !!"

LOL, that makes me sound a much more impressive cook than I actually am. I 'think' I got the recipe from an old issue of Olive magazine - probably June 05. I didn't use an ice cream machine (the recipe didn't seem to demand one), which meant the balsamic had mostly sunk to the bottom, but actually it was fine - the balsamic became this sort of syrupy stuff at the bottom, which was lovely.

It was a very simple recipe - I think from memory it just involved whipping cream, egg yolks and sugar syrup, and balsamic, of course. Iced 'cream' in the true sense of the word. Not one for the next Weight Watchers recipe book.
Kate is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 03:39 AM
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Hi K,

I hope that your guests were properly impressed.

What wines did you have, if any?

ira is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 04:06 AM
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Balsamic Ice cream sounds yummy..I've done Delia's strawberry and balsamic but not a plain one! I found this from Gordon Ramsey..maybe it's Kate's recipe

250g caster sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 free-range egg yolks
500ml milk
150ml double cream

1 First, make the caramel for the ice-cream. Put the sugar into a heavy-based saucepan and slowly heat until it starts to melt. (You might want to add a couple of tablespoons of water to help the process, and you can stir gently once or twice) If you get crystals round the edge of the pan, wash them down with a pastry brush dipped in water. Stir occasionally until the crystals have all dissolved. When all the sugar has melted, slowly raise the heat and boil the sugar syrup until it starts to turn golden brown and then a mid-brown. Have ready a big bowl of iced water. As soon as the syrup is the right colour, immerse the base of the pan in the water to cool the caramel. When cool, stir in the balsamic vinegar and set aside.

2 Now make the custard for the ice-cream. Place the egg yolks in a bowl set on a damp cloth (which holds it steady) and whisk until pale golden. Bring the milk and cream slowly to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Slowly pour the creamy milk onto the yolks, whisking steadily. When it is all incorporated, tip the lot back into the saucepan and return to a low heat. Stir until the mixture just starts to thicken (it should be 82 degrees centigrade). Do not allow it to even start to bubble, or it may curdle. Remove and cool.

3 Mix the cooled caramel into the cool custard. Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn until icy smooth and creamy. Scoop into a rigid plastic food container and freexe until just solid.
jody is offline  

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